Wisdom Wednesday: Natural Answers…A Slideshow from Mother’s Day Sailing…

I write this in my clubhouse as the last rays of the brilliant sunset touch the harbor water. Wind is whipping through the harbor.  Mother Nature has much to share with us who observe this evening.

I’ve spent the last 34 years wondering who my birth mother was, what did she look like, did I resemble her in any way?  I lived with my mother until I was six years old, but I have no recollection of that time.  At all.  I met her later in life–in my early 20’s she came to visit me in So Ca–kind of breezed in, definitely breezed out, never to be seen again.  The one gift she gave me was that she brought with her a portfolio of her life.  The portfolio contained photos of her years on and around various boats all over the world.  She told me stories to match her photos, and her face glowed as she spoke.  I inherited my mom’s glowing smile, and I inherited my mom’s love of boats.  Finally, something made sense to me….in my family, my internal Light is not understood at all, even criticized–the same with my love of and desire to live on a boat.  Since that meeting years ago, I’ve had a burning desire to sail with my mom; my heart felt that would be a full circle moment for me. I am an excellent sailor–I excel at harnessing the wind on all days at all levels on any boat, I excel at extreme sailing, it is where I am at peace, feel joy, know God.  No matter how much prep is involved before or clean up after it is joy filled pure fun for me. I often sail alone, when I do allow others to sail with me I choose carefully; that time on the ocean is sacred and I honor and guard it as the precious treasure it is. 

Two years ago in May, I went sailing with a treasured friend; we had a dramatic rescue and almost died.  My entire life and the choices I had made led to that moment, and that moment led to a transformation to the “real me”–a transformation that is still in motion today.  However, after that day, I walked away from sailing.  And in doing so, I was also symbolically walking away from God. As in thank you for the dream…I’ll keep the safe parts, but you may have the rest….as if I may pick and choose when a dream is handed to me.  Sure I held on to my beliefs, I attended church, I continued with my forays in nature, still spoke with the Moon and appreciated her Light. I continued to live on my boat, occasionally went out for easy day sail jaunts, but never returned to the islands, didn’t even try.  I could see the islands from my harbor, from my beach, from many of my favorite places– I thought of them fondly, but still I remained guarded.  My life grew, my heart remained as open as possible, miracles were manifested, but sailing was something I no longer embraced. 

After two years spent healing and growing internally, I went to the islands last September. On a very safe, comfortable trip.  Kind of tentatively stepping out…perhaps my way of telling God and the Universe yes I still believe, but I am not quite ready.  Upon my return, I received my cancer diagnosis, and I thought perhaps I might never see the islands again.  After my cancer diagnosis, my focus was on living fully.  Embracing fully.  Loving fully.  If I physically remained on Earth, I wanted each moment to count.  The past few months have been ones of further transformation–of release, surrender, embrace.  A delicate balance.  All moments leading to now.  And now…I’m very ready.

The last piece of background information is this. I cannot explain to you exactly *why* I walked away. It was immature of me.  I can tell you this. My life has always been extraordinary; I can see that reflected in the faces of those who listen to my stories.  Perhaps I wanted a few moments of ordinary thinking then I wouldn’t be hurt, disllusioned, in any sort of pain. Like I said I held on to my belief in God and in natural Energy–but I began to notice that although I’d still spend a lot of time in nature I wasn’t spending much in church. I’d lost my favorite friendship and I didn’t know why; I had cancer and I didn’t know why; I spend my life healing and touching others, yet there was a bit of a void in my own life.  Life is amazing, but didn’t have *the* flow.  So, maybe I was hurting, maybe I was doubting, maybe I was having a bit of a tantrum–as in okay I’ll meet you here, but I won’t meet you there–ha! The funny thing is I keep my heart open, so I wasn’t tricking God, I wasn’t tricking the Universe, and I certainly wasn’t tricking myself.  My life is blessed beyond imagination, and I am always thankful, but as I remained guarded there was a cap on it all. 

So, with all of the background pieces in place, I’m going to share with you my Mother’s Day revelation.  This is unfolding at it’s best–how God and the Universe work in my life.  Tired of being a bit guarded, I went back to church two Sundays ago.  I don’t know what brought me there, but I felt like this is it, in general in life that was the missing piece and “I’m back”.  I spoke to the Moon and told her I am ready…for whatever it is she’d like to put in my life. That same week, my treasured friend came back into my life–my friend that represents to me good energy, strong Light, reminds me to remain open and strong–all of a sudden reappeared. Then I manifested an invitation to the islands for the weekend. Coincidence?  I am absolutely certain it is all Divine–I went to the place I hadn’t wanted to go, and God and the Universe met me big time…..

I picked Mother’s Day weekend to sail.  I wanted my children to accompany me.  I went on my neighbor’s boat because I trust it completely, and I went with my neighbor because he is very considerate of the children and I.  I felt something big was going to happen this weekend.  And it did. When I give it to God and the Universe–I stand at the precipice daring myself to jump and I finally do– you cannot imagine the abundance, the thrill, the acceptance when I am met with exactly what I have been searching for.  The Answer is love, embrace love, and it is always available, always within.  I just have to be quiet enough to listen.

I cannot explain the actual trip. I can only say the first day was excellent.  The winds were up a bit which made for perfect sailing–I got my neighbor’s boat up to 7.5 knots which was as fast as he was comfortable with, and means to you non sailors we were very much zipping right along. I wanted to get it to 8, but he said no, so I complied:)  However, my heart was racing, because this is my element–this is where I shine, harnessing the wind, communing with Mother Nature and her forces out there on the ocean.  Zipping to her little hideout on the islands, basking in her sun…By evening, when we were anchored at the island, the weather conditions had picked up and we heard there was a small craft advisory and a gale force wind advisory for the next day.  So, I woke us at sunrise and we left to try to beat the worst of the weather. I wish my children were not on board, but they were, so I made it as enjoyable as possible for them.  We sailed through the storm–well, mostly motored.  In high winds (gusts up to 35 knots), high surf, huge swells (4 feet at 3 second intervals).  One rail of the boat would touch, then the other rail would touch.  For four hours.   Everything not secure in the cabin of the boat would crash onto the floor. Water would come up and over the side of the boat and splash us.  The wind was whipping.  I had to harness my son to the boat so he would remain safe. My daughter had a fever, my son was seasick. My neighbor said he had never been in such conditions, so I was at the helm the entire time.

I knew we would not die.  I knew the boat would be okay. I had this grin from ear to ear because my heart was so happy.  *This* is like coming home.  I am in the absolute right place.  I cannot walk away, because I hold it all in my heart.  I got us home, because it’s what I know and I can.  Along the way, we saw a beautiful sunrise, we saw dolphins playing in the surf, we managed to laugh, we managed to make the most of the moments we were in. My heart swelled with love and pride for my children because they were awesome out there, in the midst of the storm, and as I whooped and yahoo’ed! they smiled.  If my children were not on board, it would have been a perfect 10 day for me.  I was content surfing the waves, listening to music, surveying it all in front of me.  I was worried about their discomfort, but I also realized I tend to shelter them, and why shouldn’t they have an adventure that will stay with them always.  As a family, we weathered a severe storm–an experience most people shy away from, some never have in their life ever– yet we did it.  With grace and a bit of joy. And when we arrived home my neighbor thanked me. 

Many hours later, my huge insight hit me.  I knew without a doubt *this* was my day…my day with my Mother.  Mother Nature.  I’d been missing my mom my entire live, not even realizing I *have been* with my mom my entire life.  This is the lifestyle I have chosen to be closer to her.  So I wake to the sunrise, I sleep with the moonbeams, I play on the ocean, I hike in the hills; I am with my mom, every single day.  I love her, and by spending so much time with her, she has taught me to mother my children in a beautiful, most natural way. On Mother’s Day, May 9th, 2010,  I not only found my mom, I sailed with my mom!  The same month two years ago that I almost lost my life, I chose this year to step out in faith and I found my mom.  She has been with me every step of the way.  She is most amazing; she has open arms and is always there for me with great splendor and magnificence to share…..

I wanted to share the slideshow of photos with you from this weekend.  Some of you have known me almost one year and have yet to see photos, some are curious about our life.  The thing is, I cannot figure out how to get the slideshow to my website, but I know you will enjoy it..my gift to you…my precious islands…my home.  Please click this link to view it..


Much peace,


  1. #1 by Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord on May 12, 2010 - 1:13 pm

    Joy, you continue to wow me with your insights, openness and how eagerly you embrace NEWNESS! New learning, new facets of you, new outlets for your amazing energy.

    Your trip sounded awesome, and I was RIGHT THERE with you! I was on the boat (getting seasick with your son!), and I was watching you beam! I saw the dolphins, got wet with the swells, and heard the crashes below. And I FELT YOUR ENERGY! You shine in all you do, but this… THIS is (just as you said) when and where God calls you home.

