What matters the most, more so than finishing the adventure, is the journey in between the start and the end of the adventure.
I have deep gratitude everyday for the people I meet, the people I have met, for the friends I have made and for the connections I make. Everyone who I know, who I have known and who I will know are a part of my journey here and I am always learning from the connections and relationships I make, create and let go of.
We as human beings all have this amazing ability to immerse in and express gratitude, to see and to bless. I recently read this from a book I am currently reading "What you give is what you get, so make sure you give the best you can imagine" - Awakening to the Spirit World: The Shamanic Path of Direct Revelation
I notice the more I give out with the intention of kindness, care, gratitude, blessing, love and joy, I receive the same in return. The same goes with anything really, some days I find if I am feeling a bit out of balance, tired, or upset, if I give out a mean or uncomfortable vibe, often I may receive this in return.
Each day is a present in itself and I am so grateful I have amazing colleagues, friends and family around me I can call on for support.
I found myself thinking the other day about my good friend. This friend in particular is often the reason why I push myself out of my comfort zone lately. Most days I exercise outside, and usually with my friend, sometimes it ends up becoming a mini adventure (well for me anyway).
The other day we went down to the rock pool and it was a gorgeous, flat, warm spring day by the ocean. However, all I could feel in my body was anxiety, waves of fear pounding in my chest. In my head I was having a conversation with myself while my friend and I walked towards the water. It was like I could read my friend’s mind.
Inside my head I said to myself, “Oh please don’t suggest we swim next to the rock pool in the open ocean. Please don’t suggest this as an option, because I am really comfortable right now and I just want to stay in the enclosed rock pool.”
As I was talking to myself in my head, my friend suddenly said, “It’s a really nice day, perfect to swim next to the rock pool, maybe even further out.” I felt like vomiting. In the deep, dark, open waters, really? Today? Why not another day? Why today? Why am I here? But then something else inside me said, “Just do it, you know you’ll feel amazing afterwards. Plus you’ll get FOMO if you don’t.” (FOMO = Fear Of Missing Out) My friend asked me, “So what do you feel like? Shall we rock pool? Or shall we jump in the open ocean?” I knew she would suggest either and it was up to me to choose, she’s good like that. I knew my comfort and I also knew I would feel ecstatic and amazing once I went out in the open water. I had done it before, it just takes me a while to pull myself together.
This fear just rises within me, like a bubbling inferno of lava ready to explode out of me, making me feel like I need to excrete all bodily wastes and flee the scene.
So… what did I do? Well my friend always seems to have a way of convincing me, just by her presence, she doesn’t even say anything. I can just feel her energy gently pushing me from behind, whispering to me, ‘get out of your comfort zone.’ And, from my experience, I know that during most adventures with her, they usually start off with me overthinking, building fear, and anxiety within myself, and as soon as I am within the adventure itself or I have returned back from the adventure, I feel like I am on top of the world.
So after my long silence, I said out loud with a teenager tone to my voice,
“Fine, we will swim out into the deep next to the rock pool, in the great, big, wide blue ocean.” And with that I took my time walking down to the beach next to the rock pool. My friend walked ahead, dropped her towel and dove straight into the water.
I dawdled, put my goggles on, my surfer earplugs, dropped my towel, and tiptoed into the water.
I stood at the water’s edge feeling like I wanted to vomit. I walked in and felt the cool water (only 16 degrees Celsius) lapping around my legs. I swore under my breath a few times and dove in. Don’t get me wrong, I have done this before, it just hasn’t really sunk in enough for me to familiarize myself with the surroundings.
I swam so fast that I nearly ran into my friend who had been waiting patiently for me.
I feel like if you saw me from afar you’d think I was being chased by a shark.
In reality I wasn’t, but in my head I was probably being chased by a shark which gave me the adrenaline to move swiftly with no time to stop to watch the beautiful fish swimming calmly below.
Puffing like I had swam in a marathon, I stopped at my friend and swore out loud, she laughed and I just floated there looking back at the shore. As I bobbed up and down in the deep blue waters I realized that there were no sharks, well none I could see within the vicinity. I was the one creating this fear inside me and actually missing out on what was surrounding me.
A beautiful reef, two baby gropers, gorgeous coral, stripy fish, spotty fish, big fish, small fish, shells, and the expansiveness of this great body of water.
There is a whole other world underneath us covered by this ginormous liquid mass that protects it. With the amount of water in the ocean compared to the amount of sharks, it would have to be a lightning strike chance I run into a shark that wants to eat me, let alone chase me.
Since I was young, I have always been one to step out of my comfort zone and to face my fears with action, even though I would feel so anxious beforehand, like I would need to throw up or sit on the toilet for longer than I intended.
99.9% of the time I would feel good, great, ecstatic or relieved after facing my fear or pushing myself out of my comfort zone.
So why do I put myself through the unwanted stress and anxiety in the first place?
Well remember I mentioned, “Since I was young…”
It’s a pattern, it has become a familiar feeling.
It’s my body's way of keeping me safe. And I am so grateful for it, for the lessons it has taught me, the support, the knowledge that it will be there for me if I do end up on the other end of a shark chase down.
I am also grateful for my body’s ability to learn new things, retrain itself into releasing old patterns and growing new ones, all with repetition, life experience, love and nurture.
For years I have become aware of my anxiety, learnt about it’s familiar ways of being and I have sat with it.
I have worked alongside my anxiety to become friends with it through breath work, meditation, support from friends, safe spaces to express myself, swearing (in the right company), and repetition of the same activity that brings on my anxiety, because it seems the more I am familiarized with something the more my body relaxes into that experience.
As for my friend, yes, she still accompanies me on our mini adventures, and has taught me a lot, like a lot of my friends and family do. So far I have learnt the basics to professional style road cycling, now that’s a skill in itself particularly along the road from Cronulla to Kurnell.
I continue to return to bodyboarding even though I have accidentally caught a wave into rocks once before and I have been dumped by 5-6 foot waves that one time I hadn’t realized the swell height was not for beginners.
I continue to ocean swim and will work on swimming around Shark Island in Cronulla soon.
And I continue to write these blogs... even though I am still anxious about sharing my thoughts with others.
Yes, these activities scare the shit out of me some days when I just don’t feel like it, but now I have come to understand what matters the most, more so than finishing the adventure, is the journey in between the start and the end of the adventure.
I realized this swimming back that day after taking some deep breaths.
I swam back stopping to see the fish, to dive down and peep through the window of a rock shelf, to follow fish around their homes, to hear the crackling of coral beneath me, it was truly magical. I felt the waves move with me, gently supporting my body to glide graciously through the water.
I am in deep gratitude for each moment of my day, the more I practice gratitude, seeing and blessing, the more I am familiarized with these tools, the more I receive what I put out in to the world.
Like the Fibonacci sequence, a continual cycle of learning, relearning, returning, experiencing and living.
Thank you for reading.
Pictured below; the place next to the rock pool, a beach, blue water, rocks and bird life.
Where my heart takes me most days.