Today was a nautically themed teaching day. I love using sailing analogies in my teaching, and never more than with a sailing student; things drop into place so easily.
Today my experienced sailor student and I were talking about the difference between being in a ‘right position’ versus looking for what she beautifully phrased as, “Sensing the innate sense of balance within”. She then told me how she had seen it during the last few day's enquiry. She told me almost the same story as my son had told me the night before (which was weird!) about helming (steering) on a long passage in big seas with the wind coming from behind. In this situation the boat’s bow (pointy bit at the front!) tends to wander left and right as the seas ride up from behind, flow underneath and disappear away in front; most often moving faster than the boat herself. She was remembering a time when she had helmed through the night, holding the tiller tightly to try and stop this swinging off course, and for sailors who know what I mean, to ‘prevent a crash gybe’*...that most especially! When she came off watch, she went below to rest and found she had a most painful and stiff shoulder from holding her arm so tightly to stop the boat’s swinging movements. (* see later.)
In the morning she went on deck to find her husband in the cockpit, but with no hand on the tiller! The boat however was going along nicely. She questioned him and he said he had been experimenting during his watch. He found the boat would naturally right herself back on course after each swing and he had to do far less than he thought he had to. When my student tried helming again with just a light hand on the tiller, she found the same; her hand was now more in ‘listening and sensing mode’ than ‘assuming all would be lost mode’. She found herself simply resisting too much movement if it occurred, and then releasing any
demand or effort on the tiller the moment the boat began to bring herself back on course a few moments later. Then it might go the other way, but my student would allow the same thing to happen. The swing would lessen and she was spared the rigid arm and sore shoulder. She then felt such a one-ness with herself, the boat, the sea, and the wind.
|My son helming in big 'following seas' in the Pacific.|
|All so close to going very wrong....!|
We also enjoyed acknowledging the fact that all boats seem to have a preferred ‘tack’ - some boats sail better with the wind coming from the port side, and some from the starboard side.... Some boats handle rough water well and some don’t. Some are ocean going and some are coastal. That’s just how they are; they all look like boats, but different shape boats are for different waters. All boats look as if their two sides are the same, but they are only ever similar; nothing can ever be 100% symetrical. Like you and me? I reckon so! So which is your preferred tack? Do you ‘favour’ a side - left handed? Lead with the right leg? Do you prefer coastal sailing (calm living) or ocean racing (the cut and thrust of adrenaline living). And can you let all this be and not fight it? Instead let your particular vessel be free to flow? To point your nose to the sea ahead, set a course, and just go?
We had such fun playing with sailing analogies and reckon we could write a book; there are so many more! But basically how about this with which to finish the blog - trust your balance, set your sails well, be gentle on your wheel/tiller - and listen and learn from your very wise vessel - your body.... YOU!