With each stroke, I focus on "west." The word. The feeling. The movement of moving my boat one stroke farther to the west. West from CA to HI.
I have been starting to increase my time on the erg- the indoor rower that is fast becoming my closest friend. Sometimes I listen to music while I am training- Bruce, of course. Gregorian chant sometimes. Pop. Popular standards. Classical. I also listen to what is inside my head a lot-my inner dialogue as I come to the catch- don't rush- or as I drive for my next stroke- dig in your heels. I rarely stop thinking about adjusting my stroke. I rarely stop talking to myself- telling myself all will be well. I rarely seem to stop.
Walt Whitman fills my head often too.
This is the female form. This is the female form. This is the female form. Sometimes I continue the poem...
This is the female form,
A divine nimbus exhales from it from head to foot,
It attracts with fierce undeniable attraction!
I am drawn by its breath as if I were no more than a helpless vapor, all falls aside but myself and it.
I mark my female form; coming slowly up the slide and then driving my heels in for the stroke. I think about the boat I will row and my team- Daring Greatly. I think about four women rowing for the World Record. And then I use the words, "female," "divine," "fierce," "undeniable," "all falls aside" as my mantras. I do not focus on the word "helpless."
I am collecting short poems, phrases, words, lyrics that will feed my soul hour after hour, day after day, and week after week when I am on the water. If you have some you'd like to share, I would be most appreciative.