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Thoughts from the wheel

While I was at the wheel on one of our shake down sails guiding our boat to our destination I started thinking how much of sailing we can relate to life and the other way around. I thought how easily we can kid ourselves that we are in charge, just because we have a steering wheel in our hand – thinking we are in control. There are so many things that could happen and than can change the direction of our journey. As we have experienced just now, the perfect storm swept through before we even untied the lines. The weather can change anytime – we can’t necessarily rely on the weather forecast. We might meet other nice people at an anchorage and stay a few nights longer or we might have to move on early because of weather patterns. Or we might have repairs on the boat or need to stock up on groceries or move to a completely different country to renew a visa. When we planned this journey we planned to start where we pick the boat up. We have a rough idea which countries we want to visit and what our options are, but we didn’t make any plans. As it turns out now they would have been useless anyway.

I don’t know much about sailing yet, but from our few years with our trailer yacht I have experienced it as absolute bliss, really sucky and anything in between – just like life.

The ocean is beautiful, deep, unpredictable, wild, mysterious and whole lot of other things. I haven’t spend all that much time on the ocean, but I love to spend time at beaches or swim in it. Its beauty has always drawn me in, but its wildness, strength, the unimaginable depth and immenseness frightens me at times. I am curious to see how our relationship evolves over the next few months and hopefully years to come.

The ocean can be dead calm and we wish for a bit of wind and movement or sometimes we might just enjoy the calm for a little while and sometimes the wind and rain bobs our boat around on the waves, we might even get frightened and we long for the calm again. Just like life – life is beautiful, deep, unpredictable, wild and a whole lot of other things.

Our boat provides warmth, security, a sense of comfort, a home and maybe sometimes it causes us a whole lot of frustration, because things are not working as we want them to. So are our bodies – they are our homes in this lifetime. Only in the last 5 years have I gained a full sense of appreciation and gratitude for my beautiful body and all it does for me 24/7 for my whole lifetime and how badly I treated it for so many years. I can’t believe it took me so long to figure this out. I have a lot of maintenance to catch up on on my vessel and I have learned to ease the grip on the steering wheel and be more playful and relaxed with the course I set for my journey, which already had several major detours, that I would have never envisaged as my future as young woman. Life is so surprising and spacious and sometimes it sucks, but if I have learned one thing from the bumpy ride so far is that after downs an up is not far away.

I have heard a talk of a swami once at a yoga festival. One of the things he said was, that one of the tricks for a happy life was to ride the waves more elegantly, sail in the right direction, adjust course when needed,  make sure you don’t go out into a storm if you only have a dinghy. If you want to ride bigger waves you need to ideally upgrade your boat so you don’t drown or get shipwrecked in heavy weather.

And most of all even if you are an experienced sailor – never stop learning. I heard Armando say yesterday that he has been into boating for 50 years and he is still learning every day. Another important lesson I learned through my grown up years – the more I learn, the more I realise that I know very little. As a young woman I thought I knew everything. My 13 year old reminds me of that stage ;-).

Wishing you all the best and happy sailing everyone.

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