Since I arrived in Jaffa there is hardly a day that I don't go to the sea. Some days I start my morning with a swim in the sea. I measured the distance along the beach that I swim parallel to, and it turns out that I swim about 1.5 km two or three times a week for the last 3 weeks. Swimming in the sea changes from day to day. Sometimes the sea is flat without waves like it was at the beginning of the week and I even got to see a stingray on the beaches of Tel Aviv for the first time!
And sometimes there are small or big waves. On days when there are big waves, I try to swim anyway, even though it's a bit scary to swim in the open sea when the sea is wild. I noticed over the last 3 weeks that it became more difficult for me to get up in the morning and more difficult to leave the house. I move slowly and it takes more energy to get out. Today I got to the beach and saw the height of the waves from a distance and I almost turned around and went back home. I told myself that I was crazy to swim in the sea with such waves and that it was not very smart. Something told me to continue with the plan and try to swim and in the worst case I'll turn around and come back if it doesn't work.
I started swimming and found myself swimming far from the shore to pass the point where the waves break. I felt the currents pulling me and the waves that came towards me felt so high even though they didn't break on me. Suddenly I felt the fear again and for the first time I gave myself a moment to be with it. I suddenly noticed that all the other times that fear came up in the middle of the sea, I bypassed it so that I wouldn't have to deal with it. I convinced myself that I was fine and that I could swim well and that there was nothing to worry about and that I would surely return safely and so I continued without really allowing the fear to be. And today I felt it. I felt I was allowed to give it space. I felt how scared I was and that my body is full of this fear. Something changed in that moment because I didn't bypass the fear. The body slowly relaxed and when I continued to swim I felt fun and pleasure that I hadn't felt in a long time.
I looked back and realized that every time I resisted the fear, the body created protection and resistance around the experience. The more resistance there was to what was happening inside, the more resistance there was around leaving the house and the desire to return to the sea and feel the fear again. I realized that maybe this happens in other sports training as well. that the bypass and the attitude that forces myself to do something and not feel the pain, fear or difficulty creates difficulty and resistance with exactly the same intensity that will not allow me to get up in the morning so easily. I asked myself how it would feel to live in a world where one is allowed to feel the fear and the pain and the difficulty in the body and all that is needed is to give it space. I realized that there are other places in my life that I want to allow fear to be. To admit it, to feel it and perhaps in this way also to release it. The phrase that kept coming up is "You have to feel it to heal it".
So with this reminder I wish us all a happy Jewish new year full with a deeper connection to ourselves and to an inner state in which we can honestly feel whatever is alive in us. May we be kind and compassionate to all the parts within ourselves and allow fear to exist when it comes to visit. Amen.