I was confronted with a client today who is normally chipper despite being often in pain; and today it was not his physical ailments that concerned me. It was his loss of heart; lack of humour. It was thoroughly disconcerting and brought to mind the challenge of the emotions when swims don’t go to plan.

On the Kaiwi swim, I hit one such wall where I was left reeling. I looked inside to dig into the usually full well of heart that I almost take for granted. The time spent in intensive meditation in the monastery gave me such a grounding in how to tap into depths of character that I was thrown completely by the abyss that presented itself. Thanks to a few heart warming words from Steve Haumschild, it got turned on its head.

It was only a moment of despond, but it only takes a moment to decide to get out. I know I’m alright if I can laugh at my situation, myself and often those around me. Making light of the situation is a clear sign to me that I’m ok and everything’s good- even when there’s pain or exhaustion. Knowing how to cope with your own mind when it turns on you is such a life skill and managing negative self talk is vital. I love swimming for the chance to redress this path to my inner strength and humour.

Like cold water swimming- getting out, shaking so much you can’t hold a drink, getting the giggles so your legs give way under the overload of shaking and salt water spewing out your nasal cavity! Like swimming up to a beach and not being able to feel your feet, or hands and fumbling with clothes feeling daft and delirious, high on the experience.
Like having to poo in the water in front of complete strangers. It reminds us of our frailty, our humanness and our commonality. We need to laugh at the absurdity of challenges, of times that would otherwise have us cringing.
Our strength is in our ability to lighten our own burden- making light of the situation and carrying on.