Posts Tagged ‘courage’

Grace across the ocean

A young, 22-year-old woman named Katie, cruised into the Guyana port of Georgetown yesterday to become the youngest person to cross the Atlantic alone.  It took her 70 days, 5 hours and 22 minutes to cross from Dakar, Senegal to Georgetown, raising over $70k for a worldwide water project.  The full article is here, from the New York Times.

These kinds of stories always amaze me, the endurance and courage people have to take such adventures on, whether chosen or not.  I always wonder, how do they do it? Yet, something special stood out in Katie’s story, besides the obvious, she played “audio books on Zen meditation” on her iPod while out there.  Immediately intriguing to me.  What a great reminder of being aware, of being present.  Someone must have asked her how she did it and this was her reply, “For this journey I really couldn’t think that far in advance because otherwise it would be overwhelming,” Spotz said. “It allowed me to focus on what was happening in that moment.”

How appropriate that when faced with the must have been overwhelming at times- a wide, endless ocean, she came back to the present, the moment happening now. When faced with adversity, or unimaginable trials, I believe that we raise our awareness to what is necessary only in the moment.  That living through that breath, that moment, that day, or that night is all we can do.  But instead of becoming a hurdle to get through, a presence overtakes us and we find ourselves truly present in the moment.  In 2008, I went through a major health experience with many detours and a month-long stay in the hospital.  After returning home, I found myself changed, calmer, relaxed – in a sublime state of being.  I was present but not attached or affected to any of the daily worries of life.

That’s why when Katie writes in one of her last blog posts about her 400 mile extension (so as to avoid the rough entry waters into French Guiana), “I’m so glad I extended the journey 400 miles, as a part of me is holding on dearly to the simplicity of the sea”, I instantly understood.  Out there, alone, there was no worry about paying bills, co-worker dramas (the bird with a broken wing that lands on her boat not counting), politics, American Idol debate, etc..  To take such a task on is to focus on it only, but to be present as well, simple, easy-ok, not so easy, but pure.

Katie Spotz is literally “grace in the palm of her hand” as she rowed 2,817 miles across the ocean, setting a record, yes, but as she states: “I’ve also learned a thing or two about being patient, open, accepting… the list goes on.”

Sometimes, the journey is in miles and sometimes it’s in time taken, but always, it’s in the journey discovered within.


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