Like most children, my parents forced swimming lessons on me as a child. I didn’t take to it immediately, and as I recall, was really a very late bloomer. I remember walking to the YMCA every day for a week during the hot month of July, where my Mom had enrolled me in ‘Learn-to-Swim-In-One-Week-Class.” I did this for my own children when they were 5… But, I was 10!
Swimming has been my meditation for over 30 years, since we had our pool put in our backyard. I always liked to swim, but wasn’t crazy about being seen in public in my maternity swimsuits. And, If I tried to do laps, I would risk letting one of my five children drown, or at least kicked out of the pool for spraying every unsuspecting adult in the back with their water guns.
I knew nothing about meditation until I started it a few years ago. Now it is a part of my daily life. But aside from actual meditation that I do while sitting in a chair in a quiet place, the even-in-and-out breathing that swimming requires is a form of meditation in itself. Some of my best ideas have come to me while swimming–as have the answers to some of my most difficult problems. The added benefit is weight loss, without even trying! And, for a body as arthritic as mine, there are no injuries to worry about, and the water is soothing for my aching joints–and lubricates all my artificial parts. Seriously, I have so many of them I am surprised I don’t rust. As I swim I get into a sort of trance that is extremely relaxing–all my troubles seem to wash away. Before I dive in, I am usually uptight, stressed, and my mind is overloaded with the minutia of my daily life. When I get out of the water, I am calm, collected, and have forgotten most of the wiggly niggly things that were frustrating me 45 minutes earlier.