Dolphins, breathing, floating & healing

Chhaya’s Story

Chhaya has been visiting WildQuest every year for the last 12 years, and most seasons she stays for several weeks at a time, that’s a LOT of dolphin swimming. Needless to say she’s become a beautiful part of the WildQuest family and dolphin community. Since we met Chhaya 12 years ago, she has never failed to amaze us with her determined spirit and ability to transcend some huge challenges in her life. Her life is a story of profound transformation and miracles. We love you Chhaya.

After her first week at WildQuest Chhaya wrote: “It’s hard to express what my week at WildQuest means for me and did for me. After a few hours I was already relaxing..by the second day I was smiling and by the third I could not stop laughing. I felt bubbled up with joy and re-connected to my true vital self. The love, support and acceptance of the crew as well as the other retreat participants touched me and actually brought tears to my eyes. I shed layers of walls I had built as protection as they were no longer needed. I felt loved and was loving towards myself.”

This week she shares more of her musings from 12 years and many experiences with the dolphins and WildQuest.

woman with white hood smiling

I thought I was drowning but in fact I float!

The more I float, relax and watch the currents or tides…. more is revealed. New levels of ocean.

And this happens as an inner process too. I’ve faced feelings I wasn’t so sure about. Level by level another layer gets identified and, just like the tides, the emotions come and go. I can feel them and the challenge is to allow them to flow, and not get stuck. I realised I could let go – I thought I was drowning but in fact, I float!

Feelings are like the weather and, if you allow them, they will come and you can welcome them and witness them, without identifying with them. And then they pass by.

For over a decade (with exception of 2020, I later regretted not going!) I’ve connected with ocean creatures – kind and strong dolphins; loads of fish; squirrel fish; my favorite – the midnight blue parrotfish; tilefish; filefish – psychedelic black with neon dots (a former crew and I even made up names of fish and one we named after her Beloved – so we would call them “Sudi fish”). And each time the ocean offers you the invitation to meet yourself, just as you are.

In the water, my anxiety dissipates quickly as I breathe deeply in and out. Out with the old air in with new. On many occasions, I would think why don’t I do this at home? Why don’t I just put a snorkel on and maybe go in the shower or the bath or just freaking breathe? I noticed how much I hold my breath and I noticed how that contributes to my anxiety.. and probably makes it worse.

So now I’m working with the breath and with meditation, but mostly with the breath, and just being in touch with the breath. While writing this, I can feel I’m going to cry. I can feel the goodness and healing from the blue ocean that mothers all of the fish, all of the cetaceans, all of the coral, all of the rocks, all of the things we can’t see, the micros, the macros – and I can feel that the ocean is our mother. Our collective Mother. And then I remember that I’m a part of the Earth and the universe, and the ocean is all part of that too and then I start to feel whole again.

I came to WildQuest in 2011 not having cried for 15 years. My heart was far away with many barriers to jump. Since then, I’ve been loved by dolphins, made whole, received their messages and remained open to receiving more. My body felt light and tingled as I absorbed dolphin energy. I became a stronger and more secure swimmer. I learned to snorkel. I swam with 1, 2, 10, 30, 40 dolphins for an hour or more. I was pulled on a line behind the boat through pods of their spotted pink bellies and looked into their eyes. I watched the sun rise and set. I fell asleep to the lapping of the waves against the boat, 15 feet from my door. I sung. I danced. I loved and I cried.

WildQuest I feel blessed to have connected with you and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me my life back.

Read more of Chhaya’s story.

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ocean reef with tropical fishwoman diving at the bottom of the ocean