Swimming Pool Self Defense

by Pool Builders on 04-21-2010 in Articles

"Ouch! That was my arm you just hit with your unconscious, wild swimming!" I looked up at the lifeguard, who gave me a slow head shake and wry smile. I smiled back. My lane partner swam on oblivious. Later, standing at one end of the pool waiting for him to pass me, I couldn't seem to move far enough into the corner. He almost hit me again as he somersaulted into his turn. It was as if I wasn't there. I was definitely not on his radar screen.

I kept on swimming, but with more awareness. My thoughts:

  • What a lane hog!
  • Doesn't he know I'm swimming here?
  • I was in this lane first; I even greeted him when he got in. He must realize I'm here.
  • His unconsciousness is fascinating. Amazing.

As I continued swimming and musing, my attitude gradually moved from anger to reflection and curiosity. I thought, this isn't so different from life.

There are characters in my life anyway who seem to think nothing of taking up lots of space. They don't worry when they speak whether their words might hurt. They weave in and out of traffic, seemingly oblivious to other vehicles nearby. All of life seems to be there just for them; this is their lane, regardless of who else might be swimming, working, or living alongside them.

So, what should we do with these people? What I did that morning at the pool was to increase my own awareness. Self-Defense begins with me. If I know that this "partner" is oblivious of my feelings, my presence, my being, I first must keep myself from being hurt. In the lane, I was visually and physically vigilant. In life, I center myself and increase my awareness of the other person and their possible actions.

As I center myself, I am able to jump into Discovery. I can be curious and amused and interested, instead of judgmental, angry and victimized. This mind shift is the best form of inner self defense and is very powerful.

I may choose to speak to my partner. In this case, I was almost ready to get out of the pool. Centering, discovery, and the lifeguard's smile were enough. But, in life, I would probably have a conversation with my friend, my coworker, my life partner. I would let them know how their unconscious behavior is impacting me, and I'd invite them into dialogue.

The point is to know that we have choices. Start with inner self-defense: center, smile, and jump into Discovery. Then you'll know what to do next.

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