It was 6.30pm Tuesday evening, I had decided to take Otonye (my 9yr old) swimming. We hadn't swam in a few few months so I decided we should do it today. I hadn't seen Otonye swim in a while and the last time I saw her swim she was all over the place. Here's what you have to understand, Otonye had been for a number of swimming lessons and after it became painfully apparent that she was more interested in play swimming than actually learning to swim, I made the difficult decision to stop "wasting my money and pull her out". So going forward for me, if she was going to learn to swim, it had to be through play swimming. No more was my hard earned cash going down that drain.
So on this occasion, while we were swimming, Otonye asked to go to the deep end. To the best of my knowledge, Otonye can only swim a little (not sure what a little means but you get the picture), so when she asked to swim in the deep end where even I could not go, I said heck no!! You haven't even perfected the basic styles you were taught how much more swimming in the deep end. She gently pleaded, asking me to trust her. But again I said no and every now and again she would say mummy trust me I'll be fine, and as you can imagine my answer would be no way! You are so not swimming there. Finally, after more persuasion, I began to give it a thought but my thinking was, what if I let her go and she begins to drown, what would I do? Scream for help? And imagine what the other mothers would think, "what an irresponsible mum, how could she let her child swim in the deep end knowing fully well she can't swim". "Someone needs to have a word with that woman" etc.
All these thoughts flooded my mind while Otonye was consistently pricking my conscious to give her a chance. She told me she's swam in the deep previously with her friend during a kids summer camp organised by the church. So finally I began to think, I've kept her from swimming in the deep because I didn't believe she has what it takes, but maybe it was time I cut her loose and stop limiting her because of my own fear and limitations. What's the worst that could happen, she begins to make her way to the deep, starts to drown and I scream out to the life guards for help (after all that's what they are there for, maybe I should get them to do some work), everybody looks at me and thinks what a crazy mum, I blame myself for letting her get in harms way and not protecting her etc. So with all the courage I could muster I said OK, you can swim in the deep.
As she began her routine, my stomach jumped into my heart and and my mind began a crazy tango with a schizophrenic twist. With each lap, as she moved further away from me, I was getting closer to a scream, and then suddenly, I noticed her effortlessly gliding through the water. With one hand in front of the other she made her way deeper and deeper until she got to the deepest part of the pool!! Oh my blinking self!!! She made it! She absolutely made it!
There I was, a full grown adult like me, standing in the shallow side and looking at her as she gave me a thumbs up. I simply could not believe it. Now it was time for her to swim back to me, she was going to go over the same routine again. Forget that I've just seen her swim to the deep end a few minutes ago, that didn't stop any of the crazy emotions I'd previously felt, because who knows, it might have just been a fluke, she got lucky and maybe she won't this time. So the whole process started again and much to my surprise, she did it again and I didn't have to get the life guards to justify their pay.
When she got back to me, you cannot even begin to imagine how proud I was (more like how thankful I was that all those months I paid for swimming lessons was not wasted and that I didn't have to scream for help).
Watching my daughter got me asking. Why have I not ventured into the deep? I could do the basic strokes, I was pretty sure I could save myself from drowning, so why have I not ventured into the deep end. Was I stopping myself for the same reason I was stopping my daughter from venturing. And in that moment I decided to take the plunge. I was going to swim from the shallow end into the deep end and hey! I may need the life guard to save me but baby here I come. I refused the security of swimming by the pool walls, because sink or swim I was going to do this. My stomach tightened and my heart raced ahead of me but there was no stopping me now. With fear and anxiety as my close companions I thrust one hand after another making progress upon progress. Mid way, another swimmer bumped into me disrupting my flow and immediately I could feel my hands getting numb as fear sucked life out of my heart. My body began a frenzied drop towards the bottom of the pool as thought to myself, now I'm really drowning. But my survival and self preservation nature pumped my heart back to life and forced my hands to thrust.Panicked but with all the determination I could gather I got my rhythm back and "I swarm to safety". And as though that surge of adrenaline was not enough for one night I did the same routine two more times. I needed to overcome this fear. I always knew I could swim but somehow I kept myself from been brave and diving into the deep.
Are you in a similar situation? Yours may have nothing to do with swimming, it may be making partner, stepping into the shoes of a director, taking the business in a new direction, expanding your business or starting a new one. Opening your heart to a new relationship after years of abuse. Whenever you find yourself in life's many challenging situation, reach down into your soul and find the courage to ride your storm and come out on the other end victorious.
"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else more important than your fear" - Ambrose Redmoon
You have what it takes to thrive but will you dig deep inspite of the fear and every other harassing thought that threatens to hijack your success . I had to make the decision to take a plunge and refused to be held hostage by my many limiting thoughts.
You can do this, and when you do, you will experience a fulfillment which cannot be equated to anything else.
To possibilities and venturing out.
Amazing Body Paint courtesy of Drew Pion: Flickr
I'ld love to know how you're living brave
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