“It starts with my mother, of course. She was and is terrified of water – not even toe dunking for her. As a child she wouldn’t allow me to be around any bodies of water, even swimming pools, because of HER fear. I don’t know how it transpired, but she put me in group swimming lessons when I was about five years old. I was afraid. I was taught to be fearful and now I needed to overcome my brainwashing. It didn’t work. I remember crying when the frustrated instructor told my mother they COULDN’T teach me because I couldn’t be taught. Devastated is what I was. Determined to swim, I sort of learned, but I’m not strong and I would drown if left alone because my neck would give out from holding my face out of the water. I felt hope when I read about your mission. I am 51 years old and it is my destiny to become a strong swimmer.”
Seriously?! How could I NOT work with Cindy? I’ve talked about passing fear on to children. It makes sense and I doubt parents even realize what they’re doing, but Cindy has been uncertain about water her entire life! Even at 51, she told me, “I would drown.” With my sweet cousins, Daylen (left) and Mallory (right), in tow, Cindy and I finally met to prove that instructor wrong.
She was so excited to swim, which of course made working with her extra enjoyable. She was 100% present. I was 100% present. Even my cousins that were taking photos and video were 100% present. We were all there for one reason- to fulfill Cindy’s destiny. Let’s just say there were a lot of high fives during that 60 minutes.
One thing Cindy and I discussed was how intimidating a public pool can be. The Plunge, where we did the lesson, is a huge, indoor pool. At any given time, there can be a lot of people ‘swimming.’ She talked about how embarrassing it can be if you’re the only one that doesn’t know how. So, I told her to look around, I mean REALLY look around and observe her surroundings. Very few people were actually horizontal, with their face in the water.
“See those aqua joggers in the deep end?” I asked. “They’re not swimming. They’re exercising in the water, but they’re not swimming. See the people doing water aerobics in the shallow end? They’re not swimming either. They’re in the pool getting a great workout, but they’re bouncing off the bottom. Their hair isn’t even wet. Those kids that are swimming- they can touch the bottom of the pool. They are putting their feet down and standing up to breathe. I’ll bet most of the people in this pool can’t actually swim.”
That was enough for Cindy. It was all about being horizontal and on top of the water. She proved that swim instructor wrong. But more importantly, she proved to herself that it could be done. And in just one hour! Even if it was 45 years later. Look what she had to say after the lesson…
“I have gained so much confidence in that one hour with you. Right after the swim, I felt taller, elated, and excited… My relationship has changed with the water. I’m swimming with my face in the water!!! Yesterday when I got in the pool, I noticed out of 5 people only one was swimming – I’ll bet the others couldn’t swim, like you said? I would definitely recommend the Face in Water program. I felt embarrassed my entire life at my inability to swim well. There are others just like me. You should make T-shirts, get your family and participants advertising for you. 🙂 My relationship with water now? It is in and near water that I feel at peace. I was always in love with the water, now I’m committed to be at home in it.”
Check out Cindy’s video: