Everyone, and I mean everyone, suffers from doubt. Look at the most confident person you know, a person who struts around boldly, head held high, never seeming to flinch under the stresses or strains of life, and it is easy to imagine that they are infallible, that they are blessed with a suit of armour that deflects away all negativity, that lets doubt and fear slide easily away, without so much as leaving a dent or a scratch. The truth is that not one person has ever existed on this planet who did not have a moment of doubt, a moment of self-reflection where a shoot of negativity threatened to engulf them and pull them below, into the icy waters of darkness. It happens to everyone. Period.
I had returned to Costa Rica from a one week vacation in Nicaragua with a female friend of mine. The vacation was enjoyable, but it left me with a sense of rejection. Here was someone I found attractive, whose heart and soul I had gotten to know through our shared writing, and who comprehensively told me on several occasions that they were not interested in me in that way. Not that I wanted to do anything to spoil a friendship, I have too much respect and integrity not only for my friend, but also for myself, and to be honest, I was not entirely convinced of the plausibility of getting together anyway. And besides this, my heart is the deciding factor, always has and always will be. By being told over and again that nothing could happen, that there was no chance, seemed to damage my ego and touched that place in my soul that is so full of negativity and self-doubt about myself. That is a place that broils and smoulders like the lava of a volcano that awaits its release, so that it can flow free and unhindered. That is a place, that I fight hard to avoid, less I should be drawn down too far, and never make my way back to the sunlight once more. Although it was not rejection in the truest sense, since I had made no advances and it was never really a possibility, it nonetheless came over to me as such and I took it that way.
Since my return to work from this vacation, I have been working flat out, crazy, long days. In my work as a scuba diving instructor, I am contractually meant to have one day off every five days, but the reality is that I am lucky if I get one day off each week. If there are things to be done, then my boss expects his staff to work, even if a day off was overdue. Often, it is possible to work eight, nine or even ten days straight, and then receive just a singe day free. Not knowing when your day off will come means that it is impossible to make any plans with your time, since you are never sure if you are free the next day, until 8pm or so of the evening before. The days can be long and physically demanding, and here in Costa Rica, there is the heat and humidity of each day that saps at you. Some days, you don't get a chance for a break, having to eat lunch on the go. Some days, we start at 6:30am and don't get done until 5pm. It can be brutal and it is not for the faint hearted, nor for those seeking an easy life.
But of course, the boss is grateful for all of the things that you do, that essentially keeps his business running and him enjoying the profits, right? Wrong. In the 20 months that I have worked at this one job, the boss has uttered the words "thank you" only once. Not once has he offered to buy the staff a beer for a hard days grafting - not even on Christmas Day, when we also have to work a full day. He demands loyalty of his staff, but gives nothing in return. And the pay? That must be the reward for all this effort, surely? This is not a job you do for the financial rewards. If that is what you seek, then consider another career path.
It is no small wonder that I began to question my path. Is scuba diving really my passion? Aren't I getting too old to do this now? Should I continue to stay away from England, from my parents, my brother and sister? Is it my transient lifestyle that prevents me from finding the love in another soul that I seek? Am I truly happy doing what I am doing, living overseas, always changing my home, my friends, my job? Why can I not find love? What is wrong with me, that I seem to suffer constant rejection? Doubts. Tendrils of darkness, creeping in to consume my soul.
And then the light comes again. A brilliant whiteness that obliterates everything that stands before it. Nothing can resist it. It burns away all darkness, it takes despair and turns it to joy, it casts away doubt, crushes it, sweeps it aside, an unrelenting force, like the breakers that crash into the shore, driven on by the winds of a ferocious storm. What has happened to so completely turn around my thinking?
Under the ocean, I find my home, my peace, my tranquility. In the depths, I find life. And it is that life, that fills me with such joy and passion for what it is that I do. Blessed with seeing two giant manta rays, blessed with watching white tip reef sharks, blessed with witnessing huge schools of fish, blessed with casting my eyes on an abundance of life, blessed with being allowed to fill my soul with life, with miracles and in so doing, with joy. A deep sensation of utter, complete joy at life and not only life, but love. Love for what I do. Love for where I am. Love for who I am. Love for daring to dream. Love for daring to walk and to take that first step. Love for all those who have shared my journey and my path. Love for England, for my mother, my father, my brother and my sister, without whom I could not be here. Love.
Then more than this. A pretty girl at the hotel smiles at me and our eyes meet. In a single moment, an insignificant moment of time, something significant transpires. An energy transfers from her to me and from me to her. A few days later, we meet again and I boldly ask her to go for a drink. Carpe diem. It is my way. She agrees. I knew she would. I never doubted it. I can't explain why. I just knew it. We meet the next evening, we talk, and as I gaze into one of the most beautiful faces that I have ever had the pleasure of sharing conversation with, I know. I know that here and now, I could fall in love and become utterly lost. Drawn in by those eyes, drawn in by the passion that is so evident in her face as she speaks of her love of dancing, of her love of teaching. I am lost. We kiss. It is enough. My soul and my heart believe once more. I know that somewhere out there, if I am daring enough, if I have belief in myself, I will find the one for which I have spent my entire life seeking.
I rediscovered my faith. I found again that I am on the right path. There is no denying that I love what I do. There can be no denying that I love the life that I have made for myself, because it is the life that I chose, that I carved into the history of time. The problem is not what I do, the problem is only where I do it. Choosing to suffer needlessly when I could choose to move on, if I so wished. But I love the ocean life here. It is rich and it is what fills my soul with life and love. I have faith once more that I will find the love in another heart and soul. I know it. I do truly believe it. Until that day, I will have faith in my path. I will continue to walk my path, in my own way and I will continue to bask in the light that comes from my heart. Because that light, is the light of love, and, as I have said many times before, love is all there really ever is.