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Day 16: Breaking Through in Order to Dive Deep

Photo Credit: ELENA LAGARIA via Compfight

In this 30-days to Mastering Your Fears Series, The Skool of Life and The Fear Project are collaborating to blow the doors off our most primal emotion. Today my substitute teacher is Sandi Amorim

Remember the fearless days of childhood, feeling that you could do anything? ‎

We forget that as adults, and let fear stop us.

It stops us from things like:

Those things however, are not what your brain was designed to fear.

Somewhere along the way everything became about survival and belonging, for to be cast out of the tribe was certain death.

Human beings have learned their lessons well:

We become, as Jamail Yogis writes in The Fear Project, dominated by our fears.

That’s how this being human thing works, and that’s how it’s worked forever. This made sense back in the day of Neanderthal man and sabre toothed tigers, but now?

Not so much.

How Fear Takes Over

Something happens.

My family used to go to the lake a lot in the summer, and I remember the joy of it. My cousins and I were fearless; swimming and having a great time diving off the dock.

Until one time I slipped, lost my footing, and tumbled head first into the water. I don’t actually remember much after that, but if I close my eyes and go back in time I can feel the tightness in my chest and my head starts to ache. It doesn’t take much and I’m back there in the panic of the moment.

The fear takes hold.

Not being able to breathe became the fear that lingered, and it showed up in how and where I swam and even in how I breathe. Sounds bizarre I know, but I often find myself holding my breath or breathing shallow.

That childhood incident opened the door to fear, and while not completely paralyzing, it held me back in many ways over the years.

Fast forward to present day.

The Breakthrough

Weird thing is, even with that near drowning in my past I’ve always loved the ocean, and scuba diving has long been one of those things I’d love to do someday, especially after my first trip to Maui last year.

But here’s the thing – someday is a dream killer.

And so whenever I had the thought that I might like to try it, my lizard brain would freak out…

WTF, me learn how to scuba dive? That’s crazy talk! I only like swimming in pools and even then I keep one eye on the sides.

Yet there I was dreaming of scuba diving; secretly of course, as I couldn’t admit this desire to anyone.

But life has a way of poking our fears, sometimes in the perfect way.

“We have been raised to fear the yes within ourselves, our deepest cravings.” ― Audre Lorde

My good friend Jason Sugar became a coach and PADI dive instructor, and one day I got an email announcing a new program he’d created (for scaredy cats like me!) and he asked if I wanted to take part in the first run.

I held my breath…

One count. Two counts.

Three…I exhaled and said yes.

Three weeks later I was in the pool ready to take my first breath underwater in full scuba gear.

I could hardly focus that day as I thought of the equipment, the lessons we’d had and a new, even greater fear that I might not go through with it.

“You are in integrity when the life you are living on the outside matches who you are on the inside.” – Alan Cohen

My desire to one day dive in tropical blue waters was greater than my fear and somehow, I made it to the pool in time for Jason to greet me (and calm me down.)

My insides (the long-held dream of scuba diving) were about to line up with my outsides (actually learning how to do it!) and my heart raced.

Fear is just excitement without the breath, and I was about to take my first breath under water.

Diving Deep

The first time under I panicked for a moment as I flashed back to the lake, drowning, gasping for air. But after a couple of seconds I calmed down, and remembered what Jason had taught me.

The rest of the night was magical.

The plan now is for me to do the full tropical training with him in Bali later this year. I’m pretty sure the fear will return (my heart speeds up just thinking about it), but I’ll be ready for it.

Jaimal writes, “Fear is freezing, love moves us.”

I say it was love that released me from that childhood fear.

My love of the ocean and Jason’s love of helping others breakthrough their fear was an unbeatable combination.

I know it’s not Mavericks Jaimal, but for me it’s just as big a win.

Sandi Amorim is an instigator, a coach and writer on a mission to wake you up from your ‘someday thinking. She can be found sharing her slightly mad twist on personal development at


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