I don’t know why, but since I can remember, I’ve had a deep fear of cold water. Not your typical dislike of it, but a real terror that arises within me as soon as the cold hits my body. Terror, I’d rather not willingly conjure up, much less, let anyone else be witness to. But, something got into me recently and I decided to not only take the plunge (pun intended), but actually, consciously schedule a time and pay for someone to whip together a bath, full of ice, in our backyard for me to submerge myself in. I also convinced Eddie to join in on my little exploration and since he used to take ice baths when he played football, he 100% didn’t think I would go through with it. He didn’t really want to go through with it either because he knows how painful ice baths can be. So, I know, secretly, he was hoping I would back out.
But…. I didn’t!
It’s times like these where my competitive, stubborn streak serves me. Tell me I can’t do something or you don’t think I’ll go through with it and I take the bait every time. Especially when, I know that what I’m going to do will serve my greater expansion.
I had recently been reading about all of the benefits of ice baths, a few of which really interested me, personally… reduced inflammation in the body, elevated mood, quicker recovery time from workouts and better sleep… amongst many other great benefits. So, I figured if I could get over my fear, this ice bath thing could really serve me. But, first, of course, there was getting over the fear of the cold, which was really, the greatest driving force behind me consciously scheduling this terror, and I mean TERROR inducing experience. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this life, it’s walk straight towards the fear. And just to clarify, not ALL the fears, but the fears we know, that by conquering, will serve us and expand us into a more whole and truer version of ourselves.
When the day arrived, I was totally calm. Eddie and I were lead through a beautiful session of Wim Hof breathwork in our backyard before the bath. If you haven’t explored Wim Hof breathwork before, I highly recommend it. It’s called breathWORK for a reason. It really is physically and mentally challenging, but for me, after just 3 rounds, I felt like I was high and one with all of life… no drugs needed, just breath! Pretty freaking incredible, if you ask me.
When it came time for the bath, my nerves started kicking up, but I thought, “I’ve got this!” Then, Eddie thought it would be a good idea if he went first to show me that it’s really, no big deal and I had nothing to worry about…. BAD IDEA, LOL!
Watching his experience was DEEPLY painful for me. Hearing his moans, watching him fight through the pain, all I wanted to do was save him. He legit sounded like he was dying and every primal piece of me wanted to pull him out of that bath. Tears began rolling down my face with each of his cries and by the time it was my turn, my expansive frame of mind and positive attitude had turned into helplessness, grief and, well, sheer terror!
But, I was committed to giving this experience my all, so I somehow pep talked myself into stepping into this giant tub of ice. As soon as I submerged my body into the water a rush of death swept over me. I started to scream and could not stop until about a minute and a half into my two minute submersion. I really have no words for the experience. You must watch the video to truly understand the level of deep fear that took over my being. Looking at it now, I die laughing. It’s highly entertaining!
All joking aside though, my ice bath experience was incredibly eye opening. First off, I’m a badass for conquering such a deep seeded, lifelong fear. I’m very proud of myself! I know, it took a certain level of healing to be able to consciously choose that experience, so it speaks to how far I’ve come on my own healing journey.
Also, it opened my eyes to the terror that’s alive in my body, just under the surface, AT ALL TIMES! My anxiety…. that’s the constant fear, alive and well and ready to be turned up to 100 with the slightest trigger. But, it’s also brought awareness to what happens when I choose the fear and allow it to be stirred up and witnessed.
Christina Casey, the beautiful soul who lead Eddie and I through this experience, the one who talked me down off the ledge when I wanted to jump out of the ice bath, having her, my husband and my dear friend, Hannah witness this terror that exists within was INCREDIBLY VULNERABLE. And, to be able to witness the terror myself and be fully in it was one of the most powerful experiences of my life to date. It showed me the power of ME, the TRUE ME, the ETERNAL ME. It showed me the power the ETERNAL “I” has over my stories or the ego self that most of the time I believe is in control.
You wanna know a funny story? When Eddie and I first met, he took me to a lake in California at the very beginning of spring. Now, I know it’s always sunny in Southern California and warm-ish, even in the winter, but the water still gets pretty chilly, like easily in the 50’s. We took a boat out on the lake and mr man jumped in. So, OF COURSE, I had to be all cool (pun again intended) and jump in with him. It’s amazing what LovE can do, isn’t it?! I was freezing, but he warmed me up quickly, lol.
Why I’m sharing this story is that…. IT’S AMAZING WHAT LovE CAN DO! And, just like LovE helped me forget about my fear and go for what I wanted by jumping in the cold lake with Eddie, literally and metaphorically, LOL… the LovE I have for myself is what’s giving me the courage to consciously choose the ice, to walk right into my fear and choose my own expansion. Not only has LovE given me the courage to choose the ice, but the ice has shown me that I can allow LovE to lead in other parts of my life too, helping me face fear right in the face and do the hard stuff.
I’m still doing the ice baths, but with a little bit of a different spin. I asked Christina, our ice bath guru/guide if submerging my hands and feet would give me the same benefits as my whole body. To be honest, something about submerging my torso still freaks me the hell out, but I want to work towards it. So, she told me yes, if I can train my limbs, my torso should be a piece of cake because our hands and feet are the most sensitive, so that’s what I’ve been doing. I ice my limbs 2 – 3 times a week and I’ve actually started to like it. Yes, it hurts, but only for the first minute and every time I finish I’m on a high from blasting through another layer of fear. Maybe, I’ll be ready to submerge my whole body again soon, but for now, I’m proud of me and how far I’ve come in this exploration. And most of all, I’m loving myself. Self LovE has now become a practice I’m embodying. It’s no longer just a concept. This new level of self LovE is allowing for deeper healing, truer truths and access to a vast well of power that resides within.
All thanks to some ice!