I love to swim.
I love the feeling of floating in warm water, as close to weightlessness as we can come here on earth. Perhaps it reminds me of how it felt to be in my mother’s womb, suspended in warmth, and in love.
I love the way the water magnifies everything; the heightened sensitivity it offers. Sights, sounds and smells are all more intense…you can hear people breathing, smell their perfume, and see everything you choose to see…
And I love the way it heightens the sensitivity in me, and offers me an opportunity to deepen my awareness of myself and my connection with other people and life.
I went for a swim this morning. I went early in the morning, when it was dark and cool and most people were still warmly resting in bed. I noticed myself hoping that the pool would be quiet, that I would have at least a lane to myself. I do love people, but I don’t always like to share my space with them! I notice that when the pool is quiet, I relax and expand; and when it is busy and I have to share a lane, I tense up and contract a little, despite all my best intentions.
I notice how I am with other people, trying to catch their eye, wanting to say hello, even if they obviously don’t want to, wanting us to be harmonious in the water together. I notice that I can feel how other people are feeling, and I feel a disturbance in me if they are out of sorts. I notice I have more trouble moving through the water if someone is powering up and down aggressively beside me. I notice that I love to share the water with children, as they are playful and have fun (unless they are doing training laps with their parents or squad).
I notice that I feel my body more intensely, and that there is a process that we go through together. As I begin my swim, I start to feel everything that is not quite right…sore spots in my body that I was not aware of, points of aching or tension or tightness or hardness…I can worry about them, or just let them go…as we move together through the water.
I breathe through my nose when I swim, as I do in life, and I notice that if my mind starts to wander, I suck water up my nose! This brings me back in no time at all, and keeps me honest. It helps me to keep my mind aligned with my body, to hold my awareness to what I am doing in that moment, and as I do this, I feel my body open and expand.
I feel my whole body as I swim, from the tips of my fingers to the ends of my toes. I feel myself glide through the water, and notice that I can move in a way that creates force and struggle and tiredness, or allow myself to be moved in a way that feels gorgeous, and light, and that actually energises me as I go. When I surrender and allow myself to be moved, the feeling is just lovely.
I swim in a rhythmic way that allows me to hold this feeling…I may need to slow down a little, to not pull my arms so strongly through the water, or take a short rest at the end on some days…but if I push or force or strive at all, I lose that lovely feeling.
As the lovely feeling builds, I then start to feel a purpose to my movement…and that is to deepen the quality of how I am and how I will move through the day. When I swim with that purpose, I feel the power of me and that power builds.
These thirty minutes of moving in conscious presence, with my mind aligned to what my body is doing, are a beautiful way to start the day. They bring me deeply into my body, which opens up more and comes alive, and prepares me for a day lived in the same presence, no matter where I go, who I am with, or what I do.
A swim can be so much more than just a swim, if we allow ourselves to deeply feel everything as we move.