Soon after rejoining Bernie and Momo in July, Bernie suggested we do a daily meditation using Sam Harris’ guidance. As there’s a ton of research showing it is a helpful practice in dealing with trauma, I readily agreed.
It’s never been something I’ve felt I’d be any good at, since I don’t usually sit still for long and my mind spins off on all manner of tangents. But Bernie explained it in a way that gave me reason to think I might learn and also Sam Harris teaches it in a slightly different way. He talks you through the meditation and then follows up with a discussion/lesson.
So, while we’ve been fairly erratic, not exactly managing the ‘daily’ part, we have been doing his lessons sequentially. We sit on deck, in the shade, or early enough to avoid the heat. Anyway, yesterday something fairly wondrous happened to me. We were asked to try to meditate with our eyes open. We’ve done little snippets of that before, but this was for almost the whole session. Sam got us to focus on one place and then, without really moving our gaze, widen our fields of view and sort of try to not really see the individual objects but just notice the colour fields blending. I found I could do it easily and really enjoyed the experience. Bernie was astonished, as he finds that difficult. And I’m pretty useless at the exercises we get usually!
However, I was reminded of those pictures that were very popular about 15 years ago. They were a picture in a picture, and you had to focus intently on one spot and let yourself look into the painting to find the second one. I could do that easily too and knew many people couldn’t. Bernie said he’d always had trouble with those. It’s so interesting the way our brains work.
He asked if I couldn’t see anything except colour any more. But I could see the boats, mountains and so on, they just became indistinct and blended together, more patches of colours. I did see a turtle because it popped up right in the central point of my focus!
Then, last evening (10th), we were sitting in our usual spot on the bow, a little bit high after a nice wee Mexican buzz, and I tried it looking at the sunset behind the mountains. I found I could not only blend the colours but actually manipulate them and their outlines. It was way trippy and so cool. I could make the whole horizon become one entity, though its actually hills in front of bigger mountains, then darken it and move it down the front of the mountain, though the whole time still able to see the original horizon. So freaky and awesome! I was commentating as I did it and Bernie was fascinated! Later as the sun made a red gold back drop, I could turn it sort of black & gold like a honey comb. It’s rather addictive!
12.10.20: Yesterday I got onto my list of “tomorrow’s jobs” (clever, huh, always got an out!) I started polishing the stainless on the bow, a work in progress, mended Bernie’s trousers, tried to free the rusted solid fittings on the Danforth (spare emergency/kedge anchor), cleaned out the kittens’ litter (daily job), added refinements to the kittens’ rescue nets (weighted the forward edges so they don’t blow out), did Spanish lesson/practice, researched how to make a bong and mended the foot pump for pumping up the dingy. I also swam over to Compass Rose and back. All by lunchtime. Then I was knackered for the rest of the day!
The kittens are battling around my feet, a disconcerting experience. I expect my ankle to take a bite any second! We have a little step stool that just gets used to sit the computer on while we watch a movie, but the kittens love it. One gets under it and they pretend to be hidden from each other. Oooh, my calf just got bitten. Rats! It’s probably payback for all the times we swoop them up for tummy rubs. It must be infuriating to be so little at times!
October 13th 2020: Its 11 months since Danny died. I’m feeling a bit tender, well, more than usual. I’m trying Sam Harris’ exercise for today which he says will help stop us reacting to things that upset us. Guess it doesn’t work on the feelings that come with losing a son. Kitty cuddles work better.
We had Thanksgiving dinner with the crew of Arena and Kim, last night. I’ve never experienced traditional thanksgiving before. We did pot luck so Steph wasn’t cooking for nine people. It’s was a truly fun evening. Steph made us all name one thing we’re thankful for, before eating. The kids were funny, struggling to think of something and settling for practical things like “a comfy bed”! I said I was thankful for Bernie having me here while I tried to put the pieces of my life back together, and for the wonderful new friends I’ve made here. Bernie said he was thankful to have my company on Momo. I’m also thankful for our kittens, which give me so much joy!
On the subject of the cats, again, we gave them another rescue lesson. I’ve made better nets for them to climb up, out of some spare green net Arena had and two old swim noodles. It worked a treat. I got in the water with fins and Bernie handed down each kitten to have a go. They did so well, didn’t panic or claw me to bits. They just perched on my shoulder till I said it was time to swim to the net. Jack went very sedately but Alex cleverly did a massive jump off my shoulder onto the net and scrambled up like a bat out of hell! We did it twice. Jack didn’t find it as easy and I realised it was because I’d trimmed his claws that morning, so I won’t be able to do that again. Poor man. His ego took a hit!
Alex taking the leap!
The poor kitties also had to have their first jabs recently. The vet came to Kim’s catamaran, The Cure, which was awesome. Kim has 4 cats and Midnight, our guys’ sister. So it’s easier than carting them all round! I felt sorry for them but someone pointed out they probably minded a lot less than the swimming lessons! Alex made a wee squawk when injected but Jack didn’t seem at all bothered. So round one of inoculations done and the next lot, including rabies, on November 2nd. I can also get them microchipped for 200 pesos each, so will do that then too. Its a requirement for bringing them to NZ, so I’m glad it’s no trouble to get done here.
0100 hours on the 16th October: I’ve been tossing up whether to mention this or not, but have decided that I’m not into just putting the “perfect life” up. So much on social media is not real but I don’t want my story to be a lie. So, over the last month Bernie and Michelle have been working things out between them, in a much more civilised way than many couples when they are separated, I might add. You know, the financial stuff etc. It’s been hard on both of them and messing a fair bit with Bernie’s peace of mind, which is understandable. I’ve tried to be supportive and not be involved any more than he wants me to be. It’s their business. The bit I’m finding hard is that all of a sudden the lovely, easy, caring relationship we were developing has vanished. He’s pulled right back from me, putting physical and emotional distance between us. I feel very much like “the crew” and that I should be “working” all the time. I no longer feel relaxed and able to plan my day as I wish. I feel guilty if I’m not slaving over something. Which is crazy because I’m not being paid, I came as volunteer crew, I’m putting quite a lot of my own money, caring and time into being here, yet I’m not feeling entirely wanted right now.
I’m trying to just let it ride because I do know this is a difficult adjustment for him to make. But I have my own demons to deal with and don’t really need this. It all comes just as we’ve got the kittens and I’ve committed to doing the crossing next year. Yet here I am, feeling like I could be doing it only to find on arrival in NZ, I may not be welcome, that Bernie might just try and get it all together with his family again. For all their totally disfunctional relationship over the last few years, he is definitely still in love with Michelle. I don’t know that I can cope with being screwed over yet again by a man I’ve put my trust in, however unintentional. I’m thinking my trip to see Matt soon will put some timely distance between us, give some perspective. I just can’t deal with any more hurt right now. I didn’t come to Momo expecting to find someone I could be with, only to help a friend, but Bernie himself put that possibility on the table and now I feel it’s being withdrawn. Except that he’s not telling me, not talking to me, just quietly backing off. I guess time will tell. At some point I will need to try and get him to talk about it. When I raised it the other day, he denied there was any change, which I found disingenuous because it’s so patently not the case.
On so many levels, I wish I could turn back the clock. Maybe to 2018, September, when I was on MY Moonbeam with Fouche. We had such fun and made the most of every day. Matt and Danny were happy and doing great things. Life was good. Damn it. I want that back.
I went back to look at my posts from that time and found I hadn’t made any. I only stop writing when I’m really happy, so I guess that shows I was totally loving life at that point.