Monday, August 5, 2013

I swam 50 laps on Friday.

The last week or two having done 20 and 30 laps, I didn’t know how much my body could handle so I pushed a little harder in order to find my limit.  I don’t push harder because I want to lose weight.  I don’t push harder because I want to punish myself.  I don’t push harder because I ate something I “shouldn’t” have.  I swim longer and longer because my body asks me to. 

I’ve never been capable of understanding or listening to my body - we’ve been separated for decades.  Speaking different languages, trying desperately to understand one another but failing.  But that’s changing.  As I rest, my arms hooked over the side of the pool, I think I’m ready to get out of the water.  I intended to swim 20 laps because I didn’t want to go too hard too fast and burn out or exasperate any of my many injuries.  It wasn't that I demanded more of my body, forcing myself to continue...it's that I didn’t want to stop.  And the thought that came to mind was, “No…don’t stop.  My body wants and needs this.  I want and need this.  It feels too fucking good to stop now.”

As I swim, I feel my muscles working, my arms and legs moving fast and strong.  I’m in awe of it.  I’m in awe of my body.  Of how strong it is.  I can’t believe this body swam 50 laps.  Just like I couldn’t believe this body biked for miles and walked for one and a half.  These are things I never expected.  I never expected to find hidden parts of myself in a gym.

I’m on my back, watching the beams high above me .  My ears are under the surface and all I hear is the muffled sound of my arms sluicing  through the water before rising up above me then back down.  I only feel the water dropping off my raised arms and hitting my face.  For a moment, this is all there is.  For a moment, there are no thoughts, just feeling, seeing, hearing.  Everything in slow motion.  Pure focus.  For a moment I suddenly understand what meditation means.  For a moment I understand, truly understand, what mindfulness means. There is nothing but this and no one but me.

My physical limitations make me feel like a burden.  So fucking afraid to go new places and do new things and meet new people.  I want to do all those thing but my body and brain don’t cooperate so shutting down and hiding is a way to protect myself.  But now I look at my body and think, dude, you kick ass.  I’m not as weak as I thought I was.  This body of mine is powerful.  This body of mine still manages to surprise me after more than three decades.

I’m stronger than I think I am.  That’s something I need to never forget.

5 comments:

  1. Congratulations on what you've done, and maybe more importantly on finding some fun in improving your health (health meaning health, not size, body fat, etc... etc...)

    Swimming can be wonderful.

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  2. You've captured the wonder of swimming! If you ever are in Vancouver, BC call me and we'll go swimming in the sea! (It's not that cold, promise.)

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  3. I think you are finding yourself and liking what you have found. Good for you.

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  4. You're bloody brilliant. I just thought you should know.

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