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.
I live with passion, but I have a passion-problem. I am one of the world’s deepest freediving women soon to be in a freediving competition, and I can’t freedive deep anymore.
I’m in Bahamas in one of the best places to dive deep and compete. But every time I try my body says no. I did a fairly easy dive to 99m late last year. The world record is 101m. I tried to do it, made it to 102m but blacked out on the way up. Now I can barely get halfway to a hundred meters without my body cringing with contractions and the urge to breathe.
I love being in the water, and I love the training and fun with my friends here, but as soon as I go for a deep dive my body says no. I don’t know if it’s the body that is not ready, or if it’s the brain telling the body it doesn’t want to. Or maybe it’s the heart. Is it just that my passion for deep freedives is temporarily gone? Maybe I freedived too much last year. Maybe my body is not ready. Maybe it’s excuses. Maybe it’s time to stop competitive freediving. But I’m not the kind of person who ever gives up. Maybe I need a break. Or maybe I just need to stop doubting.
Freediving is different from any other sport in the way the emotions and thoughts play a huge part of your dive. One single thought or emotion can be reason enough to abort a dive. By that it’s by far the most challenging sport I have ever tried (and I have tried a lot of sports). Freediving is challenging because it’s not just a sport. It’s about every other single detail in your life too.
When you freedive you close your eyes and dive into yourself.
When you freedive you are utterly alone with yourself, your thoughts, memories and emotions.
I have created my lifestyle by living passionate. I have followed my dreams and always done what I really want to do, and feel like doing. I never asked myself if a life lived without passion would even be worth living. I used to go to sleep at night just wishing for it to be morning so that I could dive deep again. I used to come back from my deep freedives with a silly smile on my face, counting down hours for my next time in the sea.
Of course I cannot freedive deep without a passion for depth. I talked to freedivers about it, and I talked to my speaking- and lifecoach about it. He is wise and good at helping me to think differently. He said humans are always trying to complicate things. Our brains are amazing. He also said he knows that you can decide what emotions you want to have. So I will need to decide to be passionate about depth again. With 10 days until the competition starts I need to get my passion back by remembering what I love about deep freediving, and stop inviting the doubt to my inner conversations.
Freediving is difficult that way.
– ”You know why it is difficult?” my coach would ask. ”Because you have decided that it is difficult”.
What if it’s really that simple?
As usual when travelling with my best friend Akim, I have no idea what’s waiting. Being with him is always an adventure. First I thought we were going to train in Bali, when suddenly the Philippines appeared to be better, deeper. And there is a great freediving center there.
All I knew of the Philippines is that it’s warm and nice. Which is really enough. It’s not only about the warm weather. Countries are made up by people, and the people I met in Philippines were very warm, sweet and helpful. They also made me feel I like a moviestar in Mactan. There is extremely few western tourists, and the weeks I was there I only saw another blonde person. We both stared at each other. As I was getting stared at by everyone. But in a very nice way! People and children would look up from what they were doing, their faces suddenly full of a beautiful smile, waving their hands and yelling a familiar “hello!”.
The sea was also warm. Surrounded by soft water I held by breath longer and dove deeper on an exhale. But for some reason I didn’t get the deep dives to work. Freediving requires patience. And training. And good people to train with. I’m fortunate to be able to train with some of the best in the world. And in one of the best freediving centers in Asia, freediving HQ, ran by Australian Mike Wells who is a big profile in the freediving world. But also very humble and relaxed. The freediving center is nicely organized and professional. Small things like having a fresh towel and lunch waiting for you after a dive session is a luxury we don’t often have.
The only first disappointment was the underwater life. There is still a lot of fishing with dynamite and cyanide which has killed a lot of coral reefs and fish, so if you want to see amazing corals you have to get away from the bigger islands. (There are 7000 islands in Philippines, so quite a lot to choose from). Freediving with the whale sharks was an amazing experience! But I still couldn’t push myself to free dive deep if the passion is not there.
So I followed my belief that you will dive deep if you are happy. Surfing makes me happy. And by chance I have a friend from my childhood surfing only a few islands away.
I bought a ticket and went the next day.
And landed in paradise.
