Life is like a dark ocean … it was a thought that popped into my head as I drove along coastal Mississippi on a cool December evening. I had one eye on the road, one eye glancing out over the majestic dark ocean and my mind calm with life pondering thoughts. Honestly, it’s a typical mindset for me while on a solo vacation. I slow down enough to fully see, feel and experience not only the new area I’m exploring, but life. It’s one reason I’m so passionate about traveling. Every trip opens my mind, heart and eyes a bit more, while simultaneously healing and nourishing my soul.
Looking down into to the depths of a dark ocean can be scary. We can’t see what is below, so we imagine all the scary possibilities it could be. There’s a shark, sea of jellyfish or the beautiful yet deadly blue-ringed octopus found in Australia. But as you deflate your buoyancy control device (BCD), you let out your breath and put faith in your scuba equipment and yourself, your fear becomes a nervous excitement. You descend into the unknown. Your flashlight shines light on a small part of the ocean right before you, illuminating a world most people won’t venture into. You start to swim, slowly kicking your fins. You see and hear an active coral reef – an organism that has the perseverance and resilience to survive decades of human abuse. Fish and other marine animals are going about their lives, giving way more to this planet than we give to them. The ocean defies the odds time and time again – it bounces back, reinvents itself yet continues to be magical, beautiful and strong. Out of the corner of your eye you spot a shark. They are strong, confident, graceful, curious, and yes, they could do some damage to you. But this perceived threat is just that – a perceived threat. With respect, distance and thoughtful actions the shark is not all that concerned about you, and you realize not as scary as you thought.
We don’t know what lies ahead in life. Because we can’t see the future, our mind goes to all the scary possibilities. They won’t choose us, we will fail, we will disappoint others, we are not enough, we won’t get that job, or we will lose a lot of money. We take a breath, feel our fear turn to nervous excitement, we take one small step forward. We focus on the landscape that our light illuminates right before us, we see it’s not as scary as we imagined. We see the possibilities, the resilience, the magical beauty of life and ourselves. Each step awakens the strength inside of us, the reassurance that we are enough and the courage to try. Even when we come upon those obstacles that filled us with fear, we realize we can overcome them. We can handle those obstacles by being respectful for the lessons they are and moving forward with thoughtful actions. After each night dive in the ocean I’m high with the thrill of adventure, grateful for the experience, even if it was a little nerve-wracking. I’ve had that feeling in life, a lot. I’m scared to try something new, yet filled with excitement about the adventure before me, and am always grateful for the experience, even if it didn’t work out the way I wanted.
Life is like a dark ocean. As we breathe, take a step and allow the light within us to illuminate the path before us we see the magic, possibility and beauty of life. Like the ocean, we are magical, beautiful, strong and resilient. Be brave enough to descend into a world where most won’t venture into – follow your dreams, listen to that voice in your head, trust your intuition. Let the experience change you, shape you and open your world. For those of us who have been diving in a dark ocean, we are constantly feeling the tug to go back. That will be life for you as you begin to live authentically, bravely and vulnerably. Your soul, heart and mind will tug towards those experiences again and again.