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  • Jim Denning

Surfing Life


When I was younger I use to go surfing almost every weekend. The metaphors for surfing and life are plentiful. If you have never paddled out against waves crashing on your head you cannot fathom the power of the ocean even on such as small scale as a 6-foot wave. However, once you get out past the breakers into the calm of the ocean there is nothing like it. The sound of the waves drowns out the sounds of land. It is an eerie, beautiful and peaceful silence.


For years I forgot what that was like. I forgot what it was like to live in harmony with the waves. I also forgot what it was like to live a harmonious life. In my personal and professional life, I spent too many years paddling out against the surf for a dream I found out I did not really want. I mistakenly thought that the harder the struggle the greater the reward, but that is not the case. I paddled for years against waves of self-doubt, depression, fear of failure, fear of what others would think of me, fear of being perceived as weak and above all fear of someone finding out how damaged I really was.


It was not until I embraced my flaws and "hugged the cactus" that I began to live a life in harmony with who I really am. It was not until I made the choice to stop fighting against myself and accept myself as I was and now how I wished I was, was I truly free. Jesus states in Mark 3:25 "If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand." I was fighting my depression and anxiety and not embracing them. I was trying to live a life of shouting down the negative voices in my head instead of listening to what they had to say. Once I made peace with them, my life changed in amazing ways.


If you can take a few minutes and watch the videos below. The first is Robert Downey Jr. very eloquently explaining how "hugging the cactus" healed him. How making peace with his demons changed his life. His speech on hugging the cactus in his life encapsulates in two minutes the core of what Make it to Midnight is teaching.



The second video shows the difficulty of paddling out against the surf. It shows graphically how hard it is to fight against yourself and the futility of the struggle. It was not until I realized that if I was going to fight against myself I was not going to win.



The final video shows what life is like when you do embrace the principles of Make it to Midnight. Structurally nothing in my life has changed, however much like Laird Hamilton in this video the way I have found harmony in my life and in myself has allowed me to "surf life" and not merely survive it. Conquering anxiety and depression for me was not a matter of will, it was a matter of skill. This book provides the reader with the skills to enjoy life in ways they never believed possible.




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