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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Swimming Out of Water

Hello, and welcome to Catherine Garceau's blog tour.  I'm double booked today.  After you finish reading about Swimming Out of Water, please scroll down and look for post 2, Books for Bunnies.  This rescue group is offering a LOT of prizes.

For those of you who don't follow sports, Catherine Garceau was a part of the Canadian synchronized swimming team that won a bronze medal in 2000 at the Sydney, Australia Summer Olympics.  Swimming Out of Water describes her struggle to find health and well-being in her life.  Here's an excerpt from Swimming Out of Water.


Rose-colored Goggles

“It is the food which you furnish to your mind that

determines the whole character of your life”.

—Emmet Fox

I slipped my pencil into the centerfold of my journal, snapped it shut,

and put it down on the ground behind me to the left. In climbing

the wall, I had no faith and staring at those words wasn’t doing me any


Doubting my power, strength, and ability to climb back up the wall

was hardly a new feeling for me. Throughout my life I have experienced

setbacks that produced the same feeling of inadequacy. Or maybe it was

the other way around. Were my deep-seated feelings of unworthiness

subconsciously setting me up for failure? If so, how would I reverse this

negative spell?

Faith aside, one of the most satisfying breakthroughs that came to

me through synchronized swimming was learning to adopt an optimistic

approach in different areas of my life. It would be hard for anyone to

develop the motivation it takes to achieve something great, such as an

Olympic bronze medal, without learning from challenges, setbacks, and

shortcomings. Perhaps it was my stubborn lack of self-confidence that

motivated me to devote time, effort, and commitment to my mental


People who meet me today (and chuckle at my cheerful and

upbeat nature) have a hard time believing that I was such a serious

and pessimistic child. How on earth did I become an Olympian if I

was always so negative? Actually, it’s amazing to realize how many high

achievers are motivated by pain, or the avoidance of pain. Our brains

seek adrenaline in activities that elevate dopamine and serotonin levels,

which are often depleted from years of stress or even set off balance from

birth. Sometimes, we even find activities and passions we can devote

ourselves to one hundred percent to forget or to create the biochemical

reactions that make us feel good. But these temporary fixes almost always

lead to greater problems over time.

For me, there was no hiding anymore: I’ve been surfing a wave

of sadness for as long as I can remember and using temporary coping

strategies hardly worked anymore. During various phases of my life,

symptoms of deep sadness (and what I now know to be a mix of

childhood emotional traumas and brain chemistry imbalances) showed

up as insomnia, over-exercising, chronic dieting, bingeing, isolation,

procrastination, and breaking down in tears at the slightest perceived

failure. With one foot grounded in deep spiritual inquiry, my other

foot kept investigating the world of neuroscience and toxicology in

order to better understand the brain’s connection to mind-body health.

It’s sure been an interesting puzzle to put together. While many experts

will proclaim to have figured out all the pieces of the puzzle, it is my

belief that how and when the pieces come together for each individual

differs greatly from person to person and could be orchestrated for a

much higher purpose—for each of us to truly get the lessons we are

here to learn.

Today, when I catch myself feeling down, discouraged with my

progress, or judgmental of others, I bring compassion to the situation

and choose to move forward with love. I’ve come to accept that if I do

lose myself in negativity for a while, it’s probably Life asking me to walk

through another tunnel in order to see the Light. This involves choosing

to feel and release the arising emotions instead of avoiding them with

exercise or food. And in the event that I succumb to old habits of eating

instead of feeling, I remind myself that the journey towards emotional

freedom and the acceptance of imperfections is always unfolding.

With brain health on my radar, I found the work of Dr. Daniel

Amen, which included his Change Your Brain Change Your Life book

series and educational PBS programs22. Suddenly, there was much more

to ‘brain health’ than I could have imagined. As I continued to learn

more about neurology and several human typing systems that reveal the

uniqueness of our combined genetic, energetic, and chemical makeup, I

learned that those of us who struggle early on may be born with certain

predispositions, which others (who seem to breeze through life) are

not. What became more and more obvious was how much the integrity

of our chemistry and neurology23 greatly influences our emotions and

behaviors. Whether the cause was a genetic predisposition, a dominant

personality trait, a birth trauma (subtle brain injuries are often caused at

birth), conditioning from a childhood trauma, overburdened organs from

toxicity, or a combination of it all, understanding the interconnectedness

of everything helped me gain patience and compassion for many health

enigmas, including my own. Dr. Amen’s findings made more and more

sense the more I observed myself and those in my life.

Swimming Out of Water is available at

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