PHOTOGRAPHED BY: MARK MORGAN
STYLED BY: EMMA KALFUS
FASHION ASSISTANT: NICHHIA WIPPELL
DESIGNED BY: MATTHEW FREEMAN
WRITTEN BY: TATIANA FARLEY
The voice of God himself, Morgan Freeman, once observed, “Learning how to.. really be still and let life happen – that stillness becomes a radiance.”
Could enjoying a serene disposition and a glowy complexion really be that simple? If the legions of mindfulness devotees are anything to go by, then yes, it can. Where once the good life was synonymous with incessant activity, millions around the world are now swapping their chaos for calm in pursuit of low-key contentment. Being ‘in the moment’ is really having its moment. Gaining accolades as an antidote for the madness of modern life, mindfulness is a movement soothing anxiety, discontent and depression one colouring book at a time. The practice takes the frenetic ruckus of modern life and breaks it down to the basics. The idea is to pay close attention to the present moment, thereby muting superfluous thoughts. The concept has roots in the Buddhist tradition, a loose translation of sati meaning ‘memory of the present’, the first of seven elements of enlightenment. In a curious paradox, we must tune into ourselves to really tune out, embrace nothingness to really embrace everything.
It is this same sense of empty and invigorating stillness that delving underwater can inspire. There is something about the sublime rush of total submersion that cures all manner of ills; whether it be too much heat, drink or chaos. In that one momentous instant, plunging below sea level has a way of refreshing, rejuvenating and re-centering respectively. The mystical quality of hydrogen dioxide has captivated civilisations for millenia. Christians believe in the redemptive powers of water; most notably as a pillar of baptism, a ritual wherein the dousing of water signifies a spiritual rebirth. Water’s unique power and contrary nature made Leonardo Da Vinci a man obsessed. He described it as the ‘vehicle of nature’, likening water to the world to what blood was to the body. He spent much of his lifetime drawing water or dreaming up machines to manage its collective might. Perhaps his simplest insight explained it best, “with water, everything changes.” In changing your state of mind, water changes the course of your life. Melodramatic, yes, but if the 1998 film, ‘Sliding Doors’ is anything to go by, also true.
It is perhaps, in its unpredictable and inconsistent temperament, that humanity finds its reflection in water. Like us, water is fluid and contradictory; it can be ferocious or calm, life-giving or destructive. It recharges and instantly transforms us in a way only it can because when it boils down to it, we are water. 78 per cent to be precise. As we age this recedes to 60 per cent, which might explain our affinity with the deep blue sea and its sense of homecoming. If water is a symbol of life, then what it means to be alive and the meaning of life itself must flow from here. If only. Life, like water is too languid, too ethereal to be bullied into a bite size caption. The laws of nature might not be forthcoming with their secrets but we can learn by observation. Those meditative moments underwater teach us to slow down, still the mind and go with the flow. However you choose to drift, be it plumbing the depths of the ocean or trying to stay inside the lines, one thing’s for sure – life becomes clearer, brighter and more alive when you take a momentary reprieve from it. In our world of too many to-do’s, the ability to float above your reality and swim in your sensory experience is the ultimate luxury.