Feb 01

Some musings about sailing and safety and stuff…

Some musings about sailing and safety and stuff…

sailing and safetyThis has already been a good sailing season, whacky, but good. One of the times I started out with a tee shirt, long pants and my jacket and ended up adding my sweatshirt, winter coat, gloves with shoes AND SOCKS! Yes, even socks! For anyone who knows me, socks are a rarity once the season begins. I have left the boat more than once in 20-30 knot Northerly winds and 40-degree temps. The temperature part I don’t care for but once my little heater gets going, it can be nice and cozy down below. In the last weekend in May, I had a couple of good sails. The first was on Thursday with Bill and Patti Glade. They came up in the afternoon and we had a great time. It was a slow and easy sail out for about three or four miles and then we needed to head back in. That went fine until about a mile, out the wind quit completely, zip, nadda, zilch! We still had a great time. We smoked a couple of cigars that Bill brought along, had a little rum that I always have on hand and listened to some fun music.   Finally, since it didn’t look like Mother Wind was returning anytime soon, I fired up the old iron genny and we motored in like true sailors.

As we came into the marina, we discovered Carey and his new boat so we pulled into the slip next to him and got the grand tour. I brought over my Gosling’s Black Seal Rum and we toasted his new boat. It’s a beauty! Bill and Patti needed to get on home so we shoved off and went over to Margaret’s slip and we made our good-byes. Friday was pretty good so, of course, I went out again. At first I thought I would just run on my headsail. It is a 150 genny so it does Margaret and me just fine if there is enough of a breeze and I don’t have to work so hard prepping and hauling up the main. No Stack Pack or lazy jacks to help, so I only use it if I really need it; or if I want to play with the wind more. I did look into the idea of boom furling at the boat show one year and the salesman cheerfully said that it would cost “only” $10,000 to put it on my boat. I decided to wait. I got out about three-quarters of a mile and realized that there just wasn’t enough wind for Margaret and me so I decided it was time to raise the main! Of course I wasn’t prepped for hauling up the main so I had a little extra work to do. It was lumpy so Margaret’s deck was quite active. Sailing and safety go hand in hand so this is a time when I use my PFD/harness and tether. I do have all the equipment and jack lines, the whole shebang but I don’t always haul it out for a simple sail. I ALWAYS hang on. One hand for me and one for the ship. I know where I will step next and where I will put my hand.

Back to the mainsail. I throw back all the lines from the winches to the helm… the mainsheet, reefing lines and traveler. I then take off the cover (what I can reach from the cockpit) and move forward to the mast where I clip on. Then I take off the rest of the cover and stow that securely forward by the starboard side rail. The halyard is a little more tricky. When I secure everything after returning to the slip I make sure that my main halyard is wrapped around the spreaders so it does not slap against the mast. I was errant one time about that and a power boater pointed it out to me that it was noisy. I said you should hear it down below! I am usually very particular about keeping everything nice a snug.   But, not intending to use the main on this trip, I had not “unwrapped” the main halyard before leaving the slip. So, now it’s time to lean outboard and swing the line around the spreaders to get it to run free, the bitter end is always secured to the base of the mast so there is no chance of it running off to the top! That’s the last thing I need. Then I took off the sail ties and was ready to “haul the main!” Up she goes and I tie off the halyard and work my way back to the cockpit. I always move carefully on the deck. I lean towards the centerline and know where I will step and grab next. Again, “One hand for the ship and one for me.” Sometimes both for me! I sail by myself most of the time and I am particularly careful. I am free and embrace the joy of leaping over the waves if the wind and water cooperate, but I’m always aware of the conditions. I watch the weather and have an ear to our friend, Noah. Actually NOAA, but Noah sounds more personal and friendly.

With the main up, I double my speed. Usually it only gives me another knot or so but since I was only going a couple of knots, it made sense that it gave me the boost that it did. Once I got to about two and half miles out Margaret picked up her skirts and got herself up to six and sometimes seven knots! Now we’re sailing! Margaret and I are having a great time heading off towards Michigan. Well, at least in that direction. Waves are about one to two footers and she is sailing free. Life is good! Then our friend Noah pipes up with a special message for any boaters who happen to be out today. There were only two of us. Why was that? Noah mentioned that a front was coming at us on a line from Pleasant Prairie and Winthrop Harbor. It was moving at 25 knots, gusting to 33 knots, with cold rain. Noah suggested that we leave the lake and come back later to play. Since sailing and safety go hand in hand that was not what I wanted to deal with at the time, I decided that it would be prudent to come about and hightail it back to Reefpoint! (As much as a sailboat going six knots can hightail!) I tried to hail the other boat a few times but they did not respond. I put on my foulies and closed the companionway, even though my dodger is large enough to keep out all but the strongest onslaught. I was all set. About halfway back, the fog started to settle in, leaving about a half-mile visibility. During my return sail it only rained a little and the wind remained steady. Only the fog was a minor issue. As I approached the harbor, I dropped the main and saw that the second boat had followed me back, but the fog hid it most of the time. I found out later that they saw me come about and decided to do likewise. I’m glad they did, but the front ended up staying south of us and was not a problem. Better safe than sorry!

The take away in all this is: Enjoy the freedom and serenity of sailing, but always be aware of changing conditions. And, when things do change, use the greatest of care and know when to head back into the safety of the harbor.

Whenever we venture forth into our lake we must be confident in our skills and our vessel so we can have that unbridled experience on the water that makes sailing so much fun. Go out and get boating and be safe!

Peace, Love and Coconuts!

Rev. Don s/v Margaret Elizabeth

Sailing and Safety go hand in hand!

 

 

Jan 30

How About a Resolution of Kindness?

kindnessHow About a Resolution of Kindness?

How are your resolutions working out? We are in the second month of the year and many people have already slipped back to their old ways. This is not an article to make anyone feel bad for not keeping the promises they made as 2015 was coming to an end. It is an article about making a new resolution.

Let’s make this a year of being a little kinder. We all need to be kinder to those around us, family, friends, and neighbors and kinder to our environment, kinder to the world. I know that most of you are very kind individuals. Most of the people I know are pretty kind human beings. They are kind to those who are close and they wouldn’t think for a minute to harm anyone.

What am I asking? I would like all of us to bring more kindness into the world in whatever way we can to make this a better place. There has been way too much energy wasted on bringing un-kindness into the world and it is creating much harm. We may not be aware or think that it really doesn’t matter to us because it is happening “over there.” Much of “it” is happening away from our immediate circle. But when we give all of this negativity our attention we bring it close to our here and now. We bring close to us whatever we give our attention to.

But if we don’t pay attention to what is going on in the world, aren’t we just burying our heads in the sand and not caring about our fellow man? You’re right, if we don’t know what’s going on we might miss some important events that could affect us. We should know what is going on but we can learn to know what’s going on without getting caught up in the emotion of it all.

Sometimes this is hard to do. Many of the things in the news recently have grabbed me and it has been difficult to bring myself up out of it. I am not a better person by letting it get the better of me. If I give in to this energy I get drained and I waste time that I could spend on making this a better place to be. Maybe some of this positive energy could reach out to those who are spewing the negativity into the atmosphere.

If we can look at these events and acknowledge that it is not a good thing that they are occurring around us and then bless them and move on with the purpose of bringing more kindness into the world we can make a difference. We can make a difference in our world, our circles, however large they are, because as we bring this energy to light we affect all we touch.

I mentioned in another article the effect of kindness given to another person. If you commit an act of kindness to another, that person’s endorphins increase and their immune system improves. Also, because you did this act of kindness, the same happens to you. Now, this is probably the best part. Anyone who observed this act of kindness has also been affected. Don’t you think it is a good idea to start spreading this kindness around and maybe, just maybe, some might rub off on some of these folks who don’t understand the importance of these acts?

They are out there. You may even know some of these people. It is sad that they go through life not realizing that they have the power within themselves to change the world. Pretty grand statement but it is true because if we change ourselves we change the world. The world does become a better palace to live in. Gandhi told us that, “We need to be the change that we want to see in the world.”

What kinds of changes do you want to see? Do you want to have a more peaceful, kinder world? Start with yourself and you will have begun a quiet revolution to change the world. Does this sound too good to be true? Does this sound impossible? “Who am I to try too do such a grand thing,” you say?

Who are you not to? Jesus said, “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you.” How much more power do you think you need if you have that? Every one of us has the power to change ourselves and that change will begin a shift that will make a difference in the world.

“But it isn’t realistic to be happy all the time.” You are right again. It is not realistic to be happy all of the time but it is realistic to always be mindful and step forward with kindness. Small steps will get you to your goal of bringing more kindness into the world. Wayne Dyer said, “I don’t need to be better than everyone else, I just need to be better that I was before.” Dr. Emile Couie’ gave us a great mantra in, “Everyday in every way I am better and better!”

Both the Dali Lama and Aldus Huxley said that we need to bring more kindness into the world. Nobody is saying that we need drop everything and become world leaders to bring about a change. All we need to do is make a change in our mindfulness in our own lives. It will bring about a better result in you life and those around you. I promise. It is always better when I do it and when I drop back, I remember that three steps forward and two steps back is still going forward so keep stepping forward as best you can. Remember you are never alone, there are many who are on the same path.

Make a new resolution and bring a little more kindness into the world. You will be pleasantly surprised at the results.

Peace, Love and Coconuts,
Rev. Don
s/v Margaret Elizabeth

Jan 11

Forgiveness In The New Year!

Forgiveness In The New Year!Forgiveness In The New Year!

 

How was your holiday? Good, I hope. It was for us, various family gatherings throughout the whole season made for a special time. It was wonderful to see how some of the family we don’t get to see have changed and the adventures they have chosen. We got to see everyone who was coming in from out of state thanks to the easy weather we had. I even was able to do five Santa gigs this season! That is a very happy time for me as well as the children.

 

There are some families who go into the holidays with such trepidation that it causes much stress. The medical profession has documented that this is one of the most stressful times of the year. You would think that it is supposed to be a time of Love and Light, a celebration of a Jesus’ birth. How could it be so full of stress?

 

Money is often a factor because we feel we need to show how much we love our family with gifts. After all it was the three wise men who brought gifts to the baby in the manger. They are the ones who set the precedent for gift giving.

 

But probably the biggest source of stress is the family. Family dynamics can be all over the map with the different members who come together for the holidays. The immediate family can have its issues but then you bring in the in-laws, aunts and uncles, cousins, the occasional friend and lets throw in the dog for good measure.

 

Of course there is going to be tension. Of course there will be issues and we dare not talk about them because that will just make things worse. That will just stir the pot in front of grandma and it is better to let sleeping dogs lie. Let’s just forget about it!

 

Which brings us to the point of all this. Just forgetting about these issues will not solve the problem; it will not bring peace into the family much less your own life. So what can one do when there is all this stress and tension? (Let me be clear here that I am not assuming that YOUR family is the subject of this article.) I am using this as an example to illustrate the importance of dealing with these issues.

 

How can we deal with these issues without creating a great upset at the holiday dinner table? Allowing. Allowing is very powerful if the attitude behind it is correct. What is the correct attitude? Forgiveness. Forgiveness is the key to bring peace into any situation.

Forgiveness will allow you to have peace in your heart and that will give you the power to allow others to be how they feel they need to be.

 

You see, forgiveness is really a gift to yourself more than how the other person feels or reacts. We have all been in situations where we feel that the injustice that has been done to us or our loved ones is so bad, so unspeakable that there is no way that we are going to forgive the other person.

 

Do you realize that sometimes the other person has no idea that there is anything wrong? Do you realize that the other person is walking a different path than you are? Do you realize that by holding onto this heavy energy you are holding yourself back?

 

Ah, but what about the other person who did whatever they did to garner such hatred? How can they get away with it? Where is the justice in the world? Why do I have to be the one to back down?

 

You are not backing down when you forgive anyone. You are only letting go of the attachment to that negative energy. The person will still have to account for whatever it is that they did. The important part is that you are no longer a part of the equation and therefore are free to continue on with your life.

 

That is the most important part. How many of you know someone who has been holding onto a grudge with such self-righteous indignation that it has all but consumed them? All you hear from them is how, because of this or that event, their life has been ruined.

 

Who really ruined their life?   Who put a gun to their head and said you must only think of this event and remain here for the rest of your life? What a prison sentence! Is it really worth it? I would think not.

 

There is a Zen story about an older monk and his young student walking along a path. Soon they came upon a river where a young woman was standing. She asked for help across the river. The young man just kept walking and crossed the river. Without saying a word the older monk picked her up and carried her across the river and set her down on the other side. When the monk and the student arrived at the monastery the younger said, “Why did you pick up the woman? You know we are not allowed to touch women.” The older monk replied, “I set her down at the riverbank, why are you still carrying her?”

 

What this illustrates is that we can live our lives carrying all of the injustices of the world upon our shoulders or we can unburden ourselves and move on to make this a better world for ourselves and those around us. Which do you choose? What would make your life more fulfilled?

 

Here is an important note to think about. Have you done this for yourself? Sometimes we haul around a lot of garbage from our own past that we need to let go of. Stuff that we feel every right to haul. If that is your choice, if that makes you feel better then, by all means, go right ahead. Again, this is your choice.

 

It is our choice to go how we want but why not go the way that will bring more Love and peace into our hearts. When we do this, we bring more Love to whatever our choices and we can’t help but make the world a better place. Whether it is around the family dinner table or out in the public forum. Whenever we can make a choice to move forward in Love we will help improve everyone’s lives.

 

It has been tested that our biology improves if a person commits an act of kindness to another. Both of these people feel better and their immune system actually improves. This is real science. The really neat thing about this action is what happens to those who witness this act. Their immune systems also improves. Wouldn’t this world be a better place if we did more of this kind of sharing instead of sharing more and more negativity? But Don, you say, this is the real world, you need to look at all the terrible things that are going on and do something! You need to… What, what do I need to do? Do I need to amplify the negativity? How will I improve the world by my sharing the negativity that is around us? “I will never forgive them for what they do!” Does this sound similar to another line that was said so long ago? Only it was said more like this, “Forgive them, father, for they no not what they do.”

 

Which is the better way? Which will hold the only possibility for a positive change? We are in a new year that holds many opportunities for a change. Gandhi said, “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet. “ He also said, “Let me be the change I want to see in the world.” It takes each of us to do what we can to make this a better place.

 

It is your choice. You can hold on to that hot brick of judgment waiting to throw it at the “deserving person” or choose to take the lesson and move on to better things. Each of us has this choice. Each of us has the responsibility to our selves and others to choose wisely.

 

Let’s make this the best year ever and bring as much Love into our lives as we can and embrace everything the Father brings to us.

 

Every day is a day closer to sailing season!

 

Peace, Love and Coconuts,

Rev. Don

s/v Margaret Elizabeth

Jan 09

It’s Time To Meet The Universe – It’s a Miracle!

It’s Time To Meet The Universe – It’s a Miracle!

It’s Time To Meet The Universe - It's a Miracle!

This sounds like a pretty grand statement and it is if you only think of it as the celestial bodies in outer space. I am talking about something much larger than that. I am talking about our entire universe. It’s huge!

If we start to look at life as a miracle then we begin to see the real world. This is the world that comes to us in the largest of ways and also the smallest of ways. This is how we can begin to understand that the universe is vast, beyond our comprehension. We can see great portions of it and yet there is so much more.

 

From where we are on this planet in our little space where we happen to be at the moment we can quiet ourselves and let ourselves reach out to the galaxies far, far away (yes I said that) but also look into the smallest of particles and know that we are a part of it all. Everything is also a part of us. We are connected to all of it. We aren’t just connected to our parents and children or even our biological families. We are connected to everything!

 

So, on one level you could look at this and feel very small, too small to really have much meaning or effect on the world around us. On the other hand we could look at this as the beginning of an understanding that we are truly connected and start paying attention to our thoughts and reactions to this world. I am speaking from the smallest to the largest; we have an effect by our very presence.

 

Do we need to go to the other side of the world and take responsibility for what is going on? No, of course not, but you do have the responsibility to affect the world around you. You affect everyone, your family and friends, some of your larger circles, everyone! Also, and most important, you have the responsibility on the effect you have on yourself. As you understand how this all works and put your thoughts in motion you will see that it all starts with you.

 

This isn’t the ego you, we can get into the whole ego thing later, it is about you as a part of it all. A part of the smallest and a part of the largest. What you do does make a difference. What you do to make your life better will help the entire universe be better. Big words? Maybe, but remember, everything affects everything.

 

So, where do we go from here? Just be mindful in what we do and what we say and begin to see the world a little differently. Everything is affected by energy. The energy we put out to the world affects how we see the world. Energy is important. We see results of this all the time. If we pay attention, we can sense the positive or negative energy when we enter a room full of people. We see it when we come together as a group of positive, like-minded people. We see it in the strength of prayer. There are countless stories of people who have been healed with prayer. Paying attention to this will bring more clarity and energy into your life. However you decide to build on this energy is fine. It is even up to you to build it in the positive or the negative. We all know people who seem to work at it either way. I recommend working on the positive. All methods can be effective. Only good can come of this mindfulness.

 

One of the things I do to help with this awareness is to meditate. Sometimes I sit and meditate in the more traditional way but not always. I am mindful of this connection usually when I am out in nature. It is easy to do. You can just walk out the door or get into a forest and feel the energy there. I was at the Arboretum in Lisle, IL one time and just walking along a path that went into a grove of trees. I could literally feel the difference. I walked in, then out and then back in again just to make sure that was what I was feeling was this positive energy. It is all around us and we are part of it.

 

Of course my most favorite way to remember my connection is out sailing. When I am out on the lake and sailing along in a nice groove, that is when I look around and notice how I, and everything around me, is part of the whole shebang. At one point I’m just a little boat out in the middle of the water but it is so much more, it is huge! Life is huge, life is good! Life is wacky. Experience shows us that, but when we can open up to the larger picture of the interconnectedness of everything, we can understand that life is unfolding as it must and life is good, everything is a miracle.

 

Embrace it all because you are a part of it all, it’s all a miracle!

 

Peace, Love and Coconuts!

Rev. Don

Jan 09

It’s Just a Coincidence!

coincidence-is-gods-way-of-remaining-anonymous-12It’s Just a Coincidence!

 

It’s just a coincidence you say? Many people do say it’s just a coincidence when something happens that is fortunate in their lives. Why is it that we see these things as happenstance when certain things come into our lives? Also, why is it when we are looking into the future we think, that it will probably turn out for the worst?

Who do you think you are?

Who do you think you are to be deserving of some good thing to happen in your life? Or, are you just bracing yourself for the “reality” of it not going the way you would like it to go if you were “good enough?” “I’m not good enough.” This has been our programming for ages. We are constantly programmed by society, government, family, “well-meaning” friends, advertising, religion and ourselves. It is next to impossible not to believe this “fact” to be true.

As a hypnotherapist I find that a large part of my work is to help clients reprogram themselves to what they want in their lives. We help to de-hypnotize them after finding out what they want.

What do you want?

You can achieve great things in life if that is what you want. There is a secret of life that I will share with you and you may not believe it.

You are not doing anything that you do not want to do.

Yes, this is true. You are not doing anything that you do not want to do. How can this be, you ask? Simply, you decide to do what you think is best at the time you make the choice. You decide based on all the information that you have at the time. After you make a choice you may get more information that you see that another decision is in order. So make it!

Every choice has ramifications. Some of these ramifications are good and some of them are not so good. All of them are more information to help you make another choice. The key is not to get so married to a choice that it locks you out from making another choice.

Make a choice and then make another if you need to and you will need to. Not making a choice is making a default choice. But if you want to have more control, meaning more power, in your life you need to start making more conscious choices. The more choices you make will help to empower you more and more and will help your life to run more smoothly.

How does this all fit in with things being “just a coincidence?”

As you learn to work into the flow of life and begin to make more and more conscious choices you will see more “coincidences” present themselves. I used to say the a coincident was God’s way of remaining anonymous. But really what is happening is much larger than that. If there could be anything larger than God. But we can look at coincidences in the way of mathematics. For two things to come together it means that they coincide with each other. This is a coincid-ence, a perfect alignment of the universe at that moment. Thus, for something to be a “coincidence” it means that there is a perfect alignment with the universe and you were there to experience it.

PAY ATTENTION!

As you begin to make your own choices and begin to learn to pay attention you will see the universe unfolding as it should and understand that the coincidences in your life were not just happenstance but instead an alignment to the universe and things are unfolding as they should. And you are a part of it all! You are anyway so you might as well start participating.

Allow the universe to help you as you go through life. Look for these “coincidences” and accept them as part of your path. You will see more and more of them if you will allow them to come into your life.   Some people push them away, ignore them or disvalue them. Go ahead and let them come into your life, stop driving with the emergency brake on! The more we allow, the more will be presented to us.

coincidence

Think about this when someone says to you, “Oh, that’s just a coincidence!”

 

Dec 13

Welcome back!

www.donhood.orgWelcome to my site!  If you’ve been here before you will notice a lot of changes.  That is because I got hacked!  Naughty people from the “bad” list added 2000 pages of crap onto my site.  Not good!

I had to dump the whole thing and start from scratch.  Remember the important thing about backup, backup and backup.  Yeah, well.  So now I am working to get my old writing back on and, of course, new writing up here.

Please give it a look and thanks again for all your well wishes.

As Tiny Tim says, “God bless us, everyone!”

Below is an important message about the Amazon links that you will find on my site:

www.donhood.org is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

Dec 10

Amazon Electronics!

This is your window to great savings on Amazon for all of your electronics!

Dec 10

Amazon – Your Link To The World Of Treasures!

Hello!
From time to time I will be putting some special links to deals that Amazon is having and you can easily link over to them.

Check out these deals today!


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