Stories for Journey To The Soul...જ⁀➴

   Allow yourself to be taken on a mystical adventure deep into the ocean. As you venture lower into the abyssal unknown, you come across hundreds of types of life and learn more about the world around you as well as the world within you. Exist within a universe where at the center of it all is love and acceptance and feel as you are right where you are meant to be...

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0. Taking A Dive. The Fool

    As you sit at the beach you have familiarized yourself with over the years, your gaze fixates on the crashing waves in front of you. You come to this beach when you need to think, when you need to let your brain air out for a while. Feelings of disconnect from others and the world have creeped into your everyday life and it's begun to damage your mental wellbeing. Attempting to ground yourself by connecting with the world around you, you sit down on the blanket you had brought with you and begin to take in all of your surroundings. You can feel the crisp cool ocean breeze against your skin as you breathe rhythmically, matching the tempo of the waves. The smell of the ocean is pleasant as it enters your system and begins to clear out the negative energy you had trapped inside. Eventually, your eyes land on the ocean that seems as though it itself is alive as its waves crash with purpose on the shore. Looking at the horizon, you're unable to see where the ocean ends and the rest of the world begins and you feel smaller, part of a bigger picture. Just as you are a small cog in a machine much larger than yourself, so is every other person, animal, and plant. As you continue to look at the coastline, thinking about everything below the surface that plays a part in the never-ending cycle of this existence that rarely ever cross your mind. Curiosity begins to well up inside of you as you wonder about the worlds unbeknownst to you below the surface of the water. Armed with a strong sense of determination and a pair of goggles, you make your way towards the water and stand on the shore, close enough to let the water begin to sink your toes in the sand. You slowly take steps forward, feeling the sand give way beneath your feet. You continue forward and allow it to work it's way up your body, sending chills through it. The water was not too cold, not enough that it was uncomfortable, and you use the time before you are fully engulfed by the ocean to put on your goggles. Waves continue to crash against your torso, threatening to tear you down, but you're able to withstand their efforts. You take a deep breath, holding your mouth shut, and dive into the water. Once your entire body is below the water, you open your eyes and are met with a drop off in the ocean to your left, after it only dark blue for what seemed like forever. You continue to swim forward, keeping a distance from the dark blue abyss. As you swim, you hear the echoes of a whale from the depths reach your ears and while you don't understand the language spoken to you, you feel as though there is a sense of needing on the cries of the whale. On your right, a more elevated part of the ocean existed, a kelp forest. The bright and beautiful greens of the seaweed moved back and forth, with the breathing of the ocean. Admiring the forest, you relax your face, and without thinking, begin to take a breath of the water in front of you. Much to your surprise, you're able to breathe! You stay in position, breathing in the water and trying to understand this sensation that feels like you're breathing, but not taking any water in. As if the ocean is beckoning you on a journey, you seem to have been gifted the ability to breathe underwater temporarily to help you continue your journey; your journey to the abyss.
I. Passing By. The Magician

    Unable to explain the phenomena you're experiencing, you wade in place, being mindful when you feel your mind wandering to your existence above the surface. What began as an impulse decision to dive into the ocean is slowly becoming a journey that holds more meaning that you're not sure if you're ready to embark on. You have no idea where it will lead you and you're aware that continuing may change you as a person for good. You're not someone who likes change, but instead find yourself more comfortable staying in place. Looking up, you notice how the sun refracts on the surface of the water, making otherworldly patterns that are mirrored on your skin. It would probably only take you a few moments before you would breach the ocean, being in your own world once again, but you find yourself unable to move. Whether it's because you don't want to take advantage of the gift to breathe underwater from the ocean, as you're not sure how much longer it will last, or because you genuinely want to continue your journey, you're not sure. The person that you feel yourself becoming is someone plagued with doubt for themselves and the world and if you return to the surface right now, you are just feeding into that doubt. Facing these feelings that you have towards yourself, you understand that they are a part of you. When you doubt yourself, that isn't someone else, that's you. You must intentionally feel love for yourself and release the doubt you allow to suffocate your mind. You can't seem to want to move though, towards above the ocean or towards the ocean floor. Instead, you remain in position, and allow your mind to wander and stay mindful of where it tries to escape to, returning it to the present moment whenever you notice and connecting with yourself as the ocean gently moves you.
II. Enveloped. The High Priestess

