How A Shower Changed My Life

Are you sitting comfortably?

Comfortably? Why yes, I hear you cry, and it feels rather lovely.

Well, that may not actually be a good thing.

Let me ask you this:

Do you want to be (merely) comfortable in your life?

Not thriving, passionate or living within a 100 mile radius of the Edge.

Just… comfortable. Sitting quite, quite comfortably.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? I mean, comfortable in my life means comfortable in my own skin – hell yeah! Gimme more of that.

But, hang on a minute… just plain ol’ comfortable?

Hm. I’m not so sure. Sounds rather bland, now that you mention it.


I’ve been reflecting. While comfortable is something I think I want, when it really comes down to it, I would rather be a million other things.

Alive, for example.

Or frustrated.



Frightened and doing it anyway.

In love.


Aching from head to toe.

Breathless. Confronted. Inspired. Motivated. Alert. Moved.



But not comfortable. Or mediocre. Or just ‘fine’. Or (shudders), average.

Moody and pushed to my limits in Italy. Loving every moment – but definitely not ‘comfortable’.

Being average is one of my greatest fears, actually (all part of being a perfectionist).

And then you came along, Blog of Impossible Things, waking me from my living stupor, alerting me to the fact that life is here RIGHT NOW just waiting to be lived, tasted, touched, felt, experienced, grabbed hold of, basked in, held, caressed, stared fearlessly in the eye and, in the words of my personal trainer, grabbed by the scruff of the neck.

And grab it is exactly what I am doing.


When I read about cold shower therapy the other day, something inside of me clicked. I knew in an instant that I had to try this thing. Showering in freezing cold water every day for 30 days? Sounds utterly crazy.

Sounds bloody amazing!

Joel’s article about how choosing to face the shower-head of fear every day provides a wonderful mirror for how you face your life, left me with no option: I had to dive in head first or else resign myself to a half-lived day/week/who knows how long. Having a history like mine, when you get the opportunity to live fully, believe me you grab it. Too many precious days have been lost to fear, self-loathing and self-destructiveness, and I find myself almost involuntarily propelled to live fully or find myself a prisoner to fear once again. A recent resurgence of binge eating has shown me the ‘life’ that my ego would have me live, and believe me, it is no life at all.

The ego or little mind promotes a fair few wares from its rickety stall:

Being right rather than being happy;


Separateness and a sense of individual identity;

And definitely being comfortable.

This cunning, conniving monkey mind tries to convince you that being comfy is one of your life’s great missions, and I for one have drunk a fair few hundred lattes or cups of tea simply because I wanted that comforting feeling, because I couldn’t bear the ten mintue wait for a bus without something to consume, or because I felt ‘exhausted’ and ‘needed to rest’. It seems rather empty and sad to me this evening, that I have done this to myself for so much of my 29-year-old life.

No, this being comfortable lark isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Actually, on the contrary, being comfortable after facing a fear or a challenge (or something downright tough or horrible) far exceeds the experience of simply being comfortable.

A warm shower isn’t just ‘comfortable’ after a cold one – it’s sigh-inducingly blissful. A sofa isn’t just ‘comfortable’ after a 65 mile bike ride – it’s heaven. Bed isn’t just bed – it’s perfection made manifest. Living life at a cruise control temperature of ‘lukewarm but comfortable’ is NOT something I came to this planet to do.
So, on Sunday just gone, I took the plunge and welcomed the first intentional cold shower into my life.

And since then, amazing things have happened – or rather, I have stepped up and MADE amazing things happen:

– I’ve booked a holiday to Prague and Vienna for November with my dear and extremely lovely friend Lian.

– I’ve arranged to go to London on Saturday to see my beautiful, precious goddaughter and her incredible mummy and daddy.

– I’ve donated money to Pencils of Promise’s project to build schools to educate 1,000 of the 67 million children who don’t have access to education.

– I’ve taught courageously, open-heartedly and freely.

– I’ve signed up for the Brighton to Brighton 100 mile bike ride at the end of September. Gulp.

– I have kicked BUTT on my bike rides, training hard, pushing myself and being confronted with my wall again and again. I certainly am not Ironwoman but I do my best and something in me is toughening up, willing to be with the pain rather than quit as soon as it gets even a tiny bit tough and achy. I believe that this is going to pay huge dividends in my life, so much of which I have a tendency to cop out of.

– I’ve done two workouts and although I have been crap in terms of my mental strength with certain exercises, in other moments, I have worked out with the tenacity and determination of a true athlete.

– I have stayed off the crack sugar. My new mantra is “I don’t do sugar”. There is a whole book in this story, and it’s too lengthy and complicated to tell now, but let me just tell you what a victory it is to be getting through a single day sugar free.

– I’ve started to write and ponder my Impossible List and have been uplifted and inspired beyond belief by a flurry of amazing input via the interwebs, TED talks and amazing chats with husband Nige. More on this soon…
Is it possible to change your life in just four days? In times of trouble and self-sabotage, this concept feels almost impossible to me (no pun intended). Looking back on the last 96 hours, however, I can confidently say that clear, concrete ACTION in the direction of your dreams, or perhaps your impossibilities, and definitely in the direction of where your fear lies, is the number one way to smash through self-imposed limits, feel alive, and be able to put your head on the pillow at night knowing that no matter what happens, you can go to your grave one day knowing that for those few days in August 2012, while the Olympians were making history, you were writing your own story, a his-story or her-story all of your own.

Was it comfortable? Probably not.

Was it worth it?


You tell me. It’s your life…


Elloa xx

Leave a comment and tell me: 1. Are you up for the cold shower therapy challenge? 2. What is one action you’re going to take in the direction of your dream and/or impossibility?

I believe in us 🙂


2 thoughts on “How A Shower Changed My Life

  1. Wonderful stuff Ell,
    I especially loved the last paragraph. ‘knowing that for those few days in August 2012, while the Olympians were making history, you were writing your own story, a his-story or her-story all of your own.

    Was it comfortable? Probably not.

    Was it worth it?


    You tell me. It’s your life…’

    I have just completed a 30 mile bike ride in my big ring. Was it comfortable. Nah! Was it worth it – I will let you know when I ride the dreaded Cobb Lane at the Rumble in a couple of weeks time. I followed the ride with a brief, intense workout and then a freezing cold shower. Life is good.

    Love Nige

  2. Wow, Ell. I’m totally inspired.

    It’s so interesting the timing of me reading this…just a couple of days ago I was thinking about how I’m in a physical rut. I just haven’t felt inspired/pulled to do anything physical for a while–part of this is because my kiddos have been home this summer & I have very little time when they’re not around but mostly it’s because I just haven’t had felt motivated. This is actually pretty unusual for me…I’ve trained for lots of running events in the past & this has always motivated me & felt good. But I’ve had this pesky Plantar Fasciitis that’s kept me from running.

    So, the other day I said I little prayer asking for guidance and all of a sudden things are popping out all over the place (this writing by beautiful you included). I’m going to continue to go within and ask for guidance and open up around this….

    Thank you for continually showing up, my friend. Your courage and kickass-ness seriously inspires me.

    Love and more love to you.

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