“A mind that is stretched by new experiences can never go back to its old dimensions.”
– Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

I have not written anything in a quite a while. There has been so much to digest over these past few years and indeed, my mind and my patience have been stretched; perhaps to the point of feeling that there are not enough words (and sometimes patience) in the universe to fill it.

It is hard to distil it all down into a few paragraphs, and I apologize for not having accomplished that very well here. But when every corner of the human psyche has been and continues to be revealed, and the collective mind (regardless of resistance) is being stretched to such an extent, being ‘too wordy’ seems forgivable.

So here goes.

Here I am, craving an undiluted experience, one which won’t ‘try to convince me’ it is good or good for me: It will just be.

I do not want something that will insist itself upon me and then subversively punish me for not submitting to its unilateral design.

I do not want something that needs editing, vetting, or sussing out. I do not want something obfuscating, or which makes promises but never delivers. I do not want something that constantly reminds me of the mistakes I am making, or have made, or all the ways I or my work is inadequate.

I need something that frankly, I struggle to define.

I know whatever it is I crave is intangible and immeasurable. In my searches, I came up with this: I crave to know how to bring the matters of Love and Trust back into the world – how to truly stretch the mind – and then, to bond more deeply, through action, with this invisible super glue called Love.

I needed and continue to need something Super Natural.

I crave something involving pure sensations, with minimal mind chatter, boredom, doubt, fear or insecurity, which will act like a cancellation wave to all low vibration distractions. I needed and continue to need something so intense it would and will shock me back into myself, and once there, further defibrillate my senses into new dimensions of feeling, gratitude, satisfaction, health, wisdom and love.

I was and am looking to unify and merge with what I consider to be the Ancient Holy essence of ‘no lie and no try’.

That scratches my itchy brain. That was what I craved immersion in: The extraordinary mystery.

Enter ‘The Iceman’. For those of you who are not familiar with Wim Hof, I invite you to make his acquaintance. A most intriguing man, he chose to transform his crushing grief (the suicide of his wife) into vitality and joy, and by doing so, accomplished what had been previously thought to be ‘physically impossible’. Here is a video of him walking Jordan and Mikhaila Peterson through his breathing technique, and a video interview between him and tennis champion, Novak Djokovic.

Wim Hof demonstrates in real time, the magic of the mind and of transmutation itself. I decided to follow in his inspiring footsteps and began dipping my feet into something I was both entirely uncomfortable and relatively unfamiliar with: Cold.

This was not easy for me. I have Multiple Sclerosis and typically, my right leg feels as if it is submerged in a ‘too big for me’ rubber boot filled with icy slush. If stress is bad, this sensation creeps further and further up my body, resulting in a loss of feeling altogether. This ‘short circuiting’ stems from damaged myelin sheaths and nerves, and feels as if it comes from the inside of my bones but has no specific point of origin; no ‘place’ where I can just rub it back to feeling and warmth. It is very strange and hard to live with.

I did not relish the idea of stepping into very cold water, and potentially submersing my whole body in this ‘no feeling’ feeling. It made little sense to do so. But I thought, maybe if I choose to enter this realm, my systems might receive something of a recharge or reboot. Maybe my choice to do this would make a difference in my outcome. Having choice is fundamental to being human, after all. Without it, we are not really free.

As for my outcome, my choice to enter this new, cold dimension has indeed had a massive and powerful impact on my spirit, mind and body, in that order.

Every time I step into the water, a new but familiar, shockingly distilling set of sensations arises. I sense an unfolding of layers; as if a doorway to a mysterious path has manifested. It is cold in there, but it is also so much more than that.

There’s no lie in there. There is no try in there. There is just me and the pure, clear sensations of this perpetually moving water medium; nothing else exists when I’m out there. The cold is true. The cold is truth. The cold is exactly what it presents itself to be, and it asks nothing of me.

There exists just me and the water, in a strangely mesmerizing relationship, where the flickeringly thin and thick layers of it are as sheeted and limitless as my mind is becoming (as all minds are, when they are unfolded).

There is no wanting to be elsewhere. There exists just me, watching and feeling my feet move, abundantly happy that I can. Feeling my feet touching the sand through the water – seeing this through the wobbly diffraction of the clear water on calm days – until numbness takes over and I cannot feel much at all, there is just me, seeing the dance of the sun in the water. There exists just me, merging with something much bigger than me.

