All content by Shelley Kelly
“For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
It’s always ourselves we find in the sea” E.E.Cummings
As the day awakens, I lie in bed, wrapped in wave upon wave of duck down and Egyptian cotton. Comfy. Cosy. Content. The best place to be. Or is it?
There’s a little nudge in my brain telling me to abandon everything I associate with safety and get in the sea!
It’s bizarre – I would NEVER have a cold bath in the comfort of my own home. My fingers and toes are often freezing. So why does bobbing around in some very cold water feel like the best thing ever?
I’ve worked it out. When I’m in the sea, and when I get out again, I feel like a warrior. I demonstrate to myself that I am stronger than I think I am.
I feel invincible yet recognise I’m not. I know my limits. A sea like a millpond and I’m wrapped up in its velvetiness before you can say “it’s fine once you’re in!” Churning like a washing machine and I’m content to marvel in its majesty from a distance.
Ironically, I never feel more grounded than when I am floating in the sea. Anxiety and worry dissolve in the water and a sense of peace envelops me. It reminds me of what life is all about. I never regret getting in the water. I am a nicer person when I’ve been in the sea. More tolerant of others and of myself.
Sure, there’s an initial shock of cold. But it lasts just a few seconds and nothing that some swift strokes, a determined attitude and mindful breathing can’t sort! After the initial frenetic activity, there’s calm. I can’t help but smile, gaining a sense of perspective as well as a different view of the world.
And then the smugness emerges. Yep, how lucky am I to live here!
When it’s over, the struggle to get back into cosy clothes with seriously numb fingers is VERY real. Arms tucked inside a changing robe. Bra hooks – the devil incarnate. One false move and you’re stepping into a sweatshirt, toppling over, with not one iota of your modesty intact!
But wrapped up, snug as a bug, hugging a hot water bottle. Drinking tea and eating muffins, and that smug feeling engulfs me again. The one with the beaming smile. I did that. I got in the sea today. If I can do that, I can do anything.