The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever

Jacques Cousteau

The Water is My Prayer: Collective Wild Swimmers' Poem

contemplating-the-sea-water-prayer-sept-2021 I Breathe with the Earth and the Water is My Prayer, Photo: JPF

"The water is my prayer". Lagoon gifted me this phrase when I immersed in its still December 2021 chill. My daily engagement with water is how I commune on a deeper level, in body and soul, with something beyond and within myself. That morning I realized I 'pray' with, and through, the water.

Out of this seed of thought, blossomed the idea to create a collective wild swimmers' poem knowing that when wild swimmers immerse, intense magic often takes place in body, mind and soul. If moved to do so, please add your own hope/wish/prayer/intention in Comments below if you would like to become part of The Water is My Prayer - its flow and inspiration is bound to reach into the hearts of water lovers around the world as they experience the healing power of water. 

Dec 2021 - The morning of inspiration. As I emerge a smile illuminates my face just as the water's magic illuminates my spirit, a daily miracle Photo: SPF
Hope, purpose, strength, insight, peace, health, creativity, motivation, solace…. The water constantly gives me vital mental, physical and spiritual nourishment. Curiously, "praying" and "prayer" are not words that I particularly identify with or use commonly. Nor will you find photos of me in a prayer pose (hands together in front of my chest, head bowed) which I commonly observe among wild swimmers as they engage inward, immersed in arrestingly cold wild waters.

But, when I was in the lagoon that day - contemplating the utter stillness with deep awareness, the slow-moving, arcing ripples gently flowing out in front of me, taking in the majestic countryside, sensing the birds and other inhabitants going about their lives, and gradually immersing myself with slow, deep breaths adapting to the deep cold moving up my body - the word that rose from the silence within was 'prayer' as I felt reverence and connection to the Earth's (and Creation's) grandeur through the water. Perhaps I feel something akin to what Thomas Moore calls "a mysticism of the soul" when I immerse in the water. Or, perhaps Mary Oliver's moving poem "The Real Prayers Are Not the Words, but the Attention that Comes First" sums up my sentiments.
From within the Ocean's embrace I reach towards the dawn sky with hope and the promise of the new day, 30 Nov 2020 Photo: @dawn_swimmer
I realized the way I interact with the water is my own form of spiritual communication, how I express my hopes, gratitude, connection and awareness of being part of something larger than myself. Later, in the middle of a sleep-challenged night, I lay in bed reflecting on the deep peace of the lagoon and how satisfying it had been to swim up its outlet to the sea, a completely new interaction. I desired in that moment of restlessness to feel that inner tranquility once again wash over me. I conjured the lagoon in my mind's eye and out of the inner darkness surfaced the phrase: I breathe with the Earth and the water is my prayer. And, I felt renewed peace.

When I woke up I wrote the following prayers/intentions/hopes/desires. If I were to put words to these mystical watery sensations and expressions, maybe I could make the words real and call them my prayers and hopes for others to read and reflect upon. And, as I wrote, I thought of all the other wild swimmers I feel connected to around the world and I wanted to make this a collective, collaborative poem and prayer. Even though I typically immerse alone, I know that I am not alone in my inexplicable call to the water and I have felt that love and connection across the vast globe through mysterious watery channels of ocean, river, rain and lake.
Waterfall simply overwhelms the senses in a marvelous way pushing all thoughts downstream. Nov 2021Photo: JPP

Water connects. Water feelings go beyond borders. Wild swimmers must pay attention and be present to immerse safely. Out of that blessed awareness, even if brief, important doorways open to inner and outer connection. Lovers of cold, wild waters go into the liquid chill deliberately and must arrest their attention, go still and inevitably find a new dimension to forge intention and provoke reflection. I released this idea out into the IG wild swimming community in Dec 2021 and received many contributions which I am delighted to share now, finally, in August 2022. Thank you for being part of The Water is My Prayer

The Water is My Prayer: Collective Wild Swimmer Poem
By @dawn_swimmer (Spain) & Wild Swimmers from Around the World

 

May it hold and buoy me when I sway and fall wrapping me in its forgiving embrace.

