Small Pleasures by The School of Life (Part 2)

Sunday Mornings. It is a quiet morning and you do not have much to accomplish or do. Sundays are the days for us to explore ourselves and to rediscover ourselves. In the past, Sundays were set aside for religion. However, your time on Sundays are special and should be protected. It can be frustrating if your day is filled up with distractions. One has the opportunity to re-engage with the wider horizons of one’s life. We can focus on the silent and the eternal. This is a place of tenderness and beauty. Sunday mornings are our distinct, unusual time which should be guarded at all cost.

You’re briefing liberated from the pressure of watching the clock; you don’t need to keep up. No one will be expecting anything of you until tomorrow morning. – The School of Life

A Beloved’s Wrist. The skin on the inside of the forearm is smooth and delicate. Looking at your beloved’s wrist can renew tender feelings. It can lead to remember why you first fell in love with them. You can trace to their hand actions and remember things from their past which triggered them to perform as such.

A Favorite Old Jumper. It’s one that you hardly wear. There is a hole in it now. However, you know that it has been through a lot with you. It was lovely to wear it. People will come to love us precisely for the small things.

With the jumper we rehearse something key. It is a transitional object that helps us along the path not from childhood to adulthood but towards old age. – The School of Life

Holding Hands with a Small Child. We try to be encouraging and sweet to the little ones we once were. You are fascinated by how charming the kid can be. You become fascinated with the world, just like the kid.

And for a brief pointed time one is astonished by the utter strangeness of the course of human experience which gradually takes everyone from childhood to death. – The School of Life

Old Stone Walls. You do not know the exact date the walls were built, but centuries of harsh weather has affected the stone. It has been around for ages. Time usually brings things to ruin. Thins can be get better as they age. The old wall looks better as it ages. The idea of a wall is something we welcome with a feeling of joy.

The old is a good image of ageing and endurance: it’s not getting worse; strangely, it’s nicer because it is older, counteracting our fears that to be old is to be worn out, unlovable, useless and ignored. – The School of Life

Realising You Both Dislike the Same Popular Person. Somehow, you have learned to be cautious and avoid certain types of people. Sometimes, you don’t like those who keep accommodating and prefer those who speaks their mind. Shared antipathy can bond people together. You feel bonded over the hatred for someone.

It’s lovely not having to explain or defend one’s feelings in a hostile environment. It’s a relief not having to politely nod in supposed agreement just to keep the peace. – The School of Life

Feeling at Home in the Sea. It might require some courage to dip yourself in the ocean, but you gradually realize that it isn’t too difficult. You will bob up and down. You use a mask and snorkel, which enables you to breathe. Now, you can be yourself underground. Shapes and things look bizarre underwater. You are now thrilled by the adventurous part of you.

And when you emerge, dripping and pleasantly tired, and make your way to the warm beach, you bring that part of yourself with you back from the sea, where it had been living in exile, waiting for you. – The School of Life

“Bad” Magazines. You would probably not want to buy such magazines. You wouldn’t want to be seen outside reading it too. It can be oddly pleasing. We are encountering different ways of being. By reading these magazines, we can get more in touch with our other selves. We also become less dismissive of others after reading about them. It is a small pleasure.

The lives we actually lead are tiny slivers of what is imaginatively possible. A slight shift in the past could have led to a very different kind of existence. There are lots of ways we could conceivably have turned out. – The School of Life

The Song You Want to Listen to Again and Again. The song has grown on you. You might have heard it before but have forgotten about it. But now, you want to listen to it all the time and can’t get enough of it. But we can’t explain why we love the song so much. Our brains take cues from sounds. ‘Ave Maria’ enfold us in tenderness. Music has the power to move us and influence us. Hey Jude lyrics – Don’t be Afraid is very powerful indeed. Some songs encourage us to recognize the vulnerability in others. Mozart’s music can be gracious and sad.

A Book That Understands You. A book gets you. The author never knew you but it seems like he did for a long time. Everything is on target. You might feel lonely even though you are surrounded by people and loved ones. Such a good book will tackle problems which you normally ignore. The book can actually validate your sufferings, telling you that it is okay to be who you are.

