So, she told me swimming in the river was just like having sex.
We had just finished practicing yoga together on the sand in the dark and under the clouds. Accompanied by only the fading moon and the dawn song of gulls. We finished with a moment of silence. Settling ourselves into the morning and the allowing the morning to settle into ourselves. After which, we opened our eyes and rather than rushing back home to our structure and school lunches – we peeled of our clothes for our swim.
Even being on the sand at dawn did feel a little naughty. Like we were somehow stealing secret time before diving into our structured work week. Like we had found a hidden moment and in doing so, indulged a small blink of sensual pleasure. Staying out and taking a swim rather than going home and making the beds. The river was oily pink, promising the coming heat of the Autumn sun. And last Monday morning was as still as I could ever remember it to be.
My girlfriend and I chatted about our day to come, about the week ahead and how we were going to juggle this thing we call “our lives”. Both working hard. Both fiercely devoted to our small ones. Both desperately trying to hold some kind of sacred space for ourselves in between.
I stepped my feet into the gentle lap of the river’s shores. I felt the water curl itself around my ankles. And I stopped.
“Oh my god, it’s so fucking cold”
My wise friend stood with me in that moment. Laughing at my lack of body fat and the subsequent reptilian lifestyle I assume. And shared her insightful story of the river. And how swimming in the river was just like having sex.
“You know, I look at the river so much more that I swim in it.
I run alongside it. Or paddle over it. When I’m with the kids, I stand on the banks watching them play. But I rarely go in. Because when I try to, I always get this shock. I stop at the edge. Because it’s so bloody cold. But when I dive in and swim, I remember how divine the water really is. I remember how amazing it makes me feel.
And I wonder why I don’t do it more often.”
And with that, she dove in. Leaving me and my goosebumps standing alone in the shallows. Wondering what the hell that had to do with getting it off with my lover. Or with sex at all…..
Think heart openers, standing strength and inversions.
We can sometimes fall into the habit of watching life rather than participating in it. Our first sensations or mental judgements may hold us back from actively engaging in what we have before us. We don’t swim because the water feels too cold. Or we don’t paddle for that wave because the drop looks too steep. Or we don’t go for that promotion because the demands seem to hard. And when we pull up short and baulk at our lives – we miss out. We forget what it is to be a sensual being. We forget what it’s like to feel adrenaline and go too fast. We forget what it feels like to take control, work hard and succeed.
We forgo our sensuality to stay clean and be safe.
And in doing so, miss out on knowing how it feels to be fully in our lives.
Our yoga practice asks us to be present. To not only listen to the way our body moves into the postures but to hear what the body is telling us about ourselves. We move into our forward folds and our hamstrings call us. We move into pranayma and our breath call us. We sit in meditation and our Self calls us.
I dove into the river last Monday morning. In doing so, I felt the ice chill wash over every vertebrae in my spine. It felt delicious, indulgent and free. That’s when my wise friend called out to me,
“Swimming in the river is just like sex.”
We often watch the river more than we swim, just like we talk about sex more than we have it. That searching touch of intimacy comes under the covers at night and we’re so programmed to say “no” or “I’m tired” or we just pretend we’re already asleep. Because the at the start, let’s face it, the water is fucking cold. But like you never regret a swim in the river, you never regret laying with your love. Feeling the full sensuality of yourself connected to the intimacy of your other. We remember how divine it is and how amazing it really makes us feel. Where we can be delicious, indulgent and free.
I got home that Monday morning with no feeling in my toes but a gentle opening in my heart. My lover asked me, “You home tonight?”
Reading his preparatory foreplay, I answered – “Yes I am my love.”
Yes I am.