Call it what you will, bliss, contentment, excitement, enthusiasm, well-being, enchantment — happiness is a skill, a skill that needs to be trained and practiced daily. My mind and body training includes a daily ritual (beginning around 5:30 am) of gratitude prayer, stoic philosophy studies, meditation practice, workout training (running, hiking, biking, swimming and high intensity interval training) and learning something new every single day.
Self- experiment for the day – to pay very careful, non-judgmental attention to the contents of my consciousness in the present moment. To watch my mind – to bring my soul into harmony with itself, and not let my purpose be out of tune. Seneca wisdom Letters from a Stoic (Penguin Classics) Why all this mind watching? Because it’s a over-crowded zoo in there.
Through the Lens of Thought
What lens are you using? The way we see and think about things is the most powerful force that shapes our lives. Any impoverished thoughts that are brought into our perception are like poison for the brain. This would be thinking that is deprived of richness or strength; thoughts that are limited or depleted. Yeah, these thoughts have to go. Inspired by the wisdom of Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom
Biking Plantation Run & Coconut Muscle Mylk from COMO Parrot Cay
Rode the sweet four-mile palm-covered path to the fresh coconut plantation on Parrot Cay. Yes they grow their own and serve it up for breakfast daily.
Coconut Muscle Milk
This delicious drink speeds muscle recovery by reducing inflammation and replenishing electrolytes and nutrients with 1 banana, 1/2 cup young coconut water, 3 slices of coconut meat, a teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/2 cup of almond milk, handful of flax seeds, 3 dates and a few cocoa beans. Blend and replenish.
Have you thought about what pace feels right for you? At times I do have a need for speed and love the energy and creativity that feels supercharged in big cities like Manhattan. Right now, I feel the need to breath deeply, chill out and slow down to refocus. Not unplug, just down shift to first or maybe second gear.
Something clicked the minute I stepped off the plane at Providenciales. An assuring voice inside my head delivered a comforting message “a more intentional pace.” This slower island pace. Not the harried, brisk and hurried hustle of New York, but the more deliberate and intentional easiness, much like the gentle movement of the waves and soothing breezes of this island. I am not describing a snail-like, creeping, lazy/boozy pace, but that of speaking, thinking, walking and working which is more conscious, considered and purposed. More thoughtful living. This is the pace for now.
And so it goes with meals, especially meals together. My memories of my youth bring me back to four hour dinners around the long outdoor communal table, under the grapevines, with my loud and excited extended Italian family. The never-ending conversations, the slow and relaxed experience of enjoying a meal together.
The Art of Slow and Mindful Eating begins with an intention to create an experience. Setting the mood, dimming the lights, selecting soft and slower music and smaller plates, create an atmosphere for mindful eating. Imagine setting a stage to enjoy and savor your meal. This mindful eating ritual can be extended to any meal – from breakfast to dinner. For more tips on mindful eating, check out Dara Rose, PhD, neuroscientist, foodist, author and the creator of Summer Tomato.
I start my meals by saying grace. Sometimes privately, sometimes with my family. Saying grace can transform a mere meal into an act of celebration, focus, and gratitude.
Listening to meditation talks from Tara Brach, I actually envisioned what she describes as “A Sky Like Mind“, a more expansive mind that allows me to open to the very healing, healthy and beautiful moment that is right now, this healing presence. Tara’s podcasts and book, Radical Acceptance has really helped release the fear, worry and pain that stems from the mental swirl of anxious activity, the grasping and wanting that only proves to enslave my mind.
It is by meeting each moment throughout the day with radical acceptance for what ever is going on and holding those feelings that arise with a compassionate and open heart, a forgiving heart, this is feels like true freedom.
With everything moving at a slower pace this week, I had the opportunity to try Pilates class for the first time. One of the slowest classes I have attended in a long time, a slight pick up from yoga, nothing about the Pilates Method is haphazard. The reason you need to concentrate so thoroughly is so you can be in control of every aspect of every moment. The one reminder that I have walked away with today is Active Abs and focusing on my posture, especially when sitting at my desk for hours at end. Two exercises to help you feel your abdominal muscles correctly.
On this amazing journey of becoming all that we are to be, we need to be reminded of the power that we have to shape our own lives. We are never stuck in any one place. We have choices and we have options. We can choose to make where we are better or we can move to a place that calls us. This is true freedom. Not sure which path to take? Start by being curious about life. What sparks your interest?
So, just how do we stay curious?Well, I have been experimenting with the idea of trying to see everything in front of me from a new perspective, with a fresh pair of eyes. Each morning as I set on my regular workout routine, whether that be a bike, a hike or a run in the same small town that I live in, I force myself to be curious, to find something interesting to photograph and post to Instagram, to see my surroundings in a brand new light. This active curiosity process helps me stay creative and closer to the divine spirit of life.
Our family has been sailing for most of our lives and my my husband continuously shares his story of having been tied to the mast at the tender age of six. We were born to do this.
We’ve taken our four daughters on extended bareboat cruises, living aboard Love Light our 28′ Pearson Triton (1960 hull #133). We’ve sailed from Lattington, NY to Martha’s Vineyard and almost every port in-between. We’ve shredded sails in high winds and broken booms while jibbing into Mattituck inlet.
Our three week sailing adventure cruise in the Carribean included the six of us with visits to 18 islands in 20 days with Conch Charters
Now we’ve decided to trade up and onward for a bigger boat as we plan our sailing adventures. We are going to begin our search for the ideal boat at the Annapolis Boat Show October 8-12 2015 and signing up for a refresher on coastal navigation 2015 Fall Cruisers University.
Sailing through My Fears and Building Confidence through Skills
The biggest challenge I have with this whole crazy dream is that I’m just not that confident of a sailor. To be absolutely honest, I’m terrified. So I will build my confidence by building my skills. It doesn’t guarantee that we will be free from disaster, but who ever said there are any guarantees about anything?
Inspiration – We’re not growing any younger and we are not waiting any longer. The only way to live is by accepting each minute as an unrepeatable miracle.
Blue Water Sailing – things I must learn how to do
First remember ‘Attitude makes the difference between an ordeal and adventure’. A daily reading from Seneca has helped build a more stoic attitude.
Emergency skills – practice man overboard skills, CPR and basic first aid.
We’ve decided I will be the nativgator, so researching and mastering all new technology to help guide us safely through our sailing adventures is essential.
Trust my intuition – a daily practice of meditation helps with this. I’ve been practicing five minutes of listening to the answers to two questions that I ask myself – What must I know? and What must I do?
Meet and connect with other sailors and cruisers while listening and learning from their real life experiences.
Learn how to make the best decisions while avoiding unnecessary drama and learning how to calmly ride out storms. #lifeskills
Manage power consumption while having all the ‘go-slow’ stuff like watermaker, solar panels and a wind generator.
Keep all boat systems as basic as possible because our resources are finite.
Learn how to fix almost all the things that can break. Note to self: buy some Sugru.
Have a good nest egg of capital to draw from for when the big things break down or wear out – which they will.
I will be building a links page to helpful sailing and cruising websites, blogs, media and communities including Cruising Compass along with books I may purchase, like –