Thursday, 28 May 2015

Beginning again

To learn how to teach is to re learn completely, and entirely.  

You must first forget what you have assumed and let go of all that you think you understand.  

To ask the right question you need to reconsider where it is that you stand.  

As only from the correct angle, will your perspective show you that which you must surely grasp.

A beginner's mind is a pre requisite...

Just as one can compose colours, or forms, 
so one can compose motions.
Alexander Calder

I am delighted to be spending time thinking about how best to share my passion and pass on to others the skills I have been lucky enough to develop.  

Swimming is to me far more than an activity that keeps me fit.  To swim is to feel alive, and well.  For it is in the water that I feel best able to bring mind and body together.    

I use the water to alter my mind, and swimming to enhance my mood.  It is, through movement in the water that I can regroup, decompress and remind myself of the joy life has to offer.

I am, you might say, a water baby.  

When I swim alongside others, I know I am among my tribe.  My pod.  

I do not seek to recruit, but to expand the joy I have discovered over the course of my lifetime spent in and under water.  But first, I must learn how to break it down.  Keeping it simple, I must find ways of getting back to basics.  

Every simple act must be approached as if we have never done it before.  
That way we can find things out.  
F. M. Alexander

You can't do something you don't know, if you keep on doing what you do know.
F. M. Alexander

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Just get on with it

I stood there for what felt like ages.  The length of the pool stretched out in front of me, seemingly without end.  

"Why am I here at 6pm on a Bank Holiday?" is not a question you should ask yourself whilst standing at the shallow end.  

There are some things that it is really better not to think too much about.  Like taking the plunge into water that you know will be so cold it will bite and swimming those first two lengths whilst you acclimatise.

It felt cold.  Too cold.  The pool suddenly felt too long.  The other end too far away.  

Sometimes it really is best just to get on with it.  Starting is always the hardest part.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Body in Mind

My physio appointments are about far, far, more than my physiological wellbeing.  Whilst important to attend to the aches that I am increasingly conscious of (the perils of age?), my fortnightly appointment treats body and mind.

Mindfulness meditation has been the tool that I have used to sharpen my awareness, and I have for some time now held only very loosely the concept of any duality between mind and body.  The approach of my preferred practitioner resonates very closely with the understanding I hold when I seek to look after my body-in-mind.  

I seek to look after the housing, acknowledging the toll that everyday life exerts on my body.  The treatment enables me to reconnect with my physical self.  It is more than maintenance:  it prevents injury and promotes repair.  Time spent in my body in this way gives my mind real time out.  

Take care of your body.  It's the only place you have to live.
Jim Rohn

Do something today your future self will thank you for.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Working through

As another month passes, I notice how my mind seeks to organise itself around the grief I will doubtless remain conscious of for a long time yet. It comes and goes, ebbing and flowing. Arising sometimes predictably and at other times, quite without warning. These days, it is a gentle sadness. A recognition that she is no longer. That we will never again greet one another in that old, familiar way. 

Life, of course, continues. Change envelops me. And my mind does its best to keep up. My mind, I can now see, is working over time to ensure I stay alive - not in the physical sense, but at an emotional level. My mind is capable of keeping me on track and does this by organising my thoughts now that the shock has subsided and I adjust to the reality of my loss.

I no longer think about her morning, noon and night. I recall memories at will, and am pleased to do so. They give me comfort. I am haunted no more. The way the mind manages grief over time means that whilst we do not ever leave our loved ones behind, we are able to manage alongside the loss we bear. There is no lessening of the bond, but a strengthening of our confidence that we can bear up and look ahead.

Our ability to survive in this way speaks nothing of the quality of the relationship with whomsoever it is that we have lost. It is, instead, a testament to our resilience and should be taken as such.

We need not wear our grief as a tabard; it is there and we carry it in different ways. Some days it weighs heavier than others. When working well together, mind and heart lend one another the mutual support necessary to carry us forward during the working through of any loss. 

Death is nothing at all
I have only slipped away into the next room
I am I and you are you
Whatever we were to each other
That we are still
Call me by my old familiar name
Speak to me in the easy way you always used
Put no difference into your tone
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
Laugh as we always laughed
At the little jokes we always enjoyed together
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was
Let it be spoken without effort
Without the ghost of a shadow in it
Life means all that it ever meant
It is the same as it ever was
There is absolute unbroken continuity
What is death but a negligible accident?
Why should I be out of mind
Because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you for an interval
Somewhere very near
Just around the corner
All is well.
Nothing is past; nothing is lost
One brief moment and all will be as it was before 
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

Henry Scott Holland