Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Jan 27 – Happy Birthday, Dixie!! We have been to Punta de Mita and back since I last wrote, so Merle had some time in the surf, which was great for him. The adrenalin makes him feel alive, and he likes the action – it keeps him very present and focused on what he is doing; letting your mind wander is not an option when there are rocks just underneath the rushing water on which you are precariously balanced as you rocket forward on the edge of the green water with foam piling up behind you, chasing you to the boulder garden beach. He loves it. That crazy guy! On our return leg to La Cruz, we saw the best whale show of the year! We were sailing along, and I was manifesting for a whale tail photograph, and Merle said, ‘The only thing that would make this better would be to have a whale jump right over the boat.’ And within a few minutes, a whale shot up out of the water, did a pirouette, and landed in a gigantic splashdown just off the bow of the boat, heading towards us. And then, he did the same rocket take-off out of the water, and splashed down next to our boat. We felt his landing before we could hear it; it felt like the thunder of a monstrous drum on our boat. We watched this spectacular stunt 6 times in a row; it was incredible! We were in awe for the rest of the journey. When we returned, Matero and Shandro drew pictures of what we saw. So, Matero’s first picture of a whale shows the whale sticking straight up out of the water, with his black back and light tummy, his great fin and the hole on his head. Shandro’s picture was very similar. Definitely not the ‘normal’ first impressions of a whale, and certainly more magical than I could have ever hoped! It was amazing.
On Saturday, we sailed our last sailing race. There were quite a few boats in this race – maybe a dozen or so. And about halfway through the race, the wind died! So there we were, sitting in irons for a while, unable to move! It was kind of funny actually. And Merle had an epiphany while we were there. He realized that the racing is a game just like life. And you can sail in any direction you want, and you can make your hands bleed or not, and the decisions that you make along the way, the goal posts you set for yourself and the finish line are all arbitrary decisions. And what is winning anyway? Is it crossing the (arbitrary) finish line first? Or is it having fun along the way? The racing has actually been very good for us, because it is easy to say, in the midst of chaos, ‘it’s just a game!’ and it really is. I think life is the same. If I have the presence of mind to look up in the midst of chaos and see that it’s just a game, that delights me! It is getting easier to do that. And Merle can see that too, which is so wonderful!
So in the middle of the race, I looked up and I could see an orb on the front of our boat. It was beautiful and green, just hanging there between the jib and the mast, about 4 feet off the deck, and just under 1.5 feet in diameter – amazing! And just after that, as we followed one of our competitors into the bay and directly towards the finish line, I looked down at our electronic GPS screen, and I could ‘see’ that there was no wind ahead of us in the direction we were sailing. (The screen does not show the wind, but my intuition about it was so strong that I sensed where there was wind and where there was none, and I saw it in my mind’s eye, but it seemed like I could see it on the screen.) So I said we should turn right and sail out into the middle of the bay, away from the finish line which we did. The wind picked up right away, and we were off on a new tack. This allowed us to sail quickly, and we ended up finishing in the allotted time, ahead of some of our competitors for sure, tho we were not sure how many at that time. When we crossed the finish line, we celebrated as if we had won, although we had no idea if we had won or lost. And we told the boys, it doesn’t matter if you win or lose – it just matters how you play the game. We had a big family cheers and told the boys we had a great race. On Monday, we laughed as we listened to the local ‘net’ on the radio and found out that we had not only won the race but also the series! We thought it was pretty funny actually, as we were racing with people here who have been racing here in the bay for many years. Hmmm, I still need some work on taming the old ego.
Watching the dogs for Love Song was nice. I loved running with them on the beach. I forgot how much I loved running with Chilko until I started to run with Dallas and Dulce. It’s a magical time, running with your dog, somehow.
Today, we met the family aboard Totem. They are Behan (pronounced BeeAnn) and Jamie, their son Niall age 9, and their daughters Mairen 6 and Chibhon (pronounced Shivon), age 4. The boys loved having new friends to play with – and girls to boot! They are great people with an open ended schedule and only a few foggy plans. It’s always refreshing to meet people on the same path to nowhere as us! It is so flexible! And so adaptable. And when the spirit moves us, we move too. It is a good way because it teaches you to listen to your heart rather than the calendar or the clock or the schedule. It’s better. It allows for serendipity and co-operative incidences.
We were talking about home schooling today a bit. The sailing community is an interesting and lovely community to belong to for many reasons including the children. While home schooling (HS) is looked on with suspicion by many land based people, HS is the only way for those living aboard their sailboats. It is understood that if you have children, you are home schooling. And the entire sailing community supports and loves that! Typically, HS is done in the morning, so the kids can play in the afternoon. And the schooling is flexible so the kids can learn about their environment – the plants and animals and the cultures and languages – and anything else that interests them can easily be incorporated into the lessons. Because it is one-on-one learning and teaching, they learn quickly so less time needs to be spent ‘in school’. And they get the social skills here because there are indeed other kids in the sailing community. As well, they spend time with people of all ages (rather than trapping them in school amidst only their age group) which further facilitates their ability to communicate and get along with others. We do fieldtrips and outings and there is just plain old beach time or play time too. I am so grateful to be part of such a supportive and loving community in this regard. And it is flexible and open-minded too, so our lessons on dowsing and rock moving, and our attempts at meditating with our children are supported rather than frowned upon.
I was just saying to Merle this evening that I feel very comfortable in this community – very supported by a positive and willing network of people, very much like the ‘tribe’ at home. In fact, I feel much more connected to this group of people living on their boats – our physical neighbors – than I ever felt in our own neighborhood. There were people living only 4 or 5 houses away that I never once spoke to, and would recognize only by the car they drove. I think the morning ‘net’ has something to do with this. Did I mention the net before? In the morning at 8:30 Monday to Saturday on channel 22, someone comes on the radio and directs a net. This net asks all cruisers to identify themselves by boat name and location. Then they proceed with categories including lost and found, treasures of the bilge offered or needed, boater’s assistance needed or offered, announcements including various concerts, parties, and events, tides, weather, crew needed or offered, arrivals and departures, etc. In short, it is a very helpful transmission that connects people to other people, helps with solving problems and fixing things, helps with finding things needed in the area, and offers up fun events for everyone to be part of. It is very positive, and it really promotes the well being of each individual as well as the group. It makes everyone feel as if they belong (which of course they do as we are all so connected), and puts people on an even playing field – this voice only communication that notes nothing of the size of boat you are sailing or the degrees behind your name. I would trade the news for this morning net in a heartbeat. I guess I have already. I don’t even know what is going on in the news these days. And it is better that way.
Must sleep. How am I going to meditate tonight without falling asleep??? We’ll see!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

