During my childhood Adirondack summers, our family hosted sailboat races every Wednesday and Saturday afternoon. A motley collection of sailors would arrive at our dock towing their snipes, a sailboat with a jib and mainsail large enough to need a crew of one but small enough to have a good sail even if the wind wasn’t up.
Our family was responsible for setting the course. If the wind was coming in one direction we would set a three point course in the smaller bay to the south of our dock. The sailors would agree on how many times round they would sail the course. The direction around the buoys would maximize beating into the wind because that made for a better race with more strategy and skill involved. If the wind was right we would set a larger course in the main body of the lake. This meant a much longer race as it was a many mile course with four mile legs.
Before the race, my father was preoccupied getting our snipe ready. My older sister was usually his crew so this left me to go out with my younger brother to drop the buoys to mark the course. Once everyone had their sails up and were tacking back and forth at the starting line, my brother and I would start the race. First we gave a five minute warning, then a one minute warning and then a go signal. We would wave towels in case our ridiculously inadequate megaphone was hard to hear. As the race progressed, we were the committee boat, racing off to rescue anyone who got hung up.
Besides the delight of being a very young teen left to tear around in a big motorboat unsupervised, there was the character study of the captains of these boats.
One older gentleman had the best boat. He was the inventor of marine plywood and took the quality of his boat and his approach to every race very seriously. The trophy awarded at the end of the season to the sailor who won the most races never left his cottage wall as he won all the races. His glamorous wife was his crew. Wearing colorful rain gear and a diamond as big as the Ritz, she looked fresh as a daisy even after very wet races. I long remembered the race when she reached into a cooler and handed me a frozen Babe Ruth bar. I had never tasted anything so good. One Saturday late in my teenage years I crewed for this glamorous couple’s eldest grandson. We did not win. As we landed on our dock after the race, we were greeted by both a furious grandfather and father who chewed us out for the mistakes we made. The family was uber competitive.
But the person that made me think about writing this blog was an irascible Scotsman whom I shall call Mr. V. Mr. V had been in the mining business and had spent most of his career in the jungles of Central America. An extremely portly gentleman, he always pulled up to our dock in his gleaming Chris-Craft with his teeny tiny wife at his side. Mrs. V was one of the smallest and most wrinkled people I had ever met which made the story that she had delivered her children alone in the jungles of Nicaragua even more amazing. She was a doctor so apparently she knew what she was doing, but I very much hope that “alone” was inaccurate and that she had a local midwife to help her. I never dared ask her the full story. It all seemed so wildly improbable that this miniature person had given birth to Mr. V’s children let alone in a jungle. She was the epitome of a stoic putting up with Mr. V’s sailing day histrionics. Add to this giving birth to his children in the jungle, and she was in a category of unapproachable immortal.
Mr. V towed his boat from about as far away on the lake as you could get. He had a house on one of the fingers of the lake, a good ten miles from our dock. Once we dropped in for a tour of his home. While we were used to the creepy deer heads that decorated most Adirondack camps, we were still startled by the walls of his home covered as they were with enormous stuffed amphibians and strange metal contraptions. Perhaps if I had known more about mining I might have recognized what all the hardware was. The snakes and alligators spoke for themselves.
As a heavy set gentleman, Mr. V was always searching for a small person to crew for him. With his weight in the boat, he needed the lightest crew possible if he was to have any chance of racing well in a light breeze. He trolled the waters of the lake dragging in one callow youth after the other as no one wanted to crew for Mr. V more than once.
One reason for this was that Mr. V was a terrible sailor. He seemed to have no sense of the wind or any idea that he needed to change his way of attacking the course from moment to moment as conditions shifted. He came in with the same game plan week after week and followed it no matter how dismal the results. Each race he would immediately set off on a tack that was ill advised, leaving him well behind the field from the beginning.
Though we never set a course near rocks or submerged stumps, he found them as metal filings find a magnet. This led to many races in which my brother and I towed him and his wet, cold crew back to our dock. Of additional relevance to his crew was the fact Mr. V was not the most patient of gentleman and always loudly blamed his crew for problems that developed during the race. His rants alarmed my brother and me so much that If Mr. V arrived for a race without someone to crew for him, we would high tail it into the woods to be sure he wouldn’t lean on us to fill in for him. Fortunately the lake usually coughed up another young victim for him, and we were off the hook.
So what got me thinking of Mr V? So much of this time is about who we choose to Captain our boat. The wind is up and we need to let go of the shore where we’ve been, but who is going to Captain our boat? So many Captains are like Mr. V. Full of bluster, unwilling to learn from experience, intent on doing the same old thing over and over again even as it doesn’t work, certain they are right in spite of evidence to the contrary.
While I certainly can stray into letting a Mr. V steer my ship for a moment, I choose the Divinity within me to Captain my boat. So many Mr. Vs clamor for our attention right now, claiming an expertise that they do not have. At best these Captains can offer unhelpful generic advice unconnected to our specific circumstances. At the worse, their advice steers us right out of the purpose and flow of our lives onto submerged stumps. That’s the thing about listening to the Divinity within us. It’s current guidance precisely for our situation. It’s Divinity speaking directly to us in each now.
As we leave behind the Piscean Age and head into the Aquarian Age, we can salute the up side of the Piscean Age with its encouragement of direct mystical revelation, direct contact with the Divinity within us. But we need to throw out the structures of interference created by all organizations resistant to the idea that each of us is meant to have a direct experience of Divinity without someone else “guiding” i.e. controlling us. If an organization or person says the only way to proceed is via their guidance or methods of operation, following this advice is like crewing for Mr. V. Maybe once in a blue moon his rigid game plan worked ( though I never experienced this), but almost always a boat steered by him was bound to flounder or land on the rocks.
People often wonder why we are so open ended about how to use our Flower Essences. This summer as I dive deeper and deeper into the world of Flowers, I am so very glad that our basic advice has always been: trust your own guidance about what to do with the Flower Essences. If you feel that you are to rub them on your feet, rub them on your feet. If you feel you are to spritz a mix over your head five times a day, I salute your guidance and support you in it.
I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon, but something about this summer as I visit so deeply with the Flowers makes me think of what this vista must be like. I feel I am looking into a vast and breathtaking landscape of healing that I have only just begun to glimpse after thirty five years in the garden. When you tell me that you were guided to work with a Flower Essence in a new way for a new purpose formerly unknown to me, I am excited and happy. The Flower has spoken deep in your heart. The Divinity within you has listened and felt the truth and power of the Flower. As you share your direct, felt experience, my point of view is expanded by yours. I may never get guided to use the Essence in the same way as you because we are distinct Divine beings in a sea of Divinity, but I know you have received wonderful guidance in perfect alignment with your glorious being.
I am grateful for every moment I remember to let my inner Divinity captain my boat and I am grateful for every moment you do too.