#MermaidVibes is what Hannah experiences every day. Hannah is a world acclaimed underwater mermaid and performance artist. She is a mermaid with a mission, dedicating her time as an ocean activist. Hannah travels the world performing for charity projects to commercial ventures to bring awareness to the ocean and it’s precious animal life.
*Main Photo By: Stephan Lemansky
What is your personal mantra?
Om Namah Shivaya, – given to me by the Siddha Yoga Teacher Muktananda when I was a child visiting meditation ashram in India. Loosely translated from sanskrit, it means ‘I bow to the Source of all Oneness’
How has being a mermaid and underwater artist altered the way you interact with water?
Being a mermaid has shown me the interconnected nature of humans and the ocean, and all life on this planet. We cannot just use it like it’s an infinite resource to pollute. It is home to innumerable species and creates most of the oxygen that we breathe! I have a reverence for water, and how it holds so much information encoded into its structure. The ocean is a living library of the evolution of life on Earth.
What advice do you have for someone who knows what their passion is but fears taking a chance with it?
When you get to the end of your life, what will you regret? It won’t be taking a chance on something you love!! I have seen time and again that anyone who is totally dedicated to what they love, can make a living out of it. The way to express it in the world may morph and shift, but stay true to the essence of your passion and it will support you in time! Whatever lights you up inside, whatever excites you when you wake up, that is the thing you came to this world to express! Don’t hold back!
How has your travels shaped your art and activism?
Traveling to so many different places around the world woke me up to the dire global situation we are in! Seeing reefs dying, decreased wildlife and increased pollution from one year to the next inspired me to get very active in being a voice for our oceans! When you see the degradation of our planet firsthand, you cannot ignore it anymore or pretend it isn’t happening! I am continually blown away by the divine beauty and intelligence of this planet, and it hurts my heart that humans are so misusing it.
In what ways has your connection with nature taught you about self-love?
When you slow down enough to appreciate the beauty of nature, you also feel more grounded in your body, and you can appreciate your own physical and energetic connection to this planet. We are all part of a symbiotic system that is created from a love vibration. When you can tap into that, love flows from all around and from within.
Looking back on your past works, what do you hold as one of your greatest experiences?
The first time I swam with whales changed my perspective on life entirely. For the first time I felt like I was a tiny in the presence of a much larger, unknown intelligence. I was but a tiny ant in comparison to these majestic beings, and yet, they chose to come and swim next to me, connect with me, and their whale song reverberated through my body in a way I can only describe as rearranging my DNA and cellular structure. I felt deep emotion, and an unlocking of empathy and connectivity to the ocean creatures in that moment. I knew that I would put my life on the line to protect them and be a voice for those who could not speak for themselves.
Another incredible experience was dancing with 17 ft tiger sharks in the Bahamas. The fact that these so called ’monsters’ would peacefully swim by me, allowing me to stroke their sides and tickle their noses, completely shifted the way I perceived these animals, and in turn changed many people’s perception of sharks around the world. In those moments, I felt completely present in the ‘NOW’ and so attuned to the sharks that I could interpret every move they made and react accordingly to be in safely sync with them.
How can someone be more mindful of the cause and effects of their choices when it comes to environmentalism?
Choices happen on a minute by minute basis. You can certainly help out with more focused actions such as beach clean ups, donating to charities and supporting environmental projects, however what is really important is that we start living environmentalism in every waking moment as a lifestyle, not a once in a while activity. This means being mindful of each choice we make through the day: Using cruelty free eco-cleaning products, turning the tap off when we are brushing our teeth or washing dishes, or lathering up in the shower, choosing a plant based diet which has much less environmental impact on the planet, reducing/eliminating one-use plastics, bringing your own bags to the supermarket, putting your money into ethical investments, etc.
When you are underwater, what does it feel like to be surrounded by the ocean?
Having all that water under, above and around you can be intimidating until you get comfortable with it. When you realize that your body is primarily made up of water, then the feeling of being literally ‘in your element’ changes the perspective of it being an unnatural place to exist!
Underwater is a weightless, quiet, peaceful place where everything feels connected. It’s like flying in slow motion. To exist comfortably on a breath hold you need to slow down your heart rate and relax in a meditative state, so the headspace is quite altered. And then meeting incredible intelligent species like manata rays, dolphins and whales and is truly like visiting a different planet!
What is the most memorable piece of advice you have every received?
God/Source/Oneness dwells within you, as you.
We are all One, sparks of the same great light, returning to oneness through this life adventure.