May joy be my favorite stroke as I glide through river, ocean, stream or lagoon.

May it bring me flow when I want to fight.

May it help me find myself when I am lost.

May I be like water and always find a way even when doubt threatens to drown me.

May it thrill and awe me and fill me with overflowing gratitude.

May Lagoon's silence and peace fill me with stillness.

May I be patient like eternal River on its long journey to the sea.

May I be wise, bountiful and ruthless like great Ocean to do what must be done.

May I be carefree and surrendering like Waterfall as it trusts and lets go into the unknown.

May I simply be water - adaptive, flowing, flexible, soft yet determined, unapologetic for being what it is - as water is itself……

I breathe with the Earth and the water is my prayer.
@dawn_swimmer

Bathed in the immensity of creation - 30 Dec 2021   Photo: JPP
Wild Swimmers Speak: The Water is My Prayer

May the water that gives life be gentle with me. Keep me away from the whirlpools, eddies and rips in the sea.

May I be mindful in my search, in my journey to be, of dangers that lurk, of depths I can't see.

May I be blessed with senses to hear when it speaks and not risk myself when my addictive soul seeks.
@maidinnewquay (UK)

May I eventually dissolve into you.
@al.tar_ritual (Italy)

May water, either fresh or sweet, find and wend its way deeper into her oceanic self!
@d.duende (USA)

May the water take me to my other place, where worries cease and are replaced with the joy of life.

@disy_do_andmark (UK)

When I swim, the seagulls are my eyes, the fish are my ears, the waves are my hair, and the monsters at the bottom are my thoughts.
@go.kulikov (Russia)

Wild swimming offers opportunities for intense connection with nature's bounty, a symphony of sensations waiting to be experienced by those who are open to seeing, hearing, feeling and touching that which always surrounds us. July 2021  Photo: SPF
May I bask in you, breathe freely in you, be tumbled into joy by you.
@seasoulblessings (UK)

May it softly kiss our skin with its cold sweet embrace, wonder in our wild hearts and sweet play.
@feels_like_fientje (Belgium)

May I always have the opportunity to bathe my soul in your arms and come out feeling like a queen.
@saltwaterloveranne (UK)

May I always feel your pulse – calm, excitement, fear, respect.
@thewaytothesea (Canada)

May I trust myself as much as I trust the water to hold me.
May I know when to swim upstream and when to turn and flow with the current.

@wildswimmingwoman (UK)

Lagoon embraces my hand in its mystery of light and fertile ochre tones. Dec 2021  Photo: @dawn_swimmer

May I shed the layers of unworthiness placed on my shoulders by society and drop them at the water's edge, so that I may step into the embrace of the sea and return to myself, emerging again with a renewed understanding of my true worth and connectedness to the earth.
@thesaltsisterhood (UK)

May I see my reflection in the water and understand my true self.
@nakedtruths.au (Australia)

Immersed in this powerful force of nature, I find solace and comfort in its embrace, a comfort unlike any other, one that allows me to be my true self, FREE
@mglaveen (Quebec)

May I keep finding the peace and confidence I never found in my childhood home.
@ursulabach (Denmark)

May we quench our own and help others learn to quench their thirsts in life.
@cold_water_transformations (USA)

Below the surface the water spellbinds, July 2020   Photo: @dawn_swimmer
I hope the waters always call to me as a friend; Come on over for a quiet visit.
@wildswimmingns (Canada)

May I never take you for granted and feel as graceful and free in every aspect of my life as I do when I'm with you.
@polariah (South Africa)

May the water envelope me when nothing else feels safe.
@imagnocean (UK)

May the water clear my mind when the world above is chaos.
@adhd_frue, @linns_reise (Norway)

As I am mainly made of water, I connect with all water elements – sea, rain, ice, river and ocean. May the water meet my inner waters and reunite in harmony.

