Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Simplicity Through Sailing

When I'm in my apartment, surrounded by my stuff and overwhelmed by the number of things I have to do, it's often hard to find the calm and a challenge to remember the larger world that's out there.

It's hard to find simplicity when caught up in the day-to-day. Which is why I'm so thankful that I can spend (most) every Saturday on the water.

While sailing has its challenges - quite a few of them, actually - there is a simplicity to sailing that I can't find in anything I do on land.

Sailing requires me to focus on the moment. It requires me to be aware of my immediate surroundings at all times. It requires me to be aware of what might happen in the near future. It forces me to look up and out and around.

I need to know where the wind is, what the sea is doing, what weather is on the horizon. I need to know if there are obstacles or obstructions that might do me, my boat and my crew harm.

I want to know if there is any sea life to watch. I want to see the beauty in the water and the skies. I want see what the land looks like from afar. I want to imagine what it would be like to keep on sailing toward the horizon.

When sailing I don't have time to, and don't want to, check email, texts, tweets, posts and pics - though I often take quite a few. I don't have time to worry about my stuff. I don't have time to think about my to do's.

It is essential that I be in the moment, as any moment things can change - the wind can pick up or die, the seas can grow - and I have to be prepared to make the necessary changes on my boat to avoid danger.

There's no room for multitasking when it comes to sailing. There's little forgiveness when slacking off at the helm or on watch. And while there is often time for me to enjoy the beauty of my surroundings, it's always done with an alert eye for other vessels or hazards.

Each week when I go out to sail - whether with a crew, my guy or alone - it's like pressing the reset button on the frustrations and stresses that have built up during the week. I'm able to streamline my thoughts to just the tasks at hand for the four to nine hours I spend out on the water. I'm reminded of what truly is important to me. And I'm reminded of how few things I really need to get by.

Not every sail has fair winds and calm seas, but every sail gives me the chance to lose myself in a brand new adventure. No two sails are the same and so I have the opportunity to be surprised, grateful, excited each and every week.

I only wish I could find simplicity in some of the other things I do in life. But everything else seems to have a complexity that sailing just doesn't have.

To be continued...

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