I saw the trailer for ‘Deepest Breath’ a few weeks ago and added it to my list on Netflix. However, it took me a few tries before I could get myself to watch it as it has a lot of peril involved, and I wasn’t sure if I could take the tension of watching the divers go so deep that they blacked out. So, today I finally mustered up the courage to give it a go – and it is tragic, which is made clear at the beginning of the series.
What do I think of freediving? It is nuts. You dive into the sea wearing a nose clip and a monofin along a rope up to 103m. The current record that Alessia Zechinni (world record holder) holds is 113 meters which is 337 ft, roughly 57 men of 6 ft height. And all this in 3 minutes and 38 seconds. Forget the stats – imagine the experience. You are going down the rope with the oxygen you took minutes ago; pressure builds on you as you go down, it gets darker as you go down, there is only water all around you, and after a certain point, there is something like a free fall where it’s like flying. And you have to watch yourself at that point, pick a tag and then make the journey back which is like climbing upwards on an already oxygen-depleted body. In the documentary, some divers who came up had their eyes rolled back into their heads.
Even watching it, I had two conflicting emotions in my head. One was fear for the divers – I did not learn to swim until a few years ago and am not as comfortable with water; who in their right mind would do such a thing? And the other emotion was of joy that comes after a satisfying milestone – when I saw the happiness in the eyes of the divers after they came up, it was surreal. Natalia Molchanova, who was a Russian freediver, is also shown in the documentary. And it is said that she felt something unlocked a certain fearlessness in her when she dived through the arch in Dahab – a treacherous sinkhole.
Anything worth doing will have both of the above emotions. The only way to experience joy means to face the fear first. The fearful phases are the test – these are the times when you cry, want to give you up, and are angry. And sometimes, the only thing you can do is to show up and just get through the day, and at some point, something clicks, and you start the journey from fear to inner peace. And every time you undertake the journey again, it is the same process, but you are familiar with it. Just because you did it once does not mean you have conquered it forever.
Now, freediving is an extreme sport. It calls out to certain people, and that’s their life purpose. But this journey is not uncommon for each of our life purposes. Unfortunately, some of us never decide to go through the fear – we give up too soon or are afraid to take the path. And if you look deep inside, you know what’s your truth.
My only question is, ‘ Are you at peace with the truth of where you are in your journey through fear?’