I heard recently that when the Coastguard arrives at a rescue where many people are in the water, they first help the people who are swimming towards them.
Your interest in reading this tells me you are one of the people swimming towards help. Some of us have been swimming in this direction for years and some are newer to it. Some people treading water might be in freeze, unable to take in the fact they are in danger. We could be exhausted and barely able to tread water some days. Others barely hanging on might not register the thrum of helicopter blades or believe rescue is possible for them. Some might panic, misread the noise and stirred up water as dangerous, and swim in the opposite direction. Some will group together and hold each other up. Others with different life experience feel it will be safer to go it alone.
The people who swim toward the Coast Guard are the first ones helped.
I believe everyone in the water wants to be saved. We all want to be happy and live meaningful, joy filled lives. We all swim towards help some of the time. I haven’t met anyone yet who swims with unerring accuracy and who never goes into suppressing their distress through something on the distraction / addiction continuum.
We aren’t going to lift our tired arms and swim through choppy waters towards the helicopter if we have no hope it will work. This is one reason why it is essential to connect with people who understand what it takes to heal and have done and are doing their own work. If other people can do this, it holds out the possibility we can too!
We can also be inspired through our own direct experience by looking back and acknowledging all that we have survived. Yes there was trauma in many forms. There is also strength, resilience, grit, determination and the ultimate proof – we survived to this point. And we are still willing to swim toward help.
The work I do in classes and individually with people is rooted in our body. In Scott Kiloby’s Living Inquiries, we have ways to be present with the sensations and energy in our body. We get to see first hand that none of it is here to hurt us. It is here to help – by letting us know or by protecting us from something. Painful, tight sensations or a gut instinct can warn and guide us. We get to know ourselves through our body, to accept and welcome everything that arises.
With the right support, we realize through direct experience that we can be present in our own body, connect with our own basic goodness and value, and that we have nothing to fear from within.
Kindness, compassion and understanding become the new water we swim in. We rescue ourselves from a lifetime of fear and anxiety. Space opens up to breathe and relax. To heal.