Four years ago, I was pregnant with my second baby, her name would become Sally. She lived and died inside me. She was here for a short time, for a big lesson.

I had been in love with her father, but he had not loved me. I had a broken heart, and a broken mind. I already had a son, at this stage he was only 5. His father had also not loved me. My son is my world, my everything. He was my guiding light, and to this day, still is. Motherhood has taught me great lessons. Lessons I would not have learnt otherwise. I have carried grief around on my back for many years. It has weighed me down, it has shortened my breath, curved my spine, and hurt my mind.

I found the sea a few years ago, I fell upon the Wim Hoff method of breathing one cold winters day on Portmarnock beach, north county dublin. A sunrise swim which would be the turning point for me and the direction my life would take. Its been four years since I delivered a small baby into this world sleeping, and four years discovering, exploration and learning.

The cold water swimming hit me like nothing else ever did. It brought me to the fore. It stopped my mind from rambling and ruminating. It brought me into the present moment. It brought me into the now. It stopped me from being stuck in my sadness, my loss and my broken heart. And instead taught me to accept all of life’s challenges as gifts, gifts I have been lucky to now teach to others in my work.

The moment I step into the water I am at peace with myself, my mind is quiet. I feel at one. I am truly present. There is only now. I cross my hands over my chest, and breathe, in a long slow breath, out a long slow breath, repeat. My grief and sorrow have melted away, I am grateful in that moment, grateful to the wild, open seas for giving me a chance to heal.

The sea has taught me many lessons. I had carried a backpack of shame my whole life, I had carried guilt and I had carried pain. The pain wore me down. I moved to the West of Ireland just over one year ago, and it has freed me. The cold Atlantic seas opened their arms to myself and my son.

We accepted, we embraced and we dived in. The seas are wild here, they are sometimes angry, sometimes quiet and sometimes unfamiliar. They are non-judgemental and ever changing. I sit and I breathe in whatever they bring. I allow the seas to teach me how to accept myself as I am. I allow the cold water to re-set my nervous system. Re-align me and re-group me. I am open now, more open than I ever was before, open to all the teachings that nature has for me. I walk barefoot where I can. I stop to watch the birds. I listen to the rivers.

Nature does not judge, it does not think, it just is……..nature is my biggest teacher, the seas are my toughest challenge. I don’t resist, instead I embrace, and hope to help others as they too embrace the true beauty of themselves, just as they are’ perfectly imperfect’.

 

Alannah