Think of the most simple, yet powerful emotion that you can muster... something so full of life and energy, but has the capacity to be shared by all and through all. It's really not as tough as it seems.
I recognized this as I was warming up for my 50 backstroke final on Friday night. I was searching high and low, between the sulci and crevasses of my brain, and realized in one earth-shattering synapse, that it all lies in the realm of love.
Love is something that is earnest, it is pure. Love can conquer all, at least according to most current pop songs on the radio. Love can exist and should exist for everyone. John Lennon understood it. I'm pretty sure even that crotchety old man that cut in front of you in line knew it at one time too.
Love is, undoubtedly, the most powerful emotion that anyone can get captured in. It causes us to lose sight of our surroundings and even causes us to ignore ourselves. Love can rage wars and usurp liberties.
And so it was LOVE that I found in the warm-up session that Friday night.
I was terribly worried about not understanding how to sprint. It had to be quick and well-planned, without utilizing much thought in the actual moment of it all. It had to be controlled, yet fierce. It had to be real.
As I searched through my Rolodex of emotions, I quickly realized that it was much more simple than I was trying to make it. I was attempting mathematical calculations to try to understand the sprint, when all I really had to do was understand how much I truly LOVE it.
I love the way swimming puts me in an underwater world in which it is only my breath and body making rhythmic sounds. I love how swimming pushes my muscles to their exhausted limits. I love how swimming has become an example for understanding the power of the human effort. I love the way that swimming takes me away from my wheels and my mind for moments at a time. I love how I can connect with my whole body underwater.
And with that, I swam my sprint with nothing but pure love.
As it turns out, I took off nearly 6 seconds from that morning's race simply just by loving every second of it.