by Jay Hiller, July 23, 2022
In Austin, Texas there’s a well-known and popular natural swimming pool, Barton Springs. If you’ve been there or heard of it, you know that it’s a special place. And you also know that the water is 68 degrees year round, cold.
Up until about 5 years ago, I would go to Barton Springs with my husband and most of the time I wouldn’t go in, even though I like to swim. I had a couple of stories around this. There are no lane lines on the bottom of a natural swimming pool and it’s hard to go to straight. The water is cold. I was fine. I would hang out after my run and wait for him to finish swimming. One morning, while my husband was swimming and I wasn’t, I saw a woman with long gray hair and a faded bathing suit in line at the diving board. She was talking to a much younger woman in what looked like an encouraging way. Then she got on the diving board and executed a pretty nice looking dive. When she got out I saw her talk to the younger woman again, who got on the the diving board and jumped off. Over the next 15 minutes or so I saw the lady with long grey hair encourage several other people to jump off the diving board. And while I sat there and watched, I decided that I was never going to just sit at the edge of Barton Springs again and watch other people try things and have fun. Now my Barton Springs routine is that I get in the water (slowly), swim a loop and most days finish by jumping off the diving board.
For me it’s a pretty good example of how limiting our own restrictive thinking patterns can be. We are strong enough to try a new thing, smart enough to figure the intimidating thing out, determined enough to persevere and practice until something hard becomes easy. Many times the first step is getting past a story we’ve told ourselves that isn’t even true.