Monday, May 12, 2008


Today’s freediving practice was amazing. Matt convinced me that after over a year of no targets, I should try a dynamic one today. The last time I did a target was in 2006, before the world championships in Egypt. I have a lot of bad associations with targets and have avoided them for a while. I guess the meditation has helped though because in bed this morning, when Matt first suggested I try one, I had a momentary flash of panic and fear and from then on I had it under control.

On my walk with Kuni, in the car on the way to the pool, whenever I started to think about doing 100 or 125 meters, I reminded myself that for now training is about going through the motions of a dive, not the distance. I did three warm up breath-holds: 2:00, 2:30 and 2:45 and though none of them took me into a real contraction, they were a challenge. All the old negative feelings came back, my bathing suit felt too tight, I was afraid of contractions coming on. But through it all, I stayed in control. I kept pulling my thoughts back, counting my breath, not allowing my mind to wander down dangerous paths littered with past failures or impossible standards.

I remained watchful all the way though the warm-up, getting my gear on and final breath- up with countdown. Through my first very slow and relaxed 25 meters. As soon as I turned after 50 meters I felt I had successfully completed the work I had set out to do and in spite of all the pitfalls I had stayed focused. I came up at 75, before my first real contraction, and was very pleased with my dive. A dive that two years ago would have devastated me. Now I understand that getting though the process and allowing myself to enjoy it, no matter the outcome, is what matters.

My meditation teacher talks about the five poisons: Anger/Fear, Attachment, Pride, Jealously, Ignorance. Yup, I’ve got them all covered. Call me slow but it took me quite a while to figure out my overwhelming judgment (of myself, of others) was basically my Ego wearing a fancy party dress.

I will keep tracing the five poisons back to my own Fear, and see where it sits. This journey, through meditation, yoga and freediving, is work enough right now.

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