Tag Archives: SCUBA diving

The Beauty of Hiking in Nature

The dark wood gave way to a field of wheat that was bathed in bright sunlight.  It looked like shimmering liquid gold!

The dark wood gave way to a field of wheat that was bathed in bright sunlight. It looked like shimmering liquid gold!

I love to go hiking. I like to take cycle rides on the open road. I enjoy SCUBA diving. Like many people, I enjoy the social aspect of these activities, chatting about common experiences and talking to like- minded people. The meet- ups in the pub to organise events, the camaraderie and team spirit of setting an objective, supporting and encouraging each other during the event and achieving the goal are all great fun. There is a sense of achievement at the end, that tired feeling after all that work when you feel you really deserve that hearty meal, the cold beer or cool drink, the mug of tea or coffee with a slice of cake or just a well- earned rest.

Dramatic Contrast
There has always been another side to these activities that keeps me going back for more throughout my life. That is the connection to nature. It is so fantastic, thrilling in fact to be surrounded by the power of nature. I was once preparing for a trekking trip in Nepal with my father and a group of us were striding out in the Chiltons (an expansive, hilly area between London and Oxford in England). We were following a path up a hill in dense woodland that opened out into fields. The group walked on, but I had to stop and take in the glorious view. The contrast was so dramatic. The dark wood gave way to a field of wheat that was bathed in bright sunlight. It looked like shimmering liquid gold! This event happened twenty years ago, and it stays with me in vivid detail. That is how profound an effect it had on me. Not a single member of the group recognised this moment, given freely by nature, to be enjoyed by anyone open to seeing her gifts.

Dead Mans Fingers
I have had many such moments, and they always rekindle my spirit, that inner flame. Another wonderful example was wreck diving on the south coast of England. I was doing some survey work near Southampton where a lot of Mullbery Harbours were sunk during World War II. They have steep concrete sides. As I sat at the foot of one of these sheer surfaces, I looked up and saw a vertical field of ghostly white “Dead Man’s Fingers”  illuminated in dappled sunlight. It was such an incredible sight shared with my diving buddy that connected us beyond words.

Nature Provides
In this age of digital technology and high definition, these beautiful sights can be brought to you on your TV, tablet, mobile or computer screen in stunning detail. But I think that part of the wonder is the effort you have to go to in order to see these things. You may not set out to have those experiences, but nature provides the spectacles, you just have to be there to see and experience it.

Little Moments that Nourish
As we continue to promote our first book “Nourish the Flame Within” and write our second, “Feel the Power”, I realise more and more that the energy in nature that nurtures the spirit is on tap during every day experiences. As I write this I can see a tree swaying so gracefully in the summer breeze outside my window and I can hear the birds chirping away. It warms me from within, makes me feel alive. I feel connected, I feel content. There can be so much more to a walk, or a bike ride or simply a glimpse out of the window if we strive to see the little moments that nourish the flame within and feel the power all around us.

Trust- A Force of Nature

If you take the time and make the effort to build trust people will do extraordinary things with you

If you take the time and make the effort to build trust people will do extraordinary things with you

Trust is a force of Nature

Trust is hard won. We are born into trust for it is the natural way. Nature is built on connectivity, interaction and synchronicity.  Birds’ eggs hatch just as the insects they eat begin to multiply, the squirrels bury their nuts as the autumn nights draw in and winter approaches and the sea’s tides are influenced by the phases of the moon.  Nature is built on trust.  The new born knows it must suckle, the fledgling birds knows it can fly just as the foal understands it must walk.  Everything comes in its own time and eventually fades away.

In her book “Mutant Message Down Under” Marlo Morgan describes a scenario when she must lead the Aborigine tribe in the Outback wilderness to food. Days go by without food and water and fear and terror mount in her as she contemplates her death and the death of the tribe. The Aborigine tribe members are unmoved. In time a meal appears in the wilderness and her relief is extreme. She discusses her anxiety with the tribe later on and they explain that they never lost their trust in nature- that she would raise to the task and provide or they would die. It is that simple!

Losing Trust and Gaining Wisdom

Trust is something easily lost. We trust implicitly as youngsters because we know no better. We are endowed with trust by Nature herself.  Why would we not trust?  It is against the natural flow of survival. Without trust we are alone and without friends or support.  As helpless youngsters we have no choice but to trust. It is our birth right. But it is easily abused, knowingly and unknowingly. This creates distrust and in that there is a loss of innocence, a barrier to open loving living.

As life experience shapes our understanding of the world we must lose our naivety without becoming cynical. We must understand that people are not always as they seem. People can hide their insecurity, fear, aggression and malicious intent towards us . If we do not realise this we become stung by the sharp stab of trust abused and the humiliation of being made to feel stupid or falsely taken in.

If we are to be open we must have trust. If we are to communicate and live without barriers to the world, there has to be an implicit trust in the world and the people in it. If all we have known is a harsh and unloving world it is hard to trust it.

With every personal disappointment in others we become more insular. Perhaps we need to look elsewhere for trust?

Where can Trust be Found?

Nature can be trusted upon. Every breath you take is a deepening of the trust between you and nature itself. You serve and support each other. You are there for each other.  Aren’t all of nature’s bounty free gifts?  Air is a free gift, expected on faith that it will be there and that you have the means to take it. We take it for granted, because Nature has always provided.  But should we take that trust for granted?

Many years ago I learned to SCUBA dive.  One of the important tasks that I had to learn was to share my breathing equipment with my diving buddy.  I had to learn various other important tasks as well to prepare me for a time when I may lose air for some reason below the surface of the water.

