365 Days - Day 60 - Two Month Recap
When I wrote this on Day 60 I had no idea that I would still be swimming at dawn every day and now be close to Day 300 as I publish this. I am proud of my journey as I look back and see how far I have come and what I have done since then, a day I thought might be the last. Keep surprising yourself! Keep trusting the journey! The photos are taken from the first 60 days of swimming at dawn.
Day 60 of Swimming at Dawn - I woke up to a cloudless sky, the first in.... I can't remember when. I didn't feel the same inner clarity though. I thought Day 60 would be an upper but instead it felt like arriving at a crossroads with only question marks. What's the point? Do I just keep going on? When will I stop? Will I stop? If I let up and decide I don't want to go tomorrow, will I lose my drive, get lazy? Maybe I should focus on doing 'real' exercise swimming, get out my wetsuit and not just my fun, naked immersions?
For two months now my daily swim has given my morning meaning, focus, energy to move forward. Every day I've looked out of the window when I woke up and wondered what the sea and nature had in store for me. It's almost always better than I imagine it might be even the darkest, most threatening days. Life lesson.
Over 60 days I only had true doubts about going on a couple of days but I faced the fear, assessed the real danger and went ahead anyway. Empowering. Life lesson.
Then I had to face the sea itself. Every day different - the tides, the winds, the currents, the waves. The surface reveals many clues but not always what is hidden below. I faced many fears on different days - will the surge be too strong? will an unexpected wave push me against rough rocks? will I not read the sea properly and get caught in a current and be pulled from the shore? will I let myself get too cold? I mastered these fears, tuned my senses and learned more about myself and the sea. Empowering and enriching.
At the beginning the outside temperatures were cold, some days 3-4C, then they have progressively become warmer and the water temperature I assume is about the same. And my immersions have changed completely over time. At the beginning I could only stay in a couple of minutes. Progressively my capacity to stand the cold has increased and I choose to swim more as a result in more open water. Empowering and strengthening. One thing that hasn't changed is the residual cold. There is a delightful numbing when I get out of the water that lasts for about 5 minutes while I dress and then the real cold sets in to feet and hands and it takes quite a while to regain the heat. In the video you can see that my post-swim shaking prevents me from holding the camera still.
Countless moments of nature's glory. Uplifting to the spirit. One day, as I walked down the boardwalk, I turned around and looked at the dawn sky and the beauty was so arresting that I actually started to cry out loud. I don't know why I feel things so deeply. I just do. Feeling the sun's rays on my body as I bob up and down in the water, melding with the element, becoming part of it - mind, body, soul intertwined connected with the clouds and expansive sky above and the liquid medium in which I float.
Diving down and seeing fish scatter then looking at the surface from below and how the oxygen and sea foam collect and make patterns. Diving through aqua waves momentarily becoming part of them. Feeling absolute powerlessness as I float over a wave or I am pushed up the shore by a surge wave yet totally comfortable and in bliss in this surrendered state. Facing oncoming waves with strength and courage. Swimming to me is so much more than doing lengths in a pool and making times - it's a spiritual experience, it reaches and fills my innermost being. Every day I learn and feel something new. I feel tremendous gratitude. I am a child in the hands of an ancient, wise being.
I also faced the sea naked. A woman alone with the waves. I've faced the fear of exposure to others who could be watching, vague "men". They've faded into the back of my consciousness. They are still there but just as necessary wariness not controlling me as it did at the beginning. I've worn a bathing suit maybe four times over these 60 days. I had company maybe six times on these 60 days. It's been an alone experience. No one to watch me. No one to praise me. No one to marvel at me. Of course I like those things but the inner rewards of doing things for oneself last longer than fleeting praise of capturing the eye of another. Humility.
I also enjoy liberty, freedom and the luxury of solitude. Just myself and the sea, filling me up with its salty richness, washing my body, cleansing my soul. I don't understand what's going on. I just keep surrendering. Doubt often fills me. But I keep receiving the message to surrender and trust. Keep doing what fills you. Feel grateful. Keep going. Why? I don't know. So I keep going but today I reached Day 60 and it somehow seemed like a milestone that required reflection.
I wish for others these powerful, soul-enriching experiences where the water brings deep inner richness, expansive reflection and insight that goes way beyond performance swimming. Do you like to look at your hands as they enter the water, see the bubbles as they move around your hands and the light as it filters down into the murky darkness? How does your skin ripple as you see your hand move through the elements?
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Dawn Swimmer has let us into her thinking and feeling process as she faces the challenge of continuing her daily swim on day 60 and beyond.
Accompanied by beautiful photos and a video of her experiences dawn swimmer expresses feelings of doubt and fear about the sea and the cold and ultimately empowerment when she overcomes these anxieties. She continues to learn life's lessons as she faces these challenges alone. Shedding her clothes and overcoming her concern about being observed brings her a sense of humility. As she is aware of the beauty of the dawns, the warmth of the sun, the ever-changing moods of the sea, dawn swimmer is uplifted by her personal journey and filled with gratitude for the strength it has given her.