    After a short while of remaining in relatively the same position, the movement of the ocean begins to drift you towards the kelp forest at your right. You allow the ocean to take it to where it wants you to go and you move through the water slowly until you eventually lay to rest on the floor of the forest. Opening your eyes, you see the surface of the water move in a way that seems mystical. The kelp at either side of your body lightly brush your skin and you close your eyes, feeling the ocean move around your body. The water lulls you into a meditative state, softly humming around you, and you begin to find a deeper appreciation for this experience you're being magically taken on. Without the weight of equipment or any worry of the world above, your mind feels at peace among the seaweed. Using the rhythm of the ocean to keep you grounded, you inhale with gratefulness for this journey you've begun and exhale with love and appreciation for the world around you. Keeping your eyes closed, you feel the soft kisses from a curious fish against your legs. You feel a closeness with the fish that has begun to nibble at your ankles as a connection that would have never been formed otherwise was being formed. You continue to meditate and think about what would you like to learn from whatever this experience shows you, without judgement or doubt. You decide to face everything you meet with love and understanding, not allowing your own thoughts or feelings to have an impact on the sights before you. As you continue to match your breathing with the ocean, you feel strong vibrations against your right arm. They've been there for quite some time now, but you're only just noticing them. As you slowly open your eyes, you first look at your fish companion, and he looks at you. The two of you look at each other for another moment before the fish swims off through the forest, never to be seen by you again. Looking in the direction of the vibrations, you see a colorful city of coral in the distance. Through the kelp, you see the hundreds of fish darting around, in and out of the coral and your doubts are replaced with curiosity.
III. Coral Reef. The Empress

    You decide to follow the vibrations you feel in the water, moving towards the coral reef. Once you reach a point close enough to the reef, you wade in position once more, admiring the bustling ecosystem in front of you. Stuffed to the brim with life of all kinds, big and small, bright and dull, your mouth is left open as you take in the sight before you. You've seen the beauty of coral reef through pictures and videos but you decide in that moment that none of those do the true beauty of the reef any justice. The reef in front of you is almost too overwhelming, as your eyes dart from creature to creature, attempting to soak up all of the beauty that you see. The coral silently provides protection and love to the many fish that rest there every night. Each creature in this underwater ecosystem plays an important part in keeping the reef alive and you feel a tangible connection between the reef and its inhabitants. You see young fish slowly learning how to move around in this strange world they live in. You see smaller fish that are lunch for the larger fish hiding in various holes and caves that have built themselves into the reef. Fish that have deemed the coral reef their home swim around, looking for food or maybe just exploring. You begin to look at all the inhabitants of the reef as peers as you notice the similarity in your own life to them. Even though you feel sometimes as though you are wasting your life away, abandoning any purpose you might have though you had, by simply being alive and allowing yourself to be connected to the world around you, you fulfill your purpose. These fish have a deep connection with their living home, finding it a safe haven from the larger fish that consider them a meal, and they thank the reef by providing them with nutrients. The reefs allows you to time travel and see the millions of generations of live that have slowly made this into their home.
IV. Above Your Head. The Emperor

    The liveliness of the reef does not last forever though and the previous bright blue color of the ocean seemed to dull as the fish started to move closer to the reef. Looking up, you notice that there's a disturbance on the surface of the water that's causing it to distort and shake the ocean in a viscous way. A storm has begun above the water, forcing the waves to dig deeper into the ocean, shaking the world underneath them. Overcome with fear, you begin to swim down and look for anything to keep yourself safe in. As you swim down, you notice that the fish that were previously swiftly swimming around the reef were now taking shelter inside of the many caves built within the reef. You decide that you need to find a shelter for yourself as well, and dive deeper to find an opening big enough for you. Eventually, you find a large enough cave for you to fit in and stuff yourself inside of it, going as deep as you can to avoid the viscous shakes and roars of the storm. You feel grateful towards the ocean for providing you with someplace to stay as you as you attempt to calm your heart while the viscous storm wages on above the surface, uncaring to the millions of lives underneath. The ocean, which was previously moving rhythmically to and fro, now shakes with uncertainty and rage. As you continue to feel the vibrations of the storm from within the safety of the cave, you realize that the feeling expressed by the storm is not rage, in fact, there's no malice in the movements of the ocean at all. The ocean moves in retaliation to the screams and cries of the clouds and the storm is just another cycle in life. Just as it has millions of times before, the storm will calm. With this thought, you're able to begin calming your own heart, breathing deeply. You put your hand on your heart and feel it echo against your hand until it matches the movement of the water, and it's at that moment that you realize the storm has calmed alongside you.
V. Guided Through. The Heirophant

