I must confess that lately I have begun to feel a little lost. After many years of working in a job that I loved and now being unable to work due to terminal illness, I am forced to make many adjustments to how I use my time and the way I see my value, purpose and place in the world.
I often find myself losing track of the hours, the days and the weeks. Sometimes it seems beyond my ability to navigate the nebulous spaces between weekends to even discern when my next dive might be.
Last week, I dived with some seriously silly sea lions on Saturday, then again at Flinders Pier on Sunday. For the first time in a long time, there really wasn’t much to see at Flinders. When my Critter Spotter Extraordinaire swam straight past the rosy, rusted, sponge-encrusted engine block, I almost didn’t bother investigating it further, swimming only moments behind him.
Then a strange and unmistakable eye caught my own, beckoning me to come closer. For the first time in all my underwater life, a magical creature had hidden itself from LP and chosen to reveal itself only to me: an orange oracle flanked by mystical, translucent attendants, a spiked urchin above its head, as though adorned with wisdom’s hard-won crown.
‘You are not lost, Little One,’ whispered a voice only I could hear. ‘I have found you,’ and with that he reached out a reassuring tentacle to prove that he knew exactly who and where I was.
‘But I am frightened,’ I babbled through my bubbles, ‘I don’t think I know who I am anymore. Life can be so confusing sometimes.’
He reached back to me instantly, this time touching my camera lens. ‘You may not know who you are, but I know who you are,’ he spoke more clearly with watery thoughts than could ever be spoken on land with words.
The eye was eerily still, and I wondered whether he could truly see me at all. But physical sight has strange limitations. If we only know what we can physically see, we underestimate all that can truly be known.
‘There is more to this journey than can be seen with the eye, more than can ever be understood with your mind. I reach out to you here and now because at this very moment you are truly, fully, vibrantly alive, just as I am alive. You are more yourself now than you have ever been before. And in this place, you can never be lost, for every part of you is within your element.’
And when he knew that I had begun to absorb his ancient wisdom, his tentacle reached towards me one last time, as though a gesture of gentle reassurance, or quiet celebration of epiphany.
When I finally rejoined my buddy at the water’s surface, I asked why he had not stopped to film the octopus in the old engine block. ‘I peered in carefully as I swam past,’ he replied. ‘There was nothing to see but a spiky, yellow urchin.’
Did I imagine an octopus in the block, initiating contact and whispering words of wisdom for my ears alone? Such are the ocean’s sweetest mysteries that speak to my soul each time I sink below the surface. I may feel utterly lost on land, but underwater, I begin to remember who I am, and I slowly start to understand the strange new creature I might one day become.
Love and bubbles,
ps Tank you so much for visiting. While you are here, please like Pink Tank Scuba on Facebook and take the time to enjoy some of my other underwater videos and images 🙂 🙂 🙂