May 5, 2014
Sailing The Mystery: A Book With A Lot To Teach Us
Sailing the Mystery is the story of Ed Merck, a 63 year old guy who is entering the third chapter of his life more than a little adrift: he is newly divorced, his son is off to college, and his business has been sold. Alone and wondering what is next, Ed begins a journey to self discovery aboard his 36 foot boat, the Kairos, up and down the East Coast.
Along the way he meets and sails with a woman who is at times, fiery and overflowing with passion and energy, and an instant later full of anger and spite. His internal struggle to figure out if this person is a fascinating, and important part of his story. He battles storms, mechanical breakdowns, self doubt, and a sense that he is only playing a role, not the true person he is destined to be.
I am not a sailor and have never been attracted much to boats, but I found Ed's story engrossing. He doesn't gloss over the tough stuff, all while asking the questions and fighting the demons we all battle with as we age.
I underlined several dozen sentences and paragraph that resonated with me as I read his tale. I'd like to share a few of those with you, along with my reaction:
Page 5 "I was somebody in my day, Now...I realize I have become a nobody." Many of us can relate to this feeling when we left a job that had defined us and our place in the world. The author spends many chapters taking us along on his journey to figure out what he is...apart from society's definitions.
Page 7 "Why not just harvest the low-hanging fruit of my life instead of uprooting it all now and jumping into a sea of change?" Even though change is a part of life, too often we try to hold onto the status quo, even if we might be happier on another path. Ed finds it leaving the old life behind and starting all over indulging in the passion that is sailing.
Page 58 "Once I stop arguing with the way life is, I begin to discover many other delights." If we can just take that first step off the dock......
Page 82 "I have learned that attempting to hold on to anything is an illusion." Probably one of the more profound insights to this point in the book. The tighter we grip something the more we squeeze the life out of it, and us.
Page 196 "I could see then that arriving at my deathbed without having at least attempted the dream of long-distance sailing was unacceptable, even if I ended up not liking it. In my view, the only failure would be not having tried." His understanding that not trying something out of fear you won't like it is not the approach that will satisfy. Rather, trying is its own reward in the long run.
Page 198 "Today is a good day to die. If I died today all would be well." Can any of us ask any more of our life than that? To have few regrets and much to remember, people to love, and a sense of self equals a life well lived.
I found much to like in this book. The author is open about his flaws and his discoveries, especially his blossoming spirituality. I can recommend Sailing the Mystery.
If you are interested in hearing from Ed, click on this YouTube video
Check out his website, Sailing The Mystery, for more.
Note: I received a free copy of this book but no compensation for this review.