Our weirder sorrows – or enjoyments – are recast as valid parts of human experience, which can be met with sympathy and kindness. – The School of Life

Crying Cathartically Over the Death of a Fictional Character. Why do we mourn their deaths? Lovely things might seem weak. Things can be transient. We feel sorry when we disagree with them. We often do not express our love fully when the person is still around. We are angry at the idiotic randomness of death. No one deserves to die. When it comes to death, death reorganizes our priorities.

We may only realise the full extent of our love for people too late. We are being agonisingly alerted not just to a possible loss, but to a failure of our own. – The School of Life

Pleasant Exhaustion After a Productive Day. It is 9:45pm and you are happy with your work progress made. Your body is aching slightly but you feel good. You make a nice cup of tea. Your brain has done its work. You thought that it couldn’t be done initially, but you accomplished it nonetheless. You feel confident about solving your own problems in your outside life, come what may. We feel honourable tiredness. It is pleasant tiredness and feel like sleep is our reward.

The pleasure we feel after a good but hard day’s work is linked to a positive experience of willpower. It was tempting to break off; you could have put it off until tomorrow, but you didn’t. You stuck with the big thing. – The School of Life

It’s also to do with a sense of mastery: in anticipation we slightly feared the task. But we got on top of this tricky thing and we tamed it. – The School of Life

We’re capable of rousing ourselves, of focus and of sustained effort. We can stick with something difficult and keep going through the temptations to break off and seek distraction. We’ve been just a little bit heroic and we know it and it feels nice. – The School of Life

Old Photos of One’s Parents. You spot a young photo of your mum, when we was about 8. What was it like to be alive back then? You also spot a photo of your dad when he was much younger. By from these photos, we realize that we hardly know them when they were younger. We know that our parents are trying our best. Our parent’s life wasn’t mainly about us.

Whispering in Bed in the Dark. You are talking to your partner in the dark. Whispering feels sexy. Deep privacy can be very liberating. Whispering in the dark is important. We need the assistance of cues. You can be tender without much fear. You are joining forces with your childhood self.

And this what gives whispering in the dark its special place in our lives. We have all the liberating benefits of being alone – but we are also with another person. – The School of Life

Cypress Trees. You have a soft spot for them, just that you didn’t know. They feel both shy and aloof. They feel private. The tree is a sermon of endurance and can live for ages on end. It will be around long after you are gone. The trees can grow well in places that are not hospitable. It is an image of resilience.

A tree is stuck in the single place where it was planted or where the seed happened to fall into a little crevice. Naturally, we’re attracted to the idea of being able to alter our condition, but sometimes we just have to put up with difficulties. Our bigger commitments tie us to a situation. – The School of Life

News of a Scientific Discovery. It can be charming. All science is interesting. However, scientific discoveries are linked with progress. Nature is a dark mystery but we like to investigate it. We can work together towards these discoveries. It is not by pure luck. Thorough research went into the research. This is the collective power of humanity. A lot of areas have been researched on and understood. Hopefully, these discoveries will be translated into textbooks and synthesized for the young.

Feeling Someone Else is Wrong. Sometimes, we know deep down that someone else is wrong. We feel good because we are absolutely right and they are absolutely wrong. We get an appreciation of our own intelligence. For most of the time, we don’t know for certain whether we are right. It is satisfying to us. You can cope with your terrors and can hold your own in conversations etc. We feel a sense of cognitive progress.

The Teasing of Old Friends. You don’t mind being teased by friends and are okay with it. A lesson is delivered in an interesting form. We do not see it as a form of criticism. However, if knowledge is wrapped in a wrong way, we may reject learning it. You know your friends are not malicious but only want you to learn. We despair knowledge and love – being united. However, when it comes to friends, it is possible to find the sweet spot. You can also tease them back and you know that they won’t mind at all.

Getting Over a Row. You got angry because you wanted to make a point which they couldn’t see. You don’t want to apologise. As we cool down, we might experience small pleasures. At work, you do not dare to be angry because you fear to be so. It also feels good to have cleared the air. You can look at them in a more measured way. At least, you both tackled the troublesome issue. Forgiveness is also important. Sometimes, we can just make do with small problems.

