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Summatime!

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve felt the urge to tap the black keys and throw a canvas on my computer’s white walls. But here I am, in the middle of a glorious summer, finally feeling the energized relaxation I’ve been waiting for since the dark days of winter. And what a brutal winter it was! It came in sweetly, with puffy flakes of snow, and then it decided to turn colder than cold. So much so, I literally felt traumatized by it. I would say this with a chuckle when discussing it with my friends, but deep down in the pit of my emotional tank, I was very serious. I thank Spirit the sun is shining upon us once again. Another winter like that and I just may have to spread my wings and fly south. 

"Summertime Summertime on the porch reading Cindy's great new book." ~Louise

“Summertime Summertime on the porch reading Cindy’s great new book.” ~Louise

I felt my first big burst of summer a couple of days ago when my swim sister and lifetime friend, Louise, posted this sweet photo. It depicts her wonder-full personality surrounded by the cool colors and textures that remind me of her. A true breath of fresh air. The caption says it all. I am honored she would choose my book to snuggle up with on a lazy summertime afternoon. After a recent chat, I realized we both feel relieved to have let some things go to create balance in our lives. The pleasurable result is Louise having time to curl up with a good book (wink,wink), feeling the sunshine upon her shoulders, and me, sitting here in the quiet space of my office, feet up, ceiling fan spinning, as I write these words, from my heart to yours. This is one of my deep loves. I feel as though I am gathering a piece of myself as I watch my canvas become full once again.

And so, to honor yet another love, Louise and I will be embarking upon our own little adventure this summer. We are meeting halfway between New York and Boston, hopping an Amtrak train, and cruising up to Montreal for our FINA World Masters Championship Swim Meet. Louise and I first met in the pool in fifth grade, and our friendship has only blossomed since then. Our love of the cool blue has bonded us once again as we move into the unknown, flowing and growing, expanding our horizons with swimmers from around the globe. We may live in different cultures but we all speak the same language once our fingertips hit the water. An experience to be remembered forever.

I thank summer for shining her light upon us once again. I feel energized, and full, and alive again! Sweet summer…a wonderful reminder that no matter how dark your days become, the Light always finds her way to your soul, healing your heart, and making you whole.

 

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The Act of Balance

The excitement was building!

My physical act of balance.

My physical act of balance.

I did it! I ran through Hero Rush (my 5 mile, 18 obstacle course) after days of rain and mud up to our ankles, and oh what a rush it was!  The photo above reveals the excitement we were all feeling before the race, and to be honest, my excitement was mixed with nerves as I had no idea what I was in for.  As it turns out, it was one big wet muddy blast!  Psychology Today recently published an article about people who are consistently curious, and present challenges in their lives, as happier than those who remain complacent.  All I can say is that I felt ecstatic for days after this last curious challenge, for many reasons.  I pushed my body to reach to the outer limits, I laughed a boatload as we slipped through the muddy ravines, and most of all, I felt joy in my heart.  When the race was over, and they pulled out the last hose to wash us all down, I danced through the water with a smile on my face and a light in my soul.  Yes, I was a giddy girl.

Horses were always my mom’s great act of curiosity. Here she is on Noble Savage in 1966.

Horses were always my mom’s great act of curiosity. Here she is on Noble Savage in 1966.

With that being said, some recent events have forced me to remember the importance of balance in our lives. The photo of me up on that high wire may be an example of a physical balancing act, but life, well, it’s one great big act of balance. We must choose what is to be a priority at any given moment.  Sometimes, it won’t be what you planned but it will be what you know in your soul is right.  Just a few days ago, we lost our beloved family dog, Ollie, and on the heels of that, my mother was in need of increased care in her assisted living facility.  Between grieving and caring for my mom, certain things have to take their place on the back burner.  I have a swim meet coming up, which I should be training for, but more important things happened to pop up on my priority scale.  After spending hours with my mom, and organizing changes for her, I was just getting ready to leave and head to swim practice when her nurse’s aide walked into the room and reported that mom had a last minute doctor’s appointment. Her aide offered to take her but I knew in my heart the right thing was for me to take her.  In setting my outer goals aside (and missing swim practice), I nurtured my inner sanctum by aligning with love.  Not to be a martyr, simply to listen to the silence of my soul and believe in my knowing.  It turned out to be a great day with mom, ending with a lovely lunch in her room.  She will be 86 years young in a couple of weeks, and I must say, it’s been a life well lived.  A woman who was extremely curious and challenged herself constantly.

