Category: Soul’s Journey

A Scuba Sort of Day

A Scuba Sort of Day

Former students....
Former students….

I’m not sure what the stars are doing or what planets are aligned where but today has been a day of scuba decisions. Seemingly from out of the blue I decided to take a side mount class for cave diving and go back to active status as an open water scuba instructor.

One of the beautiful underwater caves in Akumal, Mexico
One of the beautiful underwater caves in Akumal, Mexico

It’s not that I haven’t been thinking of switching to side mount configuration. Being in an underwater cave is amazing and probably the most spiritually uplifting thing I’ve ever done. All underwater caves are amazing but the caves of Akumal, Mexico are like nothing else. Period. I’ve written about my experiences in my first book, Sharks On My Fin Tips: A Wild Woman’s Adventures With Nature, so I won’t go into all the details. I’ll just say this…imagine the most beautiful cathedral formed from earth and then place it in crystal-clear water so you can explore it while floating weightless. I might describe the experience, these places, as heaven on earth.

So I’ve missed visiting these cathedrals. I’ve missed swimming in the lifeblood of the planet, into her womb. So why did I quit?

The gear necessary to cave dive using back mount tanks.
The gear necessary to cave dive using back mount tanks.

Over ten years ago I was riding on the back of a motorcycle…one of those fancy Ground Pounder’s–and the operator of the bike hit a pot hole going about 70 mph. A compression fracture resulted and left me with a couple of very small pieces of L-5 vertebra that float around and get irritated. Anything that compresses them causes intense pain. I’ve super-strengthened my core with Pure Barre and Stand Up Paddleboarding but even with those workouts I have to use care that I don’t compress those dastardly bits of bone. Considering that my double steel tanks and manifold weigh in at about 75 to 80 pounds I’m to the point where I either switch to side mount or forget visiting these beautiful caves.

Carrying all that weight from the parking lot at Little River Park to the cave entrance...NOT fun! Photo by Sharon Matteson.
Carrying all that weight from the parking lot at Little River Park to the cave entrance…NOT fun! Photo by Sharon Matteson.

Being an open water scuba instructor was very enjoyable (most of the time) but I was to a point where I wasn’t teaching enough to pay for my dues and liability insurance from teaching so it was just a drain of money to hold an instructor card. But I missed working with wounded soldiers and helping them learn to dive. And even though it is volunteering with a lot more expenses going out than will come in, I decided to go back into active teaching status so I can continue my volunteer work.

Stellar students!
Stellar students!

I’m in contact with my certification agency and have already done the updates necessary to become active again and I’m in contact with a new cave instructor in Florida. What was going on today? Why was this the day to get moving on these underwater ventures? I have a very strong suspicion that the two are related. Perhaps side mount will help disabled divers and give them easier ways to dive. Perhaps I’ll be able to utilize my skills to help others. My goal in life is to make a positive difference.

Some of the soldiers I've had the honor to work with.
Some of the soldiers I’ve had the honor to work with.

But one thing is for sure…when something I’ve been thinking about for a while finally comes up and forces my hand, so to speak, it’s my soul calling me to move forward. Oddly enough, that’s how I took my first scuba class. And that led to all sorts of wonderful experiences and friends. This is soul stuff..this is good stuff. And I am ready!

My cave diving instructor...Van Fleming.
My first cave diving instructor…Van Fleming.
Thread of the Soul’s Path

Thread of the Soul’s Path

simonelipscomb (7)A person dear to my heart made a decision years ago that many people were against. He chose to do it anyway but changed his mind a few months into his choice, most likely due to pressure from those of us who didn’t like it. A couple years later he again chose to take the path he had started down before and he has stayed with it. Courage to follow a thread of your soul’s path is vital once you make the decision to do it. It may not make sense to anyone but you, yet if  your soul is calling you, the only thing that makes sense is to listen and do it.

I was one of those silently objecting and questioning my friend’s decision. A war zone? The Middle East? Fear kept me from being able to fully support his path even though I did verbally. In reality I didn’t understand it. And today I feel baffled as to why I couldn’t see how perfect this was for him. He loved his former job and when he retired he was unsatisfied. He has a strong belief in serving country and community and has a fascination with war movies and planes. It totally makes sense now as I reflect from a distance. He is in his element. Who am I, who is anyone to judge his choice….a path to which his soul lead him? It seems like a no-brainer.

How can we ever see what is right for another person? Every person has his or her unique connection to their soul. It’s a sacred contract between soul, body, and mind. Nobody has a right to interfere in that or doubt that wisdom. And yet we do it often. Why? Perhaps it makes us uncomfortable to see someone take risks. Or maybe it takes them away from us or we think it is dangerous. If a person gets hurt or dies doing what their soul called them to do then how is that wrong? We get so invested in deciding what is right for people we care about we forget that we don’t have a say in something that is between them and God.

Several years ago I inherited property and felt a very strong intuition to sell it. The choice was very unpopular with some who thought I should hold out to get more money, as the real estate market was ballooning. I listened to my inner voice, trusted it and sold the property at what I considered a fair price. Then the market bottomed out. Had I waited….well, that’s a story I don’t even want to consider. It took a lot of courage to tread a path for which others did not approve. But my life has been a series of these kinds of leaps of faith that are not always popular with others.

simonelipscomb (8)Why is it we believe we know what’s best for others? Why do we form judgements about choices others make? What keeps us from being unconditionally supportive of our friends, spouses, children about the paths they choose? Fear? Yes, but based in what? I believe it goes beyond fear to that dreaded culprit–ego. The ego believes it knows what’s best for everyone. And we all know that E G O really means…Edging God Out. Too often we want to be the guiding voice for others, negating their need and ability to figure it out on their own. (If they ask for our advice…then different story).

If I trust the Divine to speak to my heart then I can and must offer that same acknowledgement to everyone in my life. To do otherwise is to come from my own darkness…from judgement, opinion. Who can truly know the heart of another? Those words, “Trust me, I know what I’m doing…have a little faith in me,” ring in my mind today and I know I made a big mistake by not tossing my fear and ego out and trusting. Big mistake.

When we ask to grow and open ourselves to light and love, the light illuminates our darkness and we face it, clear it and awaken or we deny it and continue to wonder why everyone else is so screwed up. (Smile) When light shines within us and the veil is pulled away from our eyes we can see clearly, truly. Today I forgive myself for my inability to understand and trust. I celebrate the clarity that has arisen. I ask those whom I have judged or not trusted to forgive my mistakes. I make this promise to all friends and loved ones and all beings….I honor your path and the choices you make and accept them even if I don’t understand. I trust your connection with the Divine and your ability to clearly see the thread of your soul’s path as it invites you to give it a tug.

And….I celebrate your journey.