In many occasions you have heard people say that water is life. I do not take this saying literally because my own scene of contentment is in the water. It is in there that I experience a level of satisfaction so profound, no other experience or scene rivals it. I can imagine nothing else that could possibly bring me the sense of connection with myself as I feel when swimming. Being in the water both liberates and isolates me. I am cocooned and flying, removed from the world and inside its essence. In this environment I am completely alone with myself, and a kind of communion takes place between me and the water.
Water is, first and foremost, elemental in the purest sense of the word. We are mostly composed of water ourselves and I honestly believe our attraction to the sea is virtually molecular; like calls to like, and the water within us calls to us. I can enjoy contentment in a swimming pool, but the experience is not as rich and dimensional as when I am moving in the ocean, drifting or doing laps against the tides, and feeling as one with a natural and immensely powerful force. To describe the sea is in fact to describe a form of life, and one towering most others. It can surge and level cities and it can provide an endless vista of tranquility. It is not alive, but without it there is no life. It is then as awe-inspiring as the air itself, but there is a crucial difference; on land and in the air, we are lumbering animals. In the sea, we are motional and graceful. It is ironic that this element, so powerful and weighty, frees our physical beings so that we can fly.
Then the sheer physicality involved in swimming changes the mind and the spirit. I work with the water and the currents, achieving a harmony of motion wholly organic. It also challenges me on many physical levels, offering primal resistance and tempering even this to how I adapt with every stroke. No other physical activity can compare to this because it engulfs the body, and becomes an extension of it. When I succeed in the ocean and go for miles, my victory is over myself alone. The sea has the uncanny ability to promote human warmth and interaction while providing absolute independence and I value this immensely. Private by nature, I nonetheless enjoy the company, and this all-encompassing environment brings us together and still celebrates our individuality.
Water teaches as well and it does so in gentle whispers of surf. It tells me to value myself and to be brave enough to confront who I am without cell phones, without companions right there, without any of the markers of identity we all so rely upon. I feel confident when I am immersed in water. It has taught me that we must be good with ourselves in such isolation before we can be right for others. It has also taught me that I will grow in unexpected ways as long as I surrender to the aloneness, and appreciate how silence can offer endless opportunities for reflection and new ideas. It is ironic, but the sense of being insignificant I feel in the sea translates to empowerment. I am aware of my place in the world, but I know that place has value and that, as with the water itself, other directions are always available. As long as I trust my strength and the integrity of the environment, I may be nothing. Water is a natural gift and it never fail to encourage me to appreciate, thrive, reflect, give into exhausting exercises, and to know what life is all about at its best. To see me swim is to know who I truly am, and I owe this, and much more, to this elemental place of contentment.