How the flow finds your sailing ashram

How the Flow Facilitates Finding Your Sailing Ashram . . . . .

Please note: the names have been changed to shelter the innocent

In early June 1999, while driving home to Red Wing, MN, my spirit guides shockingly informed that 'we' need to get out of Minnesota. My reply: "WHAT !! . . . have never had so much fun with the Lake Harriet Spiritual Community, with clients, with The HEALthySELF Foundation, in my relationships . . . . . what's not to like."

Their reply "That's exactly the problem, everyone knows who you are, and you are 'oh so' happy in that identity. You're stuck in a cultural box that is stifling our growth, and we are a long way from ceasing to expand our horizons. Boxes are not nutrient incubators, let's get out of here."

I did not have a good argument. They were wright!! Come to think of it, my life had always taken major shifts every 7 years and now I had played for 14 years in Minnesota. After wrestling with the concept for a fortnight with much introspection it became obvious the place to expand would be to reclaim my childhood passion for sailing. After all, there is no place whilst at sea when 'letting go and letting God' is not a daily ritual.

I was blessed to have been born and raised in Newport Beach, California, virtually all of my sailing experience had been in racing boats, starting as a 4-year old in Sabot dinghies at the Balboa Island Yacht Club, then up through probably 34 different boats, all while racing up and down the west coast, Chesapeake Bay, Florida, Caribbean, Italy and Greece to 7 years on the Great Lakes with a Nelson Marek 45 which also got trucked down to Florida twice for campaigns in the SORC (Southern Ocean Racing Circuit).

When this here 8-year old was stressed out (frequently), I would push the dolly into the water, hang the sail and go sailing . . . the boat, the water, the wind were my ashram; one can never step off a dock and take their problems with them, sailing was (is) the one place I felt safe. Since my shamanic awakening, I am conscious of the wind being a primary information source from Spirit. Unconsciously, my 8-year old manifested this twisted behavior of the hairier the weather, the better I liked being out in it.

One of my favorites was when the hot 'Santana' winds would roar down the mountains making the 12-foot dinghy plane over the calm bay waters at breakneck speeds. Three broken masts later (wooden, spliced, glued back together) my father even tried to ground my sailing exploits. Once on a clear windy day while pissed at my parents, I decided to sail to Catalina Island in a 12-foot Snowbird. Down the bay, out the jetty and 4 miles while humming the then popular song "26 miles across the sea, Santa Catalina is the island for me". Gave a wave to a fishing boat coming back in, only to garner a visit by the Coast Guard an hour later; having been alerted as to my wayward ways. Got towed back to the harbor, saw my father standing on the Coast Guard dock. He never said a word, just shook his head and walked away as I sailed the boat back to my dolly on the beach.

I sold my last boat in 1984 upon moving to Canada to figure out how to dance as a shaman. Fast forward 15 years, the disappointment of giving up 'the good life' on Minnesota's land was offset by the enticement of being a lifelong witness to the power of experience whilst being alone with Mother Nature out of sight of land.

I began doing research as this would be the first cruising boat ever owned after 34 spartan thoroughbred race boats. I decided on an ultra-strong all-aluminum boat that would provide some safety in all environs as I began dreaming of sailing through the Northwest Passage among other quests. I began with some short trips around the Great Lakes, and to Palmer Johnson in Wisconsin, the premier maker of aluminum yachts to learn what to look out for. Finally decided to kick some tires in the boat rich environs around New Orleans in September 1999. While there I saw the ad offering for an aluminum boat for $124,500 in Florida. As the search for a strong aluminum boat was frustrating, I decided to head to Florida after contacting the broker to set up an appointment. Meandered east, stopping in ports along the Gulf Coast.

I met Gary Williams at his home in Palm Coast, Florida to look at the boat. It was moored at the dock in front of their canal home. There were similar boats, both sail and power, on almost every dock in sight. Eventually, I was to discover that all of these boats had to travel 3 to 4 hours north on the Intercoastal Waterway through the treacherous harbor mouth at St. Augustine to enjoy the open sea. To this day I do not understand why anyone would own a yacht that far away from the open sea, yet everyone in that enclave had a vessel tied to their dock like it was dictated by the condo rules !!

I pitched my tent a wee bit north, right on the beach in Anastasia State Park just south of St Augustine. Gary was out of town during my second inspection when two powerful indicators made themselves known. First, a neighbor walked over to tell me that Gary would never sell the boat as his wife, Jackie, was the real sailor. The boat had not moved since her passing 5 years earlier, yet virtually every night he brought a high ball drink out to the dock, climbed aboard, sat down in the cockpit and hoisted a toast to her.

Second, after the neighbor left when I inspecting the forward cabin and opened a locker to witness the U.S. Coast Guard Vessel Documentation Number indelibly drilled into an aluminum crossbeam. Some backstory required here: my foundational belief is that there are always forces guiding one through the day to day, if not the hour by hour, if one is only willing to listen and not let their ego get in the way . . . . . put in other words: "let go and let God". I call this force "the flow". Ever since childhood, one of the ways these forces have spoken to me is through Fibonacci numbers (see (1) below) even though I knew not of their origin at the time. In particular, 13 is a number that has always indicated the way forward and given me comfort. The number staring at me was 607823; with a heart-smile witnessing the sets of three, 607 adds up to be 13 and 823 likewise, which gave me a big heart-smile.

Even with the 'not to be denied' 13 and 13, by the third visit it was obvious to me, considering the condition of the boat versus the asking price that the flow guided me there, not as a buyer, but rather as the shaman on call to facilitate Gary moving on in his life. Subsequently, drove down three more times to join him for a highball in the cockpit and meander through discussions of life in general. Gary never inquired even once whether I was interested in buying the boat. He just seemed happy to have some company.

The flow said it was time to go as Anastasia State Park and the rangers informed us all that we had to vacate our camp sites which were reserved by a large organization coming in. I called the broker and informed him of what I had learned about Gary and his relationship with the boat. He encouraged me to make an offer, which I declined to do out for not wanting to embarrass Gary nor taint the discussions I had with him. The broker inquired as to where my bid would be; and I again declined, not wanting the number to get back to his client Gary. A day later, pulled up stakes and headed back to Minnesota where I had some obligations at the church.

The night before leaving, there was a nasty storm, rousing me before the break of dawn. Decided to take one last walk down the beach to the St Augustine inlet, in part, fascinated by the local lore of its dangers. Amazingly during the storm, the inlet had claimed another victim. Above the high-tide line, an almost new 45-foot sloop laying on its side, half buried in the sand with a broken rig hanging off all askew. Inspecting the insides, it was apparent that all the gear and electronics had already been taken off the boat. My acumen regarding the Admiralty Laws concerning salvaging abandoned vessels were probably being 'enough to get one in trouble'. I walked away thinking I sure hate to see those two Lewmar 55 sheet winches, one already only 6 inches from being buried in the sand, go down to Davey's Locker.

By time I walked back to my campsite, I was thinking about getting them off the boat before the next high tide, having none of tools necessary to tear the winches down to get to the mounting bolts, but then rummaging thru my camping gear found a virgin fold-up tree saw that had never been used. It seemed sharp enough to get through fiberglass decking, so jumped in my all-wheel drive van, and drove back down the beach to the broken whale just after daybreak. The saw performed amazing well, even with the plywood back-up plates laminated in the fiberglass decking. So after an hour, I ended up with two winches still attached to patches of the deck in the back of the van while feeling the flow had provided a stipend for all the expenses of my search with an esoteric honorarium for having stuck around the last 3 days in an attempt to assist Gary in his dilemma.

Two months later right after Thanksgiving, I received a call from Tom, the broker, saying that Gary had contacted him inquiring if I was going to make an offer on Wanderlust. Tom shared my feelings with Gary about our significant difference in the value of the boat, thinking that would be the end of it. Instead Gary asked that he get a hold of me, encouraging me to make an offer. WHOA !! I had to reboot all the emotions and rekindle the possibility. Eventually I offered Gary a Fibonacci number, a full third off his asking price; shaking my head, thinking "Well, he asked for it."

So as the flow would have it, I became the owner of Wanderlust, now named CoupRider, February 6, 2000, on the cusp of my birthday. The flow also saw to it that Sergio Gaitan, a friend from Minneapolis, was serendipitously also in Florida. He called out of the blue, and volunteered to assist in motoring the boat down the Intercoastal Waterway, aka 'the ditch' to its new home in Port Canaveral. From the port, twenty minutes would see me out into the Atlantic for 'sea trials' to refine the designs for her renovation.

Not two sundowns after I arrived in Port Canaveral, the local broker at the marina showed up on the dock saying; "I certainly recognize that boat; have made three offers on it over the last five years". I inquired as to how much was offered and he said: "I'll trade you that number for what you actually paid." The best of the three offers was $30,000 more that mine and Gary never even bothered to counter offer which floored the broker. When I shared my number, he almost choked on his cud, walking back up the dock shaking his head. He subsequently has become a friend.

So that's my story and I am sticking to it. As I am apt to mutter at least fifty-five times a day . . . . HO TO THE FLOW.

(1) The Fibonacci sequence of numbers is named after Italian mathematician that was known as Leonardo of Pisa. His 1202 book, introduced the sequence to Western European mathematics, although the sequence had been described earlier in Indian mathematics.

Fibonacci numbers are intimately connected with the most common forms found in nature. They are frequently witnessed with a half-section of a nautilus shell the sequence created by beginning with the number 1 and adding the last two numbers creating 1 + 1=2; 1 + 2=3; 2+3=5; 8; 13; 21; 34; 55; 89; 144; etc, ad infinitum.

This Fibonacci sequence occurs so frequently in nature as to appear to be a biological setting such as the branching in trees, the arrangement of leaves on a stem, the fruit sprouts of a pineapple, the flowering of an artichoke, the uncurling of a fern; you get the concept.