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Do you have a story you’ve told about yourself for so long it became truth? I do, in fact I probably have many of them. Here is one, it’s about me and water or more specifically me and the Sea.

I’m an Australian therefore I must love the beach. But I don’t. Haven’t for as long as I remember. And I definitely must know how to swim. But until relatively recently I did not.

My earliest memory of water is standing knee-high at the beach with my Nan as she kicked sand in the water saying ‘shark, shark’ (as a joke, presumably). It was terrifying to this sensitive young soul.

Fast forward to family holidays on the Gold Coast. As much as I  loved playing with our family friends, I hated trips to the beach. I was uncomfortable in bathers, hated the sand and scared of the water. That ocean was huge, ominous and I felt unsafe.

Back home at the local outdoor pool, kids would happily dive bomb and I’d stay timidly off to the side. Somehow I managed to avoid learning how to swim at school and was happy never to have to put my head under water. This was my Big Fear.

With adulthood came choice and I chose one important beach holiday. It was a pre-honeymoon trip to Port Douglas to see if I really did enjoy sun, sand and sea holidays. Surprisingly I did and I even managed a bit of snorkelling. I felt invincible but was in no rush to repeat the experience.

And I was definitely in no rush to have my head too far underwater.

When the kids came along, I lost interest in the hot, sandy beach and overwhelming ocean. My only joy was long walks on the beach, sometimes letting the waves touch my feet.

But with two small children, I insisted learn to swim, I swallowed my own medicine and signed up for adult learn to swim lessons. I’ll never forget standing in the local pool with my swim teacher, unbeknownst to her and hidden behind my goggles were tears of anxiety and fear.

I knew I would have to put my head under water. Properly underwater, not just like when you’re snorkelling. I persevered through our lessons and she successfully taught me to swim.

With pride, I packed my goggles into my suitcase and happily swam laps in the pool on our annual family Summer holidays.

On our recent ‘tag-team’ family holiday, our youngest daughter Charlotte spent a fun couple of days ‘jumping the waves’ with Michael. By the time I got there, she was begging me to ‘jump the waves’ with her.

To jump the waves I first had to jump the hurdle of my fear of going in the ocean and the risk of putting my head under water.

To get over the waves, I had to get over the story of myself as a sensitive scaredy cat.

It was just Charlotte and me for my first visit so I assumed she’d be the only witness to my trepidation and anxiety. But the uncomfortable feelings didn’t come. As I stepped into the water and walked a little way out I felt calm. As the waves pounded me and Charlotte showed me how to ‘jump the waves’ I found myself laughing.

There was one or two scary, out of control, head under water assaults by the sea. But I survived. I didn’t drown or die or become overwhelmed by the enormity of the sea. By the end I felt tired, emotionally and physically, and was ready to leave.

I’d had enough of anticipating every next move the waves were going to make.

I’m surprised to say I returned for two more trips to the sea to play in the waves. The second time I felt less tentative and the third time it was me asking Charlotte if she wanted to go to the sea and jump the waves. Was I, the supposed sensitive scaredy cat, really asking to go to the beach and play in the sea? witchcraft magic spells

Yes, I was but I’m no longer scared. I’m free.

I brought home a shell to remind me that I’m courageous and free. I chose it as it has a small hole in it so I can wear it on a chain if I want to. I love a good ‘Metaphor for Life’ and being in the Sea gave me a perfect one. I was even out there weaving a story for Charlotte using the waves as a Metaphor for her Life. 

Next time you do something outside your comfort zone or that challenges a story you’ve been telling yourself for a long time, find a memento. 2016 is going to be a big year for a lot of us and we’ll all need reminding that we’re brave, courageous and free.

Rather than take us under, set the intention that whatever comes your way this year you’ll be able to keep your head above water. And above all, you’ll not only survive, you may just thrive.

Robyn Sign Off - Pink

Life Coach
Facilitator of Men’s Groups and Women’s Coaching Circles

Inspiration to live a Brave Vulnerable Audacious life

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