Wild Waters – healing depression and other ailments.

I was happily swimming in the sea just yesterday morning, I may spend up to 10 minutes in the water before I give way to the urge to return to my comforts.

After nearly three years of cold water training I can with great confidence share the benefits of this practice as I have experienced it, I have met many people now who take to the wild waters during the cold winter months and in these meetings I have come across many different approaches, tips, do’s and don’t do’s. Due to the diversity, rather than say my way is the right way, I am simply compelled to share my experience and it will contradict and agree with other peoples experience.

Your experience is a valuable experience and I do not feel it can be wronged or righted in any way, its yours, as we share we open ourselves up to learning and growing, I have little time for right or wrong and therefor champion every person who finds there way of flowing with the ebb and flow of the wild waters, if through sharing someone is inspired to take action or be curious to explore another path and maybe try something completely new then great, that is its intention.

When I first jumped into the wild waters of the sea nearly 3 years ago I was DEPRESSED, WEAK and LOST to name just a few states of being that I was experiencing.

This may come as a surprise, just recently someone commented on how positively I come across after I had disclosed to them some of life’s obstacles and challenges that I had faced.

I am no longer DEPRESSED or WEAK, but am always a little bit LOST :), that’s more to do with accepting the unknown quality of life than to do with the fear of being LOST.
I attribute the overcoming of these conditions and the huge improvement in my overall health and wellbeing to the WILD WATERS.
I owe her a lot, for sure breathing exercises, meditation, yoga and qi gong along with playing with family and friends have helped, but connecting deeper with nature has enriched these interactions with life and I usually practice Qi Gong before a dip so that my mind and being is calm before going in.

My focus and clarity have improved, my ability to master my emotions, to be aware of my emotional self is transformational, I no longer need to be concerned about the angry bear within because I simply go and dunk him into the sea, anger can’t penetrate the euphoria of the embrace with the wild waters.

My skin is healing, which for someone who has suffered since childhood with skin complaints this is a big thing, I have also experienced experiences that words cannot bring to life and do justice for so you will simply need to trust me that there is something waiting for all of us in the wild waters that will transform and change our perspective of ourselves, the world we live in and life as a whole.

I found my heart in the cold waters, I felt its thud against my chest, I felt its power reach out through my arms and extending into the abyss via my fingertips, the power of the heart can move mountains and heal our suffering.

Everything takes time, in that first year the amount of pain and suffering I went through is almost indescribable, however with perseverance, patience and belief one overcomes these obstacles and challenges, awakening to a new you and yet that you was always there, but it was hidden from view.

Diving into the wild waters is a way of cleaning the you you think you are and showing you a you that you truly are. Akin to maya the veil of illusion, the sea can and will if you give her enough time pull back the veil of illusion a layer at a time.

Simple but not easy, its a beautiful mix of pain and pleasure, thats cold training in a nut shell and through diving into the wild chasm of the sea or any body of wild water the weight of the depressive self will float away into the there after, it will float back to you and cloak itself around your shoulders, however each time you remove that cloak to the sea it comes back less of a burden on those shoulders of yours, eventually after enough time has past you will no longer put that cloak back on.

Give yourself time and find the love in each breaking wave as it moves your spirit and soul in a way only the sea knows how.

Sending you love from me and the sea.

Matt

Happy New Year 

I spent the new year morning in the sea,

I wake to the usual tug of the duvet and embrace of the pillow, I close my eyes willing sleep to come back knowing that it will be a solo swim today,

The sea raises her magnet to the sky aiming it in my direction and pulls me to her,

I find my clothes and pack my bags and off I go,

It’s grey sky’s with a slight drizzle, the wind is at a fair strength but not over bearing,

The tide is out, but she’s playful, I love these conditions and know straight away that soon I would be wading into those wild waters,

Clothes off swim shorts on and in I go,

She rushes towards me at speed, she slaps against my skin and splashes around my waist, I continue forward,

The waves rise higher so does my adrenaline,

I must stay present, if she takes me away on a high a crashing low will follow and yet one must embrace the play,

Rising high and diving under, swirling round and being engulfed by rapturous waves is exhilarating for the senses,

The starling murmeration sets off above me a floating ship riding its very on waves in the sky,

Time to return to shore, but first one must be grateful to this play of the sea and the elements,

This play will ride out for the rest of the year,

Happy new year everyone.

