Breaking the SurfacePosted: June 8, 2011
You just have to get past the surface. It’s when you are in existing in both worlds that it is most difficult.
I recently went diving for the first time. No, I am not certified, but what does that matter anyway. After two-ish hours in a pool, I was absolutely confident in my newly acquired skills and was ready to take on the underwater world.
Sidebar: at this point my friend gently points out, “hey, I know you think you have this nailed, Ms. I Know Exactly What I am Doing After Two Hours, but when you put that face of yours in the ocean, it is going to be totally different experience.” To which I replied, “whatever.”
We arrive at the dive site and I swam up to the mooring ball, grabbed hold of the guideline, took a deep breath into my regulator and under I went. I could see my best friend about five feet down, my guide Justin, the dive boat on the surface and the utter and complete vastness of the ocean.
I completely freaked. Not a little oh-look-this-is-a-new-experience-and-isn’t-it-interesting-and-a-bit-scary kind of feeling. A knee-buckling, hyperventaliating, my heart just leapt out of my chest, get me the hell out of here kind of panic attack. I surfaced, looked at Justin and clearly said, “I cannot do this.” To which he replied, “yes you can.” To which I said, “no I can’t dammit.” To which he replied, “once you get past the surface you will be fine, trust me.”
And so, I trusted him. He stayed right in front of me as we descended so that my sole focus was on him. His face filled my entire field of vision and I made it to the bottom. I sat on the bottom of the ocean for a few minutes and breathed in and out. One. Breath. At. A. Time.
At the bottom, I was only in one world and not my world, mind you. But what an amazing world it was. Absolutely silent except the sound of my own breathing. From that moment on, I was completely, 100% in it. Flowing.
Justin Raper helped me to stare this fear down and I am grateful. I was lucky to have had him guide me through this first experience which he captures in his post Giddy Up at Diving Florida.
Now, that marked the beginning of my underwater adventures. But, you see, if I had given up and let my fear of the surface consume me, I would have missed it all and my “beginning” would have been a “never started.”
I have given a lot of thought as to why the surface is the most difficult. I have surmised that when you constantly look ahead and behind at other people, their world and their reality – you are not present in your own. And when you are not present in your reality, you can’t ever get to your next one.
**A great post by my friend Rich Mackey served as inspiration for my blog post today at Rich Mackey: The Blog: I am Here http://t.co/BmYdOnk