The Atma Part 2 of 2

The marina was in its usual Saturday morning tourist bustle as Katie made her way down to the dock with the last of her provisions and clothes. The neighbours were going to keep an eye on the house, her trusty 4wd was securely parked in the compound, and this was her last descent. She and Atma (the boat) were ready to go.

And there she was. Katie always felt a sense of pride when she looked at this boat, her traditional lines and planked hull, her teak decks and old world charm. She noticed a woman standing on the other side looking at her boat.

‘Hi there’ Katie called out, walking over to the other side.

‘Hi, is this your boat?’ the woman enquired

“Yes it is, well it was my dad’s and mine but he died last year, so yep, now I’m her skipper’.

‘She’s beautiful.’

‘Yeah I’m glad you think so. She may not have all the modern bling but I think she is beautiful too.’ Katie immediately liked this woman. Most tourists were busy oohing and ahhing over the few luxury yachts that were berthed here.

Atma? Did you name her?’ The lady enquired

‘No. She had that name when dad brought her 30 years ago. We are not sure what it means, all we know is that she was made by a family who were sailing around the world when their boat was shipwrecked in a storm of the coast of India. They were rescued and made welcome in India, where they stayed building this boat with the help of a local fishing village. It took them five years to build her and she was launched in 1934. We are presuming it is Indian.’

‘Well you are right this is an Indian word, would you like to know what it means’ The woman asked with a kindly glimmer in her eye. She reminded Katie somewhat of a gypsy that had secrets to tell and half expected her to pull out a crystal ball.

‘That would be pretty special actually. I am literally just about to set off to Tasmania with her.’

‘By yourself.’ Katie nodded. ‘You are a brave one then.’

Katie laughed ‘Brave or stupid.’

‘Well you don’t strike me as stupid so I’ll keep with brave.’ The lady reached out her hand ‘My names Katarina but Tina for short,’

‘Too funny. Mine is Katrina but Katie for short.’

And with that Tina the gypsy woman proceeded to tell Katie what the name of her boat Atma meant. ‘Atma in Indian means soul.’

A ships bell began to clang a little way down the dock.

‘Oh shoot that’s my boat. A tour with my mum. It was lovely to meet you and to see your beautiful boat. Good luck with your travels.’ Tina began to ferret around in her backpack before quickly producing a business card. ‘I’m a yoga teacher, that is how I know some Indian. Drop me an email if you think I can help you with anything else.’ Then like a mini whirlwind Tina was off running towards the boat and the shortening line of embarking passengers.

Half tongue tied Katie yelled out ‘Thank you Tina, you have made my day.’

Katie was still trying to let what Tina was speaking about settle; it was like a new door had just been flung open. What if that was true? She thought of that word eternal, and she thought of her dad, and she thought of that possibility that maybe it was just like Tina said that the soul doesn’t die, it just changes clothes.

Katie climbed on board, unlocked the cabin and began to stow the last of her provisions. As she did so hope began to fill her heart; now she had a starting point for her inner journey too. Now she was really ready to go. She tucked Tina’s card into a safe spot near her charts and went back up on deck. The wind had picked up, turning the ocean outside the marina into chop and the air was thick with northerly salt air. A year’s preparation and it was time to cast the lines.

The below videos will help to know about our identity, life’s journey and how we can live our life with full meaning.

 

She turned the engine and it came to life with a spew of water and a puff of smoke from the exhaust before settling into its noisy, but trusty chug, chug sound. Just then she saw Mr McDonald making his way down the dock as fast as he could with his elderly banged up legs with artificial hips, waving his arms for her to wait. Once he reached her he was rather out of breath. He handed her a bundle of envelopes tied up with red ribbon.

‘Ya dad wanted me to give you these. He gave them to me a couple of years back and just asked that I give them to ya should anything happen to him.

 

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Seek

Kate had never met Mrs Donaldson before. In fact, Kate had never met anyone so close to death before and yes, it scared her somewhat. You see Kate was a young woman who was only just trying to figure out life and the journey of life’s misery and happiness is yet to be confronted.