January 17th, 2009. We are anchored in La Cruz, Mexico. We raced today. And last Saturday. But today we finished in the allotted time, and last Saturday, we did not finish as they announced the race ended at 4:30 and those who would not finish before that time were dnf. That drove Merle crazy. He is quite competitive. It is his nature. We did make some progress this week, other than actually placing. This time, Merle was really patient with me as we raced. I am helmsman and he is everything else. He does sails and sheets and minor adjustments and major sail changes like putting up and taking down a spinnaker, which is no small feat for one person! Most boats have teams for that sport! I just steer. Anyway, he spoke kindly to me and he remembered that it was all just a game. And I am so grateful. I wish I could say I did as well. But I didn’t. We had a mis-communication right at the end, and I could feel my ego wanting to be right, and I was unable to tell myself that it was more important to be kind than right. I tried, but I would not listen. It was aweful. I am always preaching that. And I couldn’t live it myself. I could feel my ego wanting to be mad, and I succumbed! I didn’t listen! I was shocked and disappointed at myself. I will try to remember, if I have the opportunity to be right or kind, always pick kind. Merle did way better than me today; today he was the winner and I was the loser. At least I know it, and I know how to fix it. I just have to work at it some more.
I was lying in the hammock tonight, absorbing all of the movement. The water is in constant motion, washing earth’s shores. One of the things that I absolutely love about living on our boat is that, every time the boat moves and causes me to shift my weight in some way to maintain balance, it reminds me that Mother Earth is alive under my feet. I am reminded of this beautiful truth every other moment. And yet, when my feet are on solid ground, I think of this perhaps every other day, if that. Why is that? Is my life so rushed on earth that I forget? Or is it that I do not spend enough time in nature? Or is it that I am so disconnected once ashore that I need that jostling to remind me of what is important in life? Indeed, once ashore, I know there are daily tasks that consume my life and distract me from the beauty and miracles that happen in nature every day. What is truly important? Is it the paperwork and filling out forms so we can function in this society? Or is it being able to get past that stuff so we can enjoy the real miracles that we step on and breath in and taste and touch every moment of every day? Yes, I think this. Yet, I know from being on land even now, that I become more disconnected than I am on the boat. The moment I step onboard after being ashore even for a day, I feel the sway of our little home as she rocks to the rhythm of the waves, and am instantly reminded of Gaia, alive and well all around me.
In the hammock, the water moves all around us. And the boat moves and rocks on the water. And looking up, the mast also moves across the sky in my line of sight as the boat sways back and forth. Or maybe it is the stars that are moving? And of course, with the sway of the boat, the hammock rocks itself, without any help from me. Although the rocking hammock does not exactly match the waves, nor the boat, we all rock together in perfect balance and harmony. And then every once in a long while, when the water and the boat and the swing of the hammock are just so, the hammock stops and is completely still for a few moments. That is a magical time of synchronicity that is very peaceful. It reminds me of when people and events come together in co-operative incidences. It seems like chaos getting there, and then all of a sudden there is this easy effortless moment when everything falls into place. It seems like when I am grateful, I notice things working out for me, and these moments happen more frequently. But when I choose to be sad or fearful ( or some version of yuckyness), those moments are rare, at best. I am trying to be more peaceful, and live more in the easy magic of synchronicity.
I am doing the course in miracles (TCIM) again. I started over. I just finished the ‘I am determined to see’ and ‘I am determined to see things differently’ lessons and am on the lesson ‘I can escape from the world I see by giving up attack thoughts.’ I loved doing TCIM with Kirsten. She is such an amazing woman, full of inspiration and love. She continues with the course, and I join them from afar in spirit. But it is different somehow than being there. Perhaps as I become more connected, it will not be so different. I wish I could find someone who would do it with me. I will, eventually.
I just started Real Magic by Wayne Dyer. It has prompted me to start meditating again. Now I am going to do just that. Good night!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

