Dominic Traynor discovers the archipelago of The Canaries provides all he needs on the path back to well-being.
Last year a skiing accident left me with a fractured L3 vertebra, a herniated L5-S1, muscular atrophy and high levels of negative vibes. At this early stage of recovery, things were not right physically, mentally or spiritually for me – I needed a change of scene.
After a distress call to my buddy Pablo, I packed up the van and took the overnight boat to Lanzarote. Moving here was an easy decision. Good friends, deep mid-Atlantic rhythms and a leisurley pace of life were to provide a platform for my receovery.
How can there be laughter, how can there be pleasure, when the whole world is burning? When you are in deep darkness, will you not ask for a lamp?
I arrived in the village on the West of Lanzarote at first light and I wasn’t disappointed. It had been raining and the sunshine began to pour in. Old and new friends gathered at the lookout point to check the conditions and we watched in awe as the heavens put on a show.
If a man speaks or acts with a pure mind, joy follows him as his own shadow.
Later that day as the tide changed, small, perfect waves began to roll ashore. I blew the dust from my board as others entered the water. I had been away from work for six months, spending most of my time on a physio table and stretching mat, certainly nowhere near a surf board. All that time I prayed I would be able to surf again. I made my way across the dunes of Famara to the water’s edge, deep in thought as to what may happen.
If a man do something good, let him do it again and again. Let him find joy in his good work.
I managed an hour of waves, and a long stretch on the shoreline afterwards. Exhausted but in good shape, I watched the sunset. I was struggling to stay awake over dinner, six months away from the water had taken its toll on my body. My mind had already started to release the months of pain from memory and I slept heavy but happy.
Have fire like a noble horse touched by the whip. By faith, virtue, by wisdom and by right action, you shall overcome the sorrows of life.
Over the next few weeks, I started to learn how life unfolds in Lanzarote. As my friends spent much of their day relaxing, I began to appreciate their sense of time is based on knowledge and experience. A morning spent relaxing on the sofa at first seemed lazy. But as the surf gathered any gusto, they were already in their wetsuits as I was still negotiating my stretching mat. My friends make plans according to the ocean as the day unfolds.
Watchful amongst the unwatchful, awake amongst those that sleep, the wise man like a swift horse runs his race, outrunning those who are slow.
Lazarote has its own individualism and pulls a crowd from far shores. The surfers have great ambition, and really enjoy living here. They talk to and encourage each other in their lives, and there is a strong sense that these are good people.
Have not for friends those whose souls are ugly, go not with men who have an evil soul. Have for friends those whose soul is beautiful, go with men whose soul is good.
As the days went by, the wind set in. This took the edge off the swell. Although I was surfing daily, I would often be the first one out the water, always making sure I kept within my limits. My body was often tired but I was becoming stronger with every session.
My body has taken its first step on a path to recovery. My mind has become much clearer, and the warmth of Lanzarote and its people have started to nurture my soul back to life. Why turn back now?
Abandon the ways of confusion and darkness and live in the light of peace and harmony.
Photos by Pablo and Ivanuccio.