Life Lessons

What Is Your Escape Mechanism?

Open your eyes.

I have had my eyes tightly shut for too long. Swimming was my passion, but also a great distraction to hide myself from myself. It was my form of escapism. But what happens when what you escape to forms your new reality, when it becomes your one and only world?

You become lost. Through the years I spent swimming up and down a pool, I became trapped in the bubble of my own microcosm. I grew into a man along the way, but refused to review or consider any other path. My escapism was my only path. My passion of swimming was a beautiful one. I must stress I do not regret anything. I shared great memories with great people. I learned lessons along the way. I grew in that reality. And most importantly it led to me to where I am now.  But I remember the point when I understood that I was hanging on so tightly to swimming that I failed to acknowledge anything else in the world. It was not always like this but at this late point in my career I had failed to find balance with swimming and myself.

I quickly ignored that point in time. After all, I was training for my Olympic Dream. Any other thought or idea that got in the way of that dream was quickly deflected. Before long, I had become stale – it was a desiccation of thought and creativity.

I knew I had to let go of swimming, and fought it. But life was demanding I wake up because swimming was slowly destroying and consuming my life force. I still could not find balance with it, and even now I still cannot find balance with it at the other end of the spectrum. Now, I am too scared to enter the pool through fear of becoming lost in that same escape mechanism again.

But at least now, I am on the way to understanding who I am, and I have come too far to want to escape from this new path. I have grown in ways I could never have imagined. I have turned my focus inwards, and it has revealed the true core of what has lain unnoticed just under the surface.

Everyone is an iceberg, and when we see our reflection in its mirrored surface, we only see the exposed surface of who we are. It’s what we showcase to the world, what we choose to refine and shape because we are too scared to reveal what lies beneath.

Beneath the surface lie dark emotions that need to be confronted.  Pain and anger and fear are all waiting for us as we continue to delve deeper, and it is deeper down that reveals who we truly are.  And it is true to say that some of us never delve that deep. We never confront what lies beneath the waterline.

So ask yourself – what is your escape mechanism? Is it stopping or distracting you from diving down beneath the waterline of your iceberg to see what lies below?  If you have the courage, the answers are all there.

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