Swim Lesson #8
Lesson #8 was last week, and we were displaced to the shallower pool because of a polo match. It's taken me the week to reflect on what I learned, mostly because I've been nursing an intense back pain that started a few days before that lesson. For years I only did yoga. It was the perfect exercise for my body, and the philosophy gave me invaluable lessons for my mind. So many of life's puzzles sorted themselves out as I contemplated the sutras and sweated through stillness. But then I pushed too hard and injured my shoulder, and in the period of recovery, I found running. Yoga philosophy is not tied to the mat, and I found a meditation in the rhythm of my foot falls, until I ran too far - 18 miles and then 26.2 - and had to lay off for some time. That's when I found swimming a few years ago, which forced me to face longtime fears of losing breath. While it got too cold, I went to spin, but by then I was also back to yoga and running. Last week, some mysterious combo of yoga and spin and extra time to do both because of Labor Day wrecked my SI joint. Though it has been improving over the past few days, water is really the only thing that makes it feel better: hot showers, jacuzzi, steam room, and the pool. Though I've cycled through exertion practices for years (I don't really like to call them workouts - they are as much for my mind as my body), it finally sunk in with swim lesson #8 that this is not a failure of yoga or running or my teachers or me. They are all perfect practices when done perfectly, but I am not perfect. I am only human. One day a wrong move, a deeper stretch, or longer distance will sideline me in any endeavor I try. I like to push my body because I like to push my mind beyond my imagined limitations. I am no more wrong to do that than I am to write a book or record an album or earn a new degree. I was once also injured by music, which is how I found book writing. Perhaps instead of cursing my injuries, I should thank them: they are what push me on to new delights.
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