A relationship has to include the madder, more unreasonable parts of ourselves. If I can be overtly angry with you, it’s because you have made me feel safe enough to be so. – The School of Life

Conflict is a pretty much unavoidable part of living closely with another person and being involved in big, complicated mutual undertakings. But we’re all right now and that’s nice – until the next time. – The School of Life

Planning the Ideal Routine. It is nice to write out a plan for your week ahead. Having a schedule means that we should be using our time wisely. We should assign the tasks to distinct slots. You can also include tasks like napping and thinking. Make time for thinking about your past etc. For chores, plan them at one go in a week, followed by a small reward after the chores. A routine can keep you on track and on the ball. You always wanted to be more organized, productive and a routine will help you get there.

You won’t have to decide to do them and summon a special burst of willpower: after the first dozen times they start to become semi-automatic. The day begins to flow. You’re not always prodding and badgering yourself to get on with what you should be doing. – The School of Life

Finally Gaining the Respect of a Previously Suspicious Colleague. Now, your colleague smiles at you. They are happy to see you around. They have sweet sides for you too. They wanted to see if you could prove yourself. Prove yourself you did. It is normal for people not to warm up to you from the start. But that’s okay.

This person’s goodwill is worth having because they don’t give it away automatically. They have warmed to you because you have proved yourself. Their approval is a measure of your own development. – The School of Life

‘Getting’ A Great Work of Art for Yourself. We are worried that we will seem ignorant. Why should one even care about art? Sometimes, you might find works that speak to you. Mood is a crucial ingredient in the experience. In the right mood, things look great. Understanding a piece is a very personal thing. The works exists for you.

That’s why getting one work of art opens a door to the enjoyment of many others. Because you’ve discovered in yourself the key to engagement. – The School of Life

Midnight Walks. You need to get away from something. You glow in the night. The street lamps seem fascinating. You try to touch the moon. Midnight walks help the brain to think. In reality, there could be many things bugging you. Select one to think about when you are walking. Avoid jumping to conclusions too quickly. You don’t really know what is going on in another person’s mind. Our complaints are endless but a stroll in the night will lead you to forget that. Our life’s problems are legitimate and normal. We are mapping some emotional terrain. Learn to define the need. Why am I really stuck with an annoying partner? Sometimes, you must understand that not everything is in your control. Life is short and yet humans want to feel important.

But at midnight, away from others, we can briefly get enough distance to recall the strangeness of being human. We are deeply peculiar organisms; we are mysteries to one another and to ourselves; we don’t really know why we ourselves do what we do half the time. – The School of Life

In the night it’s a little easier to keep in mind that the human condition is sombre; we are frail creatures inhabiting the outer crust of a minuscule lump of rock orbiting a very average star. – The School of Life

But at other points it is sweet to feel that maybe our actions don’t matter – they will be lost in the greater tides of human existence, and all our follies and errors will melt away very soon, as if they had never been. – The School of Life

Flirtation. You often have to speak to someone else from another company over the phone. He seems to be flirting with you. It’s a flirtatious moment. You might flirt with an old friend at a party. Flirting is a mating ritual. However, it might not be erotic in nature but more aligned with friendship. Not everything should be viewed as foreplay. We need reminders from others that we are lovely. Flirting can be also seen as a demonstration of kindness and interest. Flirtation is safe in a workplace environment. It is a safe version of seduction.

Essentially, when we flirt we are showing another person that we like them and find them attractive. – The School of Life

The First Day of Feeling Well Again. You were sick for the past few days. Being unwell sucks. Someone bought you a gift to make you feel better. When sick, you suffered from low energy levels and didn’t bother much about work. Your sexual appetites waned and you felt calm. Feeling energetic is important. Your appetite is now back in order and you feel much better. When sick, you start to imagine things, just like a child.

Daisies. They are simply too small and can live from year to year. It is one of the nature’s most charming colour arrangements. The petals close up when in the dark and re-open in the day. Like the daisy, biological factors dominate and control us too. We get affected by events and it affects our moods etc. Daisies are abundant.

We disdain the daisy for an unfortunate reason: it is abundant. It’s a victim of the unfortunate idea that to be special something has to be rare. – The School of Life

Figs. You might encounter it once in a while. You don’t think much of it. However, it seems charming and tastes pleasant. Rituals are important. It provides a sense of appreciation in order to get us into a valuable state of mind. The ritual comes as a timely reminder for us. Rituals are usually developed over a large period of time. Similarly, small pleasures need rituals. The pull of it is smaller and that is why we need reminding.

