CREDOS: Spiritual quest — IV

All coaches tell their athletes to relax before competition. What they’re really suggesting is that you open yourself to the energy that’s within. Below the surface of the flow of the movements is internal strength. Just as in swimming, in order to move gracefully I had to build my core muscles — my chI.

I’m also reminded of this “flow” when I’m surfing or snowboarding. Whether I’m dropping into a nice wave or carving up the mountain, I experience the strength of my inner core and I feel very complete. In that moment, I realised there is a divine spark that can be harnessed and drawn from.

I think this is what most highly accomplished athletes feel — strength through grace, the divine through the physical.

Now as I look back, I realise that, despite the obstacles I’ve experienced in competitive swimming, working so hard for my accomplishments made it much easier to deal with life’s other challenges. Outside of swimming, my life is probably very similar to yours. I’ve had to deal with the loss of a parent, loss of a job, a divorce-none of it easy for anyone. So as I approach middle age, I accept that I am no longer invincible — but I know I’ll never lose my youthfulness.And after all, youthfulness is one definition of the divine spark. As a former Olympian I faced the joys and agonies of competition — and in the process I learned there’s more to sports than the physical. —, concluded