January 14th, 2009. Happy Belated Birthday, Kyra! I just finished reading Fatu-Hiva – a true story about two people who leave Norway to travel to the Marquais Islands to experience the abundance and balance of living in harmony with nature and all of her plants and animals. It was an amazing book for many reasons. And even though they experience a version of paradise, the end of the book finds them returning home to Norway after one year. The morning after I finished that book, Merle asked me if I wanted to return home to Canada this spring, after being away for one year. And I think I do. At least for a short while, until we set sail again for new horizons. Our little boat is excellent, but she is not ready for a long journey away from shore just yet. She needs a few things before we can feel safe taking her to places where parts cannot be found and water is not drinkable. So now we have only a few months left to accomplish some of the things we hoped to do on our journey. Funny how an end date – as vague as it is – affects how we think. I will meditate on it a bit, and so will Merle, before we finally decide whether it is to be north or south.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

January 7th – I gave my medical report about Matero’s crash to Justin to mail in Canada. Finally that is off my shoulders. What a burden it was! And now, I feel lighter! I am so grateful that he took it. Wonderful. It should reach them by Jan 27th. Far more likely than mailing it from here. Hopefully they will reimburse us the $9000-ish pesos as the insurance indicates!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

January 6th, 2009. Mother’s Day. Usually Mother’s Day is in May, but this year it is in January. Kathy and I departed Punta da Mida around noon for a night with the girls. We took the bus into Puerto Vallarta’s Marriott Hotel, where we met the other two girls in our party, Dantel and Mary, both friends of Kathy’s. The room was a gift from Kathy’s friend. What a great gift! And we are so lucky that Kathy shared it with us!!
The Mariott is a place of sculpted beauty, both inside and out. The gardens are trimmed and manicured. It seems like every flower is on purpose. The stream gurgles underfoot, and the coy look up to greet you as you pass. The palm trees hang overhead, as much for shade as for an added dimension around the turquoise pool. There are rows of white sun chairs, and stacks of snow white towels. The swim-up bar serves all kinds of exotic drinks garnished with flowers and fresh fruit. Posch and elegant. And abundance. Lots of water, lots of electricity, lots of money, and lots of waste.
I was struck by how man must manipulate his environment in order to enjoy it. I bet if you dropped a hotel patron into a natural tropical forest, he would balk and cry yuk at the insects and thick growth and rotting fruit, and he might fail to see the beautiful flowers and incredible balance of it all – just the right number of insects to pollinate, and just the right amount of fruit to feed the animals. But in this setting, man has chosen the things he loves, and left out the rest. Here there is not balance, but man is happy here in his dominant position of gardener, and even more removed, as hotel patron and observer. And we are unaware of the havoc we reek with nature in this fight for supremacy instead of living in nature and feeling gratitude for the balance. We are so removed from nature in this environment in some ways. And yet, here is the beauty of a single flower, and I can sit and enjoy it all afternoon, and find peace in that one blossom, and in my heart. And that is enough.
I bet no one at that hotel enjoyed the fresh water showers and baths as much as we did - us cruisers, who live aboard and conserve water by swimming in the ocean instead of showering. It was absolutely extravagant to stand under a hot shower for 5 minutes. Amazing. I loved it. And a bath – imagine?!! A hot soak in fresh water, and quiet. Pure decadence. And then, all swum and bathed and perfumed and combed and fancy, we descended on dinner. We chose a Mexican buffet. Now that might sound rough, but at the Marriott, it was divine. The whole room exuded five-star fresh. I ate things I had never even heard of before. Rare mushrooms that grow on rare cacti, seafood