    You just opened up more adventure in my spirit by allowing me to read this. Thank you!
    Huge hug & moonbeams all around,

    PS – I thought of you this morning when I was laying on my floor at 2:00a trying to sleep. Instead of thinking “I should be in a bed…” I though, “Joy sleeps like this all the time, and so can you!” I fell asleep a few moments after that. 🙂

    • #2 by unfoldingyourpathtojoy on May 12, 2010 - 2:24 pm

      I have to share this here.
      After reading this post, Megan texted me and said if I ever need a “name” she shall call me *Moonbeam*. I cracked up, belly laughed so loud the entire harbor probably heard me! Put a twinkle in my eye that’s for sure–because Moonbeam it truly is…So I shared with my children, and my son–precious one that he is–said does that mean your Father is Father Time? *grin* so I said no, my dad is Grandpa that you know, and he got that look–you know the one–and said does that mean Grandpa and the moon ????? (insert activity here)…..nope, but we laughed…..
      And *that* that is love, joy, beauty, magnified. That is why I share as I do.
      On a serious note, thank you Megan for sharing as you do. I am able to step out and embrace newness because I have Faith but also because I have incredible support on all levels from my friends and loved ones around me. When you share your journey with me, and I watch you embrace new, I try to apply that to my own life. I want to learn, I want to love, I want to embrace every single moment….

  2. #3 by Joy Tanksley on May 12, 2010 - 3:34 pm

    Thanks, Joy. Thanks for your words and for the gorgeous pictures. The sunrise shots were my favorite.

    • #4 by unfoldingyourpathtojoy on May 14, 2010 - 11:44 am

      Thank *you*. Of course the sunrise photos are your fav’s..you’re Light filled, and I bet you soak it all in:) Would be awesome fun to play under the moonbeams together:)

  3. #5 by Sulwyn on May 12, 2010 - 4:53 pm

    Thank you, Joy, for sharing this. I am continually inspired by your openness and brilliant light; I love my parents but they and the older generation of my family preferred to shelter me at the expense of my sense of adventure, though I suppose it was a measure of their love – I am the one and only grandchild that either side of my family ever knew. So I look at the things you share and the way you embrace your life and I am inspired to embrace the parts of me that I know are hiding in there – the “Grandma Grace” (family rebel) if you will. I truly admire your strength and courage.

    • #6 by unfoldingyourpathtojoy on May 14, 2010 - 11:43 am

      Thank you!
      Grandma Grace is someone I’d have like to shared with:) And I am because you are here…..
      Lots of Light!

  4. #7 by The Exception on May 12, 2010 - 6:48 pm

    This post gave me goose bumps! I came hear to read what Evita had to say about the dark and found myself reading this first… and feeling that boat and the embrace of Mother Nature and the adventure… it was wonderful to read.
    I have shared this with a friend who, like me, embraces life and experience and faith as I do. I knew I had to share it with her. Your life is so full!

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I have a feeling I will read it again!

    • #8 by unfoldingyourpathtojoy on May 14, 2010 - 11:42 am

      The Exception,
      Thank you for stopping in!
      Goose bumps are good..that means you felt the chill air, the wind in your hair….I’m glad you shared it, stories are meant to be passed on and shared….
      I bet after reading this, you will manifest an adventure appropriate for *your* lifestyle, and we will be reading about it soon:)

  5. #9 by Wilma Ham on May 13, 2010 - 12:13 am

    Oh Joy, what a wonderful reminder of life, of our connectedness, of LOVE.
    Nature has a way to make us humble and yet strong. There is no way we can force nature to do what our ego wants it to do, there is only acceptance and trust and pure beauty when we let it happen. There is a lot of fear for nature, does that mean we have a lot of fear for life, and choose to stay home where we think we can predict what happens rather than venture out?
    An amazing story about how your mom loved boats and sailing as well, what a wonderful way to connect and find peace and love and to complete with your mom.
    Oh Joy from the glorious photos I smell salt, wind, ocean and freedom and living.
    May we all experience life adventurous and full like that. xox Wilma

    • #10 by unfoldingyourpathtojoy on May 14, 2010 - 11:40 am

      Thank you!
      Your words have reminded me of my philosophy of unfolding…as you point out, nature allwos for unfolding/not insisting…so I know when my heart remains open and I allow for unfolding I am on the right path. Much as being at the helm of the boat on the best sailing day and on the worst…thank you for that reminder!
      I don’t fear nature…I feel most comfortable in nature. There are some unpredictable moments, but I know they are exactly as they should be. Now to apply that to life:)

  6. #11 by Tess The Bold Life on May 13, 2010 - 2:05 pm

    Joy, (Moon beam)
    Because of my birth granddaughter I find adoption stories amazing. We’re so connected it’s crazy! We just can’t get away from our roots no matter what.

