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3 Ways Scuba Diving Heals Broken Hearts

Healing, Papa would tell me, ‘is not a science, but the intuitive art of wooing nature.’  – W.H. Auden 

View from the Bangka

Seeing my friend steeped in great amount of pain whilst mourning the loss of a well-loved family member recently got me thinking about the concept of healing and it reminded me how much scuba has actually helped me with the final leg of my own healing process over the past two years.

To heal, there is an important condition that has to be fulfilled. I think firstly, you have to set yourself up mentally for it. I realised that you have to recognise that you are in pain, meaning you have to face the pain head-on fully. When you have lost something that mattered greatly to you, it is natural and important to feel sad about it: that feeling is an essential part of the healing process.

So what has scuba diving got to do with healing?

The time and space to confront pain

Scuba diving gave me a chance to be immersed in an environment with almost complete silence except the sounds created by inhalation and exhalation through the regulator. A chance to be away from the buzz and noise that is so omnipresent in our urban environment; where I could easily fool myself that I am actually not hurting, where I could pretend that everything is fine and dandy, where I could make myself so busy to distract myself from confronting that pain. It presented me with an opportunity to quiet down and face the broken parts of myself that are pretty hard to acknowledge IRL. Because who could face the ugliness and imperfections within, really? When you plunge in the water, well, there’s really no choice but to face the silence, which I found to be so utterly deafening at first. And there’s no way you could talk, so there’s really no other channel to distract yourself from. Scuba created a gaping void that forced me to deal with those thoughts and emotions that were buried within with shabby attempts. 

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Purifying your mind through expression

Catharsis (from Greek κάθαρσις katharsis meaning “purification” or “cleansing”) is the purification and purgation of emotions through art or any extreme change in emotion that results in renewal and restoration. For me, I like to write. But I’ve never really thought of that as a outlet or channel to express things. The simple act of logging dives slowly and unconsciously turned into a way of recording down emotions and thoughts that ran through my head whilst underwater – the sentiments felt, the realizations that hit me, the flashbacks of memories; with the process starting underwater but ending on land.

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Positive social interactions

You see, the magic does not just happen only underwater. The people you meet during trips is the most intriguing part of the entire experience. Some people are really interesting with the most interesting stories to tell. Everyone you meet starts as an unknown – an unfamiliar face, with an unfamiliar voice, maybe of a different skin colour, speaking a different language. But through conversations, you begin to know them as a person; perhaps you will get to know their stories of triumphs, their struggles, their joy and their loss. And you start to see that everyone has a story of their own that you could draw some lessons from, some inspirations and maybe some strength from.

Picture Credit: Eugene Cheow

Picture Credit: Eugene Cheow

I truly believe that saltwater heals everything.

I will leave you with this verse from my favorite poet, W.H. Auden, who could not have put everything about healing into context any better – “Healing, Papa would tell me, ‘is not a science, but the intuitive art of wooing nature.”

Let’s start wooing nature and pursuing her.  She definitely has a way to make you feel that whatever pain and grief you are feeling sometimes might seem a little insignificant, but also welcoming and comfortable at the same time. And I sincerely hope that you could find some solace and comfort in her embrace.

Wonder Wee
Wonder Wee

Geek. Aspiring vagabond.

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