Family Vacation

A week ago, we came home from a family vacation on the coast of Maine, where we’d spent a few weeks enjoying the water, the view, and time away.

Unlike years previous, this trip wasn’t quite the relaxing respite or fun times that it usually is. At least it wasn’t for me. Going through a very intense sort of spiritual awaking called a Kundalini awakening, my body, mind and sensory system are not normal right now. Far from it. And because of it, I am chronically tired to exhausted, I’m often very emotional, and my body is going through all sorts of changes that can bring on aches and pains that mimic the flu or other muscle aches.

Every time my Kundalini energy and body creates “healing”, how my DNA is expressed and as such, the very physical structure of my body and brain changes. With most forms of energy healing, these changes are subtle and small enough that a person can easily handle them with nothing more than some extra sleep for a few days, and a little TLC. But I left “subtle” and “small” behind months ago. There is nothing subtle about the healing action with Kundalini energy. It is extreme.

The most difficult part of this process is caused by my brain being very literally rewired.

When old neural pathways die off in mass, the chemical dumps that I’ve been dealing with mimic things like mental illness and brain damage: fear raining down in my head for no reason, forgetting things like crazy, losing vocabulary words, feeling weak and losing coordination, feeling spaced out and not feeling like myself. There have even been times when I’ve barely felt human. Fortunately, I know these are temporary, but it takes time for my body to process all of these physical changes.

Along with a host of physical, mental and emotional effects, Kundalini energy cranks my heart open. My heart opens to those in pain around me, and when their pain resonates in me, it creates healing in my body without my having to “do” anything other than just be with that person. In the long run, I’m letting go of my own life pains, like fear, jealousy, sadness, and anger, and becoming amazingly compassionate and understanding of people’s pain (what I think of as their disconnect from their soul). But short-term, I’m experiencing days and weeks of a living hell.

I understand that a huge part of my Kundalini awakening is helping me to heal childhood hurts at a level that is unheard of. No form of therapy or medication can create the healing that’s happening in me. And that alone, will make these hard times worth it. One day…

Despite my being a tired, mental, emotional mess during a good part of our vacation, it didn’t keep me from my love of photography. My camera was a constant source of welcome distraction, capturing scenes to revisit and share. Enjoy the fruits of my passion.

Just a quick note that I took all these photos with my point and shoot Canon Powershot SX 710HS (unless noted otherwise), and used minimal editing.

I have a weakness for sunrises and sunsets. Typical of New England, we had all sorts of weather while we were there, from a few clear and calm days, to clear windy days, to overcast, rainy and stormy days. Made for a variety of photo ops.

We love to get out to our favorite local lighthouses.

There are lots of working boats during the summer season. Tourism and fishing, including lobstering, are two major sources of income to the area.

And here is one final gallery.

There is nothing like the smell of salt air and spending time by the ocean.

 

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Solar Eclipse 2017

Today was a rare solar eclipse that passed across the width of the continental United States. Being in Washington State, I wasn’t in the path of totality, but the majority of the sun was covered at its maximum. It was very exciting to see how dark it became.

Here are a few photos from the day.

eclipse photo

 

eclipse collage m2m

 

collage 2 m2m

Enjoy!

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More Storm Surge and Whitecaps

The respite between storms didn’t last as long as I’d hoped. Going through a Kundalini Awakening process has been, quite frankly, kicking my ass. It’s been the most mentally and physically challenging marathon I’ve ever experienced. I’d rather take on the Boston Marathon and Heartbreak Hill right about now. At least that would be over in a matter of hours.

Storm surge after storm surge, topped with whitecaps.

At this point, my butt is dragging so far behind me, I think it’s in another state. Or planet.

Been trying to keep the engines running, but sometimes there is no power and I have to go to all stop.

Exhaustion ends in sleep, yet sleep is not restorative. I remember my dreams and they all suck. They are all worries and fears being acted out.

I wake up almost as tired as I fell asleep.

Green seas crashing over the deck means batten down the hatches and dog the doors tight.

Some days I have no choice but to retreat to my bed, trying to remain unconscious if possible, waiting for my brain to change its wiring. Old neurology dying, firing off chemicals of fear. Sleep coming in 90 minute chunks.

Soaking in salt water helps on so many levels. The brine is magic.

