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  • mycounsellorfiona

breathing - not gasping

I was swimming the other day. Front crawl. It felt so good, like it did when I was ten. For years I couldn't do front crawl. After one length I would have to stop, gasping for breath, having taken in a lot of water. Every time I tried it was the same, so I stopped trying because I felt embarrassed.

But I really longed to have that smooth feeling I remembered from swimming front crawl when I was a child. I saw better swimmers making it look easy and envied them. One thing I noticed was that they breathed more normally, not gasping and gulping like I had been. I guessed this was why it seemed they didn't have to try so hard.

By watching a few online tutorials, slowing down and taking things length by length I managed to re-learn front crawl. My technique is iffy and I'm not fast, but it feels so good.

It made me think. There are lots of things we could do as a child but we forget. Like making up after arguments, being a friend to someone who needs one, giving ourselves a pat on the back now and then, stating plainly what we want and don't want.

Carl Rogers* described how a person might feel if they trust the totality of themselves, not just their thoughts but their feelings and intuitions too, as children do.

"I feel that this experience [...] is good. Later, I will probably know why I feel it is good."

If we can slow down a bit, stop trying so hard that we get out of breath, maybe we can get back in touch with our intuitions. Step-by-step. Length-by-length.

* Carl Rogers - from The Carl Rogers Reader, 1990 pp 179, originally published in 1964

Carl Rogers developed the person-centred approach to therapy


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