GUEST MERMAN Davide Carrera
We were honoured to be in conversation with the World Championship Free Diver ~ Davide Carrera. He first grabbed our attention on a Netflix film, we were mesmerised by his sleek yet powerful movements under the water that almost resembled ballet at times. A merman in the true sense, connected to nature, living a holistic lifestyle, growing his own food, practicing yoga, following ancient Native American practices and meditating in the ocean, Davide shares his fascinating views on what ‘merman’ spirit represents for him and shares the magical experience of a chance meeting with a dolphin.
Does your daily ritual start every day in the ocean?
In summer time yes almost every day. I am training often for competition. Being a champion is a way I can give a message to people, it’s a way to have a voice and for people to listen. I believe people should try and respect more ourselves and nature. I believe when we spend time having contact with nature and time with yourself, in diving especially, you have to be aware, of yourself, of your environment and you have to be careful not to take too many risks, it could be very dangerous if you do not have this awareness, it would be the same if you were up a mountain, you have to be respectful, diving encourages me to meditate more and go inside myself.
As a child when on holiday with your Grandparents at the beach did you have an intuition like this is where I belong, the ocean will be my calling?
Yes I felt good in the water playing and when I became a teenager, it felt like a challenge and becoming an athlete was my dream. I started to compete when I was young.
I was also interested in agriculture from a young age, I was helping my Grandparents with their organic farm, it was another way to be connected to nature, to provide our own healthy food, I have a piece of land now and grow my own food. I have also worked as a skipper on a sailing boat, sailing is a very beautiful way of exploring the ocean, the silence and just going with the wind.
Was there a time that anything changed for you?
I stopped competitive diving for a while, competing felt like it was too much about the ego, wanting to be a champion, but when I realised I could use my talent of diving to inspire other people to follow dreams, to be free and have a healthy lifestyle, everything changed and freediving became more about an inner search, I am still doing this inner search every day through yoga, meditation, free diving and growing food.
Meditation is all about breath, but you are holding your breath for long periods of time under the water, how is it possible to meditate without breath?
For me it’s not like holding breath, its expanding breath, its more about slowing down the breath, then at the same time it’s easier to slow down the mind, to go into a deeper mediative status. Slowing the breath so much that the time between one breath and the next is expanded. There are many techniques from Kumbhaka but diving and wellness and meditation is more about feelings than techniques. It feels beautiful and flowing, like in ballet, there is a technique involved but you can’t think about it too much because then your moments are not fluid.
How does spirtuality play a part in your diving?
Sometimes when I feel tired from training and worried about the results, I reach a point of surrender, and say to myself that if I do something good, the universe and energy of love will help me. And then it happens, these feelings are like a testimony to a miracle, because you can feel alone like you cannot do it, and then you feel this energy coming and helping you, you feel it inside yourself, and then you believe more in the power of these energies. In those moments I feel all the nice thoughts and love and prayers of all my friends and family, coming and helping me in that moment. I have had some accidents in the water and when those things happen come they come to teach you something, it makes you feel that you have to give a deeper meaning to your life.
How do you separate the competitive side of what you do with the ego, from the joy and freedom of simply being in the water?
I believe it’s possible to put these things together. The sponsors I have provide income, so I try and work with sponsors who have an ethical mission, one of my main sponsors is focused on raising awareness of reducing plastic pollution, so this is a part of my job that I like, the sponsors feel like friends, we are a team, spreading good messages. Filming is another way to express myself and share messages.
When you dive with whales and they are singing, what do you think they are saying?
I don’t know the words but when I listen to them I feel they give a vibration of love, the sound is so moving, stronger than seeing them or swimming with them, the things that is stronger for the emotions is listening to them, the feeling I get from them is they say we should learn to love more, to respect more ourselves and the environment.
What does the spirit of merman represent for you?
I first want to talk about the mermaid, I believe it is important these days to give back power to the feminine, this means giving power to every persons feminine side, I believe we are more powerful when we are balanced, when we can accept deeply ourselves and all the opposites, the strength, but at the same time the relaxation, many times in sport, people just think about strength, but it’s important to be flexible, be able to relax, and this is our more feminine side that is important to reach in any kind of sport.
In spirituality, there has traditonally been a masculine focus with names such as Father sky. I like the culture of the native Americans, for them Mother Earth and the Woman are as important as the father sky, the thought is not because something is high up it is more I important or something lower is it less important. Like the roots of the tree have the same importance as the branches, without both the tree cannot exist.
I feel the merman has to feel these things, traditionally sport and religion is more masculine, but we have to learn to feel more, a merman is somebody trying to find his balance, finding the balance of the masculine and feminine side.
Is ocean feminine?
I think ocean is both, and everything can be both, sometimes ocean can be a kind of Mother, sometimes a kind of Father, but I believe the ocean is the womb of Mother earth.
Do you practice shamanism?
I like to explore the spirit world through yoga and shamanism and I try to listen and learn from every religion, to learn something new.
Which is the most magical place you dive in?
There are many different places, the most beautiful tropical warm clear water but I also have had very nice experiences in darker water, not so warm, more difficult to dive, in this situation when it is challenging, I can learn more.
Have you ever got close to a creature in an emotional way?
Yes many but the strongest connection I had in my life was with a dolphin, we were swimming together closely, we looked at each other in the eyes, at this moment she was staying very close to me, it became sensual, she was bringing her organs close to me, caressing me like she wanted to make love with me, it was like this dolphin could read inside my soul.
Do you have any final messages you would like to give?
We should all be more in touch with ourselves and respectful of nature, our environment and grateful for life.
We wish Davide all the best for the world championships this October in Turkey