We bought a sailboat last year.
What were we thinking?
Her name is Anam Cara: Gaelic for ‘soul friend’.
Our hope is that as you read this, you will come and join us for a sail adventure this year!
As we transported her inland to freshwater in the Interior of BC, her mast came down and travelled with her on the trailer through the snowy mountain pass. We learned a lot about her. We added new rigging, solar panels, a compost toilet, and UV water system.
She is 46 feet long, has a 60' tall mast, 14 feet wide, has three cabins and sleeps eight comfortably. She weighs 13 tons.
We explored with her for five months last year. And we have been learning about living on water, sailing in the unpredictable wind conditions, and preparing ourselves for what we are excited to offer in these next years. We fell in love with the community at Naramata Centre, share in leadership roles, and cherish the landscape of the South Okanagan Valley and the warm summer nights.
Yet an underlying question has haunted us. The same question remains behind all these costs, busy days and planning.
Why a boat?
What follows is our best attempt to respond to our own question.
We hope to describe this in terms of what we offer.
And we hope that you will join us for a transformative experience.
What We Offer
Healing, Rest and Renewal
In the programs we guide, it is clearly evident that most participants are confused, tired and often arrive with world-weariness.
On Anam Cara, we long to offer a sacred place of renewal in the healing flow of water, wind, and momentary freedom from the usual tyranny of cell phones and schedules. We are aware of how simply being on the water and attentive to simple tasks of sailing and movement help to activate a special grace: restoring us to wholeness.
“When we listen and take in the astonishingly sensuous earth, we come awake to the thunderous beauty that surrounds us. We are literally inundated with the world pouring through every opening and in this awareness, we recognize a fundamental truth: we are of the earth.” -Francis Weller
The forces of domestication and technology have tamed us: limiting our freedom and potential. Yet beneath the social pressures of conformity and frenetic life, we have a residual knowledge and embodied memory of what it is to be true to our wild nature and to our ecological relationship with all life.
Responding to the living wind on moving water, exposed to the elements, the spray of waves on our skin, reducing decisions to intuitive and instinctive awareness to the rich field of our senses, is one way to rediscover our birthright gifts and physical connection to the world.
On Anam Cara, we offer a fresh discovery of our authentic, primal selves.
Being lost is losing track of where we are. An experience of disorientation is to find oneself beyond any known reference: off the edge of any reliable map we have depended on.
The pandemic has revealed what many of us were already finding before this difficult time: many inherited maps can no longer guide us.
In this process of loss and confusion, it is a gift to find others who are committed to spiritual practice of navigating a life. It’s a grace to find inner guidance. We offer a supportive community of practice that can accompany us as we learn how to recalibrate and to tap into deeper skills of finding our way: off the map edge.
There is a way of speaking and listening that activates inner wisdom.
There is a way of knowing that allows our lives to speak to us.
As we sail, we can also intentionally sustain a disciplined way of relating to each other in conversations of depth and meaning.
We offer our lineages of wise practices: ways of being together that know how to enhance trust and loving anticipation. These are the conditions that make it more possible to access what we already know and what stars are leading us.
We have facilitated retreats for thousands of participants in a proven, safe and disciplined way of being together. In these wise spaces, some principles and practices create a trustworthy, brave space of attention, imagination, and confidential conversations.
Vocation and Calling
There is a longing to live wholeheartedly. Our world needs those who know who they are and who they are called to be.
As we emerge from recent years of uncertainty and pandemic, we want to create a space for those who join us to rediscover their true selves. Our desire is that boat will be an experience where we can bring together our soul and role. When we overcome the divisions within us, our relationships, work and society benefit from our clarity and authentic presence.
Solitude in Community
A sailboat underway offers a rare opportunity of holding tension. We are close together in a small floating home. This draws us into a depth of relationship and a friendship. This is the soulful relationship that inspired us to call her Anam Cara: friend of the soul.
Yet we move in a vast expansive environment of the open waves, sky and distance. This invites us into the great silence beyond words and human community: into awe, meditation and contemplation.
The possibility of this creative tension is both intimate and transcendent: communal and individual. We realize our powerful social needs of belonging and yet also find a mutually respectful care of supporting solitudes.
“Knowing that you love the earth changes you, activates you to defend and protect and celebrate. But when you feel that the earth loves you in return, that feeling transforms the relationship from a one-way street into a sacred bond.” -Robyn Wall Kimmerer
Yoga, Meditation and Breath
The ancient languages used the same word for wind, spirit and breath.
Accompanying sailing, we offer embodied practices that have become life giving for us and for many others. Integrated with what we will find on the water, we reorient and rediscover ourselves in the lineage of yoga, breathwork and meditation.
Contemplative practices and embodied movement is true to the boat’s dance and responsiveness to the waves. The intentional movement and flow of yoga aligns with the flow of responsive action on the boat. The yoga mat provides a boat on a vast ocean: a contained space of transformation.
The Joy and Skills of Sailing
We offer a lived learning of the art of sailing. It is a rare invitation to experience the complexity and safety of training on a large cruising boat.
We will explore levels of competency in sailing knowledge, safety, navigation, and living on board a sailboat. The lake environment provides sufficient challenge and complexity for various levels of sailing experience, without some of the difficulties of ocean sailing (such as currents, tides, large ships, and sea sickness!).
Dan has been traveling quite often this past decade. Lately, Robyn has been joining in co-guiding. As the pandemic suspended travel, we both noticed a shift within us: from ‘going out there’ to ‘come join us’.
Rather than moving around to other venues, we desire to host others in a setting where we could invite those who to learn with us: in an environment where our knowledge could be shared. We decided to host others in our small floating retreat center. As we begin to know the lake, Naramata, Penticton, the wine region and local culture in deeper intimacy, we are excited to share what we learn with those who join us.
You are invited!
Play and Physical Connection
As adults, so much playfulness has been replaced as role expectation and responsibility!
We long for the sheer simple enjoyment of a boat, wind, skin, swimming, paddleboarding, sunshine, rain, wine, food, tears, and laughter.
In all, it is a simple offering.
We invite you to join us in 2023!