Grown Men don’t Cry?

The stereotype of course, men don’t cry, suck it up lad, don’t show your weaknesses to anyone. The trouble is that love expresses itself in tears, the trouble is this, there are tears of sadness, tears of joy and tears for many other emotional states and technically speaking, it shouldn’t be a ‘trouble’ or a ‘problem’.

This morning I had the pleasure of an unexpected tear whilst watching a sunrise. I share this story now.

The sun rose high and as it did it painted the clouds red, orange, yellow and purple, a breath taking spectacle,

The starlings rose one by one in there collective hundreds from the long abandoned west pier, they danced effortlessly through the ever changing palette of colours in the rising sun’s sky,

The water facing the sun began to shine and yet when looking in a Westerly direction at the sea and all her surrounding vistas they looked cold. An intriguing contrast the warmth and light had penetrated most of what was life in that moment and yet a portion was still left cold and icy, why?

The icy cold water caught my attention, it froze me in a moment of time not the same as this and yet not that different either, why the contrast I wondered?

My heart I realised was in a similar position, recently it to had been lit by a rising sun, allowing a warmth to move through it and be given away from it and yet there was and still is this part of my heart that is hidden even from me and that was the cold reflection of the icy blue sea.

I allowed myself to feel my heart and its contrast as I gazed upon the multicoloured East and the Icy blue west, not thinking about anything in particular, then as my gaze settled into a nothingness racing across the calm waters of the icy blue western sea a tear appeared,

Where did you come from tear, surely not me? Why yes, the tear replied, where else could I have come from if not you? It’s just that I have no reason to shed a tear I countered, and  I’m not sure i’m comfortable looking out into the vastness of the blue ocean whilst little blue oceans of my own stream down the canyons of my weathered storm called my life.

I am but a tear, I am neither good, nor bad, I am free from judgement and so are you, you saw beauty in nature and in that moment saw the beauty of your own nature, you understood that you need not battle with yourself anymore and as you let go of the dams you had built inside of you I came out simply as a reminder, a reminder that we are water after all, that life is lived in the ebb and flow.

How many dams have I built tear? Ask your heart, tear answered, she knows and she will work with you to open the channels of your stagnant rivers so that they may run freely to once again nourish the heart and soul of life.

Men do cry and this was not my first tear and nor will it be my last, but it was one I felt had come from the heart.

Love to you all

Matt

 

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

Floating through Depression 

I found the sea, the water the great teacher or did she find me?

It was raining when my depressed self first walk through the doors of self discovery,

It was dark when I first woke to ride down to the sea for my first wild swim, not sure if I should or could!

I knew I was lost, I felt defeated, I felt that sickening feeling of hopelessness,

I wanted it to end and yet I saw know way out,

At that moment my darkness was greater than my light,

A final throw of the dice or at least that’s how it felt would change all this and that was roughly three years ago,

I would wak and wonder down to the sea and embrace her like a lost child who had found their parents,

I would laugh and cry, scream and shout and I would shake and tremble,

I would be given insight into my nature, into my emotional self I would travel,

I was weak, but the sea was slowly giving me strength,

My rock of a family encouraged this journey despite my moods still changeable, but progress could still be seen and more importantly felt,

The gap between my darkness and light began to get closer until they were equal, at this point I had discovered more about my nature than I had conceived possible,

I know I had to swim in the darkness of my being in order to find myself floating in the lightness of my soul,

As I floated out of my depression, I say floated for I learnt very quickly this cannot be forced or rushed it must be taken a wave at a time I began to see and experience life in a much lighter way, I saw the humour rather than the frustration at life’s contradictions, I grew compassionate and developed a great sense of gratitude, 

The journey continues, its destination unknown and I am now ok with that.

To you all with a wish for a bright and happy life that knows the surf of a dark wave.

Matt

The Teacher with no Words

Recently Cotopaxi got in touch with me and asked me to share a ‘health hack’, which I was more than happy to do. I was motivated by their simple and sustainable approach to business and overall philosophy of life, below is my version of a simple and sustainable health hack.

Words are consider by many to be spells, the words we use are the spells we cast and create as if by magic the life we live and experience. When embarking upon a journey towards great health and wellbeing these words and spells can actually get in the way, whilst they can serve to both inspire, educate and motivate us they can also be a source of confusion and contradiction leaving one lost in their quest to reach new heights of health and happiness.

Being lost is actually a good place to be! One can only find themselves when they recognise they have lost themselves and so an opportunity for growth, healing and great health and wellness begins or at least continues from this point of being lost.

If words can be misleading at times then who is the teacher without words?

There are many and some we even intertwine in our words with phrases such as ‘silence is golden’.

The one I refer to in particular is the sea, a friend once said to me, ‘why do you go and dive into the sea most days?’ I simply replied ‘I wanted a teacher without words’. He was left aghast, but also inspired, he had realised that through everyone’s best intentions to inspire and guide we had lost something profound and beautiful within ourselves, we had lost a connection, a connection with ourselves and nature, there was to much noise between us and our inner selves.

The sea is never the same, no two days follow the same course, at times she’s rough and other times she’s calm, sometimes she makes you laugh and feel playful at other times she scares you so much you surrender all of your fear and dissolve into her flow allowing yourself to be carried upon her waves.

I have personally learnt so much from the sea, deep internal relaxation, movement free from tension, how to be playful, how to float, how to dive, how to hear the sound of the pebbles dancing upon the sea bed.

The list could go on, but one thing I have also learnt is that I am my most powerful and authentic self after a morning dip in the sea, she cleans all my physical, emotional and spiritual dirt every time I make it into her embrace leaving me feeling fresh and anew.

The teacher with no words develops wisdom from within, she does not judge or scold you, but instead shows you what you need to see, feel and hear in any way that will nurture your growth.

When we truly listen we can truly trust, when we can truly trust we are strong in our faith, when our faith is strong so is our love, when our love is shining bright we can give freely of ourselves with no fear or desire, we are stewards of this land, shepards of this moment.

To you all a happy, healthy life

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