The sea is often used as a metaphor for boundless adventure and opportunity, sailing as the ultimate exercise of freedom. From shore we say, one day I’m just going to buy a boat and sail away! We look out at the sea and think of all the possibilities, inspired by its vastness. We toy with visions of far-off islands, leagues away from the responsibilities of our everyday lives.
In Western history, the act of sailors taking to the sea carried a connotation of lawlessness. The Church was concerned that sailors out of reach by moral governance would be overcome by the devilish inclinations that is our human nature. Though I don’t believe we aboard the SSV Robert C Seamans have succumb to the dark side yet, there is something to be said for the relief from societal norms and expectations that the ocean grants.
Disconnected from the daily distractions of our land-lives, we have the space to tune into thoughts, emotions, and sensations that we may not have attended to before. We have the freedom to explore those without moral judgement from anyone other than ourselves. The big blue is just but a mirror.
With other noise quieted, we begin to hear our own body’s voice speaking to us. We start to listen to the neural knowledge in our bellies and hearts, and not just our head. We feel emotions manifest themselves physically before they manifest themselves mentally as thoughts. We come to see the expanse between what’s happening around us, our reaction, and our response.
It is here we learn lies our freedom– not in the limitlessness of the ocean but in the choices we make every day. It lies in the actions we choose to make when we pay clear attention to our thoughts, emotions, and intuition.
So, for those of you still stuck on shore, a quote for you to meditate on:
“Sincerely explore for yourself, are you here or not? Are you in your body or oblivious, or only aware of parts of it? When I say, are you in your body, I mean, are you completely filling your body? I want to know if you are in your feet, or do you just have feet? Do you live in them or are they just things you use when you walk? Are you in your belly or do you just have a belly? Or is it just for food? Are you really in your hands or do you move them from a distance? Are you present in your cells, inhabiting and filling your body? If you aren’t in your body, what significance is there in your experience in this moment? Are you preparing so that you can be here in the future? Are you saying to yourself, when such and such happens, I’ll have time, I’ll be here? If you are not here, what are you saving yourself for?”
– Hameed Ali (Shared by Olivia Lord, Mate-in-Training)
K(J)elly M(N)organ, Shipboard Philosopher
P.S. Shoutout to Jess’s mom Sarah, Jenna’s mom Janet, Una’s mom Sandy, and my mom, Mom! We love and miss you! <3