Friday, March 7, 2008

Rasta interview

Also from the website from Josh Kimball, a rather inspiring interview with Dave Rastovich:

Excerpt from interview with Dave Rastovich - (The Surfers Path magazine issue 61)
Saturday April 21st 2007 / 7:25 pm
(Filed under: Uncategorized)
JK): So you were a longtime resident of the Gold Coast here in Australia. A few years back, you picked up and moved an hour south of the hustle and bustle of the Goldie. What’s changed for you?
DR): When I left the Gold Coast, there were a lot of things going on at the same time, that make it difficult when looking back to pinpoint exactly what was responsible for doing what change. At that time I was turning twenty-one. I just moved out of home into the first home that I had bought, being fortunate enough to buy a really cheap little, kind of cockroach box in the back hills of Burleigh. As a nineteen year old it was just crazy to be able to do that so young. So that was pretty trippy. So I moved into my own house, met Hannah, who was the first proper girlfriend relationship in my whole life. Throughout all my teenage years I was traveling too much, uninterested, and basically crap when it came to girls. So here I was, falling crazily in love with her, moving out of home, turning 21, stopping competition at the exact same time I met Hannah. I moved down here, and that was that.
Going back to your question of what’s changed, it’s so much that I’m like a totally different person. At that time I was partying heaps, just before I left the Goldie, and I came down here and stopped drinking excessively, partying excessively, going out at all – stopped completely – because I only ever went out to find girls.
When I left the Goldie I was all about external things, doing things, going places, going out, meeting people, doing stuff all the time. Then, over the course of the last five years of not being there, doing that sort of thing, it’s just gotten deeper and deeper to the point where, like now, my life’s not crazy busy. There needs to be a balance in my life of stillness and nothingness, and busy-ness. Activity and inactivity. And I don’t put money, fame, all those other things above, or below, stillness, and freedom in space and time. To be able to just chill, relax, do yoga, sit quietly, peacefully . . . Those kinds of things to me are equal: not more or less than having plenty of money in the bank and going on wonderful adventures overseas, and all that kind of thing.
JK): I’ve heard you mention that surfing is a celebration of life, a way to have fun that shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Can you expand on this?
DR): Well, surfing can also be one of the most challenging things for me in my whole life, easily. I get so excited when I go surfing, to catch waves, so amped and stoked, that to surf with crowds makes it really challenging for me sometimes. Most of the time I will just go to places that aren’t anywhere near as good as somewhere else that’s crowded. But I’ll go there just to have some space. For me that’s a really great learning opportunity and challenge for me to be able to be in the thick of aggressive attitudes, or in the thick of busy-ness in the water and be okay with it. Most of the times I’m not okay with it. Most of the times I just go ‘I can’t handle this!’, and I just split. So it’s a huge challenge for me. I don’t find that kind of frustration anywhere else in my life, other than when I go surfing with crowds and aggressive attitudes and stuff.
So in that way, it’s the most powerful teacher in my life, because it is the source of a crazy amount of joy and stoke, and amazing experiences, and the source of the most challenging lessons, in how to deal with people and attitudes. And how to deal with being out of control of situations, being under a wave and being totally pounded by a wave and realizing you’ve got no control over the situation, and just having to let it go, and just relax. So it’s just a loaded, treasure chest of opportunity in surfing, for me. So it’s an interesting one.
It’s the thing I think I’d really like to let go of most in my life – just being able to deal with other people’s attitudes and not be fazed. Because it’s definitely the source of my greatest frustrations.
JK: Being able to deal with attitudes, whether surfing or on the freeway or anywhere?
DR): That’s the funny thing – it doesn’t translate into any other areas of my life. I don’t really attract bar fights and road rage and all the other stuff that we can encounter on land that much. It’s when I go surf that I encounter funky attitudes and stuff the most. It’s an awesome opportunity to just keep letting go.
JK): So it’s no secret that you have a couple atypical habits. Can you touch on why, or on what needs you fulfill, by fasting and not speaking on Tuesdays?
