Between the workshops, one of several homework exercise that I undertook was a writing exercise about my past. It was called ‘Who is the Captain of Your Life’? In this exercise we were required to do some deep mining of our pasts and look at our parents separately. I read the title of the homework activity and my instant reaction was that it did not matter whether or not I was the captain of my life but how well I related to the crew. I thought about doing the exercise but then thought ‘Naa, I’m just going to read my book tonight’. However as I sat reading in bed, I encountered the words, “ships were not built for the safety of the harbour but for the open sea.” It was just weird that I was getting all of this maritime imagery and so I went downstairs, got my pen and my Gratitude and Dreams journal (courtesy of the Daring and Mighty Programme) and began writing. The actual task was that we were to identify our parents’ behaviours individually and to consider which of those behaviours we may have inherited that are not serving us. But this is what I wrote first.
I am embarking on a daring and mighty journey across the turbulent ocean to hear the mermaids sing. The sea calls me from the safety of my bark to face what lurks in the waters below. The immensity of the darkness is terrifying. I fear the macabre terror of the unblinking eye and the single lightening whip of a huge tail. That end would be quick. The vigil of the dorsal fin streaming through the buffeting water is more frightening than the end itself… and the eye of course. But even this is a story. The sea is not the source of fear; the voyage is. So let’s rig up this little boat, trust the ropes and sail, and turn about-face into the wind. May the storm begin.
Captain Mackey, sailed to Australia in 1820. That means that I am seventh generation Australian (although I have arguably defected back to the mother country). Records show that he was married to one Sarah Beswick in Calcutta where he worked as a merchant mariner for the East India company. He was a master mariner and was literally captain of his ship. Other records show him ferrying judges to Van dieman’s land and captaining various trade vessels to Batavia and other East- Asian parts. His ship, named the Actaeon, was wrecked on some rocks off Tasmania which is now named Actaeon Island after his boat which he sank! He survived the wreck and escaped with some crew members who rowed him to the mainland in a long-boat. So there you have it; it is all about how you relate to your crew.
Although the year of Captain Mackey’s birth and death are certain, there is no paternal name on his death certificate so it is not possible to trace him back to the mainland as it was pre-census and he could be any number of John Mackeys in Parish registers who share his dates. I must look into this further as there must be a way to discover where he was from… Anyway, he was a sea-faring rogue – salty sea dog – a rover of the seas and Sarah was his siren.
Ah, the sea- the sea. Why does it always make one so philosophical? Its vast water puts things into proper perspective and makes my world become empty as a shell put to a child’s ear – hollow but for the sounds of the waves…
I did write several more pages using sea-imagery as a stimulus and although it’s probably not that readable, I had lots of fun just doing it. It is amazing how taking up a pen can untap surprising things and how the exercises have gotten me excited about writing again. Hurrah! I feel like the programme is really opening up something for me. It is all very daunting but actually quite daring and mighty. The symbolism of the sea is really important to me right now. At the workshop, one of our guided meditations was about focussing on our spirit guides and mine was a mermaid! Who would have thunk it!
Grace notes are written on a musical score. They are tiny musical notes written next to regular notes in smaller notation. Grace notes denote sounds which are shorter than the actual note and exist to embellish the music. Alone, a grace note has no meaning but coupled with a principle note they create a richer tone. This blog exists as an adjunct to Daring and Mighty – rather like a grace note.