It’s wintertime in the Northeast, and therefore it’s hard for me to convince myself that Yes, going to the pool today is an awesome idea.

But the truth is, once I get over the initial hesitation about plunging into a large body of water when it’s only 19 degrees outside, I really do enjoy swimming.

It’s one of the reasons this blog is named so, because swimming became my new form of cardiovascular meditation after my hips protested to the jarring nature of running. When I couldn’t achieve peace of mind through the open air, I dipped my face into water instead.

Sometimes I fantasize about creating some kind of swimming/5Rhythms hybrid. I haven’t had my gym’s pool to myself in a long time, but maybe one day when I do, I’ll create a water-based Wave. I mean, pool aerobics has been around forever, synchronized swimming is an Olympic event, and grandmoms are now taking Aqua Zumba classes. It’s time.

If that doesn’t work out, though, I’ll just think about how the act of being in water and swimming is its own little 5Rhythms Wave in and of itself.

Flowing: The art of adjusting to this new, wet environment, testing a pool’s depths. Where do my feet go? How can my arms support me? Where should my head be so I don’t swallow sea salt or chlorine?

Treading water.

Staccato: Treading water is tiring after a while. I need to move ahead! My arms need to go Thwack, Thwack, Thwack! Kick, kick, kick, Head up, head down. Freestyle! Breaststroke! Butterfly!

Doing laps.

Chaos: Doing laps is so repetitive; I go so far, hit a wall, turn around, and then hit another wall again? You’ve got to be kidding me. Where’s the fun in that? I need the ocean, somewhere expansive to move freely. Ahhh, yes, waves and currents, sloshing seaweed and sticky sand. Oh fuck, a rip-tide?! Shit, I’m going under, where’s the shore? Short gasps of air, choking, limbs thrashing.


Lyrical: Finding the surface. Air. Breath. Earth under feet. Allowing the calmed waves to cradle my exhausted body, strength returning in my oxygen-deprived muscles, arms and legs finding comfort through a combination of treading water and a gentle freestyle.

Taking long, luxurious laps.

Stillness: My body is one with the ocean. With my head underneath the water, I can hear my breath consume every cell. Salt on my skin, sunshine on my face, buoyant as though I’m in utero again.