Reflecting on a past blog post....
In sailing "coming about" is called "tacking" or turning one's boat's bow into and through the wind (to windward) thereby altering direction and course - as in changing from port tack to starboard tack or vice versa. The call "Ready about.... Hard-a-lee!" signals to a crew this maneuver is fast approaching. "Coming about" in sailing often also often suggests altering one's position in a boat. Frequently when tacking, a skipper and crew transfer their weight to the "high side" or windward side to transfer crew weight to counterbalance the sailboat's heal, but also to provide the skipper a greater view of boat, sails, telltales. and sea. So in essence, it is also a change in perspective, especially for the helmsman and any lookouts.
In social circles this common expression often refers to an individual's arrival at a particular time. "I coming about 8:00 pm. See you then." Yet in human development terms "coming about" is called "evolving" as in "coming into your own." It isn't so much about timing or timelessness. It is more about growth and maturity.
Nine years ago I bought Mystique with a plan to sail home eventually. Four years ago that plan began when I retired to sail her around the Caribbean and the Bahamas. However, somehow like Odysseus's return home, my vessel mistakenly washed upon the shores of a cannibalistic-like Laestrygonian island. The gigantic forces of change and sunken dreams almost ambushed and scuttled all of my prospects and hopes of retirement. Without a few fortunate interventions I might not have escaped. Thankfully, when I finally found my way out of the mess, I realized my own choices had lead to my own near catastrophic destruction. I eventually concluded my nature had drifted away from its nature.
Nay, I can not call this next step a mission, search, calling, quest, escape, trial or even endurance test. It's also neither a walk-a-bout, a cop-out or a time-out. This imminent sail is no hero's journey or odyssey. Yes, as I have suggested, it may possess a tidbit, smidgen or a dash of each. And to some who don't know me well, it might appear I'm taking a break, a hiatus or even a vacation. But none of those nouns or labels come close.
This time will be about recharging, rediscovering, reinventing and resurrecting myself. My energies will be devoted toward realigning, reconnecting, reprogramming, recollecting and restoring myself. I will be cleansing, clearing and reconstructing as well as re-finding, redefining and refining my being. You see, I lost much of my being last year so I need to return to my true nature. In a week or so I will become crew, first mate, second mate, cook, navigator and skipper for at least a month or more.
Last year I sailed from Florida to the Bahamas unexpectedly by myself but then eventually met up with friends and family to explore for a few weeks some of the most paradisiacal of the 365 Exumas Islands. I will again revisit some familiar spots and undoubtedly discover and explore some new places like Eleuthera, but this time I will steer Mystique quite differently with a totally new plan in mind...and maybe more accurately - a remind and rewind in mind.
When I depart for this solo-soulful-sail, rather than simply react to the world around me, I have decided to create some conscious routine reminders. The overall purpose of my time is to experience life differently. I want to alter my thought-process and become more attentive, aware and aligned with my higher self.
My Daily Objectives and Reminders:
- To be open / receptive to daily forces / energies as they present themselves to me
- To distinguish, clarify and practice conscious choices
- To cleanse and cultivate my awareness
- To clear my head and open my heart
- To appreciate and affirm for life
- To enhance my perspective
- To calm and center my core
- To go with flow: respond to life offerings in meaningful ways
- Avoid any attachment to plans
- To heal and recover from wounds
- To transform my being and doings
- To record my experiences, learn from each and share them
- To turn the light back on in my life
- To be open to discover what life has in store for me
- Take time to be a student of nature.
- To develop a greater perspective for who I am and who I want to be.
My solo practices as of 5/14/16:
1. Allow nature to navigate destinations and daily doings.
- Always be present - ready to assess and modify. "The only constant is change."
- Allow weather conditions to determine best courses, destinations and sails.
- Choose anchorages based on forecast, present conditions, safety, beauty and solitude.
- Live with nature's forces - respond to wind, water and weather.
- Synchronize with nature; "Daylight Being Time" or "Island Time"
- Move to new harbor or cove when time and conditions are right.
- Sail as often as possible.
- Turn-off all electronics as often as possible.
Possible Bahamian destinations:
- New Providence (upper left)
- Eleuthera (upper right) or northern
- Exumas (lower left)
Derived from the Greek word eleutheros "free". This is the name of an island in the Bahamas which was originally named Eleutheria; eleutheria means "freedom" in Greek, while eleuthera means "free".
No known definition; Exuma is a district of the Bahamas, consisting of over 360 islands, also called cays. The largest of the cays is Great Exuma, which is 37 mi (60 km) in length and joined to another island, Little Exuma by a small bridge.
2. Create and follow a routine
- Wake - Rise when fully rested or for nature calls.
- Breathe - stay present to my experience
- Pay attention - be aware of my thoughts, impulses, rhythms, reactions and responses.
- Eat - to energize, revive and restore. When hungry, wait an hour; eat only nutritious foods
- Meditate - set up a morning routine 10-30 minutes daily
- Swim - Emerce and exercise my body in the salt water each day. Swim / snorkel.
- Stretch - Practice yoga on bow trampoline each day.
- Sleep - Rest or relax when tired.
- Treat my feet! Sole-full-salt-soakings and coconut oil massages
3. Live from nature whenever possible.
- Be present with nature as often as possible.
- Notice natures' creations and sensations
- Fish, snorkel and forage from the sea and land.
- Cook what I catch; eat from the sea and land.
- Collect rain water for wash.
4. Observe and Witness My Thoughts
- Wake gradually. Clear head of thoughts;
- Pay attention to sounds, sensations and feelings
- Practice daily morning meditation.
- Reflect and record each day - Write
- Read an hour each day - Respond to reading as if I were writing a review or replying to author.
- Challenge myself mentally each day
5. Improve my understanding of Mystique
- Improve boat each day. Fix, tinker and improve.
- Base and balance need / pleasure priorities.
- Clean and organize living spaces daily.
- Assess and modify and adapt
So I'm setting sail solo soon not only to lighten my spirit, but also to regain and reboot my being. I know I will become better grounded without running aground. I will sail with my head out of the clouds. I will keep lookout for more than the horizon. I will spend purposeful time alone. And I will return when I feel I am ready.
Toasting the sunset on my first day before I ran aground later that night.
First sightings of the northern Exumas on the morning of the second day.