Title: Swimming Out of Water: How an Olympian’s Struggle Inspired Breakthrough Discoveries in Health and Well-Being
Author: Catherine Garceau (Olympic Bronze Medalist 2000 Sydney Games)
Publisher: Morgan James Publishers
Length: 210 Pages with 35 black & white photos
Most people who knew Catherine Garceau during the early years of this century were struck by just how much she had going for her. The tall blonde with a body to kill for had won a Bronze medal at the 2000 Olympic Games as part of Canada’s synchronized swimming team. But no one knew that Catherine, having lost her main outlet for her obsession with perfection, was floundering in her post-Olympic life. Performing in Las Vegas and building a career in business and marketing weren’t fulfilling. In fact, part of her felt she was losing it all: her athletic body, her high-achieving mind and most humiliating, her image of excellence.
Now, in Swimming Out of Water, Garceau goes beneath the surface of her life. From the lens of a life-changing experience she had while hiking in the Red Rock National Park outside Las Vegas. Stuck on a cliff, alone, for twenty-four hours, she flashes back to moments of fear, failure, loss, triumph, and breakthrough, which all decorated her journey with valuable lessons. Written in the journal she took with her that day, Garceau realizes and reveals the negative effects of sugar and many chemicals found in our food and environments, including the chlorine she had bathed in for so many years.
Alas, with no one coming to her rescue, how did she get herself up from the ledge? How has her dream of a chlorine free swimming evolved? And how has she turned the stubborn eating disorders she faced into programs to help free other women from emotional eating?
Birthed from the edge of the Red Rocks and brought to completion in her continued years of integration, education and healing, Swimming Out of Water’s raw nature takes on the transparent quality of water, the very element Garceau is here to both defend and embody.
Spend this day on the rocks with her…and discover the grace of swimming out of water.
About the Author:
Catherine Garceau is the CEO of Wellness Olympiad, Inc., a leadership coaching, training and lifestyle consulting firm dedicated to promoting holistic health and well-being and raising awareness of the toxic effects of chlorine byproducts. For more information please visit http://www.CatherineGarceau.com
“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 good.
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 training.
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.
To win one copy of Catherine Garceau’s book leave your answer to the question:
When did Catherine win the bronze medal?