Part 2 "Move Beyond" My Conversation With Charles Ries in Four Parts
Part 2 “Move Beyond”
This need to create has long existed in Charles. As a boy, growing up on a mink farm in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, Charles began exploring outside the daily norm of farm life.
“When I was thirteen or so, I started making skim boards out of plywood planks in our basement. The Lake was about half a mile from our mink farm and so I would go “skim boarding”. Then when I was about fifteen or sixteen, I saw this guy SURFING…which was like what it must have been for the Native Americans the first time they saw the first White man – that they couldn’t conceive what this was, that this couldn’t exist. What they saw couldn’t exist because they had no reference point for it.”
So Charles began to surf.
“I realize now that surfing was a reflection of who I wanted to be as a kid. This was a part of me that was calling and still does – that call to be unique, that call to be special. I was just drawn to it.”
He wasn’t alone. Soon there roughly fifty other young men in 1968 with surfboards and all of them doing a lot of fresh water surfing. This was the birth of “The Lakeshore Surf Club”, the oldest fresh water surf club in America.
I believe it takes courage to venture out anywhere in this life, to move beyond our comfort zones and explore the world beyond our own shores. The personal inertia Charles felt to take on the waves of the Great Lakes would also take him further into the world in search of a fuller existence, a broader sense of self. From studying Islamic Mysticism and Sufism in North Africa as a young man in his twenties to partnering with the Dali Llama in Southern California in the late 1980’s, Charles has always remained open to the gift of experience.
But Charles also lives beyond the insights and answers he collects; he isn’t a tourist, he’s a teacher. And it is without any amount of drudgery that he shares his life’s experiences with you. In fact, I can’t remember a time where Charles hasn’t had all of us smiling, laughing. He keeps us wonderfully in awe.
He says, “The more we know about ourselves, the more we know about the person sitting across the table…who may know nothing about themselves… in a deeper, richer way. We’re both in the business of facilitating good…and ultimately fun. We all want to feel good and we all want to have fun. Right? And I’ve earned the right to have fun and do good, right? I’m more present than I have ever been and I know I’m happier than I’ve ever been. But I’ve earned the right to have fun.”
He then jokes, “And I better get to it man…I turn 66 and I’m calling these my salad days. And I want to have A LOT of salad between now and whenever…whenever “the whenever” happens. But until then, I won’t know when “the whenever” happens and I can’t worry about it, right? Keep living while you’re living.”
Doesn’t that bear repeating?
Keep living…while you’re living.
Part 3 entitled, “The Front Man”, in this series will be published Friday, June 15th, 2018.