Sailing Through Life’s Unexpected Currents

by Tess on June 17, 2010


Please welcome Joy from "Unfolding Your Path to Joy"as our guest today. Joy lives on a sailboat with her two children in California. She will make your heart smile…guaranteed!

Life's Currents 

Oh I am so LOL!!!  (laughing out loud!)

I had a post all ready for Tess.  A post about embracing the moment, creating your own abundance–fantastic, well written….I wrote this post a few weeks ago, edited it, let it marinate a bit, then came back to review it before sending it off.

 You won't guess what happened, so I will tell you.  I kid you not–right as I had the words of this fine post highlighted and ready to send…a boat went by down the harbor channel and sent the littlest of currents my way–enough to knock me offline and because the words were highlighted my entire post was erased!!!  

I thought–fantastic, absolutely Divinely Fantastic!!!  And my smile is huge..because you see *that* is truly how I believe my life works– I can be doing my absolute best, making sure all that I am sharing is as good as can be, minding my own business and then–BAM–the littlest of unexpected currents barely taps me, but it's enough to send me the tiniest smidgen off course which then ricochets throughout my life.

 I think sometimes the current is God sent/Universe sent, and I think sometimes the current is manmade and then God/the Universe uses it.  But the fact is, the current is often there. 

How do I deal with the current?  Mmm..I laugh, because overall there is usually something initially funny about it, and my heart delights in humor.  When I am in good spirits, I am peace-filled and calm and can think in a clear rational manner.

Then, I choose to find the lesson, and use the Energy from it to share and move forward.  Now, in the above example I could have cursed technology, fellow boaters, tourists (because common knowledge is that *tourists* cause all trouble here, surely not ever the regulars *grin*), God/the Universe/myself for choosing to live on a boat…could have let it build and build and carry that weight around until I couldn't move/couldn't see past the dark clouds forming….  

What I chose to do was understand that most likely the words I wrote were significant to me, but not meant to be shared.  To then give praise that I have a computer (because until a few months ago I was without a computer for three years) and that the WiFi gives me more access than I've had previously.   I chose to laugh at the humor.  Then I chose to release it, wait a few days, and write again.  Here I am :)

Of course, the example I chose to share is quite light-hearted; in the scheme of things a lost post is truly forgettable–however, I use the same technique in all situations that a current unexpectedly knocks me off course.  I think whoa where did *that* come from????  

I assess the damage, then give praise for what I still have, then I ask for a blessing to heal/repair/transform what was wounded/broken/lost…..I find the humor in it–humor is essential to me.  I then release it all.  I use the Energy to move on. 

I share this with you, because the recent story of Abby Sunderland and her experience on this leg of her ocean voyage really touched my heart.  Abby is a local teenager who decided to follow in her brother's footsteps and sail singlehandedly (meaning solo) nonstop (meaning without pulling into port) around the world.

I love Abby, I fully support Abby.  Besides accolades, she and her parents received much criticism for her decision.  *That* would be another post.  This post is about Abby's dramatic knock down.  You see, she found herself in the Indian Ocean during hurricane season…in 60mph wind gusts, 30 ft waves…can you imagine those conditions????  I thrive on sailing in heavy weather, but the worst I've been in was 8 ft waves, 50mph wind gusts and that scared me through and through…

The thing is…when you find yourself in a boat in 30 ft waves (or even 8 ft waves..or really any wave), even if you are afraid…you need to keep your wits about you.

The reports say that Abby's boat surely capsized, was upside down, the mast broke and was dragging..but guess what???  Abby stayed on the boat.  She rode those waves, she exercised her knowledge..perhaps she prayed….but she didn't quit.

 She didn't say you know what this is too much, I can't do it, I've had enough, demasted wasn't in my plans…she didn't have that choice…because the conditions were going to remain the same even if she quit…Just like I don't have that choice in my own life.  When I find myself in the midst of huge waves– a potentially damaging situation–I cannot just quit, decide you know what it's too much, I can't do it, I've had enough, *this* wasn't in my plans…Nope.

