Diving is Fearless!

My new fascination that has developed here in Oslo is watching people dive into the water. Generally this is not completed off a proper diving board, but makeshift ones. What I love about this city, is that the majority of people choose to dive into the water versus take the ladder. They want the shock and feeling of going for it versus the timid inching in the steps offer.

I heard one American say to another “you are now part Viking!” after he dived into the water. He shivered saying, “right now I’m Floridian, because this water is cold.” He joked about this but seemed happy to have taken the leap to the unknown cold Nordic waters.

The act of diving into the water is so bold. There seems to be an inverse relationship with bravery and age.  It seems to come easier with decreased age.  Teenagers are at the peak of it, as they show off their skills jumping in. We’re compelled to watch them.  There’s no fear when a child is about to dive into the water, there’s just joy.

I don’t know when I became fearful of diving. Perhaps it’s because I don’t actually know how to dive, just like I don’t know how to do a real push up. There’s a mental blockage that if I go head first into the water, I will hurt myself. And so I don’t do it.

This reminds me of a podcast I heard with Elizabeth Gilbert from On Being. She discussed how we are all born creative beings , but we forget this. We stop cultivating it, and make excuses as to why art should not be our way of life. Kids instinctively know they are creative , she says with Legos they know what to do with them. They don’t make excuses that they won’t make a masterpiece or shy away because their piece was fabulous last week and won’t be amazing again. They just do it. Why do we build up barriers of lack in life? With age comes fear of failure, and therefore fear of risk .

Before I jumped into the water today, I felt all eyes were on me.  In reality, nobody was watching.  I don’t think I actually know how to dive. It seems as if I missed the diving day lesson during my swimming classes. I know I couldn’t do it properly with my hands to form a dolphin like shape and fall into the water gracefully. But it was hot and I knew I just had to do it, so I jumped in twice ! The water was quite cold and I only stayed in for a minute . After I got out , my body felt like it was in shock. It was tingling with coolness, but also exhilaration in going for it.

I don’t know if diving will become my new thing, but I definitely will continue to awe in wonder . I could probably watch people dive all day…the joy, the fear, the pride, the dare, and the unique nature in the universality of this movement. It’s such a beautiful act to witness. I want to cheer these strangers on, especially those who spend extended minutes of apprehension staring at the drop. I want to scream “f*ck yes!” to the celebration of this moment, to life, and to conquering this dive.

I feel grateful to be a witness, and a participant. Sometimes I will join in, whether it’s proper or not. Who is to say what is the correct way to do it? If you are diving for the pleasure, relief of sweat , and to celebrate in the community of playfulness who cares ? Be a child again and jump!

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