Elephants

I’m starting to get organized for my ┬áStage 1 swim tomorrow. I also was involved with the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim yesterday, and that required a lot of focus up until late last night. Fortunately, it went well, with a 100% completion rate.

One of my last moments of down time was at the start of the week, during my small, weekly yoga class. The instructor is very good about tailoring the practice to what the students have going on. Another classmate was also preparing for a big athletic undertaking, so Monday’s class focused on our upcoming efforts. The instructor chose the theme of the elephant, or sanyama (sp?) in Sanskrit, to help us focus on our strength.

I found the metaphor

helpful for a different reason: because elephants are known for being stubborn. For me, that trait is every bit as important as strength in a marathon swim undertaking. It’s not big muscles that keep you going several hours into a swim. It is simply

the stubborn desire to finish what you started.

The other helpful image that popped into mind relates to one of New York City’s more unusual annual activities. One night a year, the circus comes to town–and elephants get here by running through the Queens-Midtown Tunnel. They trot in a line, one after another, some of them dressed up in their circus finery as they pass under the East River. I imagine it must be rather bewildering for them–from the lineup to the transit through the tunnel to their emergence in Midtown Manhattan to their parade across town to Madison Square Garden. And yet they do it, somehow trusting that everything will work out.

That’s what I’m going to try to do tomorrow–stubbornly head toward the finish, not caring that the activity is perhaps a bit unusual, and trusting that everything will work out. I’ll be thinking of elephants the entire way.