   Having gotten yourself in the cave in the panic, you find yourself somewhat lost. You try to backtrack your way out of the cave but with the lack of light you're unable to find the exit. Though you're trying not to let it get the best of you, fear creeps back into your mind and you wonder if you'll ever be able to find the way out on your own. You worry that the gift given to you by the ocean will run out while you're stuck in here, but before you're able to be fully consumed by these worries, a cave fish makes it's way into view and checks you out, similarly to the fish in the kelp forest. The fish lays soft kisses against your skin and brushes it's fins against you as it gains an understanding of who you are. Sensing that you are not a threat, the fish begins to lead you out of the caves but not in the same way that you entered them. Wondering if you should follow the fish, you keep a close distance from the fish guiding you. You completely let go of all your worries and allow the cave fish to take the lead, putting your full trust in him. You feel pressure building in your head slightly as you feel your body descending deeper into the ocean, curious as to how far you'll be able to travel. The cave fish leads you through twists and sharp turns, showing you a path unknown to you, but familiar to the creature in front of you. As you continue through the caves, you feel other cave fish begin to kiss you in the same way the first one had, joining you on your exit out. It feels like they are also making sure that you follow them, keeping you safe as you exit their home. As you reach the exit of the cave, the cave fish stays in place at the cave opening, beckoning you. You exit the cave, turning around to look back at the other cave fish that tagged along for a journey with a curiously big creature, meeting their many eyes. You can hardly see them, as the light at this depth makes everything barely visible. With a quick look, the cave fish then turn around and return back to the tunnels of their home.
VI. With You / Pilot. The Lovers

   The cave opened up into an area with nothing but blackness. Little light reaches this depth, causing fear to once again grip your heart. Looking down, you're unable to see anything but your own body and call out in hopes that something, or someone, might hear you. No response. You start to wonder if it might be best to just head back, that you're not strong enough to continue this journey. You can hardly tell which direction is up as you become one with the nothingness surrounding you. The abyss that goes on for ages at every side of you causes you to freeze in place. You haven't swam too far from the exit of the cave, you think you should be able to see it, but you can't. Nothingness for as far as you can see, the only visible life being your own; you come to believe that this must be the closest thing to experiencing what happens immediately after death. You call out again, with no response at first, but then a small light makes its way into view at your right. You're overjoyed that something heard you calling out but when you realized you have no idea what you just brought near you, that feeling is once again replaced with fear, so you remain in place. As the light moves close towards you, you notice that it's a small bioluminescent jellyfish, about the size of your index finger. Looking at the jellyfish, the blackness of the world around you seems to deepen and you welcome its company with a soft smile. You silently thank the jellyfish for accompanying you and it stops moving once it's far enough away from you, but close enough to stay near your vibrations. Looking closer at the jellyfish, you notice the beautiful colors that it has. In straight lines inside of it, run rainbow colors, lighting up and moving. Its shaped like a popsicle, lacking any tendrils below its bulb. The creature in front of you seems otherworldly as it moves around in its abyssal home in a way that seems magical. After some time, the two of you decide to continue your journey deeper, diving down into the abyss.
VII. Push & Shove. The Chariot

