The effervescent Kate Callaghan – a former I Quit Sugar teamster before decamping to New Zealand – shared this Helen Keller quote on Instagram this week.
It was the caption to my weekend. As I’ve written before, I need a bit of physical risk to be truly happy. I always have. I’d been in a stressed-out, sleep-deprived, flat funk all week. I had to shake things up. So, as the shark helicopters circled, I swam across Bondi – about 1km end-to-end.
I was the only person out there, well past the surfers. About halfway across I was overwhelmed by a sense of my own vulnerability. With none of the distractions – noise, humans, things to see clearly – this became very apparent. It was just me, my bikini, goggles and cap and nothing but the vast ocean supporting me. It was “outright exposure”, and yet with every stroke I felt more and more supported by the vastness.
And this opened up my heart space. Which aided me to swim swift and smooth. Which opened my heart further…and so on.
And this is the thing:
you have to plant yourself in exposed, vulnerable circumstances to experience true joy.
For me, I have to do it physically to remind myself of this fact. I expose myself physically because doing so primes me for the far tougher version: emotional exposure.
For what is life but an awkward, messy, vibrant experiment in teetering on the edge of potential. It’s on this pinhead that we can pivot onto great things.
For what is joy but being heart-openingly vulnerable, and surviving it. Unbridled joy is the “it all makes sense” satisfaction of risking exposure, but finding yourself entirely supported by life. It’s this conflation – of risk and support – that makes you feel the oneness. Right?
“Avoiding danger is no safer than outright exposure.”
Love your thoughts…please share away.