Being Breath

stories from the wilderness of everyday life

We All Start Somewhere

~ONE.~

I have made a commitment.  One to which I have announced to other people - and now, to you.  I am fully aware that once it is "out there", there is no turning back.

On August 6, 2011, I will be participating in my first triathlon.

(This one.)

I will be joining my husband (also his first) and two dear friends (a bit more experienced) on a .2 mile swim, 9.5 mile bike, and 3.1 mile run.  And you know what?

I'm scared.  No, I'm not scared, I'm terrified.

I can run, I know that.  (Running after all of that, I'm not so sure...but I have faith in my body.)  In fact, I miss running...especially as the Indy Half Marathon approaches this weekend without my participation.

(For newer readers, my husband and I ran our first half marathon almost a year ago.  You can see the video here.  You can skip the last minute - I forgot to cut it off.  Also, the video is hosted by SmugMug, so viewing is a bit different - you can view it full screen and "stretch it", but quality is better if you don't.)

I can bike - sort of.  Well, I have a bike.  That's a good start.  I have a lot of training to do in that area.

But for the life of me, I cannot swim.  Bad thing to put out there to the universe - allow me to say I have great difficulty with swimming.  I can doggy paddle until the cows come home (yup, welcome to my midwestern lingo)...but swimming?

Long time readers may remember that before hubby and I committed to the half marathon, we were attempting to train for the triathlon last year.  

(Read more about that here - the beginning, here - the bike, here - a bit about fear, and here - the process.)  

It was at that time that I started my terrifying ventures into the local pool. But since that time my body has not donned a swimsuit.

Yesterday, fear and I had another date.

Now that I've committed, it is time to head back to the pool.  And here is where the story gets interesting.

Last year, I was afraid of looking weak.  I was scared of appearing as a woman my age who looks like a cat thrown into the water.  Even though I was training at the YMCA, I couldn't help but notice people twice my age gliding effortlessly through the water.  (Not to mention the people half my age doing exactly the same.)  I hated sharing lanes with people and having to stop at the wall every single time as they lapped me repeatedly.

This year, I have the same fears.  But because of what I have allowed myself to go through outside of the pool, I bring a great deal more confidence to the water.  This year, I entered the pool area, grabbed a kickboard, and eased myself down by the wall.  And - knowing it immediately marked me as a "non-swimmer" using the "big people's pool" - I began holding onto the wall and just practicing breathing.

I spent a bit over an hour in the pool alternating between just breathing at the wall, using the kickboard practicing my breathing while going up and down the pool, and a few fumbled attempts at swimming some laps in proper free-style form.

Was I embarassed?  Was I afraid of what others were thinking?  Sure.  But this time, the only thoughts that mattered lied beneath that embarassment and fear.  The only thoughts that mattered were ones that peacefully acknowledged, I'm doing this.  I'm doing this.  I'm doing this.

How we do one thing is how we do all things.

I have been practicing embracing fear, pain, and other things I would have usually pushed away....and delighting in the resulting experiences.  While this certainly has been a culmination of many efforts, one that occurred in the last year that is indeed a BIG part of that....

~TWO.~

Many may remember that several months ago I started on Connie Hozvicka's (Dirty Footprints) Fearless Painting journey - beginning with BIG.  Since that time, I have explored countless ways to tap into myself and my expression - through painting and other sources.

In fact, I had an odd dream the other night.  I envisioned this huge sleeping giant, lying on and covering up something very precious.  People stood around him, gently tickling him then running back to hide.  It was an attempt to ever so gently rouse him - to get him to move from this precious thing he was covering.  As they got more bold, the tickles became stronger and longer, and they stopped backing away when he didn't move.

I woke up before he stopped his slumber, but I knew what it meant...and what it was tied back to.  This giant is our body of obstacles, of fears, of gremlins that keep us from discovering the precious truths about ourselves.  As we start the exploration of our lives, curious about those precious gems being hidden, we dip our toes ever so gently into something...and then run away.  The process is to tickle and run.  

The more bold we get, the more disciplined we get with our exploration.  We become stronger, more powerful in our journey, still quite afraid, but knowing that little tickles won't get it...and that those precious truths that are hidden are worth anything we might face in trying to uncover them.

THIS is what BIG did for me - and, as evidenced by the commentary from my fellow sisters in the tribe, I am not alone.  BIG gave me the courage to tickle.  It started me off on this journey, giving me permission to scribble and play with paints, to delve into myself through Fearless Painting.

I won't describe everything that has happened since then.  Suffice to say, the giant has been moved.  I have many more giants to rouse and gems to uncover, but am only encouraged (not discouraged) by the process so far.

If you have ANY inkling of excitement from all of this, please note:

Registration for the next class of BIG is NOW OPEN.  

The online courses start on May 22nd - and class sizes are limited.  I cannot recommend this highly enough - giving yourself over to the process and the practice.  You do not have to be a "painter" (I certainly wasn't before I started).  But just think what might happen if you put this wisdom and practice into your journey?  Look where it has taken me....

I started facing my fears with a paintbrush in hand, and continue with my face in lake water.  Whether it is painting, blogging, yoga, running, or a triathlon, I have so much to learn from - and enjoy during - the process.

~THREE.~

I have been alluding to these concepts that have been swirling in my head for the past week or so.  I am hoping to have something more concrete to present to you on Mother's Day...if I don't drown in the pool first.

Until then....may you enjoy every path of your own adventures - on your feet, on wheels, in water, or in your soon-to-be-REALized dreams.

Namaste.