April 23, 2018

Living Well: Already There


Waves are gently rocking Giá Lí, a 52-foot custom-designed pleasure boat expertly captained by Sam Sullivan. The term “Giá Lí” is an Italian phrase which means, “the journey is the destination,” or, to be more concise, “Already There.”

I, along with Sam’s brother and mother, am a guest/crew member on day five of an eleven-day cruise through British Columbia’s inside passage, the mountainous, fjord-filled waterway between Vancouver and the Canadian mainland. Sam likes to take it slow.

We travel at about six knots, which is roughly equivalent to 7 mph on land, slow enough to appreciate the mile-high, forest-covered cliffs lining the shore.

As a result of this trip, I’ve learned how to tie a bowline (pronounced bo-lin), a trucker’s hitch, a sheet bend, and several other boating knots. I’ve attached the snubber, shucked my first half a dozen oysters, foot-paddled a kayak into a stream bed, and danced on the bow under the moon-dark sky of a secluded cove, while Sam played “Dark Side of the Moon” in its entirety from the fly bridge.

I’ve also dredged up my backgammon skills, a pastime I’ve not indulged in for at least a decade. Neglect must have improved my game.

I beat the captain our second round, though he is quick to remind me that I lost the match. (Minor technicality; I’ve got six more days.)

Tonight, the four of us dined on freshly caught salmon and barbecued spaghetti squash with grated Reggiano cheese. I am in charge of salad, and when Sam’s mom requested I super-size it tonight, letting me know my column could wait until after I did that, I accepted the compliment and put my laptop to sleep. After dinner we all watched the sun go down over a 13,000-foot, snowcapped mountain range. I know it’s August, and I think it’s Sunday, but I’m not altogether sure. Because of our latitude, the sky remains light until well past 10 p.m.

This surreal timing is helping to disorient my left brain, lulling me into a world devoid of linear time where I am free to follow my body’s natural rhythms.

I’ve seen no clocks on board, and my iPhone remains in a waterproof Ziploc, except when I take it out for photos. I eat when I’m hungry and nap at all hours, sometimes rising at two a.m. to lounge on the bow and stargaze.

So far, the days onboard Giá Lí are simple. When Sam needs the crew, I sometimes have to move quickly and always with accuracy, helping to drive the boat while he sets the stern line or pulls anchor, or making sure I grab the crab-pot float with the boat hook the first time, so we don’t have to swing back around for it. However, these moments of quick action are few and far between.

For the most part, I spend my time eating delectable food, sleeping, and soaking in Nature’s majesty, the boat gently rocking, floating on the mama—nowhere to go, nothing to do. I feel like a cross between an infant and a queen.

Earlier today, en route from Toba Inlet to our current anchor point in Butte Inlet, Sam announced that we had cellular and would have it for about thirty minutes. At the time of his announcement, I was engaged in some serious napping, but out of reflex, I climbed down from the bed in my stateroom, ready to plug in. Then a miracle happened.

As I began to dress and head up to the galley to turn on my laptop and check status on a new contract, I heard a still, small voice whispering to me. I’ve heard the voice before. I hear it all the time. I’m sure we all do. I call it intuition, truth, my authentic self. Hearing the voice is not the miracle. Listening to it is. This inner wisdom quietly informed every cell in my body to be still. “Stay unplugged,” it said. “The world can wait. This moment, this delicious moment of restoration… this is real.”

I called up to Sam, “Thanks anyway, I’ll plug in tomorrow when we dock. It’ll give me time to write my column.” I then undressed, climbed back up onto the bunk, and resumed my nap. I’m told this is called “vacation,” a word like “leisure,” “yacht,” and “passport,” a word for other people, a word that, up until this trip, had precious little space in my personal vocabulary—but not any more.

I’ve developed a taste for this vacation thing. Like so many healthy habits, I can cope without it. I can even be productive and find joy. But why would I deny myself such deep nourishment and pleasure? I am breathing deeper, sleeping more, laughing, playing. No longer simply living, I’m fully alive! There’s no going back to same old, same old. I am transformed, and I like it.

I remember a spiritual teacher answering the age-old question, “How do you know when you’re enlightened?”

He had a simple reply, “You eat when you’re hungry and sleep when you’re tired.”

Apparently, I’m already there. Giá Lí.

Thank you, Sam, Roberto, and Pat for welcoming me aboard.

Sage Knight is a local ghostwriter and Literary Midwife. She lives with her teenage son and their Golden Retriever at Top O’ Topanga and welcomes your visits to www.SageKnight.com.

­­Sage Knight is a local ghostwriter and Literary Midwife. She lives with her teenage son and their Golden Retriever at Top O’ Topanga and welcomes your visits to www.SageKnight.com.