“Be a lighthouse, not a tugboat.”

I’ve been giving this saying some thought.  A lighthouse shows the way in a storm.  A tugboat tows boats who cannot get where they need to go under their own power.  At first I didn’t like this saying at all because I think of tugboats as really good helper boats.  I actually like them better than lighthouses.  But don’t get me wrong, I know real life lighthouses have saved countless lives.  I don’t know how many lives tugboats have saved.

But, of course, the saying isn’t about literal tugboats and lighthouses.  I just like to explore metaphors from all angles.  I also get the point of the saying— don’t try to drag people over to your way of thinking— instead, just cheerfully keep doing it.  (and if they ignore you and end up on the rocks, oh well..?)

Is my conversational style more lighthouse or tugboat?  Do I love having conversations with tugboat styles?  I dunno.  I’m comparing and contrasting Liz Gilbert’s, “Big Magic” to Steven Pinker’s, “Enlightenment Now.”  Lighthouse vs Tugboat?  More like, Fresh Ripe Mangos to Cold, Black Coffee.

Does the “Big Magic” love us back?  Or is the Universe indifferent to us?  What if the latter is true, but if we go about our lives “as if” the former were true, we are happier and more loving and more effective?  I don’t know the answer.  What I do know is that I absolutely adore listening to Liz’s book and Pinker’s book so far feels like a long lecture, even when I agree with him.  His book is about 5 times longer and it’s about very different things, but they both present a way of looking at the world.  So far, I prefer Liz’s.  But in the interest of challenging my own confirmation bias bubble, I will keep listening to Pinker’s book to the end.  Then I might start over and go back to write down all the things I want to argue with him about.

Wherever you are today, whatever you are doing, may you be well, may you be happy, and may you experience deep joy, deep love, and deep peace.

 

 photo:  approach to Boothbay Harbor from Gulf of Maine, taken from sailboat Deep Peace, June 2017

photo:  approach to Boothbay Harbor from Gulf of Maine, taken from sailboat Deep Peace, June 2017

Nondenominational Yardwork

So there I was just minding my own business, listening to Elizabeth Gilbert's book, Big Magic, on my headset and digging up baby tumbleweeds from the front yard of our project house on a sunny Sunday morning when some men came walking down the sidewalk with a grocery cart full of groceries.  Hamburger patties were the most visible of said groceries.  We cheerfully hello'd one another and they explained that they were from a local church who puts on a meal in the park down the street each Sunday, as a service to the community.  They asked if I would like any groceries or if I wanted to join in the community meal in the park.  I said thank you, but that I'd just eaten my oatmeal breakfast and that I am a strict vegan.  They insisted that they had something for me and as it seemed more conversation was imminent, I tried to pause my audiobook.  I pressed the wrong button on my headset and woke up Siri and couldn't figure out how to shut her up so, wanting to hear what the men were saying, I just pulled the earbuds out of my ears and let them hang.  

For the next half hour we stood there at the front gate, talking about Jesus, and life, the Universe, and everything.  I said I'd be glad to take the aging brussel sprouts and blueberries off of their hands, figuring I was probably just rescuing those items from the local landfill.  I asked them which church they were from and if they had a good relationship with the local grocery stores who had donated most of the groceries.  They talked about how their church was all about service, more walk and less talk.  One of them quoted a lot of scripture and told how Jesus had changed his life.  I shared how I had been to lots of different churches as a child and had been a very earnest seeker of the deeper truths.  How I had waited and prayed and listened and waited some more for God to speak to me and tell me which of all those churches who all said their way was THE way was the right one and how when God never spoke to me in the way I had been led to expect, I kept searching, taking comparative religion classes and reading all about any and all religions and cults and ways of connecting with the "Big Magic" or "Universe" that I could find.  I told them how I admired their dedication to service and the community, to walking their talk.  I mentioned the quote I had recently been reminded of about the way to truly love our community which is to love the individual members of the community.  When one of them said that service was what really made their church special, I quoted Rabindranath Tagore, a Hindu, who said, "I slept and dreamt that life was joy.  I awoke and saw that life was service.  I acted and behold, service was joy."  My point was that service is wonderful and that many religious traditions share this idea and that deeper clues to how best to live this human life can be gleaned from noticing the things the religious traditions all share.  

