Just Don’t Come Up

One of life’s greatest wonders is that we as humans are made for things that exist beyond our current capacity, where they can be perceived only in our imagination at first. The key to growth always, is to have a clear and precise idea of what you want. This idea needs to be so specific and so completely crystal clear, that it glistens brilliantly in front of you. It should be so dazzling to you that you are compelled to its realisation. You should be so enamoured of your imaginary idea that you simply can’t help but chase it with everything you have, because you know it is simply perfect for you. Not only does this energy never run out, it actually gets stronger when it runs into tough times, because it is fuelled by a deeper calling to a you-shaped purpose that defines you. The sort of idea I am describing is one that springs from your core, demanding to be fulfilled.

My sister Melissa has always been a picture of determination

When I lived in Wodonga we used to find refreshment from hot summer days at the local pool. My youngest sister Melissa used to join the kids’ dad and I for our afternoon swims, and like lots of families, we enjoyed playing games and engaged in competitions that rivalled the Olympics in our minds. One of our favourite events was underwater swimming, where the winner was the one who could swim the farthest without coming up for air. Melissa, who was 13 at the time, must have a dolphin gene that is recessive in the rest of us. Not only could she consistently beat us, but she improved at break-neck speed, swimming harder and longer and further with every new round. Her lungs were made for the task, and kept her body fuelled with the oxygen her muscles needed to push her all the way across the width of the pool. Time and time again we did not see her head until it popped up against the pool’s far wall, when she desperately sucked in a long, deep breath of much needed oxygen.

Her victory was impressive, but somewhat demoralising for the mere mortals she was pummelling. I was always up for the challenge and kept on hoping that I could win some of my pride back if I just hung in there long enough. Adam, my kids’ dad, was not so persistent, and after a string of back to back defeats he asked Melissa in exasperation: “How do you do it? How do you stay under for so long?”

Melissa responded with an easy pragmatism, “It’s easy. You just don’t come up.”

Her answer had such an impact on me that it has stayed with me for the last twenty odd years. It is so simple that even the youngest child could grasp what she was thinking, yet offered such a profound metaphor of sheer grit that it has changed my life. It illustrates perfectly the sort of determination we all need to get through the seasons that threaten to drown us. The last twenty years of my life have given me ample opportunity to get better at applying this very determination. When I am sinking, and I feel like I can’t breathe, I remember that I am already able to get through to the other side of the pool . Everything I need is deep down inside me. I just need to trust that truth so much that I simply don’t come up till I get there.

All of us have the ability to access greater heights of fulfilment than we experience in our life now. There are greater levels of freedom waiting for us to enjoy, but they only come if we can just push through with determination. The power of our steadfast will is the only way to activate the ideas that currently sit just on the other side of our limitations. At first, these ideas exist only in our imagination, but they are brought to life when we invest everything we have into making them real. The ideas that will change our life are the ones that are absolutely mesmerising to us because they stem from who we are in our one-of-a-kind self, so they generate their own renewable energy. They combine our strengths and attributes with the desires of our heart, and they will not be silenced. They are so much a part of us that they are as alluring as the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, with one notable difference: it does not elude being grasped by hands that refuse to stop chasing until that golden idea is made into a transforming reality.

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