This year I decided I need to swim more.
I run and do yoga, but my low back is hurting, and lots of people say swimming is good for that.
My work is changing too, and because of that I’m looking more closely at how much I spend.
To save paying £4.25 every time to swim at my local pool, the King Alfred, after 10 years of living in Hove I finally wake up to an open secret: the sea's at the bottom of the road, and it’s free.
It's cold though right, so I've bought a wetsuit. And blimey, the wetsuit is a revelation: I now go in even when my head is telling me the sea looks way too cold... It isn’t!
Apart from the exercise, I’m finding swimming in the sea puts me in touch with wildness in a way that’s often more raw and visceral than being in the woods.
And whereas the pool is sanitised, chlorinated, safe, the sea is wild, untamed, and unpredictable. There are tides and waves. It’s different every day.
And it’s on my doorstep.
They say being close to the sea puts us in touch with our unconscious. That makes sense to me. I'm slowly starting to get over my irrational fears… of sharks (there are none here), and of the unknown, imaginary things that my mind says are lurking unseen beneath the surface.
I love it most when the sea’s a bit choppy, it's much more fun, but I’m not confident to swim out that far yet.
So I’m really looking forward to the session we’re running on Embodied Wild Swimming. It’s an opportunity to explore my psyche, my awareness in the sea and increase my confidence.
It's 18 degrees in the water here right now. And as a lifeguard said to me the other day - it’s still getting warmer. Subtext: you don’t really need a wetsuit.
I'm still going to wear it though: it feels safer (and sexier) with it on.
Wherever you are in the world, the sea connects us all, I hope you’ll join me for a swim in it. Wetsuit or not.
Embodied Wild Swimming, Sunday Sept 18th with Vicky Cumming - details and booking on Meetup here.
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Author & Curator
Nigel Berman is the founder of School of the Wild.