the awakening

– Posted in: letting go

Did you ever do anything so out of character that you actually surprised yourself?

Just yesterday, I woke up bright and early (if you know me personally, you’ll know that’s quite a feat in and of itself), tied on my bikini, and boarded a train heading to Long Beach, NY, to dive into the icy waters for the Polar Bear Superbowl Plunge. I met up with some friends from college, we pre-gamed, and then headed in direction of the boardwalk. The sun was shining, weather was sweet, and it was all for a great cause–the Make-a-Wish foundation. It’s not too late to make a donation, and, if you feel so inclined, you may do so here.

The night before the plunge, I questioned my sanity as nerves set in. Sure, I do yoga in intense heat. But this? This was scary. It also made me think of all the things I tell myself regularly that I won’t/can’t do in life and how silly that is. As I held hands with my friends and ran into the water, I realized that I’m capable of a lot more than I give myself credit for and I refuse to let fear, insecurity, or doubt play a role in my life any longer.

Here are some pics of the event (hand warmers were a life saver. Hat not so much):

Also, thank you to all who participated in last week’s meme. Believe it or not, not one person guessed correctly (I suppose I’m a much better liar than I thought!). I don’t have a PPL, can’t drink beer, don’t know how to swim, and have been a vegetarian for the past 14 years. So that leaves #3 as the correct answer. I was a coxswain at SUNY Albany but it was a rather short-lived stint since 4:30 in the morning is a god-awful time to get out of bed and besides, who the hell wants to wake up just to yell at people?

But it was as a coxswain that I began to enjoy the peace and stillness that comes with being in the presence of a large body of water. And there was something about pulling the boat on to the cool, glass surface that resonated with me. The graceful dance of the rowers, the way the boat rocked gently back and forth as the waves caressed its sides, the reassuring glimpse of a majestic sunrise. It brings to mind a quote from the British philosopher Alan Watts (and fuels a passion within me to learn how to swim asap): “To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.”

As it is with the water, may it be in life.

32 Comments… add one
(Florida) Girl with a New Life February 7, 2011, 7:49 PM

What cute pictures! And what a figure you’ve got on you, girl. Go ahead with your bad self.

Nicole February 7, 2011, 8:23 PM

I absolutely love this and am SO proud of you! “But it also made me think of all the things I tell myself regularly that I won’t/can’t do in life and how silly that is. As I held hands with my friends and ran into the water, I realized that I’m capable of a lot more than I give myself credit for and I refuse to let fear, insecurity, or doubt play a role in my life any longer. ” I LOVE this perspective and am trying to adopt it more for myself, too. Once again, you are truly an amazing woman. And the strength and vitality that has emerged in you is awe-inspiring.

And you look SMOKIN’ in that itty bitty bikini, Miss. πŸ˜‰

Hutch February 7, 2011, 9:06 PM

Dang girl, you’re crazy, but I still like you! I can only imagine just how cold you were.

I definitely misunderstood the meme and thought we were supposed to guess the one that was false. At least I can say 1 out of 4 on that then right? πŸ™‚

Brian February 7, 2011, 9:09 PM

I wonder if my parents happened to have seen any of this seeing as they live in one of those condos overlooking the ocean at Long Beach….hmmmm

Stacy Anderson February 7, 2011, 9:38 PM

That looks awesome! I don’t think I’d have the balls to do that πŸ™‚

Emily February 7, 2011, 11:19 PM

I’m so proud of you! It’s amazing what we can make ourselves accomplish if we just put our minds to it. I bet this is not something you would have ever expected yourself to do, but you did it and rocked it! I’m also very glad you did not catch pneumonia πŸ˜›

Alexandra February 8, 2011, 10:10 AM

I am smiling with pride over you, and watching you push yourself, try new things, and embrace the gift of life.

I really love watching everything unfold for you: It’s like different movements of a symphony.

You are doing it, girl.

I love you for it.

Jodene February 8, 2011, 11:14 AM

Oh wow, fun and crazy all at the same time … I love it πŸ˜‰

Shana February 8, 2011, 11:18 AM

You’re nuts. I mean, you’re also all brave and noble and charitable. But you are also nuts.

Bonda84 February 8, 2011, 12:24 PM

I’m cold already and seeing the pictures made me turn up my little heater sitting next to me at work. We have quite a few Polar Plunges here for good causes…talk about artic waters.

Shell February 8, 2011, 12:58 PM

What a fun thing to do!

