When someone thinks of 4 days 3 nights cruise in the Mediterranean off the coast of Turkey, most conjure up dreamy thoughts.
Crisp blue waters, so clear that you can see the small fish skidding past the bottom of the boat. The amazing clear skies at night, lite up by the moon and the million stars in the sky. The sound of waves as the boat cruise along as you lounge on the deck with fellow travelers. Plunging into the deep blue sea for a leisure swim.
Swimming. Open waters. Bottomless. Float – Sink.
When I am a person who recently overcome a fear of water, facing open water is a challenge. If I overthink the situation, I will NOT be amongst the deep blue sea. I would stay on the boat the whole time. Regardless of the peer pressure or self pressure to join the masses!
I can say I’m a bizarre oddness. I have gone scuba diving. I have gone snorkeling. I have gone white water rafting. All the while I could not swim for the life of me. Not even really a doggy paddle – comfortably. I did all of those activities with either a life vest or some sort of floating device. Most of the time, I let those around me know that I’m not a strong swimmer. I have lucked out that I have always met strong swimmers who serve as my personal life guard during these activities.
Only this past winter (Dec 2013) did I complete all the requirements to pass the Adult swim class at my community centre’s swimming pool in Toronto. This was my second attempt at the Level 1 class, first time around, I couldn’t tread water for the required amount of time but the instructor still passed me because I showed enough effort. I lacked the confidence and was filled with fear. Something was missing, I wanted to keep trying. However, that was a contained pool with no bobbing waves or wakes from boats – no salt water to burn the back of my throat.
One of my first questions after embarkation for the captain: Is there a life vest? I NEED it to go swimming.
The famous Turkey Blue cruise between Fethiye and Olympos was my first multi-day cruise since my adult swim class. Only a day prior I swallowed 5 gulps of salt water at the Turtle beach during a day trip. I had to scream for help as my feet were swept out under me by some strong waves while I tried to walk to a sandbar in chest deep water. Luckily a fellow traveler came to my rescue and saved my life.
Am I dumb? Am I stupid? Am I stubborn? Am I persistent?… What’s the label? Who cares…
Swimming is an important life skill that I hope all the people I know and do not know teach their offsprings.
How did I overcome my fear of water you may wonder.
For many years I just thought I couldn’t swim because of a lack of swimming lessons. Then when I was in my 30’s I started going to the swimming pool in my local community centre. I would grab a float board and kick back and forth in the Slow lane. Goggles on. Head always above the water line. “Swim” half way and turn back – avoiding the deep zone. I could fully submerge my face when necessary. However, when the smallest drop of water splash onto my face, I would freak and stop. The FEAR!
One night prior to swim class, I sat there wondering why I’m so fearful. I haven’t drowned in this lifetime. I have mentioned to my doctors and therapist – no clue.
Then I wondered – What if I had drowned to death in a past life??? What if it happened more once – multiple lifetimes? Could this innate fear be from past experiences. Interestingly enough, after a night of sleep and this potential revelation – my swim on the next day was completely different.
I double checked this with a friend who is a seer. What they confirmed what not as important as the energetic vibration that I sent out with that curious thought.
I casually mention this to the other adults in my swim class who literally cling to the walls in the pool. They smiled kindly back at me. I might sound like a crazy lady but just the entertainment of that thought helped me to swim with more ease and confidence. Knowing it’s something I can overcome – helped. Knowing that it was a trauma that I could disassociate with – helped.
Back on the boat with 17 other travelers and 3 crew, I skipped the first 2 opportunities to swim in the big blue sea. I stood guard and just watched the others have fun – without a care in the world – the way vacationers should feel. I would ask if there is an under current. I would see how high are the waves. I waited until we arrived at a calm, quiet bay. The captain tied the life vest onto me tightly. I walked down the steps, unlike the others who jumped off the sides of the boat.
One gulp of water hit the back of my throat. Burning. I reminded myself to breath slowly. Consciously with awareness. Turned onto my back and floated for a bit. My new friend checked in on me. Remind myself to calm down. I won’t die. Not today.
The life vest actually made swimming awkward but it’s helping me stay afloat with no effort. I’m happy.
Over the next 3 days, I would jump into the big blue sea a couple of times per day. One the last day, I jumped off to swim into a big giant cave. Bats squeaking, echoing through the cave.
Progress. Peace. Growth.