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Whittling away at the deck paint preparation…this is when I wish Swell was about ten feet shorter!!

 

Our human compassion binds us to one another–not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.”  –Nelson Mandela

 

I’m sitting on the bow of Swell in the yard. It’s 3pm and the sun’s heat is irritatingly persistent. Since my return from India, I’ve been up to my neck in this deck painting project. My fingers are aching and there’s a blister on my right thumb. I switch to my left hand, but it’s awkward and it bashes into the cleat as I work around its base. There’s still so much prep left to do before I can paint. I can hardly bear to look around. The rays pierce the spots that my hat doesn’t shade. The smell of resin and bottom paint wafts through the air. The nicked flesh on my hands burn. But I just keep sanding…

 

My mind drifts to family and friends…what they might be doing…and then keeps coming back to ‘compassion’ and ‘suffering’. “…If I never did this hard work, I could never relate to those in the world who work this hard everyday.” Amidst the sweat and fatigue and boredom, I felt connected to all those people out there working similar sorts of manual labor. That connection makes us feel richer, stronger, and more prone to making decisions that serve others and the planet.

 

Some of us are born compassionate; others have to work at it. The difficult situations we go through that can be turned into opportunities to expand our ability to ‘feel’ and connect to others if we choose to use them that way. Adversity can harden us and turn us inward, or it can soften us and open our hearts wider. The latter choice is scarier, but it keeps us ‘feeling’…for when we stop feeling, we’re like a sailboat without water under it—dry, boring, lifeless, and disengaged!

We must stay open to the lessons offered to us and use our hardships to empathize and understand others, in the hope that we can help heal each other. Because the truth is that no matter how happy we are in our individual lives, we cannot know complete peace and contentment when others in the world are suffering.

So yea, I hate sanding Swell’s deck, but I love the ‘feeling’ it brings me…

 

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The chosen chisel.

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Midday papaya snack!

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The neighborhood kids are happy I’m taking so long in the yard since they get to ride my skateboard!

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Super moon setting, 6 am. Time to start sanding.

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Poor lil spidey got dusted…:(

 

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Lil Temehani always finds a way to lighten the situation…

 

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6 hours of sanding later…contemplating a career change…:)

 

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Lani shredding around after only a few weeks of skating.

 

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Let the fun begin…

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Reward for a long day on the job…

 

 

 

 

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