@alvarorodriguez_cabinetmaker (UK) 

Plays of light in the clear depths of the magical Womb Pool. Water helps make the inchoate visible. July 2020  Photo: @dawn_swimmer
May the water bring peace and energy.
@fenancy (Belgium)

I believe in you because deep down I believe in myself – you flow through my body, heart and mind setting me on fire from within. And when that flow abates I will return to your arms and rest awhile.
@bumblebarnes (UK)

May the water bathe my soul and cleanse my body.
@funtime_68 (UK)

May the water tell me her stories.
@screens_and_tasted_parallels (USA)

May the cold water always have the power to bring my breath and awareness deeply back into my core, returning me to stillness and authentic being.

@selkie_rose (UK) 

River reminds us that water always finds a way, 2015   

Water: its depths, my sanctuary.
@milongaearl (Canada)

May the water give me the strength to push through my ups and downs, like waves in the sea; recharging on every crest.
@thebrightside_of_mylife

May the water make your body shine.
@C_mcgovern28 (USA)

May she bring me always back to the essence of who I am even as I release myself into her embrace.
@katieandcrow (UK)

Water: Take me I'm yours. Take me, we're one.
@usamahoulila (USA)

Feeling infinite in the aqua expanse, Menorca, Oct 2021   Photo: JPP
May my mind be free of negative thoughts and heal in the waters I trust with my heart.
@cheryl.mcv_ (UK)

In water there is incarnate wholeness and cleansing grace…I exhale in the holy embrace.
@tribalswimmer (USA)

May the water hold me when I swim backstroke relaxing, breathing and feeling going under the water surface with less air in my lungs.
@matthhenry167 (Germany)

May the water allow me to lose myself along with my fears and anxieties.
@scottish_dipping (UK)

May the water bless thy soul.

@snikt1974 (USA) 

River offers wisdom on flow, resistance and constant change, May 2021    Photo: JPP
As the winter sun sparkles again, the ocean tide and the ocean glows so bright around the mermaids beneath the beautiful dark deep sea. May the smiles of cold water swimmers become so bright that they lighten and brighten up everyone's day.

Submerged under the deepest, cold dark ocean, I am overcome as the ocean becomes my warm, cozy blanket that holds me perfectly. May my body become agile with every movement I make and become alive full of joy and purity.
@ocean_calls_swimming (UK)

May the water stay out of my boat and remain in my heart
@instaadamedje (Netherlands)

Blessings as fluid as water, ever flowing, transformed by shafts of light illuminating the beauty of the deep – look and see, see and be amazed!
@lynnorthamart (South Africa)

May the water cool me when I'm hot and bothered.
@crazymerman2 (UK)

May the sea soothe you, the air purify you and the sand support you. 

@willgood1000 (UK)

After heavy rain! 30 Dec 21    Inspired by: May the water stay out of my boat and remain in my heart @instaadamedje (Netherlands)

And may the waters feel blessed by this existence who loves you, unconditionally, every time I humbly immerse in you.
@angela_lavilla_canedo (UK)

May I respect and honor Water's presence in my life, surrounding me, within my body's every cell, and never take the power of that relationship for granted.
@fruitionlab (USA)

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this poem. Since it is collaborative and open, anyone who feels inspired to add their own water prayer, please add in Comments below. 

Exposed and vulnerable yet relaxed and open, I allow the water to hold me in its chill, healing embrace as I connect within and without. 31 Jan 2021   Photo: SPF

Reading of The Water Prayer

On the Winter Solstice, 21 Dec 2021, I hosted a LIVE IG solstice ritual by creating a virtual Water Circle around a tide pool next to the Sea, a place to grieve the losses from the last year, celebrate the joys and lessons learned and then release the prayers, hopes and intentions for the new season and year. Using a jar of lights (too much wind for the candles! – not all good ideas manifest as one envisions), my dear daughter and I read these prayers into the longest night, the night that gives way to light and lengthening days even as it heralds the commencement of the cold winter. As I read, I sat in a tide pool. The ebbing tidal waters occasionally wrapped their cool hands around my waist, the Sea sharing in the moment and helping to carry away the prayers into the nourishing depths to be honored. Enjoy this live reading and your own journey into the water. May peace be with you wherever you are. 

Photo Credits: All photos are property of Swimmingatdawn.com. For use or reproduction contact me:   or @dawn_swimmer  Thank you to my dear family members who took the images of me in the water.
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