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Adventures in Brand New Territory

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“Cross the border, into the big bad world.” – Paolo Nutini

The sun had already set on the crystalline Andaman Sea, darkness had fallen. A handful of us strapped on our tanks, checked our air supply and tightened up our masks. The cruise had been remarkable thus far consisting of eating then diving, in no particular order. We had already logged five dives over the first two grueling days. However, this was a whole new ball game, the night dive. I could feel a bit of nitrogen narcosis set in, in other words, I was exhausted, no other way to slice it.

All geared up, I took the plunge into the dark open sea. The evening times on the Andaman Sea are incredibly cool, the ocean breeze is refreshing since the days can be scorching. The water on this night was very comfortable, as warm as bath water. Once everybody was in, we did a quick check and then started our descent.

After two days of diving I was beginning to feel very comfortable with descending and being in the water with all of the gear strapped on. However, this dive was completely different, it was pitch black so I had no way of orienting myself.  My breathing increased rapidly, my heart rate shot up; because of the quick descent I had problems with the equalization of my ears for the first time in my diving career.  My ear drums were unbearably painful, my torch was pointed down so I couldn’t see much, and my sympathetic nerve system was off the charts.  I remember very vividly that I considered giving the sign for “I have a problem” to the dive instructor and then ascent quicker than I came down.

Then something amazing happened, my body adapted.  My ears equalized and the pressure disappeared, my heart rate returned to normal, and I lifted my torch to illuminate this new strange and mysterious world.  It was incredible, I turned my head and saw all the beams from my fellow divers cut through the darkness, it looked like a scene from “The Abyss.”  The wildlife was completely different, a huge crab scurried around the bottom (I wish I could have grabbed it for dinner) while the coral expressed many different colors at night.  I was surprised how much my eyes adapted, soon I could see a lot around around me without my light, in the dark water.  We all turned off our torches and were amazed to see bioluminescence, tiny soft lights, much like fireflies, dance all around our bodies.  It was incredibly magical.

I liken the whole night dive to my life at this moment in time.  I have just stepped into another world, not your proverbial border crossing, but one of consciousness. Gone are the days of the “student” mindset.  One where you are constantly scrapping together enough change to just eat and get by. Now is the time to welcome stability, and abundance.  Yet, I still find it hard to feel comfortable.  The practice is picking up and yet as I learn more and more, there is more yet that I don’t know.  Life is incredibly new, frustrating and fascinating at the same time.  However, the most uncomfortable moments and experiences in the last few months have brought with them the most incredible highs.

Many times in life we dare not take the plunge into the unknown.  The unknown is exactly that, the unknown.  With the sense of newness unlocks incredible power, adaptability, and joy that we never knew we existed in us.  With that new found power brings incredible experiences and lessons that open up a whole new world to us if we are simply willing to take that first step and cross the border.

And sorry Paolo, I contend that world isn’t so big and bad after all.

Dr Matthew Horkey
Dr Matthew Horkey
Author | Speaker | Wine Enthusiast

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