By Stefano Razeto, Italy
Photos by Federico Traverso
Close friends call me “uomo pesce” because I literally live in the water. As a kid I learned to swim before I could walk. Back then I used the water as a portal for innovation, playfulness and competitiveness. The sea has always been a great teacher for me and it taught me to play by its rules early on in my life. Now as an adult swimmer, it has become my mentor, guiding me through my journey of self-discovery and self-mastery.
The love for the sea and my passion for swimming has attracted the right people in my life. Not by coincidence but by synchronicity. One summer back in my hometown in Italy, I was connected with Federico, also known as “Skull”. I was in love with his underwater photography and the sea was able to pull us both in one day to play for a couple of hours. Those three hours flew by as we were both lost in the flow of creativity and self-expression. There wasn’t much talking. Just us being us. Operating from within. Expressing our true love that we feel for the water.
As I was in the sea with Federico, I saw myself once again in the playground of innovation and creativity the same way I felt back then as a kid. For once I let go of my competitiveness and I surrendered fully to the present moment. I began to consciously breathe, slowly my heartbeat sank and calmed myself down. I took one last deep breath and I departed.
As I dove down into the darkness, I let go of my ego and my focus was purely on finding my real self. The light within shadowed the dark underneath me and so I continued to swim until I touched the seabed at around ten meters depth.
On the seabed I continued to search for my true self and the journey was not easy. I felt pressure in my chest as my ego persisted to hold me there where I always used to be. But the faith within, of wanting to find my true self, kept me on the right track. So I started to see glimpses of the true reality.
As I began to heal myself from open wounds I started to swim in clear waters. Clarity became my new reality and so I started to flow freely. I felt like a dolphin, wild and free. I began taking big dolphin kicks to generate this beautiful new upwards momentum.
With that momentum going, I learnt to let go of all resistance and attachments and I got carried away completely by the water. I came to appreciate in that very moment that there was where unlimited beauty and potential lay.
Letting go was actually so simple yet so challenging to do. Trusting the voice within, I continued to detach myself. I felt so free. No more mental anguish, and so I flew in joy and enjoyed every second of my journey.
As I approached the surface once again I found myself back together with my passion, this time awoke and with clear vision. Stroke for stroke I started swimming. I grabbed the water to transmit the gratitude that I had always felt for her, for everything that she had taught me and for everything that she had done for me. No matter what, discipline was always conveyed, as there was where the hard work lived.
Competitive swimming can become a dangerous game if the game remains only on the level of competition and results. If we are willing to discover our true self and heal ourselves in the process, then we can use our sport as an art form. That art then becomes our teacher. The lessons learnt will then help us to advance in life guiding and serving people around us. We are all connected by water so let’s begin to learn from one another. Soon we’ll see how easy life can actually be. One that can be peaceful. One that can become meaningful. One that can reveal itself to be truly successful.