“The unexamined life is not worth living.”
– Plato’s “Apology”, quoting Socrates
When you are on a boat off the coast of Key Largo, you have a few choices. You can stay on the boat. You can lightly probe the shallows, immersing yourself somewhat. Or you can fully commit to exploring the deep, pushing yourself past where is physically comfortable to see the most beautiful aquatic sights, even if it sometimes forces you in the process to panic, gasp, and flail your way back to the familiar surface.
I earlier mentioned my lack of ambivalence regarding a 2017 resolution-turned-theme. For the first few weeks of the year, I had failed to generate one, feeling uninspired and demotivated by life in general.
It took a handful of days for me to be guided outside of my comfort zone and inside the vast ocean for 2017’s theme to emerge from my own personal depths:
To be candid, I don’t necessarily like this theme. It doesn’t make me feel confident or powerful or secure.
When you dive deep, you excavate parts of yourself that would rather remain hidden; the insecurities, the failures, the ugliness.
It’s the accidental front camera photo you immediately deleted, the letter you couldn’t trash fast enough, the phone call you always conveniently ignore.
If I’m diving deep and being honest, there’s a lot of things in my life that I’ve been playing in the shallows with.
One would be actually finishing my final draft, and sending my book to publishers. I’ve been putting off its completion even though there’s almost 200 pages done and I am really proud of what I’ve created to date… because what if others don’t connect with the art I’ve poured my spirit into?
But, what if they do?
Another thing I haven’t dived deep into is making a long range financial plan/budget, because I “hate that type of thing” and it makes me feel uncomfortable on a root chakra/Freudian level for a plethora of reasons. Sure I’ve been paying my main bills, but if I just conveniently ignore long term financial planning it will all get resolved somehow, right??? WRONG.
I have to step it up and be a more responsible adult.
One more place where I’ve been playing it too safe is with politics. Though I took 8 political science classes in college, I decided not to pursue politics or anything related as a career because I don’t really find it interesting. I don’t enjoy demonstrating in public or calling a senator or debating on Facebook with someone who voted for Donald Trump but is now baffled that their kids might now lose their health insurance, etc.
But now it is apparent that with our freedoms, and frankly, the integrity of our country as a whole, under threat, I can no longer flounder on the surface of the political sphere. As a person who does care considerably about the rights of women, people of color, the LGBTQ community, immigrants, animals, and the environment, I am obligated to dive deeper and take tangible actions.
The thing about diving deep is that the process itself is uncomfortable and not always enjoyable, but it is the only way to authentically live in a state of constant growth and personal development.
I was reminded of this by my amazing Airbnb Experience host, Kike (pronounced Key-Keh), “The Waterman”, who truly embodies passion, positivity, and authenticity. Upon meeting him I was swiftly reminded of Doreen Virtue’s books which suggest that some people are here on Earth with their life mission to serve as guardians and advocates for the planet, akin to reincarnated (and wildly attractive) merpeople. Believe what you will, but it would be difficult to convince me otherwise about Kike.
Though I had initially been a little nervous about selecting this experience based on my own insecurities, he immediately put me at ease and made me feel like a longlost friend. I am certain he is one of those rare people who virtually anyone could get along with, as he navigates effortlessly around rocks, sandbars, or difficult personalities like a downward flowing stream. His passion for the ocean and nature emanated wordlessly, as he patiently taught me how to paddleboard, hold my breath to sink closer to a submerged statue while diving, and embrace the concept of leisure al fresco, surrounded by a group of new friends.
Inspired by the raw, awe-inducing beauty of our oceans, which I had the opportunity to explore vis-a-vis Kike and Airbnb, I am now ready to recommit to diving deeper in my own personal and professional life, and I challenge you to do the same.
What lies beneath your sunny shallows? What opportunities and truths are waiting for you farther in the depths, if only you have the courage and perserverance to confront them?