• khokhoi

Deep Dives in Island Skies

Arrived in Bantayan island, Philippines on 2/2/2022. Writing this on 2/22/222.

Yet it is always a bittersweet diaspora return, reconnecting across oceans of distance & maps of difference… thankfully, these repeated cycles of returns have helped ground me in the floating dance…

I’ve been swimming in oceans, daydreams, journals, memories, archives. just to iterate, I am *not* on vacation. I am *home.

One of the biggest joys this month is learning how to freedive.

My father & his father & my entire paternal line were freedivers on this island. Freediving is literally in my DNA. I am now finally learning on the island where it all began, thanks to the local environmental awareness initiative of @islanddiversbantayan.

My dad used to go freediving every morning with his father, catching the day’s food for his family before going to school at 7am. With a brilliant mind, he became the first to go to college, breaking the generational cycle of fisherfolk survival. He is the last freediver who inherited this skill through lineage. His younger siblings never learned; some of my aunts & cousins don’t even know how to swim.

By the time of my generation, free-diving became associated as a ‘lower class’ skill by those influenced by modernizing, colonizing urban forces (arguably, it is dangerous at extreme depths). Now there is a new wave activating the treasure of this seafolk tradition.

What an incredible experience to return my body into the ocean & awaken deeply-seated embodied wisdom. I am learning how freediving incorporates principles of pranayama, breath work & meditation practice. I am learning that free diving requires us to release the gravity of fears, anxieties and worries to arrive at the depths of experience.

Even though I got bit by a jellyfish & stepped on a sea urchin in the span of two days (ahahahaha!), I feel healing happening in every cell in my body. Grateful for this opportunity to reconnect to source.

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