Tim Cusack's Blog
Tag Archives: appreciation

Surfing the Waves of Life

Surfing Life

Surfing Life:  Ups and Downs

We humans are mostly water. We can’t live without it. Maybe that’s why we’re drawn to it.

I’m sitting on my surfboard, legs dangling in the water. My eyes are open, looking to find the ideal, oncoming wave to ride back to shore. Every wave is unique, and we all see the them differently according to our distinct perspectives and ability to ride. Unlike other balancing activities, such as snowboarding or skateboarding, surfing is riding on liquid, ever changing, constantly evolving, unpredictable.

A lot like life.

We’re constantly looking for the next wave, evaluating, waiting for the right one, trying to predict if we’re able to ride it, stay on it. We sit, we see the wave coming….our parents aging, our kids growing up. Our jobs ending or new ones beginning. Babies born, loved ones die. Marriages, divorces, successes, failures. Our lives passing with time, rolling by.

The waves of life.

Just like surfing, we sometimes get up and successfully ride a wave of life, fully balanced. It feels so good, so fulfilling. Other times we fall, brutally pummeled by the weight and brute force of the wave. Yet, we lay our bellies back on the board and paddle out, knowing the nature of what we face is ambiguous, challenging, and unpredictable, yet worth the effort, worth the energy and strength to experience a moment of life that feels so good.

My Five Step Commencement Address for All of Us

Diplomas of Life

Diplomas of Life

I know a “commencement address” can be cliche, but if you could find space in your heart to listen to people older than you, you may discover it benefits your soul and your mind.

  1. It’s okay to STOP, and enjoy spontaneous interactions and conversations with people – totally unplanned, unrehearsed and without an agenda. These interactions are some of the most memorable and life enhancing.
  2. Don’t waste mental energy on what others think about you. Most likely no one is talking or thinking about you. People are extremely busy worrying about their own lives and drama.
  3. Try sometime to just listen to someone without judgment or opinion, with good eye contact, head nods and an occasional ‘wow’ or ‘really’ or ‘tell me more about that.” If you listen, you’ll hear the human condition.
  4. Be mindful and have fun. Enjoy each day. Enjoy eating and drinking. Enjoy exercise. Enjoy shopping or whatever it is you’re doing.
  5. It’s natural to think about death. It compels you to think about your current life, what you’re doing with it and where you are going.

Enjoy your musings and wonderment on the meaning of life. You will visit this frequently. Go forth and be good people. If I don’t see you before, I’ll see you on the other side.


“Being considerate of others will take your children further in life than any college degree.” Marian Wright Edelman


The Sunday Painters: Self Criticism or Contentment?

Two painters walk into a park on Sunday to paint.

          Sunday Painter

The first painter begins painting, but also enjoys the sunshine, takes pleasure in the leaves on the trees and the freshness of the park air, as well as the colors of the plants and flowers surrounding him.

The second painter starts to paint, but worries about what others will think of his painting. He imagines that others probably regard him as no good at painting, and ‘Maybe that is true,’ he thinks, ‘I’m not a good painter. I shouldn’t be painting. I should stop painting.’

Many people share characteristics of the two Sunday painters. Some enjoy the moment, and others are constantly judging how well they are doing, asking is this good enough? A few will live life in the moment, paying attention to what they are doing, just enjoying the activity of painting for the activity of painting. They’re not painting to impress people or because they will be accepted if they’re a good painter.

The true joy of painting comes from the activity of painting – NOT the result. The result you may never like, but the activity you usually do. I heard this story told by Paul Gilbert, author of The Compassionate Mind.


I Love That Feeling

Lake Michigan Winter Sunset

Lake Michigan Winter Sunset

I know this title could go in many different directions, but it’s safe…

I love that feeling when people show appreciation for something I’ve helped them deal with, especially when it’s my children.

I love that feeling after finishing a project no matter how big or small.

I love that feeling when I first come home after traveling and all those everyday things I take for granted feel freshly new again for a few moments.

But in the middle of summer, the “dog days,” when it’s really hot and muggy in the evening around sunset, when the western sky reflects the sun saying ‘goodby’ with pink, red and orange tints – I love that cooling temperature and knowing this is it, the summer evening that I dreamed of in January is here.

I love that feeling when dreams come true.
summer sunset