 And neither will you just quit–I know this because you are reading Tess' blog which encourages you to be bold…

Now you may say there are some times a person should quit.  Yes,  I agree–but when you are being blown about, sent topsy turvy, *that* is the time to hang on to what you know…after–when life is calm, you are rested and well fed, when you may access your heart…that is the time to decide how to proceed. 

Of course, while you are actually in it you technically do have a choice…to quit or to move forward.  Have you ever tried to quit while you're being buffeted about???  The conditions remain the same, but your perspective adds to the severity, actually makes it worse.  Have you ever decided you know this might stink but I'm going to walk through it best as I can?  The conditions remain the same, but all of a sudden it doesn't feel quite as bad, it feels almost doable. 

Each moment I have a choice–to praise or to curse.  I choose praise.  A choice to create abundance or to bemoan my lack of.  I choose to create abundance.

Praise and abundance are like butterflies and glitter…transforming, allowing for beauty, for more than to fill my space.  My wish for you is that every single day you access *your* butterflies and glitter…sprinkle them all over your moments, all over your life….because truly, truly each moment is precious…and may be joy filled if you allow your heart to remain open in all conditions.

I have a new feature on my blog called the joy filled thought of the day.  A daily thought that may inspire you to enjoy a richer, multi- layered life, exactly where you are in the conditions you are in….

Much peace,


Creative Commons License photo credit: lisa cee
How do you keep your wits about you in the middle of a storm?

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    { 27 comments… read them below or add one }

    Caroline June 17, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    You do know that you could just go to edit and press undo, right????

    Anyway, this is a great post Joy! And it sure drives the point home about life’s currents. My life has been pretty rocky as of late…but now the waters have calmed and sailing is nice. And it has everything to do with choice. I made and choice to stop the madness. And it was probably the best decision I have ever made in my life…even though it was one of the hardest things I have done.

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom here to today!
    .-= Caroline´s last post…Who’s that girl??? Making peace with it all… =-.


    Nea | Self Improvement Saga June 17, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Joy and Tess….what a wonderful post. I absolutely loved reading this. It’s normal to want to give up when the “waves” are overwhelming and we’re feeling scared. But I love the feeling that comes after having survived a tough time. As a mother, I have someone other than myself to be strong for. Giving up is not an option for me. So, no matter what the circumstances, I hold on and remember that I will recover & come out a better person in the end.

    Much love to you both.
    .-= Nea | Self Improvement Saga´s last post…The 5 Love Languages – Your Key to a Healthy Relationship =-.


    Keith June 17, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Hello Tess and Joy!

    Joy, I’m sorry you lost that article but I must say that there is such a “freshness” to this post. Almost like the regularly scheduled programming was preempted for this late-breaking post. Perhaps many of us needed this right now. Thank you for being “in tune”!

    There have been many changes in my life in thge past few months. I keep my head during it all by remembering what’s really important…the very sort of things that Tess wrote about in her last post. Family, loved ones and being aware of the “precious precent” ,as well as taking joy in the journey, all help to keep my heart at peace. Even when I begin to feel the pressure and am tempted to freak out, I call to mind these things and am helped by doing so. I find that my native american flute helps too! :-)

    Thanks Joy and to you too Tess!
    .-= Keith´s last post…Pessimist or Passionate? =-.


    Joy June 17, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    Thank you!
    *grin* Since my words were highlighted when I was knocked offline, all that autosaved was the title…
    You share a valuable insight..we have a *choice* on how to navigate any current….Sometimes it’s hard work to keep our promise to ourself…as in your promise to ’stop the madness’. Each step that you take brings you that much closer to peace in each moment…
    Some people function very well in high alert stage–their creativity might even blossom. Some people prefer the calm days…It is my philosophy to find the joy in all of it…in order to do so though I’ve had to learn valuable skills to navigate in ‘heavy weather’…

    Thank you!
    Your role as mother does mean you have an extra external obligation. However, it is my belief that I may thrive in every situation because my *Being* is worthy and deserving of the very best so that I may then share my very best with all around me. Having children means that I want to model for them different techniques in all situations…more than words it is my actions that teach not only my children, but all around me.

    Much peace,
    .-= Joy´s last post…Wednesday Wisdom: Reflections to my Inner Child =-.


    Evita June 17, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    Hi Joy

    What a “joy” to find you here on Tess’ site :)

    The message is great and your lesson and the lesson you share with us is timeless! I LOVE how you approach the situation of losing the post. I laughed because all the things that you could have blamed, oh we have so been there in one way or another. That is until we stop – stop and realize that in every situation no matter what, we can make ourselves feel better or feel worse. Bottom line, it is up to us, not the magical forces of the Universe.

    And thank you for sharing that piece about Abby too – courageous and inspiring!
    .-= Evita´s last post…Unity’s Path Readings for June =-.


    Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord June 17, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    What a great post! Tess, a brilliant guest author, to be sure. And Joy, this post, as Keith said, felt so fresh and timely.

    I loved this line, “…when you are being blown about, sent topsy turvy, *that* is the time to hang on to what you know.”

    I will not honor the storm by speaking of it, shining MY light on it, or giving it any more energy than it deserves. I will, however, give thanks for my ability to weather the storm, and to rise and thrive once it’s passed. Each storm has a reason — a season for being. I manifest being in or out of storms… As you said, we always have a choice, if we find ourselves in a storm, how we will handle it. How we will handle ourselves, our emotions, our attitudes. Storms, perhaps, show us what we’re made of more than anything else in life.

    My thanks to you, and to Tess, for sharing such wisdom here.


    Kristy June 17, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    This sounds like something that would completely happen to me. I also belive life is about embracing all it throws at you which it seems Joy has managed to do beautifully and with grace.


    Wilma Ham June 17, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    Oh Joy, knowing it is not all in our hand and then acting in a way you did, is class. John always tells me that sailing has taught him to go with the flow, he did not have a engine and his junk rig made sailing against the wind difficult. Being with the elements is a sure way to give up tantrums, to let go of your self importance. I am not sure if I would have handled it so gracefully, however I know how to truck on while muttering under my breath until I got that too out of my system.
    What a great way to get to know yourself in the way that that girl is doing it, what an amazing feat and yes isn’t it interesting how our world today only wants to have us play safe. The parents are wonderful to support their daughter in her quest and they must have had a hard time waiting for news that she was safe.
    Great reminder to not throw tantrums when things do not go my way and you are a great example to follow :) xox Wilma
    .-= Wilma Ham´s last post…Wilma on If only the WomenLikeMe way was this easy. =-.


    Hilary June 18, 2010 at 12:28 am

    Hi Joy and Tess .. when things hit unexpectedly it is so important in life to be able to adjust and get up, dust ourselves off and start again .. it’s also so easy to get cross, get up and go off and do something else .. technology – can be a trial. But it functions it works usually and we’re so lucky to have it.

    I made a whole of lot of sauces for my uncle, put them in little pots and froze them for him .. so we made the most of the end of season excess and didn’t waste things .. a few weeks later or even days .. I went round & he said the freezer had conked out! I laughed and laughed .. I’d spent hours making these delicious sauces ..but what could I do – he was amazed .. he thought wrath and froth were going to spurt from my mouth!

    As you so rightly say – take the energy and use it positively .. and it means that wasn’t meant to be ..

    Great sailing story – let alone bold .. sailing the world – I give the sea a lot of credit .. and it’s certainly something I’m not too happy doing .. local sails ok .. longer ones .. no thank you!

    Have great weekends .. Hilary
    .-= Hilary´s last post…Ever Thought of a Map as an Encyclopedia? =-.


    Uzma June 18, 2010 at 2:15 am

    Hi. Thank u for this post Joy. It does fill one with happiness and hope. What a beautiful thought , to think of praise and abundance as butterflies. I am going to use this in my mind and think of them an lovely butterflies, transforming energy into better energy.
    Thank u
    .-= Uzma´s last post…Destiny and the journey =-.


    Tony Single June 18, 2010 at 5:16 am

    Joy, this is a wonderful post. Thanks for sharing. :)

    I have to admit that I’m a bit of a melancholic at heart, so while I’m not always able to approach life in the clear headed, joyful way that you do, I know enough to know that storms don’t last. They can’t.

