Dr. Emiliano Hudtohan

Educator, Business Writer, Industry Expert and Entrepreneur

Swim, play, and pray

Manila Standard Today  The Green Light

Summer is about to end and I continue swim, play and pray to perfection in the pool.  I do 800 meters a day not only for my arthritic fingers but also for my heart, mind, body and spirit.  Aside from these, I am motivated to go to the pool to learn new styles in doing breaststroke.

Swimming style

After I retired from Metrobank and pursued my doctoral studies at De La Salle University in 2003, I secured a DLSU alumni card to avail of the swimming facility at DLS Razon Complex, which was a stone throw away from my residence at Fidel A. Reyes St.

I was then struggling to cross the width of the Olympic pool, when Jay Tumaguidguid, Edwin Throlin and Danny Gayatao, DLSU accredited life-guards took pains to teach me the basics.  They taught me to breathe properly: Air intake through the mouth above water; exhale through the nose underwater.  I discovered that oxygen supply in my lungs keeps me going because I recycle my energy through breathing.  In the beginning it was difficult to do aquatic breathing.  As a consequence, I swallowed pool water many times.

As I breathed through my mouth with head above water, frog kicked underwater, paddled my body forward with my arms; I began to enjoy the slithering movement of my body, pleasantly buoyed by the water. From then on, swimming was fun, an effortless affair.  The pool water became a new sensual delight and like a fish in the ocean, I experienced the freedom of the deep.

Heart motion

I used to paddle myself by extending my hand forward and pulling them to the side as I exhale underwater.  Then, I flapped my hands together to lift my head above water and inhaled through my mouth.  As a beginner, I was focused on these movements with no visualization yet.

It was a grade school girl who taught me to visualize the heart and use the figure in doing breaststroke.  According to her, the heart helped her win in many competitions.  She said, the heart motion inspired her to love swimming and reminded her to bring home the gold.  For almost five years I was doing the heart figure until I met a lady professional who was doing breaststroke with speed and strength.  According to her the secret of her speed was her small quick strokes.  I watched her cup her hands, moving them in small circular motion underwater. Those hands were moving like the two rotors of a speed boat.  She was fast.

Before I met her, I was drawing a heart figure and infinity symbol.  The heart movement brought me serenity and the infinity symbol made me reflect on my tasks ahead.   With a third technique, I can now speed up my exercise, especially when I have a work schedule to catch up.  I execute the short stubs as shown by a lady professional.

Eternity in motion

The infinity hand motion ∞ is like drawing in water number eight (8) sideway. This loop is better understood as part of the U-shape of Peter Senge’s ‘letting go’ and ‘letting in’ concept of learning from our experience.  Stephen Covey uses a developmental spiral figure in cultivating the eighth (8) habits through action, commitment and reflection.  Nicanor Perlas makes use of the infinity loop to demonstrate social change through action and reflection and at the same demonstrate the reality of our local and non-local experience.

In business, Equitable Bank’s logo has the infinity symbol with arrows to show action-reflection motion.  The Chinese fengshui explains polarity in terms of the yin and yang within a perfect circle; there is the polarity of light and darkness, male and female energy, giving and receiving power and inner and outer dimension of life. Ken Wilber’s AQAL has similar dual concepts.  Jim Collins discussed the yin-yang in Good to Great as drivers of corporate excellence.  Martha Beck in Finding Your Way in a Wild New World observed that ‘the infinity loop of rest and play’ is a balanced paradigm for those who are pressured by money matters.  She says, “Rest until you feel like playing, then play until you feel like resting.  Never do anything else.”

Swimming Lessons

As I exercise in the pool, I do an exercise similar to the Hawaiian ho’oponopono healing, which encourages the believer to do the following mantra: I am sorry [I forgive myself]; I love you [God]; and I thank you [God].

My Catholic variant is doing the ACTS while swimming.  The first 100 meters is my act of adoration [I praise you, Lord]; the next two laps for an act of contrition {I am sorry, Lord. Please forgive me]; another two laps for an act of thanksgiving [I thank you, Lord.] and the last two laps for an act of supplication [Please grant my request].  By the time I finish 16 laps, I would have done the ACTS twice.  My goal is to do the ACTS three times, meaning 20 laps in the Olympic pool or one kilometer exercise everyday.

For me, swimming is a multi-faceted exercise; it be doing the heart, infinity and rotor motions.  And as I journeys the Olympic pool lane, someone comes along like an angel to show me the way to perfection.  I discovered the power of the earth [when it quaked], the wind [when it rustled the trees], and fire [when I cooked].

But for the past 8 years, I discovered the power of water to relax and heal me – physically, metaphysically and spiritually,

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