During my almost 3-month solo in the Bahamian and Exumian wilds, Nature cast a spell over me. And her energy and power altered me profoundly. More than improve my spelling, she assisted in spelling me. By that I mean while she recharged my boat's batteries with her solar powers, she renewed my spirit and psyche.
With her ever-entrancing omnipresence, I became more and more enthralled. Surprisingly since I thought I had known her. Nature yet constantly rewound me without turning my clock back. She accomplished this without rewounding me once again. As she brought sun to day and star lights to night, she brightened me. Consequently, she lightened my spirits. She accomplished this by clearing my head and heart; filled both my wells with awe. Naturally, she knew what I needed. The prescription sounded simple: Just be with Nature and she'll restore my human being-ness. She held me and entertained me - she never missed a performance - every day and night she showed up....with her amazing shows...her they were SHOW times I will always remember.
Her divine design - her ubiquitous beatific, was direct and in my face. As her audience, I watched as she painted her skies baby blues while she blew her waters emerald hues. She was so talented she never paused or hesitated; she gave me her unconditional conditions. In so doing she often massaged and soothed my hurts. The more I allowed her to touch me and accept me, the more I healed. The more open and vulnerable I felt, the more intimate relationship. Her daily breeze rewinders and her combing currents sent me epiphanies and reminders I would be restored. I could not help but appreciate all their assistance. My gratitude grew with each moment.
Those 51-days onboard my Mystique would spell my relief and recovery. I needed her spell to wander through my wonder. I wanted and needed to be spellbound for awhile....to be shocked and awed! To get away from being hard-grounded, to float free again to be me. She woke me with love and I celebrated my regained freedom and awakened consciousness.
I thought I had actually lost my way and myself, but I actually discovered my LOST and FOUND. I found I had first to be lost to be found. In actuality, I had only been missing me; I had missed my Being. While I took myself to these far off places in the Bahamas, I took nothing more for granted Nature took me and brought me back to a new beginning. It may appear I took lots of photos, but truth be told, nature not only took these, but brought me these. She gave herself to me with fearless love and her gift woke me from my depression. With her shining, I could finally see again.
Sunset from Mystique while anchored in Flamingo Bay, Rum Cay, Bahamas
Whenever I wasn't mindful in moving around Mystique, I often received a blunt reminder. - an encouragement, so to speak. Tossed, turned, bumped or thumped, my body and soul got churned up,,,turn up...turned upside down. Occasional bumps and bruises mixed in with a dose of healthy boat malfunctions occasionally admonished me for not paying closer attention. Each message simply sent C.O.D. Not CASH ON DELIVERY, but COME ON DOWN.... CONTINUE OR DIE.... CONSCIOUSNESS OR DEATH.... COME ON DELIVERANCE...I need you!
Musical messages also became my spelling lessons. They gave me breaks in my backward thinking. They spelled me. They broke and awoke me. Each time, I was transported to a stage for Nature's Spelling Be Contest. I had been a resisting, contesting contestant, learning how to spell relief's F-R-E-E-D-O-M. But then I suddenly realized all I had to do was spell BE. Just BE and I would spell myself.
My time living on an emerald sea, under full skies, endless horizons, breathing fresh, clean air, communing with Nature's frolicking, floating sea life, I had drifted far off grid, gridlock, gridiron, grind, grime and grim. While N-A-T-U-R-E spelled ME with its magical hypnosis, I spelled its magnificence. Nature's presence reminded me to stay present to BE-ing. She was doing me and I was being her.
As I described in Eye-Witnessing Awe, the amazing became commonplace during my return voyage to the States. But this awesome beauty, power and energy had appeared much earlier in my sailing spell. While AWE has always surrounded me at sea, I started to question if I had ever honestly recognized her benefits. My nature spell augmented my thoughts, feelings...my sensations. Our MOTHER freed my soul. SHE altered my wonderment. SHE heightened my awareness. SHE released my regrets. SHE affected my dreams. SHE woke me up from my trance. SHE even changed how I viewed earthly time. SHE was something else!
One of the books I read during my sea exploration was Einstein's Dreams. Following my return to land, I read it twice more on the water. And those rereads helped me better understand and reflect on how time, nature and spirituality interrelate. And more relevantly to how I relate to each of them.
Alan Lightman's 1992 novel, called by many scholars, "a modern classic", became an international bestseller because it demonstrates human beings' relationship to time. His fictional collage of Albert Einstein's dreams in 1905, when he worked in a patent office in Switzerland, views life and time from various vantage points. In one chapter Lightman depicts time as circular, so that people are fated to repeat triumphs and failures. In another, time is infinite so humans live forever and fail to value their existence. In another world, all life has a termination date; all individuals take care of unfinished business in the short time they have remaining. In all these metaphorical vignettes, Lightman explores connections between science and art, the process of creativity, and ultimately the fragility of human existence. And in Einstein's Dreans Lightman's spiritual worlds affirm Einstein's theory of relativity.
Another Rum Cay sun dips below the horizon.
While I sailed the Exumas, I knew I had transported myself to another world - a paradise - endless wonder and oneness. Far removed from whence I came, I entered and encountered a natural freedom. A world without human distraction, discord and dishonesty. A world that encouraged, enabled and embraced Being-ness. All this emerged by my cohabitating and interacting with Nature. And yes communicating with her without interference or interruption or judgements. She was delicious!
The Exumas sent me many spiritual confirmations. All appeared unannounced, timely and punctual. All free of postage, postmark, postage due or return address. I had asked the Universe for some signs and guidance. She responded by displaying amazingly clear signals. Here are some of her most forceful communiques during my first week of my voyage...
- A cormorant perched and hops around Mystique's deck the day before my departure.
