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the act or process of moving through, under, over, or past something on the way from one place to another

There are many types of sailors and many kinds of sailing. Day sailors and blue-water sailors. Racing or cruising or passage-making. No one is better or worse than the others, they are simply different experiences. I love a long, blue-water passage. It provides an opportunity to disconnect from life in the western world, and to reconnect to the natural rhythm of spiritual life. Time is measured by sunsets and moon rises. Connection is the currency of choice: to self, to other crewmates, to the blue world around you. On a recent passage, sailing offshore from Connecticut to Florida, these words found me after a long night of dancing with the North Atlantic:

Each day is mostly the same: some combination of sea+sky+self

Empty space in a small space

Millions of shades of blue, millions of stars

Beauty that brings tears: the dark eye and white belly of a dolphin, the spinning Milky Way, the small land bird that hitched a ride and sang me awake

Everything on land is quiet, everyone on land is safe

The opportunity to find every human emotion, the experience of feeling them deeply, newly, unexpectedly

The sea builds into mountains, the ship surfs down their faces

The sea builds into mountains, she crashes into them

The puffs of white gather and bring rain, witchy winds

A gray, colorless sunset

Kitten’s paws turn into tiger’s hands

Courage grows dim as the light leaves and the darkness creeps in

The wind howls like a wolf, like a thousand packs of hunting wolves

She howls through the rig and her hungry voice rips the tops off the waves

The ocean is messy, wild, jumping over the bow and across the stern, from every direction

The sea rises crashes swells spits

Stormy night watches last forever

And when sleep comes, it is part exhaustion, part refuge

The back of the body stuck to the bunk like Velcro, the top shifting like a pile of Jello

And each time the ship plunges into the sea, bioluminescence scream across the portlight, like comets or fairy dust or tiny universes

There is no place quite like the North Atlantic in a good blow

Another day, another moment, another combo of sea+sky+self

Sky a’fire by a setting sun as a black moonless night descends

Without horizon or orientation or clouds, with only stars

The sea a mirror of the sky a mirror of the sea

Difficult to distinguish ship’s lights from starlight from reflected light







Souls suspended between here and there

Shooting stars and planets spinning and binary systems rising

Why do I choose to go on these passages?

To experience the world beyond patterns and routines and triggers and reactions

To experience more of everything

We are each on a passage whether we know it or not. Perhaps literally, physically moving from one place to another, or perhaps metaphorically…through a phase or a transition or a moment, through grief or love or longing. We are each on the way from one place to another, the dynamic life of a soul having a human experience. A passage isn’t always comfortable, in fact, it’s usually not comfortable at all. It’s out beyond what-we-know where things get interesting, where we come alive and experience life.

Where are you now?

Where do you want to go?

What’s your threshold for discomfort?

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