When one of the men said that he thought that churches go wrong by saying their way is THE way, I shared what I have long thought to be the case-- that when someone, anyone, gets a taste of the divine, an undeniable, indescribable connection to what some of us call God, that we mistake the circumstances surrounding us or the path we took to get there as THE way to get there, rather than viewing it simply as the way *we* got there and this is how dogmas and religions and religious wars are born.  We know that the experience we had was beyond real and SO good that we want to share it and we mistakenly think that our way is necessarily everyone's way.

When it seemed our conversation had run it's course and they were ready to move on (the hamburger patties were defrosting there in the sun), one of the men, the one who had done most of the talking and had quoted a lot of scripture, asked if he could say a prayer for me.  "Sure," I said, I don't like to turn down good wishes of any kind.  He put his hand on my shoulder (after asking permission and making sure I wouldn't think that was "too weird") and said a prayer that God would make himself more known to me, whether in my dreams or various other ways, and help me to know Jesus.  

When he was done with his prayer he asked me if that was ok, if it wasn't too weird and I said, "No, not at all," after all I have been to many churches in my lifetime and studied many religions and many spiritual paths, "But your prayer leads me to believe you may have misunderstood me when I said that I have been a deeply earnest seeker.  I already have a strong connection to what you call God and I call the unknowable, unnameable, everything...  for lack of a better word, "Big Magic."  And I said that I would like to offer a prayer, for all of us.  And he said, "OK" and that he had not wanted to belittle my beliefs. 

I told him I took no offense and I offered a prayer that all of us with varied and many beliefs, Muslims and Buddhists and Christians and agnostics and yogis, etc, would learn to listen to one another and honor each other's experiences and interpretations of "God", really learn from each other, find our common ground, and lift each other up rather than fight over who has the one true way to God.  

We said goodbye and they went on down the sidewalk with their grocery cart full of groceries and I went inside the house where Adam had been trying to continue to mind his own business all that time.  I told Adam I thought I might have just converted a Christian to my way of seeing and he said he didn't think that sentiment was very nice.  And that's when I noticed my phone, it showed that I had been on the phone with my good friend, Jeannie Lindsay for about 29 minutes.  I figured I'd accidentally dialed her, but she didn't seem to still be there so I hung up.  The phone rang immediately and it was Jeannie.  She had been listening the whole time.  We laughed and laughed.  She said at the very start she was listening to find out if she was going to have to call 9-1-1 for me, but once she realized I was fine she just kept listening because she was interested.  I asked her about her take-away from the conversation and she said that Sarah Silverman would be proud of me.  Which means now I'm going to have to go watch more of Sarah Silverman's latest work.  

Please chime in if you have anything to add to this or if you see a need for editing, my dear Jeannie.  

Upon deeper reflection, I have to admit that my ego was feeling pretty good about this whole thing, particularly after I found out that I'd had an audience of exactly one agnostic/atheist(?) the whole time.  But that doesn't mean any part of what I said was disingenuous.  There is almost no chance that I will ever be converted to Christianity or Islam or Judaism or Hinduism or really any religion at this point in my life, but that doesn't mean I can't see value in them.  The man who did the majority of the talking to me about Jesus, the man who said a prayer for me, told me that he had been an unrepentant drug dealer for a good portion of his life and that Jesus had saved him and reformed him and that he had seen Jesus help abused women and heal people's back aches.  I shared with him that I had seen yoga and meditation and other somatic quieting practices help young, addicted, domestic violence perpetrators and convicted child molesters.  I think the common theme in these two ways of doing service is the idea that we can change, that we can be forgiven, that we can find a way to belong, even if only to ourselves or our congregations.  I think there is valuable wisdom in so many traditions and lenses through which we interpret the world.  The danger lies in thinking that our way is the only way and treating those who see things differently as less than or worse, evil.  

So, that's my Sunday morning yard work story.  How was your Sunday?  

 

 

Sacred laughter?

Can we be irreverent about the sacred? What is sacred to you? What are you irreverent about? I ask these questions because I've noticed lately that I seem to lose my sense of humor when someone or something or some place that I love is attacked. I become like a mama bear... not known for their wit, just their ferocity. Fierceness has it's uses, I'm not necessarily opposed to ferocity. But irreverence has it's own merits. What is the purpose of the jester at court? To show truth to the king or queen.... without getting his head chopped off. Do you use your fierce wit to illuminate deeper truths? Or just to poke the sleeping giant? Ah, my metaphors are so mixed up right now. I'm logging off. With a smile and a wish for all of us.... that we stand up for what is sacred to us with the most effective mix of wit and ferocity and prayer and action and art and science and motion and stillness and silence and ruckus... and love. May you be well. May you be happy. May you be free from suffering. May you have plenty of belly laughs. And may your tears flow when they need to. <3 <3 <3

 

photo: April 11th, 2018, 9:49 am, Thompson Creek Road, 11 minutes shy of exactly 47 years on Earth for this body-mind-spirit-being.