    I find that I can curse the day (which is shockingly natural to me), but like you, it does go better if I choose to face it a different way. I can’t exactly embrace it, but I can walk through it step by step… and count the sunflowers along the way.

    Even if I only come across one, that’s enough to make me smile and know that it’s not all bad. And I’m alive, right? Breathe it in, and take the moments as they come… that’s how I have to handle it. :)


    Lance June 18, 2010 at 5:39 am

    It’s a wonderful surprise to see you here today!

    I sometimes think about how any one little action…what an effect it can have. Had that other boat been a few seconds later or earlier, everything would likely have been different for you. And the thing is – it could have had some different effect on someone else. For instance – all of us reading this today. We have been affected by that boat’s passing when it did. Because of that happening, we are reading today what is here – not what might otherwise have been in this space. And how this affects each of us, and how long we’re here, and where this takes us next…and who that can affect….
    …everything counts…

    And I love that you have shared this…
    .-= Lance´s last post…Enlightenment of the Soul =-.


    Julie June 18, 2010 at 7:51 am

    Unless I’ve inadvertently “saved” what I accidently deleted, I probably would’ve just ctl+z and “undelete” it. Nevertheless, awesome post and had me thinking. Thank you.
    .-= Julie´s last post…Indoor Shots On Gloomy Days =-.


    Karl Staib - Work Happy Now June 18, 2010 at 8:22 am

    I know the feeling of losing a guest post. It sucks. I would yell and scream, still do, but now I try to enjoy the waves. Everything we do is a part of our journey, we can choose to sprinkle it with love or hate. It’s our choice.

    I’m glad you wrote this post instead. There was a reason for it.
    .-= Karl Staib – Work Happy Now´s last post…I Don’t Try to Motivate Myself =-.


    trina June 18, 2010 at 11:26 am

    so happy to have found your blog



    Joy June 18, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Hi Tess,
    Thank you for hosting me here on your blog!!! The Energy within the comments is amazing! *Love* it!!!

    I will respond to the comments this evening…as I said the energy is amazing, so thank you to each of you who took the time to share!!!
    .-= Joy´s last post…Wednesday Wisdom: Reflections to my Inner Child =-.


    The Exception June 18, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    This is a great post. Laughter is a choice that I make often as you suggest, there is a little humor I n situations when they first happen. I have heard people tell me – you could have just quit – and I think… honestly? How could I quit? There is life to be lived and this challenge to walk through and the lessons to learn along the way. The path doesn’t just end, it fades or turns corners or asks us to be patient for it to evolve. We have the choices – the chances to open and see and be patient and see…and then we have the chance to choose differently.
    Thank you for your thoughts and words – and have a joy filled weekend!
    .-= The Exception´s last post…Believe it or not, It’s just me =-.


    Robin Easton June 18, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Dear Joy!! This is brilliant. And dear Tess, this is also SO you. I can see why you adore Joy. She too is like you, BOLD!! And you KNOW I relate to THAT!! I loved this whole post and THRIVE on that fact that there is “something” (whatever IT is) that is larger than ME!! Life left to me? No, no no! That would NOT be a pretty picture. LOLOL!!

    Sure I do all I can to be pro-active in my life, every day. But I am sooo sooo sooo grateful for those “occurrences” LOL! that I canNOT control, that are LAAAARRRGGGER than little me. They rip apart my neat tidy set ways, they crush my pride and arrogance and give me the opportunity to CHOOSE….laughter, courage, new ways of doing things, new ways of thinking, new ways of living and being. They expose me to Life than what I’ve previously be aware of. And for me THAT is about as brilliant as it gets!!

    Dear Joy, I also just LOVE your sense of humor and strong vivacity. I relate to that VERY much. I have added your site to my RSS feed. Hugs, Robin

    Dear Tess, thank you for all you kindness and love. I look forward to the June 28th. I am sooooooooooo honored. More than you probably know. Much love, Robin
    .-= Robin Easton´s last post…Naked in Eden – Book Trailer =-.