Once as I was performing these tasks, my diving instructor turned off my air supply!  The feeling of trying to draw air into my lungs when there was no air to breathe was terrifying.  I panicked and tried to race for the surface, the great sin in SCUBA diving for safety reasons.  My instructor coached me through the proper procedure and in time I breathed again, but for those few seconds the beauty of breath and the implicit trust I had in nature for providing my next breath was forcibly driven home to me.

On occasions I breathe deep, long and low and enjoy the calmness my body experiences as I feel the air rush into my lungs and nourish my body.

By being consciously aware of the air around us and inside of us and knowing that it is freely available to us given by nature itself, we can build trust in nature.  Perhaps we need to be more mindful of the things that are offered naturally without price.  They are given as part of the natural order of the world and the universe.

Our pets bring us pleasure and comfort. They trust in our kindness.  They respond to it.  There is a natural order in this. We trust them in turn. They are there when we feel sad.  They snuggle to comfort us, and are there to greet us constantly when we leave and return.

The Beauty of Trust

What can we humans learn about trust from nature and animals? Always be there. Be present. Be kind and generous.  Be compassionate and accepting. Realise our responsibility to others and live up to it. Be loyal.  Be trusting of the natural order.

Trust in people is built over time. It is earned.  People make mistakes and so it does not always follow that their mistakes were deliberately done. We must ask ourselves “Has it been done in error or with malicious intent?”  To interact with people at all let alone well we must trust them and be trust worthy ourselves.

To do great things with people we must trust and be trust worthy. If you take the time and make the effort to build trust people will do extraordinary things with you.

Some will be too fearful. That is fine. Some may be so fearful and distrusting that they abuse your trust and hurt you. Know that the fault lies with them, not you! Learn to tell the difference and with growing wisdom discern the relationships that diminish you and those that empower you.

Nature waits patiently.  It is always there, waiting for each of us to trust and begin the process of embracing it.  In return for our trust in it, it embraces us more deeply, sharing with us more of its wonder and secrets.

Nature can only do so much and we must be prepared to do our bit. Often we don’t take chances as we worry about our ability to trust the situation or the person.  Often it is a question of control or past pain.  We all have a need to protect ourselves from repeating mistakes in relationships and situations. We do not want to be hurt. Yet, to surrender to trust we must be prepared to take the chance and understand that there is the possibility of being hurt.  It is a tricky situation.

Building a Bridge of Trust

So how do we cross this impasse? How do we build trust, trust the right people and embrace that which is good? It takes time. It takes care and patience. Are you worthy of trust? Is the one in whom you place your trust worthy of it?  We can only discover this by taking small steps, in the full knowledge that we are taking a risk.  We build trust over time, making informed choices that will lead to greater openness as trust is upheld from both ends of the bridge.

This will lead to a strong connection and bond growing between you and others that will nurture your faith in trust and create a beautiful life full of millions of small moments- the smiles, the laughs, the touches, the kindnesses- that warm the soul and make life special.

Ocean Waves, Ocean Depths

"This is how it is meant to be- this is yours to enjoy if only you would come below the waves."

“This is how it is meant to be- this is yours to enjoy if only you would come below the waves.”

Many ancient cultures use the seal as a symbol of transition between two worlds- the world of the conscious mind and the constructs of human thinking and the sub- conscious world and the limitless essence of spirit without boundary or form.

This contrast was brought home to me when I was SCUBA diving on a particularly windy day in rough seas. The dive started from a rocky out- crop. The plan was to enter the water and drop below the turbulent waves as quickly as possible to avoid being tossed onto the sharp volcanic rock. Traditionally you do this by dumping the air in your stab- jacket through a valve. Alas, on this occasion the valve did not work all that well. As I desperately tried to become less buoyant the waves threw me against the rocks, cutting me and my equipment to shreds. My stress and anxiety mounted, my breathing rate soared, and my enjoyment plummeted as my ability to deal with the situation effectively, dropped.

Somehow I managed to get the air out of my stab- jacket and I descended from the stormy environment above into a tranquil haven below. My breathing slowed, serenity returned, calmness reigned and as the beauty of my surroundings overwhelmed me a seal swam by up- side- down in effortless ease as if to say “this is how it is meant to be- this is yours to enjoy if only you would come below the waves.”

The Ocean is a wonderful metaphor to explain the working of energy in Nature. The sub- conscious depths support the conscious surface layer. We are part of a whole- mostly we stay on the surface, living at the whim of external forces. The surface is calm only because there is no wind. The job is going well, we are enjoying good health, and we are surrounded by loved ones who love us in return. Once the wind blows the waves gather and toss us around. We are threatened with redundancy or financial insecurity; our relationships go through stresses and strains. We do what we can to stay afloat, to cope with the pressure of daily living, but we are at the mercy of events- we may think we are in control of our lives as we experience happiness during good times, but the anxiety and discontent we feel in choppy seas shows us we are not in control of things at the surface.

Only below the waves is there consistent calm and tranquillity. Only here can the constancy of the water offer us support throughout our lives regardless of events and circumstances.

Meditation can offer us a gateway into this sub- conscious realm. If we learn to enter this world a little we can enjoy its benefits and bring its wisdom to the surface as our awareness expands further into the truth. As we practise meditation more we may stay there longer if we wish and explore more fully the depths of the Ocean.

The wonder of SCUBA diving is the contrast between these two worlds. Enjoy both- the experience of one is made more profound and meaningful by the knowledge of the other. The conscious mind is most effective when it is calm- it provides an analytical and organisational quality to living that is effective only with clarity and understanding. The wisdom of the sub- conscious is always there- sometimes it bursts through into the consciousness in inspiration like a whale or seal breaking the water surface, but we can also delve into the depths and find answers. The more we practise the more easily we access the wisdom deep within us.