Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Total Immersion

For the past six weeks I have been swimming.

I have not always been a swimmer. In fact until I was twelve I was terrified of water. The summer I was twelve I was put into an adjustment to water class. Did I mention I was 12? All the other children in the class were 5. Or less.
I graduated from that class and that same summer I got up to the Junior Red Cross level in swimming lessons. A summer later I swam the length of the old Kits pool with my Dad. That was one eighth of a mile. Later that summer I swam two lengths. One quarter of a mile.

When I lived up north I took a stroke correction class with a dear friend.  A dear friend who also swims those long distances.

In my twenties I entered a couple of triathalons and trained at the Vancouver Aquatic Center. A few times a week I would swim a mile.

Swimming has always been my salvation when all else failed.

So I am back in the pool. I have been reading about Total Immersion swimming and practicing some of the techniques. I realize I am a Total Immersion kind of person.

Not just swimming. I have totally immersed myself in many things over the years. Parenting, teaching, knitting, La Leche League - to name a few, and now, for not the first time, swimming.

I am beginning to totally immerse myself in retirement.  And life.  I am recommitting myself to totally immersing myself in life.

Because for me it isn't enough to float with the current, or sail with the wind.  I think I am happiest when I am swimming against the current or sailing into the wind.  Because then I feel alive.  Then I feel in control. Then I feel like I am making a difference, taking a risk, being brave.

What I realize through my reading about Total Immersion swimming is that it is really about being more efficient.  It is about swimming faster and for longer distance with less effort.

So that is interesting.  Moving forward with less effort.

It means retraining old patterns.  It means feeling awkward while learning new things.  It means shifting focus from the destination to the journey.

This is going to take some practice.  And some time.

I have time.

I am totally immersed in it.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Walter Mitty

"To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life.” James Thurber

The last night of my daughter's visit we watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. The quote above figured prominently in the plot and it captured my attention. It seemed to fit with the visit we had been having. As with the visit one year ago there were long talks, some (many) tears, and a deeper and closer relationship being forged out of the inevitable difficulties in life.

The purpose of life has figured prominently in discussions with family over the past few months. It seems at family gatherings, lately, I have been sharing more my belief, and faith, that we are not a random occurence of molecules and chemistry, but rather spiritual beings learning lessons and gaining insight through the use of these physical bodies and this incarnation. It is not a view shared by most of them.

It is a view shared by a very good friend, and by fellow anthroposophists. It doesn't matter to me that others hold different views. As long as they respect mine I can live with the loneliness of swimming up-stream.

I consider myself an esoteric Christian, an Anglican, an anthroposophist, a child of God. I am trying to live a life with less fear, to speak my mind more, and to not let others take advantage of me, or take me for granted.

That is why this quote spoke to me. I want all those things.

Because I know that with this body, in this incarnation, I have much to learn and I am nowhere near done yet.

Friday, April 11, 2014

I am heterosexual.....damn auto-correct

So, my phone always auto-corrects the word "here" to the word "heterosexual" when I am texting. When I text to let a friend, or my husband, know I have arrived somewhere to pick them up it types "I am heterosexual". I always chuckle, back space and then re-type "here" before pressing send. So far, I have never sent the text announcing my sexual orientation.

Yesterday I sent a text to my brother letting him know my daughter was in town. I typed "[her name] is here", but it came out "[her name] is heterosexual". I chuckled and shared it with her because she was sitting beside me. I chuckled because she isn't. We laughed that even predictive text was trying to straighten her out.

She and I went to a show on Wednesday night called "Gender Failure". Two story-tellers shared stories and songs about their experiences living in our gender-binary world. Their stories were thought-provoking, and sometimes sad, often funny, and profound for someone like me. Someone with my heterosexual privilege. During the intermission I turned to her and commented that their stories were so sad. I asked her if she had sad stories. In her twenty-five year old wisdom she said, "We all have sad stories, but that isn't all that we are".
And there it is.

When she truly came out to us fifteen months ago there was a part of me that was surprised, because she had been in a heterosexual relationship for the past four years. Part of me was sad because I knew that despite the world changing and being more accepting of homosexuality, there were still people who would be unkind, and places that would be unsafe. I just didn't want that for anyone I love.

But, we all have our sad stories. We all have places we don't feel safe. As Ash Beckham says, "We all have our closets, and closets are not any kind of place to live."

Part of my journey of being the parent of queer, fabulous, femme daughter, is reading. Reading and more reading. The author and books that helped me on my journey was everything written by Ivan Coyote. Everything. Including all their you-tubes.

So, meeting them on Wednesday night was so wonderful. I couldn't tell them everything I wanted to in that few moments we had to shake hands in the book signing line. I hope they knew how sincere I was about the writings being so important to me, and to my relationship with my daughter.

I am still learning so much. My daughter is teaching me. Ivan and Rae and Ash are teaching me. I am learning to use the gender neutral "they" pronoun when I become aware that is what a person wants, and every time it is a little less awkward.

The world is changing. I want to be a part of the change, because I think it will be a better world, a safer world, a more inclusive world if we could all just get the hell out of our closets.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Betwixt and Between

I have a feeling I have written a post before with this title. But that is how I am feeling today. Betwixt and Between. Unsettled, anxious, nervous, tired, but also feeling like I want to get going. I want to do something, paint something, fix something, go somewhere.

Spring is coming, slowly. One step forward, two steps back. The cottonwood tree outside my kitchen nook window is budding, everyday its progress is noticeable. Same with the apple tree. Soon the chickadees will be able to hide in all its foliage, without being exposed to my prying eyes.

The house is cold. I seek out hot tubs and saunas more than a couple of times a week. Just to get warm. And stay warm.

I feel like I am reaching out, but no-one is reaching back. It isn't true in reality, but it is how I feel. I have put myself out there, put some thoughts out there, and nothing. I realize that I am putting myself out there in cyberspace, and it is a wake-up call to put myself out there in the real world.
The real world.

So I think I will fix something, and paint something and go somewhere. Afterall, once the crossword is done, the dishes are done, and the bed is made there is nothing to stop me.

Ya, it is that kind of day.
Betwixt and Between.