Another cold wave dumps over, hits me in the face and spins my board away. My grip barely holds as my wrist twists painfully under the pressure, dozens of tiny muscles mustering to keep me from flopping over in the shallow water. I quickly right the board and line up to pull myself on. "Where are my legs? Underneath the board. Damn it! Not again!" I reach down and do my best to awkwardly push my legs behind me, holding on with my other hand. Again, i line up to pull myself on, inch my chest onto the tail and begin to work my way up the long sleek paddleboard. Another wave hits and almost tips me over. I manage to balance but the wave spins me around, facing shore. I can't pull myself on. "What's stuck?" Looking back, i see the leash curled around one of the handles. "Arg! Not again!" Just then, a wave comes up from behind and grabs the board easily, sending me, barely hanging on, riding the wave all the way to shore. Once the wave fizzles out, i slide off, exhausted. That all-too-familiar feeling of Déjà Vu hovers over me in the grey sky as i float on my back...the same feeling i had while training for climbing Bloody Couloir...the reality of how much work i actually need to do setting in. I take a deep breath, fighting frustration.
The road to Molokai is an indescribably monumental endeavor and i am needing to ask myself the question i often pose to others, "Would it be worth it if it wasn't hard as hell?" This presents a unique opportunity, in that i must not just accept the struggle, but embrace it....dive into it in order to feel it fully. Instead of becoming crestfallen when i can't even pull myself on my board, i relish in it with joy and adopt an almost self-punishing, bring-it-on type of attitude.
When i was in college, students would wish each other good luck before an exam, but i would say, "May your hard work pay off," a scowling glare shooting back at me. I don't really believe in luck. I believe our dreams take sacrifice and are most likely not going to jump right into our lap. It takes letting go of something very important: our very precious comfortability. However, the struggle for me has been to find balance in all this and not put pressure on myself. That's always the key isn't it? If we feel pressure, we are visualizing failure, but a healthy sense of responsibility, driven by hope, can take us very far.