I almost drowned while not-swimming in the lake this afternoon. Nobody noticed this was happening to me, but somehow I saved myself after several large gulps of water.
This was one of my biggest fears about going into the lake. I saw kids jump from the pier and splash into the lake. I wanted to do this really badly; but fear stayed me. I feared that I would drown. I feared that I would slam into the rocks just beneath the water and injure myself. I feared that I would not know what to do. I was in this paralysis and after a couple of hours, I told myself that before I leave El Peten; I will jump into the lake. Face my fears, conquer them.
That was about 3 weeks ago. Ultimately, I decided to wade it from the shore instead. Go figure the puzzle would shove my fears towards me anyway on the last possible moment!
Somehow, I found myself suddenly able to float face down. In all the years that I have tried; I could never float. First time in five years that I got into the water; as this was the first body of water I encountered; and I floated. I have not been able to work up the courage to float face up yet.
I was floating in my usual spot; which was a dozen or so meters to the left and out from the pier. When I stand up, my head, neck, and the first few centimeters of my shoulders are above water. The waves were coming in so if anything I would drift back towards shore. The exercise I have been doing is float with face downwards with my breath held. I would slowly let water ingress into my nose and ears, and see how long I can last until I stand upright again. The waves changed direction and I was drifting outwards. Upon trying to stand up, the water was too deep and I was about a meter under water.
I panicked because I could not figure out what to do; nor did I know what orientation I was in. I noticed myself expiring breath unnecessarily and tried to float again and paddle myself forward; not knowing which direction I would be heading in. Somehow I drifted out further and it was more than a meter now. I could no longer buoy myself upwards.
Panic. Panic. Panic. Water ingress. Water ingress. Water ingress.
Somehow in all my struggling, I was able to get my nose and mouth above water to take a small breath and calm myself down. The next opportunity i took a larger breath. It also got me water; but it's an improvement - beggars can't be choosers.
Each breath, I was able to hold for a few seconds. I waved my arms backward to propel myself forward. I had no idea how I was able to buoy myself above water like this. I am just grateful that I did. Eventually, my feet found the rocky bottom and I dared to stop and stand. My whole head came above water, but would submerge with the waves. I took the deepest breath I could in between waves, and floated. The waves were once again headed towards shore and as I propelled foward with another float. I felt myself going towards shore.
I stood again and I was now a couple of meters away from the pier. I coughed up as much water as I could. My head was pounding; there was acute pain in my abdomen; and I felt sick. I felt like my head was being squeezed tight. I waded my way towards ladder up to the pier and stumbled up and sat on the pier staring at the sun for a good long while.
Belch. Fart. Lean left - Belch, Lean right - Belch, sit upright indulging in the feeling to throw up - Belch. Followed by waiting. Eventually I was able to walk back to the hostel when most of the pain subsided and the sun was about to kiss the horizon.
Wow, The Puzzle (Universe) brought one of my fears to me. The fear of drowning; and somehow I survived it and saved myself. That was a little death that I survived.
Six years ago, I listened to a recording of Neale Donald Walsch on the topic of anxiety, fears, and the analogy he used was little death and Big Death. I do not recall the exact words now; but basically the message was that we fear and kill ourselves with little deaths all the time; when the only one we should be watching out for was the Big Death; and even then, it is just a turn of the cycle as the Big Death becomes a rebirth.
With experiencing each little death; I have come to realize that it was an unfounded fear after all. Somehow I survived and here I am again. What lies on the other side of intense fear that reaches its climax? Gratitude to be alive. I still have a headache now and there is only a bit over 9 hours left on my time here in El Peten / Tikal.
Perhaps I had yet another divine intervention from one of the beings watching over me. Atherak, or the Chaosrider, or somebody else.
More to come.
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