Ever since I was a little girl, I've loved the feeling of being in the water. A swimming pool, the bathtub, the ocean (though I'd never actually submersed myself until just recently at the Tel Aviv Beach) or even puddles in the rain; I've always loved it all. I love the freedom my body has in the water; the soft, gentle support as I glide or float or swim paired with the sheer force of a body so much bigger than mine that envelopes me completely. I remember being a little girl and pretending that I was a ballerina in the water, just twirling and watching the water ripple around me. No matter what strange things my body might have been doing while I was in there, I felt graceful and elegant, like the prettiest ballerina in the company. Even now, my first step into a swimming pool reminds me of those days, and every once in awhile, I allow myself to whirl and twirl just as I did then. And I am reminded of the parts of my childhood I want to remember, the parts I want to tell my children about.
Since I've been home and working for the JCC Camps, I've been taking advantage of my free employee membership. Until camp ends on August 1, I have access to the health club and all of the swimming pools the J has to offer. It's very exciting for me, and one of the reasons I took the job in the first place--2 months of singing w/ preschoolers all morning followed by a good 45-minute workout in the pool. I take my place in the inside warm-water therapy pool, in one of the lanes designated for water-walking, and have at it. I start with an easy warm up of plain water-walking that lasts about 10 minutes, and then I run in the water for about 25 minutes. I love the feel of my muscles as they push through the water, working hard and gaining strength and flexibility. I love that my heart rate increases yet I'm not uncomfortable and out of breath and sweaty and gross. I love that the little old ladies stare at me as though I am a lunatic. I love that I can push myself through the water and feel an amazing mix of power, grace, and intensity. I love that I let my mind think of whatever it wants to, and that it has become an almost prayerful time in my day. And mostly, I love the feeling of empowerment, of knowing that I can do whatever the hell I put my mind to, even when the rest of the world wouldn't necessarily agree or think so. When I'm done with my 'run', I walk gently for another 15 or so minutes, congratulating myself on a job well done and pushing myself to just go another few minutes. Even an easy pace is better than no pace at all.
It continues to amaze me when I realize these little things in life that make me so happy that I never thought of before.
My eyes, my heart, my soul are opened.