I slipped into the kayak as I slip into a pair of soft jeans. I was closer to the sea. I paddled out, even closer. It was quiet and peaceful. I was happy. But something was different. It took a while before I realized what it was; the sea didn’t smell like sea. It smelled of flowers. The islands in the Swedish archipelago are blooming with flowers of colours and fragrances. I wish I could show you what it smelled like. I wish recorded the sound of silence and sea. But I know it’s not enough. You have to be there. Experience it by yourself. But at least I can show you what it looks like! Because I have a new camera. And somehow it gets me more motivated to take photos with this new toy.
I must admit I like gear and some new toys every now and then. I don’t think I’m very materialistic at all in the way I’m not impressed by money or fame, and I don’t like getting more stuff. I hate shopping and would always prefer to spend time outdoors before anything else. But I do have weaknesses; Bikinis. And cameras. I have had the same great cameras for over 2 years. They have kept up with me through high altitude and deep dives, but one has gotten a crack in the screen and the other simply got even better. So Olympus asked me if I wanted to try the updates. I could not say no. Especially not since I’d had the honor of talking directly to the Olympus techicians last ”fotomässan” photo fair in Sweden
I opened the package like a child opens gifts on christmas. And then I kept feeling like a child with a new toy. I took it with me everywhere, playing with it several hours a day. The news of the Olympus tough TG-4 is that it can take photos in raw format, which is great for higher quality shots! Here’s a few samples from my weekend:
World Ocean Day var 8’e juni, men i Göteborg firar vi en extra gång den 13’e-14’e juni på Sjöfartsmuseét. Det verkar som om det ska regna på lördag, så perfekt dag att fira vatten-tema! Jag kommer hålla ett ”blue talk”-föreläsning och en liten workshop för dig som vill lära dig andas bättre och hålla andan. Se program nedan, samt denna direktlänk till Sjöfartsmuseet. Älskar rubriken ”klappa havet” :-)
Det finns platser kvar på en öppen föreläsning som ordnas i Malmö av IK pantern, inbjudan nedan:
Ta ett djupt andetag och följ med på Annelies inspirerande och motiverande föredrag!
”Föreläsningen berör hur vår inställning till livet påverkar hur vi lever och hur vi når våra mål.
“Kroppen och tankarna är det enda i livet vi kan ta kontroll över. Väldigt sällan kan vi styra över de yttre omständigheterna, men vi kan alltid välja vilket förhållningssätt vi vill tackla dem med. Det handlar om attityd och inställning.”
Annelie varvar kunskap med personliga anekdoter och äventyr på ett äkta och naturligt sätt som trollbinder.
Vi har lyckats få ett mycket bra pris för denna otroliga föreläsning men vi måste ta ut en biljettkostnad. Vi har gjort betalning enligt följande:
Varje Panternspelare betalare 100 kr för egen biljett
Övrig Panternmedlem betalar 150 kr (ledare, förälder, syskon som är medlem) Vi säljar till icke medlemmar för 200kr/biljett
18:00 O’Leary’s Entre.
Maila email@example.com för att boka
Om det blir pengar över delas dessa upp på lagen.
Det är begränsad lokal, boka till er lagledare innan den 5/6!
Tack ni som budade på mina Everest-bilder! Jag har mailat er var och en! Och extra stort tack till en Mikael Bergholm som plöstligt lade till 10 x mycket som ca 1800 kr som går rakt in i direkthjälp i Nepal. Jag stödjer den här organisationen: Help Nepal, som är en liten mänsklig men direkt organisation utan byråkrati. Och planerar i ett senare skede att hjälpa min Sherpa vän Chhiring Dorje med uppbyggnad av hans by Rolwaling.
Idag är det fyra år sedan jag stod på toppen av Everest. Det känns fortfarande som om det var förra året. Jag tänker fortfarande på Everest varje dag. Det är mer än ett berg. Det är alla år, månader och drömmar. Det är alla människor jag träffat längs vägen. Det är Nepal och Tibet. Jag älskar Nepal. Så nog om årsdagen för Everest. Jag akutionerar ut 3 av mina favoritfoton (print 30 x 40cm, en av varje, signat eller inte) från Nepal och Tibet idag för att skicka pengarna vidare till direkthjälp i Nepal genom lilla men fantastiska organisationen Help Nepal som är på plats och alla pengar går direkt till hjälp.
