He seemed haggard, as if he had a sleepless night of fighting. His skin was tanned. Too tanned; the excessive amount of sun did not do him good. He held my hand and guided me in the aquarium. “Don’t forget the most important rule. Breathe.” He illustrated it, and signed us to follow him. “Are you okay?” he asked me. I nodded, and then he put the mask on me. First thing I did was breathe through my nose out of habit, but of course it didn’t work. He asked me again if I was okay. I signaled a thumbs up. I put the snorkel in my mouth and breathed deeply. In. Out. In. Out. He grabbed my hand again and pulled me under water. I felt light-weighted, despite the fifty pound scuba gear on my back. A huge diversity of marine life swam around me, with so many beautiful, exotic colors. As if I was swimming in a liquid rainbow. It was beautiful, and I instantly forgot that I wasn’t trying to breathe through my nose anymore. I was in a state of equilibrium, completely peaceful. Everything happened naturally, with the laws of nature balancing it all out. I felt like I was a part of them, following them around, trying to find some way to communicate with them. If only I knew what they were saying. The instructor tapped me on my leg and signaled the “we’re going up” sign. I signaled a thumbs up and he reached out his hand. I grabbed it and he pulled me back to the surface. “How do you feel?” “I feel great,” I replied amazed. With this just being a practice session, I couldn’t imagine what the sea had to offer. At 2 o’clock, when the sun was at its brightest, we took a van and drove to a haven. From there we took a boat to an isolated part of the sea. He explained how to jump in the sea, by holding your goggles and your snorkel. When the time came, I was the last one to go in. I stood on the edge of the wobbling boat, having difficulty finding balance since I was almost fifty pounds heavier. The man who steered the boat next to me asked me if I was ready. I signaled a thumbs up. “One. Two. And Go.” I took a huge step and let gravity take over to pull me in the ocean. I floated for a bit, and the instructor grabbed a hold of me and guided me to where the other divers were. They were all holding onto the white coral and the instructor signaled me to do the same. I grabbed it; it felt hard, but simultaneously very fragile. The instructor guided us through the ocean. Letting us experiment through touch. He would occasionally hand us bread and all the fishes’ fear disappeared and they would surround you completely. Hoping to get a taste. With one fish, eye contact was shared. Maybe it’s just me thinking that, but if I think so, it is so. I would stick out my index finger and wait for it to touch it. It would come closer and then swim away, and then return again, and repeat that process for a while, till finally it felt comfortable enough to nibble at my skin. I was taken out of that connection when the instructor tapped me on my leg and signed me to follow him again. We went through coves, along the corals, and it was magnificent. For that moment, all I wished was to be part of such a peaceful world, where everything was balanced with only the laws of nature. This whole vacation, this entire experience, was definitely not routine -although I’d really like it to be. From going to a place where you’re happy, where it’s warm, and you get to do things you’ve never experienced before to going to a place where you have to work, and do the same boring old thing you’ve did before, making that transition is very hard, and sometimes people aren’t even capable of doing so. As I felt in the ocean, in a state of peace, I think a way to transition properly is to always be in such a state. I was moving, I was moving with the flow of the water, with the current of sea, with the life of the ocean, but I was still still. So when you transition, all you have to do is take your time. Get used to your environment. Be still. And of course, the most important rule to remember, is to breathe.
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