Way more intense than the 40 days before them, or the 40 before those.  You know that feeling when you stand on the beach, toes in the sand, at the spot where the broken waves roll over each other and with every lap of the water you sink a little deeper? Had I not learned to emotionally surf this month, I would be thigh-deep in sand by now.


Just over a month ago, my family moved from our home of 21 years in Tiburon, California to Bozeman, Montana. Within this same time span, my children came home from college and high school to our CA house, traveled to our new MT home briefly to unpack and are now gearing up to head back to school. Our sweet little pug Daisy became diabetic, then blind, then unable to walk, in less than 2 months, and ultimately left this earth for doggy heaven way too soon. And I’ve been working on my relationship with my husband because all this change and transition is hard on a marriage, no matter how long you’ve been together. This is a conversation best had over whiskey or really strong coffee, but the bottom line is this - sifting and sorting through 21 years of your life with your family, consigning most of your furniture and loading what’s left onto a semi truck feels weird.  It’s even weirder when it happens quickly during the summer when everyone you know and care about is off being busy with their own summers. It feels like you’ve left a party by sneaking out the back door. You know that feeling? But then, just when I thought I was going into full overwhelm I came across this quote from John Kabat-Zinn:

“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf!”

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The move had me feeling like I’d lost my foundation.  Shifting my mindset and working to surf the wave, I found that by focusing on being more present in the moment and making self care a priority, I regained my footing. Getting up onto the board was no small matter, though. After much confusion, frustration, fear, doubt and some tears, I worked to pull myself up using inner strength I hadn’t accessed in a while. When I finally got up on the board I had to balance, and balance takes focus.  Focus was what I was missing - focus on all the good stuff happening with my kids and with Dare, and the reasons why we were moving and how I’d dreamt of living in Montana for years, and what wonderful friends I have and how supportive my family has been and continues to be. Regaining focus helped me return to a place of gratitude and allowed me to shift my perspective and stay open, which really helped when we unexpectedly lost Miss Daisy.


I shared this surfing metaphor with my family and my son reminded me that I really can’t surf - thank God for teenagers keeping you honest.  This is true. I’ve taken surfing lessons and think I’ve legitimately ridden a wave twice in my life, so I know how stinkin’ hard it is. I also know how rewarding it is when you finally stand up, when you keep trying and let go of your fear and doubt and stand up, exhausted but resilient.  I held onto this real surfing experience and revisited it more than once as I second-guessed and doubted myself this past month. I worked hard to regain focus and balance, to surf. I wasn’t that graceful always, but once I got up on my board, I was able to shift perspective as I rode the waves.  You might say this California girl rode the waves all the way to the mountains of Montana. Yeah, I shred the gnar, as they say;)

Well, maybe not shred the gnar, but I gained renewed confidence that I have the resilience to get back up on the board when life knocks me off and ride the waves again. In the meantime, I’m gonna let the sand swirl around my toes for a bit while I catch my breath and settle in to my new home and community knowing this:

“The best wave of my life is still out there.” - Steve Hawk

Success and survival are often described using the  “sink or swim” metaphor. This wasn’t working for me. As someone who values feeling connected to my work, life, family, home, etc. I found that the move had me feeling ungrounded. I was missing my board. While swimming through the tumult of the last 40 days, I built my board by shifting my focus and mindset to conquer the waves. Feeling more steady and connected, I am now able to maneuver the rough surf surrounding my move, business, and relationships. For those struggling to swim or even doggy paddle, consider this shift in perspective. Try to build your board and with it your confidence in riding your waves ‘cause your best wave is still to come.

See you out there!

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Sheryl Ott XO Signature Dare To Detour