Become a Master SailorSarah Cavanagh
Like the master sailor who uses the powerful energy of the wind to sail her boat where she wants to go, appreciating the direction and force. Never trying to change what she cannot, but using her skill for what is possible on her journey with the tools and knowledge she has. And not trying to sail in the force of a hurricane, to prove anything, but has the wisdom to stay at the shore, using time usefully, mending, nurturing, resting, until it’s time to go out sailing again. Nice metaphor !
Today I went for an early morning walk. The sky was bright and sunny but there was a very strong wind. The trees bent all ways with random gusts. As I walked, I realised my fists were clenched, my jaw set against these opposing forces. Even my attitude became oppositional as, rather than steer my thoughts into a positive mindset, I began to bring up unfinished business from the week’s work and the loose ends of a few minor, but clearly resentful, conversations. I began to walk faster, gathering pace, my mind justifying all the ways, all the valid reasons why I should feel so hard done by in this world! As I was walking I became aware that I had allowed myself to be influenced by the chaotic energy of nature, but I was determined to indulge in it and huffed and puffed my way up the path.
After about ten minutes marching at this pace, with my inner and outer world pulled off balance, something shifted inside me and I became detached a bit from this bitter energy I had set in motion. Watching myself, I saw I had become as strong and forceful as the wind in my oppositional thoughts. Influenced by its chaos and unpredictable flurries and gusts, I had become like the energy of a hurricane, wild and destructive.
I saw a bench at the end of the path. It was bathed in sunlight. One of those moments. Gorgeous and just in time! Yes, I thought. Stillness, stability. That’s what I need. To sit still and rein in all of this oppositional energy and restore a bit of peace to my mind and body.
So there I sat for the next twenty minutes. Reminding myself that I am soul. A human being made of peace,with meaning, depth and clarity. I saw how easy it is to become someone with such a passive mind that I can allow certain mindsets to take over, to interpret the wind, nature’s cleanser, as something ‘out to get me’.
It reminded me of when I began to meditate many years ago. I was walking home in a gusting, icy wind. And oh, was I allowing it to make me angry. How dare it be cold and wet and windy. How dare my body be so weak as to be suffering in this way. I’ll show this wind who is stronger! I could ‘beat’ the wind if I kept up my anger and resistance.
Until the penny dropped.
I had no chance. There are some things that cannot be changed. Some things that just are and have to be. And I could arrive home wet, cold and peaceful or wet, cold and angry. My choice.
It made me laugh, that in one second of a penny dropping moment I could change from chaos to calm on the back of wisdom such as this and I strolled home, head high, enjoying the freedom that this insight had given me.
I choose my thoughts. I steer them. I stay alert to how they are, standing back and noticing when anger, resentment or sadness are gathering momentum, ready to leash an inner storm, so that I can catch these thoughts before they escalate. If I choose, I can keep perspective, understand and use their energy to move me forward to a solution or to acceptance.
So, while you can, reflect, relax, restore your wise and peaceful sense of self. Hone this craft of self awareness. And when you find yourself on the stormy seas of life, in all its glory, use your craft to fly over the waves well. Instead of capsizing in the chaos and having to struggle to get back, move closer to your inner calm and enjoy the ride.