I'm a swimmer—I love the pool.
I have a great pool to swim in—it's outside, right next to the beach, so when the sun's shining it's like being on holiday (and I love being on holiday!).
And my challenge to myself is always to aim for 100 lengths. Which, when it's chilly in the winter, doesn't always happen I'll be honest. But if the conditions (i.e. no gale force winds) are right, I'm in there up and down, up and down × 100.
Now I'm not an athlete and I don't even swim all that fast (it takes me around 50 minutes to swim those 100 lengths), but I'll do them.
And here's how:
10 at a time.
And when it gets to the last few—2 at a time! (a return trip up and down the pool).
Because I don't mind sharing that when I get in the pool 100 seems an awful lot. A ridiculous amount in fact.
Even though I know I can do 100 lengths (I've done it before) my chatter will start.
"100's a lot", "you don't need to do 100 today", "today looks like a 50 day, maybe 60", "the pool is busy, you'll never be able to keep going", "etc..."
We all have chatter. It's just a question of whether or not we listen to it. I sometimes listen to my chatter (if it's egging me on!), but when it's being defeatist I prefer to ignore it.
Or I trick it.
I'll say (in my head) "I'll do 10 and see how I feel". Then I'll say "Well, I managed that 10, I'll do 10 more". "We're at 50 now so may as well do 10 more while we're here". And I'll keep on. 10 lengths at a time. Tricking my chatter into letting me take the smaller steps to my bigger goal.
And after a while it gives up!
The pool has a magic effect on me... it makes me quiet (this is very strong magic if you know how loud I am!).
There are no distractions in the pool, no music, no calls, no emails, just blue sky (on a good day), clear water, and me. I can focus on my breathing, I can watch the light reflections on the bottom of the pool, I can see the shape the bubbles make as my hands cut through the water. It's my meditation. It's the way I am mindful.
It might not be swimming for you. It might be a walk, or listening to music, or just sitting still. It might be yoga, it might be something entirely more dare devil, but find your quiet Thing. It will help you make a great noise the rest of the time.
And if you don't think you can do it for long enough—just trick your chatter into 1 step at a time. It won't realise what you're up to until it's too late!
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