and Live in the Moment
Whichever Emotion Is Stronger Wins
A boogie board is a piece of styrofoam half
the size of a surf board that
On my way back, I wasn’t prepared for the
huge wave behind me. It
And then, I had the experience I’d read
about: I thought about my family
The next thing I remembered was popping up
on the surface of the water, coughing, and choking, but alive! I was
alive! And telling myself that was the last time I would swim in waves
that size, if I even got back in the
The following week, I received a call from
a friend who knew of my
“Um, I don’t think so,” I said. “I had a scary experience last week boogie boarding and those waves are too big for me. I think I’ll pass.”
“Oh, come on,” he teased. “You’re going to let one bad experience stop you from swimming with dolphins? All you have to do is dive into the wave on the way out and go with the wave on the way back. It’s easy.”
“It was really frightening, Ken,” I replied. “I’m just not ready to get back in the water yet.”
“Okay. Meet me down at the beach anyway,” Ken said. “You may change your mind.”
“I don’t think so, but I’d love to watch.”
I arrived the next morning and sure enough, out beyond the breakwater, about the length of a football field, was a pod of dolphins. Ken went charging into the water, urging me to follow. I waved him on as I watched the waves crest, remembering my tumbling experience from the week before. I felt the familiar fear spread throughout my body, until I glanced out at the dolphins and Ken swimming out to them. Oh, how I wanted that experience! My mind flashed to a book I’d read on dolphin communication.
The author said that dolphins are telepathic creatures and that she could communicate with them by thought. I figured I had nothing to lose, so I beamed my thoughts out at the pod and said, “If I’m supposed to swim with you today, you come in half way and I’ll meet you half way out.” I laughed at myself, thinking that I’d truly lost it until the dolphins began swimming in my direction! I held my focus and started toward the edge of the water. As they kept coming in closer, I kept going out farther until I was in the surf and diving under the waves and suddenly beyond the breakwater holding hands with Ken and surrounded by several dolphins.
Ken said, “Tread lightly so they don’t misinterpret your movement as hostile. Put one of your arms out in front of you, slip your ears under water, and listen.”
As I did, I felt the slippery smooth edge of “Flipper” touch the edge of my fingers and I heard a high-pitched sound of “eeeeee, eeeeeee, eeeeee,” under water. For the next ten minutes, three dolphins and two babies swam around us in a circle throwing their noses out of the water and swimming just within arm’s reach. It was magical
Magic is remembering the fleeting moment
And then it was time to swim back to shore. I felt the fear rise up again, but I was so inspired by the dolphins that I just gave myself to the wave and rode it in like I was one of them. I made it back to shore safely, grateful to be alive, and elated to have swam with these spectacular ocean angels.
Later, when I reflected on how I broke through my fear, I learned something about emotions: whichever emotion is stronger wins. That day, my enthusiasm for swimming with dolphins was greater than my fear of drowning. Now, whenever I am confronted with something that feels overwhelming or frightening, I ask myself where the enthusiasm is hidden.
If I can focus on the enthusiasm and the anticipated prize, I can move through the fear and experience the precious present. So can you. Let go and live in the moment.
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