Waking with a Boom

The other day I was hit by a boom. I was getting out of a sailboat at our community boating club just finishing a lesson. My instructor said, “You can get out now” and I was so relieved that I hadn’t capsized the boat or hit another one in the lake that I stepped on the dock forgetting there was a boat behind me. My mind was already focusing on time and my need to rush home when the metal boom whacked me on the head.

“Ow”, I cried.

“That’s why it’s called a boom.” my instructor said.

“Are you all right?” The head instructor asked.

“I think so, I said dazed.

“Just get me some ice.”

What I had to do suddenly seemed less important as I sat in the boathouse with a pack of ice on my forehead. I was forced to stop and be in the moment.

I don’t like thinking that I have to get hit on the head to remember to stay present and ground myself in the here and now. Sailing is a challenge for me. I am not a natural and have to overcome memories of long ago taking a sailing course and capsizing. I couldn’t right the boat and felt powerless and inept.

My mother used to tell me to stop banging my head against the wall. Now I wondered was sailing another wall?  Should I give up this attempt to learn something that made me feel dumb, slow and old? Then, as I sat, stilled, holding the ice pack to my head I realized the wall was not sailing but the feelings that arose around it. Dumb? Stupid? Slow? This is conditioning, old patterns of thinking from the past. It is true, I am slow to remember exactly how to rig the boat and coordinate tiller and sail  but when I relax I do feel the wind and there is no thought, only the sensation of moving through the water and being free. Mind, body, wind, water and sky-in harmony–and a guy in a motorboat not too far away watching to make sure I am safe. Stay the course.

Rosenbaum Blog 1 Boom Rigging

Posted in Mind and Body in Harmony


  1. Diana says:

    What a wonderful real-life example of being present in the moment!

  2. Karen Wright says:

    Do I have to get hit in the head to remember ….. ? Excellent question! Thanks precious Elana

  3. Sherry says:

    Lovely thoughts, and artfully written. You may not be the world’s best sailor, but you sure can write about it!
    This piece reminded me and Carl of the “bathtub” sailboat we had in Sandwich. It was small, deep-bottomed and simple: not too challenging even for our beginner (often non-existent) skills. We’d had a bad experience with a Sunfish (I think that’s what it was), which we flipped about three seconds after launching, and which we struggled to get back upright the whole rest of the time we’d rented it. After that, we went for easy and stable, and really came to love that little tub, even if it didn’t run like the wind. The modest speed it got up to made the small centerboard vibrate, kind of like it was purring. And then we could enjoy the sailing experience without anxiety; it was wonderful to just cruise.

    I hope you get to a place in your sailing where you can relax and enjoy, and not worry about performance (such a joykill in any endeavor…). We don’t all have to be masters to love doing something; just have to figure out not to harm ourselves doing it!

  4. Christine says:

    I am interested to know if the course also deals with pain management. I have read Jon Kabat-Zinn’s book called “Full catastrophe living” and deal with pain clients using his methods. Will this course highlight the same methods. Thank you kindly. Chris

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