There are two trains of thought, one of who we are, and one of who we become. I think that I’m a little of both, but always in the steady grip of learning, to reach beyond my current capabilities. I’ve done the work of overcoming fear and limits, getting present to the nuances that takes years to understand the reasons, the meanings, the importance of each moment and guests that comes into my life. This is an Apprenticeship, an ongoing journey.
Although I have been singlehanded sailing for a mere four decades, been offshore for hundreds of miles, made a crossing of the Pacific Ocean, I am still in awe of stories of adventure that unfold along the way. It always seems that, when meeting other sailors, that they have done far more than I, humbling my history. But, this is the nature of becoming, realizing that thousands of sailors before me have done great things, many surviving to tell and share their stories, and some that have not.
The want of exploring is one facet of the curious mind. It is part of our DNA, to want to see what’s over the hill, what’s beyond the horizon. That’s the way it has always been with me from childhood to my present age of my mid seventies. Great books of inspiration, maps and charts, pictures of heroes, museums, and just being out with Nature has been my way of learning. It has been a life full of questions, and finding the answers that has developed my insatiable wish to understand who I am, and what I have become.
There was a time at some point that when searching for the reasons, a direction, a path, that I simply, through studying great philosophers and various ways of thinking, stopped. I stood still and just let life, my life, swim by like trickling stream, and blow by like a warm wind in the Spring. When I stopped all of the rush, the mayhem, life simply altered in a way that really didn’t surprise me. I stopped making plans, stopped my expectations of what I thought should be, and changed my way of thinking.
Instead of my making plans, I let life start coming to me, letting the adventures find me for the waiting. I found that in the spontaneous world, life seemed far more enjoyable, and finally understood why. It was all and adventure unfolding, the start and ongoing apprenticeship of life itself. It was the listening, the watching, letting my passion for sailing take over, to take the lead, and let me move forward.
This is where there was an understanding of who I was, as said, a student of adventure, greeting obstacles as gifts, withstanding the flurry of frustrations, and the fatigue of relentless challenges, and enduring heartache. Growing up on Struggle Street, I learned to persevere, move with tenacious lust for patience, and letting the gifts of life experiences add to my apprenticeship.
So, as in any form, an apprentice at some point becomes a Master. I can truly say that this recognition will never be mine. Even though I can manage my sailing techniques and hone my skills, I will never know it all. I will find myself wanting the title of Master, yet maybe some day I will accept that and rest. Until then, I will continue to learn, I will continue to make mistakes, I will continue to live with a smile.