För att hjälpa till och dessutom köpa ett vackert foto;
– välj någon av bilderna 1, 2, 3 och skriv en kommentar hur mycket du vill ge för bilden (euro eller sek).
– Startpris 200:- (20 eur)
– Den som är högst innan kl 23:59 ikväll vinner budet.
– Jag står för framkallning och frakt.
– Du betalar via paypal.
ENGLISH: Today it’s four years ago I stood on the summit of Everest. It still feels like yesterday. I still think of Everest every day. And Nepal and Tibet. So today I’m auctioning three of my favourite photos (print 30 x 40cm, 1 of each, signed or not) from Everest region. All money will go to the small organisation Help Nepal who is there right now giving out emergency aid to the people.
– To help and also get a beautiful photo print;
– choose one of the photos 1, 2, 3 and write a comment how much you want to give in euro or swedish kr.
– Start price 20 Euro.
– Who ever has the highest bid at 23:59 tonight get the photo. I will pay the print and shipping-fee.
– You will pay via paypal.
A ”takeover” sounds like an attack, but it’s really not. They just asked me politely! Of course I said yes – I have the great honour to run the Swedish photo museum ”Fotografiska” instagram for a whole week from tonight. I might not post as on my normal instagram @annelieadventures so tag along on https://instagram.com/fotografiska/ or just follow @fotografiska to get some adventure & underwater love!
My passion for the ocean is deep. Deeper than any dive I will ever make. It’s like a slow burning fire that is always inside me. Seeing a photo of the sea, a shark, fish or just hearing the sound of water or the silence of the sea – it makes me want to go there. Just as if I see a beautiful mountain I feel a need to be there. That’s like adding wood to the fire, making it’s flames higher, giving more energy.
Passion is a fire that gives energy. You can keep feeding it with bits and pieces to keep it burning. But you’d also better watch out so not too much other things catch fire and burn out next to the fire.
How does your passion work?
Last year I had a enormous fire of passion for deep freediving. It was so big, and so much was fed into the fire. But eventually it burned out. I tried to light it back up, but it wouldn’t. Maybe I didn’t have enough wood to feed the fire. I will not do any more freediving competitions or big record attempts this year. It’s ok now. Though at first it was aggressive, a big thing to be ”finished” for the year. But I have taken several years off from deep dives before. It’s not by far the end of the world. My identity is not only being a freediver. Other things caught the fire of passion; sharks, conservatism, training, climbing, photography, writing, new ideas. New priorities.
Not much lasts forever. Change is truly the only constant. What is important to you will also change. I had big difficulties thinking a freediving competition or record was important when one of my favourite countries, Nepal, was in so much pain. Several times I just wanted to go there and help. But I can’t really do anything good right now than to support them economically. I wish I had some competence to help in emergency relief situations. I hope to go later and maybe I can help to build houses or something. Does any of you know any education or course I can do?
So what do I do now.
I land in a state of in-between. In between travels. In between adventures. Work. Training. Family. Friends. It’s ok. It’s a good place to land.
Yesterday I took a new Swedish record in freediving! Freediving is a strange sport. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s very hard. My depth wasn’t ”deep” by my normal standards. It wasn’t even in the discipline or world record I set out for. But it’s one one of my best records ever because I stayed and fought for it. 3 times I looked at flight tickets away from here. 100 times I just wanted to leave and quit. But the fighting it took to get back down to depth this year made the victory over myself so much sweeter. If this would have been easy I wouldn’t have appreciated it as much as I do. This is what happened and how I did:
Most my failed freedives are because something went wrong inside the mind. I didn’t feel any pressure or nervosity from the competition. One thought is all it takes to convince me it’s time to return to the surface, even though I ”should” easily make the dive. The ”should” here is one of the key points. As soon as there are expectations, and as soon as they are not fulfilled, I will think something is wrong. I have had many freedivers tell me they had the best dives of their lives when they just went diving, without expectations of how it should be.
Expectation is the root of all heartache
I ”should” be able to repeat my fairly easy dives to 90-100m that I did late last year. I ”should” still love to freedive with my monofin. But I don’t. I admit, my body might not have recovered yet from last year, so it had it’s say aswell. I didn’t think deep dives was fun anymore. I’d rather play with sharks and take photos. I even decided to take a break from competitive freediving. The flame of passion for depth had almost burned out last year. No more competitions this year. I could have been sad about it, but I’m not. My life is not only about freediving, and definetely not about breaking records. I freedive to be with underwater animals and to explore the mind.