Siargao was all I had hoped for in the Philippines; remote, pristine, not much tourists, amazing nature, quiet, not much traffic, good food, beautiful beaches, crystal clear water, friendly people, good friends – and surf. It’s the kind of place I’d only wish for to exist. As I arrived I found that half my old friend Carl’s family was there too – having bought a wonderful bungalow resort, villa solaria! A perfect place just by the beach, surrounded by coconut palm trees and the sound of the sea. All of them surfing, of course. So we surfed the afternoon, had a short sleep to wake up at dawn for the swell surf.
That morning i It wasn’t just swell. Unless houses can swell. The waves were as big as houses! I have never surfed anything close to the size of those waves, but didn’t really think about it. All I wanted was to be there on a surfboard. But I’m still a beginner at surfing. As the walls of water closed in my blood was full of tingling adrenaline and it took a while before I choose a small-sized-house-wave. I paddled my arms off but didn’t get on it. As I turned around there was another wall closing in. I quickly found out that duck diving or turtle rolling didn’t really work. There was a moment of silence before I was inside a roaring washing machine of water that pulled, pushed and tumbled me around like a broken umbrella only to spit me out in white foam some half eternity later. The power of nature was stunning. And so was the long paddle back. I only got some smaller waves and whitewater, but I’m not a picky surfer. I was just very happy.
I left with saltwater dripping from my nose knowing I will come back.
Actually I’m thinking about making a freediving/surf/yoga camp in Siargao. Anyone interested?
Nästa och nästnästa vecka dyker jag upp (ur havet) och är med i en föreläsningserie som handlar om att nå sina mål. Jag, Nisse Simonsson och Magdalena Forsberg berättar om våra trick för att nå mål och drömmar. Föreläsningarna kommer att gå av staplen i Stockholm, Göteborg och Malmö.
Läs mer och boka biljetter här: http://www.bestseller.se/hjarntillskott-na-dina-mal/
I’m rarely nervous when I’m about to freedive. But suddenly my belly was full of butterflies. I was about to step into a tiny typical philippino boat without a engine that would take us out to the whalesharks. They told us there would be at least 5 of them. Maybe up to 15. And I thought one would be more than enough. How am I going to react to 5 whalesharks at a time?? How much happiness can I handle!?
As our boatman paddled out the flat surface was suddenly broken by a huge shiny black nose with white dots. An eye watched us for a few seconds before the nose dissappeared again. My heart was beating hard and loud and I found myself holding my breath already.
I don’t remember putting on my fins and mask. I just remember suddenly being in the water swimming towards an enormous black shadow moving ahead. As I got closer the whaleshark opened his mouth and started eating by filtering out small fish and plankton in the water. I swam respectfully to the side. The mouth was probably 1 meter wide! I didn’t want to disturb the gentle giant’s breakfast.
The most amazing moment I had was when freediving down and swimming up slowly as one of the whalesharks (my favourite) swam above me in all his 8m length. For a few seconds we were belly to belly, heart to heart. A few meters apart, but anyway. I could feel an openness in my heart, a great love for this gentle giant who allowed me to swim by his side for a few moments. I think I had salty tears of happiness in my eyes.
We were 10 freedivers from team Freedive HQ. I was very fortunate to have photographer Martin Zapanta freedive with me. As I’m also a photographer I also wanted to take photos. But I also wanted to be in photos with the giants. And most of all I wanted to fully live the experience without a camera in my hands. So I only used my camera for 5-10 minutes and got a few shots.
Swimming respectfully with sharks
Freediving with sharks in Oslob in the Philippines can now only be done under controlled circumstances. The whalesharks are fed for 5 hours in between 7-12 every day in the same place. A certain amounts of the conservation’s boats are allowed to be there at a time. Some people can’t swim or freedive and stay on the surface or sit in the boat in a line.
Before this there was a craze about the whalesharks. Scuba divers centers found out where they were and there could be around 20 boats with divers and engines hurting and stressing the whalesharks. So the authorities stopped it. They also stopped the locals from killing and eating whalesharks. Instead they gave them this opportunity to learn about and conserve the whalesharks life and make sure people can interact with them in a harmless way. There were rangers making sure no one swam closer than a few meters from the sharks, and absolutely no touching, no wearing sun screen, or using flash on the cameras. I believe it’s natural and good for people to interact with the sea in order to want to save it. So though it felt like a slightly strange setup to freedive with whalesharks like this, I think this is a better way than hunting them with big boats in the wild.
Photos by Martin