choosing to float

i don’t swim (it’s a stereotype. i know).

i mean, i can. if you throw me in the water i can paddle and i can do a sort of an approximation of different swimming-strokes, but i can’t swim laps. after a lap i feel like i’m dying, gasping for air, my lungs burning. i never learnt to breathe… well, i never learnt the breathing technique for swimming laps, that is. the irony is that most of the people i love, are fish when it comes to water. not me. i am a land creature. much as i love liquid, when i’m in it, i’m not in my element.

ironically, when i was in my 20’s, i’d regularly go for flotation sessions. you climb into a tank filled with salt-water, close the trap-door behind you, partially immerse yourself in the water and just float in absolute, blind-as-a-bat darkness. it’s a strange sensation, with the water in your ears, listening to your own breathing. it’s also a bit of a sensory-deprivation chamber, so you release your weight to the water and it’s you and your mind. nowhere to go, nothing to do, but just let go; a kind of meditation. and it’s perfectly safe (unless you’re a claustrophobe) because the water is barely deep enough to cover you. it’s just the salt content that keeps you afloat, like your own microcosmic red sea. so it’s okay – really just like lying in a big bath.

it’s rare, though, that i find myself in a pool in which one can actually swim, one that’s long enough and deep enough for any real kind of exertion. and no, you won’t find me going near the pool at the gym – me, in a swimsuit infront of a gym full of body-conscious people? hell, no! this weekend, however, there was the most beautiful pool at melody hills, with a natural filtration system and it was bliss to jump in the water after a sweaty dance session.

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however, after i dove in and tried to touch the bottom, i realized that i was in way too deep for that. and i almost panicked, gasping for air, furiously doggy-paddling till i found my breast-stroke and made my way to the other end of the pool. once i’d managed to calm myself down, i did a few laps, resting at each end in-between and then i floated on my back looking at the trees and the sky overhead. but i realized i still hadn’t let go, there was still the fear of getting water in my lungs, in my nose – “she wasn’t waving, but drowning…” . and i had to allow myself to relax into the sensation and know that i was safe.

it made me think of something i saw on social media just recently – if you find yourself in quicksand, it said to slowly draw your legs up, till you could float on your back. good to know. if i ever find myself in quick-sand. 🙂 but it made me realize that no matter how deep the water or how rough, i could always float, yes, i might swallow some, but if i allow myself, i can simply let go, i can breathe, and i can choose to float.

i think there’s a lesson there. it’s something worth keeping in mind.

even on land.

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