    Lisa at Practically Intuitive June 18, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    Hi Joy and Tess! (waves)

    Joy, I had to laugh at the confluence of events that banished your post into never-never land. I’ve had that happen and, just like you, said “Well, I guess that wasn’t meant to go out into the Universe!” and I give thanks for the option to create anew. (Of course, if that happened on something I spent a lot of time doing, I’d spazz out first THEN I’d come back to my senses.

    In each moment, we have choices. Those micro-choices shape our reality. I have been bombarded with that message of late so I’m paying attention!

    Thanks for introducing me to Tess’s site (bookmarked!). I look forward to reading more from both of you.
    .-= Lisa at Practically Intuitive´s last post…Adventures of an Intuitive =-.


    Joy June 18, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    Thank you!
    I love your idea of interrupting the regular scheduled programming! I tend to do that lots in life because I wake and set an intent for the day then allow God/the Universe to guide…which results in many interruptions of my “regular schedule”….
    A native american flute has such a beautiful sound!!! I have a djembe drum I use often either solo drumming to the moon or on the beach, or in various drum circles..I know my practice helps me to find and celebrate my own little beat….
    It sounds as though you are focusing on your blessings, even in the midst of yay you! Soon you will find that the heavy weather just falls away as you continue to celebrate all that is good in your life…

    Thank you!
    I am still laughing because people are advising me on how I could have recovered the post..I suppose I could have concentrated on that, however I made the choice to release and move forward. I find whenever I resist what is presented to me I create a struggle..I prefer to live struggle free…

    Thank you!
    You have a beauty filled insight on acknowledging the storm..not giving it Energy and instead focusing on praise, gratitude and the ability to make choices….When I focus on the storm I give it power, when I focus on the good in it all it grows and propels me forward…
    I do believe how we handle storms shows what we are made of; also how we choose to handle (or not) other’s storms shows our inner selves as well…

    Thank you!
    It is my choice to focus on what I’ve lost and let it hold me back, or to release it and allow the good to move me forward…I’d much rather soar than be weighted…

    Thank you!
    I think in Abby’s case–and mine when I choose to sail in heavy weather–we are able to prepare for the unknown; in life the unknown is often presented to us when it is unexpected as well…double whammy!
    Throwing tantrums is a necessary release of built up tensions, toxins, etc…so it is my choice to find an option that allows me to release in a positive way…

    Oh Hilary,
    Thank you! Thank you for the smile…I’ve had many similar mishaps…I actually dropped my son’s homemade birthday cake face down on the floor smack dab..ruined…so I laughed and we went about having a fun party…I have a choice to life or cry…I allow tears when necessary, but laughter is my balm…

    Thank you!
    Lots and lots of *butterflies and glitter* then!!!

    Much peace,
    .-= Joy´s last post…Wednesday Wisdom: Reflections to my Inner Child =-.


    Joy June 18, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    I would love to hang out with you (and Cass) just to show you that you *can* spend an entire day grinning from ear to ear…joy is contagious, infectious, and you’d be surprised how easy it is to access….
    When you curse the day, you are giving the curse power..when you count the sunflowers you give beauty and nature power…I’d much rather give power to beauty and nature than curses…I’d throw in a curse word here just to get you to laugh, but I just wrote on another blog I don’t curse conline…so even if you have to say where is that *blasted* sunflower..that’s a step :) Thank you!

    You are so genuinely kind you are trying to get me to feel grateful for tourist boaters…ok it worked..thank you for the tourist boater who had an impact on my life, because this space has such amazing Energy in it!!!
    *Everything* absolutely counts, and I’m glad you’re here today..thank you!

    Thank you!
    I couldn’t undelete it/undo it…because I was knocked offline completely and the words were highlighted, so the only thing that saved was the title..I’m okay with loss though and I find when I release it something even better is there waiting…

    Hi Karl,
    Thank you!
    Yelling and screaming would most likely get me kicked out of the marina due to noise violation…so *that* would have greatly compounded my simple little ‘problem’…
    When in turbulence if I do anything to further disrupt the balance it only makes it all worse, if I choose to hang on to good and allow it to lead, it makes the conditions feel not as extreme….
    You are right…we have a choice..I believe if I ’sprinkle’ my moments with anything other than love, I will receive anything other than love…

    Thank you for stopping in..Lots of butterflies and glitter to you:)

    The Exception,
    Thank you!
    I love the wisdom you present here! Resonates deep within..makes my heart leap with joy!! Thank you for sharing….

