Determining your "why" is a question that gets its answer from the feeling part of your body. This can make it difficult to put into words that are not actually about the “what and how”. If I were to throw the question back to you - why learn to swim? The answers would likely be technical, such as: so I don’t drown, improve my fitness, or to participate more fully on vacation. At the root of all these answers is the "why."
For many people, I believe it is more about the feeling they perceive from others who swim. Images of the water and people in the water are used as a powerful visual for many non-swimming activities. The images are to convey a feeling of calm, relaxation, serenity, beauty, spiritual, fun, light, carefree, strength, and natural. There is a deep feeling that people seek in regards to their relationship with the water, and the results circle back to the original answers about fitness, vacation, and saving your life.
So why do I teach and why did I create the Orca Swim School? Since "why" is more in the feeling part of the brain, I will start with sharing some stories. The first one that comes to mind is a song I learned as a child in church. It is simple, basic and has hand gestures good for teaching kids. With reflection, I can see this song has orchestrated my life. The song is, “This Little Light of Mine”.
This little light of mine (hold a finger up as a candle)
I’m gonna let it shine
This little light of mine
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine
The song goes on to suggest different ways one could attempt to put out the light, but it is always within the power of the holder to keep it shining - even if it’s under a bushel, if someone is trying to blow it out and so on.
It is easy to see this light in the faces of children. As we grow we put more "bushels on" by having stories we tell about ourselves. These stories usually start with, “I am…bad at math, fat, ugly, chronically late, a loud mouth and so on”. We also have more wind trying to blow it out from other stories told about us. Growing up and going through teen years and college, I had many bushels covering much of my light. I also had places where the light shone through.
This light is who I speak to when teaching students, staff or collaborators, and what I teach and learn about to making shine. It is powerful to know that everyone has a light at their core. There are times or areas of life where it is easy to shine, and there are times and areas that there are many bushels or winds. It is always up to the light-holder to shine. I happen to teach this in the pool, a place where my light shines easily. Although as I will tell you in the next part of this story, my light was not without its wind or bushels in my journey to learn.
NEXT WEEK: I explore how I moved beyond myself and started working in my "Why". Please check back to read the next chapter and let me know what you think!