The sun set over the Australian mainland as we set sail for the Whitsunday Islands. With sails full and spirits soaring, the storm clouds gathered to deliver a fantastic lightening show that flashed and danced 180 degrees around the boat. I marveled at our surroundings, the fresh environment inviting novel perspectives.
Being at sea offers the oftentimes rare opportunity to let go. There is something in the wind sweeping wildly over the waters that shakes our firm beliefs creating space for reexamination and change. The unsteady ground beneath your feet can send you hurtling across the deck like Bambi on Ice trying to find its bearings. The interesting thing here is what forms in the mind when the unknown blows your way.
The very fact that uncertainty arises in high waters and strong winds allows for deeper reflection. What does it mean for us to relinquish the reins of certainty? What fears emerge from the depths and how do we understand these fears? These questions were thrown to me from the sea itself. Mother Nature has a way of reminding us of our fragility and false sense of security that shields us from reality.
What surfaced for me was a peaceful state amid the chaos. Unlike some of my fellow passengers, this turbulent motion did not result in distress. Rather, with ease I was able to surrender to the experience (ready to act as necessary) but first to be with the moment and to soak in the wild unknown with great pleasure.
It is not that often that we face a storm bearing potential disaster of the physical sort. However, in our day-to-day lives storms blow in from all around in ways that we sometimes can’t control. These storms may be in the form of relationship stress, financial troubles, or health concerns that we had not planned for or expected. Once the storm has hit, however, we do have control of how we react. When we let go of what is out of our control, it becomes easier to deal with that which we can affect. Recognizing the difference enables us to act deliberately to calm the storm and find our way within it.
So as the whitecaps formed and fell, our sails were adjusted to harness this natural force and we sailed to smoother waters with a sense of an alert alive spirit buoyed by a strong inner calm sense of self.
“We cannot direct the wind but we can adjust our sails”