FINDING NEUTRAL BUOYANCY

I've noticed that quite a few people have enjoyed my blogs that have come out of my travel experiences. These are actually my favourite ones to write also because of my love of being creatively inspired through exploring and travel that I can harness and then share with the world through the wonderful medium of writing.

This week we're going deep. Yes, the pun is intentional because this is about my latest scuba-diving trip on the exotic island of Cozumel in Mexico. It's been just over a year since I was last diving in Japan, so just enough time to forget and then reignite the absolute joy of what I consider to be one of the most physiologically transcendent past-times I have the privilege to experience.

Scuba-diving to me is the closest thing to being in a waking dream. Once you have become comfortable with the technicalities of how to operate underwater, it is so rewarding.

Scuba-diving enforces relaxation and mindfulness, mainly because you have to be in control of your physical and mental self in order to avoid the dangers that can lead to drowning (!). So, unsurprisingly, the first thing you learn is the breathing technique. In order to conserve the oxygen in your tank and ensure you have a long, enjoyable dive it is important that you take deep, controlled breaths, thereby already conducting one of the most basic relaxation exercises. Secondly, you are reminded constantly to make very slow, controlled movements in the water; no waving your arms around or kicking wildly. Again, it wastes your oxygen and it's also dangerous for the wildlife and other divers. So these things combined, you are essentially becoming a Buddhist monk underwater (!). Not an easy task. It actually took me over 50 dives to find this place of zen and really appreciate the experience.

Finding neutral buoyancy is also something that you learn early on, but again, it was only on this trip, 70 dives later, that I had the profound insight that achieving this gave me. Finding neutral buoyancy means you are of the perfect weight underwater, so when you are still, you neither float to the surface, nor sink to the bottom. This is achieved by having the right amount of small weights hung around your waist, and increasing and decreasing the amount of air in your BCD (which is the inflatable jacket you wear). You can then control your rising and falling in the water through the breathing in and out of air in your lungs.

Most dives in Cozumel are drift dives. This means the reefs have a steady current and the dive involves you effortlessly drifting along with it on a magical reef journey! This is where the joy of neutral buoyancy is really powerful, because you can completely let go of everything, experience weightlessness and be at the mercy of nature while taking in the wonder of the wild underwater ecosystem. Feel the oxygen filling your lungs, keeping you alive, hear the gentle sounds of bubbles as you exhale and marvel at the psychedelic shapes and colours of the corals and creatures surrounding you. Like I said, it's like a living dream, and at the end of the dive, when you break the surface, you awaken with rejuvenation and joy.

Although you are normally diving with a group of people, the experience is intensely private, because you cannot communicate easily with others, but it is the excitable sharing of what you saw and what you felt with the other divers on the boat afterwards that is a really fun, bonding experience. This excitement and curiosity is what I love about other divers and there is always a sense of kindred spirits convening on a dive holiday!

The essence of finding neutral buoyancy is something I have brought back with me on this trip and how this relates to personal development coaching. Naturally (!).

Like scuba-diving we have all been dropped deep in the ocean of life and we have all had to learn to swim (hopefully!). But have you found your neutral buoyancy yet? Have you found your calm, your centre, so that every now and then you can let yourself go and drift effortlessly with the current, appreciating the beauty of life that you can then share collectively with those around you. Or are you anxious, afraid, not in control, leaving yourself vulnerable to danger and at worst the risk of drowning?

My style of coaching is to create a space of calm for the client, giving them time to listen to the various currents of energy in their life, and learn how to flow with them, rather than fight them and essentially find that balance and calm unique to who they are.

Does this resonate with you? Is this a challenge you wish to take on? If so, get in touch and let’s chat!

Take care for now,

Oliver

If you fancy seeing some of the footage of the amazing sealife I experienced in Cozumel (including sharks!), I made a little YouTube video from my GoPro footage here.

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