Scuba diving was always something that other people did, so I never gave it much thought until my ex-wife, Doreen, gradually and unexpectedly became an avid diver. At one point while on a cruise through the islands of Tahiti, I decided to give it a go in the warm waters of Bora Bora. I must confess that one of the reasons was to be able to say my first dive was on Bora Bora. Bragging rights. I enjoyed it up until my air ran out and I had to use the secondary breather on the instructor’s apparatus. Second dive off of Moorea, I had a panic episode. I was able to breathe through it and it did pass, but it planted itself in my mind’s and body’s memory. Two other dives some time later resulted in first not having enough weights on so my guide had to tether me to himself to keep me down, and on the next dive I received a bruised eardrum from floating up and down too quickly as I gamely tried to adjust everything so I could stay at one level.
Needless to say I viewed Doreen’s increasing passion for diving with considerable trepidation, even though she never pressured me to join her but would only hint at her desire to share some of these experiences with me. She was even diving in the colder ocean waters near our home in Laguna Beach, where temperatures range from 52-72 degrees! I was very clear that I would never do that, but did leave a slight opening for the possibility of trying it once more in warmer waters. After all, I had decided after the last experience where I’d ended up with bruised ears that scuba diving was just not for me. Or at least I thought so.
We had set up a vacation trip to Kona, Hawaii, one of our favorite spots to visit. Doreen was all excited because one of her friends, Angie, who lives in Kona with her husband Duke, shared the same degree of enthusiasm for diving as she did. Plans were put into motion, one of them being a boat dive with Angie and Duke scheduled a few days after we were to arrive. Of course I was invited, but I remained non-committal and very skeptical that I would do anything that would involve more than wearing a mask, fins, and a snorkel (which I’ve enjoyed on a number of occasions).
I realized as we approached the date of our flight to Hawaii that I was highly ambivalent about the prospect of scuba diving. On the one hand, I wanted to share this experience with Doreen. Plus the warrior in me was urging me on, telling me to take a chance and view it as an adventure. On the other, memories of all the bad parts of my previous experiences made my stomach tighten and my throat clutch up. My first four dives weren’t exactly catastrophes but they were, shall we say, challenging.
So I’m sitting at my desk considering all this when I turned and looked at the deck of my Power Animal Oracle Cards that had arrived only two days before. Hmmm. Why don’t I just check out what they have to say? I had only tested them out by doing readings with a couple of friends and they had been surprisingly accurate, so why not ask the question about scuba diving. So I did.
I got still, silently asked the question, then pulled a card. Since they were new, another card stuck to the one I’d pulled, which meant that both cards were part of the reading. I took a deep breath, part of me hoping to find Turtle on the other side telling me to retreat. Instead, there was the statement at the bottom of Elephant, “You will overcome any obstacles.” Hmm. Okay. Now for the next. As I peeled the Elephant card from the other, the words at the bottom jumped out at me: “Just do it!” Beaver had spoken. Although appreciative of such straightforward and direct advice from these cards that the animal spirits and I had co-created, I was in a bit of shock. I knew what I had to do: go scuba diving.
So after I worked a bit more on my next book Animal Spirit Guides, played my guitar a while, I joined Doreen in the kitchen for a light snack. I wasn’t sure whether to tell her what the spirit animals had communicated so clearly through the cards. After a few minutes of dancing around the subject, I confessed to her this information. Of course she was delighted, although she tempered her delight with an appropriate amount of restraint.
We made it to Hawaii and Doreen, being just shy of fanatic about diving, was in the water with Angie within just a few short hours of landing. I still had a considerable amount to do on my book, so I remained at our hotel for the first four days of our vacation, furiously finishing up, knowing that destiny was awaiting me on a boat from Jack’s Diving Locker.
The day of reckoning came. We went out on the boat and with Jeff as my trusted guide, I did my first dive. I figured I would do at least two dives that day to satisfy the “suggestions” I’d received from Elephant and Beaver, and these would be the clincher. Either I’d hang up my tank after that or perhaps decide to do this from time to time.
Even though I’d received excellent coaching, the first dive was more of an “at least I did it.” I can’t honestly say I enjoyed it, although there were some pretty remarkable sights, and I wasn’t even sure I wanted to do another.
However, the advice I’d gotten from the spirit animals continued to echo in my head. So I did a second dive, which was actually enjoyable. I finally got how to negotiate the buoyancy factor, keeping myself at a particular level. It struck me that there was an entirely different world under the sea, one populated by all these alien creatures, yet still part of this remarkable planet. And a way to view it was doing exactly what we were doing, by donning these underwater space suits and breathing air from a tank strapped to our backs. Later that evening I went out to sit by the ocean and meditate by myself, one of my favorite quotes came to me, by Chief Dan George,
“ If you talk with the animals they will talk with you, and you will know each other. If you do not talk to them, you will not know them, and what you do not know, you will fear. What one fears one destroys.”
Whale Spirit then came to me and gave me the message as follows:
“Your assignment is to show others how to talk with the animals. Let people know that the communication won’t be like in Dr. Doolittle, but instead it is a communication with the spirit of that animal or is a communication with the essence of the entire species of that particular animal represented by one member. When you do so there’s an exchange that takes place. The reason Spirit conveyed the message through Elephant and Beaver to go scuba diving is because you were out of balance. Your energy and power is too dense at times because you are such a strong earth sign [I’m a triple earth sign)], so by being in the water from time to time in this way will bring a greater power and balance. This helps you honor and fulfill the need to touch the earth in more ways than sitting on a rock or walking along the beach. This kingdom of the sea is not the usual earth you know. It’s a different world, yet it’s still Earth when you incorporate all the elements we experience here as sentient beings. You know in your heart of hearts that you’re intimately associated with and related to all sentient beings, who are truly your brothers and sisters. And yes, lobsters do feel pain. But then, most everybody does at first when they die. The pain passes. Yet you can feel the pain of any beings if you simply pay attention.”
We spent another couple days on the Big Island, and I did two more dives. I doubt that I’ll ever have an intense passion for it, but during these dives I felt a much greater appreciation for these seemingly alien life forms that exist there, knowing that they, too, are part of this wondrous web of life that exists here on this beautiful earth.