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When Desire Trumps Fear (Lessons from Swimming)

Updated: Aug 12, 2021

I hadn’t factored in sea creatures when I started open-water swimming in November of last year. When I first encountered the seals in the cove in Sausalito, I was pretty scared. I had restless nights, imagining all the scary things that could happen. But, every morning, I would go swimming anyway, no matter how many seals were there. One morning we counted six!


I began to introduce strategies to take my mind off the fear. I got present to the sensations throughout my body as I swam. I synchronized my strokes with a mantra I learnt in yoga. I thanked the seals for letting me share their space. And even though I’m a lot more comfortable around the seals now, I still practice all of these things.


All of this to say, I didn’t let fear take me out. I see now that my desire to swim was greater than my fear of the seals. And that’s really important for me to know… that when I want something badly enough, there’s nothing that can stop me from getting it. I just need to keep focusing on what it is that I want instead of the thing that’s getting in my way. So, I want to thank the seals for this very valuable lesson, which has given me such confidence in every area of my life.


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