I am not a strong swimmer, physically. It’s that I’m out of practice, mostly, and probably out of shape too! But I do know the difference between long, smooth, sure strokes that propel me purposefully through water, and merely treading water to stay afloat.
Sometimes treading is necessary; it has its place in the activity of swimming. Swimming, like living, is work. The more coordination, balancing of skill, and measured breathing you bring to it, the more enjoyable and invigorating it is…much like living! However, you cannot stroke and kick away indefinitely; sometimes you must give your arms and legs a break, and that is when you slow down and just bob, moving your arms slower, giving them a chance to rest while your head remains above the surface of the water.
You don’t really move while treading water, or just as you do not move off your spot much while running in place, there is a time when you need to do it. Treading water is not swimming; it is a respite from swimming. Living requires a rest here and there, too. Coping, while not recommended as the default for living, is all we can do sometimes while we correct our inner balance.
When life brings circumstances that threaten our strength and balance, rather than be totally off guard, we sometimes instinctively resort to coping mode. That can seem to be a very anxious time, but it gives us a space to endure, rather than sink, just as treading water keeps our heads up while we rest and recharge before taking off strong again.
When you find yourself coping, concentrate on the goal, much like when you stop swimming and tread water for a while; you know you will resume in strength after a brief time. At the moment, even while you are tired, you are resting. Gather your strength in this period, and then take off refreshed once again. Settle into the rhythm of moving forward, and when you need to stop and regroup, do so. Treading water, like coping in life, is part of the rhythm.