I was asked by Harper Collins to be a part of a virtual book tour for the memoir All Our Waves Are Water by Jaimal Yogis, and, although you know I’m not a “sponsored post” kind of girl, I am definitely a “book review” one. So I was thrilled to receive it and read this memoir about the path of enlightenment through surfing.
First, a confession. When I received a description of the book, the first line was as follows:
For Jaimal Yogis, the path to enlightenment is surfing.
Now, reading that I assumed that Jaimal was a kind of yoga on a surfboard. Oh! I had never heard of Jaimal Yogis, that sounds interesting. But no, that is the writer’s name. His last name is Yogis. This is all explained in the introduction of the book, and I felt a little stupid after reading that. So Jaimal is a man, not a type of yoga. Just wanted to clarify that.
Normally the type of books I am attracted to feature a main character that I can relate to in some way. I would say that Jaimal Yogis and are I are pretty much opposites, and in a lot of ways, that made for a very interesting book. Jaimal hard-core travels around the world in an attempt to find himself, heal from a breakup, and surf a particular kind of wave, which I didn’t really understand, not being a surfer. Don’t get me wrong; this is no Eat, Pray, Love. This is a guy who literally spends months in India renting out a “coffin sized” room in a two-room shack, showering by heating a bucket of water on the stove and then scrubbing himself down with it, pouring canful by canful on his body. Given that I just got back from a vacation in which I was treated like a princess every second of the day, I couldn’t really relate to his one-dollar-a-day lodgings. Even back in my adventure travel days, I didn’t rough it very much, and so I give him credit where credit is due. It’s one thing to go on a journey to find yourself while living the high life, it’s quite another to befriend a displaced Tibetan monk and live with him, teaching him how to sing Country Roads.
Even though the story line wasn’t quite my cup of tea, there were a lot of highlights that I really enjoyed. Nothing makes you appreciate our western infrastructure quite so much as reading about riding on a bus on a bumpy, mountainous roads with no guardrails between the bus and rocky cliffs. The bus came to a screeching halt, and it was discovered that one tire had nearly fallen off, and the bus driver fixed it by taking a bolt from each of the remaining tires, and using those bolts to repair the fourth. This kind of makes my “I need to get the oil changed” crisis seem somewhat less urgent.
More importantly, there is a lesson to the book that I have been thinking of a lot lately. It’s a lesson in the ordinary, enjoying the little things in your everyday life. When you can breathe in fresh air after a rainfall, when you can sip that first cup of coffee, when you can enjoy just sitting with your children and not thinking about the million things on your to-do list, you can embrace happiness and joy in the ordinary. From the book:
We all know that we could go any day: a car accident, a brain aneurysm, a heart attack, a bullet…We know this and yet we don’t know it. We move through life as if we have forever, as if we can take the stroll around the block, the cappuccino made unusually well, the Tuesday fusilli, for granted. We live as if there will always be a million more like this. So we filter out the details. We go on stressing about accumulating achievements, the big impressive things.
If you take anything away from that book – or even from this blog – I think that should be it. Take some time today to clear your mind and focus on the little, beautiful, ordinary joys in life. The rest can sort itself out.