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Poems, Stories & Stuff

Short Stories...
The Patient
A Perfect Life
Midnight at Captain Tom's
The Shark Man
Setting Free the Moth

Poems...
A Warrior's Heart
I'll Remember Love
These Things I Pray
My Miracles
Differences
Raison D'Ítre

Prose...
Sailing Through Life
What's Become Apparent
The Wrong Wish

Sailing Through Life
by Pat McDonald
© Pat McDonald 2006
all rights reserved

Sailing across an ocean requires one to stay very focused on the present moment. You have to watch the compass, steer the boat and trim the sails. You also have to be in tune with the ocean and the wind. You have to sense when the storm is coming so you can be prepared and you have to have a "feel for the wind" to allow you to trim the sails properly. To sail well, you must be very much in the Here and Now.

When a bad storm arises, it is futile to become depressed or angry. It doesn't help to ignore the difficulty or pretend it's not really as bad as it appears. The only way to handle the storm effectively is to immediately take appropriate action and the only way to do that is to be fully aware and focused on the present.

Love the Moment
Your ability to be in the present is directly proportional to your ability to accept what each moment has to offer. The highest form of acceptance is Love. Therefore, to be completely "in the Now" you must love each moment completely.

This is not to say that you have to stand lovingly by while the storm rips your boat to shreds. Rather you must leap into joyful action, fully appreciating the energy being thrown your way. If you face a storm with love instead of dread, you will emerge strong, confident and less fearful of future storms.

Destinations
To sail aimlessly can be a very rewarding experience. You are free to go where the wind takes you and this can lead to marvelous surprises. It can also lead to danger and distress. To choose aimlessness, you must be truly willing to accept whatever comes your way. Most of us are not ready for this kind of Universal Spontaneity and so we try to plot a course toward a specific destination.

A sailor or navigator would never arrive at his destination however, if he were to spend all his time looking at the chart. True, he must periodically check his position in relation to his chosen destination, but then he has to return to the present-time activity of sailing his craft. As the Zen saying goes: "He who always has one eye on the destination, has only one eye for the path."

When you are lost or disoriented, then it is a good time to check your position, get a sighting on your destination and adjust your course. But then you should immediately return to being fully focused on the present. Get up in the morning; check the chart. Lunch break; check the chart. Before you go below for the night; check the chart. All other times, sail the boat in joyful, loving, present-moment awareness.

Enjoy the Journey
There is a space between actions. A moment between reefing the sails and adjusting your heading. Take those moments to breath deep and center yourself in the present. Then, ask yourself "What do I want to do now?" An answer will come to you immediately. Show your gratitude to Life by fully loving the task it gives you and doing it joyfully. Doing this, you will arrive where you were headed, but more importantly you will have enjoyed your journey.