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The "Healing" Power of the Ocean and Surfing

This post is by Ali Dyer

“We know only too well that what we are doing is nothing more than a drop in the ocean. But if the drop were not there, the ocean would be missing something.” – Mother Teresa

I’m not sure what it is about the ocean, but I know it has the ability to move me and bring out the best version of my soul. Maybe it’s the rhythmic crashing of the waves, or how it’s mood can swing from calm to tempered in moments. It’s power both draws me and scares chills up my spine. But really what makes the ocean such a force in my life is my memories of family and friends its deep water holds.

My family’s summer life has been spent out in Montauk, the eastern most point of Long Island. Way back when Montauk was a sleepy fishermen’s town, yet to be discovered by all the hip urbanites. We’d stake our claim on the beach and only a few groups of people would be spattered along the beach for as long as the eye could see. Jeff had the space to be himself, making his happy noises without receiving alien stares. As kids we had the run of the place and we would play in the sand and surf for hours.

Jeff used to be a runner, truly a terrifying thing for us and we had to keep a close watch at all times. My dad remembers that on the beach he’d be having a conversation with a friend, always keeping watch on Jeff over their shoulder, but would have to say, ‘Gotta Go – Jeff!’ when the distance was getting to the point where he couldn’t catch him. We were always respectful of his space at the beach; he was peaceful.

Twenty years later, Jeff isn’t looking to escape us, quite the opposite really. He still enjoys getting beat up by the waves, hanging right where they crash, playing in the sand, and ordering us to fill up his buckets of water only to dump it out moments later. I complain about that part, but really wouldn’t change it for anything.

This past summer I went out to Montauk for a Surfers Healing Camp, my first ever! I had only heard incredible things, but you have to see it to understand it. They had nearly 150 campers, with varying disabilities up on surfboards. If you could see the smiles on their faces it would bring you to tears, the same way I was along with everyone else on the beach.

I was lucky enough to attend a benefit in California for Surfer’s Healing where Sarah McLachlan and Jackson Brown played raising money to ensure that even more people can participate in their 2014 camps across the country, free of charge. You better believe my 6’5 linebacker of a brother will be at one!

Please do me a favor and take a moment to watch this video shown at the event. These Surfer’s Healing folks are incredible and I hold a special place in my heart for them, for all that they do for special people like my brother.

For more information on Surfers Healing visit here

The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.