One step forward. Two steps forward. The water is freezing. One step back. Ok, Veronica, you can do this. One step forward. My hair is going to get wet?!?! I am so cold. Are people looking at me? If I leave now, no one will notice. One step back…
Ok, let me back up a little bit, you may know that I've titled 2017, my Year Without Fear. Instead of waiting for life to happen, in 2017, I have committed my words and actions to being a better me inside and out. Trying new things that fear kept me from confronting. Who ever thought that the universe would actually listen to this promise! In these few short months, I have had to face myself, flaws and all. I guess, as I stated in The Power of Words , be very careful of what you say because it can and will come to fruition. While the fear is still present and negative thoughts seep in often, I have found I am a little be stronger each day. Learning valuable lessons daily, and moving closer towards my life’s purpose. Well, at least, it feels that way…most days.
When a very good friend told me she was taking swim lessons, I was reminded of my childhood experiences with swimming. I took swim lessons, and quit shortly after starting as I did several activities as a child. I thought, what a great opportunity this would be to complete this unaccomplished goal. So, I signed up, got my swim gear, and set on my way. As a paying participant this go around, I was committed to learning, but was terrified of the process to get there.
Day one of swimming was both scary and uncomfortable. As a thirty-five year old beginner of any new thing, you feel the anxiousness of being embarrassed and a failure. I was pleased to find that there were several members in the class (even older than me) that were sharing in this experience. In making the decision and committing myself to the process, there was no going back. In focusing on being fully present, I would feel the feelings and move forward. The hardest step was that first one. As the process continued, I was able to see how silly some of those thoughts were. Conquering fears and accomplishing goals isn’t about anyone accept ME.
In these starter classes, it’s been amazing the number of life lessons I’ve attained. Learning something new puts you in such a place of vulnerability. Facing and conquering fears of the unknown literally opens you up and enables you to show strength you didn’t even know you possessed. And the feeling of accomplishment (even the smallest accomplishment) is priceless.
My form isn’t perfect, and may never be. But, who cares!?!? l am constantly reminded of the brilliant words of Dori from the one of the best Disney/Pixar films, Finding Nemo, just keep swimming. Here are a few reminders that have helped me along the way.
- Go with the flow. In the very beginning, my entire body resisted the water and the process of learning. My face was tense. My movements were stiff and robotic. I was so focused on my fears. I was so centered on my doubtful thoughts. I forgot to be present. I forgot to just be. You can’t fight the water. It will ALWAYS win! In moments of difficulty, it's best, at times, to just be. Relax your spirit. Breathe. Do what you know to do, and let the flow of the upswing guide you through.
- Touch the deep end. We recently did an exercise in the deep end of the pool where we simply touched the bottom end. I thought it was so symbolic of life! In touching the deepest end, we were able to feel the furthest end of the pool even though none of us could safely swim at that depth. In life, go to the furthest place of your fear...regardless if you are ready to be there or not! You may not even have the book written, but talk to that book publisher. By “touching the deep end”, you have the end goal in mind and at your fingertips. You know what you are working towards, and you’re even more motivated to get there!
- An hour isn’t enough. One member of my class is doing phenomenally well. When I complimented her form, she said it was all the practice she was doing outside of class. If you really want to accomplish a goal, one hour, once a week, ain’t gon' get it. Swimming is such a new way of breathing and body movement…all happening at the same time. I will need to commit time to perfecting my movements and getting fully acclimated to the water. Like most things, practice makes perfect.
I am grateful for the life lessons swimming is teaching me. I am proud of me for trying something new, and sticking with it. I look forward to reaching the deep end….one day.
Where are all my swimmers?!?! When and how did you learn? What fears have you or would you like to conquer? I would love to hear your stories or reactions to this post in the comments below!
Love WITHOUT fear,