Swimming in the short lane

Twice a week, I swim laps, usually in the early morning. This practice which I began during the COVID shelter has become an important meditative time in which I connect with myself and with a greater sense of the possible.

Both times this week when I have arrived at the pool, especially eager for my swim, I have found that the only lane open is my least favorite.  The first lane, you see, is a little narrower than the others and because I am not a particularly skilled swimmer, if I swim in it, I tend to scrape my elbow or my knee—one time I even banged my toe.

Swimming is important to my sense of the world and so both mornings I swam, even though the conditions were less than ideal.  And yep, one day I got a light scrape on the elbow from an enthusiastic if not precise backstroke. Swimming is something I do because I want to live connected to the world and I want to do so in as healthy a manner as I can.  So, even though the short lane was the only choice, I was glad I swam.

Life, it seems, tends to have us take it on its own terms. They are not always the terms we want. Disappointments, heartbreaks and hardships are part of it.

Swimming has increased my ability to show up.  I learned from showing up throughout the winter that outdoor swimming here is invigorating.  I learned from swimming even when I am sharing a lane with someone much better than me (something I was initially loathe to do) that it makes me swim at a faster clip. I learned from swimming even on the days when I forget my towel that drying happens anyway. And if I get the short lane, well, so be it. At the end of my second swim in that lane this week, I ended up with the whole lane to myself and that was very restoring.

Life on life’s terms, not always mine.  Sometimes that means swimming in the short lane because that beats the alternative. Whatever brings us calm, balance and a sense of connection may require persistence.  And, for me, it is worth it.

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