Saturday, August 08, 2009

Day 76 - Positive Thinking: An Epiphany

I wish the title of this blog referred to a newfound ability to overcome
adverse winds through the power of positive thinking – but unfortunately
it doesn't. A glance at the RozTracker will show that the weather and I
were not of the same view as to where I should be going today.

No, the title refers to a mini-epiphany I had last night as I was trying
to get to sleep, and once I'd had the mini-epiphany I was so excited
about it that all hope of sleep was gone, so I got up and rowed under a
full moon until 3am while I considered my new insight. It was the result
of several topics that have been under discussion on this blog over the
last few days. The environment. The Alchemist. The Law of Attraction.
And maybe a little soupcon of serendipity too.

The idea that popped into my head was this… It seems to me (and I could
be wrong – it's rather difficult to keep my finger on the pulse from a
small rowboat a thousand miles from anywhere) that most of the climate
change debate focuses on climate change, i.e. The Problem, and I think
it might be more helpful to focus on sustainability, i.e. The Solution.

To draw a parallel… when I was living my old life as a management
consultant in London (as discussed in yesterday's podcast), I knew there
was something wrong. The fact that I was not happy was a giveaway. I
didn't feel good about my work, and not feeling good, as Esther and
Jerry Hicks point out, is a clear indicator that you're out of whack
with your life purpose.

But I didn't know that then. I just knew my life sucked. So I spent a
lot of time trying to figure out what was wrong with it. I wrote volume
after volume of my journal trying to analyze the problem. I even had a
few therapy sessions – until the extortionate cost of the therapy
became almost as stressful as the issue I'd gone into therapy to
resolve. In short, I was obsessed with The Problem.

Then one day I hit on a better idea. This was when I did my obituary
exercise – I sat down and wrote two versions of how I might be
remembered at the end of my life – the version I wanted, and the version
I was then heading for. The version I was heading for was ordinary,
mundane, pleasant but not exciting. The one I wanted was exciting,
passionate, rich, and unusual. The huge difference between the two made
it clear that I would need to make some big changes – and the direction
that those changes should take.

I was no longer focused on The Problem. I wasn't even focused on The
Solution. I was focused on Where I Wanted To Be. And after even more
hiccups, wiggles, waggles, zigs and zags than my current course from
Hawaii, I got myself on track for that ideal obituary. There were some
dramatic changes – I lost my job, my income, my home and my husband
along the way – but I barely looked back, and certainly not with regret.
None of these losses felt like sacrifices - because I was so invigorated
by my vision of the future. I was moving powerfully TOWARDS an exciting
new life, not AWAY from the old one.

So, to go back to the environment. Wouldn't it seem so much more
motivating if we were focusing on Where We Want To Be – collectively –
instead of focusing on The Problem? Wouldn't it be invigorating if we
had an attractive, shared vision of a sustainable future, that would
keep us moving forwards instead of bogging down in petty political
haggling and clinging onto the past? Wouldn't it be so much more FUN if
we were focused on all the exciting aspects of this brave new world
instead of dwelling on things we have already lost forever?

If you subscribe to the Law of Attraction, we get what we focus on. If
we focus on The Problem, we perpetuate the problem. If we focus on What
We Really, Really, Really Want – then that is what we will get. And
hopefully what we want is a green, sustainable future.

And finally, let's bring in The Alchemist. In that book the hero is on a
quest in pursuit of his "own personal legend". The climate change
conference in Copenhagen this December gives us an opportunity to pursue
our collective human legend. What will it be? Is our legend going
to demonstrate courage? Or cowardice? Commitment? Or confusion?

In 200 years time, will our descendants look back at this pivotal moment
and admire us as visionaries? Or will they look back and wonder what the
hell we were thinking? In fact, if we don't find the courage and the
commitment to create our green, sustainable future, will there even be
any descendants? Or will the human race be history?

Whether you believe in climate change or not, and whether you believe in
the Law of Attraction or not, doesn't really matter. What does matter is
What We Really, Really, Really, Really Want - and rising to make that
vision a reality.

Me? I'm excited. I can see an amazing future in which humans have risen
to be heroes, our better selves, and have pulled together to create a
clean, harmonious world. And that's where I'm going to put my focus.

[photo: taken this afternoon - looking for the silver lining]

Other Stuff:

Damage limitation mode today. The wind has been from the southeast all
day, and I've been swept relentlessly northwest, diminishing my chances
of making landfall on my preferred choice of Tuvalu, as well as making
for some rather discouraging statistics in my logbook. Despite rowing
all day (and half of last night) I've now lost 20 miles of southerly
progress. The forecast is for the wind to move into the east at midnight
tonight – but with all due respect to weatherguy, I'm the last person in
the world to pin future happiness on a weather forecast.

And then, just when I thought things couldn't get worse, a booby bird
landed on my boat and crapped all over my solar panels. Sigh. Is this a
rowboat, or just a public convenience for passing boobies?

To be honest, I'm feeling a bit low and could do with a big hug. In a
rather selfish way it cheered me up to get an email from Mum this
evening saying that Mick and Chris of have also
had a tough day or two – just goes to show that this ocean rowing lark
is not as easy (???!) as it looks!

But there WAS some good news to cheer me up, and is increasingly true it
came from the Rozling community. In yesterday's blog I put out a plea
for donations to pay for a filmmaker to come to Island X to record my
arrival for posterity – and also record interviews with locals about the
impact on their lives of climate change. And I am DELIGHTED to announce
that in less than 24 hours we are already half way to our target of

It was especially lovely to see the list of donors and discover that
some old friends have evidently been following my fortunes, although
keeping a low profile on the comments. Donations have varied from $10 to
$300, and are all very much appreciated. Our total so far is $1,287.38.
I'd like to give special thanks to:

Katie Donigan, Michael Dimas, Sajeev Pillai, Sindy Davis, Angela Hunt,
Steve Gronek, Frederick Graus, Katharine Weber, Darren Mace, Douglas
Brown, Lorrin & Nina Lee, Cece Gannon, Mark Hensel, Doug Grandt, Karen
Morss, Ginny from Silver Lining Images, Ene Timusk, Ike Stephenson, Joan
Sherwood, Abigail James, James Crittenden, Tim Mussche, Julian Gall,
Jeffrey Roberts, and Clark Sargent.

If you haven't yet got around to making your donation and would like to
help out, please go to and click on the PayPal button. And
remember, these donations are being matched up to a maximum of $2,500 –
so in effect you are giving TWICE as much!

Hawk – great idea to auction some memorabilia to raise funds, but I
won't be auctioning off any oars just yet, as I need them for Stage
3.But there WILL be an auction on eBay of various other items at the end
of this stage. Baseball caps for sure – I've got about 10 on board – and
probably rowing gloves and various other items too… although most things
don't look too great after 100+ days at sea. And nor do I!

UncaDoug – I loved your idea about the "carrots" to encourage me on my
way to Island X. Thank you for the donations – and I have forwarded your
suggestion to Evan as a possible future development on the RozTracker.
Nice one!

Jo – thanks for the support on RowPro/Oarbits – much appreciated!

Sindy – the Pageant of the Masters sounds fun!

Joan – 23 is my favorite number. For no reason other than that my
birthday is December 23, and my only sibling's birthday is May 23. So it
just seemed significant.

Marv H – spiritual and/or religious? That's a big question, and I might
well devote a blog to it. But in brief for now… no, I am not religious,
but I would say that I am spiritual . I definitely believe in the
existence of an energy that can't be perceived with the 5 human senses.
Yet there is also a scientific basis for it – my belief is based not so
much on faith as on my own life experiences.

Weather report:

Position at 2050 HST: 02 33.338N (sob!), 176 52.735W
Wind: 10-20kts SE
Seas: 3-5 ft SE
Weather: early squall, then sunny and fine most of the day, but with big
black clouds rolling in towards sunset

Weather forecast courtesy of

Latest tracker reported your position as: 02 16N 176 22W as of 06Aug

As of Thursday morning 6 Aug 2009. According to measured data, there
have been Eerly winds up to 20kts and rainshowers in your area, which
might help explain your gain in westward longitude. Eerly winds extends
to the Equator then shift to SEerly 0-12kts. Winds will be very shifty
next couple of days becoming Serly 0-15kts by 1600HST 06Aug. Then
shifting back to Eerly 0-12kts by 08Aug 0000HST. Forecast aids indicate
Eerly winds 0-15kts persist for remainder of the forecast period.
Uncertainty remains in the forecast, as previously discussed. According
to satellite imagery, there remains moderate convection with rainshowers
and squalls overhead and to your north. Minimal cloud activity south of
01 00N.

Sky conditions: Partly to mostly cloudy. Scattered moderate
rainshowers, squalls, and possible thunderstorms.

Forecast (low confidence due to extreme variability in equatorial
regions and naturally occurring small scale fluctuations in
direction/speed in the Doldrums)
Date/Time HST Wind kts Seas (ft) est
06/1800-08/0000 S 0-15 2-5
08/0000-11/0000 E 0-15 2-5

Next Update: Monday, 10 August