There are times when we dive underwater to explore what rests below; to discover what can be found at such great depths within ourself. And then there are times when we go under not from our own choosing, but because something forced us under; our fingers slipped, and without premeditation, we suddenly let go.
I’ve found that almost all of my answers can be found from looking within. Some answers I placed there years ago. Others surprise me with their appearance. Memories dwell inside us like colorful coral reefs. And when the time is right we swim gently around every outcropping, allowing ourselves to live in the memory.
If one is prepared to be underwater, then it is a place of beautiful exploration. Downed ships still retain some of their prior glory, even when shrouded in loss. But it is when we are there without oxygen; when we wake in the morning, to discover we’re already buried under the pressure of our worries. Those are the times when it is the hardest to swim.
As a writer I know that some of my best work has been brought to the surface due to these deep-sea excavations. Emotions so rich with life, memories so raw they haven’t lost their tangible feel. I gather them in my arms, and like a child I drop them on the shore to examine under the sun. Even painful memories appear different when cultivated with intention.
When one finds themselves there without the security of a chest full of air; those are the moments when one feels only that of the tide pulling them under. They see the light from the water’s surface grow smaller as they fall softly deeper. All is dark. All is quiet. And they feel completely alone. There is no glimmer of excitement held within their eyes. These are the moments that sweep through us all; some softly and occasionally; some with a repetitive force like a wave that never grows tired of arriving. Whether from catastrophic news, heart-break or loss, we go under. We notice a peculiar detachment between us and the world around.
I began writing my first novel while suffering from total submersion. That one book was the final gasp of air from my inner being, my soul. I often slipped under the water’s of my life; beginning as a child that used it for escape. The familiarity of being submerged felt oddly comfortable; like a coat that didn’t fit, but because I wore it so often, I knew it well.
Being underwater, searching one’s great depths, is a fantastical excursion when done with purpose and oxygen. When we go deep to discover our core truths, to make peace with our history, our hurts, then this journey is one that brings us into alignment with who we are. It’s a necessity when it comes to one’s evolving. But when one goes under not from their own choosing. And feels only that of water filling their lungs, then their world goes black. My soul chose writing a novel, for me to later read, as a way of taking its final breath; bringing light to my dark places. From that day on, I’ve become very adept at deep-sea travel. I know all that rests within me. Some things aren’t lovely. But they are part of me; they have purpose. I could either look at a downed ship as complete failure, or as a bold attempt; one that made me stronger in the end. I reshaped my entire life after writing my first novel. My soul didn’t want to drown, it wanted to swim.
So if you find yourself sinking. Open your eyes. Use your strength to look around. And then, when the time is right, come up for air. Fill your lungs, and never again, turn a blind eye to all that is within you. You’re strong enough to swim.