I’m just back from Santorini, Greece. I was there for a little over a week on a yoga retreat. The retreat itself was just okay, though I found that the work I did on myself was far more helpful. The whole time I was in Greece, I felt myself calling love. Everywhere I went there seemed to be references to love and relationships, to renewal and the embracing of change. I discovered that over the last few years, despite my desire for love, I have been afraid to love.
When I turned 30 I decided that I had to learn to swim, mostly because I wanted to feel comfortable enough in water to scuba dive. 75% of the Earth's surface is below water, and if I don’t scuba dive, that means I’ll miss out on seeing 75% of the world. So I signed myself up for adult swimming classes, and while I progressed, I still felt nervous in open water.
In Santorini, the retreat arranged for a day long boat trip with open water swimming. Not my idea of a good time since I get seasick at the slightest rock of a boat and open water terrifies me. However, I decided that now is as good a time as any to face that fear. And if I did end up possibly drowning, then at least there were 50 other people around who could attempt to save me. So I dutifully took my Dramamine and into the water I went.
At first, I clung to the shore, shaking, unable to let go. And then I decided to just release my grip. My hands were getting tired and the waves were starting to knock into me and make me uncomfortable. It wasn’t the release that frightened me; it was the anticipation of the release that scared me. So with a deep breath and a prayer, I bid adieu to the shore, and surrendered myself to the open water. And I floated.
I was elated. I was actually paddling around, treading water, and doing just fine. The waters were relatively calm, which helped to calm me too. I could just roll with the tide, bobbing up and down. I let go. I let go of disappointment and sadness and fear and loss. I let go of expectations and charted a course toward a new freedom to explore and take each wave as it came. I let go of past embarrassments that came as a result of my inabilities. I let go of everything I knew in favor of the unknown.
Letting go of the shore meant much more than conquering a fear of the water. It also meant that I was now ready for the love I have been calling. All of a sudden I realized that love is not about hanging on; it’s about release.
What do you think? How does fear keep you "on the shore"? What have you learned by letting go and stepping into the unknown? How have you opened yourself to love?
(The photo above is a picture of the part Santorini's caldera where I let go of my fear of open water. It's as beautiful as it looks!)
Floating and enjoying the view,
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