Great Whites & Connection

As you may have read I am dedicating this year to uncovering the “authentic” me. And in fact, my word for 2021 is Authenticity. It is a coming home. An experience that I didn’t anticipate and that often catches me unprepared, or at least with the feeling of being off kilter. I find that in uncovering this truer and more honest version of who and what I am, life is becoming a bit of a spiral. I am so often flung back into the past to consider, contemplate, and process. At the same time there is an urgent need to learn and hold presence. Accountability to the moment.  And finally, a slow slip into faith in the future and in myself. A belief in ones ability to manifest the most beautiful version of our own possibilities. A faith in the connection and universal power we know but cannot see. Sometimes we lose our way, lose sight of what we love, what we need to be happy. Our feeling of comfort, or obligation, or what we are supposed to do takes over and we stray from our highest selves. The busyness of life steps in and dampens some of our lust for life, our self love, and self care. This photo is old but I can still feel the day, the emotions, the excitement. This is off the coast of South Africa on the way to an adventure in the unknown ocean. Sharks, freezing cold and rough waters, wet suits, cages in the ocean … the incredible power of deeply feeling alive. The connection to the world that only comes to me from really living awake and aware.

when do you feel most alive? Most yourself? I crave experience as if it is oxygen. i want to know, to be, to feel, to see. i want my senses to explode.

When I agreed to diving with Great White Sharks it was not something I wanted. It generally seemed like a bad idea. I mean…sharks. As we set out on the day the fear was absolutely there, but so was a knowing. A feeling you get when you look up into the trees filtering the morning sunlight and simply know life is bigger than you and your moment. Gratitude for the world around me, the world in me, and all these incredible opportunities. Of course, hindsight is 20/20, I can’t downplay how scary it is to be in the water with Great Whites!

fear is something we all experience in so many ways. it can cause us to make our world small if we let it.

i never spent much time worrying about being afraid of things that seem standard. like spiders or snakes or muggers when i lived in big cities. i remember a friend’s mom commenting on how i seemed to float through life, a free spirit, untethered to the ground. she was right at the time. fear rarely kept from doing things that i probably should have thought twice about. 

Things like jumping in ice cold oceans with Great White sharks and bloody dead fish guts. Fear did stop me for a long time though. It was silent and invisible to so many. It stopped me from making new friends. It stopped me from fully pursuing a career as a writer, an artist, a speaker. These kinds of fears are insidious and they grab hold of you in a whole different way.

Perhaps you too struggle with these kinds of fears. The not as small as they sound fears that creep in and grab hold of you when you least expect it. The good news is I know we’re not alone. So many people fight those kinds of battles! The bad news is so many people refuse to talk about it. Why the stigma? It’s hard to admit that you’re afraid to fail, or you feel less than worthy, or you are afraid of success, or you are such a perfectionist that you can’t even start a project because you’re not already perfect at it.

All of these are things I have either heard from someone or felt myself. And of course there are a million other reasons we are afraid. Rejection, otherizing, being left out, not included, being made fun of, mental health conditions, disabilities, and so much more. 

Maybe this is why I am such a thrill seeker sometimes (see: sharks). I love the boost of adreneline. It reminds me I am alive. It reminds me not to take everything so hard, because life is short and full of wonder. I am so fortunate to be here and to have experienced the things and people I have experienced. In the end I am learning to take the fear and use it, to make it the tool it is meant to be. 

So I am taking note and recognizing that it has been quite awhile since I’ve done any wild adreline lifting activity. Adding something to my yearly “do something new list” right now. 

How have you used your internal fears in your own life?


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