Transforming Fear of the Ocean into Understanding and Appreciation: Transformational Stories
By Katie Jones, Contributor to the Bodhi Surf + Yoga blog
I’m Katie, the Host of Wander Well Podcast, and I’m teaming up with Bodhi Surf + Yoga to share some of the transformational stories of inspiring women who come and visit Bodhi. While interning for Bodhi earlier this year, I had the pleasure of meeting dozens of guests. One guest in particular, Christie Geiss, spent two consecutive weeks at Bodhi, and I found her story fascinating. I interviewed Christie because her story starts out with an immense fear of water.
B Corp connections
Christie Geiss is the co-owner of Cove Continuity Advisors, Inc. a B Corp company that facilitates the transfer of wealth between generations. My first question for her was how did you hear about Bodhi Surf and Yoga? “Travis! We went to the B Corp retreat in Toronto in 2017, and Travis invited other B Corporations out to Bodhi”. Christie and her husband, Bernie, thought it was a no-brainer and signed up for two back-to-back weeks of surf and yoga with Bodhi.
In case you aren’t sure what a B Corporation is, here is how Christie describes them: “A corporation that has a triple bottom line. It works for profit, people, and the environment. Not beholden to just share holders but also to the people who work for them, the people who buy from them, the environmental impact of their operation, and also to profit”. She further shared: “We think it’s easier to make a profit as a B Corp than it is to be just an average Joe out there”.
An empowered female
I asked Christie to tell us more about herself and what it’s important to her. She said, “I am a female business owner who has worked in the business for 25-30 years now. I am a mom to three amazing children who are all in their 20s now. I am an athlete and I like to exercise as much as I can at my age”.
As far as what’s important to her she said:
My spiritual quest (She’s a meditator)
Leaving the world better than when she found it
From a young age Christie (and her generation of women) were told that they were not equal. “In order to be good enough we had to excel at everything,” Geiss said. Her daily meditation practice has helped to release her hold on this belief and understand that it’s her responsibility to undo this conditioning.
She is so thrilled to see how different things are now and loves the confidence her daughter radiates in everything she does. “I don’t want to burn my bra or anything like that, I just want to be equal”.
Raising other women up
Thanks to the efforts of women like Christie, women like me feel more empowered every day. Christie is also an activator for SheEO. SheEO practices radical generosity in the form of venture capital for women! Activators such as Christie give $1,000 into a fund knowing that they will never see that money again. This provides women lead businesses interest free loans. The elected women lead ventures go to Toronto to meet in a retreat setting. They must leave the retreat with the money split amongst themselves, and they cannot split the money equally.
They then become each other’s board of directors. The generous activators are also in their network, making their mentor base more than 500 strong. They are in their 4th year and working on growing to 1,000 activators so they can fund more women owned businesses. “All these women lead business are amazing but you can’t get venture capital because you have to be a man to get venture capital,” said Christie. And she’s right. According tofortune.com, in 2017, only 2% of venture capital funding went to women. Thanks to women like Christie we are not only raising awareness of this issue but we are also raising funds to change the game.
The surf and ocean experience at Bodhi
I asked Christie what she expected before she arrived at Bodhi and she said: “I didn’t know what to expect quite frankly.” Christie had never been to Costa Rica but she was excited to try out her new Spanish skills. But there was something else on her mind as she flew south for the winter. She also had a very deep fear of water. “I’ve had that since I saw Jaws when I was about 10,” Christie mentioned. “The water was not a happy place for me. I always enjoyed walking along the ocean’s edge because I understand it’s beauty. But I didn’t really understand how it worked or have any respect for it”.
Yet she learned that “At Bodhi, you don’t just learn to surf you learn to understand the ocean and understand how to be safe in the ocean. That was huge for me. It was life changing”. Christie said she was able to get over her fear of the water because of the amazing comfort she felt from her surf instructor, Travis. “I really trusted Travis… there’s always going to be dangers in the ocean, you can’t stop that. I felt empowered as opposed to being a scared child”.
Christie understands that being scared of something isn’t a reason to ignore it. It’s a reason to go after it. At Bodhi we understand that not everyone knows how the ocean works. That’s why at the beginning of each lesson we spend some time on the beach studying the waves, the tide, the conditions, and other surfers.
Learning to surf isn’t just about standing up on the board, it’s also just as important to know the safety precautions. This vital information will allow you to feel comfortable in the water, regardless of whether or not you’ve seen Jaws. Christie became a particular fan of the turtle roll. Once she understood how to roll under her board and allow the water’s energy to glide over her, the waves became fun instead of scary.
The yoga experience
Christie’s transformational experience didn’t stop in the water. This is what she said about the other Bodhi activities: “Pilar is one of the best yoga coaches I think I’ve ever had. Her insights! I really enjoyed that. I really enjoyed what she had to say. And getting to know her on a deeper level. The other part is the people! You spend a lot of time with people you don’t know. It’s kind of like a family setting. You really get to know these people on another level”.
Christie mentioned that being at Bodhi for two consecutive Sessions was better than just one because you already know what to expect. “I loved every minute of it! I did not want to go home!” Christie shared, remembering the amazing time she had bonding, meditation, and getting to know two separate groups of amazing Bodhi Session participants.
Transforming fear into fun and awareness
I asked Christie what she would have said to herself if she could go back and give herself advice before her trip. “Don’t let fear stop you! Face fear!” Christie purposefully puts herself in positions to face her fears. She does Tough Mudder competitions and forces herself to jump off high walls, even though she is afraid of heights.
She signs herself up for two weeks at a surf camp even though she is (was) terrified of the ocean. Christie understands that fear doesn’t stop you from dying. It stops you from living. Christie also encourages those coming to Bodhi to really think about what products they are using. Many traditional sun lotions wash into the waves and poison marine environments.
“I think we really need to become aware of what we are doing when we travel. Period”. Bring your reusable water bottle, pack natural sunscreens, and buy with the environment in mind.
Peace, love, and joy
Finally, I asked Christie what she gained during her trip to Bodhi and she said. “I found peace, I found love, I found joy, I found amazing people”. Christie’s situation is not uncommon. Perhaps you also have a fear of the ocean but still have the desire to become the next Annemarie Chadwick. Remember, the transformation begins with you.
Once you’ve decided it’s time to stop living in fear of the ocean and start learning to understand the ocean, then you’re ready to book a Bodhi Session (or two) with us! Bodhi Sessions are filling up, reserve your spot today!
Listen to the full interview here.