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  • bpittenger

one breath

In the sport of free diving, divers descend to depths in the ocean of 200-300 feet... all on one breath, the one breath they give themselves, has to last anywhere from 5-7 minutes. The only oxygen they have is what they inhale before entering the water. At some point in the dive, the athlete will encounter peripheral vasoconstriction, wherein the blood is shunted from their limbs to the vital organs in the body, and then their heart rate drops to half the normal resting rate... this the phenomenon know as the mammalian dive reflex. All the mammals that call the sea home... they possess it.

And the deeper you dive... the stronger the reflex becomes... gravity loosens its grip, physical exertion at this point doesn't even increase your heart rate, it is base lined... letting you drift lower and lower without compromising your ability to move.

And it's only water that triggers this reflex. your body responds, naturally.

Water at this point, saliently becomes your ally, acting as a source of strength, not fear.

If the athlete can trust their ability to accept this reflex, they then can use it to their advantage, magical transformation and peace is attainable, one where the mind and body quits bending to pressure, and learns to trust in the inherent peace that the water seems to give. As if saying, we can keep going... do not fear, trust this, trust yourself... let go.

The breath, the essence, the oxygen within you is extended, reaching beyond your concept of reality.

This is spiritual, something mystic that transcends the mere sport of free diving. These athletes are tapping into a source of enviable adoration and peace. When pressed, they will tell you, there is a euphoria in the experience... something daunting, turns into beauty.

And your story, much like the water and the reflex... works like invitation, you have to be willing to enter. Most of us, have a hard time trusting the process, we panic when confronted with uncertainty... we stress to the point of absolute exhaustion... scrambling, fighting, searching, clawing for survival... reaching up and out for something that is already within us. Much like someone drowning.

"anxiety is loves greatest killer, it creates the failures. It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds on to you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic." -anais nin

I've been there, i know that feeling... it's debilitating... oppressive and frightening.


Believe this, like the birds in the air and the mammals in the sea... you are looked out after... trust you are part of a wondrous, natural world that wants you to thrive and exist in a non-anxious environment... that no matter what this life throws, you can get through.

But you have to touch the void, you have to dive in, trust in your ability to write your story, your strength to go where you thought you couldn't.

Dive in, give it a go, you are more than enough.

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