Swimming or Drowning?
Lordy be, learning to swim looks a lot like drowning!
It's all about perspective, isn't it?
While watching my son at swim lessons last night working on freestyle, there was fully 99% of his body underwater, most of the time. When he came up for breath, it looked like a precarious bid for oxygen.
Had this not been happening in the context of a swim lesson I'm paying for, under the guidance of an instructor, in a narrow swim lane, my ass would've been in that water, making sure he caught his next breath.
It struck me that this is just like taking a step into the unknown that causes a stretch out of the comfort zone. There's a part of us that wants it to be smooth, effortless, like we've been doing it for ages and success is just a couple strokes away. But the reality is, it can feel like drowning.
The ego flares up with the reel of worst case scenarios including Apocaylandia, walking down the street naked and being rejected by any human between the ages of 2 and 92. Our nervous system responds with shallow breathing, increased heart rate and a desire to simultaneously run away and pick a fight with the 80 year old dude that's driving too slow in front of us (for sure) on purpose.
If I take a cue from my son as he finishes his lap of freestyle and see his beaming, proud smile in his little goggle-squished face, I know in his world, there was nothing but awesomeness happening in that lane, and he had just conquered something that 2 weeks ago wasn't even in his awareness of possibility.
Isn't that what we all want when we step out into vulnerability? To be able to rejoice in the stepping out, no matter how messy, raw or unskilled the attempt, and just celebrate that we did it!
We chose something that scared us and we still got on the court! That's the juice that creates experiences that really mean something. That become a stepping stone for the next time, that build confidence that we have it in us, to actually brave the consequences of what could happen and still go for it.
So, gear up with your goggles, choose the perspective that empowers you to step into new territory, and don't expect to be elegant, graceful or even "good".
It's scary for EVERYONE to be vulnerable and if we didn't spend energy on trying to look cool and polished while we do it, we could spend that energy on being present, appreciating ourselves in a whole new way.
See you on the court, in the swim lane, with a squished-up goggle face!
If you'd like to learn how to lean into vulnerability while swimming in the deep end with a smile on your face, let's talk.