Thursday, July 7, 2011

I went swimming (and took a shvitz) in my building on my lunch break

Never Done: I went swimming (and took a shvitz) in my building on my lunch break

It was a long morning that stretched into the afternoon. Trainings, meetings, reading through the files that the old arts and culture director left, building tour. It was 2 pm before I had 5 minutes to eat a sandwich at my desk and 3:10 pm before I got to take a break, and I had another meeting at 4. My head was spinning from learning computer programs, and My eyes were shutting from a poor night's sleep. So what's a Jewish arts professional to do? Drink coffee? Never! Not at least when there's a swimming pool three floors down. So I grabbed my suit, which is already living under my desk. Now, I knew the pool was going to close at 3:30, and for a moment I considered that maybe I didn't have enough time to swim. But then I reconsidered. Was I going for a workout? No. I was going for refreshment. So I went down and changed into my suit and entered the pool deck. Wow. What a pool deck. It's on the 5th floor, with floor to ceiling windows - light streaming in. I hopped into an empty lane, and I started to swim laps. I was tired, I was tight, I was thinking about arts programming for MLK day, but I was swimming in the middle of my work day. Amazing. Before I knew it, the pool closed, and so I hopped out and showered. (They have shampoo and conditioner and soap!) But I'd only been out of the office for 15 minutes and there was a steam room just beckoning me, so I went in. Just for five minutes, but five minutes of hot steam in the middle of the work day! And another shower! (And q-tips and body lotion and deodorant!) (And towel service!) and before I knew it, I was back upstairs taking a call (my first, never done) about comps for the next program and off to a meeting with the box office manager and then another with my boss. But I was fresh, attentive, and relaxed.

Swimming is a Jewish value. We are actually mandated to teach our children to swim. Ostensibly that's because it's a safety measure - to prevent unnecessary drowning. But I also value swimming for it's relaxing, strengthening, and meditative qualities. And for all that, I said the Shehekhianu. Omeyn.


  1. I heard about what you are doing through Brooklyn Based and I think it's really awesome. I have a blog and podcast called The BK Buzz and I'd love to talk to you about your Mussar Year if you are available to talk about it. Please let me know, my email is

  2. Thanks Shannon -- I will get in touch!