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Explorations and Reflections

on awakening the true self 

  • Writer's pictureMick Scott

Sailing vs. "Not Drowning"

Here’s how life is like the ocean: there are calm days, there are stormy days, and there's everything in between. 

The waves can range from tiny and unnoticeable to huge and daunting. 

The winds can vary from light and breezy to strong and squall-like. 

The sunshine can warm, and the rain and hail can pelt. 

That’s life: varying conditions, some quite uncomfortable, some quite comfortable, and most in between.

Here’s how most of us live on this ocean of life: "not drowning." 

"Another Monday." 

"Here we go again."

"I’d rather be anywhere else."

"Is it Friday yet?"

"Just making it through."

"I’m doin’."

There’s nothing wrong with this way of life! It’s a way of living we learned from our culture. It’s a way of living that helped our genes survive the millennia. 

And it’s a constrained way of living.

"Not drowning" dishonors the vitality, creativity, joy, and love that’s possible for each of us.

Here’s an alternative to living a life of “not drowning”: Sailing.

Sailing is a dance between the agency of the sailors and the conditions of the ocean: the waves, wind, and current.

There’s a profound difference between living life to not drown on the one hand and living life to sail on the other.

Not drowning is a struggle. Sailing is a dance.

Not drowning is surviving. Sailing is thriving.

Not drowning is reacting to circumstances. Sailing is creating in the presence of circumstances.

Sometimes even sailors can’t do anything but batten down the hatches until the storm has passed, and that is absolutely a wise thing to do.

When the storm has settled, though, the sailors get back to sailing (dancing) by cleaning up, mending the damage, and setting sail.

The only instruments we need if we're focused on "not drowning" are measuring instruments:

  • measuring the current conditions and predicting the future conditions

  • worrying about these current and future conditions

  • fearing these current and future conditions

Those instruments are great and necesssary, but they're secondary to the sailor's primary instrument: the compass.




If we don't create intentions, if we aren't connected to a purpose worthy of our life, then we're left with a life of not drowning. There are some really pleasant moments in this life. But it's not sailing.

We are built to sail. Come master it with me.

Thank you for reading. ❤️

P.S. As a transformational coach, I help teens, adults, and organizations move beyond their self-imposed limitations to be their best and feel their best. If you’re interested in finding out how I can support you or your organization, reach out and let’s talk. 💌

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