Monday, 18 July 2016

Pausing in the sunshine

And so, chemo is over.  My best friend's diary has been chocker...  Line cleans, blood tests, scans and 18 weekly doses of the gruelling treatment itself.  Summer seems at last to have arrived and with it, we hope, some time, peace and space.

She is, we acknowledged over a rather yummy luncheon served to us beneath the beautiful canopy of creepers and climbers at Petersham Nurseries, an inspiration.

A small group of us gathered to celebrate her forthcoming marriage.  The sun's rays joined the warmth we all have for this very special woman.  Warmth and, in my case at least, pride.

It is the greatest privilege to call this woman my best friend.  She continues to epitomise my understanding of grace.  Our bodies are fragile things.  Our minds are frailer still.  In her composure and wisdom, she possesses an outlook I can only aspire to adopt.  From you, dear Charlotte, I learn and I learn and I learn.  

The only person who is educated is the one who has learned 
how to learn and how to change.  
Carl Rogers


Friday, 1 July 2016

Disturbing the peace? Not mine.

This time of year brings everyone together.  And we congregate at the Pool.  Some of us lie outstretched, towels upon concrete, others dip toes into the water whilst sipping something cool (soft drinks only, though) whilst others of us do what we do all year-round.

Summer swimming is both a pleasure and a privilege.  But it involves the recruitment of some different qualities to those practised in the cold, dark winter months:  as the weather gets warmer tolerance and equanimity are the order of the day.

It came up in conversation earlier today and she was of course right:  there is space for everybody.  Plenty, in fact. Yet, somewhere between June and July, something changes; suddenly it somehow feel like it comes at a premium. 

Letting go of expectations and taking an open mind with me into the water is always helpful.  I'm not there to prove anything.  I'm just getting on with it, and getting another swim in.  I tend to get down there 3 or 4 times a week and, as I'm not likely to be going anywhere too far away any time soon, there really is no pressure for any one swim to count for anything. 

Swimming is, for me, not just a form of exercise.  It is an important component in my self-care and maintenance.  It is capable of changing how I relate to myself and to the world.  And always for the better.  Swimming is how I connect to a sense that there is order in chaos, and a picture far bigger than that which I could ever conceive of.  Swimming is my solace.  Swimming is my refuge.  Swimming is my serenity.  When I let stop counting lengths they really count.  Effortless swimming makes all the effort I put in everywhere else worthwhile.    

©Swimmer, Carol Peace (2007)

©Swimmer, Carol Peace (2007)

Folks will do what folks will do.  Strangely enough, not everyone who comes to the Lido is a swimmer.  And not all those who identify as swimmers are, in fact, that interested in actually swimming.  After all, if the sun is out, the pool is a good place to catch some rays.  I just wish folks would look before they jump, and take their litter home with them...

What goes around comes around, just like a flip turn.