advice you didn't ask for

looking is not seeing.

We are all moving through life at such a fast pace. Even those of us that live on “island time” sometimes need to slow it down even more to really appreciate our surroundings and what this world has to offer. If you can’t find something miraculous in every place you go, you are looking too quickly.

I will use a diving example as it is something I observe in people week after week at work. They are 100% stoked, they just arrived and are so ready to dive they can barely contain their excitement. They spend hours organizing their gear and charging their cameras just looking forward to getting underwater and seeing amazing things. I love seeing their excitement but what I do not love is when they get back on the boat after 1 hour underwater on the lively reef and they say “Yeah it was a nice dive but didn’t see much.”. I just smile and say “well, better luck on the next one then.” but what I really want to tell them that is that if they were actually looking they would not be able to count how many amazing things they saw.

One talent you acquire after years of working as a diver is the ability to keep an eye on all the divers while also watching everything that is happening on the reef. Even when I am multitasking, I still see more of the reef than the guests combined. It is not because I might have more time spent underwater, it is because I move slowly with an understanding that there is magic to be seen everywhere I look. I watch the divers swimming quickly and far above the reef expecting to see jaw dropping aquatic life just appear. You have to slow down, look, and realize that looking is not seeing. In order to see the real magic, you have to watch. Sometimes this means watching one coral head for 10 minutes and then you might see that there is a tiny baby octopus of which all you can see is the tiny pencil eraser sized siphon breathing in and out through a small crack between the hard coral and the rock next to it. Then you can watch the behavior, because this is the most interesting part. The octopus saw me long before I saw her and she is sure to be on the move and ready to change colors in an instant. I slow my breathing and wait. Lucky for me she decides to move and then I get to see the real magic, the way they move. I take it all in with respect and gratitude knowing that my place in this world is so tiny and my role in it is simply preservation as humans contribute nothing positive to nature.

So, my advice for today is to see and not just look. Slow down and appreciate what is around you. In every place you go, remember that the magic will pass you by if you let it.




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