Louise and I at our last swim meet together in Skaneateles, NY

Louise and I at our last swim meet together in Skaneateles, NY

And so it goes, I have my swim meet next week.  Am I physically prepared to swim my best?  Nope.  Am I okay with that?  Yep.  There’s so much in life to love and be grateful for.  Trophies and accolades are nice but the icing on the cake is giving and feeling the love that surrounds.  I plan on having a great weekend with my high school swimming bestie, Louise.  We don’t take swimming as seriously as we did in high school but we sure have a ton of fun with it.  I’m certain it will be a wonder~full weekend at her lake house this time, enjoying the views of New Hampshire, sipping a little wine, reminiscing and laughing. Lots of laughs.

A Blast From The Past!

Well, I did it.  I ventured in to my first masters swim meet and what a wondrous experience it was!  The fact that it was at my alma mater, Ithaca College, made it even sweeter.  The last time I swam in an IC pool was 30 short years ago, and needless to say, the old pool is no longer there. In its place is a brand new state of the art swimming facility, equipped with an Olympic size pool, swim tank & huge hot tub.  Nostalgia hit me big time as I read the records of the IC Bombers on the wall.  I might have been up there for a minute back in 1980. It warmed my heart to think back.  And if I quiet my mind enough, and look far into the bleachers, I think I might have seen my Dad with his old 2 hand stopwatch, yelling out my split times.  Oh the good old days.

The biggest difference I noticed with masters swimming compared to college swimming is it’s so much more FUN!  All the pressure is off and it’s more about doing your best rather than having to beat the person next to you.  Since you’re swimming alongside women and men of all different ages, shapes and sizes, according to your qualifying time, you don’t know where you’re going to place in your gender and age group, until the end.  My end resulted in 2 firsts and a 2nd in my age group.  Pretty sweet for a first meet. I very likely had the biggest smile on my face mixed with shock and wonderment while I stood at the scoreboard.  Sometimes, it’s the little things that bring the biggest feelings.

Louise and I circa 1979

Louise and I circa 1979

I’m so grateful for my friend, Louise, who has been encouraging me to take the plunge for 2 years now, around the time she started with her masters swim team.  She had expressed to me how much joy she felt swimming again, but it wasn’t until I felt the flow of practice, and excitement of the meet, mixed with the memories of what’s in my blood, that I really got it.  And a huge added perk, she will be joining me next month at my next meet.  My bestie high school friend, and swim team co-captain, swimming together once again.  What could be better than that?!  Perhaps a weekend at my cottage intermingled with hikes and savory dinners, pre-swim meet.  Oh life is good.

I Will

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” ~Winston Churchill

Recently, I did something I thought had passed me by.  It’s something I often pondered about but with the busy-ness of life, and the little questions in the back of my mind, I convinced myself I had done my time.  I was wrong. All the fears I accumulated over time was nothing but a cavern of deception.  So I pulled together my best suit, cap and goggles, and joined a Masters Swim Team.  As a competitive swimmer from the age of five to twenty two, I wasn’t sure I could pull this fifty one year old body together enough to swim a practice beginning to end.  I was pleasantly surprised when I touched the wall at the end of my 100th length.  Not only did I feel an accomplishment, I felt like I had returned home.

Anything we do in life never has to end.  If it’s something that has brought you joy in the past there’s no reason it can’t be added to your present.  Often, I ask my clients what they do for themselves that brings them happiness. More often than not, the answer is, “I don’t know.”  That’s when I direct them to reach deep down into their bellies and recall what they loved or dreamed of as a child.  That’s when their face lights up and they begin to remember all they have shoved down to meet the responsibilities of others.  Given the choice to rediscover your successes in life, what courageous journey would you embark upon?

I know many, and I will. Allow your heart to search, you will too.