DR): Activity and Inactivity. Just a balance of both. Just that really. Eating a lot, which, for me, in the past has been a kind of unconscious act, in a way of being comforting, or because I’m bored, or because I’m really looking forward to the taste of something. Rather than an actual physical need for it, there was a kind of unconscious aspect to eating that I think most of us pretty much have, when you look at the foods we eat, the quantity of foods, the quality. So the fasting is just to give my body a rest. I surf a lot and do things, so I eat a lot. But I was feeling like all I did was eat my whole life, and I really didn’t need to eat that much. Just to give my body a break.
The same with not talking. It’s kind of like letting go of the feeling like I had to add my two cents, like when people are talking in a normal conversation, and someone’s sharing a story of theirs and before they’re finished, you’re kind of conspiring your next move, or your story, your contribution to bring the energy of the group or the focus of everyone around you back onto you, getting energy from them, that kind of thing. So I really enjoy letting that go. Just realizing ‘Ah, it’s really not that important. Who gives a shit if I don’t tell that story’. Or just listening to people and going, ‘Yeah? Cool. Great. Nice’, and just actually listening, instead of going “yeah, yeah, yeah,” and saying yes and nodding while thinking about your own story. Just going ‘Oh right. That’s what’s actually going on for you? Have you tried this? How does it feel when you do that?’ and actually listening and being there with someone.
Also, just sending my attention inwards, and just acknowledging my body and all the things that let me go surfing and do all the fun things I do: ‘Wow, thanks calf muscles! You make me bottom turn and walk around and go up and down steps. Thanks, knees! You make me bend and stretch and reach for the skies. Fuck, this is really cool! I’ve got a body and I can do all this stuff! Awesome! Thank you! Really cool!” It sounds kind of weird, but it’s like a turning-in and acknowledging all the things that most of the time I overlook and almost take for granted.
There’s many different things about that day of chilling out that are really enjoyable.
JK): You’ve said that your meditation practices help with so many aspects of your life. How do they help with your day to day?
DR): That experience of no-mind, or even just a really focused mind – like being able to focus on one thing, like your breath, or painting, or music, or surfing, or whatever – is really like a sharpening of the blade of the mind. For me it feels like when I have a space of no-mind, or very focused mind, that when I go back to use it in the logistical way of using it like a tool - to think about things, solve problems, all that kind of stuff – it’s sharp, very sharp in comparison to how it would be when I don’t have those experiences. It goes into every single aspect of life then: making decisions on all levels, challenges, emotions, whatever. It all kind of goes into every experience. That was what I was saying about integration. Rather than just going to sit down to chill and dissolve, you then come back to form and come back to realizing ‘Here I am. Body, work, life, things to do,’ and it’s sharper, energized, and really fresh and in a really focused way. And that feels really, really enjoyable in all experiences. That’s the way it’s used in my life, the way it works, the way it just happens, that’s just the formula that has bubbled up and surfaced in my life. That nothing just goes into every aspect of life.
JK): Is there any sort of philosophy by which you carry about your day-to-day life, any guiding principals that help you keep focus on the bigger picture?
DR): Well there’s lots of those in terms of little quotes, and concepts, and little observations and things. But I don’t really take them seriously. They kind of just come and go, and they’re applicable at times. They feel really applicable and appropriate. But then I kind of let them go and don’t really take them on board as a belief, as a structured rule of my life. Because tomorrow I’m going to be a totally different person from who I am today. Something will happen and I’ll have a different situation at hand. And so it seems to be against the flow of life, for me, to make things rigid in ways of beliefs and rules when life all around me and within me is not rigid. Always changing, always moving. So if anything, my belief is no belief. My rule is no rules. It really doesn’t feel like the flow of life should be obstructed by rules.
But if they are, and they have been in my life, then obviously they happen for some kind of reason, and the universe isn’t stupid – it made it happen. It put enough energy into that moment to make something physical manifest, and something just happens. So there’s a lot of intelligence and a lot of energy that’s gone into that event as well.
I used to hold onto a lot of ideas and beliefs and creeds, from just having a dad and mum who would say things to you, like when you’re told as a kid the rules of life and stuff. But it really feels like a very intelligent force under there that is guiding things that to me feels far more intelligent and all-knowing than my 26 years worth of brain activity.

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