Cesar decided to test out the pool waters in winter season… Just before we went to Europe the sun was out a lot and we’d swim in the pool practically every day. When he saw his blow up crocodile in the laundry room, he excitedly asked if we could go for a swim. I explained to him that the water was going to be much colder than we are used to and that I am not going to swim, but that if he really wants – he can give it a go. Down we went, to the pool – armed with towel and crocodile. He put his feet in the water and said ‘Woooah, ok that’s very cold’. For a moment I thought he was going to back off then and there. But nope, he followed with ‘Ok, put my crocodile over me’. Another deep breath followed as he pushed himself off the step to float into the water.
‘Oooh, too cold, too cold – I only want little bit of cold’ he says and peddles back to the step to get out. He does this whole process one more time to make that indeed, the water is too cold for him.
Cesar has surprised me and many others in his ability to withstand temperatures and climate conditions that no other ‘sane’ person would consider to face naked – or with very little clothes (only because he had to of course, if he could do things his way he’d go out in public spaces naked).
The moment he could express his choices more, certain things started happening. With increased motor function, came increased ‘tap’ control. No more nice warm relaxing co-baths for us – ice cold baths became the norm. (Needless to say, we soon started taking our own, separate baths and showers – occasionally sharing a lukewarm version we could both kind of agree on).
Diapers? Clothes – why wear them? I don’t see the dogs wearing any – and besides, it limits my movement!
We go out to play in the fields around midday. I put a hat on myself and Cesar, which has become pretty futile because he keeps taking it off. Fine – get a sunburn and heatstroke so you can learn the dangers of the sun! (Never gets heatstroke or sunburn…. In evenings I suffer from headaches and dehydration even though I covered myself up, used sunscreen and drank plenty of water).
Cesar really started pushing all my ideas about the limits of my physical reality and whether they were really limits or conditioned beliefs that I simply went along with.
I started playing with putting on less layers, going into the pool when it’s just a tab bit below my comfort level, stop complaining about whether it is too hot / too cold and see whether my experience changes as I change my attitude.
What I have found is that my ability to be comfortable in a wide variety of weather conditions depends a lot on my internal ‘weather’ system. Meaning that, if I am going through an emotional storm, I’m in conflict, I am tense – and I’m so consumed about what is going on inside myself and my head – where I am pretty much oblivious to my surroundings; that I am a lot more ‘sensitive’ to weather conditions. It’s almost as if in the act of being so internalised and self-absorbed, you’re literally creating a wall of separation between yourself and your surroundings, where you not being here, WITH your surroundings – GROUNDED in your environment – friction gets generated between yourself and your environment where you become more ‘sensitive’ towards your environment, where in a way you experience the conditions in your environment as more ‘hostile’ in having a greater influence and effect on you.
I also noticed that when Cesar starts wading through ice cold pool water – he doesn’t make a sound. Whereas I am going in all ‘AAAAah! HMMMM!!!” Desperately holding in my breath in the hope that somehow holding my breath will produce an invisible power shield that makes the transition less noticeable. #FAIL
Instead I tried going in with release my breath as I enter the water – and to in that moment completely let go of all the tension and stress stored in my body. Much better.
I started to realise that Cesar lives and breathes this letting go. Not so much letting go, as an inner peacefulness – he doesn’t have anything to let go of in the first place, he doesn’t hold on to anything. He’s just here, alive, exploring and learning. He doesn’t have any baggage that he walks around with – whereas I have stored many thing inside myself over the years which I have been holding on to. I’ve been living in conflict with myself, with my environment.
Whenever I see Cesar in absolute contentment with himself and his surroundings – I am remembered by a passage from ‘The Message from the Horse’ by Klaus Hempfling:
“Humans are strange beings, even though we are the crowning glory of God’s creation. For a start, we seem to have no natural home. Certainly there’s one we no longer share with animals: the direct attachment to the forces of nature. In your search for the message of the horse you will come up repeatedly and painfully against this barrier. In the course of human development we have extended the area of our actions and gained greater freedom, but at what cost? The loss of our close connection to the natural world. We have to wear clothes, live in protective dwellings, and cannot survive without fire. We heat our food and feed principally on cereals and grains that we have to cultivate. An animal, by contrast, lives in the immediacy of his world and survives by his instincts. In other words, he is in direct contact with nature.
“Consider humanity! How do we live?”
And it reminds me that I’ve been losing myself in so many things and that it’s time to settle down with and in nature – both getting in touch with my own nature and striving to live my utmost potential and to slow down and ground myself with the pace of nature.
It could have been easy to brush Cesar’s behaviour off as an awkward quirk, or to force him to conform to the standards most of us have gotten used to. I’ve been challenged many times on his clothing topic (well, lack thereof) – been promised many times that he will get sick. There have been times that doubt overtook, that others are probably know better, the fear of making a terrible mistake – budging Cesar to please put some clothes on for the sake of the comfort of knowing that I am going with the stream.
But then I wouldn’t have gotten to these lovely insights. I wouldn’t have realised that there is much I can learn and integrate from seeing Cesar’s living. That there’s such a vast potential still left unexplored – or perhaps explored, but given up on – which is still ever so present in our children, if we foster it, nurture it and let it grow.