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Today I learned how to let go. Literally! And I am Happy.
It was my first day of learning how to swim. Well I did try learning about an year back but it didn’t work out then. The few classes I did attend were high anxiety sessions in a very busy pool with my past traumas catching up with me. Not only did I not learn much, I actually almost gave up on my dream of swimming without fear. Like so many other dreams that were kept on the back burner, I slowly slid this dream onto the shelf and it has been there since then. I know one thing. I did keep this dream alive always, in a small corner of my heart. I kept telling myself that this will come true. All in good time. The time is not right, right now. It did keep hurting me in a nagging way, but I made it a point to allow it to. It was my dream, after all!
This year I met this wonderful girl in my apartment and we became good buddies. We started as cycling partners but then moved on to sharing a huge part of our lives with each other. Now my buddy, let’s call her V, is simply amazing. I’ll tell you why. She told me that her mother and sister were taking swimming lessons in a pool near our apartment. V, also a good swimmer, had taken the initiative to get them to join as she felt swimming was an important sport in anybody’s life and she wanted her family to be healthy. When she asked me about my views on swimming, she got to hear about my childhood accident in a pool that had left me with a fear of getting submerged under water. On hearing about my feeble attempts at trying to learn swimming, she suggested we both join the pool together as I would have the support of my friend as well as her family! I said No.
Every time I thought of getting into a pool, I kept recalling the cold grip I felt on my heart whenever my head went under water. And I kept thinking to myself, why should I disappoint my friend also? Perhaps this is a deeper fear than I realized and maybe this one is not going to just go away. Maybe I needed more help? I had researched on some aqua courses in Auroville, near Pondy and I had wondered whether they could help me with my trauma. So each time V asked me about joining I kept stalling. For time. Hoping she would forget. Or just let it go. Because I was scared. Scared shitless.
At some point, V’s mother got involved. She started discussing her fears of water with me. The more she spoke the more I realized that she was saying the truth. Not just making up a story for me to feel better. She meant what she said. And she was talking to me about real fears. How she decided to give it her best shot and how she overcame all her traumas. Each time she told me about some small achievement she had in the pool, my heart kept giving me a tug. It kept telling me in a very small voice, maybe I could also do it. But my head strongly said NO. Don’t lead them on. Don’t give them hope. Don’t disappoint.
Now my friend V is the kind of person who makes a decision and then plunges right into it head on. She kept persisting and finally I gave her my okay. I said I will join her in some time. Now this time was vague and I was hoping to drag it on somehow. And yet, V surprised me by telling me finally that she could wait no longer and that we should go sign up for the class. She said that yesterday. And we did sign up.
Last night I barely slept. I had plenty of reasons for my troubled and sleepless night. But this one reason, my swimming class, topped the list. I felt physically sick and exhausted. Yet I was ready and waiting when V and her mother joined me today for the class. I kept telling myself, it is all going to be fine. Do your best and don’t worry about the results. When I entered the pool, I was afraid but I also realized something. I felt as though I belonged. I have always been fond of water, be it the ocean or rivers or lakes, and I love getting wet! As I followed all the instructions today, I observed another fact. I was confident and calm. Also I wanted to make sure that I did good, especially for the sake of V and her mother.
As I started doing all the things I have been irrationally afraid of, like opening my eyes under water, submerging my head under water, holding my breath under water, and so, I started to loosen up. The more I relaxed the more easier it got. Finally I did the unthinkable – I floated !!! And you know when it happened for me? When I Let Go. I mean literally and philosophically too. We all need to learn to let go. Often we see that only when we let go completely, without a safety net, do we find our balance, our inner strength, our peace. I felt it today and I thank V and her mother from the deepest core of my heart for helping me with my first baby step. I have a long way to go but I know now that I can do it. And I will. God bless you all …