 

the road from Gateway to Castle Valley

This is how it works.  One of us is itchy for some new views and says something like, "Where do you think that road goes?  Do you think we can make it through to ______?"  On this particular day, we got to Gateway, Colorado and said, "Let's see how far we can go on John Brown Canyon Rd.  Let's see if we can make it all the way through to Castle Valley."  It turns out, we could.  Here is one of the views we viewed.  

John Brown Canyon Road April 1 2018

How to be alive

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She says, “ow-ie,” when she feels sad and “happy” when she feels happy.  She says, “walk?” and brings everyone their shoes many times a day.  She lets out shrieks of exuberance as she catapults herself across the yard.  She falls down, sometimes hard, and gets back up, brushes herself off, leaving bits of grass and bark still clinging, and tries again, hundreds of times.  She has not mastered jumping, but practices all the motions of it, her feet not yet leaving the ground.  Each time her face crinkles up with delight.  I ache to be present as a witness the first time she becomes airborne under her own power.  After becoming utterly soaked sliding down and trying to climb back up the wet slide in the steadily falling rain, she screams in protest when it’s time to go home.  Her fury at the injustice of it all endears her to me even more and even though it is impossible to love her more than I already do, my love for her grows bigger and deeper moment by moment.

Furiously, joyfully, painfully, wildly alive, she teaches me how to Be.

  #LivingFrugallyOnSurprise #GrandParenting #WhenYourHeartLivesOutsideYourBody

 

Re-usables & Millennials

Adam at lunch today with my bamboo To-Go Ware fork, his titanium REI spork, our yummy Chipotle Sofritas bowls (mine is vegan, his is veggie), and our respective water bottles.  

It's no secret that Adam & I go to Chipotle a LOT or that we spend a lot of time in coffee shops.  And it will come as no surprise to anyone who knows us that we try to avoid single-use plastic and other forms of waste and pollution.  Recently we met a lovely human being named Kora who works at Chipotle and is in her first year of college studying environmental science and sustainability.  She was asking us if she could clear our empty bowls off of our table when she stopped and said, "Are those...  Do you guys bring your own forks?"  And she was so happy to see it that she gave us a coupon for free chips and guac.  We talked about waste and how we like Chipotle compared to some other chains because 1) We love the food and we love that there are vegan options which is a good thing for the environment because plant based foods are produced with so many fewer resources than animal products and 2) We love that they are conscious of the waste involved in fast food and the bowls are compostable, the napkins are from 100% recycled content, the cups are paper, not plastic or styrofoam, and they don't automatically hand everyone a lid and straw.

Kora is hyper aware of the food waste that still is happening in the restaurant industry in general and she is brainstorming ways to mitigate it.  She is really excited to learn ways to live sustainably and joyfully on our shared planet.  It is such a joy to talk to young people like Kora.  Ever since we met her, we make sure, for sure, that we have our re-usable utensils with us when we head for Chipotle.  We don't want to disappoint her if we arrive without them.  The "peer" pressure keeps us honest.  (We can be honorary millennials, right?)  Today we are at Chipotle again, but Kora isn't at work today.  As we were getting ready to pay, a young man who was running the cash register spotted my bamboo fork and said, "That is so cool.  Where did you get that?"  He has decided to go 100% re-usable.  He says that the only drawback is that you end up toting around a lot of stuff.  But bamboo is super light.  So is titanium.  The three of us think that bamboo probably require less human toil and less damage to the environment than titanium to produce, but we don't know for sure.  

Yesterday I was at Trailhead Coffee in Grand Junction, using their wifi, drinking green tea, and filling out a job application.  I ended up talking with the 22 year old barista.  He has two degrees, one in Sociology.  And he has a lot of really great ideas about how to make our world, even just this small community a much more equitable place.  

Lots of days we spend time at Copeka Coffee in Grand Junction.  The 20 somethings who work there are all really interesting people to have a conversation with.  They have great ideas about what our society should be like.  