caught that morning and prepared especially for us. Exotic traditional salads, various stations where the chefs prepared foods fresh while you watched – fresh fish, guacamole, fahitas. Fresh vegetables, and meats prepared in various sauces and marinades. Everything displayed and served in its own special cup or glass or saucer or plate. They overlooked nothing – colors, textures and presentation were all addressed. And I am proud to say I tasted every single mouth watering dessert they had. Thank goodness they were small! I ate until I could not eat another bite. Like Merle says, you can’t get fat on what you can eat in one day. Then, we returned to our room, and I balanced the girls charkas as they lay on their feather beds and drifted in and out of sleep. Cool slippery dry white cotton sheets feel amazing on clean skin, especially if they are laid over feathers. What a perfect way to end the day!
I did not eat the next day. I did not need to. I just drank water. I enjoyed the minimalist approach the day following such a fat extravagant affair. Dantel and Mary walked me to the bus, and I was grateful for their company. I caught the bus to Sayulita, a new destination for me. I arrived there in the late afternoon to find my boys playing happily on the beach, and our boat moored competently in the bay, bow and stern anchored to meet the rise and fall of the swell head-on. It was good to be back. It felt normal to be walking on a beach with sand between my toes, slightly sticky and sweaty from the bus ride, messy hair, boys running happily to hug me, sand and water and all. Being a mom is really amazing after you have been away from your little ones for a day. I missed them as much as they missed me. And of course I returned smelling like a (coconut) rose for my husband. It’s good to return refreshed and revived. I am a better mom and wife after that for a while. Thanks, ladies - I had a great time!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

January 3rd. Justin arrived onboard Kenta Anae this evening! He said everything went like clockwork, and was amazing at how easily it flowed despite very little planning. Excellent. I think this is an indication that he is supposed to be here! He says Chilko is fine, and he brought us a beautiful calendar of Chilko pictures. It is awesome. We miss her, and love her, but we are so grateful that she has such a wonderful home with them. And we know she is happy, and well cared for (read: spoiled), and loved. And those are the most important things of all. The boys were terribly disappointed that Justin left Chilko at home.

Friday, January 2, 2009

January 2nd. Happy Birthday, Mom! I hope that you have a great day. I know that Dad is cooking a turkey for your birthday (that is so sweet!), and that you have friends coming for dinner. Donna and Ken I think? I with I could be there with you today to sing with you and hug you and make you smile a bit. I hope you still remember me when I see you again. You are so special to me, and I miss you terribly. I did talk to you a bit today, as we were in port and had a good internet connection, for the first time in a while. Good timing. I love you. I hope that you are awesome!
Make a snowball for us while you have snow! We will try to soak up some sunshine for you while we are here in Puerto Vallarta. It is hot here right now - about 30 degrees C or so, maybe hotter. You sweat just walking it is so hot. The boys are fine and will sing happy birthday to you later!
The Spanish lessons are going well. They are real-life lessons that we get when we attempt to talk to the local people here. It is an excellent experience. Shandro and Matero already integrate the Spanish language into their vocabulary. Matero asked me this morning for his zapatos, and it took me a few minutes to remember that zapatos means shoes!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

January 1st. We treated ourselves to a night at Marina Vallarta today. We washed the boat, charged up the batteries full charge, and I did some sewing while we were plugged in. Morgan and Wyatt came to play this evening while their folks had a break. A good trade from this afternoon, when Shandro and Matero went over there. Being in a marina feels very luxurious now, after being on the hook for so long!