A nurse answered the door and took her to where Mrs Donaldson lay as a skinny body resembling a frame sinking into the crisp white covers of her bed. Her hair was long, grey and wispy and her face creased with years of life. Kate noticed immediately and became momentarily transfixed with, her wide, uncannily clear brown eyes as Mrs Donaldson looked up and greeted her with a gentle smile and a slight wave of her right hand motioning her to sit down.

Kate sat down on the solid wooden chair that had seemed to be placed there especially for this occasion. The room was refreshingly bright, not like the dim and dreary one she had imagined. Sunlight spilled into the room,being allowing to enter through the open glass paned doors which revealed to the outside a small weathered timber deck with an overgrown yet still appreciable flower garden just beyond. The fresh sea air swept up the hillside and into the room from the ocean that rolled and swirled below. Kate could just see the edge of the lighthouse from where she sat with its traditional white walls and red peaked roof.

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‘It is nice to meet you Mrs Donaldson. You have a lovely place here, and thank you very much for offering me the job.’

Mrs Donaldson replied in a voice that mirrored the weakness of her body but like her eyes exuded clarity, ‘Well Kate to start with you can call me Becky and I am glad you like the place. As you can see I can no longer maintain it very well so that is what I need your help with. I did have a couple helping previously but they left a few weeks ago, back to the city. Unfortunately, they weren’t very honest shall we say. That is where you are from yes?’

Kate nodded while trying to conceal the doubt that lay within her about her choice to move from the city, her friends, her family and the accumulation of all her twenty-two years of life to this small seaside township of Jenny Lind.

‘So tell me Miss Kate what made you leave the city? If you don’t mind me asking.’

Kate did feel a little uneasy about the question not wanting to see anymore scowling faces or hear anymore words of disapproval about her decision. She was struggling for wisdom or intelligence required to remove her own doubts as it was without needing to hear it from others. But there was something that read differently in Becky than those opposing her from the city, and Kate had already learned that Becky honored honesty in her employees.

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‘I feel a little foolish saying Mrs… I mean Becky because I have been very lucky in my life and don’t want to sound ungrateful but I felt I needed to spread my wings a little and hence what brought me to apply for the job. I had been feeling discontentment and was inherently looking for satisfaction in my life, I guess you could say, and well, couldn’t help but wonder that maybe there is something more true and essential things in life than just being a successful city girl.’ Now i was at peace. Continue reading →

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With Salt In My Veins

I come from a family with salt in their veins, on my mother’s side anyway. As far back as I know on every branch of that tree there was some sea faring adventure to be told. It was soon to be no different for me.

My mother had died six months ago as a result of brain injuries from a car accident. For three days and three nights I sat by her side, stroking her hair and holding her hand.  Life and death became very real over that time, more real than it had ever appeared to me before. Many significant questions raised in my mind about life, death. And of course the journey of life afterwards was not the same. I was lonely having the anxiety of death and my life felt vastly empty, purposeless almost.

Grief I was told. Yes, Maybe.

Quote on life

Don’t worry it will pass and life will go back to normal, I was told.

But as each day passed I became less certain that I wanted my life to return to normal. Why? Because it was making me actually consider my life, death, solutions to these miseries and I had never considered this seriously before. In the back of mind, I was looking for the actual purpose of life and how to get back my happiness. Because it was very important.

I was 24. I finished high school, went to university and started my career. I had a car, I had recently just been in a relationship, and my life as if on automatic would, in my subconscious thoughts, end up progressing through to marriage, children, buying a house, being happy, and ending with retiring on a little beach haven somewhere (not dying, as I said I had not considered this subject). But now, faced with the undeniable reality of my life ending at some point; near or far,while searching for true happiness I had begun to feel that there was maybe something more to life than just these external accomplishments..

To me this loneliness and emptiness I was feeling may well have been grief but what if grief is life’s way of telling us to question our existence and find some intelligent answers to that which we feel compelled to seek.

So how did this lead to my sea faring adventure? On my mother’s side there is a tradition that has passed from generation to generation where a relative of the deceased brings their ashes to the place of scattering by sea. I had known of this tradition since I was six and from that age I had made a promise that I would do that for my mum. I knew it was important for her and told her as such. She had smiled at me, wrapped up in her arms on the deck of Uncle Jim’s boat Moon Shadow, and told me that she would like that very much.

So here I was on the eve of my departure completing my final preparations for the passage that would take me from Eden and where along the way I was hoping in some way, somehow I would find some of these answers about life I was looking for.

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I was afraid, I admit that. It was not that I was afraid of the voyage itself though. I knew my capabilities as a sailor and I knew the capabilities of Moon Shadow. With many miles and foreign waters having passed under her keel, she was no virgin of the sea. I was afraid that maybe there were no answers, that what we in the west are most commonly taught to pursue in our life is all there is. I was afraid that I had made a foolish mistake, giving up my job and my security to uphold an old family tradition. I was afraid that what if after all this my life did not change and the grief, loneliness and emptiness that was plaguing my heart remained. Where would I go to then?

I had a little glimmer of hope though. Before Uncle Jim had come down to the jetty that day I had come across a quote based on wisdom on Facebook that intrigued me and lifted my spirits. It read:

“Who are you, you are the child of the Supreme Being; the life particle; an eternal spirit soul. Understanding this truth is the beginning of self realization.”

Continue reading →

This entry was posted in Wisdom.

The Atma Part 1 of 2

I come from a family with salt in their veins (well on my dad’s side anyway, my mother’s I know nothing about). As far back as our family’s remembrance goes every branch of my one sided tree holds some sea faring adventure that could be brought to life around the dinner table: Stories of sunsets, storms and foreign lands, Stories of the brilliance of nature, the madness of man and the magical expanse of the ocean. It was soon to be no different for me.

Sunset

It was the eve of my journey and exactly one year since my dad died. I had just finished my university degree, a bachelor of marine science,which I had promised my dad I would complete. The first of the spring time northerly winds were just beginning to blow heralding the time for my departure. Continue reading →

Full, But Still Empty: Chasing Pleasure

“Most people identify their bodies as being themselves. They think, ‘I am the body.’ Now, everyone wants to be happy. So the question is, how does a person who thinks he’s his body think he’s going to find happiness? What’s his conclusion?” This is the question posed by Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda, a world-renowned yoga spiritual master, during a lecture on the topic of satisfaction.

Jagad Guru shared with his audience that, when taking a close look at happiness, peace and satisfaction, it goes against logic to conclude that we are our bodies. However, this is a difficult truth for the majority of people to accept. Satisfaction of the senses is a deceptively convincing false happiness for most, but the emptiness it leaves in its path can lead to despair.

Continue reading →

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Swallowed By The TV

I am staying at an elderly relative’s place. She keeps busy with crafts and Italian classes, cross word puzzles, and electronic jigsaws and patience games to exercise the brain and pass the time. She has an active social life, does tai chi and gardens, reads and goes to movies with friends. And watches TV. My next door neighbor, a still older woman, widowed, is visited regularly by her large and attentive family. She no longer is up to gardening, and her social circle has been more than decimated by the grim reaper. When she is alone at home, which is most of the time, she watches TV.

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I used to live in a block of flats on a surf beach on the Sunshine Coast of Australia. In the flat below us lived an old retired couple. From what they described, and as evidenced by their few mementos, they used to have a busy life, with hobbies such gardening, painting and sewing. The husband still would go for short walks along the waterfront, but his wife was semi crippled. Continue reading →

This entry was posted in Wisdom.

Change

We experience it in the world around us, and in our own lives; the “ups” and “downs”, “goods” and “bads”. Sometimes we welcome it, though most times it comes unexpectedly and can be quite overwhelming.

But should we be affected by all this change, however stressful it may sometimes be? Should we let ourselves be taken around on an endless roller-coaster ride?

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Well of course not!

So how can we go about undisturbed by the circus of life?

Continue reading →

This entry was posted in Wisdom.