On my way across the Pacific from San Francisco to Papua New Guinea I had to cross the Equator, which presented me with three major challenges.
First, it was unbelievably hot. A few degrees north of the Equator you enter the doldrums, so the wind dies and the sun bakes. I felt like my brain was being boiled in my skull.
Second, the heat gave me an itchy heat rash that led to much scratching and gritting of teeth, and lasted for about two months.
Third, the Equatorial Counter Current flows from west to east, so it was trying to push me back towards North America. Even worse than that, where the east-flowing current rubs up against the west-flowing current, you get lots of strange eddies and whirls that played merry hell with my navigation, often pushing me north as well as east.
I became rather obsessed with these currents. I wanted to know as soon as I got into one, so I could adjust my steering accordingly. So I cranked the scale on my GPS way up high, and peered at it anxiously all the time, constantly alert for the first hint of an adverse current.
That way lay madness.
One day in particular, I remember seeing my track form a complete circle as the currents pushed me around. I started to feel like I was caught up in a never-ending loop, would never get to the other side of the ocean. I bemoaned my bad luck on my blog.
Those of you who followed my ocean voyages may well remember UncaDoug, aka Doug Grandt, a staunch environmentalist who was a key member of my social media team. Doug came to my rescue.
How often that happens. We get caught up in the trees and lose sight of the woods. We feel stuck in the present moment, and forget how far we’ve come. We put our attention on the problem that is close at hand, turning a blind eye to the good stuff that is happening all around.
Sometimes we need to turn down the scale on our GPS to get the bigger picture, to see the present moment in the wider context of time and space, and know that despite current difficulties, we’re still making progress.
I’m starting work on a book about courage, and I’d love to hear from you! What do you know about courage? What do you know about lack of courage? Who do you know (especially women) who has displayed exceptional courage? Let me know!
Lots more exciting news to come around the courage project – stay tuned!