New Years Day in the Sea

Matt

Embracing the elements

It has been a curios exploration over the past year, it was about a year ago i came across the Ice Man, Wim Hof a man with a story and a story that lead him to explore himself in a way that appears crazy to others.

Well not crazy to me and his sharing has helped me over the year to essentially embrace the elements and accept them, which in turn allows me to accept me.

This time last year I was venturing into the cold winter sea and yep I was freezing my butt off, however I was determined to explore deeper within myself and hopefully gain greater insight into my potential, what I did not know then, is it is possible to be at ease with the cold, I need not loose all sensation in my fingers and toes and spend 45 minutes or so trembling and returning back to normal.

That was what Wim shared, that it’s possible to be at peace with the cold and it’s taken a year to fully appreciate and understand what it truly means to embrace and accept the elements.

When your in the mindset of training you unconsciously tense and contract your muscles which creates a resistance, hence we call weight training resistance training, however if you apply enough force or pressure to that resistance it will break and during that journey you will become physically strong and mentally strong, however you will also become stiff and stuck.

When training in the cold the resistance and inner tension rises fast and is obvious, once you have heated your body the tension you have within you is not so obvious, the benefit of being aware of it is this, you can begin to train your mind and body to let go of the resistance you have to the cold, when you do this your body and mind relax deeply similar to a meditative state, once this happens the warmth within you can freely circulate around the whole of your body and the cold is no longer a problem and more importantly you are longer a problem with you.

When you have resistance and tension the cold is a problem and you try and block it from being able to enter you, however if you soften and accept it then it moves freely and allows you to be you, it’s a strange and liberating experience.

This training has taught me a lot about how much tension I was holding onto and how deeply I can relax and yet be very strong and active at the same time.

I feel this training can be of benefit in many areas of a persons life, when I consider many ailments are stress related then the ability to deeply relax regardless of the external environment becomes a vital tool in healing and overal wellbeing.

To sit on the shore with a warm tea and watch the sunrise after a cold dip in the sea is a pleasure indeed.

To you all in great health.

Matt

A Crisp Morning – Training in the Cold

I awake at 5.35am, I do what most do as the alarm on my phone wakes me from my slumber, I press snooze, the hope of eternal comfort is present in that action of pressing snooze and yet the adventure that waits in the midst of that cold mornings chill is to great for me to remain snuggled.

When I’m up I’m an up kinda of person, this maybe an advantage I’m not sure it’s always been my operating system and so I have little to compare it to, however I see the struggle that others face upon waking and I know I do not share those same battles, me I’m ready, I could if absolutely required to run a marathon 5 minutes after getting out of bed and with absolutely no need for either coffee or breakfast, no gloating here I’m simply painting a picture of my waking state.

Hot chocolate with roasted dandelion root, cloves, chai spices and some molasses to sweeten, all prepped and ready in my flask for after my mornings cold training antics, there is nothing quite like the sensation of a warm liquid running through a chilled system to heat the core and get you back to balance, needless to say I never leave home without it.

Standing on the jetty as it protrudes into the sea with a stary sky above and a chill in the air similar to as if you were standing outside in a ski resort, whilst the world around you is asleep apart from the gentle lapping of the seas water upon the shore all is quiet and still, it is in these moments I loose my breath and thoughts.

I must focus inwards and focus using the medium of surrender and not force, I must calm my fears and explore my curiosity, my curiosity of being at complete ease with the cold. I work through a QI Gong practice and after I sit for three rounds of deep breathing, my hands always the coldest part of me take the most convincing that what I’m about to do is a good idea.