I wrote this post just to say, I am so inspired and encouraged by all the millennials who are working in coffee shops and at Chipotles and various other jobs around the country.  I wish I could tell each of their stories in greater detail.  And I think we should be listening to them.  And I think we should stop burdening them with student loan debt and worries about the future of our planet.  

What if we made a Kickstarter campaign to pay off the student loan debt of one student at a time, instead of waiting for our government to do something?  While, simultaneously, (yes, of course!) working to create a better system that doesn't put them into debt in the first place.  Who would you nominate to be our first recipient?  

#Millennials #Vegan #WFPB #ReUsables #Chipotle #CopekaCoffee #GrandJunctionColorado #TrailheadCoffee #Kickstarter #TuitionFree #StudentLoanForgiveness

Eddying.

"Where are you?"  Right now I am sitting in a really great coffee shop called Copeka Coffee, in Grand Junction, Colorado.

"Did you sell the boat?"  No.  It's in Boston.  At a marina. 

"Where are you living?"  In a van.  Mostly in Grand Junction.  We are are fixing up a fire damaged house here to sell to supplement our travel funds.  Also, my grandchild lives here.  She is impossibly adorable.  It hurts me to think of being very far away from her for very long.  

"Will you go back to the boat?"  Yes.  We still intend to sail around the world.  Just maybe not all in one go.  

"Are you really living in a van?  Yes.  It's terrible and wonderful, depending on my mood when I am asked about it.  It has a great bed.  A heater.  Electricity.  A small kitchen.  Adam built all of these things.  Adam is amazing.  I think that maybe Adam should start a business converting vans for people.  

"You should run for office"  Yes.  Maybe.  I made a mistake in changing my voter registration address last November that has made it impossible for me to run for office in Garfield County this year.  I'm bummed about it.  I really wanted to run against the current Sheriff.  I felt so alive when I was thinking about that race and the long shot possibility of winning.  The amount of good that could be done by a progressive Sheriff, for the community, for the employees of the Sheriff's Dept and Jail, and for the inmates, is invigorating for me.  I learned a lot this year about the requirements of running for office.  I may run four years from now.  It's hard to see that far into the future.  I'm still hoping someone else will step forward to run for that office this year. 

"You should write a book."  I am.  Starting a few weeks ago.  I don't know how long these things take.  I have never written a book before.  I hear one should write for a few hours each day. 

"You should start a YouTube channel in which Adam shares construction and fix-it knowledge."  I agree.  We just have to convince Adam to be on camera now.  

"You really should paint a tree outline on the outside of the van."  I agree.  Someone convince Adam.   

 

 

 

Getting ready for offshore sailing.

If the weather predictions remain as they are now, we'll leave Southwest Harbor on Wednesday at first light and sail, in as direct a manner as possible, straight through to Provincetown.  From there we'll assess whether to go outside Cape Cod straight for Norfolk or do some short hops closer to shore.  If you want to get short, plain text updates from us once or twice a day while we are out of cell range, send me an email with your text number or email address or both, depending on how you'd like to receive the updates, and I'll put you on our InReach list.  Dawn On A Sailboat at iCloud dot com. 

Right now, we are stowing everything and double checking all of our preparations while the wind howls through the rigging here at the dock in Southwest Harbor.  

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Living the dream!

It seems that #SVDeepPeace 's transmission oil cooler has been damaged by galvanic corrosion. Anyone got a spare lying around?  No?  That's alright.  We'll see if we can order one.  The sooner it arrives, the sooner we will be sailing the North Atlantic in the wintertime in a sailboat without an enclosed cockpit.  See?  #SailboatLife IS glamorous.

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Specimen:  transmission heat exchanger with galvanic corrosion.  Ask Adam how easy it was to remove. 

What does your utopia look like, sound like, smell like, taste like, feel like?

I wonder if there is something we can collectively and individually do to go beyond shining a spotlight on the abuses and inadequacies of our patriarchal system and live our way into a better system.  (I'm not saying that the spotlight isn't important and necessary.  It absolutely is important and necessary.)  What might that new system look like?  Would it just be a tweak of the old system or something completely new?  I don't expect anyone to have a perfect answer to these questions, but I think these are important questions to ask ourselves.

 

Vision without action = Daydream

Action without vision = Nightmare

 

What do we collectively and individually envision for our future?  Are we effectively sharing these ideas with each other? 

 

I'm not talking about ignoring the current problems or pretending they don't exist.  Not even for a minute.  I'm talking about envisioning a better future from a place of full awareness of where we are now and what historical abuses and failures we do not want to repeat. 

