Wim Hof: The Ice Man is someone who inspires me. Wim is known, perhaps most famously, as the “Ice Man” because he has broken world records for withstanding sub-zero temperatures while being simultaneously submerged in ice; a teeth chattering experience to even consider much less attempt. I know it is easy to decide , as my husband tends to think, that Wim is a crazy, dare-devil sort, who takes wild and needless risks to prove what?
Once, when asked in an interview why he does the things he does, Wim replied with unassuming calm, “I do what I do … (he looked off as if to consider the question) … because I do.” That response struck a chord in me. I also all too often find myself doing what I do simply because.
But I have my own opinion about why Wim may do the barrier-breaking things he does. I tend to think that it is Wim's mission (whether he knows it or not) to model for us what is possible through the harnessing and directing of mind power. Wim will tell you that the way he is able to withstand freezing temperatures for long periods of time is by controlling his body temperature, which he claims he does using the body thermostat located in his mind. In other words, using breathing techniques and will power, Wim controls his body responses to withstand conditions that most humans consider impossible to withstand. He shows us it's possible to do the impossible.
My son, Andrew Guilfoil, is a master teacher in the world of ballet. I have often been amazed at what his students can accomplish under his tutelage. He simply does not accept “I can't” from his students. When one of his students complains, for instance, about not being strong enough to accomplish a particularly challenging dance move, he tells them, “You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.” In other words, he tells them that when they decide to be strength incarnate they will astound themselves and those around them. And they do.
Such teachers as Wim Hoff and my son, Andrew, remind us that there are no barriers that we cannot break through, except those we impose on our own thinking through disbelief. We choose our own limits – we decide what is possible for us.
I am grateful for such models of what's possible because they remind me that I too can go on growing stronger, more capable, to break through personal limits and barriers that have held me back in the past, no matter how old I am or what limitations I may have. When I practice yoga or qigong, I often remember the inspirational demonstration of men like Andrew and Wim Hoff – they remind me that truly nothing is impossible. All I need do is believe in it's possibility.