I’m a giant wimp when it comes to cold, but I still think it would be a great story to tell!

Salt February 8, 2011, 4:38 PM

YES!!!!!!!!!! You did it!!!! That is so awesome and for such a fantastic cause! I plunged into the icy bay down here last year to benefit the Maryland Special Olympics and it was such a great day…even with the ice chunks that got in my bee costume. <—- there's a sentence I never thought I would type.

You rock!

liz February 8, 2011, 7:24 PM

I polar beared once. Good for you! It’s exhilarating, isn’t it?

AmyBlam February 8, 2011, 10:39 PM

I am amazed with the polar bear plunge. And proud you did it for such a wonderful cause! Seriously, can’t imagine. I fell in a pool once in Georgia in the winter and it was Cold. Can’t imagine it up north.

Connie @ Sogni e Sorrisi February 9, 2011, 3:34 AM

You are BRAVE!

SaucyB February 9, 2011, 8:31 AM

Good for you for pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone. That’s awesome!

carma February 9, 2011, 10:30 AM

you are crazy!!!!! I bundle up in all temps below 80 degrees – or so my son thinks

very brave of you πŸ˜€

Hey, when I tried a few minutes to get onto your blog it wasn’t there??? :-O I got worried…

(Florida) Girl with a New Life February 9, 2011, 11:53 AM

Happy Hump Day.

trininista February 9, 2011, 2:17 PM

Wow. I so could not do this. well besides the fact that I also cannot swim. Yes…from an island and cannot swim. believe it. but good job to you!

Gia February 9, 2011, 4:37 PM

Just the first line of your post has me inspired to want to do something… different. Just for the wonderful lessons that come from it! πŸ™‚

CarolW February 10, 2011, 8:04 AM

Wow and well done! You wouldn’t have done it here though…not unless you fancied going blue with cold! πŸ™‚
Well done on the lies too…you had me fooled.
i’m off to catch up on some of your posts I’ve missed. many thanks for dropping by the other day. I’m sorry I’m late coming around. I just got behind on my comments πŸ™

keishua February 10, 2011, 1:57 PM

I learned to swim a few years ago. It was scary at first but once I surrendered to the water it was a breeze.
I think that quote is very fitting.
I applaud you for diving into water in this weather for such a great cause.
Sweet. Hope you are well.

kimbirdy February 10, 2011, 3:07 PM

polar bearing?! yikes!!! you are a tough, brave gal. i did that once when i was 14, so you know, i had that “suck it adults” attitude and thought crazy things were incredibly fun. if i did it now, i would have to overcome some massive fears. it’s funny how as an adult, being uncomfortable is a fear. hm… i think i need to tap into my inner teenager and do some more wild things while i still have sturdy hips. πŸ™‚ congrats on facing the fear!

Kelly February 10, 2011, 4:11 PM

I can’t tell you how much I admire you for plunging into that surf!! Plus, you really rock that bikini! Rowr!

Glamamom February 11, 2011, 12:32 AM

Okay, first of all, your body is RIDIC! Second, you’re one brave chick! xo

Complykated February 11, 2011, 11:10 AM

Thanks for stopping by my blog the other day. I love the Watts quote. There is so much I’ve tried to grab hold of in my life and peace has come only by being at rest in the water, learning to relax and float.

Life with Kaishon February 11, 2011, 12:58 PM

OH MY GOSH! That is amazing YOU Are amazing. I am still shivering just thinking about it : )

Galit Breen February 11, 2011, 5:59 PM

Goodness girlfriend you are BRAVE! And smokin; hot, too! XO

Jules February 12, 2011, 10:06 AM

Oh Holy Hades! You are crazy!!!

josie February 13, 2011, 2:16 AM

See you sound like a normal person what with the hot yoga- I love that too- but swimming in the cold? Ooh, no thanks. Nice gloves and hat though.
Great quote too, must remember it.
Josie x

Mollie February 13, 2011, 2:52 AM

Moochas grassiass for the comment about my love letter. That damn letter has garnered more attention than I thought it would. Who knew?

I’m loving that hair of yours. And that you go on blind dates. Work it, girl!

Nicole February 13, 2011, 12:21 PM

you’re awesome! this really is a metaphor for pushing yourself into the unknown, isn’t it? i still don’t think i could do it though…omg. oh yeah…and i’m totally jealous of the bikini body!!!

btw, i meant to comment on your meme post…for some reason i remember having a conversation with you about you being on the rowing team in college.

hope you’re well…miss you much!


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