    With the little light left available at this depth, you're able to make out another cliffside. Curiosity once again gets the better of you as you make your way over with your bioluminescent companion and you notice that this part of the ocean is also incredibly alive, just as the coral reef, but in its own way. Whereas the inhabitants of the coral reef above were extremely beautiful and most of them were bright mystical colors, a lot of the creatures before you now could be categorized as creepy and dull. Their appearance did not push you away though, in fact, it intrigued you. The king of this abyssal kingdom, a large eel, rushes past you and you follow it's path with your eyes as it darts back and forth. The eel is a strange red color, changing each time the light reflecting off of it changed. You kept your distance from the eel, not wanting to disturb him, so that you could continue observing him in his castle undisturbed. With no eyes to see it, this creature has built itself a kingdom. In a vast world where in other parts he might become a meal for another creature, he lives as the leader here. Along with all the smaller fish that exist as part of the food cycle, they have also made this wonderous deep sea kingdom their home, raising generations regardless of the fear of death constantly peering down on them. Despite what they face, each fish here faces each day with the same determination to live as the last. The other subjects in the kingdom of the eel were not as lively as the fish seen at the coral reef, but instead lived a much more mellow life. Just as their counterparts near the surface of the water, the fish live in this eel's kingdom play a part and fulfill a generational purpose simply by existing within it. The eel continues to dart around, sometimes capturing miniscule fish in it's mouth for a quick snack, showing the temporality of existence especially at this depth. As you've been on this journey, you've come to realize that everything moves in cycles, so the fish that fell victim to the eel will simply have to try again next time he's born, hoping this time he will get it right for just a little longer before eventually falling victim to the cycle of life once again. Eventually, the eel retires to his home, a small hole in the side of the cliff and sticks his head out, his mouth slowly opening and closing. For now, he will rest but remains on high alert to protect himself and the life for himself that he has created.
VIII. Abyssal Collapse. Strength

    You swim deeper with your jellyfish friend, past the now sleeping eel, and find yourself at a depth that almost absolutely no light reaches. You're still feeling that pressure on your head, but its somewhat bearable now, as you've come to accept and appreciate anything that comes with this experience. All around you, black nothingness, causes anxiety to creep up your throat. The jellyfish provides some comfort as it slightly illuminates around it. You try to calm yourself back down, focusing on the vibrations against your skin that come from the jellyfish and the breathing of the ocean. At this depth, the rocking of the water is very subtle, barely moving you. A song begins to slowly be heard and you turn your head in the direction you feel the vibrations coming from. The song continues to get louder as you make your way towards it, echoing through the water. You're swimming for quite some time, feeling the vibration of whatever is in front of you getting stronger and then you stop as fast as you can as the sight in front of you comes into view. A giant squid, it's orange color stained red with the blood floating in the water around it, has itself wrapped around a gigantic sperm whale. You're nearly pushed away as the fight between the two beasts in front of you causes the water to push against you. The size of the giants in front of you shrinks you, making you feel as though you are nothing more than an ant to the creatures in front of you. The two beasts fight with all of their power but as you watch the epic battle unfolding in front of you, you notice that the whale is not returning any attacks, but simply defending itself against the squid. Each attack that the squid lands against the sperm whale is met with compassion as it attempts to protect itself against the giant squid. The whale could easily overpower its foe, but instead tries to protect itself in hopes that the squid gives up. Even when faced with such malice, the whale remains defensive. The squid strikes the whale near its eye with its beak and the whale counters it by moving to the side quickly and butting the squid away, pushing the beasts' fight closer to you. You quickly back up, pulling your jellyfish friend with you, and continue to watch from a distance. In what seems to be a moment of realization, the squid pulls away from the whale, signaling an end to the battle. The two beasts could continue this pointless battle until they inevitably destroy one another, or they could decide to part ways. As though the two of them have met a common understanding, the two giants part ways, leaving you alone with only the jellyfish to illuminate your way once again.
IX. At The End. The Hermit

