It was muggy this afternoon when I went out for my run, muggy for Oregon anyway. I headed into the locker room overheated, sweaty, and pressed for time.
[This is starting off like some kind of bad erotic short story, but I promise that's not where it's headed.]
I really, really, REALLY dislike cold water. When I was in middle school, there was a polar bear swim at my summer camp, and on that cool, summer morning, the icy water took my breath away when I jumped in. I thought I was going to drown. Ever since then, I have not been able to stand cold water: showers, pools, the ocean. Even when I lived in a tropical rain forest, I heated up my water for bucket baths.
My dislike of cold water comes from a place of fear borne out of that summer camp experience. As I stood with my hand under the water in the locker room shower stall today, waiting for it to heat up, I thought about that summer day, and I thought about fear. I thought about how I ask Maddie and Riley to do new things and take new risks every day, to embrace that fear of the unknown or to push beyond a known fear to see if it can be overcome.
I turned the dial back, as cold as it would go, and I got in.
It took my breath away for a moment, but then it felt refreshing. I talk often about not wanting to live in a place of fear, and although this is such a small thing, I realized that I don't always put my money where my mouth is when it comes to testing my own limits. I'm often presented with opportunities to face my emotional fears, but have fewer chances to do so on a physical level. I want to be alert for more instances like this, habits and behaviors that are not damaging, but that are fear-based, and be open to change, to new experience. To fearlessness.