Almost anywhere you look on this blog, you can either find references to water or books. The two things I am most passionate about - books (reading and writing them) and swimming - are coming together in a future documentary about a man being courageous enough to learn to swim in his fifties.
Last night, I met Alton, and the producers of the documentary from a local business Wired Production Group. It was a fabulous experience for me - and by the end of only 30 minutes, Alton was gliding through the water with his face in it. Swimming, like most things in life, is accomplished by building the tiniest little steps upon each other.
The very first step is learning to be aware of what your breath is doing - and training your body to have an automatic reflex when your nose and mouth go under the water to hold your breath briefly and then exhale. So, if you remember doing bobs in your swim lessons as a child, the reason for them was two-fold: get you adjusted to the water and to practice your breathing. But adults don't want to pretend to blow out birthday candles and "talk to the fish," so my job is to simply guide them to having more awareness of their breath and really work to having deep inhalations and slow exhalations. And Alton caught on quickly to exhaling when his face was in the water.
Not only did he catch on quickly to exhaling with his face in the water, but he also took to gliding in a prone position with minimal instruction and determination. Many non-swimmers tense up around the water, but that is the absolute worst thing to do. Alton was brave though - he had cameras on him and he managed to get a little more relaxed by the end of our session. The best place to be in the water to let it work for you - and not against you - is in the zone where your body is just a little cold and you're almost ready to fall asleep. Alton hadn't been in the water for quite a few years, so he didn't make it quite to that Zen place yesterday afternoon, but I'm confident he will get there.
Confidence in the process and confidence in oneself is so important and Alton has these two things going for him. Plus, he has colleagues that are cheering him on and an instructor who will do her best to build up confidence. I want to be careful here with the word confidence though - confidence does not mean arrogance. Confidence means finding the courage to believe in yourself. Arrogance is believing you're the best. In the water, you always want confidence - never arrogance - because water will always hurt the arrogant swimmer, but reward the confident one.
Brandi Parsons is a freelance writer, book blogger, mom, educator, and authorpreneur. Her first book, "Kidnapped Asylum" will be released this spring. To be a part of the book launch, complete this form. If you're interested in Brandi's freelance services, contact her here.