I freedived to 72 meters today which didn’t go as expected but was certainly an opportunity for growth and fulfillment in every direction.
I guess I can’t win ’em all. That’s just unrealistic, to expect that I’ll just continually get one victory after another. Freediving doesn’t work like that, life doesn’t work like that – well not for me anyway! BUT…looking at the positives – I feel the quality of my life doesn’t depend on the challenges I encounter on my dives, but the person I become as a result of these challenges.
It was kind-of one of those days when the moment I entered into the water, nothing seemed to be going right. Relaxation was lacking right from the start of the session due to being cold. I was cold before even my first warm-up dive (!!), I felt my diaphragm shivering and tense as I breathed-up for my first warm-up dive.
Yes, I know, it made for excellent training argh, but when I’m cold freediving is just, well not so fun. Disappointment started to slowly pile on top of frustration, and mentally it was tough as I started to fight it. Soon frustration just began cropping up everywhere.
Fire-breathing through the snorkel did help warm-up some (thanks Sara Campbell btw for teaching me that one) but obviously still not ideal scenario for the very start of the freediving session!!
Although chilly, frustrated and a bit unrelaxed on my warm-up dives and the breathe-up of the deep dive, I did my best to disappear the anxiety and accept the external events as well as my feelings about those things!
Accepting the moment for what it was helped break that downward spiral of frustration. And so as a result the descent of my deep dive was actually REALLY enjoyable!
The freefall was pure bliss, fully in the moment and in the flow, not fighting, just accepting of what is, which created the energy for a magical moment. I was actually disappointed when I arrived to the ball at 72 meters, equalization was perfect and I wanted to keep going, the sensations in the deep with the blue all around and the light of the arch beyond were incredible. I wanted to free-fall forever.
Coming up, however, was a different story – challenging to say the least. My mind wandered to those dark and dangerous places in my subconscious and 30 meters from the surface – I was really running out of steam and feeling the hypoxia. I did my best to put my focus entirely on my technique and trying to stay relaxed. Thankfully, the safety divers appeared shortly after which put my mind at ease, knowing my guardian angels were there to get me if anything went awry.
Although a bit doubtful I would, I made it to the surface – which goes to show me how much more I have in me even when I think I’m near my limit. I had an LMC, so not ideal but unfortunately this happens sometimes. I really did not expect it, diving well below my personal best, a dive that was perfect when I did it previously but freediving I suppose is just like that, always a bit mysterious and surprising. And some days are just easier or harder than other days.
Yes, I admit that in this moment I am disappointed – but I suppose disappointments along the way are just part of the process. It’s the ability to quickly recover from my losses and move on which in the end will determine my success as a competitive freediver.
For sure the dive was quite humbling, reminding me that there will always setbacks, but the most important thing is figuring out how to learn from them and making sure not to dwell too long on them. I think there is a lot more you can learn from a loss than from a victory anyway.
So right now putting today’s dive behind me and moving forward with confidence! Tomorrow I’ll compete in the RedCcup freediving competition with determination!
I may not be able to ‘win’ every dive but by refusing to be stopped by defeat I’m determined to keep my life on the upward trail. No matter the challenges I’m confronted with on my dives, I will find a way to accept them for what they are and find the beauty in them and live in that beauty every day.
Thank you Andrew Babbage and Sean Dunn for being my guardian angels.
Living the adventure, and advocating a passionate and healthy lifestyle, Renee is a freediver and creative. She trains and teaches freediving in Dahab, Egypt, documenting her journey along the way, sharing her love of the sea and her passion for freediving.