On days like today when the air is cold and the water is big, I can float in her, letting the waves bob me around like kelp. I can let go of control because she’s in control. I can just float in this powerful medium, where magical things happen; where poetry flows, like the words of Atticus: “Holding her was never enough. I needed to melt her into me, to mix our colors like paint, to fuse our atoms and make us one— but that as well would never be enough.”

Well, to me, it is. I cannot hold the ocean, but she sure holds me. It feels as if I melt into her and our energies mix and our atoms fuse and we become one. And indeed, that is enough.

Every day in the water, I become like water. Moving, still, fluid, not trying to be anything I simply am not. And this process amazes me. I am amazed that I am here. I am amazed that I have not been crushed by the many things that could have crushed me in the old and even cold dimensions. I am amazed by the ocean’s effortless power to bring me into her fold; to allow me to feel and sense instead of think! I am astonished that I don’t feel electrical shocks from the inside when inside the water, but instead, an electrifying cold from the outside, as if indeed, it is rebooting me. Connecting with me: To me, through me, as me.

I am still not sure if it’s my imagination or not, but after doing this for months, and staying in for up to an hour, the sensation of cold is always replaced by a feeling of pleasant warmth. I suppose this could be hypothermia setting in, but acclimatization is a real thing. It works the same way as desensitization, only in the case of cold water therapy, as far as I can tell, it doesn’t desensitize: It re-sensitizes.

Walking or swimming back and forth in it, breathing in and out in a ‘circle’ pattern, brings me right back to my Self; into the warmest parts of my heart. When I exit, I feel nothing extra, nothing trying, nothing lying, nothing dying; just pure stillness and movement in being.

I cannot live in the ocean, unfortunately. I am not a fish. And I notice now that MS flare ups occur when I do not attend to my morning ritual – cold water walking. I only miss my visits when I have no choice but to attend to other matters, but the cold ocean has taught me that my warm efforts are appreciated and worthwhile: That I AM making a difference; that when I am in there, praying for strength, courage, peace, balance and harmony for all beings, in and for all dimensions, all dimensions echo back.

Today, I asked her if she had anything to impart to me. I heard back: Remember that what you anticipate is only that: An anticipation or an idea of what will be. Whatever anxiety you might feel from ‘what it might be like’ is as real as any idea, and reality is not the same thing as ideas plucked from the possibility realms.

What merges ideas with reality is the fact that everything feels the vibrational effect of our actions. As examples, when I stroll through the water in love, or pick up garbage, or give warm greetings to all – due to the Nature of quantum entanglement – everything feels the effects of it, whether I notice or not. Same thing goes for walking around in hate or fear, leaving garbage on the ground, or being an asshole: Everything feels it. Our actions reverberate and they do matter.

We matter, and since matter is just energy in another form, we energy.

The ocean and patterned consequences remind me that eating good food, drinking clean water, engaging in good conversation and human connection, getting exercise, absorbing sunshine, taking water walks, earthing and meditating are all great ways to nourish – arguably – the most important relationship of all: That with health and vitality. The health of the relationship with Self, others and surroundings – with that which only and genuinely wishes for us to be optimally healthy, in all ways – is here for us, always. We have only to recognize it.

The ocean has taught me how to remove the distractions. When they are gone, one cannot help but feel what exists underneath them. The Undiscovered Self: Remembering the mystery and the super natural state of being.

Beyond a doubt, my entire world has shifted for the better since entering the cold ocean. She has taught me more about patience, discipline, healing, sensation, tolerance, gratitude, humility, truth, purity, balance, harmony, strength, courage and love. To immerse oneself in her is to find much more than one’s self; it is to discover that ideas of self are not what self is.

In my experience, who we are is not created or defined by attempts to identify or delineate ourselves. In fact, this only fragments us further. Who we are is what we are when the distractions and impure influences are silenced, and the poetry in our hearts pours forth; where “everything passes and only the truth remains.” ― Fyodor Dostoevsky

Thanks for reading.

Photo Credits

Photos courtesy of Mary Rose

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