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Are You Floating or Surfing?

I have the benefit of teaming up with some awesome providers who help my clients. One is a Psychologist. She used this analogy to help a client we share figure out what he was doing for himself in the process of improving after his stroke.

You can think of it like this. When you are floating you aren't doing anything to guide your direction. You will go where the wind and the currents take you. And you have no specific place you want to end up when the float is over. Floating is pretty passive.

When you are surfing you are taking with the tides will give you, you are working to get the most out of the wave. You are actively choosing which wave to ride and which one to sit out. You are directing your ride toward where you want to end up, mostly so you can repeat the process and do it again.

Participating in your improvement after stroke is a lot like surfing. To see the change you desire, you need to be an active participant. You need to make choices based on what yu are given to move yourself toward your chosen goal. You will get a chance to work to make it happen and you should celebrate all the successful "rides" you make along the way.

Now, I do believe there is a time that floating is therapeutic. I'm going to call it Therapeutic Floating. When you are a Therapeutic Floater, you are actually doing a little bit of work to keep yourself in a general area. You are being aware how much the wind is pushing you around and you are paddling a bit just to keep yourself in a place that you can start surfing as soon as you feel ready. For a Stroke Survivor, that looks like this. You are feeling tired from the endurance it takes to participate in the journey. You feel you need to take a break, and you probably should. But, you want to keep doing the minimum it takes to maintain all that you have gained. That might mean keeping a daily stretching program going. Or focusing on 1 or 2 rehab exercises that will make the most difference. Or, making your daily life more therapeutic so you can maintain your gains just by your daily tasks.

And if you are answering the question at the top of this post with "Floater" I encourage you to look at how you can become a "Therapeutic Floater' and make some plans for surfing! If you have questions about how you can do this, just email me at

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