How to live and freedive with passion, and how to do without it?

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I live with passion, but I have a passion-problem. I am one of the world’s deepest freediving women soon to be in a freediving competition, and I can’t freedive deep anymore.

I’m in Bahamas in one of the best places to dive deep and compete. But every time I try my body says no. I did a fairly easy dive to 99m late last year. The world record is 101m. I tried to do it, made it to 102m but blacked out on the way up. Now I can barely get halfway to a hundred meters without my body cringing with contractions and the urge to breathe.
I love being in the water, and I love the training and fun with my friends here, but as soon as I go for a deep dive my body says no. I don’t know if it’s the body that is not ready, or if it’s the brain telling the body it doesn’t want to. Or maybe it’s the heart. Is it just that my passion for deep freedives is temporarily gone? Maybe I freedived too much last year. Maybe my body is not ready. Maybe it’s excuses. Maybe it’s time to stop competitive freediving. But I’m not the kind of person who ever gives up. Maybe I need a break. Or maybe I just need to stop doubting.

Freediving is different from any other sport in the way the emotions and thoughts play a huge part of your dive. One single thought or emotion can be reason enough to abort a dive. By that it’s by far the most challenging sport I have ever tried (and I have tried a lot of sports). Freediving is challenging because it’s not just a sport. It’s about every other single detail in your life too.

When you freedive you close your eyes and dive into yourself.
When you freedive you are utterly alone with yourself, your thoughts, memories and emotions.

I have created my lifestyle by living passionate. I have followed my dreams and always done what I really want to do, and feel like doing. I never asked myself if a life lived without passion would even be worth living. I used to go to sleep at night just wishing for it to be morning so that I could dive deep again. I used to come back from my deep freedives with a silly smile on my face, counting down hours for my next time in the sea.

Of course I cannot freedive deep without a passion for depth. I talked to freedivers about it, and I talked to my speaking- and lifecoach about it. He is wise and good at helping me to think differently. He said humans are always trying to complicate things. Our brains are amazing. He also said he knows that you can decide what emotions you want to have. So I will need to decide to be passionate about depth again. With 10 days until the competition starts I need to get my passion back by remembering what I love about deep freediving, and stop inviting the doubt to my inner conversations.

Freediving is difficult that way.
– ”You know why it is difficult?” my coach would ask. ”Because you have decided that it is difficult”.
What if it’s really that simple?

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18 Comments on “How to live and freedive with passion, and how to do without it?

  1. Pingback: Don’t believe everything you think or expect – The mindtrick that made me freedive deep | Annelie Pompe blogg

  2. Pingback: 3 freediver girls photos of living, competing and dancing in the rain | Annelie Pompe blogg

  3. I’ve seen Aharon dealing with things like this before. Contact him.

  4. Pingback: Of giving in and getting stronger instead of giving up | Annelie Pompe blogg

  5. Dear Annelie, I don’t know if you remember me,- but I really loved to read your post, it’s so honest and authentic! And I think I perfectly understand what you are talking about. Moreover I think that the answer is already in it….
    I wish you all the best for the Vertical Blue! Dive safe and, above all, ENJOY…!

  6. Tack för dina tankar, Patrik! Ja det vore märkligt (och t o m tråkigt) om livet var enkelt utan några dippar alls. Om fridykning var enkelt skulle jag nog inte ens hålla på med det ;-)

  7. Jag tror du har rätt Mats, generellt är vi för mycket i tankarna, i huvudet för att kunna lyssna, hitta eller skapa det som hjärtat och kroppen vill!

  8. Hi Sanne! Thanks for your comment. I just realised maybe it’s not really depth I’m passionate about from the start, but the feeling at depth… :-)

  9. Hello,
    I am 38, former french recordman for free immersion. It was about 15 years ago, 63 meters. Really shallow if you look at it in 2015, but at that time it was quite a thing.

    We freedivers are all different, I can only share my experience of ”deep” freediving competitor, who quit.

    I quit, not because I couldn’t go deeper, but because it was time for me to move on.
    I broke a record so I could show off. Bottomline, I thought that people would admire me more, and maybe love me more. I had things to prove, I guess.
    Is it a good reason to compete? I honesty don’t know.

    So after breaking a record, I quit because I had proven that I could do it. Time to move on. Time to get away from a dangerous thing too.

    And then when I quit, the passion went somewhere else. The passion comes from you, because it is your temper. I guess you were a passionate person before you discovered freediving. So the passion will work with other things : arts, other sports, kids, love, mediation, you name it. Have no doubt, if you quit competition, the passion will go somewhere else.

    Freediving, as a passion for meditation, will stay. You will dive. Or find a way to meditate differently. If it goes away, it probably means that the passion was for competition rather than for freediving. If so, it’s ok.

    I don’t know how old you are, probably too young to be interested in the part where I tell you that I have seen many people die or get hurt.
    But I still feel that I have to warn you. Whatever they say, freediving deep, competiting, is a dangerous option. Whatever they say.
    You may think (without admiting it) that dangerous is sexy. It is not.

    If you quit, you don’t quit. You move on.
    That is what I can tell you, as a person.

    As a competitor, my advice would be that you forget about depht for the next 6 month. Just go on with ”meditation freediving”, and pleasure. Leave the depht meter on the boat or on the beach. Dive shallow without a cable. Snorkel. Get a good feeling. I think that’s a good way to solve your problem.

    Best,
    Nicolas.

  10. Being physically able and getting your mind to actually do it, is one of the hardest parts of freediving in my beliefs.

    I hope that you can find peace of mind in your passion for depth, rediscover the passion for depth by knowing your mind evolves over time and your appreciation for your inner voice might need to evolve as well.

    Good luck with your endeavors at the Blue Hole and stay strong as you’ve always been strong to begin with!

  11. The ocean can teach us so much about ourselves. We must, however, listen to our bodies and know our limits, especially when we are free diving . You can do it! :) You have already proven that your heart IS in it. It is the mind that is an excellent student, but horrible teacher. I look forward to hearing of your progress. Thank you for being a sting female advocate for the ocean!

  12. Försök inte hitta passionen. När du försöker hitta tillbaka är du uppe i tankarna. Vad händer när vi ibland ger upp, och säger det får gå som det går. Då ökar chansen att vi är i zonen igen.
    Passionen finns inom dig, den hittar dig!! Din coach har rätt. Det kanske är enkelt.

  13. Livet är ständigt en strid mellan den passionerade känslomässiga delen av ens hjärna och den kallhamrade rationella analytiska delen. Vad du håller på med är ju helt klart att tänja på gränser för vad man som människa klarar av både mentalt och fysiskt. Att du då och då får ”dipps” måste väl anses vara helt ”normalt” (om man nu kan prata om normalt om 101 meter i djupet och 8848 meter i höjden), då du inte är mer än människa dock med en vilja av stål och ett pannben av betong. Tror att vi alla har våra toppar och dalar, det är väl det som kallas livet antar jag. Du kommer igen på ett eller annat sätt, precis som alla av oss kommer igen efter svackor, alternativet finns inte om man är envis. Sköt om dig, det löser sig, det ordnar sig alltid.

  14. ”When you freedive you close your eyes and dive into yourself.” I get it. In the deep there’s nothing to distract my thoughts…..Ain’t easy task.

  15. Do. Or do not. There is no try.

    Speciellt på ett andetag.

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