At 6:15 AM, I am sitting over a reef at my favorite left point break. The ocean is morning sick and clouds of sand disrupt clarity. The sun is beginning to peak through the Malinche and Van Goughesque Corteza Amarilla. The scent of dew laced Frangipanis break up the monotony of the dense green dry forest that protects this beach from reality and other surfers. Pelicans pose on the heads of rocks and calligraphy-like war birds see everything from above; what I cannot see, I feel with a jarring intensity.
I am struck by the feeling of being hunted. My level of uneasiness and alertness shake me to my core. I see distinct shapes below the surface, but cannot decipher between what is real and what tricks my mind is playing on me. I experience swells of chicken skin and panic when I duck under rolling water, and I am pushed off of my board as messy waves build. I know I should not ignore this instinctual pull for flight. However, my desensitized 21st century human side innately suggests doubt and non-constituted paranoia.
I feel as if I cannot get out of the water quickly enough. I am moving in slow motion as the water sucks and churns around me. I am finally able to catch an inside wave. I stand from shore and can’t take my eyes off of the water. I wish I could see through it. I want to see something. I need to see something. But then, I realize in this moment that that is the modern human in me speaking.
Why don’t we blindly trust our instincts and believe that they are justified without obvious proof? Is this a classic case of the cliche “use it or lose it?” Are we losing the ability to decode and react without diffidence to our engraved instincts? I can’t help but wonder as I scan the surface intently for fins. These questions linger in my thought trail for days. This is not the first time I’ve had this experience, or these thoughts.
Sharks, however, should be the least of anyone’s concern. They should be wary of us, seeing as how we brutally slaughter a million a year for hedonistic purposes. The two main concerns that need to be examined relate to our exponentially increasing disconnect from ourselves, each other, and environment, and existing as a product of one’s environment.
I believe that our technology dependent lives are partial, but on the majority side, to blame for this digressive adaptation. The rapid advancement of technology can be viewed as a god’s send and a curse. This momentum of progression seems to have come with a cost. We are making room for the new by getting rid of portions of the old. What is being left behind is intangible, but I believe vital. How often do we make a decision based mainly on our instincts? How often do we wish we had listened to them?
Few are completely free from the confines and influence of the dissevering power of recent technology and applications. When used in moderation and as originally intended, the power can be quite the opposite and in contrast, connect us to our world and each other. But when used compulsively and the threshold is broken, one’s feeling of connection becomes a rather effectual illusion. As new generations are born into this technology-laden era, I worry that social media will completely replace meaningful relationships, video games will replace playing outside and building imaginary worlds amongst the trees, and “reality” television will set the standard for our conduct.
I am a firm believer that one cannot be passionate toward that which one doesn’t have a connection. Connections are made through physical experiences. If we allow ourselves to remain in our own comfort bubbles, we run the risk of missing the bigger picture. We inevitably stunt our growth. Our greatest ancestors were in a perpetual state of growth and evolution. Why slow down now? Why risk dulling and potentially eradicating the animalistic instincts that gave fire to our species, in return for a robotic existence?
Nostalgia is a potent elixir inspiring in me a deep yearning for child-like simplicity and a time of unconscious awareness, a time when one is curious and intuitive, fearless, but capable of learning from consequences. When I was a child, I never would have doubted my inner voice telling me to run. I was more connected with my Indian roots and the present moment. It is easy to get lost in the useless, to become a victim of mind clutter. This clutter is a distraction from what really matters. The further we move away from our inherent abilities as residents of the upper levels of the chain, the more at risk we are at becoming prey.
Remember we came from and are part of this beautiful world; get outside and live it! The more in tune we are with each other, our shared environment, and ourselves, the more we will thrive and flourish.
Written by: Jenn Parker
Photos by: Kaitlyn Shea