Apart from my train home, which was running late 20 minutes late and was short of a few coaches, and hence even more overcrowded that usual, today it began to feel as though things are starting to flow a little better. My Art Therapy book, ordered in early September and misplaced by Royal Mail for a month and a half, was finally delivered yesterday. After a few months of intermittent research and unanswered emails, I finally managed to locate a T’ai Chi class on a day which I can attend, not too far from home, and I will try a ‘taster session’ on Thursday night. Things are moving at work, and feel less burdensome, if still very pressured. I also made it out of the office door to go swimming at lunch time today, and swam a very enjoyable mile.
One of the reasons I am so pleased to be swimming again, after a 6-year break, is because it is a very relaxing and satisfying way to feel connected to my mother. I concentrate mostly on my breath, my stroke, counting lengths, and timing things right so as not to catch the person in the lane in front of me until the end of the length, but she is gently alongside me all the time. I remember her demonstrating how to push down firmly and efficiently with my hands in backstroke – her favourite stroke – keeping my hands next to my body rather than curving out and back in. She taught me to do tumble turns in Alexander pool, beautiful blue in the glorious morning sunshine, guiding me to take a breath before diving under, tucking my body up tight, trying to push forward firmly rather than slipping off to the side. She explained that I needed to ensure I emptied my lungs properly whilst underwater, so when I came up for air I could just breathe in, rather then try expel the last of my breath quickly before sucking not quite enough air back in. These are all things I still actively concentrate on and work to improve.
She loved swimming; it was full of delight for her, and I am so glad I eventually gave her the chance to infect me with some of that joy. This is just one of the truly countless gifts she gave me, that will be with me forever – and, like my awareness and memories of her, they are constantly there, whether I focus active attention on them or not. She continues, and will always continue, to be a comforting presence in my life.