Choose Wisely

Preparing for a Swim

Day to day. Task to task. Turtle step to turtle step. Breath to breath. We make choices all our lives. Our thoughts lead us around by the nose and define our emotions by ruling our choices.

My goal is to swim a mile every day – 36 laps. Each day it gets easier. Each day I make the choice to swim or not.  Lap 10 is a milestone because I started with 10 laps and that took me longer then than 36 laps take me now.  My daily swim has become a moving meditation.

Getting to the gym is the only hard part. Once I’m there I’m eager to slip into the cool water. Gearing up – swim cap, goggles, heart rate monitor, swim-fin gloves – is filled with anticipatory glee.  That first underwater dive to go between lanes under the ropes feels wonderful. I’ve always loved being under water from the time I was a little girl having tea parties at the bottom of the pool with imaginary friends.

I choose to swim totally mindful of the water against my skin, the air I continuously blow, the bubbles, the chlorine in my nose, the arc of my arm as I raise it for another stroke and how far out and smoothly, I’m reaching into the water with each down stroke. Sometimes I drink it, snort it or chock on it, too, and that is an experience to be mindful of. Whether I panic or return to mindfulness is a choice.

Why did I resist this practice for so long? Why would I choose NOT to do something that gives me so much pleasure? And which is so healthy? And which makes my body feel better than it does on the days I don’t swim? It was my thought – pure and simple. No time. No strength. No endurance. Can’t afford it. The list was endless and boring – until there was nothing left on that list.

Taking that much time for ‘just me’ was impossible for a long time because of all the thoughts I had which made me think everything and everybody else came first. By analyzing the thoughts driving that thinking I was able to change my life for the better.

How do you examine your thoughts? Start by listening, observing and noticing which thoughts make you happy and which thoughts make you sad or mad or retreat. Decide which thoughts you want to keep on thinking … or not. Where did they come from?  The majority of our thought programming occurs before we are 5 years old. As we grow up, we have the opportunity to decide if the thoughts our parents, siblings, love interests, environment, advertising, religion, and culture ‘gave’ us are ones we really believe and want to embrace as our own thoughts.

This is not always easy. According to Dr. Deepak Chopra, people may think as many as 65,000 thoughts per day. And 95% of the thoughts a person thinks one day will be the same thoughts they thought the previous day.  (Deepak Chopra, Quantum Healing)

You might find a friend you trust, or a life coach, who can be your surrogate observer, to help you notices and change habitual negative thoughts.

It will be life changing. It will improve your relationship with yourself and every other person you interact with.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Kate
    Jul 19, 2011 @ 15:05:33

    I love it. I may start swimming again today. I love it too.


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