Trying to do simple, everyday tasks when the brain isn’t well, doesn’t fly. So they don’t happen. Thank goodness teenagers can suddenly become very capable when they want things, like food and clean clothes.

I’m learning to strike while the iron is hot. Move when my brain and body are in sync, between the surges. And not sweat the small stuff. And believe you me, so much of what we deem imperative, really isn’t.

These days my priorities are simple. Stay alive. Keep the kid alive and the pets alive. The husband can keep himself alive, so no worries there. And the rest is gravy.

Fair winds and following seas.

Posted in Kundalini, Mental Health, Spirituality, The Voyage | Tagged , | 4 Comments

The Tide Turned

Back when I was a child, puttering around on the coast of Maine in small boats, I spent countless hours discovering how wind, tide and current affected the boat. We’d row down the coast toward the gut, where a one lane wooden planked bridge allowed access from our island to an even smaller one. That’s how it goes on the coast that’s dotted with over 4,500 islands. Lots of water, bridges, and peninsulas.

There were days when the row home was up wind and against the tide. It took all my energy and might to get back, and I learned quickly. Rowing with the wind and current was much easier.

Getting down to the gut at low tide meant finding treasured razor clam shells and sand dollars that weren’t under eight to eleven feet of water, and I would reach over the side of the boat and grab them. Getting out of the boat could be dicey if the bottom was muddy and not sandy or rocky, so we mostly stayed in.

Rowing with little to no wind was always easiest, and we figured out when it was best to keep the boat tied up. Those were some wet and tiring lessons!

With a large tide, high tide meant being able to row over hidden rocks, and because they were exposed during low tide, I learned every one. Low tide was a little bit more dicey because it wasn’t until an extremely low tide that we discovered a few more kelp covered boulders and ledges.

Over the years, I learned our stretch of the coast and learned how to navigate tides and currents. Navigating around rocks was easy once you knew where they were, as they don’t move. Sand does and that’s a story for another day. Thankfully, there’s not much sand on the coast of Maine.

Tides move massive amounts of water around the planet, like breathing in and out. They move up and down, here and there. And they are fairly regular, coordinating their movement with the gravity of the moon instead of our sun.

Life here recently has been nothing like the tides in Maine. It’s not been regular, normal, or dependable. There have been times when the water felt like it was going to swallow me whole, and other times when the tide went out so far I didn’t know if it was ever going to come back in. In between, I’ve rarely felt buoyed.

The most extreme tides happen during a full moon and a new moon, and with the recent passage of a new moon, things within me are finally shifting and changing enough that it feels like the tide is turning.

The fog is clearing up a bit in my head. The wind feels like it’s beginning to return to my sails, at least a little bit. And it feels like the force ten gale that brought me to my knees a few weeks ago is finally moving out to sea.

How long will this respite between storms go on? I have no earthly idea. But I really and truly hope the worst has passed. It feels like the tide has turned.

 

Posted in Holistic Healing, Kundalini, Spirituality, The Voyage | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Brain Droppings

My brain dropped out.

Right out from the bottom. Or was it the top.

It’s gone. Disconnected. But only for a while.

Can’t think. Words swirl around but I can’t grab them.

Second thing to hit my brain this morning was fear.

Buckets of old fear. Revisiting. Damned that shit. I thought it was gone.

Guess not.

I confess my fears, accompanied by tears. Let them all flow and go.

What a fucked up process this is, rewiring my brain.

It’s terrifying to wake up and not feel like me.

To not be able to connect to my own heart.

Sometimes I’m all logical brain with sprinklings of fear and shit thoughts.

And slowly, slowly, my heart and head begin to connect up again

And speak together in new harmonious ways.

Can I eat yet?

My solar plexus area is shifting and changing.

The chakra (energy center) there isn’t fully functional yet.

It’s still trying to connect back in with my body.

Or is my body still morphing and changing – that’s likely it.

I can eat some, but what? Fruit always seems to go down easy.

Veggies? Not many. Carrot sticks. Green olives chopped into hummus.

Potato, but only as chips, and not too greasy.

Meat? No. Can’t stomach meat right now. Grains? Nope.

Nuts and seeds? Maybe later. Deep dark chocolate? Later.

