Literally one of the HARDEST things I have EVER done
..and I’m still working on figuring out WHY.
“You float relaxed, face down.
Below, surrounded by dancing radials as the sun ignites the sea,the drop line fades into blue infinity. It’s quiet.
Waves lap gently as the water caresses, gently cradling you in your wetsuit.
Reality turns inward. You begin your breath-up. You’re conscious of each breath;
It starts low, filling your torso upward until your chest expands full, but not forced. You exhale gently. After about a minute you take a final, full breath.
You feel your hearts slow, steady beat. You feel the moment. It’s peaceful. You feel alive.
It’s not about force. It’s about inward power, discipline and control.” ~ PADI Freediver Certification Course
I’m going for my Advanced Static Freediver Certification and part of the training looks like this. Face down in the water working on breath-holds.
To me, there is NOTHING that feels more like FREEDOM than being underwater, with nothing attached (no breathing apparatus), following the fish, sea turtles and other marine life while the entire world gets quiet.
I met with my coach yesterday with the goal of breaking my record, which I eventually did, but WOW was the process “rocky.”
Although floating on the surface of the water may appear peaceful, for me it has a way of bringing everything to the surface (no pun intended).
I’m really good at setting a goal and mentally pushing past whatever physical challenges there are. I have a way of messing with my head enough to get through pain whether it’s miles and miles like I did in triathlon, hours of natural delivery- the way I did with all three of our children or other physical challenges.
But there is something SO different, unfamiliar and SO challenging about this process for me.
Freediving and breath-holds are all about SURRENDER. They’re about LETTING GO, TRUSTING and relaxing through the discomfort. Holy sh#t was this hard for me. Hard in a way I did NOT expect. Hard in a way that threw it ALL in my face. I got frustrated that my usual tactics of “F- it” and pushing through wouldn’t work. I had to FACE it. The harsh reality that I couldn’t escape is that TRUSTING and feeling SAFE are so hard for me.
I had planned on spending hours at the ocean working on my breath-holds and feeling the success of accomplishment WHILE being in nature. This experience couldn’t have been further from that. It was uncomfortable, upsetting and frustrating and there was NOTHING there that could help me escape it. Nothing that I could use as a distraction. I had to go ALL IN. I felt it, I cried, I released. I didn’t judge it, but instead went IN to it. Promised myself time for processing it.
With Bea by my side I finally was able to RELAX, let go and TRUST enough and finally hit my 3.14 breath-hold. I know there is more. So much more to this process for me.
My goal is to free-dive with a whale shark and although that is the beautiful “carrot” so to speak at the end of all these challenges, it’s really THESE moments that are the greatest gifts.
We can spend our lives sitting in COMFORT, avoiding and distracting ourselves from all the feelings and situations that feel UNCOMFORTABLE and UNFAMILIAR. But what I’ve learned is that when we go ALL IN and have COURAGE to FEEL the good, the bad, the challenging, ALL OF IT, and TALK about it, we attract some of the most beautiful experiences and people into our lives.
More to come.