Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Zen of Swimming

    The difference a day makes. A bit of sleep, healthy food, and a long swim always seems to sort me out. The zen of swimming settles my mind like nothing else I have ever known. My mind can be a hamster on a wheel when I enter the water, but a few laps in and Brain has settled down and starts putting the jumbled fragments of my chaotic thoughts into a cohesive pattern. It is likely the perfect combination of controlled breathing, rhythmic movement, and increased oxygen flow through Brain and Body. With my head under water all external noise is blocked, all I can hear are the bubbles of my own expelled breath as they rumble past my ears. Stroke, stroke, stroke, breathe. Stroke, stroke, stroke, breathe.
    The last few days I have felt my stress level rising. Despite all my best efforts. Despite practicing calm, peace, harmony. Despite my recent sabbatical from the internet, most of it, anyway. Last night was the crescendo. As with all my meltdowns, major and minor, Brain starts circling around one point of anxiety. A dog chasing its tail, circling, circling. Never stopping. Never catching the tail. I have so many tricks in my bag, weapons in the arsenal, all designed to help prevent a tumble into the bleak. I was pulling out a few of my favorites. The tools with handles worn smooth from frequent usage. I was managing to keep things in check to a degree, but panic was sitting on my shoulder, whispering in my ear. Panic is such an asshole.
    Yesterday I was getting weepy over song lyrics. Trigger songs that I love, but when I am melancholy they stab at my psyche. "Like a break in the battle was your part in the wretched life of a lonely heart." My life is not wretched. I am rarely ever lonely. But there are times when I think how much easier life would be with someone to share the load. That is when I do have a lonely heart. I have shouldered the burden alone for so long that I doubt I could surrender it, even to a willing and able victim. But there are days, brief moments, when the burden seems to crush me beneath its weight. I stumble, stagger, then rise up, stronger than before. This is the difference one day makes.
    In the cool, clear water, bubbles rumbling past my ears. Stroke, stroke, stroke, breathe. There was sudden clarity. I regained my focus, laid out a plan, found my cadence. No more floundering, not at the moment. Today I gathered my strength, shifted the burden a bit, and got back on my way. All because the Zen of Swimming let Brain get it all sorted. Sorted and back on track.

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