Winding Down/Gearing Up

Today, I imagine a summer home on the shore sometime back in the 20’s or 30’s. Sheets are being placed over the furniture,windows are being locked, and the clock that marks each quarter-hour of each day from May to September is winding down. Soon the house will be still. It and the clock will sleep soon after the footsteps die away. Though they sleep and relish the quiet, each will keep an ear perked for the return of their family and the adventures that the next summer will bring.

One day in May (probably on a Friday afternoon), children will bound up the front porch stairs and burst through the front door. The silence and the solace will be broken. The clock and the house will gear up in short order for the excitement, the dreams, the drama and the thrill for life that its inhabitants bring with them. They have no choice in the matter. This is life!

Winding Down and Gearing Up is a common theme – both romantic and refreshing. I reflected this morning that  Thanksgiving brings with it a closure of sorts. We pause for a few days to be with family and friends. We slow down and are reminded of the bounty and blessings in our lives. Come December 1st, it’s catch as catch can in terms of business productivity. There are office parties, and holiday shopping and winter storms and such. To me, Thanksgiving is the beginning of the end. It’s a winding down.

In stark contrast to Thanksgiving, New Year’s Day in the Midwest almost always brings a blast of crisp, fresh air. It harkens fresh starts and demands our attention. On January 1st, the cozy glow of the winter holidays is over. Gear up. It-is-time-to-get-to-work.  The clock starts once again. The end is over. January 1 is a new beginning.

What is the new beginning you intend for yourself in 2011? Indulge yourself during the next few weeks. Imagine what accomplishments and changes you want to be sharing at next year’s Thanksgiving table. Come January 1st, we’ll get moving on your vision for your future.

As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments.

 – Tess

Copyright 2010

Destiny Rising, LLC

The Western Springs Pool – Summer 1966 – A Happy Story of “Going off the Deep-End”

"JUMP!"

In the summer of 1966 (or maybe it was 1967), my Mom enrolled me in beginner’s swimming lessons at the Western Springs Service Club. Learning  how to swim meant freedom and arrival. I was excited and petrified at the same time. The idea of being a little silverfish  and being able to go to “The Pool” with my older brothers and sisters was amazing, but the fear of not being able to touch the bottom of the pool created an ache in the pit of my stomach. Fortunately, I had no choice in the matter.

The lessons began in June. I remember this because the “old pool” wasn’t heated and the warmth of the summer sun hadn’t worked its magic on the water so early in the season. There were cold and cloudy mornings when our lips turned blue and our teeth chattered as we learned first to put our faces in the water, next how to breathe, then how to kick using kickboards, then how to do the crawl.  In order to graduate, we had to jump off of the low board in the “deep-end”.  Here, the water was 10 feet deep. It was about a 6 foot swim from the end of the low board to the side of the pool, but it may as well have been a 500 foot drop and 1/2 mile to the side of the pool. All I know is that the bottom of that pool looked really far down as I peered over the side.

When the big day came, I had gut wrenching fear about jumping off of the board. I waited and waited. I bought some time by letting others go ahead of me. I DID-NOT-WANT-TO-JUMP. It looked so easy when everyone else did it. Finally, my name was called. I’m sure I’d been an excruciating student to teach. I was meek and scared all through the lessons.

I walked out on the edge of the board as if I was walking the plank.  As I looked down at the moving sun streaked water, I realized that the drop to the deep waters was considerably farther than it appeared when safely on the pavement. I was paralyzed.  I could not back out, because my swimming teacher was behind me at the ladder. I could not jump, because it was certain death.  It seems to me as if I stood at the edge of the board for hours. Everyone was cheering me on, shouting “Jump! Jump! “The guy working in the office even got on the loud-speaker to encourage me to jump.  I did not appreciate their chanting. It was not giving me courage. It was scaring me! I wanted them to shut-up and leave me alone.

Suddenly, the board was not beneath my feet. I hadn’t moved an inch. I didn’t know what had happened. My instructor knew I was ready, so she was my confidence angel. The next thing I knew,  the arms that held me let me go, and I plunged deep into the cold water. I was shocked and frightened, but I regained my sense and swam to the top and heard all sorts of applause.  As I climbed the ladder, I asked “Can I go again?”.

Some 43 years later, when I hesitate, I realize at some point that I just have to take the plunge. I give myself a little pep-talk (or get a lecture from a friend).  In all of my pursuits, once I am “a body in motion”, I can swim with the big fish. And every time, I muster the courage to “Jump!” by recalling my beginning swim class in my hometown of Western Springs, Illinois on a summer day back in the Sixties.

As you begin to think about the changes you intend to make in 2011, know that there will never be a perfect time to get your journey underway. Sometimes, the time arrives when you will simply need to jump 🙂

Have a great week!

Copyright 2010

Destiny Rising, LLC