You’ve got to love a lyricist who makes “hotter” rhyme with “water” via a crab with a Jamaican accent. (Thanks, Howard Ashman. See The Little Mermaid song “Under the Sea”: “That’s why it’s hotter / under the water.”) But I agree there’s a lot more going on under the surface.
Under the surface of Turtle Lake in northern Wisconsin, where I spent many of my childhood summers, it was dark and green and often very cold. There were pockets of inexplicable warmth, and leeches on the bottom (I learned that the hard way). It was wonderful to splash around in the sunshine, and even better at night with no clothes. You had no choice but to run flailing down to the dock to avoid mosquitoes, throw your towel off, and plunge in the cold, dark water all at once.
Once you adjusted, the water felt velvety smooth.
There must be something to the combination: slight terror of what lies beneath, exhilaration in the moment you take the plunge, and absolute silence in the watery depths.
All of this deep diving seems analogous for me. I have always had a motivation to go deeper. I am not content to skate along, unquestioning. I tend to reject the assumed “normal,” or at least ask why. I can’t totally explain this, except to say that it just seems to be a part of my makeup. Why else would a ten-year-old child announce she wants to learn to meditate? All I can say is, that hunger for deeper presence, fierce curiosity, and supercharged growth seems to come from some little voice inside me, pushing me forward on a journey.
To frame it within the biggest question: why ARE we here? To have a good time before disappearing back into the abyss? Of course, lifetimes of literature have been devoted to these big questions. But for me, the answer lies in an impulse to push deeper and farther, to keep expanding rather than standing still. According to my Five-Minute Journal (a seriously awesome daily practice), “If you’re not moving forward, you’re most likely moving backwards. There is no standing still in life.” For me, life is a journey of growth to ever-deepening levels of peace, happiness, and fulfillment. That journey is spiritual in nature, and sometimes painful. Making that trip solo is a lonely proposition. I’ve come to realize how important it is to find your kindred travel partners. Come dive with me.