Trying to eat is a challenge because my body can only handle certain foods sometimes.

Like right now.

In four or five hours it might be completely different. Or not.

There is no regular or normal right now.

Inspiration strikes! An idea moves me into action.

Squirrel!

Birds actually. Trying to steal all my blueberries

Before they even get a chance to ripen.

Run outside and take photos, getting inspired to write.

But my brain isn’t much more than a bunch of brain droppings right now.

Barely able to maintain a train of thought.

The train keeps leaving the station without me.

Feeling like a toddler needing a nap after only three hours of stimulation.

Time to shut down again.

This is a snapshot of what it’s like to be inside my head, looking through my eyes today. With this Kundalini Awakening process going on, it affects my physical energy, my emotions, and my DNA. Because my DNA is shifting and changing, sometimes very significantly, my physiology, is changing. And what’s most difficult to handle is changes in brain wiring. That means my ability to think, come up with words, eat, sleep, maintain constant body temperature, coordinate all of my body’s muscles, maintain a stream of thought for more than thirty seconds, and some days, to even know who I am – to feel like myself- is gone (or off kilter).

We are much more than our physical bodies. We have a template (for lack of a better word) that consists of energy, that informs (creates and maintains connected to) our body.

Think of the space around and throughout your body as pure energy. That energy works with your DNA to decide what your body looks like, and how it functions. That energy is biophotonic (light energy that is alive). That energy carries feelings and emotions. Those are your feelings and emotions. That energy carries information that our brains pick up on all the time, without even trying. These bits of information are ideas. That energy stream that creates each one of us and keeps us alive is what we also call our spirit or soul.

But using the word energy stream isn’t really correct, because it makes it sound like an individual thing, when yes, we do perceive of ourselves as very distinct individuals, and yet beyond our physical perception, we are part of one contiguous energy mass (that really has about zero mass). Yo! We really, truly, are all connected. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t true for someone else.

Beyond our physical perception, we’re all part and parcel of one gigantic energy blog that is not only us (human beings), but this same blob informs (creates) everything. Planet earth, other planets, stars, and other forms of energy that we are aware of. (And some of these can’t be measured with instrumentation yet because our instruments aren’t sensitive enough). I’ve connected in a few different ways to this gigantic energy blog (through my heart’s energy), and what’s really cool is that I can actually converse with it because it has consciousness like we do.

But when the energy isn’t existing as a physical thing, it is completely open to becoming anything. It is quite literally unlimited possibility. (All of that “empty space” and “air” around you isn’t empty). Not only is it able to become anything, it has all of the intelligence and information through all time. We all contribute to this field of intelligence simply by existing. By being. So it’s ever-expanding.

My favorite thing about this energy is how it feels. Describing how it feels is a bit like trying to describe an orgasm, but the closest words I have are limitless acceptance, compassionate understanding, absolute nonjudgment. It allows all, accepts all, judges nothing. It feels like the most indescribable love, on steroids, ever. Oh, and when you get the energy of your brain and heart in exquisite alignment with this energy, it actually feels orgasmic. That’s what an orgasm is: not only a physical/emotional sensation, but it’s a moment when your head and heart are lined up with this energy that I’ve been describing.

(I just noticed my ability to write paragraphs instead of short phrases. Eating something probably made the difference. It’s hard to maintain one single stream of thought.)

So yes. We are so much more than our physical bodies. And as I’ve been going through this Kundalini experience, my awareness is changing. When I look out my eyeballs, what I notice and pay attention to is different. And how I process/ perceive/ think about/ feel about my world is changing.

Emotions that have been stuck with me, recycling as they become triggered, are coming up hard and fast. I have little to no ability to suppress them anymore. I have no choice in the matter. Feelings bubble up. My heart connects into the old pain from my past – from when it first became stuck with me – and I cry it out. Again and again. But this time, instead of temporarily tapping into the pain for a visit, I’m able to unravel the knot that was holding the pain in the first place, allowing years of crap go, further changing my DNA. And once again, my physiology and brain wiring changes.

And the song and dance goes on.

Thank God my family is understanding and patient with me and with this process.

One of the newer things I’m noticing over the past few days is words and phrases bubbling up and out of my mouth before I have a prayer of a chance to edit them. The editor in my brain is offline right now. This will make for interesting public interactions. I wonder how long this shit will go on.

