The cure for anything is salt water

The cure for anything is salt water

I’ve started throwing myself into the sea… in the UK… in spring… and it’s wonderful!

Bear with me…!

There is something about it, when the water is around 10 degrees, that brings you uncompromisingly into the here and now – both physically and mentally.

For the first few minutes, there is little you can do but be in the moment, focus on your breathing, finding it again from where it’s been whisked away from you; experience your flesh and nerves being first bombarded with cold and then numbed by it; feel the adrenalin flowing.

For some (me included) the first minute seems to be accompanied by surprisingly guttural sounds from deep within them. It’s a different way to use your voice, a different way to express yourself, one that has no filter to it.

You know you’re completely safe, that you’re going to become comfortable, but you feel on the edge of it, outside of your comfort zone physically and maybe mentally. It’s a good place to put yourself on a regular basis.

And as you acclimatise, a smile spreads across your face. Your system settles, but the exhilaration of it remains. You’re proud of yourself for jumping in. Your body is making decisions that you feel more acutely aware of than when you’re sedentary. Your capillaries have opened up and the blood is flowing. Your limbs are abandoned in favour of preserving your core, your essentials. The non-essentials are stripped away.

You feel whole. You feel solid. You are surrounded by water, as in your most formative state.

 You clamber out: connected, grounded, a little bit brave.

Wild swimming is having something of a renaissance in the UK, and around the world. The positive impacts on our mental and physical health are moving from anecdotal to researched and evidenced.

As well as being bloody fun, and perhaps a little terrifying, it’s about moving out of your comfort zone; trying new things; stripping away the non-essentials; being brought into the present moment; the euphoria and achievement afterwards; (and getting to feel a little bit smug that you did it).

Joining a group is a great way to get yourself out there! I’ve joined one here in Brighton called The Salty Seabirds . As well as being lovely, welcoming people, their conversations about ‘arctic flaps’ (I’ll leave you to figure that one out for yourself) drew me to them! 🙂 

We’re not all fortunate enough to live by the sea (I count myself very lucky), but lakes and rivers are just as exciting. There is any number of websites to inform and inspire, including www.wildswimming.co.uk

If you’re not able to swim in, or get to, an outdoors space, swimming or floating in any capacity is great for your body and your mind. Local authority swimming pools are one of the many things we can be grateful we have in this country.

I invite you to bare with me! 

We know communication leads to understanding. Thank you for reaching out so we can begin!

Spirals

Spirals

The spiral is ubiquitous. It exists in nature, in architecture, in the weather, in our galaxies! It has been used in mythology and across many different cultures, including several in South America and in Celtic art. It’s in our DNA.

It’s used to symbolise growth and continuity.

It’s a powerful symbol to use when we’re thinking about our own development – and one that I’ve employed time and again.

We can often find ourselves in a place that seems familiar and question why we’re there. There can be a tendency to feel frustration at the fact that we’ve been there before, especially if it’s not a place we feel we want to be, and to be hard on ourselves. ‘Why am I here again?’; ‘Am I never going to change this?’; ‘I can’t believe this has happened to me again!’, for example.

While it’s super important to be aware of patterns of behavior and work on the changes we want to make, it can also be counter-productive to chastise ourselves when we feel like we’ve returned to a place.

Life isn’t linear (and it definitely doesn’t always feel like a beautiful spiral – often more a of messy squiggle!) and returning to things is part of our development.

It’s important to remind ourselves that while it may feel familiar, we’re not in the same place, we’ve changed since we were last there. Returning is part of our learning. We need to be there for a reason, to see the place again with slightly different eyes, with additional knowledge and experiences within us.

 To return is to have the opportunity to reflect, to be aware, to shift how we respond on this occasion.

Look this way instead…

Look this way instead…

I’ve been thinking about where we put our focus a lot recently… and it seems other people have as well. As I talked about this with a friend a couple of weeks ago, I received this in an email from the marketing guru that is Seth Godin:

“We get what we remember, and we remember what we focus on”

Last year, my car was broken into and my expensive rucksack and trekking gear stolen, while my friend and I were taking an extra little walk after a night of wild camping. I made a decision to be calm about it, to be grateful that it wasn’t my home and grateful that no-one was hurt in the process.

And it worked. I sorted the insurance and the next day I saw some amazing shorts in a sale that were even better than the ones stolen. I actually even surprised myself in my response.

And then three weeks later, out of the blue, I had a phone call from someone from the council who had found all of the cards that had been stolen, including my drivers’ licence, at the side of the road, had searched for me on facebook and then posted them all back to me!!!! I still haven’t got my tent etc back, and it was annoying, but choosing which bit to focus on really helped me.

This is definitely something I would have found a lot harder a few years ago, and something I’ve actively worked on.

I thought about it again yesterday as I went for my smear test (do it, ladies, it’s important!). I could choose to focus on the fact that it’s a bit uncomfortable and maybe a bit embarrassing (though I personally don’t really care) or I could focus on the fact that I’m so lucky to live in a country with a National Health Service, so I just got my cervix checked for cancer for free!

Don’t get me wrong, I put my focus in all sorts of challenging places on a regular basis. However, it’s been a game-changer to notice where I place it and how those decisions impact on my state of mind and general world-view.

Is there an area of your life in which you could make this shift? How would that serve you?