We see and hear a lot of incredible stories and experiences from the divers that pass through the doors of our dive centre.
One of our Professional candidates has permitted me to share their experience here.
Going through an extremely dark and difficult period in life, one that seemed impossible to overcome, they wanted to do something positive. Having an incredible fear of water, and being unable to swim, swimming lessons seemed like an ideal place to start. After learning to swim, and putting in many hours of practice, they wanted more. They signed up for a PADI Open Water Diver Course. Being a cautious person in nature, scuba diving seemed like an extreme choice, especially given that they had just learnt to swim. But, by going through such a difficult time, all caution was recklessly thrown to the wind, as they became determined to achieve something and yearned to become a part of something again.
Their Open Water and Advanced Open Water Courses sailed past, but it wasn’t until after the Advanced Course, that the diver noticed that an increasing connection and strength had been steadily growing and developing. Having challenged, pushed and created opportunities for them to progress as a diver, they succeeded in becoming a PADI Divemaster. This was a huge moment of self-realisation for the diver. If it hasn’t been for the circumstances they found themselves in, they probably would never have found diving.
Membership in a Community
Sometimes it’s the moments we’d rather forget, that create opportunities for us to grow as individuals.
Diving can play a huge part in healing. And this is incredibly relevant in the current climate.
Many are hurting from loss, personal and financial, alongside loneliness and anxiety.
While many of us can’t go diving just yet, it is the community that buoys us up, that strengthens us and gives us a sense of belonging, of hope and faith. Because things will get better.
As many of you know, we have been running a series of webinars, documenting the many adventures and experiences of some of the inspirational pioneers in the scuba diving industry. And many of them would agree, that diving is a healer in many ways.
Digital Underwater Photography and Videography
We heard from Dr Alex Mustard, one of the most talented, inspirational underwater photographers in the world. For many people, underwater photography has become therapy. It’s an outlet, it’s creative, it’s escapism. Underwater photography is therapeutic for the body, mind and soul, and Dr Alex helped encouraged our listeners to find solace and calm amidst stress and chaos, that ultimately reflects in their pictures.
Technical Diving and Exploration
Ben Reymenants, owner and founder of Blue Label Diving, took us in to the Tec Diving world. As an esteemed member of the Explorer’s Club, Ben is world renowned for his cave exploration and deep dives, and his work, knowledge and experience in diving medicine. He was also instrumental in the celebrated rescue of the Thai Football team in the network of caves in Northern Thailand in 2018. He is an incredibly nurturing, effective trainer. His unrivalled diving experience and expertise has helped touch the lives of so many.
Leo Morales inspired us with his story. After losing a leg to cancer in 2008, Leo was plunged in to depression. When Leo found scuba diving, he came to believe nothing was impossible. Diving gave him an entirely new lease of life, and helped him to find freedom and happiness again. Leo opened his dive centre in Mexico, to be able to offer training to divers with disabilities, to transform their lives as Leo’s has been. Dive-Abled Leo has shared his story with the world, to serve as a powerful reminder that diving is a healer, and to dive strong.
Before going on to recognize how freediving and marine biology and conservation generate opportunities for healing, rejuvenation and rediscovery, as part of PADI’s corporate social responsibility program, the Four Pillars of Change motivate divers to act as a Force For Good, as ambassadors and torchbearers for the underwater world.
Being The Best Version of You
Diving boosts confidence and personal achievement. It encourages travel, bonding, community and friendship. This is why so many of us are struggling, being cut off from the very activity which gives us a sense of belonging, of togetherness, and enjoyment. While we adjust to what the new normal is or may be, we must strive to keep the community strong and alive.
We have all encountered physical and/or mental challenges in our lives, and I guarantee that if we look back, we can pinpoint moments when scuba diving has helped to reduce or alleviate some of the symptoms of these challenges. We need to remember that now. Because there are things we can do, to stay connected to our PADI Family, wherever in the world they may be. Using the various online tools and platforms that we engage with daily, we can create a worldwide synergy, combining our strengths to bring about a positive impact on the evolving new normal.
This is what the Four Pillars of Change embodies.
Ploy Scott, owner of Bangkok Freedivers, shared her story and vision with us. Freediving is incredibly mindful, and you must be in the moment to relax, to create an inner calm, and experience an inner peace. Body, mind and soul must become aligned to enjoy successful freediving experiences. These skills can be transferred into other parts of our lives to bring about transformation. You just have to tap in to the power of your breath, and the power of mindfulness to unlock all the potential.
Finally, we learned from Spencer Arnold, Master Trainer with Conservation Diver about the importance of symbiosis in the underwater world, a biological relationship between two organisms. He talked about symbiotic relationships in terms of Commensalism, Mutualism and Parasitism. Commensalism being a relationship between two organisms, where one benefits, but the other is unaffected. Mutualism, where both organisms derive some benefit from the relationship, and Parasitism where the parasite derives benefit, but causes the host harm.
As scuba divers, we can have a symbiotic relationship with the underwater world, we just have to decide which one. By proactively educating ourselves and others while raising awareness, we can make the relationship mutualistic. Otherwise, if we continue to take from the ocean, without giving back, the relationship will be parasitic, and our beloved underwater world will continue to decline even more rapidly, and put devastating end to the sport, and every one of its incredible aspects, that we all love so much.
Create a Better World
During this time, we have all thought more about the overall impact of our own individual carbon footprint. While the world has had a chance to breathe, how will we come out on the other side, and what will we be doing to continue to make a difference? While global warming continues to be an issue, our reefs remain threatened. Let’s re-think our consumerist habits, invest in eco-tourism, give back to our communities, avoid single use plastic, recycle, buy local, lobby local government for permanent change, look in to renewable energy and reduce water, energy and food waste. When we leverage the strength of humanitarian synergy worldwide, we have a better shot at achieving mutualistic symbiosis with our underwater world. So, not only can we invest in diving to help soothe our own permanent or transient physical and/or mental challenges, we can in turn use it to influence a better world.