Mandi Caruso and "Surfing the dysfunction"

If you read my “Drama at Work” stuff, you know that a former supervisor coined the phrase, “it’s a transaction, not a relationship”.

Well, I was talking with him again a few days ago and sharing how hopeful I was that our VP would figure out a way to not get caught up in all of the dysfunction that is going on at the very highest levels of the company. As we were talking, he said something that stuck with me – again.

The goal isn’t to FIX the dysfunction or IGNORE it, rather, we need to surf the dysfunction.

Such a powerful visual image! Especially for someone like me who loves the ocean and would have gladly spent my entire life on the beach or riding the waves!

I’m reminded of this story I found a while back.

If I had a hero, it would be Mandi Caruso. I’ve never met her but when I read this story, I was overwhelmed with a sense of admiration.

Alive With Passion _ Mandi Caruso
Mandi Caruso has the most extraordinary attitude toward her body, and Life.

For those who won’t read the article, Mandi is a physician who loves to surf. In her physician role, she specializes in caring for critically ill and dying patients.

“Night after long, sleepless night, I listened to people as all their definitions of themselves — job, home, family, possessions — were ruthlessly stripped away by their fear of death. From these, the dying, I learned that fear of death rules our lives far more than passion for living.”

She was diagnosed with breast cancer and given 3-6 months to live. Instead of going through the chemo and radiation her doctors recommended, she scheduled a double mastectomy. Once healed, she had the most beautiful tattoo of the ocean waves created on her chest. Now when she surfs – which she does as often as she can – she wears just a bathing suit bottom.

To be so self-confident and have such a powerful body image is rare. Someday I hope to grow up to be just like her.


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