Breathing Underwater

7:08 AM

"A mind that has been stretched by new experiences can never go back to its old dimensions" -Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. 

This week in Bali, I went diving for the first time. Before I embarked on my first dive, I was required to test out my equipment in the pool. Going under the shallow water, I practiced breathing in and out, watching my self-produced bubbles and learning to trust in the oxygen on my back.

My instructor told us that it's hard to know what to expect when you go down, but that the most important thing is to keep breathing. 

When I reached the ocean, I fell back into the water. Letting the air escape from my vest, I slowly lost sight of land and plunged into new water. It was unnatural, and a little uncomfortable. My ears popped as my body searched for homeostasis. But once I equalized my ears and took a look at the abundant sea life surrounding me, I found that the breathing came easy. 

This journey has been just that; learning to adjust my lungs and my heart to new territory. Learning to breathe underwater. There are certain moments that feel unnatural, and uncomfortable, where it seems like the world is a little off kilter. I am an amateur diver. And at times, I feel that I am an amateur traveler. But I'm learning to trust in my oxygen, and to let the scenery ease my rapid breathing. The view is worth it. 

The sights and sounds of Bali make it hard to leave. The surf instructor humming "hey soul sister, the little victory when I finally got up on my surfboard, like a toddler discovering that it could walk. 40 cent green tea ice cream, Indonesian night markets, biking alongside horse drawn carts on Gili T Island, sunsets at Uluwatu temple. 

(And hanging Komodo dragons?)

Next week we head to the South of Thailand, and plunge again into a new culture. I have a PADI certificate that says that I have learned to breathe underwater, but I'm still catching my breath, widening my mental, emotional and spiritual dimensions deeper with every dive. 

Here's a Bali highlight reel including our trip to the Rabid Wizard-of-Oz Monkey Forest (not the actual name, but close) in Ubud. 

Basically, you pay to walk in a jungle where monkeys surround you. If you're brave, you can purchase bananas (a death sentence). I'll admit that the hairless baby monkeys found a tender place in my heart but I could go the rest of my life without encountering primates again. 

(Jordyn mid attack, take note of the monkeys focus on her backpack which he proceeded to open)

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