Swimming Alone

I owe you my annual post about what I plan to learn this year, for my birthday. This one is going to be a bit different. 

I have been taking yoga again. My balance isn’t as great as it could be. MS probably doesn’t help, but if you know me, you know it was never great. So yoga. 

There’s a moment now – different teacher, different place, different life. There’s a moment when I settle in. Before the class starts, when I sit on my mat, cross my legs, close my eyes and call my self back into my body. 

I’m a head person. I live in my head, I work in my head. As long as I have my head, I have enough to be getting on with.  It’s what makes me resilient. 

And I am resilient. Not the kind that bounces back with a perky smile after a minor set back, the kind that can’t be knocked over, not really. The kind that understands resilient is not about springing back into shape, it’s about being alive enough to spring back into any shape. I’m not memory foam resilient, I’m cockroach resilient. It’s not pretty, but pretty never really mattered much when the game was survival. 

This summer was bad – bad like it hasn’t been in 20 years. This summer was about knuckles – at turns white or bloody. This summer was about survival. This summer was about discovering when you swim out too far past shore; what happens when you swim alone. 

I thought I learned this in 2014, about saving something for myself. I did learn that. What I didn’t learn is to keep my eye on the shore line. You see, I thought that I would always be able to swim back. I rather foolishly thought that there would be someone to throw me a life preserver. There was neither, and I was too far out to shore, drowning, alone. 

The thing about resilience, the cockroach kind, not the foam kind, is that you are willing to do what ever you need to do to survive. In my case, I had to learn the equivalent of floating. This is a bit terrifying, it’s hard to believe that floating alone is much better than drowning alone, although you aren’t dying. 

I survived, as is obvious. I’m not at the shore, but the shore is closer. There’s still more floating than I’d like (because, let’s face it, I’d like none), but I’ve survived. Last year I learned to watch the shore line, because I swim alone. This year? This year I’m just going to keep watching the shore. I’m not going to learn anything.

That’s enough. 

Twice a week, at yoga. Legs crossed. Eyes closed. I call my body back to myself.  

That’s really enough. 


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3 Responses to Swimming Alone

  1. jane says:

    An eloquent and beautifully written post…really liked ‘i call my body back to myself’ I wish you well in the coming year

  2. loribeth says:

    I need to get back to yoga too. I hope it helps!

  3. Needles says:

    I keep coming here because you say things that resonate, like about being resilient and doing whatever you need to do to survive. How can I ever thank you?

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