004: morning dip

10 degrees, 6 mins 
by JR

I wrote in my journal last night; “MORNING DIP”

So when I woke up at 7.10am and rolled back over to snooze, the thought of jumping in a bucket of cold water was a distant dream. 

After a 10 minute snooze, the memory grew larger and despite my body wanting the warmth of my body, something in my head felt wise enough to tell me that I’d benefit from submerging my body in cold water to start the day. Something in my heart urged me to get my swimmers on. 

I trudged downstairs, top off, swim shorts and flip flops on, in my head a bit - worried less about the cold of the water that I’m getting used to, more worried about the cold of the air on my body and if Jim next door will see me and think I’m mad.

My towel gets thrown on the floor in the kitchen by the mat and I’m nipping outside now. I’m not slow, present or mindful. I’m in a rush to get in the cold water, and get out feeling good. 

My flip flop won’t come off. 

It’s cold. I’m cold. Why am I getting into a bucket of cold water at 7.30am?

I feel it with my fingers, bad idea, my fears are confirmed - it’s definitely cold. 

Ok, no time for thinking, or breathing, two hands on the sides and I’m lowering myself in. 

My heart rate rises, breath is taken away, I take two inhales in quick succession. Too short, too sharp. 

Now I have to focus so that I can settle in, or else this isn’t going to be very enjoyable. 

I take a big deep breath. Then a long one out. Same again. Long in, long out. I soften my muscles, let go. Let go of the tension. Don’t resist. 

Don’t resist the cold, it’s cold and that’s ok. I can handle it. My body is strong, my body is capable. I’ve done this before, I’m going to be ok. 

I’m there now. I’ve dropped in. I can see the rain bouncing off the water like a drum. I can see the dew on the grass in the garden. I can hear birds. I see a solitary bird fly over head. 

My body starts to turn on. Skin tightens and goosebumps appear. Heat starts to generate in my chest. This is what I came here for, this is the feeling I love. 

I feel cold. 

I feel powerful. 

My body takes over from my anxious mind, “it’s ok, we’ve got this” I just keep breathing, but not too intentionally now. My heart rate has dropped. 

I feel still. 

The world slows down, I slow down. I’m not rushing any longer. I can’t stay here forever, I don’t want to, but a minute feels longer than it did before.

I push myself out and rush back inside too quickly. I wish I’d have savoured that feeling in my body for a bit longer, instead I’m rubbing it with a towel. You can’t get it right every time. 

Still, in the warmth inside my house I feel grateful, I feel alive. My body feels big, strong and I can feel parts of my body that I only recently knew had sensations - I’d never really felt the sides of my hips before. 

I am alive. I am human. I have a body. I am outdoors. I am in the cold. I am in the water. 

I am here. 

That’s why I do this. 

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