The pull of small pleasures is much weaker than that of sex or video games or drinking wine or wolfing down a bar of chocolate; these are pleasures we need no reminding of, and we often have to painfully struggle to limit their sway in our lives. With small pleasures it’s the opposite. We’re more likely to lose touch with them. They easily get crowded out. We actively need to build up their presence in our lives. – The School



First You Have to Row a Little Boat by Richard Bode

First You Have to Row a Little Boat (Reflections on Life and Living)

Since young, Richard wanted to teach his 4 children how to sail and to understand life. Many adults who sail can relate to the book. It is one of the world’s great titles. Rick has been a PR man most of his life. However, he was very exuberant over small things and curious about life. He was orphaned at a young age and divorced at 60 plus. He started to tell Donnie, his lover, over the lessons he learnt while sailing. Rick managed to draw the lessons from sailing and apply it to life. Rick took 6 decades to write the book. The book, when published, didn’t get much attention. The book was published 20 years ago. The book will teach you the importance of doing things well. It is never too late to achieve your dreams. Death eventually finds everyone.

When you’re sailing you can’t just go in a straight line. Sometimes you have to zigzag to get to shore. That’s life. And sometimes, when the wind stops blowing, there’s nothing you can do but wait, and wait patiently, for a breeze to return. – Richard Bode

In my lifetime, I failed to teach my children how to sail. The exigencies of life were to be blamed. I can’t forgive myself. Sailing is a metaphor of life. It brings you closer to the elements and you start to develop a relationship with something you can’t control. You have to pay attention to the tiny changes in weather. Sometimes, fate can deal us a fatal hand. Day-to-day life is like the wind. I realized that my children need to learn from their own experiences. I suspect that certain places have the ability to attract people.

As humans we live with the constant presumption of dominion. We believe that we own the world, that it belongs to us, that we have it under our firm control. But the sailor knows all too well the fallacy of this view. – Richard Bode

Day-to-day life is like the wind in all its infinite variations and moods. The wind is shifting, constantly shifting, blowing northeast, then northeast, then north – just as we, ourselves, are constantly shifting, sometimes happy, sometimes angry, sometimes sad. As the sailor sails his winds, so we must sail our moods. – Richard Bode

The First Thing You have to Do Is Learn to Row a Little Boat. Initially, I thought sailing was easy. Harrison Watts, a professional sailor, had a big influence on me. Unfortunately, he passed away. He was my mentor when I was out at sea. It is easy to pretend to be good at something, but it is much harder to admit ignorance. He instructed me to enter a little boat and row. I was not impressed by the small size of the boat. Under his tutelage, I learnt how to propel the boat using oars. We are ingrained to believe that when we steer left, the car will go left. That is predictable. However, steering a boat is different. We have to constantly adjust to different environments and have to adapt. It is unlike the skills of a duck, who is adept on both land and water. Mastery over yourself is the key.

But in life, real life, we aren’t pitted against one another; we are pitted against ourselves, and our victories are almost always the ones we forge alone. – Richard Bode

A Boy’s Will is the Wind’s Will… I wanted the majestic blue sloop and I wanted it desperately. We gain through affinity. When the passion is so strong, nothing can keep us apart. It was pure elegance. Many of the adults told me not to bother and to find another hobby. I decided that it was a dream that I would not suppress and I actively pursued the boat. Little did I know that I was taking tiny steps to my goal by rowing a boat. Later, a friend allowed me to sail in a dinghy. It was hard to control. Thankfully, my aunt and uncle introduced me to a contractor. After summer, he offered a role to me as an apprentice, where I would fix windblown dwellings. His name was Ed Doubrava. He thought me stuff about the ocean. Later, he gave me an abandoned sailboat. My aunt helped to make the sail. Finally, I managed to sail alone. Suddenly, I came upon an ad in the magazine. The boat I wanted was for sale at $1250. Every little step above was important in meeting my dream. The boat was the essence of everything I knew and it was purely authentic. Materialistic goods aren’t a dream, they are an accessory. A man who owns a boat and keeps using it will find that he owns it for all his days.

