Sunday, August 24, 2008

7/15 向左走,向右走 (To the Left, To the Right)









“Left or right?” is the most interesting question in front of me right now.

Previously, I didn't think I had a choice. This little boat was huge to me. This new relationship was an unfamiliar ground that needed exploring. I had much to learn and many challenges to overcome. I was busy making sense of a new situation. Just like someone who had just learned to swim, I was working hard just to get my head above water, taking a breath whenever I could.

Once I reached the point where I could make choices, I could finally begin to hear my own true voice. That's when I discovered I had a new skill that I needed to learn.

Do I want to stay another day or move on a little further? Which route do I want to take to enter the anchorage? When the wind is just right, do we keep going past our original stopping point to the next anchorage? Or do we call it a day, and at the same time, “Waste some wind”? These decisions can be large or small, but they all point to straight to the core: What type of life do I want to have? Did I pay attention to my needs today? Given this situation, what does my body need? What does my heart need?

Later on I realized that I have had choices all along. I do want to learn new things, but I can choose the speed of my learning. When I am scared, I can ask request to start the engine. When I am uncertain, I can insist on taking the safest route. When I am tired, I can choose to stay at an anchorage an exta day. Actually, it's my own competitiveness and desire to stand “undefeated” that made me feel as if I had no choice.

I cannot choose whether the wind is strong or weak, but I can decide how far to sail in a day, or whether to continue sailing at all. When we are still at a distance from the nearest anchorage, I can ask Rob to exchange shifts with me and take some time to rest. If I give myself time to prepare, I don't have to push myself past my limits.

As I begin to see the choices I need to make for myself, I've become clearer about my past patterns of facing challenges and meeting my emotions. I've begun to tune into my actual inner voice and to become aware of my deeper feelings and needs. Regardless of which direction I choose, I hope that I am no longer driven to make my choices out of competitiveness or a desire to prove something, and instead take my direction from actual inner needs.