As soon as I push off of the wall and feel the water envelop my body, I enter another state of mind. A calmness comes over me, and the underwater silence helps to quiet the thoughts in my head. I feel my arms reach and pull my body through the water. I focus on the rhythmic strokes of my arms and notice the subtle rotation of my core and hips as I breathe from side to side.
I discovered this form of "motion therapy" at the beginning of my freshman year in college- swimming laps helped me deal with the stress of living far away from home and gave me an outlet for my unsure career path and my introvert personality. I naturally gravitate to the pool during all transitional and stressful times in my life-I swam through graduate school, multiple moves, breakups, new relationships and job changes. It is comforting to follow the straight black line at the bottom of the pool during times when the direction of my real life seems to be confusing and ambiguous.
The other day, it was pouring rain outside. For most, swimming outside in the rain is absurd. However, for the small subculture of true swimmers, rainy days in the pool are magical. Outside of the pool, it is wet, wickedly windy and cold. However, the view from below is spectacular...the tiny specks of raindrops dance upon the surface of the pool water and the warmer temperature of the pool keeps my body comfortable. Underneath the water, I am surrounded with serenity and calmness of mind. The safety I feel underneath the water is completely opposite from the chaos happening above the water. It is ironic how the same medium- water- can evoke two polar opposites, depending on the perspective.
The end of 2011 was rough for me. There were some days when I felt like I was being whipped by the cold, rainy wind and getting miserably soaked from the rain. However, with each passing day, I am learning to view life and love from an underwater view...one that allows me to recognize how I am surrounded by the passionate and unconditional love of family and friends. Here underneath the water, I feel my body glide effortlessly forward, and always forward- symbolizing the newfound strength in my soul as I learn to appreciate the artistry of the rain from above.
Really, it is all about perspective.