"A man is running from a tiger that’s chasing him. He runs through the woods until he gets to the edge of a cliff. The tiger is still behind him, so he climbs down a vine. The tiger reaches the top of the cliff and paces back and forth, licking its chops. Midway down the cliff, hanging onto the vine, he sees another tiger below him, pacing back and forth, licking its chops. As he’s hanging there, two mice come out and start gnawing on the vine. He tries to shoo them away, but they won’t go.
Just then he sees, growing out of the face of the cliff in front of him a wild strawberry.
He picks it and eats it. It’s delicious." -a zen story
What I learned in Breaststroke clinic today
In today's clinic, Hermine focused us on Breast Stroke. Now this, as many of you know, is my favorite stroke (not). She had us spending a lot of time concentrating on our arms and we did many laps with our feet flat on a kick board. Hilarity on all fronts ensued, and this exercise is much more difficult then it might seem. It requires concentration and focus on your core, and the ability to hold your core...especially when breathing. Then we focused on our legs by holding our hands clasped behind our backs. VERY CHALLENGING. All of this culminated in our final putting it all together, this is where the "fruit" of all of our labor came together. And as we often do in Masters swimming we brought all of this together to greater heights of meta physics and spirituality. It began with Hermine's focusing on the pause that is soooo important in Breaststroke, where you allow yourself the brief respite to enjoy the "fruits" of the kick and the stroke and you glide through the water without resistance or effort. So we did some brest stroke with a three count hold...one...two...three. And as we all did this Hermine's focus turned to Fred ( who, for those of you who don't know, swims in lane two and is a very impressive breaststroker, he can also be seen most Friday mornings as one of the infamous shark pack) and what Hermine pointed out is that Fred usually does about double, maybe triple (ok, ok, quadruple) the amount of strokes in his breaststroke compared to other swimmers. She posited the idea that maybe Fred would go faster with less effort if he just spent a bit more time on the glide, on the pause. Just a thought. And it was then that the zen in Jeff came out and he shared with us this popular Zen story and how we all should not be focusing on what is in front of us, or what is behind us, or for that matter what is on either side of us...we should in fact be focused on the moment...the very moment that we are in and in that focus, find the beauty. Just like the strawberry in the story so is the pause to our breast stroke. By enjoying the strawberry, the pause, the moment we honor the gift of this life we have been given.
Thank you for sharing Jeff.
(note: This is the first in what will hopefully be a weekly article on "What I learned at Monday Morning Clinic" Hermine will choose a different swimmer each week to write this. Please send all future articles to email@example.com. )