The other day I lost my book list. At that moment, my attachment to the list felt stronger than to any of the books on the list, probably because I couldn’t easily replace it at a Boarders or Barnes and Noble like I could all the others.
I was given a wake-up call when my family home caught on fire. Nothing is secure and it can all be lost in a breath. My collection of books, which at the time were very important to me, was damaged. Since then, I have kept a list of the title of every book I read and the month and year in which I read it.
Each time I document a book, its like a mini ritual which then frees myself from the “book object” and I can pass it on to the next lucky reader. No longer having any attachment to the book itself, the memory of reading it is enough.
The irony in loosing the list was apparent. My book list became the very opposite of its source ambition, failing completely to relieve myself of attachment on things. Instead of detached and at peace, when I lost the list, I was frantic. I felt like a piece of me was erased from history and the only way to get it back was to find the book list.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, I did find it. Had I not, I wonder if I would have started a new list, or if I would have seen loosing it as an opportunity for more freedom. Likely I would have started a new one. This time, not only documenting it in a notebook, but in a secure online database as well. Then, I would put an additional copy in a fireproof trunk to be stored at my parent’s house. I need more practice at this.
Read the first part of the story…
Read the second part of the story…
Teresa, just a note to let you know how much I enjoy your writings. The journey that you embarked on is a courageous one. Please know, that I, and I’m sure many others are excited for you and in a way hope to somedqay have the courage to break away from land and the complexities of life we’ve created for ourselves.
I wish you a very happy and healthy thanksgiving. I hope to be in the northeast in jan. and would welcome the opportunity to meet you in person. A warm cup of tea or coffee would be good company as you tell more of your jouney.
Take care, Capt. Billy Graham east coast of Fl.
“This time, not only documenting it in a notebook, but in a secure online database as well. Then, I would put an additional copy in a fireproof trunk to be stored at my parent’s house.”
I am reminded of a story that was told to me about a man who heard about a great symphony that was coming to a nearby town. He was so excited, he saved up for weeks to go, was able to get off of work early, and had to drive for an hour just to see the show. He arrived, was seated, and the show began. As you can imagine he was whisked away by melodic music and seduced by the symphony, until 1o minutes into the show the thought popped into his head, “Did I lock my car?” The coliseum was not in the best part of town and he tried to bring back the memory of him getting out of the car, but he was so excited to be going to the symphony that he could not remember if he locked his car. Thoughts quickly changed to what he would do if his car was stolen, did he have enough money to even pay the deductible and…Before he knew it the sounds of the clapping snapped him out of his thoughts and as his eyes turned from his thoughts on the inside to moment on the outside, he realized that he had missed the whole show. His thoughts of his car and its possible loss, robbed him of actually being present during the show and he missed the whole symphony.
How often do we miss the beauty of the moment because we are stuck in the future or the past?
And if we possess such an object that drives us to miss the beauty of the moment right in front of us, do we own that object, or does it own us?
Do we create our own suffering by seeing permanent, what in essence is passing?
While I often find much pleasure in books, it is not the words themselves that give me pleasure, it is the place that the words take me. It is when the words themselves entangle me and snare me with labels that I am imprisoned and kept from the world of the present moment.
That is when I do not see the Ocean, I see the label of the ocean. Like the little Blow fish who ask’s his friend the barracuda, “Mr.Barracuda, please help me, I am looking for the Ocean! Where can I find it?” The barracuda replies with a chuckle, “What do you mean? You are swimming in the Ocean!” For which the little blow fish swims off unsatisfied, “No, this is water! I am looking for the Ocean!”
What of our life then? Do we seek more security by learning and educating ourselves so that we have more ways to label things? So we secure our labels through education and fireproof our our labels through lengthy definitions? Adding words on top of words?
Or do we allow ourselves to be propelled by words to that place of transcendence and understanding? Maybe then when we come to the Ocean, we no longer think the label ocean, nor attempt to describe it through scientific words, or capture it with poetic words, but then maybe we, as in the words of T.S. Elliot said, will come to the place we started and see it for the first time.
Maybe it is in this seeing for the first time that we find happiness. And then as we drain our mind, and open our soul we can laugh at the question: “Does a fish ever get thirsty?”
Ahoy Teresa, while onboard this morning I just found that out of print book, authored by Frank Bullen, that 1870’s whaler.
He wrote the book titled “The Cruise of the Cachalot”, and two others, “With Christ at Sea” and “The Men of the Merchant Service”.
The book of short stories I particularly like is titled ” A Sack of Shakings”, by Frank, and the story I most liked in that book is titled, “The Orphan”, a story from the perspective of an orphaned baby sperm whale.
The opening paragraph, starts like this : “Shining serenely as some immeasurable mirror beneath the smilling face of heaven, the solitary ocean lay in unrippled silence.” …….. Hope you get a chance to read his writings some day.
Bernard Cornwell, who writes great historical fiction, is also an avid sailor and writes some good, contemporary adventure yarns involving sailing, such as “Stormchild” and “Scoundrel” among others.
However, maybe living on a boat you’d like to read something completely removed from that kind of life once in a while?
I think having the book list is a good thing. It allows you to keep track of what you’ve read and not have to actually have the books in question on-hand. I carry about 800 books of various sorts on my PDA, which can be very convenient.
I’m not an avid reader anymore like I once was, but my love for nature has never left me. I too some twenty years ago decided to sell everything, buy a boat(a 37 foot Tayana) and lived aboard and sailed many times single handed. I still miss that lifestyle, but the boat is just a few miles away at a marina here on the Cheaspeake and we have been out sailing some 5 times so far this year. I never did cross those oceans like you will probably do, but that is not the most important part IMHO. It is the people that you meet along the way and I was fortunate to meet many world cruisers who spent the summers there at the dock in Solomons, MD. I now enjoy hiking the mountains of the areas around Tucson in the winters, training to be able to keep up with one of my daughters in the Va Ten Miler come this fall, and of course the sailing. I post under the name of Lancelot9898 in the sailnet website and many of my posts are under gear and maintenance. There are many good posters here on the sailnet website and I still have a lot to learn.