Sunday, June 7, 2009
Venturing the deep waters
Little kids have a tremendous advantage over their older counterparts in being able to learn new and difficult things. They are not bogged down by preconceived barriers in their mind. These barriers crop up sometimes in form of fears and at other times in form of rules to dertemine right and wrong. It is very interesting to discover that the reason a task becomes difficult for us, is because of the mental barriers that we create for ourselves to stop us from acheiving it. Sometimes we are just not brave enough to say that we are done pretending to be incompetant and let ourselves shine through. It takes a calm, unperturbed and detached mental framework to be an effortless achiever, a master.
After a gap of couple weeks, Faith woke up early this Sunday to resume working on her swimming. She has been trying for past several months to overcome her fear of deep waters. It was a cloudy summer morning, which is quite unusual in Colorado. It made her linger in bed and feel lazy to get up. She was not sure what to expect of her first day back at the pool. "Would it be easier to break away the fear after this gap ?" On the other hand, her swimming might have actually gotten worse for the lack of practice.
She finally pulled herself out of bed, taking it slow, going through her morning chores. She looked at the kitchen clock and knew it was time for her to get ready to go. Her husband, John, wished her good luck on "crossing the blue line", the line beyond which she cannot lift her head above the water with her feet touching the bottom of the pool. Today, she was going to take the other car, which her husband had been driving for the past few months. However, a few days back, he complained that the car has gotten old and noisy and expressed his intentions of getting rid of it. Faith actually liked this old car a lot. It was one of the first cars she had driven. It has a six disc changer and a BOSE sound system. She also loves listening to the song "The child in us", by Enigma, that is always loaded in that old car. This song makes her feel very calm and relaxed, which in turn helps her make good progress with her swimming.
As Faith was about to park her car at the REC, she saw a pretty girl, driving by. She had not seen her before. "Was she a going to be in her class?" After a while, she noticed that the girl was walking right behind her. Without thinking further, Faith asked her, point blank , "Are you in the adult swim class ?" She smiled and nodded. "Cool, so am I". The new girl's name was Joan. Both the girls started to talk about what they thought and expected of the swim class. Faith mentioned about her previous instructor, who was very good, though a little laid-back. Joan wondered if they were going to have the same teacher again for this class. Faith thought they might since she had him for the past 3 sessions. However, this session being over summer, she was not sure if they will have a new teacher.
Her suspicion was not baseless. They did have a new teacher, this time. The new teacher was a middle aged, well-built lady, by the name Andrea, who was actually in her jeans and T-shirt. She had no plans to get in the pool, today.
Andrea's class had a lot of students with varying skill levels. She asked each student to show her where they were at. Faith was the second one to go. She was tensed and was not breathing as well as she usually did. Her strokes were also choppy and her posture less than perfect. She kinda sensed this herself, too. She swam midway , upto the blue line, turned around and came back. The teacher pointed out and explained in detail what she was doing wrong. Faith listened carefully but she knew that her swimming was better when she was not so tensed and swam without being conscious as to who was looking or whether she was doing it right. For the greater part of the class, Faith tried to swim on her own. She focussed on getting back her rythmn and ease that she could swim with if she was not crossing that blue line. When she got tired, she floated. But, on her own, she was still terrified of the deep waters. She discussed this with her new teacher. Her teacher laughed and observed, " with little kids , I actually push them into the deep side to make them overcome their fear but we cannot do that with adults."
By this time Faith was thinking that may be she would venture into the deep waters in the next class. Andrea meantioned that she had to leave but her students could pratice for a little while longer, if they wished. Faith crossed over to the lane where Joan was and smiled at her. "Howz it going ?" "Great!" replied Joan."How about you ?" Faith frowned, "I still cannot go over to the deep end." Joan smiled at her. "I don't understand why. You can swim and you can float. I am sure you can swim over to the other end. If you wanna try I can actually go with you." So the girls started to swim, side by side, towards the other end. As soon as they crossed the 5" marker, Faith panicked and caught on to the rope that divides the lanes. "Hey Joan, should we go back." Joan encouraged her "Or we could go further too." "No, no let's turn back." So both of them headed back , swimming.
When at the other end, Joan laughed, "Are you afraid you are going to drown?" Then they talked and joked at length about this fear of deep waters. After a few minutes, Faith was quite relaxed and happy. So they decided to try one more time. This time they did not turn back half way. Faith, however, started to grab the rope as she moved further and further to the deep end. At at the deep end, they held the wall to catch some breath. Joan kept smiling and talking about various things and Faith forgot about her fear of the deep water. They talked and laughed for a few more mins and then Faith actually mentioned, "let's go back". When they swam back, Faith was bold and confident and her strokes came out good too. Finally, at the other end of the pool, they laughed and celebrated what they had achieved together.