Saturday afternoon slowly melted into Saturday night at Little Jerusalem as I enjoyed another few beatings at our chess gathering. There were three of us today. The start of the hurricane season drains the cruisers away and I am left outclassed by the remaining enthusiasts. However, the benefit from playing against better players means I get to improve so much faster.
My improvement is noticeable; I get to lose with more dignity and style than when I first started. The season would soon be over and I could possibly upgrade my game ready for the next one. More likely, I will forget about it and resume at a lower level next season.
I ferried Mike back to Quinn since he had got a ride in with Gordon who was out in Marigot Bay. I accepted the invitation for a cup of tea. I had drunk too much Presidente and not eaten enough food so was feeling a bit light headed with a hint of nausea but it was pleasant sitting out on the lagoon just chatting.
“You’re not really into sailing are you?” says Mike. That came as a bit of a shock and my old reactions to criticism came to the surface and started to feel justification come up.
He had a point. I’ve been here three months and not left the mooring. It’s not something I’d thought about apart from there is no rush and that Glee needs so much work. I had a lot of defensive comments surfacing but none of them were justified. “What are you going to do?” asked Mike. I was stuck for an answer and floundered for something plausible. It was a good question but it wasn’t all about me. Mike gave accounts of his vast experience and still claims he knows “damn shit” about anything. I guess he was giving me encouragement by easing any fear I might have about single handing for the first time but I was still defensively dredging for my own excuse in order to let me off the hook in the conversation. I felt exposed and didn’t like that feeling.
Nothing had been resolved by the time I climbed back in the Dinghy to return to Glee.
I ran through our little psychotherapy session in my bunk while going to sleep. Maybe I would take Glee out before I leave for the UK was pretty much the thought I’d settled on before drifting off into a lager and tea assisted sleep.
The next morning I awoke with sailing on my mind and all the preparation that was involved. I needed a good tidy up and to remove the awning, and to resign myself that I would be without navigation instruments. That should be OK within sight of the island. Time was an issue because I was due to join Cattitude in a few days and I needed to secure Glee for the hurricane season. I was over-thinking again…
Greg, on Providence, had told me a few weeks before that too much use of computers and the internet affect our brains: we become fragmented, distracted and we lose our focus. Thinking about it, he seems to be right. This was what was happening to me. His comment helped resume my morning meditations, a version of running a disk clean and defrag on myself. Cutting down online time would help but that will happen anyway when the Atlantic crossing commences.
After a twenty minute meditation I received a sobering revelation; something I had learned in the past couple of weeks but had forgotten. “The only purpose in life is to feel good.”
Do I feel good? Yes, at least until last night’s conversation.
Do I need to go for a sail? No, everything I want right now is right here.
What would the others think if I never took Glee out? Who cares, all the matters is that I feel good.
Will I ever sail with Glee? Dunno, probably – in my own time.
I had been beginning to get drawn into old thinking habits that maybe I would feel like failure and I wouldn’t look good if I didn’t take Glee out before I leave on Cattitude. It doesn’t matter, I feel good right now and that’s all that matters. It’s possible that I may not sail at all but I doubt it, and it doesn’t matter. I just do what keeps me feeling good: reading, hiking in the hills, being in touch with my friends. Whatever my relationship with Glee, nothing is lacking. I’m doing the same things here now as when I was best happy on the canals back in the UK but with better weather, worse beer and different scenery. The next chapter in my life does not depend on whether or not Glee leaves the mooring. It’s about, how I feel and the actions that spawn out of that.
How did I feel now? Where there had been a feeling of pressure to take down the awning and tidy up ready for sailing, there was nothing but an easy contentment and I happily set about those tasks without intending to sail but because it felt good to just do it for its own sake without any other justification.
The next chapter in life will be written in its own time. Pushing the pen faster only increases the resistance and detracts from the flow.
Gripping the brush harder spoils the painting. Our lives are our art and we are both its creator and observer.
Create your life for yourself, not for others; they have their own life to deal with and dealing with one life at a time is enough for anybody…