I decide not to be a fish

I don’t need to be a fish, because, in fact, I am the Ocean.

I grew up in Cota, Cundinamarca. A small agricultural town in the outskirts of the chaotic and massive city of Bogota. Cota is part of the Eastern Andean Savanna, a stretch of fertile flatland in the middle of the mountains. Cota is small, it is high, it is cold, and it is rural.  I am a person from the mountains. In the morning, the fog covers everything: the Wizard’s Empire, my dad used to call it. It is cold.

From for ever, I do mountains. I don’t do Coast. The coast (Pacific or Atlantic) is good 18 hours away by car. It is far. It is unfamiliar. I always mistrusted the Ocean. Even the taste of Sea food remains strong for me–after years of experimenting and traveling and making friends from every corner of the world.

Yet, for reasons of life, that’s where my home is now. My mother ship, is as far as it can be from the mountains and to complicate matters it’s not just near the coast; it’s purely coast. Home is now in an island in the middle of nowhere: San Andres Island.

As I said, I never really trusted water. Of course, I’ll have a good time when I’m with friends, wherever I am. But even after the year I spent the entire summer in Santa Marata (in the Atlantic Coast) with my granfather and my cousins, I never fully let myself “go” while in the Sea. Until the day something beautiful happened. Then, things changed dramatically.

Two years ago, I went to visit my parents in San Andres Island, and we took a trip to a neighboring Island: Providencia. It’s a fantastic place. The smells, the sounds, the lack of people. It is relaxing to the very bare bone.

At the island, we hired a guide and went on a boat ride along the coral riff–the third largest coral riff in the world (after those in Australia and Belize). The guide took us to the ‘touristic’ sites and told us all sorts of stories about pirates and spices and gold treasures and British colonizers and local resentment. We swam in “The Sea of the Seven Colors”, which is how locals call their sea–and for good reason. Everyone was enjoying themselves so much and was so humbled by the beauty, that the guide suggested we go explore something a bit more “local”. That’s when everything changed.

Benito, the guide, a tough, handsome, negraso with an incredibly sensual Caribbean attitude, took us to this special spot for snorkeling and scuba diving. We dove in and it was like entering a magical world. More beautiful than that in Avatar for example. The colors, the shapes… the LIFE! All and each form of life, being itself, living. Fully trusting of the water, totally careless of the current, totally non-preoccupied. Just living. Joyfully, gracefully, naturally. And so beautifully. Me, the one that doubts the Sea more than anyone, couldn’t have enough.

That day, I decided what I needed to do with my life was become a little fish of the coral riff. Free, carefree, colorful, trusting of the Sea. I needed to let go and live in splendor, letting the magic of nature make me a beautiful component of the wonderland. I needed to stop trying and doubting; I needed to feel and go wherever I felt like; to be myself, to release the self that I was meant to be before I knew of the Sea as a concept. I needed to make of the flow, the flow.

I kept that thought close to my heart for a long time and through a tough stage. Until one day I realized that I had been so focused and stressed about becoming that little happy fish that I had missed the real lesson: I dont make the flow. I am, and the flow gets made.

I don’t need to fear the Sea and I don’t need to be a fish, because in fact, I am the Ocean. An Ocean of infinite complexity. There is within me, layers of oceans and new worlds to explore.

Sometime ago, when I had this realization, I wrote these lines: “In the ocean, an ocean within: my fears my tears my joy my laughter my pain my breathe. My dreams.
Today, my ocean within tastes like a rice dumpling with hazelnut and sweet sesame. Today, my ocean within sounds like balade pour adeline. Today, my ocean within smells like white sage and palo santo.
My ocean within is infinite. My ocean within is stormy and at times peaceful. My ocean within is angry and compasionate also. My ocean within is crazy for love for life. My ocean within, my soul, not my project. My ocean within is free: freedom within freedom.
Today, i am crazy for love for freedom for life. Today, my ocean within lives for me. I am soul.”

Today, I want to repeat that and keep that thought alive.  I am crazy for love for freedom for life. I am free. I fear not the sea. I am the Ocean. I am Soul. I am. The rest flows.

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