Headed North: reflections from 1/1/22 – 4/1/22

Leaving our winter dock in Marathon, Florida, was difficult for me. I wish I could say that I woke up and was shouting “awesome” to the day and looking forward with shiny eyes. I’d had three months of being rooted in one place and taking time for clearing, healing, and integrating all the changes, growth and experiences of the past year and still; I thought I needed more time. In retrospect, I see what happened there, I was growing roots down from my being into the fabric of the culture and community. David often says to me, “the last place you were is the place you love the most”. It’s true. I fall in love very easily, but I have high frequency standards.

In all, 16 boats left the basin at Marlin Bay on April 1st. We were among the last ones to depart. We ducked into the Key Fisheries site for diesel and then set out behind a bigger boat that had also wintered in Marathon, Northern Lights. Northern Lights had been on the American Great Loop in 2021 too. We had met up with her in Kentucky and been in sync all the way to Florida. I love the symbolism of headed north behind Northern Lights. Synchronicities like this keep me buoyant. “There but for the grace of God go I.” And, as I savored the perfect traveling morning, our daughter, Anna, messaged us that she was in labor and was likely giving birth to baby number 2, on that same day. As we settled into our first anchorage of the trip north, at Barley Bay in Islemerada, we knew that Anna was entering the final stages of delivery. Life, the perfect mirror.

I am not going to chronicle all the processes for rest and growth that occurred for us over those three months, but I do want to note a few things so that they are remembered by us and visible in the narrative of this journey. In no particular order, and unedited, here is a list of reflections from January 1, 2022 – April 1, 2022:

  • Presence is a revolutionary act and what we “do” in the physical world is a kind of mirror for us of what we are becoming by being, not just from our memory banks, but in the quantum field (if you will).
  • My computer died. If you have spent time in the lower Keys you know there are no stores. Also, I have no income, so not only was I not tempted to go replace it, I literally could not. What I did do was journal, the old fashioned way. I filled three paper notebooks.
  • Using the notes app on my phone, I wrote a children’s story about a girl who travels on her boat down the Tennessee River. It’s still there, on my phone, in my notes.
  • We read lots of books. The local coffee shop in Marathon is also a used book store. You can buy, trade and sell. Let me explain my relationship to this place by sharing that the owner suggested I buy the shop when he retires. LOL.
  • One used book I discovered there is by Wendell Berry, whose writing I have aways loved, The Life and Work of Harlan Hubbard. Then, I purchased used copied of all 8 Harlan Hubbard books from Abe Books online and had mailed to me. Harlan Hubbard represents an aspect of me. He is my muse.
  • If you clear, heal and integrate, you make space to build, create new and move to higher levels of consciousness.
  • I made tiny paintings. There’s a Beall’s Outlet in Marathon. For $3.99 I bought my first set of acrylic paints and ordered 3″x4″ canvases from Amazon. Now we have a collection of small canvases that David appreciates on another level.
  • In February I celebrated my birthday, twice. Once with David enjoying bubbly wine and the freshest local food, and once with my sisters in Tampa. I was showered with a trove of gifts from friends and family. These included an enormous container of Jasper Hill cheeses, fancy face creams, lovely books, linen clothes, and a powerful healing amethyst stone to “connect me to the divine”. Mostly, I was showered with love. It’s super humbling to be acknowledged so intensely.
  • I continued learning about different models for “coaching” so someday, I can move my “mentoring” work to be a little more direct in the way I offer feedback to people I work with.
  • David and I were interviewed by a journalist from Kiplinger, who is writing an article about people who choose to live on boats. This involved a lot of written and spoken communication and the process brought us a lot of joy.
  • OH! This reminds me that I also was interviewed by a mentee of mine, the amazing goddess of preschool teachers, Lynnette Arthur, for her new podcast, Powerful Pedagogy (produced by Fairy Dust Teaching). It provoked me to add a tab to the blog for my educator friends that I hope to add to as I go.
  • PS: It took approximately an entire day to add that tab and I almost threw my phone in the water, but a cool head prevailed. The tab exists.
  • At any time, we can throw out the oppression of the limiting idea that we are not free.
  • Made a lot of salads, did a lot of laundry, kept the boat clean.
  • For three months now I have been closely monitoring my language. David is my accomplice (sometimes happily and other times not so much) as I am deprograming myself to communicate based on making core / request statements rather than making assumptive statements. This goes back to thinking about coaching however; it unveiled to me how unhealthily we attempt to communicate by hinting at things and being kind of manipulative (not cruelly, but unconsciously).
  • Relational health is magic.
  • I continued being immersed in my Spirit-Led community. If I can sum up this aspect of my life I would say that has been an essential energy for me to continually choose to align with courage and not fear.
  • I swam nearly every day. Walked as much as possible. And, I spent the majority of my time outside. From beaches to sidewalks to laying on my back pondering the stars, this world continued to astound me. By the way, I felt the previous year’s journey in my knees (lots of standing required when steering the boat)- So, movement and my life became my medicine for healing my physical body too.
  • We had visits from family members and it was wonderful to see them radiating the infinite beautifulness that is the Keys. OB, Jay, Melissa, Hollis, Xander, Kathie, Patricia, John, Bill & Lee; thanks for being our guests in paradise.
  • In March, I flew to Vermont for 5 days to spend time with my middle child, Emma. When you’re a mom, sometimes you have to drop everything and be there for your kid. Even when they are 30. She still had to work while I was there so I used my days to tidy up and beautify her space, fill her cupboards, prepare delicious meals, walk her doggie, Gus, and hang out with her when she wasn’t working.
  • Somewhere along the three months I heard the phrase: “You are the entire universe expressing as an individual”. That resonates with me and the infinite source that we are.
  • On Sunday nights I joined Kelly Skinner (VT Bahkti Yoga Teacher & Reiki practitioner) and others for Kirtan. Have you ever chanted? It must be where the term “enchanted” comes from. To be filled with delight through sound and forming sounds takes life to another level.
  • We met a man named Chris. Chris works from sunup ’til he’s done, which is often after dark. He can do anything on a boat. He helped David change out all the fuel and oil filters on the engines, he replaced a rub rail, he repaired a port and a ceiling panel, he installed a bilge alarm, he was freaking amazing. He looked like Kenny Chesney and had a heart twice as large as most people. His work is his love language. Also, super heartwarming to see David work alongside him. There’s something exponential happening when you observe two souls meeting and getting real shit done that just makes you calm down on what growth actually looks like. It ‘s not all the extraordinary events in life, it ‘s the daily moments, where we compose a life.
  • Had a wonderful friend who left his physical body. To my eternal spirit friend, Willie, fly high brother. I love you.
  • Became a grandmother, again.
  • That’s my nutshell list in words for the last three months. Here are a few pictures. (PS: Words and Pictures is a movie Emma and I watched when I was visiting her. Highly recommend.)
Irene’s winter home at Marlin Bay. Right there next to her friends.
View from our stern at Marlin Bay.
Beautiful family. Xander, Jay, Hollis & Melissa on their visit with us.
Beautiful siblings. David, Kathie, Patricia, Bill and John, on their visit with us.
David, me and Willie, years ago. Thank you, Willie, for introducing me Montana and Marathon; for teaching me to fly fish; for teaching me how to make pools in the stream for bathing in; for Montana road trips; and for loving my cooking so much. Your joy was is my joy. Fly high brother.
Six tiny paintings. The first of many.
Olive Ann Yesh was born on April 1st. Healthy, beautiful, 100% loved. Olive with big sister Isla.
David on a morning walk at Sombrero Beach in Marathon.
“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” Dolly Parton
Beautiful Emma headed to work one morning during my visit. That feeling you have when they’re little and headed out the door? It’s the same when they’re big.
Our baby Anna and her baby, Olive. (Olive after my mom, Anna’s grandmother, Olive’s great grandmother.)
Because it will.

10 thoughts on “Headed North: reflections from 1/1/22 – 4/1/22

  1. kathyyost01

    I love you as deep in my soul as is possible♥️ I love your voice and always enjoy everything you write. It is so full of wisdom, humor and truths. It was beyond wonderful getting spend such great time with you this winter. I loved being near you and your calmness and spirituality helped me with my healing. Your joys are our joys!

    Safe travels, stay rested enjoy the journey,

    All my love, Kathy 💗

  2. jeannehommel

    Barbara you may be one of the youngest in our family but definitely the most worldly. I love reading your blogs and seeing how deep your feelings and spirit runs. You make us feel we are part of your adventure. You do what most people only think or dream about. I’m so proud to call you my sister. Love you always❤ Never change!

  3. Wendy McGrath

    Made me cry! You are such a beautiful soul, and oh how blessed I am to be your friend. Love you soooo much! Thank you for the inspiration, honesty, spirit, awe, hope, and LOVE in all of ours forms.

    1. betheship Post author

      LOL Thought of you when I was making that tab! Those were my first six paintings- I will evolve (at about the same rate as a child). So much to learn in this life. LOVE you.

  4. Richard J Mullany

    Enjoy your details about a wonderfull adventure.
    David, the email i got from you did not work.


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