 

Me?  I dream of a society in which all sentient beings are truly free.  I envision a society in which all have access to clean water, clean air, nourishing food, comforting shelter, enriching education, thriving communities, humane healthcare....  an entire planetary society where the only laws are those that protect us from exploitation and violence at the hands of each other and corporations.  Where we use our considerable imaginations to invent ways to clean up the 80% of groundwater in China that has been polluted by our insatiable demand for the latest gadgets.  Where we use our powers of innovation to truly enrich each others' lives, rather than just spread the virus of affluenza.  Where we sing and dance and laugh and delight each other into ever greater wellbeing. 

 

It's a big dream.  And I don't know how to get there.  But I will keep holding the vision and sharing it and tweaking it and ....  there are 7.5 billion human beings with astounding powers of imagination and innovation.  Even if this is all there is...  it could be enough. 

 

What about you?  What do you envision as a better future?  What does your utopia look like, sound like, smell like, taste like, feel like?

 

Right now my sailboat cabin is a dismal dystopia of mess, so I must direct my energies toward tidying up.  I'll check back here when that's done.  😜😘❤️

Plans Schlmans.

Last year, on this day, we were further south on our sailing trip than we are this year.  This year we are planning to sail south as soon as a weather window appears.  But this year we are only planning to get the boat to the Norfolk area, put her to bed in a boatyard, and fly back to Colorado to fix and flip a fire-damaged house that we bought while we were there in October.  The house is in Grand Junction and has been unoccupied since May.  It needs a lot of fixing, but we feel up to the task.  When it's all fixed up and ready to be occupied by humans again, we'll sell it and either look for another house to fix and flip or go back to the boat for some more sailing adventures.  This is nothing like our original plan when we sold the house we were living in back in May of 2016 which feels like an entire lifetime ago.  One of the main lessons I've learned in the past year and a half is that plans ....  change.  A lot.  And that's OK.

15 years of Us

That night, 15 years ago, when I ran down the hill from my little Glenwood house to Farland's coffee shop in a froth of excitement mixed with abject terror to tell her that I was going to meet this guy for dinner that I had had such a devastating crush on for some time, but that it wasn't a date, I couldn't have imagined this life. My entire being buzzed with fear and excitement whenever I saw him, but I thought that was just attraction hormones. Maybe it was, but maybe my future self was sending me messages--- your life will never be boring with this guy.

It's October 6th, 2017.  It's been 15 years and 2 days since my first "not date" with Adam.  I'm sitting on a sailboat in Maine.  It's raining and cold outside.   Adam is working on a small diesel leak on our new-to-us Sprinter Van which will be our future land home (it gets 3 to 4 times better mpg than our old RV, which we sold last week.)  As soon as we get the van travel ready, the boat all buttoned up, and our clothes and personal items packed, we'll be headed for Colorado, as quickly as we can.  The boat will stay here in Maine while we are in Colorado, at least until early November, when we hope to be back and starting our sail south.  We had tentatively planned to spend the winter in Puerto Rico, but we don't know yet if Puerto Rico will be feeling ready to have visitors.  So, I know what my future looks like for the next, oh, say, 4 weeks.  After that...  who knows.  Sailing south for sure.  Probably.  Maybe.  Most likely.  

 

Right now, what we have is:

* our love for each other

* our health, creativity, ingenuity, curiosity, flexibility, & mostly good attitudes most of the time

* the love, friendship, kindness, and encouragement of so many wonderful friends and family members

* a very strong, well-designed, sea-worthy sailboat & all the things we need to live in it & sail it

* a sprinter cargo van

* a jeep (for sale)

* camping gear - tent, sleeping pads, sleeping bags, jet boil, assorted camping cooking items

* two folding Brompton bicycles (they really help when traveling by boat, each place you arrive without ground transportation- it can be so nice to have them)

* our phones, cameras, & computers

* personal affects - clothes, toiletries, etc

* some books, art supplies, musical instruments, and a darn good yoga mat and a couple of yoga teacher certifications

* a collection of sailing stories

* passports, driver's licenses, social security cards, etc (these matter more than we often think about - it's tough to be a human without the proper documentation these days)

* insurance - health, jeep, sprinter, renter

* a lot of stellar AirBNB reviews

* a good start toward Captain's licenses for both of us

* 78 acres of undeveloped land in the Wet Mountain Valley of Colorado (for sale)

