It is the first day of February, 2023. The past month was filled with inspiration garnered from other peoples’ lives and other peoples’ actions. Generosity, bravery, kindness, wisdom, excitement, energy, communication, reassurance, and love; I have been recipient and witness to all of these. January just packed all the juicy stuff in it and by the grace of God, we got through it. So, on this first day of the second month of 2023, I say, hallef***inlujah.
January in Marathon brought many old cruising friends back into our realm, and this first day of February, some are saying farewell. Such a great reminder that we are all travelers. We are all one traveler. Even when we are safe in the harbor, we live with the knowing that we will move, and move again. More wisdom from January thanks to all the family members and friends who reached out as David reconciled a health challenge. Much love and many thanks to each of you. He is feeling better and optimistic too. Reciprocity is everywhere and that is the perfect word to describe how we find ourselves; travelers on both sides of every horizon.
As I alluded to above, the first of every month in a marina, boats depart and new boats arrive. Today, this very morning, is no exception. We said good-bye to some fine neighbors today and as I am having a morning coffee aboard IRENE, the idea of a “new” month and fresh starts, is on my mind. My thoughts have wandered from the folks around us off to explore new harbors, to a few dear friends who are standing on much more profound precipices of beginning again in new dreams. I am sending up a prayer to my beloveds embarking on the freedom of dreaming again; moving to new territories; setting sail across new oceans; to all my dear loves gathering the courage to follow your guidance and break free; I salute you. David Whyte, one of my favorite poets, words are ringing in my ears: “The world is made for us to be free in”.
In his poem, The Journey, David Whyte also wrote metaphorically that there are times when leaving becomes arriving. This idea makes the way forward inevitably, exactly how we arrived here. I believe he was writing about how the difficulty of walking away from something profound, like a relationship, and how it isn’t actually about the act of ending that particular relationship, or the physical act of leaving that person, place or period of time that is heart-wrenching. Reflecting on David Whyte’s words now, I think he is expressing that the truly difficult part of “leaving” is abandoning the dreams you dreamt in that time or place or with that person. Particular dreams are gone and life has to be reimagined, through a feeling of grief. And, I do feel a bit melancholy today, watching boats leave the basin and fading across the horizon. The poem is written for the traveler, but I feel it is also for the ones that stay behind, to cheer us all on our ways. Here is the poem:
Above the mountains
the geese turn into
the light again
on an open sky.
has to be
so you can find
the one line
Sometimes it takes
a great sky
to find that
wedge of freedom
in your own heart.
the bones of the black
sticks left when the fire
has gone out
someone has written
in the ashes of your life.
You are not leaving.
Even as the light fades quickly now,
you are arriving.
David Whyte has written many books of poetry and my favorite poem of his is called, Everything is Waiting for You. I hear this poem in my mind a little differently than it’s actually written. Rather than one “Everything”, I hear it with great emphasis like, “Everything, everything, everything, is waiting for you”. So to those dear loves, my friends, who are stepping out off a limb or sailing into new worlds, let David Whyte’s words be pressed on your mirror… and add these too: “Life is fierce and difficult. There is no life we can live without being subject to grief, loss and heartbreak. Half of every conversation is mediated through disappearance.” And I will add- The other half, through your courage; because the other half could be pure magic.
All this thinking and slight sense of melancholy, began last month, at the start of the new year. Someone referred to our life on the water as an “experiment” (the “Florida Experiment” to be precise). This language of life being an experiment has stayed with me since, and I am close to concluding with a near belief that all our lives are “experiments”. Sometimes misinformed and void of any intentional methodology, but experiments none the less. We all came for experiences and we create our experiences. I suppose that is the ultimate form of experimentation. We have a few theories, we try them out, we draw a few conclusions. Some things are beyond our free will, but for the most part, we decide. We follow our own guidance and move on.
Sometimes the connection between the present moment and the thoughts and decisions we made “in the past”, that created this now moment, are so far between that it seems impossible to our minds that we are the creators of where we find ourselves and the “experiment” we are going through. And yet, at some point, we decided. Everything began with an idea, with a thought, with the words and wishes we spoke aloud and the ones we never uttered to anyone. It matters not, because both count. Frankly, the ones we repeat in what we think are our private thoughts, they may actually count more with their energetic persistence, depth and sincerity. Everything is energy, and that includes thoughts and feelings.
I suppose this means that we conduct our life experiment in large part, unconsciously, in the ways we are deeply programmed to behave. All the ways we learned from our earliest moments and through twelve years of school and in every aspect of life; programmed by our families beliefs, religion, western medicine, television, print media, by movies, through the stories and social media. And through the constant retelling, revisiting and identification of our traumas, and through our ongoing agreements to colonial beliefs and behaviors. Deep, deep programming that tells us to we are good when we are compliant, it’s better to be quiet, it’s good to make sacrifice, suffering isn’t optional, be less than your full human self. Sit a particular way, use certain words, don’t show up, but act like you did. Find the one special person and stay with them for life. Get a career and stay with it even if you’re miserable. Make sure you have more money when you die than you spend when you’re alive. Buy a house, strap yourself to a mortgage, stay in one place. Fit in; do as you’re told; don’t rock the boat. The unconscious experiment is ongoing. The journey to freedom, to ” everything, everything, everything” that awaits us, is to move. To act. To choose sovereignty over our experiment, our life, our passions, our purpose, our path; this is the highest pilgrimage ever.
Godspeed us pilgrims home; even when we have no idea where the path might lead.
I leave you with David Whyte’s incredible voice. I could not love this more.