I have been checking off things on my bucket list to do before I, well kick the bucket! One of those things is learning to swim or better said, conquering the fear of being in deep water.
This summer I am taking swimming lessons and initially I recognized a very real anxiety-laden fear that caused me to actually freeze in the water during times of moving from the shallow end to the deeper water. The amazing fact about those times is that I would actually be executing my movements in the water and breathing accurately but when I knew that I could not touch the bottom, I panicked. I felt like I was drowning when all I had to do (and did) was touch the side of the pool. I actually had shallow breathing and an increased heart rate which caused me to not progress. Fortunately, I didn’t stop but signed up for more lessons!
This is a perfect example of how fear can block the desired outcomes for our lives. My desired outcome from taking lessons is that I will learn to swim and to be safe in shallow or deep water. I want to be relaxed instead of afraid and at the time of this writing, I have met my goal. The change came about for me through very patient, skilled swimming instructors who work with me from where I am in the moment. I was never alone and there was always gentle, loving instruction that helped me to move out of the place of fear and into a new reality of accomplishment. I focused on the swimming not the depths of the water which helped me to make it to the other side.
At this time of this writing, my instruction ends this week. I have swam the length of the pool from shallow to deep and back. What I am most proud of is that I faced down the fear and moved (swam) through it.
As a SFBT therapist and Life Coach I find that through gentle, caring, questions I help people move away from their past into an awareness of their present with hope rather than fear to reach a preferred future. Like my swimming instructors, who do not allow me to go backwards to a time when I was not swimming, I help clients to focus on how they have conquered past fears to be where they are in the present. They get to rediscover the hero inside of them. The one that is in us all.