Barry's Blog # 29 – Time is not an absolute concept!


Sunset over Las Salinas marine reserve

Friday of last week as Aannsha and I were sitting in the cockpit of our yacht enjoying a cold beer and watching the sun heading towards the horizon, I had a mental panic attack. It blindsided me. It was totally unexpected, out of left field and it took me a while to get a grip on my runaway scarily negative thoughts.

We'd had a great day, lot's of big jobs had been completed with hardly any complications and we'd just been informed by Jose that we'd be lifted back into the water the following morning. I was feeling good, we were another step closer to being ready to leave the marina and start sailing.

I'd just glanced towards the bow and was looking back along A B Sea's 46 foot length...

Then BOOM...

The thoughts began.

The first thought was understandable, you could call it rookie nerves. I was concerned about the responsibility of being in charge of a 46 foot vessel; it's not just a yacht, it's also our home. Would I remember all the training we'd had in Gibraltar way back in February? Would our anchor hold wherever we anchored? Would I crash into the dock the first time we called into a new port to refill our diesel and water? All reasonable thoughts to have as an inexperienced sailor, soon to be at the helm of a vessel he'd never actually handled under sail.

Those first thoughts trickled in and then it was as if some flood gates had been opened. The trickle turned into a deluge of negativity. In an instant I saw a potential future, as if the rest of my life stretched out before me. A life where I had to create something new every week: A new and interesting blog; A new and entertaining YouTube video. Was I really up to that challenge? Would sailing to new locations still allow enough time each week to be able to write blogs and edit videos? Would we have a decent internet speed and connection? Would we gain enough of an audience and following to be able to create an income? Would the pressure of obligation become overwhelming as our subscriber and viewer numbers increased? Would we still have enough cash in the sailing kitty after we settled the final invoice here at the marina?

The negative thoughts went on and on. I can't remember for exactly how long, maybe only about 4 minutes but in my head it seemed an awful lot longer.

I was only able to regain control and calm my mind by telling myself (several times before it actually registered and sank in) that tomorrow may never come, the future is not yet written and all that I had really was this moment in time - what I was seeing with my eyes, hearing with my ears and feeling as the breeze touched my skin. I focussed on the lyrics of the song playing in the background, I watched a seagull lazily circling across the salt ponds in front of me, I breathed the warm fresh air deep into my lungs and I observed the setting sun. A sun that had been rising and setting for 4.6 billion years and was likely do so for another few billion years. I reminded myself that time is relative, rather than an absolute concept. It was a great relief to finally regain control of my thoughts and I just hope that it's a long time before that runaway negativity ever happens again.

Writing these thoughts down now, the morning after, they seem quite trivial and not so scary. I really can't adequately convey how absolutely negative or how fast and furious all of the thoughts were at the time they were happening. I can only liken it to watching a boxing movie, where one fighter realises that his opponent is done for, he's got him on the ropes and he's just pummelling the other boxer with relentless blow after blow.

When I woke up this morning I was not sure that I was going to share this with you, but I then remembered that when Aannsha and I began writing these blogs we agreed that we'd be totally open and honest in what we shared. It's not all unicorns and rainbows and there will be good times and bad times. I hope as well that if a reader is also entertaining negative thoughts they can take some small comfort in knowing that it happens to other people too and maybe they can try my technique to bring themselves into the present moment.

Poco a poco