I took a plunge into the 45 degree water of Percy Priest Lake on New Year's Day and didn't want it to end.
- When I summon the courage to follow through on something I feel is right for me (especially when others think it's crazy), I feel good about myself.
- I realize how something daunting is easier to face in community rather than alone. I stood on the shore of that lake among hundreds of fellow "Polar Bears" and plunged forward without hesitation because we were doing it together.
- Overcoming the fear and stinking thinking is the greatest challenge. When I woke up to find it was raining, I actually thought of skipping the plunge because it would be unpleasant to get wet and cold. It was easy to see through how silly that rationalization was. Maybe I can draw on that the next time I want to find an excuse to avoid the unknown - hitting the water was worth it and I am glad fear didn't deprive me of the experience.
- It is a good thing to leave my comfort zone for a bigger comfort zone.
- Submerging myself in frigid water is an awakening to how thrilling it is to be super concious in the moment. Too often I spend the present moments that make up my daily life thinking about the past, worrying about the future or trying to escape reality by just tuning out the here and now. I recognize how damaging it is and yet it's so tough for me to consistently overcome. But when I went in that lake, all that disappeared naturally and the experience came alive in a mindful rush of the moment at hand.
So it all leaves me thinking, do I have to go to extremes to be alive in the moment? Or could there be value in realizing that I have it in me and I would benefit from practicing mindfulness on dry land?
I am grateful to the YMCA's Camp Widjiwagan for organizing this event. The programs and facilities of the YMCA have been a blessing to us over the years.
While this was my first "Polar Bear Plunge", cold water has been floating my boat for awhile. Here's why.