Diving into the Depths

Diving into the Depths

A lot of times, we think we’re in deep, but really we’re just skimming over the surface. We’re pretty sure of ourselves, that we’re on top of things. We feel good. We feel steady and secure.

Then something shifts. The ground is pulled out from under. Inevitably we slip down deeper.

And that calm that was so easy to maintain up top, isn’t so easy anymore.

Last weekend, I went diving–and I was terrified! This is an old fear, one that I hoped had eased since I last tried to confront it.

It was early on in our second wall dive that water started to leak into my mask. If there was a panic button I would have hit the hell out of it. All I could think of was “abort mission, abort mission” and it took a great deal of coaxing by Hassan, our patient dive instructor, to calm me, to bring me back to a steady breath, so we could go on with our 45-minute (!) underwater tour.

I did manage to to get back on the program, however, bungling up the ascent as I bobbed up quite uncontrollably to the surface, missing the required decompressing safety stop. I came out of the water disappointed in myself–not to mention, (irrationally) paranoid about decompression sickness.

How could I be so brave in so many ways and yet be such a scared-y cat in the water?

What I recognize is that fear is so very deeply entrenched, that it is there, lurking in the depths. That if i look carefully, it is also there in the shadows of my practice, that my own hesitance to confront it has kept me, at times, from diving deeper.

After the dive last Saturday, one of the divers consoled me, he said that all I needed was a lot more practice–emphasis on “a lot”… But, of course!

Pattabhi Jois sagely advised time and time again: “Practice, practice, all is coming.”

PHOTO: Ras Muhammad, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. Iman Elsherbiny and I joined Cairo’s B Diving Community Easter weekend. Yoga practice on the beach was a great compliment to the diving program. We head to Gouna this weekend to offer ashtanga yoga and inner dance–April 24-26.

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