Surf Girl - - Surfgirl Summer Travel Guide - Words by Easkey Brit­ton

On the first day of my cy­cle the snow came: a beau­ti­ful mir­ror­ing of my in­ner land­scape. Na­ture grant­ing the whole coun­try a rare mo­ment of pause. In a so­ci­ety that’s al­ways ‘on’, the el­e­ments were call­ing us to slow down, be still. Be where you are, just as you are. There is noth­ing for you to do.

This con­scious aware­ness of my in­ner cy­cle has only re­cently been awak­ened in me. I’m just be­gin­ning to learn what it means. My in­ten­tion was to en­ter this year open hearted, self-con­nected and full of courage. In­stead, it has felt like an in­tense and, at times, be­wil­der­ing shadow dance. My power of dis­cern­ment aban­doned me, I strug­gled with fear daily, and there were times I never felt more dis­con­nected. Adrift, lost, alone, some­times feel­ing like I’d gone crazy with a long­ing I couldn’t name. By the time the end of Jan­uary came I felt emo­tion­ally ex­hausted and phys­i­cally spent. But then I no­ticed the moon. And re­mem­bered. It would be full on Fe­bru­ary 1st, Im­bolc. In an­cient times, Im­bolc was cel­e­brated as the be­gin­ning of the year – the first day of spring in the Celtic cal­en­dar. I de­cided to start my year on the full moon of Im­bolc. A new be­gin­ning. Then I could use the cy­cle of the moon to help guide me back to my­self, to help me tune into my own in­ner cy­cle – the power that all women carry within them.

This beau­ti­ful abil­ity of our bod­ies to com­mu­ni­cate with the world and let us know what it is that we need to be whole; a wis­dom too long op­pressed, stirred in­side me. With­out

un­der­stand­ing why, I spent the early morn­ing chas­ing the blue moon from the hill where I live down to the shore, as it set through squalls and weather fronts. Moon bathing. Later, I learned that ex­pos­ing our­selves to moon­light, es­pe­cially dur­ing men­stru­a­tion, can greatly reg­u­late our hor­mones and cy­cle.

The snow was still fall­ing hard out­side, but I heard wa­ter drip from the roof as it be­gan to melt. I felt a sud­den urge to run out into the el­e­ments be­fore the thaw came. I ran along the edge of the bay, slow­ing to pick my way across the rocks, flocks of birds drinking from pools of melt-wa­ter tak­ing flight. I kept go­ing to where the sea licked the edge of the snow-cov­ered shore­line and found an un­touched, pure white drift of snow piled be­neath a black­thorn bush. With no one around for miles. It was a dif­fer­ent kind of im­mer­sion.

It was day three of my cy­cle, known as the ‘Re­newal’. Oxy­tocin gets re­leased as you bleed and your womb con­tracts, wash­ing us in waves of love, if we al­low it. It’s also ac­ti­vated by touch. What I felt was a sud­den and un­ex­plained long­ing to be part of it all, deep in na­ture. The sen­sa­tion of the soft, pow­dery snow on bare skin was so un­like any other touch that I didn’t feel the cold. I felt a warmth move through me, start­ing in my belly and flow­ing out­wards as my body sank into this gen­tle em­brace. A deep let­ting go and mo­ment of to­tal sur­ren­der.

As women who surf, we nat­u­rally move with the tides. We are al­ready at­tuned to the rhythms of our lo­cal en­vi­ron­ment. And like all surfers, both men and women, we un­der­stand that the cy­cles of the plan­e­tary bod­ies af­fect our in­di­vid­ual bod­ies and moods. What if we could learn to move with the tides in and out of the wa­ter, hon­our our in­ner ebb and flow? Live more in­ti­mately with the world around us and come to know our rhythms more deeply? What would it be like to let the en­ergy of the dif­fer­ent phases of our cy­cle ex­press it­self through how we surf? In­stead of al­ways glo­ri­fy­ing high per­for­mance, hy­per-mas­cu­line, short­board surf­ing, what if we cel­e­brated surf­ing and surfers in all their cy­cles? Through the life cy­cle, the sea­sons, the tides, the breath. Young and old, smooth lines, ex­plo­sive sur­ren­der. Al­low­ing for the days when we’re just not feel­ing it, and lis­ten­ing to when are bod­ies are telling us it is time to take the leap, now, just go! Trust. Breathe. Be.

To­days’ so­ci­ety puts a high price on ‘pro­duc­tiv­ity’. It values con­sis­tency and sta­sis, not fluc­tu­a­tions of ebb and flow. To

‘do noth­ing’ is shame­ful. So is bleed­ing. We live in a so­ci­ety where the nat­u­ral rhythms of our cy­cles are sup­pressed in or­der to ‘per­form (con­form) well.’ We’re not just dis­con­nected from each other and our en­vi­ron­ment, but our own bod­ies.

When I think about In­ter­na­tional Women’s Day and what it is that con­nects all women across bor­ders, be­liefs, time and space, it is the wis­dom of our bod­ies. When I re­turn to my 2018 in­ten­tion for greater ‘self-con­nec­tion’, I re­alise it’s a de­sire to be fully in my own skin. Where and when do I feel that alive­ness most? In the sea. Where there is that con­stant ebb and flow. The sen­sa­tion of wa­ter en­velop­ing me whole. Where all of my body is sus­pended for a mo­ment, held in a great em­brace that asks noth­ing at all from me, just to be.

It doesn’t have to be surf­ing or the sea. Maybe for you it’s the moun­tains, rivers or lakes. It’s what it sym­bol­ises that mat­ters. It’s about re­claim­ing sites for cel­e­brat­ing the full­ness of who we are.

How do we cre­ate a space for that kind of cel­e­bra­tion in the line-up? What ri­tual can you cre­ate around your surf rou­tine – whether you’re a week­end war­rior, a full-time com­peti­tor or die-hard soul-surfer – that hon­ours your unique cy­cle? Maybe it’s de­cid­ing to leave the surf­board be­hind and sim­ply play in the shore break, body­surf­ing like we used to as kids. Or cre­at­ing a tem­po­rary tidal al­tar or of­fer­ing on the reef be­fore or af­ter a surf. Or breath­ing into your belly and con­nect­ing to your power of pres­ence on those big­ger days. Em­brac­ing our con­nec­tion to na­ture and feel­ing em­pow­ered by our cy­cle that flows with the tides and the moon.

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