Treading Water

Yes, I am posting this picture again . I need to be reminded of both points:  (1) I will be okay; (2) just keep swimming. If that does...

Yes, I am posting this picture again.

I need to be reminded of both points:  (1) I will be okay; (2) just keep swimming.

If that doesn't work, I'll go with other pieces of advice/truisms:

(1) it's always darkest before the dawn
(2) a still-more glorious dawn awaits
(3) Hang On
(4) Hold On
(5) Walk On

I don't really want to talk about the particulars of why I've been in a funk as it is both personal and pending/in-progress.  I did, however, want to touch on how what's going on currently is a reminder of the past, and how it relates to my weight loss/health gain journey.

When my mom died, I was a petulant teenager (e.g., raging bitch).  I would yell to be heard, fight to be acknowledged, and was rather unpleasant to be around.  My mood set the temperature of any room I was in.  The person that bore the brunt of my maladjusted attitude was my father, mainly because we were very similar in our temperament, but also because he was the only one there.  This past Mother's Day I reflected on the nature of our current relationship:  "It has taken many years for my dad and I to have the kind of relationship that we both wanted -- honest, supportive, loving -- and it was only possible because of two things: (1) the honest belief that no matter what we loved each other (even if we were mad, even if there was a difference in opinion) and (2) the willingness to keep on talking through whatever was going on (versus running away or shutting down)."

Over the years I've learned that yelling doesn't get you heard, fighting doesn't make you strong, and that it is much easier to be pleasant than suffer the ill effects of being angry all the time (as you cannot give your anger to someone else to deal with).  I try to be as mellow and agreeable as possible because it makes things easier on me (less agita).  And I've learned what I mentioned above:  that with love anything can be resolved so long as each person remains present and engaged.

I've also learned a few other rules, my favorite being "fight fair" -- i.e. do NOT throw the kitchen sink at someone, be constructive, be flexible, give up grudges and aim for forgiveness/resolution.  It's not always perfect, and not everyone plays by the same rules.  But I try to play by the same rules regardless of how other people are acting.

Also, I think it's important to determine the kind of relationship you want to have with people and then every action, every thought, every word needs to be a reflection of how you want the relationship to be as a whole.  When a car starts to swerve, the rule is to steer in the direction you want to go. It's not really the same as the whole "fake it 'til you make it" idea, but it's close.  Aim where you want to be and then progressively move in that direction.

When it comes to being in relationships with other people, I think it's important to remember that most people are not mind readers and it's unfair to ask them to be.  Each person is capable of asking meaningful questions and giving forthright/sincere responses.  And if you have a need that is not being a met, find a way to constructively address it.  It's not a perfect system, but sometimes perfection is overrated and progress is too often overlooked.

I learned long ago that if your boat has capsized and you're in the ocean, you tire yourself out faster if you are treading water/expending your energy to swim, versus doing the survival/dead man's float; relaxing your body and focusing on what's essential -- breathing and keeping your head above water.**  The survival float works with the waves, instead of against them. So I'm going to try and calm the fuck down, and just focus on what I need to be doing.  I'm going to try and not worry about all the extraneous stuff that's going on.  I'm not going to worry about making lemonade.  I'm not going to try and save anyone else. I'm going to wait for a friendly dolphin to give me a lift to shore.

So how does this relate to weight loss/health gain?  Ever consider that you are in a relationship with yourself?  How much maintenance do you do on this relationship to truly make sure it is a positive and nurturing relationship?  I'm not trying to sound all sentimental or heady here, but I just mean it in a simple way:  how do you check in with yourself to make sure that you're okay, on course, and that you are satisfied with the life you are leading?  Are you working with the life you have, or against it? Are you fighting the waves and exhausting yourself?

Just keep swimming floating...

[[**Edit -i It's apparent that I need to explain this a little bit better:
Say it's the middle of a cloudy night and the boat you are on capsizes.  Swimming to clear the sinking boat leaves you exhausted, without any navigation equipment, and no idea where you are.  You didn't even have time to get a SOS out.  At this point, it would be a dire mistake to start swimming, as you might not pick the right direction (the rising sun will help you orient yourself).  Floating is your best chance to survive at this point.  Conserve your energy, get your bearings, keep your head above water.  Doing this goes against almost every instinct you have, but it will get you through the night.  It's not necessarily waiting for rescue (but if the dolphins do show up, don't be so proud to not take their help, unless they're really sharks); it's about surviving the night when the only option is survive or perish.]]

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10 comments

  1. IT's funny you posted this. I was just thinking yesterday to "Just keep swimming". Sadly sometimes I stop and my head goes underwater, but that's life I guess.

    Relax, calm down and things will get better.

    Easier said than done...I know.

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  2. Wow. Really insightful post. Im glad I came across it because it's so powerfully written and can relate to my life (and others) on so many different levels and occasions. I love your philosophy about floating. And: "When a car starts to swerve, the rule is to steer in the direction you want to go" -- simply love it. I hope your dolphin comes soon. Hang in there girl.

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  3. I dont know what your going through, but you seem like a strong woman that can take what life throws your way. It may take time and shifting your strength to fit your needs and then it all falls into place. I am currently going through a life changing experience right now and struggle with 1000 emotions a day. I just tell myself that I will not let this get the best of me, because I am better than that and deserve so much more. Must move forward. Stay strong and just keep swimming.. floating. :)

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  4. I like it...Just keep floating, sometimes thats all we can do!

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  5. Misty -- i'm not talking about a pool chair and a margarita. :P

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  6. such a great post! I love that you remind readers that we are in a relationship with ourselves. I find what's amazing and unfortunate about many of our relationships with ourselves is that we don't give the love and flexibility to ourselves that we might give others.

    Thanks so much for sharing and best wishes with your journey :)

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  7. Wow, great post. As I was reading, I was mentally noting things I wanted to mention here but then there were too many. You're very wise and I need to think more about quite a few things you said. Plus, now I feel like I'll know what to do if I really do have a boating accident! I worry about stuff like that, so thanks!

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  8. Jenny: I did a post a while back about forgiveness and it's one I'm often re-quoting because of something i added from Jack Kornfield: "In the end, forgiveness simply means never putting another person out of our heart." It was profound to consider that I shouldn't put myself out of my heart. That was a life changer for me.

    Theresa -- thank you for leaving a comment. I'm glad I could not only write a post with which you connected, but also perhaps helped save your life in the event of a mid-ocean boat capsizing.

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  9. You are incredibly eloquent. I plan on following some of your advice and definitely returning to this post in the future when I need to relax about certain things.

    Thank you :)

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  10. The person who you *will* be: If you ever need to reach out, don't hesitate to email or find me on twitter :)

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<3 Robby