Category Archives: Poems

Phases of life

Has it really been over two months since we got back to Sydney? It’s been hard to think clearly since – and still is. Often our years sailing on Happy Dancer seem but a distant dream and I’m left in free-fall trying to understand how this dream was ripped out of my hands so unexpected and suddenly.

Not to say that we are not enjoying being home. Life’s just too ridiculously good and easy in this city whose only main nuisance is its seemingly constant fight for its ranking amongst the top most expensive places in the world, eg smoothie 12 A$, average parking fine 106 A$ (and I swear it’s impossible not to get one every now and then), average daily kindergarten cost per child 120 A$, one yoga class 20-25 A$, grocery expenditures 30 % higher than when we left only three years ago. Ok, admittedly we do live in Sydney’s sweetest spot – but who wouldn’t wanna live by the most beautiful and varied array of beaches in its East… while you are here and somehow can?!? But then again my horoscope said something like – ‘Face it, if you don’t earn more than 500,000 A$, the Eastern Suburbs are just not for you!’

As you can tell, it’s all back to the rat race and while compared to boat living, believe it or not it’s comfortable, so easy ( eg dish-washer, washing machine, massive (read tiny if you are the average US citizen) fridge with freezer, comfortable house with so much space is just the start…) and definitely less strenuous, demanding and exhausting (eg no unsettled anchors, no night-watches, no potential hose, clamp or sea-cock failures leading a direct road to massive catastrophe…). Paradoxically I can’t remember ever having been able to spend so much quality time with my kids while living on the boat as I can now. Not to mention date nights, regularly yoga classes to teach and to attend and the indescribable luxury of having friends just around the corner.

Despite all that, I can’t help but dream about the Pacific some time in the future… Now fingers crossed Pablo doesn’t read this as he seems so happy and settled it sometimes scares me, lol.

It’s really hard to describe what I’m feeling as gratitude shakes hands with nostalgia, and happiness and laughter with a deep void and unstoppable flow of tears in less than a few minutes. Yes, a reminder, I’m not only a live-aboard sailorette trying to readjust to land-life, but also a good six months pregnant which doesn’t make mood swings any easier.

Everything is a phase I tell my yoga and doula clients – thus no need to waste time in aversions or attachments towards any particular situation. One of my favourite authors, Herman Hesse, summarizes this ways better than I ever could. So let me simply share his poem which our boat’s ex-owner just kindly send in a very sweet email – impossible to reach me at a better time. Thank you Klaus!

Allow me to put both English and German versions and if you can , refer to the original later as the former doesn’t do its beauty any justice.

Embrace wherever in life you are these days – before you know it, your current phase, this moment is gone and it’s time to move on again!

H is for Happiness (10)

Stufen

Wie jede Blüte welkt und jede Jugend
Dem Alter weicht, blüht jede Lebensstufe,
Blüht jede Weisheit auch und jede Tugend
Zu ihrer Zeit und darf nicht ewig dauern.
Es muß das Herz bei jedem Lebensrufe
Bereit zum Abschied sein und Neubeginne,
Um sich in Tapferkeit und ohne Trauern
In andre, neue Bindungen zu geben.
Und jedem Anfang wohnt ein Zauber inne,
Der uns beschützt und der uns hilft, zu leben.

Wir sollen heiter Raum um Raum durchschreiten,
An keinem wie an einer Heimat hängen,
Der Weltgeist will nicht fesseln uns und engen,
Er will uns Stuf’ um Stufe heben, weiten.
Kaum sind wir heimisch einem Lebenskreise
Und traulich eingewohnt, so droht Erschlaffen,
Nur wer bereit zu Aufbruch ist und Reise,
Mag lähmender Gewöhnung sich entraffen.

Es wird vielleicht auch noch die Todesstunde
Uns neuen Räumen jung entgegen senden,
Des Lebens Ruf an uns wird niemals enden…
Wohlan denn, Herz, nimm Abschied und gesunde!

Steps

As every blossom fades
and all youth sinks into old age,
so every life’s design, each flower of wisdom,
attains its prime and cannot last forever.
The heart must submit itself courageously
to life’s call without a hint of grief,
A magic dwells in each beginning,
protecting us, telling us how to live.

High purposed we shall traverse realm on realm,
cleaving to none as to a home,
the world of spirit wishes not to fetter us
but raise us higher, step by step.
Scarce in some safe accustomed sphere of life
have we establish a house, then we grow lax;
only he who is ready to journey forth
can throw old habits off.

Maybe death’s hour too will send us out new-born
towards undreamed-lands,
maybe life’s call to us will never find an end
Courage my heart, take leave and fare thee well.

Pictures Courtesy H is for Happiness, Malta, 2015

Going Home

Tears are drying on my cheeks and the rings under my eyes from sleepless nights ain’t matter anymore.

Change can be painful, but it’s the only way to growth.

Today I can raise my gaze with a heart-felt smile as we have decided to go back home.

The old, confused and shaken me of the past few weeks might have laughed sarcastically, pointing out all the possibly conceivable failures: We didn’t cross an ocean, we didn’t circumnavigate the world, we are not even going to India or Bali for some spiritual nurturing as was the thought for a brief moment once the boat was put up for sale because of our surprise pregnancy. But the old me, pre-conditioned by unhelpful thinking and behaviour patterns from too long ago, is not the present. She might have launched another desperate attempt to sneak back in only a few moments ago – and she probably will try and  do so again in the future – but right here, right now, this moment is the only reality in life. And I am here, fresh and smiling and reborn, present with body, mind and soul. So grateful for the journey and the travels which have given me so much more than I could ever have asked for – and as life does so often, in the most unexpected way. Namely love, camouflaged as its close relative which hadn’t visited me in years, home.

A place to call home, a supportive community which feels like family. A place where you know every back street, every track, every walk, every beach, every best sailing cove, every best snorkeling spot. A place where you don’t need to make dates ‘cause you know you’ll meet the friend you are meant to meet on the way to the park or the beach. A place where you don’t feel like a stranger. A place which isn’t perfect – as no place in this world is – but a place who’s soul you feel so connected with that you forgive it all its errors, mistakes, misshapes and annoyances.

The day we left Sydney 2.5 years ago to sail the world with our children, is ironically also the day when I first started to have the notion that my nomadic travelling life might belong to the past. Instead of leaving just another place I used to call home for a while, I left what had become my home. And now it’s calling me back, LOUDLY, with no regrets. Sometimes one has to leave things behind to discover their true value.

I’ve gone on a journey – but it wasn’t the boat, the places we saw, cultures we discovered, new friends we made, languages we learnt and engineering bits we understood better. Not only. It was mainly the journey that took place inside which made the true difference. And ultimately this journey has lead me… back home.

ETD London:Sydney Nov 24th 2015

It takes hands to build a house, but only hearts can build a home.