* a modest self-directed IRA retirement account

 

Things I really wish we had:

* an actual insurance document from the boat insurance broker who said (last week) that he would send me a copy of the policy and an invoice

* an answer from the seller of a fixer-upper house in Grand Junction, Colorado that we made an offer on, for retirement investment purposes

* just a smidge more liquid assets, to contribute toward a greater sense of security (security -- what an illusion, but I still crave it now and then)

 

I know it's taboo to talk about money and assets in some circles, but I needed to do an honest accounting of what we have and people ask me all the time, "How did you do it?" We haven't really done it yet. We are still doing it.  We are pretty much out of the liquid funds that we had from selling the house.  Selling the jeep will help.  Selling the property could help with liquid funds and build up the IRA a little, too. 

 

Traveling by sailboat isn't as super cheap as I imagined it might be.  Dock fees or mooring fees can add up.  Boat insurance for this boat is not cheap.  And income is, so far, sporadic and somewhat meager.  We want to go through the Panama Canal sometime in the next year and that will be a big expense too. So, at the moment, we're OK, but I do have some anxiety about how we are depleting resources we maybe should be saving.

I have started to put up photos on some stock photo websites.  I have written a few good sailing stories, but not submitted them to any publishers, yet.  We are still working toward Captain's licenses so we can do crewed charters in our boat in the future. I created a Patreon account, but haven't figured out what exactly to do with it...   ideas welcome.

It's been an astounding 15 years together.  I can't imagine life without Adam, who all my friends and family members love too and who can fix almost anything (including some of my dark moods) with his special blend of patience, steadiness, curiosity, and ingenuity. 

I can't imagine what the next 15 years will bring.  And then the next 15.  And the next.  I only hope and yes, pray, that our love for each other mixed with our synergistic blend of curiosity, spontaneity, patience, and mostly good attitudes most of the time, will take us amazing places we haven't yet even imagined.  I know there will always be friends waiting in those places.  Strangers turn into friends so quickly in this life and old friends turn up in the most unlikely places.  We'll be watching for you. ❤️

 

PS. There will, one day, be an addendum to this post, with a photo album full of memories, full of friends.  

 

dakini's bliss?

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Do you feel that ache too?  The one that arises when you are faced with some unspeakable beauty in the world while simultaneously being aware of several unbearable cruelties?  All I can do is feel it and keep breathing.  It feels sometimes as if it will break me, but my heart keeps beating.  

Dear, dear humans, please, please, please be kind to one another and to the other species, too.  There is such magic in kindness.  Wherever you are, I wish you wholeness and a sense of belonging so strong that you cannot ever be made to be unkind.  

Goodnight.  I wish us all the best wild beautiful dreams.  Perhaps I'll meet some of you in one.

I dreamed about Robin Williams last night.  He was deeply sad with flares of anger.  All of his jokes had a flavor of bitterness.

The setting was a trailer house with add-ons.  My whole family was there.  It was a kind of family reunion in a barely passable space, but we kept finding small good details to guard ourselves against the general dismalness of it.

None of us asked him the obvious, "We thought you were dead, Robin?  Why are you here?"  He just kept showing up at random times and when he did we all just listened gently.  He was angry and sad about a lot of things:  mostly greed and unkindness... the kind that show up as polluted water sources and suffering children, indifference to refugees.  He was so bitter it was painful to be near him.  You wanted to hug him and make it better, but he wanted greater action than that.

He wanted all of us to insist on, demand, real change.

I don't want to disappoint dream Robin Williams.  Or my granddaughter who turned one year old just the other day.  I want to be able to tell her the story of how we rose to the challenges and found ways to really care for each other.  All of us.  All 7+ billion of us.

I want to tell the story, one day, about how our hearts grew several sizes, like the Grinch.  How we began opening borders and welcoming each other in.  How we learned to grow abundant gardens of the most delightful and nourishing foods alongside wild flowers next to impossibly beautiful forests.  How we built longer tables with the wood we had been planning to build fences with.

I want to tell the story, one day soon, about how we stopped using single use plastic the very second we found out that it was polluting our drinking water and becoming more ubiquitous than life in the oceans.

Next time Robin Williams shows up in my dream, I want to be able to cheer him up.

When my granddaughter is older, I want to be able to tell her how we became a more compassionate and caring society, not offer her excuses about lack of funding or political will.

