I’m at the beach watching the surfers ride the waves. The best of them are highly skilled at becoming one with the swelling ocean that will eventually transform into a wave. Success requires surrendering to an uncontrollable and unpredictable force. The minute the surfers resist the flow, they risk being overwhelmed. But if they align themselves with the motion of the seawater, they have an easier time. Life works in much the same way.
Practicing Amor Fati—Loving Fate
Surfing reminds me of the Latin phrase amor fati, meaning “love of fate.” The concept comes from ancient Greek and Roman philosophers of stoicism
and encourages us to embrace what life brings in order to reduce our struggles. Let’s face it, struggle is nothing more than our resistance to what is. We generally spend a great deal of time in this state, and as long as we continue to resist what is—as opposed to practicing amor fati—our struggle persists.
The trauma and isolation of the Covid-19 pandemic have forced many of us to grapple with the challenge of reinvention. Many people I was friendly with have moved away. My yoga studio, gym, meditation center, spiritual and holistic learning center, neighborhood health food restaurant, and favorite Italian restaurant and bar have all closed for good. This leaves me with a lot of room in which to create something even better. Although I wish things were different, I must accept what is and rebuild my tribe and community. Amor fati can help.
Surrender = Resilience
The act of surrender
isn’t very popular in our modern Western culture, which tends to encourage competitiveness and the fight to win. For many of us, surrender implies losing or giving up. Yet, many of the wisest philosophers teach us that surrender does not equate with weakness. Rather, it is something to strive for because letting go, witnessing, and going with the flow is the path to the satisfaction and holistic wellbeing we all seek.
Practicing amor fati can even be as simple as saying it out loud in response to challenges.
- Missed that plane, train, or bus? Amor fati.
- Stuck in traffic? Amor fati.
- Regret something you did or said? Amor fati.
- Feeling isolated? Amor fati.
- Relationship issues? Amor fati.
- Passed over for a job opportunity? Amor fati.
None of this means we’re happy about any unwelcome events we face. Nor does it imply giving up. Amor fati simply makes us less emotionally reactive. Accepting unwanted events prevents us from getting stuck and frees up the energy to create what we do want.
How to Practice Amor Fati
- Be Present. You can’t accept what is when you are attached to the past, overstimulated by your current circumstances, or anxious about the future. Mindfulness practices like meditation, yoga, or simply spending time in nature rein in a wandering mind, shut out any sensory stimulation, and anchor you into the now. A life hack I refer to as “the buzz” can also be helpful.
To buzz: Sit still in silence. Place your hands over your ears and upwards towards the top of your head. Press gently. Close your eyes. Make a buzzing or humming sound. Connect inwardly to that sound and let it fill your mind. Sound is vibration, and vibration creates energy waves. Take in this energy until you feel your focus fully shift into the present moment.
[Read: “What’s Your Vibrational Healing Style?”]
- Face Your Death. Make it a daily ritual to ask yourself if you are making the most of your time on the planet. Our time is limited. Facing the reality of your death
creates an urgency to live. You will find yourself wasting less time struggling against what is.
- Check Your Perception. How clean is your lens? Life and external influences can blur your perceptions. My “peeping Tom” hack can help you here.
To peep: Try peeking into a window of your home and viewing the interior as if it belongs to someone else. Who lives in this space? What does this space communicate about them? Do you like this person? Have empathy for them? Can you help them achieve greater wellbeing? Reconnect with the essence of that person that is you. The outsider’s perspective can help you to view your situation more objectively.
- Recite a Blessings Mantra. Feel abundant regardless of what’s going by saying this several times a day: “My blessings are bigger than my burdens.” Repeat until you eventually feel your breath deepen, the heaviness in your heart lift, and your energy shift to fully embrace what is. This life hack works like magic.
As I share these thoughts, I notice one of the surfers being taken down by a wave. He washes ashore, smiles, and without hesitating jumps back onto his board and out into the ocean. This fall, I’ll be leaning into amor fati and aspiring to a surfer’s mindset. Will you be joining me?
Catch your own wave! Build spiritual stamina through surrender and the practice of uncertainty.