When we kill the dream within us, we kill ourselves, even though the blood continues to flow within our veins. – Richard Bode

We see people scurrying compulsively, buying compulsively, as if they hoped through the expenditure of money, the acquisition of goods, to deaden a pain they don’t even know they have. – Richard Bode

Rather than suppress those dreams, he should be ordered to obey them, for they are the true harbingers of his future self. They tell him who he is and what he wants and in which direction he should tend. – Richard Bode

I Listen to the Wind…and the Wind Tells me What to Do. A sailboat sails at an angle to the wind. By accident, I scrapped the Nimrod and damaged its hull. Later, he simply sawed away my tiller into half. He commented that it was too long. He taught me to climb the wind instead. The captain of the Nimrod was teaching me how to sail. The thing was that the wind was unpredictable and often deceived me. I had to learn to read the subtleties better. When the wind blows, always climb the sail. To be free at home in the sea, it meant being free of moral judgment. If you never learn to climb the wind, you will not being able to go faster. The journey is more important, the wind is like your journey and it will guide you. Enjoy the journey to the fullest.

Who Made This Boat? I wondered why my boat came from. She had a long history behind her existence. Who figured out the relationship between breeze, boat and sail so impressively? I wanted to identify that one individual in history that invented it. It was a difficult search but I always believed that I could locate a particular soul. I wanted to trace the family tree. There was a constant striving force, like an elan. I understood my boat was a work of art, like a sculpture. The science and the arts all have their place in society. There is no need for the two to compete for greater importance in society. I feel that they can co-exist and should not be viewed separately. Both are important in society. While sailing, I thought about our forefathers and those before us. The boat was part of their collective genius. I saw the truth about creation.

We stand on the shoulders of giants: Archimedes, Galileo, Newton, Darwin, Einstein, to name a few. But for each individual of stature, there are untold others who, for better or worse, helped piece together our civilization – and whose names we will never know. – Richard Bode

The Shortest Distance between Two Points Is a Zigzag Line. I invited a pretty girl I knew to sail with me. She was Martha Coogan. Although Martha accepted my invitation, she was more interested in my boat than me. She didn’t get to get wet. She couldn’t accept why didn’t go straight to a place she wanted to go. Later, she dated a guy who owned a speedboat. On a speedboat, you do not have to bother about the elements etc. I resigned to a sigh. Sometimes, life is not about using an artificial source and then drifting about for no reason in particular. Never go against the god of wind. Humans need to master reality and it isn’t as easy as running in a straight line. Develop an inner clock and know when to stay longer and know when it’s time to go. Handle each tack well and the boat will continue its course and not lose momentum.

Recognize the obstacles that stand between ourselves and where we want to go, and then to maneuver with patience and fortitude, making the most of each leg of our journey, until we reach our landfall. – Richard Bode

In Irons. I had a lot of difficulty sailing through a narrow canal in the past. The aim was to make progress on each tack. However, the wind was unstable and the canal was narrow. Momentum is a double edged sword. Although a sailboat relies on wind, if the bow crosses the breeze, that is a danger zone. One day, I lost control of my sailboat and crashed into a mooring post. The people on the shore came to give me advice on how to rectify the situation. Experience is the best teacher of all. Every tack is a transition. Although I hated my job and my college, I was glad that I stayed the course for a bit. I managed to attain sufficient savings and decent grades from the two. If every job you take is kind of ‘forced’, then you are ‘in irons’. Personal autonomy is very important.

We may make a decision to go our own way, which is the only true way, but if we’re caught without wind in our sails we’ll find ourselves captive, doing the bidding of those we detest. And the tragedy is this: We may never give the gift which is ourselves to those we love or find out who we truly are. – Richard Bode

Going with the Wind. One day, I sailed to Fire Island to have a swim. Then on the way back, I accidentally conducted the ‘accidental jibe’. This is when the stern crosses the wind and the wind will gather behind the sail and cause it to shoot across the deck. This would not be my only jibe. The problem was that I was not concentrating, causing the boom to almost hit me. Being a free-lance writer is a precarious lifestyle, where the amount you earn is unpredictable from day to day. Do not be complacent in life. Sudden death is one of life’s calamities. You must use the wind and not let the wind use you. The captain guided me and suggested that I buy a whisker pole. Sailing is all about compensating, but not overcompensating. I kept a painting and it reminded me to watch the sail, watch the wind, and keep clear of the jibe.

Becalmed. I always thought I could rely on the wind to guide me all the time. Good winds will die as well. There was once when the winds died and my sailboat was still out at sea. I was too used to motion and it didn’t feel good at all. I realized that I was powerless then. There was a black heron perched on my mast. The bird was silent and it was used to solitude. It was then that I realized that I had to be patient and simply wait. A boat offered to tow me but I refused. An hour later, the wind changed directions and blew again. When I was much older, I had to undergo hip surgery. I was in a cast for 6 weeks and couldn’t stand upright. It was at that time when a night heron appeared again. I learnt that interior life can be rewarding when you keep completely still. For a long part of my life, I was a corporate writer and lost sight of what I wanted to do. Sometimes, only when you are very still, you will realize what your inner desires are.

Unfounded Fears. The first time I saw Miss Ocean Beach, we nearly we on a collision course. It was a lesson learnt and now I took pains to make sure that I was on the lookout. There was a point when I tried to steer away from a trawler. However doing so caused my sailboat to hit a log. It then started leaking and taking in water. The trawler towed my boat to safety. The ship’s carpenter fixed my boat up in no time. However, I feared sailing now after the accident. It dawned on me that I was worrying about the future too much. It doesn’t help to react too violently sometimes. It helps to assess the danger first before reacting. The sea and the waves didn’t have a grand design and were indifferent. This contradicted what I learnt in school. Life was indeed very chaotic and unpredictable. Even Science couldn’t explain everything. You have to impose your own order to life. You need to distinguish real from apparent danger. Don’t let fear govern your life. Don’t plan too much or you will see life slip by. If you plan too much, you lose the spirit of adventure. Don’t keep trying to find reasons for everything. Never forget to live in the present. Avoid living life in fear of things.

Fogbound. One day, I saw thunderclouds out at sea. I feared my sails would shred. I often dreamt of my dad in my sleep. He had a brilliant artistic passion and intensity. Later, the sky was filled with fog and I couldn’t see clearly. I couldn’t tell which direction I was heading anymore. I thought that steering randomly was a good idea. It turns out that it wasn’t. The captain advised me to stay put and not move about. I knew that if I sat still and examined the elements carefully, I would be able to know where to go. It was then I realized that if the boat remains stationary, it would point in the direction of the wind. I realized that I always needed to listen to that inner voice talking. Sometimes if you lead too comfortable a life, you will realize that you are unable to react to crisis well. The ability to see the obvious can be very powerful indeed. Undergoing a divorce shook me real badly. I pity those who have no direction in life and don’t know what they want or are looking for.

Of Knots, Loops, Bends and Hitches. The simplest knots are the strongest. They also look artistically pleasing. It was the clove hitch. I bought a book on how to tie simple knots. A good knot can be taught from one generation to the next. I also learnt how to tie the square knot. The knot never let me down. It was a union of male and female. A knot which can’t be untied often leads to misery. Being able to tie knots fills me with a great sense of accomplishment. Knowing the basic knots help and it can indeed be very impressive.

A Forgiving Boat. There was once when I was stuck in a sandbar after miscalculating the waves. A friend advised me to drop the centerboard immediately when I started sailing. I could make better headway now. In shallow water, the centerboard would hit the bottom, indicating that the sand bar was near. I explored a house on an island although there was a sign that said no trespassing. I was hesitant to enter but I knew that I was so because I always accepted other laws. The centerboard was like forgiveness. I knew I sought to forgive others, to appreciate friendship and accept their shortcoming. Sometimes, even boats can be forgiving in nature.

A Lazy Sailor at Heart. My aunt kept insisting that she wanted to sail even though I wasn’t keen on letting her do it. She admitted she was a good swimmer in the past. I was intrigued by the stories she told. She said that she was at one with God. She that was what atonement meant. That sentence stirred me and I kept thinking about it. Every wind had its own character. Soon, I learn to be in tune with the wind. It was then that I realized that I didn’t want to roam about too much and that I was a lazy sailor. If you travel too much, sometimes you miss what’s with you. People are all too busy nowadays and can’t spare a moment of contemplation. The dailiness of life is what we miss. I have learnt to appreciate the nuances of nature when I’m out at sea.