To that end, what can I do, right now, today?  Who do I need to ask the obvious questions of?  What are we going to do about these very real, very big problems?  Which doors I have to knock on?  What numbers do I have to dial?  Who do I have to bring with me on this quest?  What riddles will we have to solve?

One little thing I can do today....

I vow never to forget my water bottle or coffee cup or utensils again.  And if I do forget them, I'll go back and get them.  No more single use plastic.  Not even coffee cup lids.

And dammit, I'm writing a letter to every restaurant I ever see that puts straws in the water glasses.  Ggrrr.

But that's just the low hanging fruit.  What else must I do?  Must we do?

How do we convince each other to fight for public transportation and safe bike lanes and higher fuel efficiency standards with the same passion and dedication that the NRA fights for gun rights?

How do we grow our hearts and our courage and let our passion for each other and the planet infect those who want to stay small and scared?

What if we applied the energy that it takes to debate what makes a perfect dry cappuccino to the problems of climate change?

I really don't want to have to face a bitter Robin Williams in my dreams again.

Who will go on this quest with me?  We've got to protect the life support systems and morale on our Earth space ship.  Let's get to work. 

What's the point?

What is the point?  Of traveling?  Of leaving my beautiful, comfortable, safe home & stunningly gorgeous community?  Of taking myself away from my sister, my niece, nephews, son, granddaughter, mom, & dear, dear friends? 

I've spent the past year seeing new places, meeting new people, learning new skills, & quite often longing for home & safety.

What is the point?  I ask this sometimes during moments of frustration with boat life and constant traveling.  Sometimes I ask it of Adam with a note of accusation in my voice, like this is all his fault.  (It's not. We decided together to do this.)

What do I miss?  Partially I miss the knowing what my purpose and place was.  What did I know about my purpose?  It was to Love.  Not to feel love, but to love- verb style.  To love the kind of love that is a synonym for listening and seeking to understand rather than just seeking to be understood.  To love the kind of love that stands up for those less fortunate than I.  To love the kind of love that seeks to protect the wild and lonely places, the kind of love that cares for all sentient beings. 

And just now, today, reminiscing about what was really so great about my old, Colorado life, I realize that my purpose is still the same.  It sometimes seems harder to love "strangers" and "strange" places, or to love when I feel out of sorts, but it's not impossible.

I asked Adam, "What are we really working towards?"  What's the point?  I asked just a few days ago.  I've been internally struggling with various versions of this question for awhile...  feeling superfluous, extra, unnecessary. 

Just this moment it came to me.  My purpose is still the same.  To Love.  Verb love --  Listen, Learn, Care.  That's all.

We have a home base for the summer.  We're tidying up the boat, getting it guest ready. 

Yesterday I realized, again, that a few of the people I count as absolutely indispensable friends, we met through AirBNB.  It made me excited to wonder who we might meet this summer.  And it helped with boat cleaning motivation. 

Thanks to facebook for the memory of where we were one year ago.  (Lake Dillon , Colorado, Prospector Campground)  It sparked some good reflections and some new insights...  still mixed with the pain of longing.  Which, I realize, might never go away.  How could I have such a love affair with a place and it's people?  And why would I turn it into a kind of unrequited love, on purpose?  Not just for novelty.  I used to profess my love for the whole planet and all it's sentient beings.  And I did that without even having been to all the places or having met all the sentient beings.  So maybe the point of all this is to make my love bigger and deeper and stronger and truer?  Maybe. 

Thank you, Jeannie and Tay and Mary, (and Tammy and Jordan and Vi) for helping me find these insights through some recent conversations we've had.  I love you each, very specifically and exuberantly.

choosing my mirrors carefully

I just spent hours, yes hours, trying to figure out how best to get this video from my big camera onto the internet.  Ah, technology, how I love you, and how you challenge me.  

I also looked back through all my old blog posts.  The first blog I posted on this domain (www.circumdance.com) was posted on April 2nd, 2016.  That was about a month after I bought the domain and set up a SquareSpace account, in the hopes that we would soon sell our house and start our big adventure.  At the time, we had a goal to get our house on the market by April 11th, 2016.  Instead, we sold the house on April 11th.  (Oh, sh*%!  This just got real.)  I didn't have any travel stories or sailing stories to tell on that day.  Instead, I had an idea.  It was the Confabulation Challenge.  (https://www.circumdance.com/dawnsmusings/2016/4/2/confabulation-challenge)

"So what's the challenge?  

Just for today (or for as long as you like) tell yourself something fabulous about you.  

