Physically Present

Settle in. Embrace the present. Rejoice and give thanks for what is. Recognize and celebrate the blessings that are here and now, the overflowing of the cup, rather than the pieces that seem to be lacking or missing or just out of view.

It seems that my physical strengthening – and even simply being more physically active swimcapgogglesand engaged with my body – also leads to greater sense of contentment. I’m feeling more grounded in my body, literally more physically present. As I push myself physically, which has not historically been part of my life, I’m feeling more engaged with the world, and more at home and at peace. It is a great affirmation of the Synchronous Life model I’ve been developing, and my own experience of engagement with it.

I’ve been so focused on the life of the mind and the spirit for years, and experience myself and my world mainly through internal mental reflection and conversation, which seems one step removed from the immediate, visceral reality of my actual experience.

So my hope is that without reducing or denegrating these manifestations of life, I am growing into a more wellrounded, grounded and balanced person. Part of me wishing that I’d done this 20 years ago, but then quickly moving beyond that to simple gratitude that I’m doing it now – returning again to the present.

When I look in the mirror I feel a bit like a photoshop project caught mid-shift – When the
computer fades or morphs one image into another, and in that facemorphinbetween stage that’s neither what was nor what is becoming. It also kind of feels like my old face is photoshopped onto someone else’s body. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ripped and don’t expect to be (mostly because I can’t envision having that kind of time to work out) but my body shape is actually changing. And I look and feel younger too, which is nice.

I’m also aware from past seasons of swimming that exercise helps me sleep better, and have less back pain. My core is strengthening, which is provides an additional kind of physical balance and improves my posture. Better posture and more sleep lead to improved circulation and mental acquity.

This process has required effort on my part. I have needed to overcome mental and emotional barriers to the idea of doing an open water swim. I have needed to overcome the physical and mental lethargy of not exercising. I have had to receive the challenge from my best friends to join them in a ½ Tri Relay as an invitation to renewal and transformation, far more than the physical test it will certainly be. I have needed to process through the relationship between contentment, complacency, and comfort. I have needed to exchange the discomfort of complacency for the discomfort of effort, which has moved be, surprisingly, deeper toward contentment. As a dear friend reported from someone else, “When you get to be our age, your body is going to hurt from something. You can have pain that results from being out of shape, or choose the pain that comes with puhsing yourself physically.” As I said, I’m not someone who has had a habit of regular disciplined exercise in a way that challenged me physically. This new commitment to a physical discipline is also seeming to shift the way I experience and think about the other facets of my life. Again, even though I know this and teach it, I have still been caught off guard by my own personal experience of it.

It is one thing to talk about and help others understand the essential integration of body, mind and spirit. It is quite another to experience a shift personally, within myself, and sense that it is more than it appears on the surface to be. This shift is presenting itself to my consciousness as an emergence of something previousy unknown, something new. Where it leads I do not know, and unlike my pattern in the past, I’m becoming increasingly comfortable with not knowing where the road is leading. My joy now is found in simply embracing what is, leaning into it even when it is a bit uncomfortable.

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