I swim at least once a week. While swimming, my mind drifts from one thing to another: my husband, my daughter, my students, my parents, thinking up ways to raise money for Girls on the Run (go here to donate), a paper that would be really cool to research and write, the errands I have to run, the papers I have to grade, the housecleaning and my weight. My weight usually comes to me with thoughts of: “If I were smaller I would swim (run/cycle) faster”. Essentially, my mind is always afloat in all the things going on outside of the pool rather than what is happening inside of the pool.
For some reason today before beginning my swim, I consciously decided to NOT think about anything except what was happening in the pool. So instead of thinking about my family, I counted strokes. Instead of worrying about raising money for Girls on the Run, I counted laps. And instead of worrying about my weight, I listened to the rhythm of my breath – the calm hum of my exhalations under water, and my perfectly timed inhalation as I broke the top of the water.
As I floated on my back cooling down, I thought about how truly light I felt – not just then, but throughout the swim. I thought about how easily I broke the water with my stroke. How easily each lap was and how consistently strong I felt throughout – never doubting what I was doing or how I was doing it.
We are often reminded to be in the moment, but the question is: are we ever REALLY in the moment? I like to think that I am in the moment, but what today really showed me is that I am not. I may feel like I am in the moment, but really I am thinking five steps ahead. Or, instead of being in the moment and honoring what is occurring, I am questioning my ability and I am wondering how I could be doing what I am doing better. I am never REALLY just in that moment, living and being what I am.
What I realized is that the weight that I feel, the heaviness I feel while swimming, running or cycling isn’t always the weight on my body, but the weight in my mind. So, for now on, my goal is to be mindful of the moment. To be mindful not of what isn’t happening, but what is happening. Of course, my mind will probably wander, especially while running 20 miles this weekend!