[Squirrel!]

I’m going to let this go here because I keep losing my train of thought. And if I let this sit until tomorrow, it will join the few dozen drafts I’ve been trying to complete over the past four months.

Oh yeah. That “energy” I was describing: the one that exists all around us all the time – the one that creates us and contributes to our ability to be alive – it has many, many names. The most common one I use is God. But because most people’s idea of God and my idea of God are so very far apart, it’s a challenge to know what to call it. I like to call it love because that’s what it feels like. And I like to call it light because that’s what it (I) looks like in my mind’s eye.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring? I’m just thankful that I’ve decided to put something out there, even if it’s not my old/ usual fair. My old is way gone right now, and I have no idea when my new normal will be in place. It might be in a few weeks, months, or years. There’s no way of knowing right now.

Thanks for following my wonky journey! Life certainly is an adventure, if nothing else!

[Must shut down completely now. Train of thought is leaving the station without me again.]

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Why Me?

Why do bad things happen to good people? How can we move on from painful experiences? Here’s my take on the matter.

Remembering My Divinity

How many times have we had something happen to us, and all we can do is stand there wondering, “Why me?” Why did this awful thing happen to me? And why can’t I move on? Why?

I’ve been inspired to write, by a person who’s been struggling to move through some difficult feelings. They asked why something happened to them.

“Why did this happen to me, a good person? What did I ever do to deserve this? And why does it still hurt?” Those are age-old million dollar questions.

The quickest way I’ve found to move through why bad things happen to us, is to reframe how we see and interpret the entire scenario. To change our perspective or our take on things. Easy to say and not easy to do. I know it’s not easy, because it’s taken a lot of therapy and healing work for me to move past my own childhood experiences. And as far…

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You Are A Miracle

Because writing is a challenge lately, here’s a tidbit and one of my photos. I like to create these inspirational graphic photos.

Remembering My Divinity

I want to share the story behind these words, but the words aren’t flowing well lately. One of the effects of my Kundalini awakening experience has very literally been brain rewiring, creating all sorts of challenges in my everyday life. I’ll expand on this when I can.

But for now, enjoy my photo of the Atlantic Ocean.

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Transitions, Changes, and The Unknown

Life loves to throw us crashing into the dark once in a while. Tides come in and then go out. Good times roll up to our front door and then go washing out the back. Their arrival brings joy and happiness, only to eventually fade and pass. Hard times too. We hate to see them come, and breathe sighs of relief when they recede. Life seems to be in constant motion.

And in a way, it is. Constant movement and change happens all around us every day, and we get used to it. We become acclimated and adjust and normalized. I call this being grounded. It’s that feeling of being centered and calm deep inside, when you are firmly anchored. When your vessel isn’t floating free, bobbing helter skelter at the mercy of the wind and sea. Being grounded feels like you are in command and everything is going according to plan. It’s that feeling of calm, deep inside.

Sometimes, things in life change, or we change, and then the dreaded unknown comes visiting. Right up to our door like an uninvited and unwelcome guest. Ugh. I hate that. What to do? I always want to know what to do.

The biggest secret I’ve learned is that the times of transition, when there is so much change going on that I’m sitting in that big black space of WTF, are times to “do” absolutely nothing. When I try to change something and every effort of trying ends up making things worse, it’s time to sit down and wait. And breathe.

Staring straight into the mouth of the unknown can be terrifying; and yet it can also be exhilarating. It’s that wonderfully, terrifyingly, exciting time of not knowing if our next step will be our last, or will be the first step towards wonder and amazement. Will we cross the ocean only to fall off the edge of the earth? Or will we discover new land?

There are times, when visiting the land of unknown becomes a bit too scary, and the best thing we can do for ourselves is stop and breathe. I also advocate having a good cry if it comes up. It helps me wade through the muck all that much faster.

As the voyage of my life presented times of change and transition, I’ve seemed to weather many of them well, knowing that they were stepping-stones in my life. But there were definitely times that I lost faith in the journey and became terrified of monsters below the sea. Expecting them to rise up and capsize my ship at any moment.

Not only was I terrified of monsters, but winds of change picked up and whipped the seas into a frenzy I thought might never calm. Fortunately, time has shown me that eventually, the winds die down, seas calm, and I find port and securely anchor again.

