What Can You Learn From a Two to Three Metre Swell?

Very recently, my mother had an important birthday in her life and she chose to do something exciting to commemorate it. She booked for the entire family to go on a whale watching cruise. Naturally, we were all very excited about this because none of us have seen whales before and we thought it would be a fun experience to take the kids out on a boat.

The day finally rolled around. We left home and journeyed off to Sydney Harbour to catch our boat. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t incredibly forthcoming. It was a little bit rainy, cold and slightly windy in the harbour. Despite that, however, we were all in very good spirits. The time approached for us to board the boat and we all eagerly went and found our seats. Little did we know what was in store for us over the next 2-3 hours.

Just before we left, one of the people on board notified us that the water may be a little bit choppy once we get out onto the open ocean. They mentioned something about a 2-3 metre swell. I had no idea what to make of this, let alone most of the people on the boat. They suggested that if we feel sick or ill at anytime, to go to the back of the boat or ask for some assistance. I normally don’t suffer from motion sickness so I thought I’d be ok.

The boat left and we were on our way. Everyone seemed so excited. We are going to see whales! The ride through the harbour was calm and gentle. The scenic view of Sydney Harbour was, as always, breathtaking. Then an announcement came over the intercom that we were about to go through the heads and the water may not be as calm. We braced ourselves and the boated headed out to open waters. They weren’t kidding! There were 2 -3 metre swells and the boat was rocking side to side, up and down. It was fun at first but then a few people started to look uncomfortable. My mother was not enjoying herself and then the kids started to feel sick. Soon I started to feel sick. So I had to get up and go to the back of the boat. I stood there, with a vomit bag in my mind, thinking – “What was my mother thinking?”

I couldn’t handle it anymore so I decided to go outside and get some fresh air. For about 20 minutes, up until we were in range of the whales, I was doing whatever I could to manage myself through this insanely challenging experience. Many people, on the other hand, weren’t doing so well. The majority of the people on the boat were sick.

So what did I do? I thought to myself, which was tough on its own, to do some Demartini work. Maybe I could help my body balance itself out and change the way it was reacting to this ever changing environment? I spent the entire rest of the trip looking for benefits of the experience versus looking for drawbacks of the opposite in order to help gain some perspective and help myself out.

As a consequence, I uncovered something quite amazing about the experience I was having. I realised something. Life truly is never just a smooth ride. In fact, life presents challenges consistently in order to help us adapt and grow. While I was experiencing the most extreme version of volatility in my life, it dawned on me. ‘These rough seas won’t last forever. They will eventually end. The more I resist the flow of the ocean around me, the worse I will feel. The more I give in to the fact that this is my current experience, the easier it will be for me to actually have control over it. The more I want it to be smooth and an easy ride, the less I will learn because I won’t be tested or pushed to see how I respond.’ After having this insight, my body calmed down quite a lot.

We eventually made our way back and got to dry land but I can tell you that I was grateful that the ocean taught me a valuable lesson that day. You never know when you’ll receive a lesson, and in what form, but this was one that was seriously overdue. Life can be tough. Moments in life can be tough. They can be as rough as the biggest swells in the ocean but it’s important to remember, you won’t be out there forever. It’s temporary and it will eventually come to an end. The best thing you can do is – hang in there, find a way to adapt and use it to your advantage.



  1. Liliane Grace September 25, 2013 at 4:00 am

    Lovely message, Greg. We’re so programmed to want everything ‘nice now’ but developing non-resistance and finding the blessings in the adversity always seems to help. Thanks for sharing this story.

    1. Greg Schreeuwer October 7, 2013 at 4:16 am

      Thanks Liliane!

      It can be difficult to find the blessings in adversity but if we look hard enough, it will always be there.

  2. Elizabeth Chandler October 9, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    Greg this is a great message and very true. Welcome back to Sydney 🙂

    1. Greg Schreeuwer October 11, 2013 at 7:41 pm

      Thanks Elizabeth. 🙂


Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *