Surrounded by royal blue water extending beyond the horizon in all directions, no land in sight, I gaze at the path of diamonds dancing on the ocean’s surface. The sun radiating on my skin feels like a warm cashmere sweater. It is August 19, 1998, and I am on my first ocean passage of a life-transforming journey, a journey leading to a more authentic and purposeful life.
My journey to living a more authentic and purposeful life began in Seattle, Washington, where I lived with my husband, John. Unfulfilled with our lifestyle of working full time, coming home tired, and crashing in front of the TV with little energy left to pursue our passions, our souls cried out, There must be more to life!
Craving more adventure and fulfillment, we began taking sailing lessons, an activity we both felt passionate about. Spending time on the ocean enlivened our spirits, causing us to dream and see that there were other possibilities for living. As our interest in sailing grew, we read magazines and books about it. Stories about couples, who cruised around the world, slowing down to take time out from their modern lifestyles, inspired us. One book in particular, Maiden Voyage, by Tania Aebi, described her adventures at the age of eighteen as the first American woman and youngest person to circumnavigate the world. Discussions ensued. If these people could do it, why couldn’t we?
We began looking into options. One was crewing boats. For a minimal amount of money, we could crew on someone else’s boat and gain valuable experience while also traveling. As crew, we would share the responsibilities of navigating, helming the boat on scheduled watches, cleaning, and cooking meals. After applying for a couple of positions, we decided on a forty-six-foot sailboat in the process of circumnavigating the world. We would join it on its second leg, cruising from Fiji to Singapore for a six-month period, visiting the countries of Vanuatu, Australia, and Indonesia along the way.
After renting out our house and taking a one-year leave of absence from our employment, we up-anchored and left Seattle on June 1, 1998. Before meeting the boat, we went on a road trip for three weeks, camping out as we explored several different states. Driving east on I-90 through the Cascade Mountains, the sky was bright blue and sunny, the pine needles on the evergreens glistened, and a feeling of summer was in the air. My heart felt lighter and lighter the farther we traveled from the hustle of civilization and our old life. Gratitude welled within me for our choice to live adventurously and break out of the confines of our own limiting beliefs about how life should be lived. At last, we were free to follow our hearts and begin anew.
Are you following your heart? Are you living the life of your dreams? In order to create the life of our dreams, we need to take time out to reflect on who we are and what makes us feel alive. Maybe you’re someone who loves to spend time outdoors, connect with others, play music, dance, or create art. As we each engage in what we love and allow our passions to be expressed, we become like instruments, vibrating beautiful music. Spirit is able to work through us, guiding our steps, showing us the tone, tempo, and keys to our music. The details of how to navigate the way to our dreams reveal themselves. We can then step effortlessly into them, sailing smoothly with calm seas, sunny skies, and fair winds. The process takes us where we want to be. The following are tools to assist you to connect more with your passion:
• Journal about when you feel passionate. What are you doing when passion is upon you? What makes you feel alive?
• What makes your heart sing? Make a list of a hundred things (people, places, experiences, and so on) that you love. For example: watching the sunset, sleeping under the stars, the color purple, thunder and lightening storms, hot fudge sundaes.
• List twenty-five things you want to experience, do have, or be that are truly important for you before you die. Name specific activities or events. For example, travel is not as clear as trek the Himalayas for three weeks.
• Write about your favorite childhood activities. Which ones are you currently engaged in? Which ones can you bring back into your life?
• Take time to meditate on what brings you joy. Imagine engaging in activities that cause you to feel joyful and alive. What are you doing? Notice how you feel. As you allow the feelings of joy, abundance and passion to emerge, anchor this vibrant energy into your body and then allow it to radiate from you.
When we follow our hearts and express our passions in every area of our lives, we give others permission to do the same. Our joy and contentment spill over, creating a ripple effect – like a rock tossed in a lake whose waves reach the other shore, our energy and vibrancy are far-reaching.