Finding Peace Underwater

Have you ever been away on a trip only to be consumed by the worries you thought you'd left behind? 

by
May 25, 2017

The AlSol Tiara Resort, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Have you ever been away on a trip only to be consumed by the worries you thought you'd left behind? 

On a press trip to stunning Cap Cana, Dominican Republic, I found myself on the balcony of a suite at AlSol Tiara overlooking the ocean--and completely unable to stop thinking about family troubles back at home. My uncle had been the victim of a violent crime and was recovering in the hospital. My grandmother, who's been in hospice for months, seemed to worsen with the news of my uncle's hospitalization.

I'd tried to pray, let it go and enjoy the beauty that surrounded me on all sides on this magical island I'd never visited before. But whoever said, "you can't pray and worry," hasn't met me; I'd gotten the contradictory act down to an art as our press group visited Blue Marlin restaurant where I dined on anxiety and the best seafood risotto I'd ever tasted. Worry followed me up on stage as our group sang "Lean on Me" together at Al Sol's karaoke night. It trailed behind me as we hiked through Cap Cana's natural theme park Scape Park and it waded in the spring water next to me when I took a dip in the park's magical cenote. 

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I knew there was nothing I could do to heal my uncle or my grandmother any faster, and as I watched the sun set over the waves from my room each night, I could feel the enjoyment of my trip away from the city rolling out to sea. I tried to clear my mind with meditation, my favorite form of prayer, to ease my worry.

In the warm night air, listening to the calming sounds of the ocean, I sat still, closed my eyes and tried to concentrate on the sound of my breath. Breath is God's first gift to humans, the evidence of life. If I could only focus on my breathing, on that precious gift from God, I'd have no space in my head to be overcome with worry. I fidgeted the whole time, unable to sit still. After about 2 minutes of trying, I got up from the balcony, left the roaring waves behind and called to check on my grandmother again.

Cenote at Scape Park, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

On the last day of my trip, our press group went out to sea for a boat cruise. Our tour guides had found a spot in the middle of the ocean, far away from shore that happened to only be about 6 feet deep. We stopped there to do some snorkeling. I put on my gear and dived into the water. Instantly, my ears filled up with water, blocking out all sound. The only thing that echoed in my ears was the bubbling of my own breath. I watched the bubbles form in front of me and became far more fascinated by them than the tiny coral ecosystems we were swimming over. I stared in awe at the bubbles, my ears were filled with the sound of my breathing.

Finally, underwater, my mind was clear, my worry evaporated, and I was filled with the kind of gratitude that brings peace. In those unexpected moments of meditation, all I could do was surrender. All was well and all would be well. I still had breath in my body and so did my uncle and grandmother. That miraculous gift was enough.

Brooke Obie visited Cap Cana, Dominican Republic courtesy of AlSol Hotel & Resorts. The places and activities mentioned are her favorite experiences from the trip.

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