Healing The Heart
By Terri O’Hara
I believe dolphins have the power to heal. I went to Bimini seeking their help after a sad and difficult time in my life. Months before, my brother Dan lost his life due to a sudden heart attack. We were very close.
I was devastated. Tragically, in my family it’s hereditary. Just five years earlier, my older brother Tom also died from a heart attack. Losing both brothers was painful beyond belief.
No words can describe what we truly feel when our loved ones pass on. Sadness, yes. Tears, of course. I experienced a tremendous deep ache in my chest that lasted a very long time. Heartache is not just an expression. It is a tangible physical sensation.
I took my sadness and aching heart to the dolphins and made a request…Please help me release deep sadness from my heart. Though hopeful, I wasn’t sure it would help. As always with animals, my philosophy is to be open to all possibilities and let them show me the way. Bright sunshine and daily excursions out to sea brought welcome opportunities to relax.
As I enjoyed warm swims, playfulness began to brew within me. I wanted to move more like a dolphin. I practised diving below the surface toward the white sandy bottom and buoyantly spiral upward as I returned for air.
Then suddenly, a trio of young teenage dolphins joined us. Playfully they zoomed through our human pod, capturing glances like paparazzi capture photos. Then they dived 30 feet down to join their pod on the ocean floor. As I watched from above, I felt the urge to mimic their graceful fluid movements, or at least try! I dived again and was startled by the teenage trio, zooming straight towards me.
Without thought, my back arched, my arms tucked to my sides, and my chest rose up toward the blue sky as they slowed to a float, three magnificent dolphins, their bellies within inches of mine. Each one looked at me with beautiful, deep soulful eyes. Time was suspended. The trio disappeared.
I pulled the snorkel from my mouth and gulped in new air as a giant WOW came bursting out of me. Amazing. Utterly amazing. Then I realized what had happened when they swam over me. I’d felt a blunt tugging in my chest, as if the dolphins were raking the grief right out of my heart. Had they heard my yearning for help? The heartache had vanished.
On our final day of the retreat, with a much lighter heart, I played freely in the water. During my final swim, I practiced the deepest dive yet. Pushing down with confidence and returning upward with ease. While twirling up I realized four dolphins were heading straight toward me. I floated up while turning and looking at each new friend. They, in turn, spiralled around me and each other.
Graceful, as if choreographed. We rose together toward the light of the sun. Tears filled my eyes. My healing heart was comforted by each one of them. They were responding to my yearning for help by embracing me with their dance of pure love. The moment was exquisite. I will never be the same. I arrived wounded. I returned revived. The dolphins gifted me with a love unlike any other I’ve known.
They shared their beauty, grace and healing powers with me. For that, I am eternally grateful. My gift to the dolphins in return is to come back every year and share the joy with those who want to meet, play and learn. And maybe even heal a broken heart.