~MAUI~

Where do I begin? I just returned from eight glorious days on the island of Maui, and my soul is completely changed. The warm, dewy air, the spiritually stimulating sunset swims (unintentional alliteration), the healing, brilliant sunset skies, the infinite silken grains of sand, the nourishing local delicacies…my body has been changed by my time in Hawaii, too. My mind seemed to work in a slower, more patient mode, my heart felt open and alive, infused with refreshing salt water warmth.

I embarked upon adventures I never thought myself brave enough to embark upon. I went snuba diving, snorekling, scuba diving, to beach front yoga, on leisurely bike rides, in and out of shops, into the ocean and out a million times…the adventure was endless.

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One of my most poignant moments was that of my fear around underwater excursions. I hadn’t ever acknowledged my fear of such adventures, because it wasn’t ever brought to my attention, but I realized something about myself. I  can be quick to latch onto the “what if’s” in life. This will do nothing but hold me back, I have surmised. We are surrounded by “what if’s” everyday. Side effects, potential risks, common worries and concerns…these are all “what if’s.” So, when I heard that snuba and scuba are not recommended for people with claustrophobia (which I would say I can suffer a mild form of under certain circumstances, but most of all in my mind when a claustrophobic image is conjured up), I was like, “Okay that’s me, I’m out.” So quick to throw the towel in, little grasshopper!

I decided to approach the Maui Magic Dive Master and discuss my fears. He was an individual of calm, kindness, and pure passion around the activity of diving, and his enthusiasm was contagious. How could I live with myself if I didn’t try this? Why would I walk away from the feeling in the pit of my stomach murmuring, “You’ll regret not doing this…” when I had every reason to suit up and give it a go? Valid questions. I answered them by suiting up, taking the snuba tutorial class, and going. This was me during the snuba tutorial session:

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Enthusiasm mixed with angst………

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In my moment of panic trying to adjust to breathing through a regulator, bobbing in the crystal clear waves of the Pacific off the coast of Molokini, I heard Kathryn Budig’s words in my mind…”Move away from fear, and into love.” Almost immediately, the hyperventilation ceased. I felt my muscles relax. I sank into the dancing waves. I breathed in and out, hand to the regulator as though it were a life raft, breathing, breathing, breathing. This mantra of K.B.’s echoed through my mind as I dove down into the ocean. Fish, sea life, coral, algae, all sorts of exquisite miracles appeared before my eyes…all because I had swam away from fear. I was submerged in love.

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I climbed out of the ocean absolutely and irrevocably convinced that, through this snuba experience, I had learned how to trump fear forevermore. I signed up the next morning for scuba diving.

I will not pretend that more panic did not surface in the coming days. In fact, I fully anticipated more panic, which is perhaps why it did appear. When we expect something, especially something negative, it usually manages to show up, doesn’t it? Self-fulfilling prophecy. My panic did not occur the morning of the dive, however, instead it arrived the day before. I was snorkeling in the choppy, windy waters of mid-afternoon (the time of fierce headwinds on the island of Maui) and suddenly was overcome by a bizarre sensation attempting to breathe through the snorkel. What on earth? I had been the feet below the surface just one day prior, breathing through a regulator and loving every single minute of it, how was a snorkel suddenly freaking me out?! I even snorkeled in the middle of the ocean after the snuba dive! I was used to it, how was the fear showing up now?

I gave in to the panic. I let it rise and fall in my chest on and off for the rest of the day, but refused to really latch onto it. I even toyed with exit routes in my head so as not to lose my scuba diving deposit because, as the awesome dude on the phone had said the day before, “Cancellation must be 48 hours in advance,” [it was the day before the dive when I signed up], “…sooo…you’re goin’ divin’!”

Gulp.

His words echoed in my mind and they were louder than K.B.’s this time; I couldn’t forget, however, the powerful sensation of peace that had taken over my body when I turned my back on fear and snuba’d my little heart out the day before. Through my panic, that image of myself was strong. It was vibrant, and it was urging me to embrace it. The next morning I woke without a shred of fear, not even a tidbit of panic in my heart. I arrived at the shop with my family stoked to dive. I geared up in a wetsuit and posed, ready to dive:

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The introductory dive consisted of about an hour of verbal instruction, a quiz, in-water skill tests, and then a dive. We went about 30 feet down and it was the most magical experience ever (although I can’t say it topped snuba, simply because that was a very profound moment for me…one I will never forget, one in which I literally turned my back to fear and dove down into love, a life-changing moment). Scuba diving was incredible. Our guide had a magnadoodle (how RAD is that??) that he’d write the name of sea life on. We saw rainbow fish, lizard fish, amazing coral, eel, red pencil urchins (one of my favorites because of their name!), algae, under-water amazingness…all the while “Under the Sea” was playing through my mind as I lived out my Little Mermaid fantasies from childhood. Absolutely breathtaking!

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This trip to Maui was one that changed me, altered my state of harmony, in beautiful ways. I sense an urgency to spend more time there, my heart and soul are begging me to return. It’s awfully perfect that come January my YogaWorks teacher training program will commence, and by June I’ll be ready for another life adventure. Perhaps my bliss will lead me back to Maui, to spend some time living there. One never knows 🙂 what I do know, for certain, is that the eight glorious days I spent under the beautiful Hawaiian sun with my loving family were enough to revamp my energy and spirits [for what feels like] indefinitely.

I am overwhelmed with gratitude, love, and the simple magic of that beautiful island. I’m enamored by it. I’m carrying an abundance of warmth, light, and harmony within my heart from that experience and, while I’m missing my family deeply after so many days spent in relaxing vacation mode, I’m just so thankful to have had that experience. Thoughts of Maui warm my heart, body, and mind immediately. How magical is that? Now I have an exquisite image to conjure up in my mind when I think the mantra, “Move away from fear and into love.” It’s of Maui. It’s of the waters off Molokini. It’s of me in a wetsuit. It’s of the amazing growth. that can occur within a being if one is open to growth.

Be open to growth, is what I’ve learned. Bliss and harmony have no limit.

Mahalo, to my family and to the mystical, healing island of Maui. Smiles!!!

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*Bliss and harmony have no limit.*

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