What diving teaches us about life.

It is Women’s Day today. And I have this strong desire to go for scuba diving. I find going underwater liberating, calming, it helps me re-align my goals. Quite often we get so busy in life that we move away from our original plan or we lose direction of where we are going. All that we need is a breather to simply stop and think what we are doing and why we are doing it. As a woman in today’s competitive times juggling so many roles of a daughter, wife/girlfriend, mother, working woman, and home maker can sometimes get overwhelming. If we lose our calm the whole house seems to fall apart. So as I ran through the memories of my last dive at San Andres Island near Nicaragua, I couldn’t help but remember the few things it taught me about life.

Under water dive in San Andres, an Island that is a part of Colombia amd situated very close to Nicaragua.

1.    Practice before you take the dive.

Before the trainers take you out to the sea for the first time, they give you a practice session at the swimming pool. They make you wear the buoyancy jacket/compensator, fins, wetsuit, oxygen tank etc and teach you how to breathe underwater with the weight of the entire suit. This so we know beforehand what circumstances we are dealing with and the situation we are getting ourselves into. In life too quite often we fair better when we are prepared. Doing our homework and being prepared helps yield better results in every situation of life. They say luck favors those who are ready and prepared.

With other divers, 👌 sign means everything is ok and we are fine.

2.    Clear communication.

The diving trainers teach you various sign languages and hand gestures that help one communicate under water with other divers. They recommend all divers to stay relatively close to each other or the trainers so they can be of assistance to one another in case of an emergency or if any unforeseen circumstances arrive. The same applies for us in real life, no one achieves anything alone. In order to achieve our goals we must know how to clearly communicate our intentions to our peers. They say if you want to reach somewhere fast you go alone, but if you want to be in it for the long run you need a team who supports you and your goals. Building a community and support group is not only healthy but essential for us to tackle life’s problems headfast without giving up easily.

An old block of cement with chain left behind from a ship, which was used as an anchor.

3.    Knowing your limit and setting realistic goals.

The most important gesture to remember under water out of all the signs taught is the UP sign. The UP sign signals that the diver wants to be taken back up to the speed boat and he/she is no longer comfortable under water. If the diver is alone he/she must know how to release the pressure button, which triggers air pressure and helps one float back up to the water surface. Now, we all may have goals but we should have realistic goals and know  how much we can push ourselves. Being ambitious with required talents and determination makes the goal more achievable. Going too deep can be dangerous and we should always have a backup plan. We always have our family and friends to rely on but if ever a time comes that we are by ourselves, we should be ready to deal with it and face our fears alone if needed. As Buddha once said “You are your own salvation”.

Swirl of fishes right next to us, feeding off the dead corals.

4.    Panicking kills us, circumstances don’t.

There is a scene in the movie “LIFE OF PI” where the protagonist “PI” finds himself left alone on a boat with a Royal Bengal Tiger name “Richard Parker”. Pi soon realizes that the only way to survive this ship wreck is to train the tiger to make him obey his orders, panicking is not an option. While diving as we go deeper under water the air pressure changes drastically, a slight movement under water seems like a massive push, or suddenly when a swirl of fishes surround you, you panic. Not because the situation is unsafe or out of control but simply because you have never experienced this before and fear engulfs you. At such times “breath holding techniques” help you deal with the anxiety and very soon you find yourself breathing normally. A lot of first time divers have this innate desire to remove the mask during a panic attack under water, since we are used to breathing freely through our nose. This as you can guess will definitely make matters worse and is dangerous. In life too when we face unforeseen circumstances, rather than panicking and reacting to a situation in a way that can make matters worse, we should deal with situations in a calm and composed manner, adjust ourselves to the situation, take a deep breath and take decisions slowly and wisely.

5.    Enjoy the dive.

The last thing the trainer mentions before the dive is to enjoy the scenic beauty of what nature has to offer us under water. We can get so caught up trying to remember all the signs, trying to adjust to the new environment and dealing with the heavy weight of the oxygen tank, the suit etc that we sometimes miss that beautiful fish that swims by us, or the live breathing coral, or a statue that has  been submerged for hundreds of years.  The whole purpose of life is to enjoy the journey towards our destination, without memories and learning’s from the journey the destination has little or no value at all!

Live breathing corals with gill like features replicating a fishes moving gills.

P.S- If you have enjoyed this post, do give your feedback and let me know more topics that you would like me to write about. Cheers!

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