The sailing season has begun again at Eagle Lake Sailing Club with our annual Memorial Day Regatta. Amidst the uncertainties of our current times, we were able to raise our sails and enjoy, albeit for a few brief hours, the solitude and peace of being on the water. I found myself finally able to release the tension that I had been carrying for the past several months. I was on the water. Just me and my boat. No social distancing. No masks. No worries…for the moment.
This experience of being on the water reminded me of the effect that water has on our physical and emotional well-being. Research has shown that being near, in, on or under water can provide a long list of benefits for our mind and body, including lowering stress and anxiety, increasing an overall sense of well-being and happiness, a lower heart and breathing rate, and safe, better workouts. Marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols in his best selling book: Blue Mind: The surprising science that shows how being near, in, on, or under water can make you happier, healthier, more connected, and better at what you do, focuses on scientific evidence that being close to bodies of water promotes mental health and happiness. The term “blue mind” describes the mildly meditative state we fall into when near, in, on or under water. It’s the antidote to what is referred to as “red mind,” which is the anxious, over-connected and over-stimulated state that defines possibly the new normal of modern life. Nichols, quite often when meeting people asks, “What’s your water?” which essentially means, “What’s the first water you think of and what’s the water you dream about and long for? What does it feel like, smell like and look like?” These questions make people contemplate their relationship with water.
In my teen years, my water was Lake Maxinkuckee in Culver, IN. This was the water where I learned to ski, where lasting friendships were made, where we headed after summer jobs for a few hours of fun. It was ‘our’ water. As I grew older, married and had children, my water became the numerous vacation spots we chose: Myrtle Beach, Lake Michigan, the Gulf of Mexico, and Table Rock Lake in Missouri. Today, my water is Eagle Lake where we now call home. On the water. Seeking the tranquility and peace that it brings. Our own personal paradise with a swimming pool included. Sailing has only enhanced my love of being on the water allowing me the opportunity to glide effortlessly across the blue waters, to enjoy the water from a different perspective, and to take a moment and forget the issues of the day and breathe. And so this Memorial Day was, well, memorable. I was able to forget for a short period the virus, the precautions, the news, and just focus on the wind and the water. I truly found a peace that I hadn’t experienced for some time.
As I reflect on the past several months, I’ve a growing appreciation for family, for friends, for meaningful relationships and conversations, and for the desire to be engaged with people. And most importantly, the need to be on the water. So where’s your water?
Until next time,
PS: If you’re interested in making Eagle Lake your water, take a moment to discover Eagle Lake Sailing Club and our community of members who have a love of sailing and the water. We’re offering personal 1:1 tours. Check us out at eaglelakesailingclub.org and find your water.