I have had the fear of jumping into the water ever since I almost drowned in a theme park in my early teen years. I would wet my legs, but never gave water the upper hand to even think of drowning me again..
I signed up for swimming class. I knew I have to face my fears some day. Why not that someday be today? Also, at that time it was crucial I faced it. With a lot of things happening, I thought If I could face this fear, I could face anything. And so the inevitable day arrived. Our batch graduated from a 4 feet pool to a 7 feet pool. And the first thing they teach you in a 7 feet pool is – how to jump. Being the usual me, I put the brave face and jumped. The first few times I would’ve drowned if not for the coach. The classes weren’t for ever, before I could learn to jump, the classes ended. I could swim (barely), but not jump and not drown myself.
Every day for the next two months, I would decide to jump, but when I got near water, I would tremble and slowly slip into the pool just like the day before.
I did the same today. But after I finished my laps, I decided to go for it! So, I got out of the pool & I stood at the edge of the pool. It was scary. My heart was racing, knees suddenly were weak..very weak (I could barely stand without trembling) & I didn’t have a coach around to pick me up if something went wrong. But I decided to jump anyway. This is how next few moments transpired…
I pretended to jump 4-5 times. Almost did a tiny jolt every time. The heart beat rose up. (by this time, the kids around started to notice this strange human being..)
I thought to myself, I am standing up now and already got too much attention, I might as well jump…I took a long deep breath. I could feel the nervousness reducing considerably.
I jumped and those few moments I took off the ground in to the water,there was absolutely no fear.
I hit the bottom of the pool. The moment I realized I hit the bottom, nerves started catching up with me.. I was determined to come up and miraculously, my body followed and without much struggle, I came up. Took a fresh breath in and for the first time, I felt good after jumping.
Then, the mind started speaking again…ah, so may be it’s just a one time thing. So, I went again and again and again. And experienced the same thing – the before-jump-fear, the fearless actual jump and a relaxed post jump! By fifth time I really got it. That fear was gone. I was jumping & not thinking about jumping.
It then it all made sense to me as to why kids happily jump into the pool and
many most adults don’t. Kids don’t think too much. When we were kids a lot of us were fearless. But as we grew up, we cultivated fear because we now started thinking on our own and by the time we hit our 20’s & 30’s we are thinking more than doing. Now tell me that isn’t true!
A lot of times, whenever I discussed the topic of fear with wise people, they say face your fears head on. I always imagined, seeing fear in front of me and facing it. (Yeah, I took the literal meaning ;)). That didn’t help me at all. Some told me accept the fear completely. Ok. I have the fear. I am having fear… that’s where I lost the flow. It did give me a momentary relief, but the fear would creep up on me a few minutes later.
Life being the best teacher of all, had to find a way to teach me a lesson that stays with me forever. And jumping into the pool was the syllabus and the lesson:
Do.When we do, there is no fear. Fear is resides in non-doing. If we give it some room, it builds castles and rules forever.
It’s amazing; the way life intervenes in such mundane activities and leaves us totally perplexed with such profound experiences!
On a lighter note, here is a video dedicated to your childhood…to those times when you were fearless..
Have you faced your fears and learned something that has changed your life?