“Young soprano Elizabeth Gentner…has a supple, full-bodied voice perhaps better suited for a larger venue, but displayed a confidence and command of comedy unusual in a performer at such an early stage in her career.” ~Kathleen Whalen, Daily Republic Correspondent
I am a swimmer. I’m not the fastest in the world, but I am strong and steady in the water. Water is a source of strength and calm for me.
On the average bad day, my remedy can usually be found in an hour of laps. When I haven’t been to the pool in more than a couple days I become…let’s go with cranky.
Water provides you with a natural buoyancy (i.e. unless you’re doing something weird, you float). To swim, you simply allow the water to keep you afloat while your extremities propel you forward.
I, honestly, get a little caught up on the propelling forward concept. Trying to go faster, pushing to the next level. I often see new swimmers fighting the water to catch the next breath. This really isn’t the best (or fastest) way to swim. Allowing the water to do the work for you is always better. This concept is difficult especially when you are racing a clock or trying something new.
I was working on teaching my niece the concept of floating, during a family vacation. She kept worrying that she was going to sink. Every time her brow creased with concern, every time her stomach contracted with doubt she started to sink. I stopped for a bit and played in shallower water for a while. I asked her, “Do you like the water?” and got a big, excited nod.
“Can I tell you a secret? I love the water, it’s my happy place! Will you let me show you why?” I put her up on the side and laid back to float, closed my eyes and just breathed in and out. When I got up, I asked her what she thought. “Is that how a mermaid sleeps?” she asked. I hope mermaids sleep like that, and after the demonstration floating seemed a lot easier for her.
There can be all kinds of struggles at the surface. The best remedy is to stop. Float. Feel the power of the water supporting me holding me, lifting me and revel in it. While going with the flow is important, what buoyancy really does is lift me up when I stop struggling against fear.
Flailing and fighting won’t help when I am in over my head and as often as I find myself there, I should know. I just have to remember to take a deep breath, relax and float. It’s time to let my natural buoyancy take me to the top.