Something like.....

You are a creative, wise, witty, lighthearted, healthy, strong, flexible, loving, creative, sexy genius.  

Now spend the rest of the day "remembering" all the ways this is true.  Prove it to yourself."

Last Sunday, I made this video, while we sailed from Boston to Kittery Point, Maine.  

In the time between that first post and this one, I have collected some travel stories and some sailing stories and some new, wonderful friend stories and some heartbreaking stories, too.  But one thing remains the same... 

I still need to choose my mirrors wisely, and to take them all with a grain of salt.  

You know what I mean?  Yes, I'm talking about the physical, shiny mirrors and storefronts where we all catches glimpses of our physical forms.  But I'm also talking about the human mirrors -- the people I surround myself with.  The ones who help me gauge how I'm doing in life.  No mirror is a perfect reflection and none can show the internal processes that show up in our physical form and our behaviors, but some are definitely more accurate than others and some are just fun.  Like this air vent on the boat.  

When you watch the video, look at the way the ocean and clouds move in the vent and then in the background.  Try not to get seasick.  

I actually giggled when I made this video, I was so pleased at the effect.  

Which of your human mirrors make you bubble over with glee?  Have you carved out any time in your life for them lately?  

 

Change of plans

Having not made significant progress toward our original destination for reasons which I will not detail at the moment and upon reconsidering the weather forecast, we have decided to spend a few days in Portsmouth.  And then do smallish daysails up the coast until we arrive at Southwest Harbor, weather permitting.  

We are going to call this "being smart & flexible" rather than "failing to reach our goal".    Its a matter of framing and perspective.  And patience.  

Non-attachment, will I ever learn to embody you with ease?   Boy could I use a restorative yoga class right now.  

 

The gift of enthusiasm. Thanks, meditation.

 

Even if meditation gives me nothing else, it gives me permission to do nothing except notice what it is like to simply be alive.  It gives me time.  And when I have the experience of having time, I get access to excitement about being alive.  And that gives me enthusiasm for whatever it is that I am going to do that day.  It gives me enthusiasm for doing whatever "have-tos" need to be done, enthusiasm for finding creative ways to do them.  And it gives me access to the want-to's.  It gives me time and psychic space to meet life on my own terms.  <---- this paragraph inspired by just a few minutes of meditation this morning

Horseshoe Crab on Lewes Beach

 

I’m a Rocky Mountain girl becoming intimate with the Atlantic Coast of these United States of America one beach walk at a time.  I’ve heard about horseshoe crabs — how they are ancient, prehistoric creatures, how they were around before the dinosaurs.  I’ve heard that they cover the beaches at certain times of year.  I’ve even seen a horseshoe crab or two at an aquarium.  I get very excited when we are walking on a beach and we see one.  But thus far, we have rarely seen a live one.  The other day, while strolling down the beach in Lewes, Delaware, we saw one.  Alive!  But upside down.  So, we helped it get righted and back out to sea.  see videos

 

is it alive?

 

Note:  I have completely rewritten the following paragraph because I was wrong about what Melanie was trying to convey AND I was utterly wrong about whether rescuing horseshoe crabs matters. It does, I thought it didn't because it was the end of their lifecycle, but I was going to keep doing it anyway.  It turns out they have a 25 year life span and return to the same beach over and over again to mate.  Here's a link to an article about why rescuing them when they are stranded matters:  http://www.nj.com/cumberland/index.ssf/2014/05/volunteers_return_the_favor_for_horseshoe_crabs_and_shorebirds.html

 

The next day, I told our new friends, Melanie and Miles, about our horseshoe crab rescue and Melanie told me about a time when she and her daughter spent a week at Slaughter beach rescuing horseshoe crabs and how devastating it was to see so many of them in peril.  Here's a link all about Slaughter Beach and the horseshoe crabs:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slaughter_Beach,_Delaware

 

Today, over a yummy vegan burger at Aleathea’s Restaurant in Cape May, New Jersey, I read a rather informative article in a local magazine, called Exit Zero, about how horseshoe crabs are crucial to the well being of certain migrating birds called Red Knots.  See photo for the full article (Sorry, I don't have a photo of a Red Knot, yet).  It reminded me of our rescue operation and got me excited to visit as many beaches as possible this month — a couple of hours past high tide.  I’ve simply got to see this phenomenon.  Stay tuned for updates.  When I see more horseshoe crabs, you'll be the first to know.