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Diving Deeper into Undrowned

I love books because they allow for a conversation with the author even when they aren't in the room. I had a conversation with Alexis Pauline Gumbs tonight through her book Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals.

A Guide for Diving Deeper

(From cachalot aka Phyester macrocephalus, aka the sperm whale who can dive more than a mile deep.)

Lately I feel like spirit is asking me to dive deeper. This thought often makes me tremble. I have spent a lot of time trying to control when I dive, where I dive, and how deep I dive but I now hear the call to surrender control, surrender the knowing, and take a deep breath and dive.

one. breathe.

(we sperm whales can replace 90 percent of the air in our lungs with one breath. we can blow our breath seventeen feet high. however deep you are breathing, breathe more, exhale longer.)

I can’t breathe, I hear echoing in my head. Afraid to move front, back, left , right, up and down. Paralyzed by fear. Wondering is it really safe? Can I trust myself? My body? My own breath this time?

two. take responsibility for your forehead.

(we, for example, have a head full of wax we can solidify like a weight to go deeper, we can melt it to become lighter than water and float. what is going on in your head? be intentional with it.)

Being smart and creative isn’t always my friend. I can make up all kinds of stories. I can and have made up stories that free me from the responsibility that is mine. I feel the call to take responsibility, to step more into my grown ass self, set clear intentions and own my choices at an even deeper layer..

three. hush.

(we stretch out our bodies sixty feet long at the surface and then arch our backs facing down, our tails come with us “barely creating a ripple.” we are saving our energy for depth. this is not the time to splash.)

Hush, quiet your mind. Trust your body to know how to move and where to go. Be grace in motion.

four. be flexible.

(deep in the ocean there is pressure. a lot of pressure. it

will press on your chest and your lungs will collapse. you call it heartbreak. it is not. it is how what made you embraces you. reshapes you. welcomes you back. let it happen.)

Yes, the pain of the world can seem too hard to bear. I can doubt my own ability to survive this pain in moments but then love shows me something different. It shows me time and time again that what I think is a breakdown is always a breakthrough. Each time I learn to surrender more.

five. be specific in your actions.

(when your lungs collapse you will need the oxygen in your blood. it is deep in your muscles. it was put there by practice. let your practice facilitate depth. it will be there when you need it.)

Trusting that everything that has come before has prepared me for this moment. Each yes I have said to spirit has strengthened my capacity to dive further. Each time I go to the fire, the water, the earth and offer my praise, struggles, desires, I am strengthened. They meet me and I/us become stronger together.

six. listen.

(we listen underneath our throats, not with our ears. we listen across the planet. we can hear each other click from opposite sides of the globe. though we may seem alone, we never are.)

Listening to my fifth chakra, the place of voice and choice. The place between my heart and my head. The place where I choose to dive deeper into my own relationship with spirit and therefore all of creation. The place where I can speak from an authentic voice. “Truth“ with a capital T.

seven. come back.

(you will know when it has been enough time in the deep. it can vary. attune to your need. account for your nourishment. direct your thoughts, melt them down make them light. and return.)

And then I come back home. I always know when it is time. I always know the way. I am welcomed back with a loving embrace…again.


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