We had a plan and as it often happens….plans don’t turn out the way you want.
Life happens, while you are making other plans, right!
Our plan was to sail to Cuba.
We have a large Catamaran sailboat, fully stocked, and after many months of preparation we were finally ready to go.
Very soon, a series of unplanned things happened along the way. Our engines broke, not just once, but 3 times. The plumbing started leaking into the boat and it had to be completely re-plumbed. We had to wait for better weather…..sometimes for weeks.
I really do enjoy being on a boat, cooking nice meals, making it comfy and appreciating the sun. Being out on calm seas is the most relaxing thing I know, because you literally can’t do anything else. I love the steady rocking of the boat and being on the water has a soothing effect on my psyche.
What I can’t handle is being at the constant mercy of the weather, wind and water. Everything is perpetually damp or wet. I am petrified when the waves are more than 3 feet and pound the boat, or you lose control of your direction, because the wind has other plans for you.
So when we hit bad weather, I learned that I’m not a sailor!
Everything in life has a good side and a bad, positive and negative. It’s life, the duality. How else would we appreciate the good, if we didn’t experience the bad?
The bad in this case is that we aren’t going to Cuba on a sailboat. Our lovingly planned trip isn’t happening. It’s a disappointment.
The good side is………….
When you are on the water, you meet lots of people of all ages and backgrounds. Boating people are generally very friendly, hospitable and generous. I think the transient nature of boating makes us become more open, stick together and support each other.
We help each other tie up as a new boat approaches the dock at a marina, provide a lending hand if there is a problem and easily sit together over dinner and a glass of wine.
In the course of this, you learn quite a bit about people. You learn their stories, their struggles and their triumphs. You learn about their lives.
What I learned was the almost infinite variety of life-styles that exist on this planet.
As good citizens of western culture, we grow up participating in the norm. We get educated, work at an accepted job, live in an acceptable home and generally follow the cultural “dream”.
We are conditioned to believe that is the right and only way to live. We don’t have another yardstick by which to measure. We believe that this is life and we strive toward it, often at the expense of ourselves….getting stressed out and worn out in the process.
It’s a case of “you don’t know what you don’t know”.
I didn’t know there was another way for a long time. I grew up in a middle class household. My father grew his business into success and my mother stayed home. All the people around us had similar lives. Discussions revolved around our expectations for this life and what we kids would become when we grew up.
We didn’t know people who went against the norm, who lived on boats, climbed mountains, traveled on a shoestring or chose to live with very few possessions, because they recognized what was important to them. Someone in the course of their lives gave them permission to do it differently or they had the calling and courage within to go against the cultural pattern.
Being an observer and a voracious reader, I learned that life can be done differently. It’s easy to see when we look at the lives of other cultures. Within those cultures we find the rebellious, the brave, the different. If we aren’t exposed to other options, we can learn by trial and error, as I did on our sailing trip.
It was an adventure explored. The good far outweighed the bad.
My point is: This is your life! No one else can live it for you, you don’t need approval from anyone. It takes courage to contemplate what you might like outside of the box that was set up for you. Being constantly stressed out with what you are doing might be a good indicator to re-examine things.
Socrates said: “The unexamined life isn’t worth living”
It’s about feeling happy. When you feel good, you have more to give. A depleted soul has nothing to give.
Someone in one of my workshops mentioned feeling guilty when she did things for herself.
This is not about selfishness. Everything worth having needs to be nurtured. Especially the Self!
Ask yourself….how do you feel when you constantly neglect yourself and only look to please others? You neglect your body, mind and soul. Your body will get sick, because you don’t care for it properly. Your mind will be exhausted and frazzled by others’ demands, because you don’t know your limits. Your soul will feel no peace, because you are dismissing the very essence of yourself.
Whatever your philosophy, there are a few immutable truths in life:
- What we regret most at the end of our lives are the things we didn’t do.
- The degree of understanding and compassion you have for others is in direct relationship to how you treat yourself.
- Quality friendships and relationships keep us happier and healthier in the long run.
So, go out and do what lights you up, excites you and invigorates you. Do it with others who are supportive of your life-style and show your appreciation and support in return.