My most terrifying and most rewarding journey has always revolved around raising my son. From the day he very suddenly and unexpectedly entered the world, it’s been a series of ups and downs. When he had difficulty with what felt like every transition in life, as a very little guy, the amount of discomfort he experienced really rang my bell. There was nothing harder for me than seeing my son struggle and suffer every single day,  and often multiple times a day, for years.

Trying to fix things that often couldn’t be fixed, wore me out.

Trying to control him taught me quickly that I really can’t control another person.

And pushing him too hard, ended up with him crashing on the rocks.

There were times that as much as I might have wanted to make progress forward, maintaining bare steerage, navigating each wave as it came, and actually losing ground, was the most prudent course of action to keep the ship upright.

And then there have been the moments when weeks, months, or years of consistent effort paid off. The day I dropped him off to preschool, and he didn’t cry and cling to me, was about seven months into the school year. He finally tied his shoes when he was eleven. And just the other day, he talked himself down from a panic attack. HUGE!!

I was thinking about why it’s harder to see my child struggle than it is for me to deal with my own hardship, and it finally hit me. As much as I know that he has his own journey in life, and he’ll have his own adventures and storms to weather, a big part of me didn’t trust that he’d come out the other side without a severely damaged hull and rigging.

These days, we are going through the teenage years.

It’s my child who is changing and venturing out into a new and different phase of life, and as much as I want to impart all of my life wisdom into him as quickly as I can, I must wait until his ears are open to hearing it.

Because it’s such a huge time of self discovery for Little Man, my job as mom is taking a back seat, morphing into teacher and mentor. It’s time for me to turn the helm of my son’s life gradually over to him, and be ok with watching his journey unfold.

It’s so easy to write those words on paper (or screen, as the case may be), and yet, when it’s 1 am and my son’s brain is bound up with anxiety and panic over something in the future that isn’t even going to come to pass, not allowing his body to sleep, I try to fix him. I try to make it better. Those are the times when it’s beyond hard to let things go. The times when I can’t see how he’s going to make it from what I see in the moment, to the amazing future I know he’s going to have.

Facing the unknown can be as hard as looking at the biggest and baddest sea monster of all, who is circling the boat, and you’re sure it’s ready to move in for the kill. Having faith that by the last possible second, the monster will be taken out by a harpoon you didn’t even see coming, can be a tall order.

Believing that things will always work out for the best can be a stretch. But looking for the silver lining in the clouds is something I’m getting good at. And the more I look for the silver and glean gold from our voyages, the richer we both become.

I don’t know what sorts of weather my son will have to handle during his own journey, navigating from port to port, but he’s building skills to navigate whatever comes up. And with an astute lookout on the bow, angels on both beams and winds to push him ever forward, he’ll make it through, one voyage at a time. And so will I.

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My Love For The Sea

I feel like I’ve had a love affair with the ocean for lifetimes. And I probably have. The more I learn about life and about my life, the more I understand my love for the sea.

As a child, my family packed our bags and spent every August in a little summer cottage by the sea on the coast of Maine. I spent my younger days there playing by the water, running around on the rocks and seaweed, and having adventures. Life for me there was relaxed.

There was no school stuff to deal with, and my parents let us run around, calling us home for meals by ringing a big, hand-held bell. In fact, the most challenging days were the rainy ones, when we were tired of being soggy wet and came indoors, looking for something to do. Puzzles were my go-to on a rainy day.

When I was by the sea, I could run free, without the threat of my mother attacking me. It was a safe place for me. Because we were on vacation, my father was around full-time, and his constant presence meant a reprieve for me from being the object of my mother’s venom.

Dad would take us out on the sea in boats, and shared his love of boats and the sea with us. He was my first navigation instructor, showing me how to set and follow a compass course, and how to read a nautical chart. He taught me about balancing the load in a boat, telling us to “trim ship!” when the boat was tipping over to one side. And he was the first one to teach me how to fish.

Some of our grand boating adventures included visiting local islands for picnics. And there were the trips into the harbor where we kids would buy penny candy. I can still remember loading all five of us into a skiff that couldn’t have been more than ten feet long, with a two or three horse outboard motor on the back, puttering all the way into the harbor and back.