This morning I marry focus with determination and intention, I am determined and focused to embrace the cold sea with the intention of completely embracing and accepting all experiences and dissolving all resistance.

I am in my shorts and the soft breeze offers the first blow to my determined will, I hum loudly to channel heat energy through my core and chest and leave through my breath, I slow my breathing down and with it my heart rate. I step into the sea and sink into my hips holding horse stance for a minute or so, I roar at this point and focus on my internal fire and strength then I smile to release the tension, I slow my breath and ease into the cold calm sea.

It’s electrifying, it’s nerve rattling cold, it penetrates deeper and at an awesome pace than I had anticipated. My toes and fingers begin to feel numb and my whole body feels as if sandwiched between to beds of nails, but the gaze upon the red and orange rising sun and the shimmer of light upon the seas surface offered calm and warmth, I breathed in and as I breathe out I sink beneath the sea, the rush of cold around my head and down my back was both nerving and transcendent as if existing in another reality different to the one I’m normally in.

I stay close to the breath and maintain a slow rythmn, sensation surprisingly returns to my extremities and now I even begin to feel the pulse in both my liver and stomach and whilst this to is a nerving experience I also felt very powerful and comfortable and the more I relaxed the greater the energy I received and felt.

Returning to clothes is no easy feat and I must maintain this calm and focus, it’s all to easy at this point to get complacent. The key here is focus on nothing other than the small task your are doing at that moment, don’t stop with your task keep going and before you know it your dressed.

Once dressed the greatest battle with pain commences, on the one hand you have completed your training and you relax into your warm clothing, however as these scenarios combine your body goes through a sometimes unforgiving transition, as circulation returns and flow picks up the discomfort one feels can be very intense, I have stood in a warm shower for 10 minutes before to readjust, however now I’m practicing surrender and relaxation I have noticed my bodily functions have been either not affected at all or return back to normal much quicker than before.

Tea time, ahhhhhh, that magical moment, the sun has risen, the body is feeling amazing, the mind is awake, the soul invigorated and now that brown golden warm liquid runs from the tip of your tongue to your belly and dances the dance of pure ecstasy.

I have found you can force your self to overcome obstacles and challenges, but if you embrace them and go with the flow free from expectation and attachment then the journey is that little bit sweeter.

To you all in great adventure.

Matt

Comfort – a grand disillusion 

This may take some time to digest so make yourself comfy and empty your mind.

The pursuit of happiness could just as well be called the pursuit of comfort, we could also throw in security and safety if we wanted to, but let’s keep it simple and maintain our focus on comfort or the illusion of.

It was written somewhere that we often meet our destiny on the path we take to avoid it.

That being the case, why would we avoid our destiny? Others say that one must be brave enough to first hear there calling and then more so to act upon it. One man who recently experienced success in his art was asked how he foresaw this coming of his dream, he simply replied I visualise my destiny, then I’m brave enough to speak it and when the opportunity arises I take it.

It is easy for a critic to be critical of others work, but no one remembers the critic, it’s easy to doubt and it has been written; that those who believe it’s impossible should not get in the way of those making it possible.

The common theme being painted here is simple. If it’s worth doing it’s not going to be easy and the sooner you get to grips with that then the sooner you can move from your current place of inertia and towards your destiny.

Every morning I face a battle with comfort, my bed is comfy, the warmth that a bed offers is tempting, but when I overcome those temptations I rise and go on a daily life adventure to the sea.

Today she was stormy, the sky was full of stars and a rain cloud was moving in. She crashed her waves into the sea front with speed and power and yet as I watched in a meditative state everything slowed down, you could see the rise and fall, you could see the old receding wave join the new approaching wave, you could see the single drops of water flying through the air before it rejoins the sea.

Most people these days give in to the comfort of an ordinary life missing there calling to being extraordinary, everyday a new experience is awaiting those who are willing to put comfort to one side and embrace the uncomfortable. The more you do this, the greater you connect with yourself, others and nature.