    Hi Robin,
    Thank you! Wow. you have amazing Energy!!!
    You describe occurrences so very’ve definitely ‘been there’ and sailed right through…An inspiration Robin…thank you for sharing as you do. I am honored you’ve added my site…looking forward to having your amazing energy there as well:)

    Thank you!
    I am so glad to have found your site..very exciting for me…
    Lots of things in my life get banished to never never land..yet I find if I release them, much good replaces what was banished…
    I’m glad you’re observing and paying attention to the signs places into your life..I am so excited to share in your experiences as you write about them!
    Much peace,
    .-= Joy´s last post…Wednesday Wisdom: Reflections to my Inner Child =-.


    Tammy June 18, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    Joy and Tess,
    I enJOYed the post and can relate to the storms. I think they are a way of making us grateful for the calm and of reminding us to acknowledge the calm.
    .-= Tammy´s last post…Teach Your Children Well =-.


    Meredith June 20, 2010 at 9:27 am

    Beautifully-written post, Joy — especially knowing you had to redo it by the seat of your pants. ;)

    I sooo needed the reminder about quitting and taking that attitude not helping anything, and in fact making the situation worse while you’re still stuck in it. And you’ve already made me grateful that I’m not experiencing 30-ft waves all on my little lonesome in the middle of a vast ocean. :)


    Jan June 20, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    Joy, congrats on this post. You have such spunk and verve and I love that. I love how you honor your truest self and stay faithful to your journey – no matter how it shows up. Smooth seas or rough, you seem to sail on with ease. Most of all, you invite us to take ourselves and our lives more LIGHTLY. Such an important thing in a world overrun with fear and worry and “never enough.” You do inspire…

    Tess, thanks for having Joy here!


    Talon June 20, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    Joy, beautiful post. I’ve learned, as I’ve gotten older (and hopefully wiser) that you have to go with the flow (even when it’s high winds and crazy waves) because when I’ve fought it, I’ve struggled and worn myself out and quite often it’s not as bad as it first appears. Mind you, there have been times when I’ve really wanted to abandon ship, but I didn’t.
    .-= Talon´s last post…The Simple Goodbye =-.


    Joy June 21, 2010 at 2:45 am

    Hi Tammy,
    Thank you!
    Appreciating and recognizing the calm are two very important resources for a joy filled life.. In my own life, I concentrate on growing the good…when storms happen, I try to find the lesson in them, and to enjoy what I may about them…

    Hi Meredith,
    Thank you!
    I was at such a loss when my original post deleted, I figured shoot the truth is doable, so let’s go with that–exactly how I approach life as well…
    One point about Abby is that she chose to experience 30ft waves..she thought she was well prepared and could “do it”…sometimes we feel we are being carried by waves without our consent..if you find yourself in that situation, take a breath, then take stock of what you *do have* and you will find that you are well prepared indeed..surprised maybe, but prepared yes…

    Thank you!
    I think taking life lightly is appropriate because I would like to soar and I have to be light enough to do so :) I’d like to have lots of company ’soaring’ with me…
    I had to learn to embrace it all…when I am afraid, I face it head on..I used to love heavy weather sailing, and that taught me much about life on land as well….

    Thank you!
    There is an unwritten rule (or maybe it is written) that if a ship is abandoned 24 hours and you board it, then it is yours…that is why one must never ‘abandon ship’…don’t want someone else taking over your ‘life’…
    I find in my own life, as you have pointed out in yours, that if I am struggling it is exhausting and defeating…so I let go of struggle and embrace it exactly as it is…I allow for unfolding which is much more gentle and actually a beauty filled process…

    Much peace,
    .-= Joy´s last post…Monday Blessing: Uniqueness… =-.


    Lisa Cee August 25, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this story, it was very inspiring. I feel honored to have my sailboats floating across this page! :)

    Joy is very wise, and I go remembering her advice.


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