Swimming requires knowledge, practice and overcoming fears.
- Knowledge on how to perform the strokes, breathing regime and kicks for the situation
- Practice to become more confident in the ability to handle yourself in the water and become better in the skills glide through the water safely.
- Overcoming the fears of drowning, the unknown and chaotic water events by hours of practice and knowledge will increase the confidence of how to handle ourselves.
And so with confidence, we gain a willingness to step out into deeper waters, wave crashing waters and churning white waters.
As a word of caution, by being over-confident and throwing caution to the wind, we may sometimes forget our safety lessons. We become victims of the riptides and wild currents but if we survive those events or see someone battle through them we become more aware of the sometimes perilous nature of water. We become wiser in how we treat and approach our swimming, which in turn makes the chances and places for swimming all the sweeter.
But it does require constant practice. It does require jumping into the deep end. It does require being willing to accept the sometimes chaotic nature of the waves and having our feet knocked out from under us.
Maybe you see where this is going? Yup, life is like that. Our thinking and relationships are like that. Our willingness to challenge ourselves and face our fears are like that. You can come up with your own analogies but what struck me in particular on this day was the thought:
“I like the shallows”
And with that thought came the realization that I restrict myself to feeling safe to avoid deep thoughts, deep imaginings, big dreams (big hairy audacious goals). That comfort in the shallows reduces life to complacency and forgetful of the fact that where the excitement really comes from is in the deep, rushing waters of life … and all it would take is stepping out …somewhere, sometime.
But the shallows are where I can easily stand up and get out. The shallows allow me to be in control. The shallows don’t hurt. The shallows allow me to view every day as the “same” routine with no thought about …well, almost anything else. This is particularly true when I was younger, where career and family sliced through the water and kept me in the shallows but it has tendrils into “older and wiser” times of life as well.
But sometimes I read inspiring (and terrifying) accounts of people who have almost skipped the training and practice of the shallows, and who have just lept into the deep thrashing currents of life. And what is so remarkable is that in so many cases, they survived.
No, they thrived!
And that, my friends, makes me so embarrassed to say “I like the shallows.” Where my day-to-day living is denying me a chance to experience life to its fullest – to think deeply about others, our world, my personal philosophy, or to commit to crazy, wild-ass experiences (like sky diving out of a perfectly good airplane).
The shallows are safe.
Egad! Sometimes there are even snakes and leeches in the shallows! Maybe I should just stay on land or abort this analogy altogether…