Art education, inspiration and encouragement for children and parents in Arlington, VA
I watched the movie “The Alpinist Saturday at The Clyde. I woke up Sunday hearing Marc-Andre Leclere in my head “…at some point I realize ‘this is real’ and I can either fall apart or I can get myself together. That process: the choice and the determination to keep it together is never easy, it’s always a challenge”.
It made me realize all the points in my own life where the climb got tough. When did I panic and when did I choose to keep it together and when did I fall apart because it was the best I could do? In swimming I notice the moments where panic wants real estate in my head. And even though each little panic thought is mostly absurd, it’s also real, a choice.
While out there swimming at Robinson on this blue-sky-Saturday morning, I take notice of my normal rhythm: swim for around five minutes, stop, remove my goggles, look at the sky, birds, the surface of the water. I love that I can float vertically, move my arms and legs without much effort and not sink.
I notice the wetsuit forces my breath out even more than normal. I think that the next breath is further away from me than usual. My breathing feels shallow. My mind wants to spin into a panic.
When I swim and focus on my stroke, or the sea life, I don't panic. When I'm not focused on one particular thing there is so much possible to focus on. My mind skips like a stone across it all, touching lightly on each thing: the cold, the tide and current, my location, my stroke, the sea life, will I be able to change quickly out of my suit today? Where are the others? Why are my feet out of the water? My mind is wanting me to pull it all together yesterday.
After the swim, a-new-to-the-water swimmer affirmed: there is so much to consider that’s new while swimming in open water. “I’m taking it easy and limiting my time” he said. “All the things to consider can be overwhelming, it’ll come with time”. Sage advice.
Today, I was able to achieve the small goal of getting out at what seemed like the right amount of time for me - 20 to 30 minutes. I removed my wetsuit underwater in record time. With small goals, it will all come together over time.
And with that piece of wisdom, there was a special treat waiting at the driftwood where we gather. Without giving too much away, a flask was involved along with hot coffee. There are so many creative ways to get warm after a swim.