April 10, 2018

The Shallows

The Shallows, Jacques de Villiers motivational speaker

I was at the beach a couple of weeks ago. When I swam I stayed in the shallows.

Every now and again, I’d spot a small fish or some sea shells.

It was pleasant enough. But after a while I got bored. Seriously, one can only body surf for so much.

When I’m at the sea, I always want swim deeper and further out. I never do. The bottom line is that I’m scared. I’m not a great swimmer and I’ve seen Jaws.

This means when it comes to the sea, I’ll pretty much always wallow in the shallows and never venture out to unknown adventure.

I worry that I conduct my life the same way.

I stay in the shallow, safe and superficial world. This limits my experience to the house I live in, the neighbourhood I stay in, the stores I shop at and the people I hang out with.

I strive for things that I can see – houses, cars, food and friends.

If I had the courage to don a wet suit and scuba tank, I could go deeper into the sea and discover the many beautiful and astounding creatures that are hidden from me.

I could have a fuller and richer experience.

I know the same is true for me when I go deeper into myself. When I try and connect with my soul my experiences are more fulfilling.

But, if I go too deep, I get scared of what I might find. I’m scared that the demons and angels will give me the answers I seek so that I actually have to man up and do the work in front of me. That, of course is getting to my final destination in good shape through the experiences of now.

I’m not brave enough to take charge and be really happy. I then leave the depths and come back to the shallows where I feel safe. Where I think I have some semblance of control.

But the shallows are a deceptively dangerous place to be. A shark can take me in a couple of feet of water, blue bottles can sting me and shells can cut me.

The same goes for thinking that I can remain a surface dweller, safe and sound in a world that’s familiar to me.

Dangers lurk there too. You know it and I know it.

There are risks associated with both staying in the shallows and going deep.

Staying in the shallows stops me from having a rich, full experience of this gift that I have been given … life.

Going inward and deeper has the potential to free me to become a creature of grace and gratitude.

But, it’s hard to be free because I’m used to being a slave. I’m used to pandering to the whims of my many masters so that they can feed me the scraps from the table.
It’s the safer option … being a slave. The harder option is being free but potentially starving to death.

But, what if I’m free and I thrive? What would that mean?

I have faith that if I go deep and set myself free, there’s no way I’ll starve. I’ll have abundance and way more than is my due.

Let’s go swim, you and I. Let’s go deep.

Jacques de Villiers helps organisations, professional speakers, authors and entrepreneurs triumph through: sales training, motivational speaking and consulting.

13 Comments on “The Shallows

Don't Lose Your Shape
April 21, 2021 at 2:56 pm

[…] The Shallows got more than 100 positive responses on social media. Maybe it’s worth a read. […]

Marilet Clark
May 20, 2021 at 11:16 am

I am with you Jacques – Deeper rather than wider, do the work…know the peace! Find the Joy!

Jacques de Villiers
May 20, 2021 at 1:22 pm


Dr Bill Price
May 20, 2021 at 12:31 pm

WOW Jacques

Your questions and inner world, reveal, is a space that challenged me too.
Keep it up.
Whatever you are drinking to produce such great articles……… get it in drip intravenously mode! – forget a glass sipping it away……

Jacques de Villiers
May 20, 2021 at 1:22 pm

Thanks for the compliment, Bill. Let’s see if I can find a drip for it.

You’re the Job.

Steven Johnson
May 20, 2021 at 12:45 pm

It is interesting that we are at times catoegorized into different personality profiles that reflect who we are in different persona! Sometimes we are just our true selves sitting reading a book, slothing around at home with now pressures – just relaxing. Then we might go to work and be among people – and we put on a mask and change ver so slightly to conform to society’s codes – and at times we might come under stress and become someone totally different.

In each persona we have the ability to take risks or find security. A snail might carry it’s security around with it as a ‘motor-home’ but still get around! I climbed Mt Kilimanjaro and had to train hard because of the threat of death from altitude sickness, hyperthermia and avalanches – it was a major feat in my life. But the porters that took our tents and food make the same trek every day day in and day out all through the year – so much for my ‘risk’!

So, getting into deep water is not really something we should avoid. We learn and grow from the experiences and learn to control our fears and emotions to a point when we master them and they are normalized.

Jacques – lets take a swim together into the deep waters and face the sharks and blue-bottles and enjoy the ride!

Jacques de Villiers
May 20, 2021 at 1:21 pm

Well said, Steven,

I look forward to swimming in deep water with you one day, Steven.

You’re the job.

May 20, 2021 at 3:47 pm

I love this article – I have somewhat a different take on what it takes to go into the deeper water. We have spent our lives avoiding our own depth of pain, darkness, fears and then even our passion, our joy and our ecstasy because of cultural conditioning of who and how we should and shouldn’t be (and other reasons). We therefore do not have the capacity to be present to deep dark pain or ecstasy and until we develop the ability to be present and available to it all – we avoid. When I talk about “we” I mean so many humans and not everyone is in the same pot. This is my personal experience of working with my own whatever is and with other people too. I haven’t reached the ecstasy stage yet other than little glimpses.

May 20, 2021 at 4:47 pm

You wrote this some time back … I’ve read it before, right? As you know, I enjoy reading your insightful words!!! With love. C. xxx

Di Atherton
May 20, 2021 at 5:53 pm

I can’t believe I’m reading this now because it’s exactly how I’m feeling. I’ve just booked a cottage in Prince Albert for 2 weeks later this year – solo road trip across SA….

Colin Heaney
May 20, 2021 at 6:39 pm

Love this article..
After selling up everything , arriving in Dublin just under three weeks ago this article cannot come at a better time.
Thank You.
On the beach of Killiney, on Monday, Sue handed me a stone pebble that resembled an old Celtic rune which had markings that, for me, looks like an old face and shield. .
The saying “Fortune Favours the Bold” has constantly popped into my mind ever since then.
Wishing you well my friend.

Jacques de Villiers
May 27, 2021 at 11:21 am

Yay. Finally you made it to Ireland. Keep us in the loop of how things are going for you there.

Juel Barnett
May 20, 2021 at 8:41 pm

That fear holding us back is extremely powerful. And yet, as soon as we let go of the comfort of the shallows, we realise how simple it really is…
Great article x


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *