Stories from the oceans...

Oceans bring me joy. Oceans bring me peace. Oceans make me happy. You see, I lived on cargo ships growing up. My father was a Captain on cargo ships. He worked 6- to 9-months on the ships and was then home for 6-months. We usually spent 3-months on the ship with him so that we could have a somewhat normal family life.

Living on cargo ships meant we were on the water for many days, sometimes weeks, and sometimes months. It also meant we traveled to many new places each year. We went to the volcanic islands in Indonesia and to Queensland in Australia. We went to Togo and traveled through the Suez and Panama Canals. We spent a month in Iran and a month in Vancouver. We spent months on the Atlantic and weeks on the Pacific. I had experiences as a 10, 11, 12 year old that many people don't. This also meant that I saw and experienced things that children at 10, 11, 12 years of age don't see and experience. Some of these were happy, and some of these got me thinking. Like, I learned about the barter system in real-time in the small volcanic islands of Indonesia. We got green chilies from the ladies there, and gave them cigarettes!

Just like that, I learned about teamwork when we were passing through the waters of Singapore. You see, in the early 90's Singapore waters were a hotbed for pirates. I saw how my father and the rest of the crew prepared for preventing a pirate invasion. We learned all about water cannons and guns. About secret hiding spots and SOS messages. Was it thrilling? Absolutely! Was it scary? You bet it was!

The lessons I received from my life on the ships are incomparable to any education I got after. 30 years later these memories and images are as clear as if it was yesterday. I tell you this because the stories we tell ourselves stay with us, shape us, and become our narrative. I could have formed a narrative of pity (in Indonesia) or fear (in Singapore) but I choose to tell myself the story of learning, the story of growth, the story of barter, the story of teamwork.

Think about the stories you are telling yourself. Do they need reframing?