DIVING INTO MY DEEPEST FEARS & FALLING IN LOVE
There I was fins hovering above the blackened waters the sky laying to rest under a blanket of transitioning sunset to darkness. At this moment, I found myself questioning this counterintuitive decision as the anxiety flowing through my body turned from excitement to anxiety, to question and continuing to interchange between them… I was literally diving towards my greatest fears, acknowledging them, loving them and then jumping in fins first, dancing within a whirlwind of emotion through each meter of my descent into the darkness. I could feel my heart throwing itself against my chest relentlessly, the sound of its thrusts echoing out into the unknown…
how did I get here…?
This is a great question.
Swimming in open water with the potential to find myself face to face with a shark, or sharks, for that matter, was my ULTIMATE top fear (no doubt thanks to the media instilled misrepresentation of sharks through JAWS as a small child). I found myself guided towards Thailand, with the feeling to spend a large portion of my stay on the small island of Koh Tao, otherwise known as Turtle Island. I knew that I was being guided to do some deep healing on myself, however, I was unaware of what the healing journey was to entail.
Once I arrived on the island I had to smile when I discovered that the hotel I had booked for the duration of my 20-night stay was in fact located on Shark Bay (of all places!).
After 5 days of yoga, meditation, stillness, and relative silence I felt inspired to go snorkelling as a way to discover the beauty of the island. You’ll never believe where the first stop was on our snorkelling tour…. yes… you’ve probably guessed it….. SHARK BAY! I found myself asking two ladies I befriended on the tour if they thought it was called Shark Bay because the bay looked like a shark, or because there were actually sharks in the bay? The seasoned Koh Tao visitor replied “it’s because there are sharks in here!”, “I saw three last time I was snorkelling in this bay”. This being my greatest fear, in disbelief, I almost couldn’t believe that I was actually considering jumping in. Despite the anxiety rushing through my body I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and jumped into the water – eek!
Having survived the snorkelling tour (slightly dramatic I admit), with no shark sightings and 11 days of continued detoxing and healing I felt myself opening up to the possibility of diving more deeply into my healing process and taking the steps to complete my PADI certification.
So this is where this story begins…
I arrived early for the first evenings training and had the opportunity to speak with Will, one of the owners at Ocean Sound Yoga & Dive centre. Whilst we were speaking a group of night divers gathered in the office across from us. Will turned to me and said, “maybe that will be you after your training” (I am actually laughing as I type I still cannot believe how ridiculous that potential reality sounded at the time), “NO way, absolutely not, never!”, “for that even to be a possibility, I would have had to have gone through a MASSIVE transformation, so much so that I wouldn’t recognize myself!” I replied. Will smiled confidently and said “well let’s see how you feel after your PADI is complete” my unspoken response was “yeah, sure we’ll see. Unlikely”. After having completed the evening training with Sanne & Sam I felt both more confident and anxious as the awareness of the impending reality of swimming in open water was moving closer.
The following day we were taken to the pool to practice using the equipment, swimming techniques, positioning, and underwater signing. During the training Sanne had us practice filling up our masks with water and clear them. At this point, I thought there would be no way I would make it any further as I remember shooting up out of the water panicking and gasping for air. Sanne reassured me that this is a normal reaction to the exercise and encouraged me to keep practising.
When it was time to get in the water I remember being aware of the anxious and uncertain feelings about the vast unknown world I was literally about to jump into. Once I was in the water, I was instantly captured by its beauty, moved and overwhelmed with emotion that I began to add water to my own mask. It was official I was IN LOVE!
That night I returned to the hotel and whilst speaking with my husband I was in tears, upset about a lifetime spent afraid of something I now realised that I loved. He couldn’t believe that one I was willing to swim in open water, and two that I had fallen in love with it.
After the following dives, I found myself coming up between them, then wanting to go back in almost right away; I was hooked.
Upon completion of my PADI qualification, I had already decided to complete the 30m deep dive and began to open up to the possibility of the never-EVER-going-to-do-night-dive as Will intuited.
The evening before the night dive I can recall tossing and turning, struggling to get off to sleep (which is unlike me) and waking up in the morning riddled with anxiety about the pending night dive. Part of me was almost relieved when the skies filled up with storm clouds and begun rumbling with the threat to pour. At the same time, these simultaneous elements nearly sent me over the tolerance edge to the point I contacted Jesper, the other owner of Ocean Sound Yoga & Dive centre, proposing the potential postponement of my participation in the night dive. Jesper was supportive of my decision letting me know that the most important thing was that I felt safe to go above everything else and mentioned the skies would likely clear by the time we were scheduled to leave. To my surprise, the skies did clear up, at which point I was faced with choosing whether to go on the night dive or not. So I choose, to go. How could I possibly miss out diving with Sanne and my PADI crew in these optimal conditions.
So there I was fins hovering above the blackened waters the sky laying to rest under a blanket of transitioning sunset to darkness. At this moment I found myself questioning this counterintuitive decision as the anxiety flowing through my body turned from excitement to anxiety, to question and continuing to interchange between them…I was literally diving towards my deepest fears, acknowledging them, loving them taking a deep breath and jumping in!
I must admit the night dive invited me far beyond my comfort zone, and beyond anything I imagined possible! That night I remember returning to the hotel totally expanded in so many ways. Lying on the bed acknowledging myself for my courage to face my greatest fears. It was at that moment that I fell deeply in love with myself. Embodying the awareness of both my light and my shadow, as well as the courage to face it all despite the anxiety and fears that rose to the surface each step of the way.
Not long after this, I spoke to my husband on the phone sharing the overflowing enthusiasm for this newly discovered, fully embodied self-love, freedom and joy in my life. He said “my love, if it makes you this happy, why don’t you complete your advanced course and I will gift it to you for Christmas”, these words were music to my ears, I was overcome with delight knowing that I would be able to complete my remaining courses and thus the advanced course.
So I did, and the rest is history.
However, these precious moments and those that joined me on this journey will remain in my heart forever.
ARE YOU READY TO DIVE DEEPLY IN LOVE WITH YOURSELF?
– Written by Kyla Williams