Thursday, December 3, 2009

Lessons in Procrastination: visualize the end, then go for a swim

Nearing the end of semester #2 at RMUoHP, I still have a biostatistics exam to get done (Allison), review 6 more articles for shoulder and upper quarter pathology (Ellenbecker) and complete a paper outline (Caputo). I should be at a SPOKESPEOPLE meeting right now and I need to book flights to Ireland to check on the mammy with her broken wing. Instead, I am cooking a big pot of brown and wild rice risotto with shitake mushrooms,threatening to open a bottle of Bordeaux, and burst my lamps into tears..
I still, at this ripe old age, have tremenduous difficulty in prioritizing things when I haven't been swimming. Somehow, being in the water helps me regulate my mind, in the way that biking can't, and left to its own devices, my little brain is loath to manage. Even now, with a little taste of panic rising in my throat, I can solicit the calm I need from just thinking about tomorrow mornings workout, from envisaging the weightlessness in the water, and the deep quiet it brings when I leave.
Some late fall mornings at the YMCA, the sun is rising just as I am finally warming up in the pool, 30 minutes or so into the 4500 yd workout, and the rays pierce the water's surface lighting the depths of blue. An incredible vision to push off the wall, face down, rotate to face up, break the surface and for a split second before hitting the air, have a pillar of light deflected by still submerged, outstretched arms. I am never bored while swimming. My mind is never still while swimming, always feeling the water, always searching for perfect pressure through the pull, for optimal positioning to be longer, leaner in the juncture between liquid and air. I mentally struggle with every stroke to find the yin and yang, the power of relaxed effort. I have been doing so for decades now, conciously for ten years. It is my yoga, my meditation, breathing with motion, regulated breath with body movement, forced exhalation with effort facilitating the next inhalation, the next stroke, the next thing on my list to address. Already feeling better. Can't wait to get in the pool.

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