How The Ocean Healed My Broken Heart

How The Ocean Healed My Broken Heart

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“What’s your story?” He asked me.

“What do you mean?” I replied.

“You look like you have a story to tell. Like you’ve been hurt.”

“We’ve all been hurt!” I cheekily retorted back.

“So what happened, who broke your heart?”

Was I that transparent? I wondered.

“What makes you think I had my heart broken?”

“Well… a girl like you, traveling alone…”  He trails off.

I just laughed, not really giving a reply. 

But he was right.

It had been about a year since things ended with my ex-boyfriend, Seth. We were in a Long Distance Relationship and dating for more than 2 years. He was based in the USA and I was in the Philippines. We met on a dating site.

I had written in my profile that I loved Cheetos Jalapenos and could eat the entire bag in just one sitting. Impressive, right? He said he liked girls who can handle some heat and spice. That made me laugh. I thought it was cheesy, but nice. And things progressed from there.

Being in a relationship with him was easy. We had similar views in life, valued the same things, even our political views were similar, with a big dislike for our countries presidents. We had great chemistry together. And it felt right.

We got along so well that even when we would only see each other a few times each year, I didn’t mind. I was in it for the long haul. He was the one, I just know it.

Until he wasn’t.

Eventually, the distance put a strain on our relationship. I couldn’t get a tourist visa even to visit him. As a single Filipina traveling to the US, I was immediately rejected by the US consulate.

According to them, I could not prove I have sufficient ties to my home country. This was after showing them I have my own business, I had a good travel history and my entire family was living in Manila. I can only assume they thought I was the type to violate the terms of my Visa.

I applied for the Visa twice. And then got rejected twice.

Or thrice if you count Seth rejecting me a few months later.

I was an emotional mess after that. For weeks I had cried myself to sleep trying to understand what had happened. What went wrong? Why didn’t he want me? Was I not worth it?

I locked myself in my apartment and sunk into a depression for a love that was lost. I knew it was over and I had to move on. But how do you move on from a love that you thought was forever?

I wanted to forget and run away. So I did.

Every chance I got, I decided I was going to book myself a ticket. I was angry with the US for rejecting my Visa application. So I made it my mission to spend my money traveling to another country that did not reject me.  

So I booked a ticket to Bali, then went to Japan with friends. For my birthday, I splurged even more and went to Australia. I convinced my friend to go scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef with me.

The Great Barrier Reef Liveaboard

It took away the pain that was in my heart, but it was often short-lived. I would go back to my tiny home and once I was alone in my thoughts I would be sad all over again.

One day, I couldn’t take it anymore and finally got the courage to travel on my own. I decided to go back to Anilao, the closest diving destination from Manila where I was from. While I had gone scuba diving in Anilao once in the past, it was not an outstanding experience for me. 

But on that day, I was so desperate to escape that I went anyway. I wasn’t really expecting much, but that day, it was different. I was taken to a different dive site and I finally saw a different side of Anilao.

Turns out, sometimes you just need to give things a second chance and allow life to surprise you. I finally saw what the fuss was also all about.

That day, I fell in love with Anilao.

I went home feeling hopeful and refreshed. And I didn’t want to let go of that feeling.

So I decided to go diving in Romblon to quench my thirst for the ocean. I wanted to see some rare nudibranchs. So I traveled 18 hours just to see a tiny sea slug. I know, it sounds ridiculous. But, it was worth it.

I spent hours underwater marveling at that special nudibranch and found more little critters to admire. It was mind-blowing just to discover that such creatures even exist. Some people would think it’s weird to go through such lengths just to observe the sea slugs crawl slowly on the reef. But I would do it all over again. In a heartbeat.

Soon after, I heard the news that they spotted hammerheads in Mindoro. As these sharks were on my bucket list, I did not hesitate to book a dive trip with people I’ve never even met. We spent the weekend diving in Apo Reef and stayed on a remote island with minimal provisions.

While we did not see hammerheads, I cherished the weekend to be completely disconnected from the rest of the world. It felt good to be immersed in such a wondrous place and be surrounded by newfound diving friends instead.

This was definitely a welcomed change for someone who was mending a broken heart.

Unexpectedly, a friend invited me to go diving in Antique- a place I had never imagined visiting ever. It was meant to be a weekend dive trip but I decided to explore and see what was out there.

I ended up backpacking and diving across Antique on my own. Visiting Nogas Island, Mararison Island, and Caluya Island– all of which I never knew existed until then.

It was scary and exciting at the same time.  And I loved every minute of it. It pushed me and gave me the confidence to venture into the unknown.

girl ocean stargazing at night

On land, I was drowning in my own sorrow. But once I was in the ocean I felt like I could breathe easily again.

