I was coughing, spluttering. Salty seawater filled my mouth. I looked up and everywhere there were people swimming.
There must have been thousands of people …a multitude of arms and legs kicking, all moving in one huge anti clockwise circle, the size of an athletic track. In the center was a small desert island with a few palm trees and a person who was throwing food to the swimmers.
What was going on? How had I got here?
I was quickly halted from my thoughts as a jolt of pain shot up my leg. Some guy aged about 50 had blindly kicked me as he swam by. I tried to call out but he didn’t seem to hear me.
I started to panic a little and tried to grab other people’s attention but everyone just kept on swimming, and I was blocking the way. Other people hit me and kicked me as they struggled to get around so I had to either swim with them or drown (…or so I thought at the time…)
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So I started swimming along but was still looking around frantically for a face I might recognize. It was difficult as most people seemed to swim with their faces in the water. Eventually I saw a friend who was swimming close to me and asked him why we were here. He didn’t hear me amongst all the splashing and foaming water.
I pulled his arm. “What’s with all this swimming?” I shouted.
“What are you talking about?” he shouts back as if I’m crazy… “we’re swimming the circles and getting fed, this is what we do …why do you question it again my friend” he smiled…
This seemed familiar as if we’ve had this conversation a thousand times. I felt frustrated. Alone. …there must be more to life…
But then out of the corner of my eye I saw someone waving. It was a lady in a boat and she was beckoning me to come over to her. But she was away from the other swimmers.
A long way, and I felt a little scared. Maybe it was just safer to stick with the majority……but something inside urged me to swim across even though she was right outside the circle of swimmers, and a very long way from the island that fed people.
So I took a deep breath and started swimming across the lanes of people.
It took a while to get across and felt like the bravest thing I’d ever done …but strangely it wasn’t that difficult.
Once I’d made up my mind, swimmers seemed to slow down and speed up almost as if they were moving out of the way for me. 10 minutes later and I reached the lady.
She was sitting in a simple small wooden rowing boat smiling down at me. Her pale blue eyes seemed to sparkle like sunlight on the water and her long silver hair blew gently in the breeze. I was thinking that she must be about 60 …but somehow she seemed much older and wiser.
I grabbed the side of the boat and gathering my breath I asked “why did you wave to me?”. “….because you were looking for answers.” she replied.
I was about to ask what her name was when I felt something cold and metallic beneath my hand. I looked down and saw 9 small silver letters attached to the side of the boat spelling out the name I-N-T-U-I-T-I-O-N
“Am I dreaming all this? All I can remember is suddenly having seawater in my mouth” I asked.
“This is not a dream, you’ve woken up.” the lady softly replied.
My head was now in a real spin. This didn’t feel real… I spluttered “but what about the others… why do they constantly just swim round and round in circles?”.
She leaned forward and whispered sadly, “Because this is all they know. They have been taught from a very early age that they must swim round the island to be fed.” The thought of doing this forever somehow terrified me… “How do I escape? I don’t want to spend the rest of my life going around in circles.”
“Well you need to know clearly what you do want, not what you don’t want…” she replied with a smile.
I knew deep down what I really wanted. Life was about being free – experiencing things, exploring, growing, having fun, being happy …and sharing this with other people…
I thought about the poor exhausted people whose life revolved around an island (literally) …I told the lady “I want freedom”.
“Ok you need to picture it clearly in your mind in perfect detail.” she replied. “You must feel gratitude and happiness bursting from your heart as if you have this freedom now…and you must feel these emotions every day …then let your intention go and KNOW it will happen.”
“Along the way you may feel hunches or gut feelings prompting you to take certain actions. Listen to these feelings, they are my whispers in the wind to guide you. Understand this, take action and you’ll find your freedom…”
I listened to her words and imagined a beautiful sailing boat with sky blue coloured sails with a golden trim. The hull was a dark brown wood and in the corner, painted in small white letters, was the name …’Freedom’.
No sooner had I seen this when the wind picked up and salty water blew across my face. I blinked my eyes and when they opened Freedom was gone, along with the lady in the boat … and I was suddenly back swimming in circles, seawater choking in my mouth…