Twenty-five years ago, lifeguard certification required treading water for two minutes without the use of hands. I’m not sure if holding a brick while treading was a Red Cross requirement, but to the instructor I had, it was.
Along with treading with the brick, we also
submerged 12 feet to retrieve the brick from the bottom of the pool, bring it to the surface, and swim it safely to the side under 1 minute 40 seconds.
To a 15 year old at the time, the Lifeguard Brick Test was a thrilling challenge. To a more aged woman now, a brick in water is dead weight.
Metaphorically, many of us are carrying bricks, barely keeping our heads above water. We are kicking hard, exerting energy to keep this brick in our grasp. We’ve got to pass the test. We’ve got to prove we can do it all. But, damn, that brick is heavy.
For a lifeguard in training, this is a necessary prerequisite to saving a human life.
For a human being, letting go of the brick is a necessary prerequisite to your own life.
Drop the brick.
The water works with you when you stop struggling so hard.
What is your brick?
For many, caring for others sometimes means picking up their bricks.
Maybe it’s imbalance between home and work.
Maybe it’s your inbox.
Or Health? Wealth? A specific relationship?
Letting go of a brick doesn’t mean irresponsibly eliminating it. It can mean handing it off to someone else willing to discard it, slapping some mortar on it and building a beautiful structure, or turning it into something sturdy to stand on – to keep you from flailing and kicking and getting worn out.
Unlike lifeguard requirements, you get to choose what you want to do with dead weight.
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