It's winter here in London. For that last 40 days, I've been having cold (5°c) showers every morning and night. I've not touched the hot tap all year.
It makes me feel super alive and inspired. I get to frame the day with the warrior energy of YES and NOW. And it's part of the Wim Hof 'Iceman' method for healing and growth.
I'd tell people about it enthusiastically. I'd proudly post photos of the temperature readings and blocks of ice for ice baths on Facebook. Eager to share my excitement.
But with a friend's comment it began to slowly unravel.. "I hope there is nurture and gentleness to balance the emerging warrior."
Even though I always feel amazing after a cold shower, I don't always want to do it beforehand. I choose to feel more alive so I sacrifice that inner voice that says, "please.. no more."
And as I moved deeper into this unyielding daily practice, that voice of resistance has grown stronger. This is not balanced.
An unhealthy alliance has formed between my inner warrior and lover energies. Between a shadowy inner masochist and an inner addict, fuelling each other in secret.
Looking back, I have had a long history of both addictions (drugs, porn, food) and masochism/asceticism (self-deprivation, self-denial). All stemming from issues around connection and control.
Another good friend recently posted on Facebook his three stages of increasing emotional maturity, saying that on our way to our goals when we experience fear and uncertainty, we may:
The voice of the masochist-addict alliance wants to say, “But we can’t stop now! Imagine a whole winter.. imagine a whole year!!” The allure of trophies to obscure something deeper.
I am happy now to re-balance myself, stepping back out of the shadows and into the fullness of my inner warrior and inner lover energies.
From this I keep my beloved daily practice of cold showers because I have no doubt about how alive and inspired it makes me feel.
And I get to bring back the warmth because I remember how much I loved and valued making time for those hot, meditative baths.
And I am grateful for these 40 days, going off-road into imbalance that has allowed me to harvest these insights and deepen my journey.