Colleen M. Doumeng
"Ships are safe in port but that is not what they are built for.."
Now that we have moved out to the north fork of long island we are experiencing wonderful lazy days exploring the beautiful creeks and bays all along the fork - Mattituck - Cutchogue - Peconic bays to name a few. Last weekend we were invited to join our friends on their new sailboat for it's maiden voyage. I have to admit that each time I step off a dock and into a boat I immediately experience pangs of fear. I have no idea where this thought and these intense feelings come from because I have never had a bad experience on a boat. Ok, maybe one several years ago when I left Martha's Vineyard on a speed boat ferry. Boarding we learned that what was suppose to be an hour journey to Rhode Island was going to be a three hour journey (turned out to be six hours) and the seas were going to be rough. I joined most of the passengers vomiting and waiting with intense "anxiety" to use the bathrooms. Could be that – who knows. Fortunately, this time, my meditation practice helped me to quickly let the fear go. I was able to observe the thought, witness it, acknowledge it and let it go as I stepped on board.
As we set sail from Narrow River Marina in Orient I found myself awe struck at the magic of the moments unfolding. The scenery was breathtaking. My senses were on overload as I experienced the beauty of my surroundings and the presence of my husband sitting beside me. A year ago this month my hero, Rene, was confined to a bed rehabilitating from a traumatic injury and facing his 14th surgery. Now he was seated by my side helping to steer. I found myself literally fighting back tears as "waves" of gratitude poured over me. I closed my eyes to connect more deeply to the present moment and started to meditate as the "captain" struggled with an engine that kept stalling. I shifted my awareness to my breath paying no attention to his predicament - I was simply a passenger. I surrendered to following my breath moving in and out – in and out - centering myself – breathing in the preciousness of these sacred present moments. I felt deeply connected to nature - deeply connected to mySELF, deeply connected to my husband and these two dear friends. I wondered if everyone thinks this deep on a sailboat on a Sunday afternoon! Then one of Wayne Dyer’s teachings revealed itself to me. He often quoted the amazing poet, Mary Oliver ~
Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.
And so it is in these unexpected magical moments where I am paying attention, being astonished that I find myself more in love with life. On that sailboat, stepping over and in, feeling uncomfortable but willing to let go, I more importantly found myself connecting to my Source. I became “inspired” – “in-Spirit”.
People ask me how do you know if you are connected to your Source and is there one really? For me the answer is simple. Yes I have found "it". Whenever I find myself in moments where I experience profound gratitude, a sense of peace, when I am able to let go of judgment, when I see can see the beauty in everyone and everything, experience creativity, intuition, clarity, grace - when I extend kindness or serve by asking what can I do rather then what is in it for me – these are some of the ways that I know that I am connected to something much bigger than my small self. And that Source is always with me whether I am paying attention or not.
In closing this experience reminded me of another quote that comes to mind whenever I see a boat -
"Ships are safe in port but that is not what they are built for"
This powerful quote serves to remind me not be to so afraid to take a risk, to live a life of adventure and try new things. Ships, boats and ferries are built with a purpose - to bring us from one point to another so we can explore new areas - create new experiences - their not designed to be tethered to a port - being safe -which is why I stepped into that sailboat last week. I choose to expand.
This summer I hope you cast off - sail -seek new adventures - challenge yourself trusting that we may very well encounter rough seas and storms but if you trust the decision that you made and chose your ship, your boat, your "companion" wisely, you will be able to make it through all those obstacles. And while you are on your adventure I hope that you too pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.
Sending you peace from the north fork of beautiful Long Island New York.