And it wasn’t just because I had a regulator in my mouth and an air tank on my back. It was because the ocean made me forget all the pain in my heart and worries in my mind.

And so I continued to seek solace in the ocean.

It was a precious gift to hear the sounds of my own bubbles, instead of the sounds of my own sad thoughts. Even if it was just an hour at a time, those moments of calmness and peace were priceless for a woman with a broken heart.

The ocean made it difficult for me to think about the unhappiness I was feeling. How could I when I was immersed in such a beautiful paradise?

snorkeling in Fiji

Each time I jumped into the ocean, I would feel my heart pounding wildly. Because every dive always had a good surprise. What was I going to see today? What will I experience? Every moment was a refreshing change from my mundane life.

This is what it feels like to be truly alive.

In the ocean, I felt happy and carefree. With bursts of life and color everywhere, there was always so much to see. The fishes swimming on the reef often reminded me of confetti being thrown in the air. This magical world was the perfect place for a new love affair.

Being underwater forced me to focus on the present and on myself. When you only have 200 Bar of air in your tank, there was absolutely no time for you to think about a man who had broken your heart. For that brief window, I had this time and space underwater all to myself.

The ocean made me face my fears. There were many times I would dive into the ocean feeling anxious, but this dissipated as my confidence grew. I would always emerge from the depth of the ocean feeling proud of the many things I could do.

The ocean made me braver and stronger. It taught me to have a little bit more courage and a whole lot more faith.

mountain sunrise view over the ocean

One day, I realized that my heart was no longer longing for him. And it was because I was longing more and more for the ocean instead. My love for the ocean had grown deeper.

And to be honest, I was more than okay with that.

For I have learned, the ocean will never break your heart.

Every time I dove in, the ocean took my tears and combined it with its own salty water, gently reminding me that this pain I was feeling was just a tiny drop in the greater scheme of things.

And even if the ocean is wide and deep, I learned that there is absolutely no space for one’s sadness in the ocean. This is a place of happiness.

The ocean opened up my eyes and my heart to all the wonderful possibilities ahead of me. It reminded me of how to feel good about life and how to laugh again.

I will forever be grateful to the ocean that healed my broken heart. And for teaching me how to fall in love again in the most unexpected ways. With places. With people. With experiences. And most importantly, with myself.

So if you find your heart filled with sorrow, just dive into the blue and let the ocean work wonders on you. Allow yourself to experience pure happiness from diving in the ocean, or as what I fondly call diver bliss.

how the ocean healed my broken heart

And this, my friend, is the real reason why this website exists. Behind every post that you read on DiverBliss.com is this story of a woman who tries to save the ocean that had once saved her.

Loved this post? You might also like my other popular post: Don’t Date A Girl who Dives

Did this post resonate with you? How did the ocean heal your broken heart? Tell your story in the comments section below!


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Ara Juan

Ara is the founder of DiverBliss.com and PhilippineDives.com. She is a PADI Rescue Diver with a goal to dive in all the best places around the Philippines.

7 Comments

  1. Jem
    November 2, 2020 / 11:37 am

    Awwwww! Ara, my heart beats for you! I’m glad you found a love that stays & that has made you embrace your calling all the more! 🤗 Here’s to more adventures ❤️

    • Ara Juan
      Author
      November 2, 2020 / 12:55 pm

      Thank you, Jem! You have been instrumental and has always been a huge part of this journey! 🙂

  2. Sailfush
    November 7, 2020 / 9:20 am

    🙂 lovely article!

  3. Romaine
    July 17, 2021 / 9:15 pm

    Hi, writing you from Chicago. And need to tell you your story totally resonates with me! I have barely begun diving, but find it very calming. I got into diving knowing absolutely nothing (I dove right in)..which is crazy. But what I do know is that the ocean is a part of the world I must see before I leave this world. I am 61 years old & recently divorced & am on a journey to heal my broken heart too. But I feel like diving will be the therapy I need. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. And I will look you up when I get to the Philippines which is high on my bucket list!! Happy Diving!!

    • Ara Juan
      Author
      July 20, 2021 / 8:42 pm

      Thank you for sharing your story, Romaine! I am glad that you are finding joy and therapy in diving. You will love diving in the Philippines, send me a message when you are closer to your trip if you need help planning! 🙂

  4. Robert
    October 13, 2021 / 1:20 am

    I truly enjoyed reading this. I can relate. I started diving last year and absolutely love the peace and focusing on just the dive.

    I’m glad you have found what gives you peace as well. Love the website!!!

    • Ara Juan
      Author
      October 13, 2021 / 10:55 am

      Thanks for dropping by! I’m glad you enjoyed it and enjoy scuba diving! Happy dives!

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