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Posts Tagged ‘personal growth’

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The first time I took the Boo into a swimming pool, he got so happy so fast that rainbows shot out his behind. Then the swimming instructor came over and got in his face and he started crying. But the water made him so happy that he soon forgot the scary lady.

Soon, I resolved to sign up for a Y membership so he could get more water time. I figured I could take a stab at swimming laps too, since I hate gyms and I haven’t worked out regularly in at least 5 years. (Probably more like 7 to 10.)

The first time I pushed off from the wall, I got so happy so fast that rainbows shot out my behind. It had been 25 years, but my body remembered how to do what I wanted it to do. I paused in the middle of a lap to laugh. I swam until I was exhausted and hauled myself out, panting my way to the showers, indescribably pleased.

Since then, I swim any time I can. If I am tired when I start, I forget about it in the water. If my back hurts, I can’t feel it when I’m swimming. If I am in a crappy mood when I start, I am pooping rainbows when I finish. The water holds me as I move forward, giving me peace and joy and happiness as I move through it.

I don’t want to call it a benediction, even though it does border on the mystical. But my body loves the water so much it feels like a gift every time I’m in it — even when I’m sharing the lane with a tank of a triathlete and a dogpaddler who belongs in the “old people walking” section.

The other night at the Boo’s first parent-teacher conference, I uttered the words, “Water is his jam.” Turns out it’s my jam too.

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This is the story of two Facebook posts, one of which contained a challenge: post a thank-you to someone who did something, however small, that affected your life in a positive way.

The other one was posted a year ago, maybe more. A friend’s kid whom I’ve known since she was Baboo’s age posted a Zen motto. At least I think it was Zen — it’s hard to recall what with the time and my sievelike brain. Anyhow, the motto was illustrated with an elephant and a mouse. Let go or be dragged, it said.

I laughed, and then I started thinking about it. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I needed it. I got out a pen and drew this:

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It’s been on my fridge for over a year. Some days, I just laugh at the mouse hanging on for dear life. But most days, it prompts me to drop things that don’t matter so I can move forward with a lighter step. Mostly, it’s little things: Baby isn’t napping? Let go, take him out where you know he’ll be happy. Or stay home and wrestle with him and stew.

But practicing letting go of little things primes you to let go of bigger things. Very recently, my husband proposed repeating an experience that, last time around, was difficult at best. (No, not another baby!) At first my brain went straight to resistance, clinging to it and turning on itself. Old anger woke up and began to claw at me. I was surprised by that. I thought I’d let it go. I looked at the elephant and the mouse and understood the weight being generated by holding on to year-old negativity and resentment. I started working on a strategy to really let it go.

When he first brought it up, I asked for time to think before we talked. When we talked, I asked a few simple questions and listened. I heard longing and love in his words, and recognition of the follies of the past. As I sat there, I realized what an opportunity this would be, even as it presented difficulties. We would get a do-over, a chance to make it what we wanted it to be the first time but just weren’t able to. We would be free. Light. Leading the way instead of being dragged.

What a gift, the idea of fixing the past by simply moving into the future. And for this, I owe thanks to my friend’s kid, who I now count as a friend. Marlowe, honey, thank you. Your post helped me so, so much.

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