Often when I have a big scary issue in my life that needs my attention, I find the safest place to work on it is in the morning when I do my daily meditation.
At that time (and only at that time), as I’m tucked up into my covers and quite literally buried under layers of blankets and pillows, do I typically feel safe and protected enough to tackle the super-scary closet monsters inside my mind and heart.
This morning, as I pondered my fear (phobia, even) around dating, intimate partnerships, romance, marriage (eek), the image popped into my head of a big cold pool.
It looked very inviting, but the moment I got close I realized the water was quite chilly!
In that moment, I realized that I have all kinds of different methods for entering that cold pool. I also realized that how I get in is all dependent on context.
For example, let’s say that cold pool represents a new creative project, like, say, making a music CD, writing a book, founding a nonprofit, rescuing a box turtle in danger and giving him a permanent home.
In these instances, it is safe to say I cannonball into that pool at full throttle – so fast I often don’t even stop first to check that I am diving into the safe deep end before I launch!
But then, for instance, let’s say that cold pool represents a new friendship, or (even worse/better), a new friendship where physical chemistry and the potential for long-term partnership is also present.
Here, you won’t see any hint of cannonball behavior.
I inch into the pool toe by toe, warming up the feet, then the ankles, then the calves. After half an hour or so, I might be in up to my waist. If we have all day, I may eventually go for a swim. And even if I do, it will likely be a very short swim before I’m back out again and heading for the warm towel and the even warmer shower.
It just depends. My various entry/exit strategies for coping with that pool look so different in different situations that sometimes I can feel like I don’t even know myself from one day to the next.
There is an impetuous, impulsive, sometimes reckless person inside me, and also a super-cautious pool safety instructor inside me. And there are plenty of additional shades of grey in between those two extremes.
Plus it likely goes without saying these different parts of me are not that compatible.
What seems most vital here, however, is that I know this about myself – about how I tend to respond to life’s various “cold pool” invitations in different situations and contexts. And developing the ability to communicate what I know about myself in these various scenarios to any other parties that may be involved seems quite important too.
Today’s Takeaway: How do you typically enter a cold pool? Full-force? Not at all? Toe by toe? Does your method vary depending on what that cold pool may represent? I’d be so curious to hear your experiences!