I’ve been a nonblogger for a bit longer than I had thought to be, but I suppose all I can say is “I was gone”, and in a most wonderful way. I had the opportunity, for the first time, to go to Maui in Hawaii – and, also for the first time, to snorkel. I have to tell you, I was so overwhelmed by the immense beauty of our world right there under the water, I forgot to breathe and almost got into trouble. Not the best way to snorkel, by the way, but I couldn’t help it – just to see the astounding life going on right beneath the surface of the ocean was almost more than I could take.
Truly, we know so little of our world, and yet all it takes is a peek below the usual, the expected, the predictable, the world of that lie of contemporary life called ‘been there done that’, which tries to tick off actual life experience as if it was balancing a cheque book. Bah! Humbug!
The Year of the Snorkel Meets The Year of the Dragon
So, here’s a thought, or, something that might like to glorify itself as one: why not make this a snorkeling year, with the proviso that we will remember to breathe; breathe life into our lives, our works, our doing, our understanding, as we make ourselves available to what is right in front of us, though we may not have noticed it before, or forgot, in the haze of living, to keep looking.
Some of you may know, by the way, that the word spirit comes from animus, and animus is rooted in the Indo-Europeon seed syllable ane, which means ‘breath’. So, spirit and breath can never be separated, and it’s a pretty good reminder, not to mention a great ad for meditation. I hope you don’t mind this tangent, but I love how etymology can sometimes show how wise the earliest intuitions or our species prove to be.
Okay, back to snorkeling: we can practice this at first with ourselves and see if we can see beneath the surface of who and what we are a little more than usual. It does take a bit of courage, truth to tell, since we tend not to want to have anything push us off our well worn spot, but it’s worth the doing, especially in a hunt for beauty, or any other salient thing.
Or, if we are really brave, we might try doing this with someone we care about, like a partner or spouse, or even a child that drives us to distraction (there’s a phrase!) I know it’s more convenient to believe that what we think about those close to us is really true – ah, if only they could see it (my way!) – but why not give ‘em a break and see what’s really there.
And, finally, if we find ourselves in an ecumenical mood, how about peeking below the surface of someone we tend not to like so much? Maybe one of those super heroes of our personal pantheon we like to dislike and who might be called, in typical superhero language, one of The Annoyers. I hear they have some extraordinarily beautiful colours and stripes, but we have to be willing to strip down our view of them a little and put a bit more effort into looking in order to see them as they are.
Turtles, Picasso and a Capital A
While snorkeling in Maui, I got to spend a full half hour no more than 5 meters from shore with two feeding turtles. And, I don’t mean little turtles from our childhood aquariums, for these were easily 3 feet in length. Old ones, they were. They were bobbing and eating and floating and flowing with the movement of the current and the waves, and they allowed me to be within 4 feet of them yet remained undisturbed.
Perhaps they could tell I was no threat, more of an amazed onlooker who, this time, remembered not to hold his breath. I can’t tell you the effect of seeing these beauties, but it was not small. And, just to raise the stakes, some fish whose unofficial name is Picasso fish for reasons that are obvious when you see them, (just take another look at the photo at the top) moved in and out of the turtle feeding area. Local colour enough to thrill my heart and blow what’s left of this wee mind.
Here’s to a good year for all – though I might spell that last word with a capital A just to tell you what’s really in my heart. Truly, each one of us (and here comes the pun since despite the fact that it’s early morning, I can’t hold back any longer) a treasure in the swim of things.
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