    As you continue to swim lower, your hand eventually touches something extremely solid and covered in sand. You have reached the bottom of the ocean. Looking up for a last time, you see the exact same thing you saw before you began this journey into the ocean and your own self. You sit on the ocean floor and allow your heartbeat to melt away into the hum of the ocean, going over everything you have had the honor of experiencing, extremely thankful for the opportunity to go on this magical adventure. You saw compassion, love, understanding and acceptance in it's purest forms in every part of this underwater world. You learned that all creatures, big or small, have a purpose that is fulfilled simply by existing and connecting with the world around you. As you are is enough. Becoming a better person is not about cutting out the parts of yourself you dislike, but learning to meet those dislikes with unconditional love. Letting your guard down and opening your heart allows you to form connections that can elevate your life and allow for more love to flow through you and to others. As you look back on all the things you have learned about yourself and others, you feel a deep sense of gratitude to the ocean that now completely surrounds you for allowing you to experience this journey. You're thankful for being able to see life in its purest form, stripped away are all of the trivial worries of life, and we are left with the idea that at the center of it all is love. Aware that the only way to go now is up, you kick yourself up with hesitation and the jellyfish that has accompanied you to the ocean floor continues up with you for quite some time. You make your way past the eel's kingdom, seeing the king still resting in his hole in the cliffside. Once you reach the cave you had escaped thanks to the fish earlier, your jellyfish breaks off its path with yours and continues on its own path once again. You silently big farewell to the jellyfish that had accompanied you to unimaginable depths and enter the cave once more to be guided by the cave fish who had shown you the way before. You give one last look to all of the cave fish before exiting the entrance you had originally taken and they return it before quickly turning and returning home. Continuing to kick up, you swim past all the sights you had recently gone past and reminisce on everything that you have seen. The ocean, now calm due to the storm being long gone, hums against your ears and moves your path to the surface back and forth slightly, with more strength as you continue up. As you make your way past the coral reef, now alive with the fast movements and lives of its many occupants, you are reminded of how every animal, fish and human are uniquely intertwined with one another, all existing on the same planet together. At the end of the day, the answer is always love. We each live in our respective circles, experiencing things that we believe to be unique to us and isolating ourselves when we feel like we are too much. Facing those feelings of fear and self hatred head-on is the only way to work through them. Accepting that these feelings are a part of you, then learning to love yourself regardless of that, will help you to live a more fulfilling life. As you are is enough and will always be enough. Everyone has a purpose, as shown by each of the creatures you met on your journey. Just as these underwater inhabitants taught has a purpose, they have also taught you that your purpose does not have to be incredibly grand. Whatever makes your heart swell and brings you meaning gives you purpose. While we are not all connected in some food chain as every fish in the ocean is, we are connected socially. Each of us may have individual purposes, but our overall purpose for living is to connect with those around us and spread love and compassion and to extend that love and compassion to ourselves. As we are is enough and will always be enough.

You gasp as you break the surface of the water, breathing in the fresh ocean air.
X. A Look Inwards / Return. Wheel Of Fortune

    Your body feels rejuvenated as you stretch after you wake up out of your bed the next morning, unable to get the experience from yesterday out of your mind. Part of yourself wants to go back to the water, to dive deep and stay for as long as you can. To become part of that underwater abyss once more. If the experience yesterday taught you anything though, it's that running away is never an option. You can't keep running from yourself and your life, instead you must face it head on with compassion and unconditional love. As you are in this moment right now, you are enough. The place that you are at in your life is enough. What you have accomplished this far is enough. Everything that you have done up until this point in your life has been enough. Chasing "enough" and trying to find something to fill the pit inside of your chest will only cause the pit to widen. You need to realize that the pit was dug by you each time you knock yourself down. The guilt you feel in your heart when you want to love yourself and be proud of yourself but feel unable to, attempts to mend your heart each time you try to weaken it. Thankfully though, our souls are resilient. Instead of looking in the mirror with contempt for the person you see yourself as, look with love and understanding. The person before you has tried their hardest to survive and exist in a world that seems cruel most days. You, more than anyone, are deserving of your own love and acceptance. With acceptance, the expectations that you have for yourself will also fall, allowing you to feel content in yourself as you are. View your own self with the love you put out into the world and you'll notice that while the shovel may still be there, the pit is not. The world is a beautiful place and by existing within in and spreading love to yourself and others, you make it even more beautiful.

    You return to the same beach you were at yesterday later that night, not to dive into the water, but to lay on the beach and look out onto the waves. The waves crash against the shore in a rhythmic fashion and you align your breath with it as your heart begins to swell.

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