Why did I want to learn diving in head first?
Because it feels like flying, and the precious moments of letting go
When I was a kid I often approached the end of the pool or the big rock on the lake or the barrier rock on the sea, where the other kids, mostly boys, jumped into the water headfirst. I would stand there and really wanted to jump headfirst, like the brave kids did. My heart wanted to do it so badly, I cannot explain why. Yet I hesitated, my head was full of protective and cautious messages, rationally talking me out of it. I jumped into the water countless times, but feet first, it felt nice and safe. I realize there was not much rational about never trying to dive into the water headfirst, it was mostly irrational fear, but I chose to decorate the fact that I was scared by adding lots of rational reasons around it.
Past September we spent a few days around beautiful Winnipesauke lake. Two friends, one of them a good swimmer, joined us. Taking a break from swimming, we made it to the wooden raft floating 50 meters from the beach. I claimed a ladder and laid shavasana style on the warm wooden surface. It felt amazing, sun gently kissing my skin, nothing could be better than gazing at the sky in the middle of the spacious lake. Then I noticed Alex stood up next to the edge of the raft, made a quick gesture with his hands like he was an eagle spreading his wings, his feet went up and he flew into the water. I immediately knew I wanted to do it, and now is the time. I asked Alex to show me the technique more slowly.
In 5 minutes I understood a sequence of a few gestures that my body needs to do in order to fly high of the raft, expand and arch in the air, align my body with the trajectory, aim for entering through the water surface into the underwater heaven, safely and graciously. Also focus on extending legs in one line so there should be almost no splash. I got the idea mostly by mimicking Alex’s moves and “reading” the energy of the entire transformation as a whole. I jumped without hesitation.
Now I know why I wanted to do it so many times in my childhood. It felt like flying! I would often fly in my dreams when I was a kid, and these were the most joyful dreams . Flying awake is something that is harder to achieve. Diving can be one of a few ways. For two seconds when you fly in the air, the feeling of being alive is so intense, my blood pumps and my heart opens wider with awe. It feels like the time stops. I feel here and now, grateful, joyful, whole, capable of anything. And then entering underwater brings its own thrill of the totally new energy and excitement. It is addictive. Since Labor Day I found three more beautiful places to practice jumping headfirst. I convinced my husband to join me on those adventures. I found a one-piece swimsuit as I learned that diving in bikini adds extra tasks on finding misplaced parts underwater. It’s like finally solving a puzzle that I wanted to solve since grade school. Yay!
I painted while on that trip to New Hampshire, plain-air session to capture main impressions, the energy of the lake, the mountains, and the quiet. Winnipesauke lake has “quiet your mind” and “grand timeless stability” qualities, which are more like how I feel at the sea. I finished small details on the painting when I was back home, from my heart. Many objects are imaginary, yet it has the feeling of that place. Every time I look at this painting the sensation of flying and harmony are back to my body.