Of all the places I could be in the world, of all the things I could be doing, in the face of all the things and people that need love and attention in the world, sitting onboard a sailboat, typing, seems like one of the least important and perhaps most self-indulgent. And yet here I sit.
Since I last posted on this blog, we have driven our RV, towing our jeep, back to Colorado. We visited friends and family. I got to hug my niece and nephews, my mom, my sister, & my son. I got to meet my granddaughter. While in Colorado, we decided not to sell the RV, but to keep it in storage, and that decision seems to have eased my homesickness to the point that I feel like my old self again. When I close my eyes and see the RV and jeep at their storage place in Colorado, I know that I can go home. The knowledge that my favorite quilt and slippers are waiting for me, so near to so many beloved people and places, in our old, but familiar RV, makes traveling indefinitely completely doable and gives me back the feeling of excitement toward what lies ahead as we begin our sailing adventure in earnest.
So, a week ago we left our land transportation in Colorado and flew back to Boston, rented a car for a few days, provisioned the boat and now we are just days from sailing south (we sail on Friday, Nov. 4, if the weather remains favorable).
Writing about sailing and slaying the three headed monster of homesickness, bad boat smells, and fear of the unknown seems too small next to the news of Standing Rock, every horrible thing Donald Trump has said and done, climate change, war, refugees, earthquakes, pipeline spills and explosions, and the list goes on and on.
All the wisdom traditions that I know of (and some recent scientific studies, too) say that humans need to feel that their lives matter in order to thrive. We need to feel necessary or we wilt. I’m still struggling to see how this sailboat life can matter in the big scheme of things.
There’s also a bit of wisdom floating through my head that says, when we don’t know what the next right step is, it’s time to pause - to listen, look around, observe.
Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare. I’m pausing now, in order to allow my vision to come into focus.
What do you see, from your vantage point? When you think about the unique challenges of this spacetime, what vision arises? Once that vision becomes clear, that’s when we need to summon the courage to take the steps toward it.
Adam and I have been taking baby steps and huge leaps toward this sailboat life for the past 5 years or so. Now we’re here. Now what? Each day reveals a bit more. Our future remains blurry, even to the point that I don’t know where we will be or what we will be doing one week from today.
In our old lives, working in public safety, a commonly uttered catchphrase was “First, do no harm.” For today, this is where I’ll start. I’ll limit the harm I do by skipping the single use plastic, by using as little fossil fuel as possible, and by uttering no ugliness. And I’ll do a little good picking up some trash. I call picking up trash, “Saving baby sea turtles.”
Today my best good deed might be picking up trash and being the best boatmate (and sassy, but loving, wifey) to Adam that I can be. But I fiercely believe that the small things matter. There are more than 7 billion human beings on Planet Earth. If each and every one of us does the small good things and if each and every one of us does our best to First, Do No Harm, how would that be?