The cold sea as it embraces your naked skin sends a surge of energy through you that is almost undefinable and unmatched by comparison, but one of the main lessons is that we are stronger than we think, we can have a greater experience of life than we are currently experiencing and its this that the greats discovered, they simply went against the grain and lived, the effort became effortless, so rather than seeking comfort we arrive at comfort from the complete opposite path; it finds us.

It’s not about disregarding comfort, I wore an all purpose weather jacket to the sea this morning to help with the high winds and rain, but it is about not becoming helplessly dependant on these comforts, it’s at this point of helpless dependence that the real problems occur.

Domesticated animals by there nature are not as strong or wise as there wild oppositites, they have no need to be, but what do they loose by not being as strong or wise? It’s worth noting humans are domesticated animals, we rely on our comforts so much that in the wild most would not survive.

This is not a good place to be in and it’s each persons responsibility to re-wild themselves, that is to encourage yourself to become adaptable to all environments regardless of perceived comfort.

This is important because the human being is a remarkable entity that’s true potential is being wasted. Being a fan of potential and wellbeing the more we connect with nature the greater our potential and wellbeing becomes.

Comfort is not in and of itself a bad thing and I’m not attempting to suggest that it is. I love many creature comforts, however potential, greatness, creativity, wellbeing, vision and I could keep going are found not through the comfort you perceive, but in finding the comfort within the uncomfortable.

When you can truly relax in stressful situations you are powerful, when the situation is off Center and yet you can remain focused and calm you are stepping into your power, when you are faced with an obstacle greater than you and you can approach it with truth and grace then you are getting close to be the greatest and most authentic version of yourself.

I believe we all have an artist within us and that our creativity is stifled by our inability to be at peace with who we are and where we find ourselves, we believe that things would be better and easier if certain factors were changed in our favour, this is our desire for comfort and dreams will not be achieved from this mind space.

Change the perspective and nothing is unachievable.

Go take a 3 minute cold shower then sit down and have a hot chocolate and notice how you feel. You may feel so alive after your cold shower that you don’t want the hot chocolate anymore.

To you all in great health and comfort.

Matt

The Morning Sea Swim 

The alarm rings at 5.35am, the snooze button is the obvious reaction, the desire to cling to comfort for those extra 5 minutes surfaces.

Dressed and ready with a flask of loose leaf tea, I meet my friend Steve and his partner Susan who had prepared the most amazing hot drink consisting of cacao, mushrooms and other delights.

We head on foot to the sea front and enjoy insightful conversation and lighthearted jesting.

To sit upon the pebbles of the seafront before a calm sea in the company of friends is one of life’s treasures, to breath deeply into the experience and pause in the moment of retention and feel the vibration of life all around and within you takes you on a magical journey.

Bending the knees and sinking into the hips, moving towards my discomfort allowing my body and mind to move, to feel the pain and yet to free myself of the pain, creating a freeing feeling from within.

The body warm, the mind calm. The time has come to approach and connect with the sea.

Always excited and apprehensive in equal measure. The sea does not allow you to see the moment the pebbles become sand, nor does it allow you to know the depth you will reach before that transition, she keeps everything Unknown a mystery that lures you into the depths of your very being.

The cold embraces the skin, the concept of the cold encourages tension and resistance to this natural phenomenon. On 3 I dive beneath the sea with my eyes closed and the cold gripping my being I glide through a dark abyss of which I have no power or control over and yet a willingness to accept and connect with.

I rise from under the water to grasp the air and release my fears of the Unknown. 

I return to the breath and begin to embrace the play of the sea, this ability to relax creates an inner fire which warms the whole of my being.

The birds fly over head and the sun begins its accent to the heavens, peacefulness I am, alive I feel.

That magical drink that was made for us was divine, it ran through to the very core of my being.

Grateful I Am.

Matt

The Yoga Health Coach