Cold Water

Are there times when you receive the same message over and over again? It may come from different sources, but the intent seems clear.

This happens to me every once in a while, and I’ve learned to pay attention and let the messages soak in. I allow them to roll around in my mind and see what they have to offer me. Most of the time, they are full of surprises and run off in numerous directions, but they always end up feeling important.

The most recent instance of this occurred a couple months ago. It started with my son, Tommy, mentioning a Netflix series titled, Limitless, that he thought I might find interesting. It was a brief series about Chris Hemsworth’s (yes, Thor) pursuit of improving the quality of his life by engaging in several different endeavors. Although I found the entire series fascinating, and Chris’s conviction, strength, and endurance remarkable, what really spoke to me was his cold-water experience.

After some preparatory training he ended up swimming in a wet suit through frigid water for a significant distance to test his physical and mental abilities to withstand the torturous swim out to a buoy and back. I am amazed by his passionate pursuit and his desire to improve and extend the quality of his life.

At the end of each episode Chris shares some of his ‘take-aways’ and mentioned that a part of his plan was to end his showers with 30 seconds of cold water. He’d learned that cold water enhances our immune system and he wanted to capitalize on that advantage.

I thought about this and decided that I wanted to do the same thing.

Soon after making this decision, I received five more confirming messages about the cold-water experience and its value.

Okay, I got it!

So, I began ending every one of my showers with 30 seconds of cold water, not only while standing with my back to the water, but another 30 seconds while facing the icy stream. WOW! Incredibly bracing!

I wondered whether I could stand doing this day after day. Did I have the stamina and the drive it would require? Only time would tell.

Fortunately, what I did have was a sense of purpose. I wanted the positive effects this experience would create by improving my immune system. I really wanted this.

It’s now been 70 days since I began, and I haven’t missed once. In fact, I’ve extended my times of exposure from 30 to 60 seconds per side. It takes enormous disciple on my part to do this every day, but I immediately feel the benefits and sense they have a compounding positive effect on my body.

I’m not sure if I’ll extend the time further, but I am planning on participating in the next Polar Plunge. This is an annual event held in Lake George (NY) in January, where participants swim in the freezing cold lake water. I’ve had this on my bucket list for a long time but have never been serious enough to pursue, until now.

So, what’s the point of this post if you’re not interested in ruining showers for the rest of your life? Well, for me, it represents a major change in what I think I am capable of. If I can do this hard thing, what other hard things can I do?

I’m now focusing some attention on my sleeping patterns and my breathwork. I know they need a lot of fine tuning and it’s great to know that I will be the recipient of whatever benefits happen. To know I am able to make lifestyle adjustments gives me hope and reminds me that I am in charge of my own life.

What hard things might you be capable of? What benefits might happen in your life if you make some changes?

As I discovered with the cold-water experience, I’d only know if I tried.

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