Friday, October 11, 2013
Afternoon Thoughts---Swimming as a Metaphor for Living
I have been spending a lot of time at the San Juan Cosala Spa lately. Swimming. Swimming and also thinking about how being in the pool is like living. I have learned some things about myself and how I view the world from the ways I have been reacting to the other people in the pool.
First off, there are two enormous swimming pools and many other smaller soaking pools. So, it is a mystery when there is only one other person in the pool besides me, that this person keeps getting in my way. Or maybe I am getting in his or her way. It depends on your point of view. But I constantly watch what other people are doing. Some people are unpredictable. They start out one way, change their minds, go another way. Swim fast, then stop and do nothing. Swim fast again in the opposite direction....You can't count on them to be consistent. Watch those people. They can be dangerous.
I am a straight line swimmer. That way I have the ILLUSION that I have carved out a space for myself in the pool. Close to the side, out of everyone's way. Anyone who has any awareness of what others in the pool are doing, would quickly notice that I am going in a straight line back and forth, back and forth for an hour. I know, boring, but I have my music while I swim. (I live my life the same way. Daily routines. Predictable. Staying out of everyone's way. Doing my own thing. Aware of what people around me are doing. Maintaining the ILLUSION of a life that I can control.)
It is rarely the case that I am noticed while swimming all those boring laps. As I already mentioned, even if just one other person is in the pool, he or she often drifts over to where I am swimming, totally unaware that I am about to run into him or her. I have to stop and wait for that person to notice me. I will sometimes say, "Hola", in a friendly manner as I am standing there, waiting for that person to run into me. Then the person is finally aware of me and will stop and smile and answer "Hola" back and move out of the way. A smile goes a long ways in my book.
But, am I invisible? I often wonder about that in my daily life too. Not only am I a Gringa but I am an older woman, a triple whammy on the invisibility scale. And I am always aware that I am a guest in Mexico, and therefore a guest in the pool too.
There are the hot couples, kissing and wrapping themselves around each other. They don't care that I am swimming close to them. Their minds are elsewhere. Their minds are gone completely. And then the children who will often jump into the water almost on top of me. Their mothers watch but don't notice me either. And the macho men who pay no attention to anyone else in the pool. They swim fast and hard, barreling through the water. Tough luck if you happen to be in their way.
The question is, how much do I give and how much to I try to take for myself? If I were to give way all the time, I would never get my laps done. So I go as soon as it opens, hoping I will have the pool to myself and I won't have to deal with these moral issues. The most important thing that I am learning is that I should not react emotionally.
Swimming is kind of like driving a car (from what I remember of driving) but without any rules. There are no swimming lanes marked off. It is like everyone is driving on a road with no lanes in all different directions at once. Three people may be swimming laps the long way and one person will start swimming laps the short way, getting mixed up with the three other swimmers. And that person will often be totally unaware of the chaos he or she is causing. Does this remind you of living? Every person out for him or herself. Dog eat dog world.... Okay, I am exaggerating now.
Sometimes things go smoothly in the pool and people actually watch out for the other swimmers. But this is the exception rather than the rule. My lesson: Don't take it personally if someone stops and stands in front of me while I am swimming. Don't take it personally because it probably has nothing to do with my triple whammy disadvantage and everything to do with the other person just not being aware of his or her surroundings--standing in a daze, in a private world, oblivious to what is happening outside of that inner reality. Does this sound familiar? I have done that many times in other situations.
Life is full of lessons. If we take the time to learn them. Again, my lesson: DON'T TAKE THINGS PERSONALLY. And just because I seem to be invisible, doesn't mean that I don't exist!
It is up to me to respect and honor my life. It is a precious gift that will be over all to soon.