My challenge has been a mind in a deadlock. Since I know about the power of my mind, and then ”hear” a thought I really should not think, the mind is attracted to that thought. And in general, the more you try to push something away, the more and harder it will come back. Especially negative thoughts. Since our brains are wired to survive all negative thoughts will have a stronger imprint on our minds.
Do you believe everything you think?
Can we live without expectations? Can we be completely open to whatever goes on around us without having preconceptions? Probably not. Part of our survival is dependent on us making expectations on what will happen and prepare for it. The challenge is that thoughts about expectations can become self-fulfilling prophecies. For instance, when we think we are going to fail, out whole body is prepared to fail, why we will probably fail, and then be able to say ”I was right again”. It’s a mind trap called the ”confirmation trap”. We’re looking for confirmation of something we thought.
It’s very difficult to avoid negative thoughts, even when being a very optimistic person. So how should we handle them? Since pushing negative thoughts away is just going to make it worse, there is other ways. You could start by accepting the thoughts, even the smaller ones, the voices who are not the loudest. Give them space instead of pushing them into a corner. Then you need to find something else to make the mind interested. Something else to focus on. Details. Pretend that you are a beginner. Notice everything. Sounds, feelings, colours.
I got another key method thanks to a conversation with another freediver, and great support from friends. The canadian freediver gave me the advice to have a discussion with my mind ahead of the dive. I’d become aware of all the thoughts, or ”voices”, in my head, and decide to be decisive of that I was going for the dive and not let my mind stop me. It’s of course best to not think at all, and just experience. Try that.
When I was in the water and my body and thoughts started telling me to pull out I’d simply tell them ”we had this discussion already, so shut up”. Then I did it.
This freediving competition took place inside a big square. In one end is the competition line leading down into depth. It’s like a boxing ring, but there is no other opponent to fight. The only opponent is inside your own mind.
För några månader sedan pratade jag med fantastiska Mattias Ribbing! De rutiga kalsongerna som går förbi i slutet tillhör min talarcoach och vän Pontus Ströbaek, som satt med som producent och gjorde lustiga miner ibland.
Här finns det att lyssna på itunes:
Eller titta på youtube:
If you are looking for us, look for a house with monofins and bikinis. If it’s raining you should look for us outside.
A few days ago the tropical rain was poring down outside, hammering the wooden deck with a soft smell of summer rain. It was a relief from the wet hot air. Without really saying anything, we just smiled and went outdoors. We stood there together, faces lifted upwards towards the rain. Dancing in the rain. No matter that our clothes and hair got wet. We all love water, no matter which shape it comes in. That’s what it’s like to live with freediving girls.
Yes, we walk around in bikinis because it’s too hot for anything else.
We drink protein shakes and decaf coffee.
We come from three very different countries. One of us is born in the 70’s, one in the 80’s and one in the 90’s.
We wake up at different times, but then the morning is slowly filled with the sound of breathing. Some breaths come from the bedroom, some from the living room and mine come from outside on the wooden deck. We are doing breathing exercises, yoga and meditation to start the day. What would probably look like a nuthouse for normal people is part of our daily lives. There is often spontaneous mini breathholds, lung stretches or sudden yoga positions.
We are competitiors in the same competition. Rivals. But we train together every day and we are helping each other to get better. It wouldn’t work any other way. Before being freedivers, we are friends. Mermaids.
Katie shows us some new exercises with a balloon for equalizing, I show some strenghtening exercises, some yoga and massage and tomoka makes us wonderful japaneese food and beauty tips. As if it’s needed. Theese two girls are already beautiful and I’m really happy to have models for my underwater photography.
At any time of the day there will be at least 3 monofins outside the house on dry. There will be minimum 6 bikinis hanging in the bathroom and the kitchen is overflowing with protein powder and nutritional supplements. And sometimes with wine.
We share our nervoisty, worries and fears. We share our thoughts about life, men, the sea, and sometimes about freediving. Life is so much more than just freediving. Somehow it helps. Somehow letting things out, sharing and just talking about it, makes life so much better. Sometimes when you put things into writing and spoken word, it changes.
