Alton had his 4th lesson this week. He is my adult, non-swimmer. But, I am not sure that the title non-swimmer applies to him anymore. You see, this week, he moved gracefully through the water, gave in to its properties of buoyancy and allowed himself to be relaxed in the water.
On Wednesday afternoon, we met for our 4th session. We practiced breathing - as you must master again when swimming. We all breathe, but we don’t always breathe with intention. In swimming, like in meditation, there is a lot of focus on the breath. When to breathe in, when to breathe out and how to do so without inhaling tons and tons of water. Alton’s still perfecting this - but he’s improving with each lesson (and unfortunately for swimming teachers there’s no magical way to instill this into adults).
Alton is great at floating on his belly, getting his face in the water, and surprised himself when he was kicking really well in the water. (When your kick is correct, you will move gracefully through the water without much effort). After floating, we glided. After gliding, we glided with a kick. After gliding with a kick, we added front crawl arms (now some of you may know this as freestyle, or American crawl, but it is different language for the same stroke). It’s always painful to watch this from the sideline - but, I know that I need to praise what’s going well and add a point to improve on for the next time. And I know that I need to back off and let my swimmers practice - more of a guide on the side approach versus my “100% on approach” to the littler swimmers I teach. I view my job when working with an adult as a cheerleader. I want to give them lots of praise for the things that are going well. And I am great at doing this for others - but when it comes to myself, I have this horrible inner critic. Have you ever heard it? The one that says, “So what if you did X, Y, Z? You’re not good enough. You need to be doing X, Y, Z to improve.” You’ve heard it too? What if we were our own cheerleader? What if we focused on the accomplishment that we had accomplished? What if we focused on that instead of the “You’re not enough?”
I am burnt-out. I am tired. I am exhausted. And that record in my head, it is playing on repeat, “You’re not enough. You’re not enough. You’re not enough.” It’s the curse of being an author. It’s the curse of living in the reality of social media as a part of everyday life. It’s the curse of being alive in the 21st century and having abundance of food, shelter, and clothing. Our brains are hard-wired to focus on the fear of the unknown, the fear of predators, and the fear of not being safe. But the reality is that we are living in one of the safest times in history. We are living in one of most technologically advanced times and there are good things that come from social media. I don’t know about you, but I don’t generally have wild animals outside my door (unless they’re my children). And in general, I also feel pretty safe.
I had an amazing thing happen this week - my very first book that I ever put on Amazon was a #1 New Release. That is something that I never thought would happen. It was meticulously planned out. I did absolutely everything I could to make it visible - and now it is on Amazon as a #1 New Release and a #4 Best Seller. I can’t begin to say how overwhelmed I am by this and I know that I did something well. But, I still find fear. Why am I fearful of it? I don’t know - but I am.
I need a cheerleader. I need the person standing beside me and pushing me across the finish line.