Did you know I used to think of myself as an introvert? Do you feel free and open to people, or is it scary? Do you warmly welcome interaction with others? Do you feel comfortable with most people? Do you feel fully supported by those around you? Do the people you interact with daily empower and lift you? If not, what can we do about it? Do we have a measure of control? Here’s what I learned.
Let’s consider sailboats and see what lessons we can learn.
To get anywhere the sailboat must do two things. First, it must row and second, it must unfurl its sails.
What can we learn from this?
Were you ever in a sailboat? I was once and it was incredible. Out in the ocean it was still and quiet. There was a real sense of peace with just the sound of the breeze in the sails and the gentle lapping of water on the sides of the boat as we moved along. Our time in the sailboat was in the hands of experts.
A sailboat doesn’t sit at the dock, throw up its sails and get moving. First, the boat must row out toward open seas.
Rowing out into the ocean takes effort and energy. The rower must use their entire body. There’s much exertion and the need to maintain balance and rhythm. Have you ever rowed? Maybe a kayak or rowing machine at the gym?
What’s the first lesson in rowing?
Reaching our desired destination often requires quite a bit of effort and exertion of energy. Once we're there, isn’t it worth the effort? Especially if it’s something good we desire.
It takes courage to open up and be authentic, genuine and honest. It takes courage to interact with others and, yes, sometimes risk. It takes effort to row into the path of the wind. If we don’t put ourselves in a position to catch the wind, we’re not going to get anywhere.
There’s more but first, let’s look at the concept of unfurled sails.
To go anywhere a sailboat must do two things: unfurl the sails and catch the wind. Unfurling the sails means the sail is fully open. Only then can the sails catch the wind. I am far from knowing much about sailing. Here’s what I do know.
Once out into open seas, the sailboat must open its sails to move. If the sails are open but it doesn’t catch the wind, the sailboat doesn’t move. If it’s in the path of the wind but doesn’t open the sails, it doesn’t move. Both are required to move forward.
Who is the wind in your sails? When we find the right wind, the right people, these are people who lift us and gently move us forward. They’re headed towards the same destination as we desire to reach. If others aren’t lifting us, encouraging us and providing wind for our sails, it’s time to evaluate their impact on our forward movement. Worse yet, look out if they’re poking holes in our sails!
What if we don’t feel safe?
Sometimes in the event of an impending storm, it’s best to keep the sails furled because the wind is too great for the sailboat to handle. It’s good to know when a potential storm is brewing and keep the sails furled. It’s that way emotionally opening up to others.
With time and experience, we can learn when to open up safely and catch the wind. We can learn to find safe people. We can heal emotionally and know gentle boundaries.
What if the wind isn’t headed in the direction the sailboat desires to travel? What if people in our lives are headed in a different direction than us? One tactic a sailboat uses is called tacking. Tacking is a sailing maneuver to change a boat's direction through an oncoming wind. You can still get where you desire to go with some adjustments and maneuvers!
How to leave the dock and open your sails
Our dock is a good place! The safety of the dock is our safe space. It's good to return to the dock's safety and regroup, refuel and take some quiet time to recharge.
If we stay in the dock, we go nowhere. It can also be lonely. It's easy to stay safe, stay small and be emotionally closed. If you’re happy there, no judgment! Some people live in a houseboat at the dock.
If you desire to get out into the open seas and find safe people to fill your sails, I can guide you! This way you can move forward peacefully and fully empowered toward your desired goals.
I desire to live life fully and found ways to leave the safety of the dock, engage with others, have safe relationships and interactions, and get some good wind in my sails. I wish your journey to be peaceful and move toward your desired goals!
What's your wind? For me, it's God breathed and I surround myself with people that lift me. It’s all about gentle, healthy boundaries.
What’s your destination? Who is the wind in your sails? Have you caught your wind?
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The article and the bonus video with your personal experience and tidbits of wisdom. (And I really enjoy hearing it in your voice.)
Thank you for being brave and opening up. It's encouraging to know it's possible and worth it.