Feb. 1, 2021 - In my continuing quest to enjoy (tolerate) Winter I have been inspired to go swimming in the lake! A student of mine has been doing it, which peaked my interest, and then I have been reading “Wintering,” which also talks about the thrill of swimming in cold water. So, in a fit of inspiration I told my wife I wanted to go swimming and she said, “OK!” She doesn’t want to do, but enthusiasm makes it all the more fun. :-)
So, I have done 4 days in a row of swimming in the lake…which is a lot like walking in, a little movement, walking out…but still, I’m proud of myself. On the third day I had to break through ice to swim. On the fourth day I brought an ax to break through. So, things are getting real!
The crazy thing about it is that I absolutely look forward to it! It’s exciting, it’s adventurous, it’s euphoric, it’s comical. I was texting some friends about it (inviting them to come) and I said, “It’s probably the thing I’ve been most excited about during winter since I’ve been in Vermont.” Which, by the way is almost 30 years. And, that isn’t totally true. The thing I’ve been excited about in past winters is going to the Caribbean.
What’s happened is in 4 days my perception of the cold water of Lake Champlain in the winter has been completely altered. I used to look at it with despair, and now I look at it with a sense of wonder and interest, and a bit of giddy excitement. Now I think how I can go anywhere in the world and take a quick dip or long swim in any water…since water doesn’t get colder than the water below ice, I’ve already done it. It’s so exciting!
In terms of yoga, it makes me think about the whole idea of perception, and how it is absolutely possible to perceive something as one thing, and recognize that you were just looking at it wrong. Maybe it’s not the thing that is the problem, it’s you and your perception of the thing. And, that can be true with ourselves as well. We can perceive something negative about ourselves, but maybe it’s totally untrue. :-)
For today, class is about seeing ourselves clearly, and possibly seeing the world around us as more beautiful and inviting than we have before. Enjoy!