- A porpoise escorted Mystique on the rainy, misty morning as she departs Miami harbor.
- A calm before a squall hits then pushes me off the cabin top; I fall and bruise and bloody my knees.
- As Mystique and I entered Bahamian waters, a sunrise appeared so brilliant it looked surreal. I had never seen such beauty!
- With a fresh, favorable breeze, a full moon-light, star-filled sky, I experienced a dream-filled midnight sail.
- A trio of mosquitoes disturb and disrupt my sleep during my first night anchored in the Exumas. But wake me up to my reality!
- Two huge waterspouts I watched for two hours heading towards me disappear immediately after I altered course to avoid them.
- 5 minutes after anchoring Mystique, a torrential deluge with 40-knot winds engulfs my catermaran in Little Cistern cove - an idyllic anchorage that suddenly appeared on my chart and gave us shelter before the downpour.
- Here a hungry seagull perches and hangs out on Mystique's dinghy for TWO days. We talk, but I only give him encouragement.
- As Mystique motored by, a bolt of lightning struck a nearby island setting the entire southern island ablaze.
- An ominously dark, skyscraper-sized, horizon-long thunderhead unloads with blinding, wave-flattening rain pellets accompanied with ear-piercing thunder and too-close-for-comfort lightening flashes a mile from a destination - a protected harbor.
Sunrise near Georgetown, Great Exuma, Bahamas
How I interpreted and responded to these nature sightings was a huge part of my experience. They actually inspired me and invoked and implored forbmore meaning and message than I could completely comprehend. Like perpetual love note each sent without return requested, without demands or requirements. All of these Nature's signs asked-and-answered free of any limits, restraints, requests or expectations. Heaven! And some of the more common sightings:
- an early morning artist-craving pastel light
- a late afternoon distant dark, threatening thunderhead
- lightning flashes followed by hull-reverberating thunder
- rigging-rattling gusts with pelleting rain drops
- choppy, churning and swirling island cut currents
- white-capped-waves as far as an eye could see
- a scavenger, beggar sea gull waiting for a handout
- an occasional, bashful, basking sea tortoise
- a late night sudden rain shower waterfall
- a yellow-yarrow-yearning sun-baked beach
- slushing, applauding sounds of water washing coral shores
- a sudden surface-peeking coral head dead ahead
- a sudden early morning shower with reigning rainbow
- an array of cloud covers that gift-wrapped each day uniquely
Pre-dawn West End, New Providence, Nassau
I have imagined being each of these phenomena as well as every drop in the sea. What would that feel like? I have seen myself as a part of nature. I have actually become the sea and sky as well as I imagined living the lives of the pink flamingo, the curious barracuda, the protective porpoise and even the schooled minnow or solo gar? One can't exist long in nature without feeling part of it. Feeling apart of it and being apart of it one realizing one can't be apart from it. Once that awareness arrives, one can no longer deny the inteconnec
You probably missed most of my spiritual moments. You aren't me, after all, so there is no reason to believe you would have captured any of my most personal uplifting, soulful times. Your moments aren't meant to coincide with mine. Mine captivate me because of who, why and where I am. My whens and hows also add to my unique experience. No one before, now or after me will ever share this unique time in this unique manner. How can they? We are all different even though we share many of the same traits.
I don't see spirituality as something related to religion. To me religion is joint-worship with an agenda. To me spirituality is connecting personal energy to source.
I witnessed and felt spirit every day during my time alone. Nature's forces... the wind spoke to me. The clouds called out the calm and awakened me to the chaos. The sun browned my body and warmed my soul. The sea caressed and careened my vessel. The birds visited and helped me float and fly with them. The fish also floated my spirit as they frolicked like children in the playground under me.
Maybe the panoramic view would open your senses, not just your eyes. The colors can astound, but the sounds can also seduce. Waves, breezes, beaches, birds, boat sounds...always relaxed me.
I once heard music described as the silence between the notes...not between the ears! Sea sounds are music to my ears.
Of course, if you don't want to see yourself as spiritual energy, then much of what I experienced would have just blown by you. Of course, we are all unique. I don't see spirituality as something related to religion. To me religion is joint-worship with an agenda. To me spirituality is connecting personal energy to source.
I witnessed and felt spirit every day during my time alone. Nature's forces The wind spoke to me. The clouds called out the cam and awakened me to the chaos. The sun browned my body and warmed my soul. The sea caressed and careened off my vessel. The birds visited and helped me float and fly with them. The fish also floated my spirit as they frolicked like children in the playground under me.
The panoramic view opened all of my senses. The colors astounded, while the sounds seduced. Waves, breezes, beaches, birds, boat sounds and motion always relaxed me.
View of my first morning as Mystique enters The Bahamas on May 16, 2016
Peering westward towards an afternoon sky over George Town, Great Exuma.
Peering eastward near dawn in Elizabeth Harbor, Great Exuma
Waking to the Florida Strait Wonder
Eastern sky near George Town
Western sky near George Town
Dawning eastward near dawn in Elizabeth Harbor, Great Exuma
Thunderhead over Stocking Island
Mystique and rainbow docked at Emerald Bay Marina
Island south of Little Farmer's Cay on fire and smoking after lightning strike as Mystique passed by.
Flamingo Bay, Rum Cay
Little Cistern Cay, Exumas
Elizabeth Harbor, Stocking Island, Great Exuma
Little Cistern Cay, Exumas - my temporary refuge
Water spouts - water tornadoes 5-6 miles away - south of Shroud Cay
south of Shroud Cay in the Exumas Marine Park
While some friends have viewed my experience as secluded and selfish, I experienced my solitude as timeless, blissful spirituality. I devoted time to my relationship with nature. Truer friends were actually only jealous that they haven't taken the time to refine and refind their relationship with HER.