The wind had died and I was on my knees paddling my dinghy, bracing the tiller against my leg to keep the boat straight. When a puff of wind rippled the water I adjusted the sail to catch it, but soon was back to paddling.
But whether slowly bumping and sliding, sail limp, or driven by a brisk wind, a sailor has to remain constantly focused on wind direction and speed, the path of other boats, wave action, shallow water, and distance to shore. That’s one reason I love sailing. I am completely engrossed from launch to landing and unable to think about much else.
My other favorite water sport, kayaking, has its own rhythm and flow on lakes, but doesn’t demand the same concentration. (Rivers are another story!) In fact, often I allow my mind to wander and not into productive areas. I recall old frustrations, or try to puzzle through a perplexing problem. I finish physically spent, but too often not emotionally refreshed. When I sail, I arrive on shore exhilarated with hair standing up from being soaked and dried on the fly. For a while I am lost to the world: sailing is not that far from paradise.
Maybe this is “losing your mind” in a positive way. Do you have a hobby, work project, or activity that demands your total attention? Or said another way, that you focus your mind on and freely give yourself to? What do you discover in that absolute concentration? Next time I’ll tie in imagination and faith to this life-giving habit of mind.