I just got back this past weekend from an amazing vacation in Hawaii with one of my best friends and we had a blast!
I was really looking forward to some beautiful sightseeing and checking out the soft white beaches, but in all honesty, I was pretty apprehensive about the swimming part. I’ve never been a good swimmer – I’m totally uncoordinated and end up looking like a struggling dog when I’m in the water. Not a pretty sight! My two golden rules with swimming were always 1) I had to be able to see my feet – the water must be clear, and 2) that my feet have to touch the bottom. That doesn’t allow for much more than hanging around swimming pools, and the shallow end to boot, but there was no way I was going all the way to Hawaii and not snorkeling! I panic really easily the second either of those rules are broken though, and despite being in my mid-30’s, have never been able to shake it. Snorkeling was going to be a HUGE obstacle for me.
Why do I get scared? To me, it’s simple. The water – it’s immense depth, volume, and size totally overwhelm me. I feel tiny in the ocean, completely helpless and out of my element. For years that overwhelm has kept me off the beach and out of the pool. I didn’t even own a bathing suit until last year!!
So how did I move through that overwhelm and end up snorkeling in some of the most amazing reefs in Hawaii AND swimming with a sea turtle (ack!! so cool!)?? I had help. I just knew that I’d be a floundering mess on our first day of snorkeling. But guess what? I wasn’t!! Jenny even said I was a natural! Ha!
I had two distinct kinds of help. First, I had her support, which reduced that overwhelm to such a manageable size that I was able to relax and enjoy myself. Second, I had the right tools – fins! I couldn’t have done it without them. There were times when it got rough, and I got scared, but Jenny was right there, holding my hand (literally) in the water and swimming with me back to a place where the water was more calm and less deep. And when we got there – look who was waiting for me! This big, beautiful, and amazing sea turtle, lazily munching on algae, being gently tossed with the waves. My fear and panic was immediately replaced by peace, awe and gratitude. I realized that I never would have seen him there had I not felt that sense of panic first. Swimming with him was HUGE for me
So why am I telling you this? Because I’ve seen this type of fear and overwhelm stop people in their tracks and keep them stuck in uncomfortable places. I’ve seen fear and overwhelm paralyze people from making healthy choices and addressing important issues. Whether it’s getting into deep water, addressing out of control eating, or looking at the toxins we’re exposing ourselves and our children to – overwhelm stop us in our tracks and often times causes us to bury our heads in the sand.
The people who are able to “see the sea turtle”, able to experience the calm and gratitude are the ones that dive right into that overwhelm. The smart ones do it with support, and the right tools. I never, ever, not in a million years would have gone into that water without a snorkel mask and fins. The overwhelm would have drowned me.
Lately I’ve been talking to a lot of new parents about all the toxic things their children are exposed to, and I can see the fear and overwhelm wash over them. I can see them thinking “this is so big, it’s too much, I just can’t deal.”
I’m curious to hear from you what areas of life cause you to feel so overwhelmed that you are paralyzed, head buried in the sand? For some it may just be learning about what toxins are lurking in your home, in your children’s bedrooms and in your bodies, while for others it could be the overwhelm of looking for a new job, or starting a new weight loss program.
I’d love for you to share with me what presses that panic and overwhelm button for you, or where you’re currently stuck in the sand, paralyzed by overwhelm – Comment below and share where you’re stuck or shoot me a quick email and I’ll reply with a quick solution to help you get moving forward again!