By Sandra Dee Owens
All my life, I noticed it. The presence of a gentle, internal voice, offering helpful suggestions I mostly ignored. No, not ignored . . . flicked off my shoulder like a botahersome bug.
I gave my internal guidance system no respect or attention.
And all my life, I noticed a collection of bold, internal voices offering time-wasting suggestions – that I rarely ignored.
I gave them lots of undeserved respect and attention.
“Should,” “later,” “can’t,” “fear,” “what if” and more – those grumbly (invisible) gremlins who perch on my shoulder, hissing directives all day long.
“You ‘should’ be more like her,” “I’ll go outside and play – ‘later.’” “I ‘can’t’ do that!” “‘What if’ no one likes my ideas?”
Snow Swimming (what I call my version of cold water swimming), offered many reasons to rethink my relationship with my internal guidance system (what I call my wild voice).
I needed to tap into greater confidence to take on this exciting new adventure – safely. With a little research on hypothermia, cold water swimming and so forth, I began to fine-tune what I already possessed, an internal guidance system with my best interests at heart.
So I began to listen more carefully – to myself.
While driving, I shut off the car radio and enjoyed the frequency of my thoughts. It was so mind-calming that I did the same thing with the kitchen radio, turning it on long enough to stay current but not long enough to get tangled.
Whenever I heard my wild voice, I listened carefully. The more I listened and reacted to it, the easier it was to identify and the stronger it became. And the gremlins diminished.
Whenever I got fearful or anxious about things, the gremlins got chatty, and if I listened to them, my wild voice diminished.
Every minute of every day – I was making a choice.
Instructor from the marrow
In the third winter of Snow Swimming, I experienced a profound deepening of my relationship with my wild voice.
One late February day, I dressed carefully for my run-swim-run (one of my favorite variations of Snow Swimming), where the ice had begun to recede from the lake’s shoreline.
I wanted to get under the ice shelf – just to see what I could see.
Confidence versus arrogance
Stuffing earplugs in my ears to avoid cold water damage to my eardrums, I tugged swim goggles in place and waded out to the ice’s edge, then dropped on my back in the cold, dark, water.
Face up, I reached above my head and, grabbing the ice’s thin edge above me, pushed myself backward under the nearly two-foot-thick ice.
For a moment I lay, nose to toenails, pressed against the satiny cold curves of the white underbelly of ice before the lake pushed me back out.
Trying again, I slid my hands under the untouched surface of the ice, which felt more like one of my highly polished gemstones than an inverted glacier retreating from the sun-warmed shore.
Mystified by the satiny curves of the ice’s underbelly, my wild voice interrupted me with a memory of ice skating a few weeks earlier. With each gust of arctic wind that stung my face, I heard the lake water slapping below the thick ice.
Had the underbelly of the ice been polished into satin curves by the wind? Was it an underwater wind that pushed me out from under the ice now?
I didn’t know, but the questions were fun.
Grasping the ice’s edge, I pulled myself to standing and felt a presence stand with me.
I knew instinctively that it was my wild voice advancing from the quiet shadows of my marrow to its rightful position – alongside me.
As one now, my wild voice and I walked toward shore – sharing this thought; that confidence harms no one – while arrogance does.
From then on, my wild voice gained a solid presence in my day-to-day thoughts and decisions, making it easier to identify the gremlins when they piped up.
Funology – A wellness lifestyle that takes fun seriously
I have noticed in the four winters of Snow Swimming that whatever is wrong with me in mind, body or spirit before I go into the approximately 34 degree F water is not there when I get out.
It is a total reboot – on a cellular level.
Funology is a wellness lifestyle that takes fun seriously. But like every worthwhile endeavor, it is a process. This is how I started.
What is fun – for me?
I took the question seriously – and made a list.
Writing down every word that came to mind, I did not let the gremlins second-guess or derail me.
It took a few weeks.
Noticing that my words came under three general categories, I titled them.
And in those titles – I discovered my motivation trifecta.
Adventure – Outdoors – Movement
What is fun – for you?
See the swim hole that Owens’s boyfriend/husband made her at youtu.be/2BEoX9p4ZZw.
For more information on Sandra Dee Owens visit sandradeeowens.com.