Isn’t it cold?
YES!!! (Just thought we should get that one out the way).
Please believe me when I say that there is no-one more surprised that I am to class myself as a Chill Swimmer and really and truly, I am no braver than you. I just have a love for this planet I live on, the folk I share it with and with the simple things in life.
But let’s be honest no-one likes getting into cold water.
Changing your story
Here’s the thing. For a looong time ( perhaps 20 +) years I’ve been telling myself this convincing story that I hate cold water. I wouldn’t even go in in the height of summer. Nope Sirreeee, I’d turn in to a hyperventilating mess as soon as the water hit my knees: resembling a drowning mammal gasping for its last breathe. Not pretty for anyone.
Once a month I attend a ‘business’ meeting named Women At The Table (Watt), run by Shann Jones of Chuckling Goat. The ‘business’ phrase gets thrown about and we are there to support each other in our endeavors, but women have a way of integrating their lives with their businesses and businesses with their lives. These meetings have quite honestly been an amazing Springboard for my entire life. In turn we share our monthly highs and lows, applying various principles guided by Shann. In one session a women shared that as a child she had loved swimming in the sea and she was going to start doing that again. By the next month she had found a local group of women in her home town of St Davids and was swimming daily in the Sea.
Listening to her – I felt a fluttering in my tummy…. it was a TRUTH rumbling but my story kept telling me I hated cold water.
A few months in and more Watters started chill swimming. I got serious FOMO as it was something I’d loved as a child too. There are evidential photos of me swimming in the Thames on a day out to London, I kid you not. January 11th 2019 I bust my own story, joined a newly fledged branch of The Bluetits and gasped like a fool as the water hit my knees. I sited my experience of childbirth to myself, figuring that I’d managed to birth all my babies with no pain relief, seriously how hard could cold water immersion be? (It wasn’t going to last for hours and hopefully I wasn’t going to shit myself?).
I never would’ve done it without that bunch of Crazies. Not ever. The momentum of the swimmer in front of me diving into the waves pushed me on. I surrendered and followed. It took my breath away, I made a whole heap of birthing noises (you gotta do what you gotta do) until my gasp reflex came back into some kinda rhythm…. it didn’t take long, maybe 90 seconds and then yep, it was still cold. BUT I had dropped into a moment of bliss, of connection to where the water and the sky meets and where everything else melts away and nothing matters; enough to ‘get it’ and there I was, in my own Story Uprgrade. It was delicious and I wanted more. Still do.
The Juicy Middle
That was the Fizzy Beginning.. I literally couldn’t get enough of Chill Swimming. I traveled to St. Davids to swim with the original flock and quickly became a Muffateer. A badge given once you’d swam in the Buff…. in my instance a ‘full moon’ swim in one of the harbours. One of those moments in your life when you have absolutely no idea how you got there and equally wondered what on earth had stopped you from being there all this time. I laughed till I cried and Got The Fear that I was going to die in the dark with a bunch of nutters that didn’t know me from Eve.
I met a women in a sparkly hat who hugged me like a daughter and chatted to another trying out her new sea water soap; lathering up in the moonlight on the steps of the harbour.. whilst I squealed like a piglet and wondered if my Lady Garden would ever be the same…?
I felt ALIVE…. properly alive in All of Me. Driving home I grinned like a fool and wanted to live on the euphoria of chill swimming forever.
We’ve become our own little niche Venn diagram – Bluetits on one side and the Watt group on the other. Meeting when we can for scurried excursions away from our ‘other lives’… providing each other with soup and porridge out of flasks at dawn swims; we eat cake. We laugh and swear alot. Dawn, dusk, storms, and complete calm. We celebrate birthdays and solstices on the beach around a fire. We speak utter rubbish and springboard careers. We think tank for each other, sometimes we swim in silence and sometimes both. We are loud and quiet, we talk perimenopause, menopause and ailments. We are gloriously unfiltered.
There is some kinda magic that happens in a group like this and I’m sure it lies between the combination of escaping and adventuring. Because why else would doing something SO nuts, that’s simple and free manage to fill my heart to the brim and beyond with utter happiness and joy? All you have to do is get in – it’s a constant challenge, you have to show up and do the work just as you do in ‘business’.
Muster your courage and Warrior Call… take the risk and dive into juicily pro-living a life full of experience.
Afterwards we hug, kiss and return to being all-the-things-to-all-the-folk whilst inside (and on our skin and between our toes) we remain the Salty Wild Things.
Those hot water bottle slings that we are wearing are a new product I’m releasing on the 24th February 2020.
In the spirit of support here are the links to everyone mentioned in the blog post for the simple reason that they all are awesome.
For Chill Swimming Adventures : The Bluetits | Life & Business inspiration plus a healthy gut: Chuckling Goat | Amazing photography: Heather Birnie and Caitlin Tyler | Sewing lessons: Thimble | Sewing for Mental Health : Like. It. Is | Amazing Massage : Meadowspace Holistic Massage | Glamping : The Yurt Farm | Holidaying in St Davids : St Davids Holiday Cottages
I’d love to hear if this has resonated with you. Please do drop me a comment below, share your story with me?
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