One of the house rules was; no men. It’s been broken today. We are taking in a half japaneese/danish man to stay in the living room. What it’s really like to live and freedive with three freediving girls, you’ll have to ask him.
This text is about what it feels like to do what I’m doing in the photo.
It’s called a “hang” in freediving terms. You slowly pull yourself down, stay a while on a certain shallow depth, then return to the surface. It’s one of my favourite type of freedives. But this one was special. It was what I like to call “a near life experience”, where I felt so fully alive. Do you know what I mean?
It started on the surface, as many things do. The surface was unusually calm, still like a mirror reflecting the world above. It somehow made the freedivers on the platform more quiet. We were whispering, as if to not disturb the moment.
I was lying face down in the soft water. It felt cool on my warm face. My eyes were closed behind the mask. I was breathing through a black snorkel. I usually control my breathing to make it deeper and slower, more relaxed. But this time I asked my body how it would like to breathe, and it was a bit different, softer than normal. My body was completely relaxed, just floating on the surface without any other movement than the muscles breathing. My neck was so relaxed the head was below the surface, making all other sounds than the breathing muffled.
I waited until the body felt like it was finished breathing.
Then I took my last breath and left the surface behind.
It was surprisingly soft and easy.
I used the freediving line to pull myself deeper, in no hurry whatsoever. The longer the hangs are, the lovelier. So I saved energy and oxygen by pulling myself down in slow motion, one hand over the other, using only a few muscles in the arms. The rest of the body was completely relaxed. Probably more relaxed in the water than ever on land.
After some ten meters I started to fall, without having to pull anymore. I kept one hand on the line, slowly following it deeper. Until it felt like it was time to stop. I would guess it’s was about fifteen meters, but I didin’t care about the meters. I grabbed hold of the line. Stopped the fall.
My legs were heavy and keep falling past me so I end up just hanging head up in one hand. Almost directly I was overwhelmed by the stillness. There was no movement in the water. No movement in my body. No sounds.
Or wait, there was a sound. A thumping repetitive little sound. It took a second before I realised I heard my own heart beating.
Tomorrow the competition starts.
I’m not diving ”deep”, but in another sense I am.
First of all I want to thank you for the support and sharing from my last blog-post about how to live and freedive with passion, and how to do without it? Thanks for sharing your own stories, thoughts and advice. It was well received apart from a few who seemed scared of it, as if it was contagious. It’s not contagious. We will all ”fail” at some point or another. We will all have difficulties. Living a life free from worry, struggle or change is almost unheard of. I think the realization is within change and impermanence, that it will never go back to how it was before, as well as the ability to coexist with any failure. There is no going back. There is only moving through. It’s the only way to get stronger. A reminder from a friend about being reslilient brought this to mind.
Everything changes all the time and accepting that can be a freedom or a sadness. It’s also the reason to be fully alive and be in the moment when it happens.
I went back to the freediving line.
My deep dives still didn’t work.
My body still wasn’t like normal.
And I’m ok with it.
It’s only through practice over and over again that we get good at something.
Frediving requires patience.
Although there is still mental pitfalls. while waiting on the platform for another diver I found myself thinking that this is a waste of time. Frustration said that I should do something ”I really enjoy” instead. My mind drifted. I could take a 90 minute flight to Jamaica and wavesurf for two weeks. I really love surfing.
But I’m not going surfing. That would be a sort of giving up, taking an easy, passionate way out. This is where making an active choice and taking responsibility comes in. So instead of ”giving up” I choose to ”give in”. I give in to this experience. This is life. I’m staying for more training and the competition. I’m going to move through it without caring about numbers. That’s how I have been freediving before, surrendering to the sea. This is a spiritual experience, and I’m sure I will learn something important from this. I’m an optimistic person. Something amazing will happen soon, any time!
The fact is, we all have ups and downs. Only an naive mind could imagine effortless success. And in the midst of it all I remind myself that I would not go into competitive freediving if it was easy. It’s when moving through hardships that I really enjoy the success. I would not have enjoyed the view from the top of mt. Everest if the climb was not a challenge.
Instead of letting my emotions drive the show, I will let who I am, who I am commited to being right now take the wheel. I’m stronger than this. I have decided to be curious of what’s going on. I saw a post the other day about not let temporary emotions make permanent decisions. About not caring about what others small opinions say. I hope this is the larger view of things.