This time of the year days are getting shorter and shorter in the Northern Hemisphere, as we are heading towards midwinter. In Lapland this is a time of polar nights, when the sun does not rise at all over the horizon north of the Arctic Circle. Further south, the sun rises for a few hours, shining its light on the winter landscape. Adaptation to this darkness may seem overwhelming for many, even for northern citizens. The lack of light in the winter months makes it essential for northern citizens to intake extra D-vitamin. Many people plan a winter vacation to a sunny destination. Others spend the whole winter at home, adapting to the climate and darkness. With snow this time of the year, many people enjoy cross-country skiing, but when no snow falls, this is still an excellent time for running in nature.
Running, as any other exercise, in darkness, is a way of strengthening one´s intuition. With no artificial light, one needs to rely completely on sensing the path. Of course, training in darkness requires some caution, and is not recommended in unfamiliar terrains where different kinds of hazards are possible. In fact, this reminds me of a holiday in Cambodia, where I toured the huge temple area of Angkor Wat by bike. Just before sunset, I wanted to visit Ta Phrom once more, but a local guardian firmly stopped me at the gate, suggesting that I would leave the area. With a slight feeling of disappointment, I climbed upon my bike and soon realized why he had asked me to leave. Darkness falls very quickly in Cambodia, and there are no artificial lights in the temple area, which is surrounded by jungles, home to many reptiles and snakes, something that we do not need to be cautious about in the North.
During the same holiday, I went night diving through a local dive center. A few years earlier I could never even have imagined that I would, some day, travel to a country far from home, get dressed into a diving suit, and actually go diving after sunset. The night before, the local Dive Shop in Sihanoukville had taken us to the island of Koh Rong Samleum, where we spent the night sleeping in a diver´s bungalow located directly at the beach. I remember lying awake in my bunk bed, unable to fall asleep because of listening to the heavy monsoon rain falling during the night. The experience of sleeping under a mosquito net in an open bungalow, on a peaceful island far away from home, with the proximity of the huge ocean, is unforgettable. As was the dive after sunset. Led by a qualified instructor, we anchored the boat somewhere in the middle of the ocean. The captain stayed in the boat, while me and my instructor, and another instructor with his student, prepared to dive into the darkness. As my instructor jumped into the water, I simply followed her, quite excited, but fully trusting her expertise and guidance through the water. We were both wearing torches supplying us with some light in the otherwise completely opaque water. Our bottom time was 45 minutes, and the maximum depth was 6,5 meters, with a visibility of about three meters thanks to our torches. Night diving in itself is not the most beautiful diving experience due to the fact that during daytime, the underwater landscapes have so much more to offer for the eyes. However, as an overall experience, it is essential for any diver willing to develop, and to expand their minds. Hadn´t I taken my basic diving course in Finland a few years earlier, where waters often are opaque even during daytime, I would probably have been even more excited. With some previous diving experience, and the fact that we had dived earlier during the same day in almost the same area, I knew what was awaiting me.
Scuba diving is not an extreme sport, but it is important to learn the technical skills and always remember the basic rules. As any other activity, scuba diving is not suitable for everyone, or not every body and mind is suited for scuba diving. The same applies to all sports, and activities, wherefore why it is so important to learn to recognize what kind of activities can help you personally to develop, grow as an individual, and to expand your mind.
Why is this important?
Continuous learning and challenging ourselves is essential for our development.
“The day we stop learning is the day we stop growing, or even worse, it is the day we start dying”
(Dr. Anthony Gambale)
Quoting Oscar Wilde: “I am not young enough to know everything”.
It is an amusing quote, but also very innocent. There is nothing wrong with staying connected to the child in you, always open to learning and developing new skills.
Tips for expanding your mind and strengthening your intuition:
Practice some kind of physical or recreational activities regularly.
Train your mind through various activities, such as meditation and yoga.
Focus on surrounding yourself with positive energy. Listen to your feelings – they will guide you in the correct direction. Life is too short to be wasted.
Make a list of things that you want to learn, create, or develop your skills in.
Cleanse your mind every day, and keep it positive.
Focus on your goals, and learn how to overcome obstacles.
You never know what you are capable of, until you have given it a try.