Today is the ninetieth day since we left home. Living on the boat gives me ample time to reflect. Here’s what I’ve got so far:
1. Always say yes to safety. If one of us has a thought about safety, the answer is always ‘Yes – let’s do that immediately”. Basically, if you can think it, you should do it. If your spidey sense says to clip yourself to the lifeline, put an extra reef in the main, add another spring line, or cast some light on that gap between your boat and the dock – do it!
2. Eat when you can. Supper is the only meal that has survived as a concept. Grazing is the order of the day. One whole cupboard is devoted to grab and go snacks. The main meal takes place after the day’s sail is done. By then, I am really hungry, and I really enjoy my food! This has been a real revelation for me.
3. Practise gratitude. While I am literally sailing through life this year, friends and family are taking care of one another without any help from me, and people at work are pulling heavy freight. I love and miss you all, and I am so grateful for your support in making this possible.
4. Wait for Grace. I still don’t have answers to the most basic of questions: Why am I doing this? Why leave family, friends and work for a year?? A good part of it has to do with wanting (badly) to become a better sailor. Another is wanting the adventure. Still another part wants to avoid regret. As noted above, a lot of planets aligned in order to make this possible, and I do not want to look back and think “I could have done it, but I didn’t!” Another huge draw is being within 3 feet of My Beloved for a year. Not many couples get to do this sort of thing.
5. Feel More, Think Less. Lately, I begin to think that there is an element of self-care in all this. Even though I have taught my children that self-care is not selfish – it is mission critical – it is hard to give that to myself. I tell them that you can’t keep drawing from the well unless you stop to top it up. For me, I now realize, that means taking time to experience wonder:
- Fog dripping from the shrouds
- A flotilla of boats trailing like swans behind the transom
- The white sails warm as risen bread dough at the end of the day
- Thom’s freckled hands on the wheel, his tongue in the corner of his mouth, boyish concentration on a task he loves.
Recently, I found myself stressing over how to remember the beauty I am experiencing. And that’s when it hit me. I am not supposed to remember it. Just feel it. My spirit knows when it has been fed. I don’t have to strain to keep beauty with me. Just set my soul to receive.
If I learn anything this year, it will be to make my brain take a back seat. I don’t need all the answers now. Maybe I never will. So that’s my Q1 report, coming to you from North Carolina. A little bit philosophical, eh? Let’s see who I am (and where) at the end of Q2!Kathleen