My fears? I first got scared when I as a child was swimming in my hometown lake and the fishermen caught… an army tank. Later seriously dressed men came and slowly took the tank out of the water right in front of my eyes. I memorised every scary corner of that rusty piece of steel. So, an old tank in my hometown lake and you want me to trust the unknown, deep, dark water ever again? Ha! Welcome imagination and welcome fear!
Here I am some twenty years later on the Caribbean coast of Mexico surrounded by water. The air is humid, the ocean is my front yard, there’s a lagoon in my backyard, there are rivers deep under my house and some 7000 fresh water caves all around. In one of them I lost my fear of swimming deeper than my own height. In another, I learnt how to dive. But it all was just playing in a sandbox compared to the experience that was awaiting me.
This summer some friends taught me that the best way to start your journey to new dreams is by conquering your old fears. In that way you release the energy that has fed the fears and you can use it to reach your goals. I journeyed thirty hours through Europe to Mexico City knowing that I would arrive right at the end of the whale shark season.
So, I asked for this “conquer two cases of fear in one dive” experience and if you ask with an open heart, you are answered. A few days later I got the invitation from artist residence Residencia Gorila, I jumped on a plane and ran to the Caribbean straight into the mouth of my fear.
I was already in the boat, when I realized that fear is a creation of the mind; the mind that worries about the future and is scared of the unknown; the mind that is afraid of new experiences, because it doesn’t have any previous information or opinion and DOESN’T KNOW WHAT TO THINK. The mind is just afraid to stop thinking, so it creates fear to stop you doing something new. But in reality there is no fear, just a beautiful silence in your head.
So there I was with my silent head, in the dark blue water waiting for a whale shark to swim in my way. There were no questions about how big she would be, what she would do or what I would do. No. Nothing. Just beauty, depth and distance. In fact, I was so amazed by her size and grace that I even forgot to breathe. I don’t know how much time passed, but when I got back in the boat all I could say was: “Let me meet her one more time.” And they let me. Other boats decided to return to the shore, but we stayed. If there is something I have learned in Mexico, it is patience. More than how to cook cactuses, how to walk barefoot in the jungle or how to trust only myself, more than all that together, I have learned patience. And it turned out to be a vital quality. And she came back. Slowly, enjoying the sunrays breaking through the water and making all her scales glitter in silver. She opened her huge mouth for some plankton and I fed her my fears as well. I realized none of it was real and set myself free. And yes, the released energy is speeding me on my way to goals. I’m still racing with myself!Photo by Alfonso Garrido