Chapter 31: The Great Swim 1

pexels-photo-103127-largeBrene Brown once said; “Owning your story is the bravest thing you’ll ever do.”

So here I am. Chapter 31 and I discover myself hidden in a quiet and rather private season of ideas. A lot of thinking has been done here but not much speaking and perhaps this is the time for being brave.

I have been wondering whether when you were growing up if you ever have those moments where you were about to do something that seemed really scary, you would rally up all the courage you could dig up to do the thing and then just as you were about to do it, you would stop. Suddenly. You wouldn’t go through with the scary thing. You would just kind of back out and play it safe.  And then this pattern; Courage. Stop. Courage. Pull back. Courage. Back out. Comfortable. Next time.

Maybe it was just me, but I used to do this a lot and I especially remember doing it when my brother and I would try running and jumping into the swimming pool when we were kids. We would play this game and tell each other; “Okay, the rule is that we must just run and jump into the pool without first feeling the water.” I think we definitely knew that it would be absolutely freezing but we wanted the fun more than the scariness of the cold. We knew that if we just jumped in, we would have no other choice than to adapt and I guess for us, this was smarter than risking talking ourselves out of swimming if we first tested it out. We had a plan to get to the fun we wanted.

The thing is,  though, I used to tussle with the rule of our game and with the hopes of our fun. My daring brother was always first to dive in. I, on the other hand, thought way too much about the cold than the fun and I would end up running with all my heart, just to back out right before I jumped in. I would go back and take another run-up, and  then the same thing. I would stop suddenly, just before the jump. I remember these moments more than the times I just jumped in. It was a real struggle that I couldn’t really understand.

All I knew is two things; one is that the shock of the cold water would take my breath away and second, that I would get used to it and it would be fun in the end. But still, I wrangled and stopped.

Now, as an adult, I can see this pattern expressing itself in my new season of ideas and taking steps to do my thing. To make my dream a living thing. I am stirred with passion and excitement to act on my ideas but I find myself backing out at the last minute because of the what if and insert several doubts here. Doubt, the freezing cold water of our dreams. I ask myself, is courage is enough? What is the thing that comes after courage or is it something that comes before? Is there something missing?


And this is my story. This is the place I find myself, in the 31st Chapter of my life, in that great tussle between my heart and my brain, between my dream and doubt.

To those who are already out there in the water, does this sound familiar? How did you jump right in? Is there a secret I am yet to discover?

To those who might be with me in the tussle, what do your doubts say? And what is the opposite truth that you can fire back at those doubts with?  What is it that we are really afraid of? I believe this is part of the process, I believe in the learning and I believe in our potential.

If you, like me, are right here on the verge of diving in, let me leave you with the encouraging idea from Marianne Williamson;

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are here for a reason. You, playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are born to make manifest the glory that is within us. It’s not just in some of us. It’s in everyone, and, as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fears, our presence automatically liberates others”

Look forward to seeing you in the great swim, when I eventually figure out how to commit to jumping in.




About Jo-Anne Gordon

I am South African born, with a fiery, passionate heart. I absolutely adore the smell of fireplaces burning in winter and freshly brewed coffee first thing in the morning. I am a dreamer, a deep thinker and have been on the most amazing spiritual journey since 2004. I am most captivated by black and white photography and my favourite moments in life are when you laugh until your sides ache. Always seeking, always learning, and always aspiring to a fully present life anchored by grace.

One thought on “Chapter 31: The Great Swim

  • Jodie McCarthy

    This is so good. I totally identify with that feeling. Even to the point of thinking when I finally am in the water, ‘it was an absolute mistake to jump, I need to get out!’ I think Brené is right, we need to ‘love ourself through the process’. No matter what stage we are at, in or out of the pool. xx

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