2017 could have ended for me as soon as it started.
My first time ringing in the new year abroad saw me traveling with a large group of friends to Costa Rica. The entire experience was akin to being immersed in divine, natural abundance. The adventures we shared evoked in me a feeling of absolute fearlessness.
What is it to be fearless? Zip lining through the Costa Rican jungle? Wandering down an Amsterdam alley? Riding ATVs? Costa Rica was, indeed, paradise and pure abundance, the kind of untouched lush, wilderness beauty that seems to glow with another level of vivid color.
“Manifestation happens quickly here,” our tour guide said, and I could see why. Just by virtue of our presence there, it seemed, we were that much closer to the Source.
New Year’s Eve was incredible, replete with roaring bonfire, fireworks exploding up and down the endless beach and Chinese lanterns like floating stars already imbued with wishes. It was absolutely magical. On New Year’s Day, we decided to build our own little fire on the beach and watch the sun rise on a new day in a new year. We returned to the beach that afternoon to play in the ocean. After jumping over the waves for awhile, I spotted my friends heading back to shore. As soon as I turned to join them, I knew I was in trouble.
Instead of standing on the ocean floor and jumping the waves, the tide had pulled me in to the point that I was treading water, repeatedly engulfed by waves that seemed to grow higher and faster. Between waves, I struggled to swim back, aiming diagonally as I’d always been advised, but to no avail. The current was too strong. It felt like I was swimming in place. Whatever progress I did make was fruitless, as I would get dragged backwards as the waves swelled and crashed over my head again and again. The tide was so strong that it ripped my hair tie out.
Whenever I resurfaced, I had to push back the mop of wet hair over my nose and mouth, expel the water from my nose, gasp for air and shout for help, all within mere seconds before another wave hit. I was yelling my friend’s name, a certified lifeguard, but no one could hear me. I felt completely alone. It didn’t take me long for me to realize that if I were going to get out of this predicament, it would have to be by my own hand. As exhaustion swept over me from swimming hard just to stay afloat, another sobering realization set in: that I could die in the way I feared most. If I didn’t think and act fast, 2017 was on its way to being tragically short-lived. Isn’t it always right in that moment, when you’ve just about given up hope, that Spirit steps in? It was as if another voice entered my mind and took control. The first page of “A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” immediately came to mind, and I heard a quiet voice whisper reassurance.
“Don’t panic, Avril. Trust that you will fill your lungs with enough oxygen to get you to the next opportunity to breathe. Stop fighting so hard to swim against the current and just let go. Surrender to the force of the waves. They will do the work for you. They will carry you back to shore.”
I gave in to this intuitive nudge, took a deep breath, and, when the next big wave came, swam with it rather than tossing and turning in a struggle to remain upright. I did this again and again until, finally, I felt the sand underneath my feet again and I began to anchor myself enough to get to shore, trembling all over.
Later, as I watched those enormous surfing waves continue to crash into the shore, I realized that I possess a special power. I can remain calm and level-headed even in the most dire circumstances. As soon as I realized help wasn’t coming, I simply decided to rescue myself. My Higher Self had coached me through it all.
For about a week afterward, I suffered through throbbing swimmer’s ear, like a ringing alarm to listen inward. The voice in my head that came through in the clutch was recognized for what it was, the source of infinite wisdom. It taught me to cherish every breath and appreciate every moment of life, because it can all be gone in an instant. This year, I decided, is the year to live each day like it’s my last while aligning myself with the Divine Will, even if I don’t know what lies ahead on the path to fulfilling my true purpose. I am ready to embrace the unknown, trust in myself and my guardians, and just let go. I can work with the Divine by letting it carry me forward through waves of intention and intuition.
Sometimes, the Universe in all of its vast and terrible glory likes to remind us of how small we really are. I had innocently come out to play and nearly drowned for it, but what could have been the catalyst for my death ended up becoming my salvation.
Surrendering is what saved my life.