Left to our own devices, we kids would wade into the water’s edge or explore the tide pools. We’d swim off a nearby dock, or inflate rafts and float around. More fun times were had simply messing around in rowboats. So many adventures. And even a few ending up with a boat being swamped. The nice thing about a wooden rowboat is, even when it’s full of water, it doesn’t sink.

When we were old enough (8) we entered the island’s little sailing program, which remains active today. We learned our eight basic knots, and learned how to sail, memorizing a few key nautical rules of the road. I learned what the wind and current does to a boat, and how to navigate in and out of our little harbor. I also learned race strategy and about being a good sport, even when I didn’t want to be one.

As I grew up, my summer time by the sea changed from being a time of mostly play and freedom, to dipping my toe in the workforce as a teen. I spent one entire summer living there, working in the big local harbor as a motel maid and also scooping ice cream at a parlor that catered to mostly tourists. I loved my motel job making up the rooms, because the rooms were on a pier over the water of the beautiful and bustling harbor, and I got to do my work on my own. No one looking over my shoulder telling me what to do. The ice cream job wasn’t too bad, but after a while, the insincerity and BS of my boss helped make it easy to leave that job, freeing up some time to relax before school started up again.

College took me inland for four years, and after graduating and fumbling around for a while, having a job just to have something to do and earn some money, the sea called to my heart once again.

I listened to that call, first taking a class that brought me back to the sea, this time living on a schooner and learning about humpback whales. And then finding work on boats, back in the harbor where I’d scooped ice cream and made up beds as a teenager. After a few years of exploring working on smaller boats, I went back to school and ended up working on ships around the world.

I got to sail the Mediterranean Sea twice as a maritime cadet, tying up in several ports to pick up supplies. And a few years later, when I was on the job, one of the ships I joined in Norfolk, Virginia, became my home for nine months, taking me to New England and across the Atlantic to the UK and working on cable that lay on the bottom of the North Atlantic Ocean. That tour will forever have a special place in my heart, as it’s where I met and fell in love with my husband, going on our first official dates when we docked in Scotland.

Life on board ship took me to ports across the globe, from Oakland and San Diego, to Djibouti in Africa and the Red Sea. I’ll never forget the day we were steaming down the Red Sea, when I saw a large patch of what I assumed to be trash. Smaller ships from second world countries had no qualms about dumping bags of trash overboard. But as I had the helmsman alter course to miss the dark plastic bags, I soon realized they took on triangular shapes. And the closer we got, the clearer the shapes became, until I realized they were triangular dorsal fins. What we saw was a gigantic school of sharks, slowly milling about near the surface. They were all different sizes, the largest being around forty feet.

During my time on ships, I sailed waters from the Persian Gulf, to the Arabian Sea, out to the Indian Ocean, past Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines across to Guam and the Marianas, and north to Japan, supplying US Navy ships. We picked up supplies in several ports, and as much as I enjoyed getting out and doing some shopping and grabbing a meal, I loved my time out at sea. The night sky crossing the Indian Ocean was so dark, I could see stars all the way down to the horizon. It was amazing! And when we hit patches of bioluminescence, the ship’s wake lit up with the most beautiful glow.

One of my last ship’s tours took me from San Diego, working off the Pacific Coast, dipping down to Mazatlan for an R&R port call, and eventually up to the port of Seattle, WA. Synchronistically, the Puget Sound area has become my home for the past 18 years.

Even after leaving life aboard ship, I worked part-time on deck of a small local ferry until I was so pregnant that I could barely fit between the cars I was parking, and I couldn’t handle the long shifts.

Being out on the water, seeing the horizon, has always been mesmerizing to me. I could stare at it for hours. Where the sea meets the sky. And as a merchant mariner, I actually got paid to stare at the horizon every day.

One of my favorite things about being on the water has always been navigating. Getting from here to there. Learning how to set and follow a course and actually end up where you want to end up. And one of the coolest memories of all was during a voyage from Guam to the Persian Gulf. Getting the navigation plan ready on short notice wasn’t so fun, but putting in lots of overtime over the course of a few weeks got the job done.

