The Sea has been my soul home since the beginning of my journey in this lifetime.
My name, Marinella, means "she who comes form the sea", and at the seaside on the coast of Tuscany (Italy) I was conceived many moons ago.
The warm Tyrrhenian Sea and the Mediterranean Sea have welcomed me over the years for many happy swims, sunbathing, beach parties and great adventures, to find treasures and make beach art…as well as quiet meditative moments by myself or with loved ones, staring into the horizon in the daytime or watching the stars and the moon at nighttime. I have also cried a lot by the sea and in the sea, finding comfort in the flow of water.
And I have felt reborn when I had my first dip by myself after the birth of my baby in 2016. I was back in Tuscany, 6 months postnatal, and I had about half an hour completely to myself on the beach, at last! I went in slowly and let myself float for what felt like eternity, with tears of all emotions flowing down my face, the warm sea water holding me and the warm sun shining over me...it was my birth, as a mother, in the arms of the Great Mother Sea.
Other warm seas, from Southern Europe to Central America and South East Asia have been great places to plunge in, swim, snorkel, explore and generally soak in the beautiful mothering, calming and flowing energy of the Great Mother Sea! Take me to the sea, anytime of the year! But I would only swim in warm water…
Then, this summer, the unexpected happened: I have become a cold water swimmer addicted!
Unable to dive into the warm Mediterranean Sea, I have embraced the call of the cold sea of this land first on the Dorset coast (then Somerset and Devon) and it has been love at first dip!
My first time was incredible: a little painful, exciting, fun, liberating, relieving, deeply satisfying and almost moving! I felt high, with a mix of oxytocin and endorphins rushing through me (even afterwards for some time), something really unique! And with each consecutive cold swim I have experienced a greater connection to the wilderness of Nature and to my inner wild 40-something years old self. Looking ahead I can see how this practice of being in cold water could become a precious ritual to support me on my perimenopausal years...and I am already dreaming of a water ritual in the sea to birth my menopausal self, when the time will come. But for now I want to simply cherish each time I will manage to dip, dive, swim and float, or simply sit by the Great Mother Sea...giving thanks for all the blessings I receive each time I connect to the Her...
The most wonderful companion to my cold water swimming adventures has been Lucy Pearce's beautiful new book She of the Sea, which I have read twice this summer! The news of the book arrived in my inbox on my birthday back in May, and it instantly felt like the best birthday gift to myself! A gift from the goddess! So timely! This book has inspired so much with all its old folklore tales and many women’s stories, giving me also some new insights on my own relationship with the Sea, beyond her temperature and colour, beyond the borders of different lands. And it has brought me back to the essence of myself as a flowing/shapeshifting/cyclical/nourishing human being, a wild and free creature (part mermaid/part selkie), a woman in love with the Sea, at home in the Sea. If you are a sea lover like me, I cannot recommend it highly enough!
"[...] May you know yourself held
in the palm of Her hand,
Blessed by the waves
wild and free,
Blown by the wind,
anointed with salt,
Beloved of She of the Sea"
Lucy Pearce, "She of the Sea"