Commitments of the Spirit

This morning I did not want to swim. Though I look forward to my twice-a-week, early morning ventures into the pool, this morning it was cold, and I was feeling pretty tired. I could think of a million reasons why it didn’t make sense to go and yet it was one of the things that I have committed to doing for my own physical health. So grumbling, I dragged myself to the pool. I was already chilly since I keep my house at a low temperature, and it had actually snowed on Mount Diablo last night! And as I arrived, I noticed that the pool was almost empty. One of the regulars greeted me and told me that the water was a little on the cool side And once again, I found myself thinking that I could just go home.
 As I entered the water, I realized how cold I actually was from my energy and budget-saving measures in the house. My toes had that tingle of frostbite in the warm water and it felt luxurious to be there. Instead of being colder and more miserable, I felt warm and developed and also content. Swimming has become my primary time for wrestling through difficult problems in my mind and I was able to do that as well as add a couple of new strokes to my routine. All in all it was a very satisfying swim. This was all after a week in which a lot of things did not go as planned, and which there was a fair amount of exposure to heartbreak both within my own frame of reference, and also in the larger reference of the world. The night before I had listened to the New York Times account Of the killing of the volunteers from the World Central Kitchen and I had found myself enveloped in a new round of grief at the state of the world, something that happens, not infrequently these days. Perhaps that was part of why I had not wanted to pull myself out of the warmth of sleep in my bed and into the coldness of the world this morning. 
However, by honoring this little commitment that I have made to myself, to do my ungainly and unskilled swim twice a week, I allowed myself to feel the generosity of the world in a way that mattered. Sometimes that is the way our commitments are gateways to the larger expense of the world that we want to live in. I am grateful for that reminder.

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