    I love the photos of your kids…simply stunning, and you of course. Actually there’s not one photo I don’t like. Are you still submitting stories to sailing mags? If not sent this one in;) It’s a winner!

    Now you have me missing your marina and boat. Remember me talking about renting or sleeping on one this summer?!? Then I could be under the stars, moon beams and sun rays.

    Another joy-filled post filled with your love of life in all areas, family, nature and God.
    Thanks for the slide show and honestly I don’t know how that mag could turn you down! Thanks for your friendship and support as well. xo

    • #12 by unfoldingyourpathtojoy on May 14, 2010 - 11:38 am

      Thank you!!
      We are *so* connected, and sometimes I feel isolated and need reminding of the bigger connectedness.
      So much awe-someness in your comment…just for that I will submit this article and tell you where it will be published:)
      I’d love for you to rent a boat, however I do believe *you*already revel in the stars, moon beams, and sun rays:) I think of you on your hiking trails…..

  7. #13 by Tony Single on May 13, 2010 - 11:04 pm

    Joy (Moonbeam), I’m finally here at your wonderful blog and I’m glad of it. 🙂

    I have always been fascinated by the sea and those that sail upon it ever since reading Tove Jansson’s Moomintroll books as a child. Moominpappa, one of the main characters in that, always had an obsession with sailing that seemed to make perfect sense to me.

    I have only ever been sailing once as a little tacker. I really don’t remember much about it, except for a vague impression of a large boat and the majestic undulating of the waves. I tend to remember my time on the beach more vividly. Once, as a small boy, I remember standing early one morning on the sand, and what seemed like hundreds of tiny crabs walking around me to get to their destination.

    It was magical.

    • #14 by unfoldingyourpathtojoy on May 14, 2010 - 11:34 am

      Thank you for stopping by-glad you came to visit:)
      I haven’t read the series, so will look it up, especially because I love the name of the main character.
      What I experience and learn sailing directly translates to my life–much as yoga or any other practice that allows me to open my heart fully and grow into that space. I also enjoy sharing it with others because most of what happens out on the ocean is novel, and as you said fascinating…
      As far as beach days–I and/or my kids try to go frequently throughout the week, sometimes just to walk, sometimes to play, it’s quite the place to be:)

  8. #15 by Hilary on May 14, 2010 - 4:12 pm

    Hi Joy .. what an amazing story – Mother Nature – here all the time. I’ve never been happy with the sea – I’d rather glide above .. but many love the thrall of the Ocean .. your story was evocative and I could feel the highs and the lows and the sudden realisation of where you’re at … it’s lovely to see the islands and the tour of the trip –
    Thanks – have a great weekend .. Hilary

  9. #16 by Lance on May 16, 2010 - 3:34 pm

    I was here to view the slideshow earlier in the week – but with limited time, hadn’t read everything you’d written to go along with it. Now I have.

    What a touching moment, to be able to connect with Mother Nature – to “be” in that moment…and to feel the presence of your mom through it all. Like life, and the storms we weather – you have come out of this – and I just feel this sense of “rightness” in all of it. What a beautiful, beautiful expression of love.

    And – the slideshow…it is so good to see you and your family with such expressions of happiness!

    • #17 by unfoldingyourpathtojoy on May 17, 2010 - 11:12 am

      Ah Lance…
      Thank you for stopping in–I knew you’d enjoy the photos from our adventure:)
      There is absolutely a “rightness ” to it all, a guiding down the correct path…..and I’m loving it!

  10. #18 by Jodi Sloane on May 18, 2010 - 7:31 pm

    Hi Joy, I love your writing so much. You are so engaging and so FUN! Thank you for sharing the background to this story–it made the events of your Mother’s Day really, really come alive! What a wonderful ah-ha for you. I love seeing how in all aspects of your life your cup runneth over. Now I’m off to view the slideshow! -Jodi

    • #19 by unfoldingyourpathtojoy on May 19, 2010 - 3:59 am

      Thank you for stopping in!
      On this new site, I want to share my life with my readers….boat life is certainly different, but as you say it’s fun! It is my choice to make it that way:)
      My children’s reaction to this story was hysterical…they love thinking about Mother Nature as their grandmother!

  11. #20 by Jan on May 26, 2010 - 7:30 pm

    I loved reading your beautiful tale of unfolding, accepting, embracing. Oh, my! Yes, your life is full of magic and I am so glad (despite the sorrows) that you have hugged it all to you. You are a shining example to us all.

    Sending you much love after Mother’s Day, thought it is still ripe with my wishes.

    Believe, breathe, and be well. xo

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