“To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.” Alan Watts
I didn’t learn to swim until I was 43 (just a few years ago, of course), not because I didn’t want to swim, but because I was taught to be afraid of the water.
My mother had almost drowned as a teenager, and she was terrified of water. She was also terrified of losing me. So rather than encouraging me to take swimming lessons – supporting me to rise above her fear; to learn how to be a competent and confident swimmer – she simply told me to stay out of the water. Though her strategy was well-intentioned and she was understandably protective, the impact on me was not helpful. I had to discover a better alternative.
So at 43, I had the opportunity to take an adult swimming class. I remember the first time I swam across the pool, shook the water off my face, and heard the applause of the other 14 swimmers-in-the-making in my class. (By the way, most of them were in their 60’s and 70’s – never too late to learn or to overcome fear.) The smiles on their faces reflected my own inner celebration. I also remember the first time I swam across the pool and my feet did not touch the bottom of the pool. And I remember the first time I did that without my heart pounding. At last – I was free of the anxiety. Today I swim, float, play, exercise, and meditate in the water. I respect the water. I enjoy the water. I trust the water.
Had I held to my mother’s belief that water was to be feared, I would still be sitting beside the pool or on the beach watching others enjoy the water.
So I encourage you to consider what beliefs you might have received that are not really your own. These might be beliefs about yourself, relationships, sexuality, success, health, prosperity, spirituality . . . any beliefs that has caused you to fear the water. Then consider how your life will change as you seek now to find a better alternative and as you “have faith to trust yourself to the water.”