My recent diving has seen me move towards what I call the ‘pleasure measure’.
The gauge for a successful dive is pleasure – not numbers. Don’t get me wrong – I love depth – the feelings get better as I go deeper, but I find I enjoy freediving more and dive better when numbers are not among my reasons for diving.
Diving for pleasure is:
- Only going to a point that I enjoy. I never forego that for more depth or duration. When it ceases to be pleasant or before it does I calmly leave.
Pleasure gives me:
- Comfortable dives. I have positive emotions, sensations and thoughts. This enables me to be;
- Aware – my mind is not fogged by the overload of pushing the envelope. I can experience, identify, remember and understand what happened down there I. e. have fun and learn. Being aware gives me;
- Control – I can play around with my body and technique (strokes, pulls, eq). I.e. have fun and learn. In contrast when I push the envelope I tend to fall into what I know and always do (effective or not). Being in control gives me;
- Confidence – Good things happen underwater, are taken out and brought back in. No doubts, tensions, fears, disappointments, frustrations, confusion or weighty expectations i.e. a positive feedback loop. Being confident makes me a:
- Stable diver – chilled, consistent, happy.
Diving like this, I master the depth I am diving (or something along those lines) – emotionally, psychologically physically and technically. The logical outcome to that is – I gently expand the boundaries of my pleasure zone I.e. go deeper/stay longer in a steady, pleasant way.
Grey Areas of Pleasure
I do touch on grey areas – the dives are pleasurable not perfect. For example, two things that commonly happen to me are:
- I may have the thought this freefall is starting to feel long
- my equalisation may waiver slightly
But when these things happen they happen for a second or two and I get hold of them and they do not grow. They happen in the very last part of the dive. This is the border of a grey area – where I can make things more stable. Crucially I do not dive beyond that until they are stable. To do so would only amplify the instability for me – the freefall would become something I want to end, the eq would go from wavering to completely unraveling. This would change confidence to doubt, control to loss of it, comfort to discomfort or even injury, pleasure to disappointment, frustration or even fear.
Pleasure shifts perceptions:
- The plate is no longer a target as I dive as long as I am comfortable. Instead it is a control measure – I decide to dive no deeper than that but not necessarily to it.
- As a by-product the idea of an early turn or a failed dive no longer exists. There can be no early turn or fail where pleasure is the only target.
- I no longer see problems. Diving as a problem solving exercise turns it into a never ending series of problems to clear. I now view things that I am working on as just making things better, more pleasurable.
- I no longer have angst attached to thoughts of how deep am I, how deep can I go and how long will it take.
Final thoughts on pleasure:
- It gives me a positive reality under water.
- It makes me more honest, patient, wiser and safer – a better diver all round.
- As an approach it can be incorporated into diving for numbers. It is a very effective way to control your desire for depth, time or distance in order to play a longer, safer game and attain those goals.