I worked my regular eight-hour shift (we were tied up in port) plus an additional four hours every day to get all the charts hand corrected and ready for the trip. There were many charts to go through and make sure all of the information on them was correct and up to date; and there had been some recent major changes in the Straits of Malacca that affected several charts. Basically, I had to plot out and draw new “roads” (traffic separation schemes) where ships could go within the strait. Lots of picky measuring, drawing, and coloring in (thank goodness for grade school skills!).

Once all the charts were accurate and up to date, I had to pick waypoints and draw track lines that would become our course, being mindful of things like rocks, islands, rules of who owned what waters, and where we could legally and safely transit. Based on when we were expected to be at the port of Jebel Ali, UAE, and based on the speed my captain wanted us to travel, I calculated the date and time we needed to leave Guam. Yup. I calculated how many days, hours, and minutes it would take to make the voyage.

Our longest transit without seeing any land had us looking at nothing but horizon for just under a week, as we exited the Strait of Malacca and headed into the Indian Ocean. One of the waypoints I used to navigate was thirty-five miles off the southern tip of India (as specified by the captain), and as we approached the pencil dot I’d written on the paper chart, off India, I switched the range of my radar from twelve miles, out to twenty-four miles, and then to forty-eight. There is was: an echo off land. Just exactly where and when it was supposed to be, thirty-five miles away. As much as I completely trusted our GPS navigation system, there is nothing like the confirmation of having land show up just when and where you expect, especially after days of seeing nothing but water.

If I’d had someone on my ship that didn’t know about celestial navigation or global positioning system (GPS) navigation, they would think it an incredible miracle to be able to sail around the world with such amazing precision and accuracy. And as much as I understand and trust navigation technology, there is still a sense of awe that comes over me every time I see it work.

I’ve been very fortunate to have earned a living doing something I loved, and I will always cherish memories of looking out from the bridge, scanning the horizon, and watching the sea swell and jump with the wind. And to be able to put my passion for navigation into action as a ship’s officer and the ship’s navigator is an experience no one will ever be able to take away from me.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned on the sea is that it’s ever-changing. And if you are prepared for all types of weather, take care of your vessel, and know how to navigate storms, you’ll do just fine. As for navigation, the more I know and trust my navigation tools, the easier it becomes. For me, as much as navigation is about getting from here to there, it’s also very much about the journey between waypoints. Fair winds and following seas.

 

Posted in Holistic Healing, inspiration, Spirituality, The Voyage | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

War Torn

On this Memorial Day, here in the US, I am always torn between honoring our veterans and detesting war and all it does to our soldiers. I have this thing of seeing situations from at least two angles at the same time.

At my heart, I define war as what happens when people give up on peaceful communication. It’s what we do when we’ve tried to resolve things using diplomacy and economic sanctions, and nothing is working. The larger part of my heart defines war as a failure in some way. It needlessly kills people; both civilian and military. People die.

The cynical part of me sees war as a big machine that keeps rolling along because people get rich off of it. If there were no profit in war, it wouldn’t happen. We go to war in the Middle East because there is oil there. Despite atrocious human rights violations and genocide in other areas of the planet, because there is no economic profit, we leave those areas alone.

When I think back to our more recent World Wars, I realize that we had to go to war to prevent a massive imbalance of power on the planet. An entire planet ruled by one giant dictatorship wouldn’t work. Past experience has shown that as much as the idea of a benevolent leader who takes care of their followers sounds nice on paper, the reality hasn’t matched up. And even though our political system of Democracy in action is far from perfect, the principles upon which it was founded are good ones.

I also like the principles of Communism, although the reality of it is a bit too far from its principles.

As a mother, I see the huge power all mothers have in shaping the future of our country. Raising the consciousness of our children has always been parent’s job first because children’s world views are shaped by what happens at home. The more we raise our children to understand people’s feelings and emotions, teach them how to work with people, how to communicate, and how to negotiate, the less our children will need to resort to using war to solve world problems.

And when we learn as a community, as a country, as a planet, that war begins in our hearts far before it rolls out on any battlefield, we will become more mindful of how we raise our children and how to heal broken hearts and minds.

On today, this Memorial Day, I honor those warriors whose death was purposeful, and my prayers are that we learn to heal our hearts so war won’t need to happen in the first place.

 

Posted in Holistic Healing, Mental Health, The Voyage | Tagged , , | 10 Comments