Verse Three

Annette excercisingAlthough I’ve spent most of my life in Kansas, the most at home and at peace I ever feel is near large bodies of water. So, it doesn’t  surprise me my three most transformative adventures in this quest have involved water. The first time I saw an ocean, a tremendous weight lifted from my shoulders. I had such a distorted sense of my size that it took the sight of an ocean’s vastness to grant visual confirmation there was actually something bigger than me.

I could relax. I felt that same divine relaxation with water walking and then with kayaking. The former increased my strength and endurance and the latter buoyed my confidence and bravery. Which leaves one more water adventure to share. The chances of me actually doing this third thing were too far-fetched for it to even make it to my Things I Will Do At Least One Hundred Pounds From Now list. The third thing was skinny dipping. Yes, as in swimming with nada, zilch, nary a stitch of clothing on. My tremendous insecurities, and the lack of a private place to launch this adventure, made the chances of it ever happening incredibly slim to virtually none! It rarely crossed my mind, which was just as well because I was a woman still waging body-image battle. Then, as life and fate would have it, once again, trusted friends found a way to ferry my skinny dipping idea to a reality. Looking back, there is a synchronicity in how my  water experiences built upon one another—how each one enabled/empowered me to do the next one.

Last summer, on a moonlit night, with stars bearing witness, in dear friends’ gorgeous pool, I swam naked. Initial self-consciousness gave way to delighted giggling which gave way to permission to let go—to relax. What followed was a freedom, a lightness and a belonging that I don’t recall ever feeling before. That sense of freedom, lightness and belonging left an impact which has stayed with me—fully clothed on dry land. The very first movements a body makes are in water wearing only skin. It makes sense to me that swimming in my birthday suit brought about a rebirth. I swam and I delivered myself from yet another thing I considered myself too fat to do.

Many times improving health is thought of in terms of what we eat and how much we exercise. What I’m learning is there are experiences beyond food and activity I must look toward to totally FIT—to totally Find Inner Truth. Otherwise, I may wind up lighter, but not necessarily better.

In many ways, water is a symbol of the situations we immerse ourselves in– how each situation is impacted by our mere presence. I think I held the fear/lie that my unclothed presence might sully the water. It did not. It’s the bare truth, a naked fact—we are, in our essence, totally worthy, entirely acceptable and utterly lovely.

This quest continually requires me to reveal myself in ways I would have not have thought possible. Each adventure has begun with some degree of fear/uncertainty and required a greater degree of trust/bravery.  Just a thought—are there things you need to become bare to in order to know yourself? Who/what represents a safe place for that to happen?

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Just Shy of the Stars small Descants for a Daughter small A Net Full of Hope by Annette Hope Billings

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