Keep on...trying?

Relax. Just Relax.

I think our American culture teaches us that the more we try, the better we will be at something. We've grown up our entire lives hearing, "Just keep trying!" Swim one more lap. Practice piano one more hour. Run one more mile.

I KNOW that this is a true concept. We cannot succeed in anything if we give up the first time we feel like we just can't climb that mountain. But, sometimes in the trying we work so hard, tense up so much, think so deeply that we cannot succeed.

I've personally had this problem my entire life.

As a very young girl, I would pair and line up my shoes in a perfect row in my closet. No room for mistake.

My mother said she could always distinguish which Barbie was mine and which was my sister’s easily. My sister’s Barbie had mangled, crusty Medusa-like hair and lay naked in the stairwell. My Barbie seemed to be dressed to perfection as if in constant anticipation of being surprised by Ken for a perfect night out on the town. My Barbie was going to the opera. Hilary’s Barbie was heading to a nudist colony and lived in complete, relaxed freedom.

My whole life, I’ve tried hard. Really hard.

But, when you try so hard that you no longer remember how to take a deep breath and enjoy the moment, then it is just time to relax.

I realized this truth a few days ago while swimming laps in an Olympic size pool. I’ve been adding a day or two of lap swimming to my workout routine over the last few months to prep for a triathlon.

This has been a challenge.

I know that I’m really healthy cardiovascularly and in pretty good shape. But, when I get in the pool, I feel like I can only do 2 laps before I am forced to stop and hold on to the ledge for a few minutes like a beached whale.

What is going on? I’m better than this. I’m trying.

Then suddenly this week, as I was half way through my swimming routine, I finally relaxed.

I didn’t think about my breathing. Should I slowly release the air underwater or do one final outward burst of air before resurfacing?

I didn’t think about my elbow’s position when it was pulling up above the water in freestyle fashion.

I didn’t dread looking down at the pool floor's final deep cliff that showed the great depth needed under the high dives.

I relaxed. And, finally, I was able to decently swim. And, as I was finally flowing into this relaxed rhythm, I realized the power of just letting go.

Don’t worry about hitting the right note and having right mouth curvature for vowel production! Just relax and sing.

Don’t worry about accomplishing your mile-long “To Do” list today! Sit down, play and laugh with your kids.

Don’t just sit there tapping your foot. Get up and dance!

Relax. Enjoy. Breathe. Feel the moment.

Try! Try to love. Try to live. Try to follow your greatest dreams.

Just don’t try too hard.