I once met a man who said he visited every exotic place from the Grand Canyon to the Great Wall, but when I questioned him closely I discovered he hadn’t seen the songbirds in his own backyard. – Richard Bode

Like a Boat Without a Rudder. I sailed too far downwind one day. After a jibe, I realized the rudder came off. I felt seasick then and it was miserable. Thankfully, a captain to rescue me. The sailboat looked pathetic without the rudder. Oscar was helping me fix my sailboat. Later, the rudder was replaced. It was then that I realized not all places are safe and that I should venture out too far. I would only go to those places that provided meaning to my life. Carry the purpose of life wherever you go. In future, I took pains not to lose the rudder ever again.

A Boat is a She/ A Boat is a He. One day, I stole the wind from another boat’s sails. She was pissed and called me a SOB. To make it up to her, she wanted me to take her for a ride in my boat. When on my boat, she decided that she was going to sail it instead. She was a competent sailor and did everything that I would also normally do. She suggested that we send the boat to a race. I agreed. We separated from the pack and sailed in the hope of receiving more wind. Although there were faster boats, we were competing against ourselves. In the end, we finished a very respectable third. A boat could react as a man or a woman, depending on who is controlling and steering it. Do not stereotype others. Never call a boat ‘it’.

True and Apparent Wind. One day, Carlton bought a fiberglass daysailer. It was an in-thing and he predicted that it will outlast the wood hull. However, he wasn’t used to and I could tell that he exploiting me. Carlton bought me to his house as he wanted to sail. It was a luxurious boat. His chauffeur came to pick me up. He was extremely rich. Later, his parent greeted me but simply walked off after that. Carlton wanted me to accompany him on the boat. His dad wanted to put down Carlton in front of me. Carlton was also overbearing in nature. I kept barking instructions to Carlton in the boat. Later, the boat capsized and Carlton nearly drowned because he couldn’t swim. Thankfully we were rescued in the end. His father always kept a close eye on him when he sailed. Boats with fiberglass dominated the industry. It was a long time before I could step into a fiberglass boat after my bad experiences. Carlton thought that he would deserve good respect for his boat and not the way he sailed. Up to today, I still believe that Carlton’s dad controls his son. Too much parent approval is not good. The onus is on the child to break this bind.

In Praise of Sailing Masters. I was now watching my son sail. I realized that I wanted him to learn for himself. He was jibing too often and disaster might strike someday. My son wanted me to leave him alone. I always focused on my son and hoped he didn’t make a mistake. It was then that I realized that perhaps I should back off sometimes and not keep bugging him. After I lost my parents, I picked up others along the way and learnt from the best in the business. I chose my masters. They were all good men of character. We all need masters but we don’t need people lecturing us. All we need is people who will demonstrate how it’s being done. If you want to write, you must learn from the very best. If you want to be a good sailor, you need to know one that can master the wind, sea, sail at his fingertips.

We need to find those special people who contain the lore of the race and can pass on to us what we yearn to know. They may be individuals we meet personally in the classroom or the shipyard or the office down the hall. – Richard Bode

When to Sell a Sloop? When I was in my 20s, the sloop was leaking and I was very busy with my work as well. Then someone gave me a call and said my boat had sank and only the mast was above water. My friend replaced the rotten plank. It was at that time that my son was born. The boat was ready to sail again. I spent a lot of money to upkeep an old boat. After I realized that I needed to move houses, I was ready to sell my boat. There was a sentimental value to it and part of me didn’t want to let it go. Finally I decided that I need to sell it. Sometimes, you need to shed the past so that you can begin anew.

Be with what is so that what is to be may become. – Soren Kierkegaard

Winds of Memory. After my parents died, I moved closer to the sea and learnt to appreciate it better. I have a brilliant memory and can recall many incidents. I remember very vividly what happened to me when I was a kid. The people I can recall all had some influence on me. To me, the past should never be forgotten and should be treasured. Some people don’t want to talk about painful memories of the past. If you forget your past, in a way, you forget who you are.