Of expeditions high and deep, and how to be mentally strong in changing conditions
One look at the waves was really enough. The wind pulled at our clothes, but we stayed. Just looking at the sea in silence. As if the watching of the waves could by willpower make them smaller. I would have loved to go for the world record attempt today. I’m sure I would have made my dive. But there’s no use complaining about the weather. It will always be what it is. We have to adapt to nature.
Doing a deep freedive is like a miniature mountain-expedition. It’s as if I’ve been to camp 3 and realised the summit push is off because the mountain is avalanche-prone. I go back to my basecamp in the room. I hear the windows clatter in the wind and is reminded once again how similar making a deep dive is to being in the mountains. I’m sure that at this very moment there are a group of people staring in the same way at the summit of mt. Everest, willing the high winds to die. They are prepared to make a summit push, everything meticulously planned and prepared, all equipment laid out, backpack packed and reay to be carried to the top. I’m in the same situation. My monofin is waiting, the suit laid out, the masks cleaned. As soon as the sea allows, I’m ready to have another go at depth.
Mentally it’s like a game of hide and seek, or maybe of being in a rollercoaster. The focus is being brought up to sharpness, to be able to block everything unecessary away, only to be hit with a hammer of cancellation and lay shattered for a few hours of dissapointment. It’s all about being able to adapt the mind to new situations. Like when something unexpected changes just a few minutes before a record attempt, or when someone says something that just sticks in your head.
A large part of my training for freediving (and life) is about being mentally strong and being able to focus. Part of the mental strength comes during the physical training. If you know you can endure physical exhaustion that knowledge will add to your mental strength. I believe the mental training is divided into several parts. The first part is only about getting to know the mind. It’s about getting aware of what you are thinking, and how it affects you. It’s about listening to all the voices and conversations inside your head. The next step is about letting go. Let go of all the thoughts you don’t want. It’s simple, but it’s not easy. But you will get better by training. Every 100 times you let go of a thought is a way of getting more control of the mind.
We’ve had a amazing phtotgrapher here for a few days, Nanna Kreutzmann, who has taken these photos during training: