9 Dec, 05 – 20:42
Latitude: 26° 15′ N
Longitude: 21° 45′ W
Miles to Antigua: 2237
Miles in last 24 hours: 31
I’ve spent the last two days feeling angry and frustrated. Why am I injured? Why am I falling behind the rest of the race fleet? Why is the weather not being more helpful? Why am I not enjoying this the way I thought I would?
I thought I was using the right mental techniques to keep myself going – reminding myself why this is important to me, visualising how I’m going to feel when it’s finished, telling myself that nothing worthwhile was ever easy. I thought the techniques were succeeding – after all, I hadn’t given up – but I still felt overwhelmingly negative.
Today I got a message from Bede, the mental skills coach from Gazing who I’d been working with. ‘Keep the faith’, he wrote.
I looked again at the laminated A4 chart they’d given me, which I’d velcro’d to the wall of my cabin. One word jumped out at me. Acceptance.
Aha, that tricky old chestnut. I realised I hadn’t really accepted my situation. Inside I was still protesting that my injury was unfair, that it shouldn’t be happening, instead of accepting that this is just how things are. I’m here, on this bit of ocean, with a dicky shoulder. No point complaining. It is just as it is. Until I accepted this there was no way I was going to make the best of the situation because I was still wasting energy wishing the situation was different.
There was no Hollywood moment as a result of this insight. The pain in my shoulder didn’t disappear, the wind didn’t start whisking me at 5 knots towards Antigua, no school of dolphins appeared to congratulate me on my new-found wisdom. But I did start feeling a lot less unhappy.
Wind: 12 kts
Sea state: moderate
Hours rowing: 12
Hours sleeping: 6
Thought for the day: A man is as happy as he makes up his mind to be