Last week, I shared on Facebook, that I snorkeled for the first time.
For many people, that’s not such a big deal. I really didn’t expect it to be such a big deal for me either, because I thought I’d overcome a big water fear seven years earlier, and was very surprised to have it show up again.
Eight years ago, it was a different story
Back then, snorkeling would have been absolutely unthinkable. See, at that point, not only did I not know how to swim, but I had a pretty strong water phobia. It had gotten so bad, I obsessively tried to not let water splash me in the face while in the shower.
Just imagine the mechanics of that for a moment.
When faced with an actual body of water, I was thisclose to a panic attack. I don’t mean just a little anxious, but rather, full-on, heart-pounding, sweat pouring, choked breathing, pretty sure I was actually having a heart attack and going to die, panicking.
The last time I’d experienced it was when I was standing on the banks of a four-foot deep, man-made lake with my girlfriends. They were trying to talk me into canoeing. I was trying not to cry.
Something had to change
Then, in January 2007, I came to a crossroads. I was going on a month-long adventure in New Zealand in March of that year. I realized I could miss out on some amazing things, or do something about it. I decided to do something about it, and learned to swim.
Fast forward to now, eight years later. There I was, standing in a few feet of water, mask and snorkel on, those long-ago feelings of panic starting to rise.
I was near tears
Standing there, I was panicking about the water, and about the fact that I was panicking. It didn’t help to be upset that I was upset about something that I thought I had already transformed. Recognizing that helped. In that moment, I could recognize that I had overcome something similar before; that I had tools available to me; that I had many choices available to me, including simply breathing. And, most of all, it’s not about never getting stuck again, but how you treat yourself when you inevitably do.
Remembering all of this allowed me to choose what to do next. I set myself up for success, clutching the hand of my very patient guy and practiced putting my face underwater.
It didn’t take long before I felt brave enough to let go and float for a few minutes. Then, I was able to swim off a few feet. I floated over a coral reef and there were fish! Beautiful tropical fish. Gorgeous coral. Bright anemones. It was a whole new world just 15 feet off the beach.
I was near tears again, but for a completely different reason
What is fear keeping you from? What might you discover if you could venture out and see something new?
If you haven’t been able to get there on your own, yet, consider what it would be like to do it with Unbelievable Ease.