Longboarding And Spirituality – Part 2 – CONNECTIONS AND ALTERATIONS
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When people discover longboarding and start to find that it deeply resonates with them, other areas of their lives start to change. Ideas that were never formally considered or explored, suddenly come possible. From here, connections are made and sometimes worldviews are fundamentally altered. I can speak from personal experience on this concept! Wikipedia says spirituality ‘emphasizes humanistic qualities such as love, compassion, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, contentment, responsibility, harmony, and a concern for others.’ “Obviously I love skateboarding” writes Peter. “But through skateboarding I have seen some of the most compassionate individuals I have ever met, whether it’s through the idea of paying some gear forward to someone who can’t afford it, or teaching someone how to skate.” “If you’ve ever been to any skate event at all, you know how much patience is a necessity. ‘Skater Standard Time’ (+ 30 minutes minimum) is the norm. And where I live is not close to particularly awesome terrain. So I need to be patient enough to set a block of time aside to travel to the good stuff.
“Forgiveness happens when you get taken out in a heat. Contentment in terms of skateboard spirituality means riding what you’ve got and working on your skills instead of blaming your lack of skills on gear or terrain. Responsibility plays out in the fact that what we do [can be] illegal. But just because it is illegal doesn’t mean we have to be hated.You have a responsibility to your spots and the locals/neighbors.
You also have a responsibility to the scene as a whole to skate safe and smart and not blow out spots for everyone. Concern for others has been mentioned already, but you’d better be thinking of the people you’re with when you’re speeding down a mountain.”
Samuel has had some rough patches in his life. Longboarding hasn’t just connected him to something spiritual, it has grounded him. “I started feeling a lot of emotional pain. I was on the edge of suicide and I couldn’t take anything anymore.” Although he sometimes fell while longboarding, those challenges gave him the strength and motivation to keep going, he says: “I started to notice it more and more. Then one session I felt this strange feeling run through me as I started doing new tricks and felt more motivation in longboarding and dedication than ever.”
About two years ago, after Adam bought his first longboard, he would simply enjoy the ride, cruising around to places everywhere, carving and slashing pavement here and there. “I would always longboard at night or dawn when the air was cool and the only lights that came were from streetlights or the faint blue hue from the skies,” he says. “The more laid-back style of longboarding was what appealed to me, and it was deeply connected to who I am, a laid-back person. Longboarding also made me view the world more positively, which indirectly helped me express my altruism. Every journey on my longboard, simply cruising around, helped me meet new people, new personalities and new environment.”
Devon wrote that he was not raised to believe in one religion, so he finds it hard to connect longboarding directly to the sense of spirituality through religious enlightenment. “I find longboarding much more connected to spirituality as a method of relaxation and meditation,” he wrote.
While out skating, B. Lane realized spirituality is not a passive notion. “There’s good reason it’s called a spiritual discipline,” he says. “I need to remake the frontiers I’ve gotten to each time out. The seeming miracle is that with each outing, I get the sense of being refreshed, renewed, and offered — partly by my efforts — some kind of grace. In this often convoluted world, that’s no small thing.”
Israel definitely finds that longboarding is connected to his spirituality. “I believe that everything does connect,” he says, “some for good and some for bad. Longboarding is so good for me spiritually. It is centers me. I become one with all creation. Taking and riding life. It’s like the motion melts you into the life force that exists in and around all things. It brings you to a higher plane of awareness of everything around, giving you a closer relationship with life at its purest sense — like it’s what I am meant to do in all ways. Just think, you aren’t polluting and destroying anything like cars or trucks [do]. You are moving faster and more efficiently. It’s perfect for your mind, body and soul!” Kiry feels that her spirituality is tied to nature. “I feel more in tune with the earth and the universe when skating,” she says. “I become part of the elements.”
David believes that artists exemplify their spirituality in their art. “Think of longboarding (or skateboarding in general) much like dance,” he says. “Both are equally art and sport. Both take balance, physical strength, control and hard work. [Riding] not only connects with your spirituality, but it is/can be the brush in which you offer to paint your spirituality for the world to see.” Micah says longboarding does help him spiritually though he does not follow any organized religion. “Spirituality is how I fill that void of not having a sense of purpose that religion tends to give a person,” he says. “I came to realize that I never even considered myself spiritual until after I started longboarding. It gave me a sense of confidence and accomplishment I had never felt in any other activity — I think because it’s individually based. Other sports’ accomplishments are based on the work of the team; with longboarding it’s just you and your board. What you get is based on the work you yourself put in. This is how spirituality can be looked at as well.”
Written By Michael Brooke
Art By Chris Dyer