One of the iconic images my daughters have of me is standing at the water’s edge with my hands on my hips getting my nerve up to jump in the water. For five, ten, even fifteen minutes.
But on this trip, I find myself jumping right in without hesitation. It helps that the water is warmer than usual, but it’s more a psychological shift, jumping into the water as if it’s there to embrace me and welcome me back to a kind of watery womb. And it works. I look forward to the moment of immersion and enjoy each of the 800 to 1200 strokes I like to swim.
And this sense of jumping straight into the water, while not always my go-to in actual water, is certainly how I’ve gone through life. Just about everything I’ve jumped into— from teaching kids to teaching adults to writing books to publishing books to performing jazz and more— I’ve jumped in not sure how far I could swim or what I would encounter in the water or how cold the water would be. And it turns out that I almost always end up swimming further than I thought I could, love being in the water and appreciate the exercise that not only gets my heart pumping physically, but warms it spiritually as well.
And yes, sometimes I’m in over my head and could use some life-jackets in the form of helpers, paid or unpaid, but I end up making it to the shore in one way or another. And I'm mostly comfortable in the waters in which I swim while feeling ready to meet the new waters await.
Without standing too long arms on hips at the water’s edge.