At the Centre of it all….

Julia Chi Taylor

You may have read my blog before Christmas when I had the idea that I might start outdoor winter swimming…!

Well – I rather think I have been saved from myself!

There is 100m by 30m expanse of water in one corner of the Serpentine lake in Hyde Park, especially cordoned off for swimmers to swim… The membership for the swimming club runs from January to January and ‘joining’ was on my list of ‘Things to do’!

With this in mind I visited the Club website at the weekend, and discovered that it isn’t possible to become a new member at the moment… The water is deemed too cold for ‘newby’ cold water swimmers!

In truth I was aware that to swim in 4 degrees! – I would need to start in water that is a temperature that I can handle and then continue regularly so that my body adapts… I remember reading the autobiography of the actor Katharine Hepburn who used to swim in her lake every day – during the winter she often needed to break the ice to enter…!

So this does seem to a blessing to have a pause on my new bathing plan… A ‘No not for now ‘ suits me very well…!

Athena Jane was reminding me of some of our shared ‘cold water ‘ swimming escapades in Corfu and Lanzarote! ( UK in January a very different experience  methinks! )

But, I do enjoy swimming in natural water – sharing with the other creatures who are more suited to it than me – many people fall into that category! – But I’m referring to the fish! The swans and ducks – and the jelly fish! I’ve been stung a few times in the Mediterranean when inadvertently crossing the path of one – or more!

However, the positive of this was that I learnt a few new Spanish words, so that I was able to fluently tell my story to my Spanish friends on returning for breakfast!

‘Una medusa me picó cuando estaba nadando hoy’!

And the flying fish!

Jane and I were swimming together in Lanzarote and suddenly whoosh! A fish jumped high in the air beside us! We squealed! And it kept happening! Until we became used to it…. And happily swum with the flying fish jumping around us…

We are very adaptable us humans!

This has many positive aspects to it – we grow and develop through all the different experiences we encounter first evident in our childhood years

With everything new, huge openings and development and growth occur

As well as adaptations… These adaptations help us survive difficult situations or adhere to family and social expectations, but although continuing to help us survive this life journey, they can also inhibit our true expression.

This can mean that aspects of our true selves are hidden away or disowned – or even lost altogether.

It can also mean that in losing connection with our true essence we lose touch with not only who we truly are – but of course what we truly want… Instead we often follow the desires or expectations of others, which means we are using the ability to adapt in the wrong direction

For true freedom it is worth investigating our life adaptations, and seeing where they have come from – and how they might be inhibiting our true voice and expression.

Adapting to changing circumstances is required by us throughout our lives, and having the ability within us to do so, and not lose our centre can enhance growth – or deepen unhelpful patterns…

The more aware we become, the more we can clear the pain of the past and align to the present moment. This practise allows us to recognise that true happiness is primarily from within; and with a sense of who we truly are – it means externals changes are easier to adapt to…

But – adaptation can pile on top of adaptation… 

Someone comfortable with following rules because this kept them safe when growing up, could follow without investigation – whereas someone ‘always a rebel’ to authority could rebel for the sake of rebellion…

And neither position are necessarily honouring the still voice of calm within; the unchanging place within from which we are all born…

Only we will truly know where our behaviour is coming from – it might need a process of reflection and a willingness to stop the chatter of the mind and turn inwards…

Because when we do this, we discover at the centre of all is consciousness, love



Our own truth.

To the own self be true

This is all that is required

Swimming with the Swans

Julia Chi Taylor

Anadi and I were walking in Hyde Park today, when I requested we walk past the swimmers in the Serpentine Lido

I wanted to reccy the swimming club…

It looked fun, some brave souls with colourful swimming hats were doing lengths – long ones – the ‘pool stretches 100 metres!

Two men on a bench – one who already had swum, the other not quite begun – encouraged me to join the club! ‘Members get twenty percent percent off in the coffee shop…’

They had me sold…


Mary, a cheery elder, in a bright blue costume emerged from the water

‘You’re an inspiration’ I remarked to the tiny lady.

‘If I can do it anyone can’ she affirmed…

Anadi and I wandered off,  and I laughed… ‘Thats not entirely true…Some people can do things others can’t!’

I was thinking back to becoming nearly hypothermic once in Greece – in quite temperate May waters – and managing approximately a minute of immersion in December seas in Spain before a full freeze occurred… ( Of me! Not the sea!)

This was in winter waters – warmer by far than here…

We are all different – and although being inspired by one another to stretch our own limits is one of the joys of humankind – it is also important that to our own selves we are true.

I can see that I might buy all the kit…

A dry robe, a swimming hat! And then stand shivering on the edge before eventually going for the coffee without the swim!

Or I’ll be a swimmer whose swimming session is a cold plunge pool and out!

Or I will write this blog in December – and my first swim will be in June!

We will see

But I loved my reccy this morning

Watching intrepid winter souls swimming with the swans!