REAL POWER: MAXING OUT ON GOD'S LOVE
THE ZERO AMBIVALENCE
Our catamaran arrived in New Zealand
in late November after spending six months island hopping across the
Pacific Ocean. We had just taken seven days and nights to sail
twelve hundred miles from Fiji to New Zealand. We made it into the
Bay of Islands escaping a storm by the skin of our teeth. A few hours
after we arrived, strong winds and heavy seas struck offshore.
We had a lot of apprehension and
ambivalence about sailing to New Zealand. Too often people die or
yachts are lost making this trip. Usually disaster strikes within
one-hundred miles of New Zealandís coast. We call the last
one-hundred miles the danger zone, because people feel like they have
it made and are tempted to let their guard down. People are tired
from the twelve hundred mile ocean passage that took a week or more to
complete. They want to get in and put their anchor down. There is a
temptation to cut corners, take a few more risks, and do things they
ordinarily would not do when they are at sea.
Fortunately, we arrived safely, and
although strong winds ripped through the Bay of Islands, we were
anchored in a sheltered cove and felt no worries. Offshore, things
were much different. Within those last hundred miles, one boat was
rolled and dismasted, and another was run down by a Korean freighter.
No one was injured in the boat that was rolled and dismasted. The
boat run down by the ship was not so lucky, with two children and
their father perishing at sea. Only the mother survived by floating
away from the wreckage in a partially inflated dingy. Our hearts went
out to the victims of those disasters.
A few days later we moved our
catamaran fifty miles south to Whangarei. Within a week of settling
in to Whangarei, we purchased an old van that we planned to use to
tour New Zealand. It was a good plan, right up to the moment of the
I was driving on a hilly section of
road south of Auckland. Unfortunately, the outside wheels of the
vehicle got off the road, and the van flipped over and took out more
than one hundred feet of farmerís fence. When the van came to a stop,
it was lying on its side, and I was trapped inside the vehicle in the
driverís seat. The windows of the van had popped out, and everyone
but me climbed out the windows and doors.
Fortunately, no one had life
threatening injuries except for me. I looked down at my right leg and
noticed that my knee cap was dislocated to the right side of my knee.
Interesting. I didnít know that knee caps could do that. I tried to
move and felt pain in my left hip, and realized I had a high fracture
of my left femur. In the practice of medicine, I was doing what is
called a review of systems. I was a doctor doing a survey of my own
injuries. I had done it many times before on other people who arrived
in the emergency room, and now I was doing it on myself in the car in
which I was trapped. I noticed there was pain in my right shoulder,
and later found out I had fractured my shoulder blade. I also noticed
pain in my chest, and when I felt my upper chest, it was clear I had
broken several ribs, five of them to be exact. I felt a bit short of
breath and coughed up a small amount of blood. The rib fractures had
punctured a lung, and the right lung was collapsing as my right chest
was filling up with blood.
At this point, I knew I was in big
trouble. I needed to get out of the car and to the hospital before I
died from internal bleeding. I urgently needed a chest tube in my
right chest to reinflate my lung and drain the blood that was
accumulating. Unfortunately, I was trapped in the car.
Someone who rendered assistance at
the scene of the accident used their cell phone to call the volunteer
fire department in Hatea and told them to come with the Jaws of Life
to cut me out of the car. Within an hour the firemen were there using
the Jaws of Life to set me free.
They put me in an ambulance and sent
me to a little hospital where a South African doctor put in a chest
tube, and then sent me by ambulance to Taranaki Base Hospital. They
thought about sending me by helicopter, but were not sure I would
survive the turbulent ride. In Taranaki Base Hospital I had three
operations, was transfused seven units of blood, and spent nine days
in the intensive care unit. Two months later I left the hospital.
Having two broken legs was an
unexpected learning experience that changed how I looked at the
world. I was not able to walk normally for at least a year. I could
not walk without crutches or cane for about six months. It took more
than a year for my left femur to heal. It was six months before I
could bend my right knee ninety degrees. Until I could bend my knee,
I had a hard time walking up and down stairs, and it was especially
difficult to get on and off the sailboat on which I was living.
I quickly discovered what a blessing
it is to be able to walk, run, jump, skip, and go up and down stairs.
For the first time in my life, I had a zero ambivalence experience.
I became an instant member of the Zero Ambivalence Club. I wanted to
walk more than anything else in the world. I wanted to walk with all
my mind, all my heart, and all my strength.
ZERO AMBIVALENCE CLUB
To become a member of the Zero
Ambivalence Club, I had to have a zero ambivalence experience. I had
to want something with all my mind, all my heart, and all my
strength. I had to want it with everything that was in me. My
intellect, emotions, and will must all head in the same direction. I
had to be willing to do whatever it takes if I was going to walk
normally again and restart my sailing voyage around the world.
At that point, the easy thing to do
would have been to quit. Sell the boat, get on a 747, fly to windward
at five hundred miles an hour, return to my former life, and forget
about the voyage. If I had done that, my trip around the world would
have been history, and ambivalence would have stolen another dream.
Until I lost the ability to walk, I
never understood what it was like to have a zero ambivalence
experience. No matter what I had done in the past, there was always
some measure of ambivalence present. Sometimes my mind was not fully
committed to a particular course of action. At other times, my heart
was unconvinced, or my will said it wasnít worth the effort. Until
then, I didnít understand what it meant to have my heart, mind, and
will all heading in the same direction.
Once I had a zero ambivalence
experience, I understood why Jesus said we are to love God with all
our mind, all our heart, and all our strength. My relationship with
God was meant to be a zero ambivalence experience. But, I am getting
ahead of myself.
GO TO NEXT PAGE
DREAMS DO COME
Dreams are dangerous
things. Sometimes they take over your life.
I spent the past thirty
years sailing on the ocean of my dreams. For most of those years, my
feet were on dry land, but in my mind, I was sailing the seven seas.
I've sailed around the world dozens of times in my mind with Joshua
Slocum, Harry Pidgeon, and Bernard Moitessier at my side. I've
survived the savage seas of the high southern latitudes with the crew
of Tzu Hang as they were pitchpoled in the waters off Cape Horn. I've
been with the Pardeys and the Hiscocks as they sailed on their voyages
of discovery. I've deployed parachute sea anchors and trailed drogues
hundreds of times in the storms of my mind. I've dropped my anchor in
Paradise and snorkeled in enchanted atolls. I've even escaped from
pirates - buccaneers of the mind who tried to steal my dreams.
In my mind, I
practiced sailing around the world for more than twenty years before I
actually cast off my dock lines and set sail on my eleven year
So how did it feel to make my dreams come true?
First, I would have to admit it was a bit scary to drop the dock lines
and set sail. This was a voyage of exploration into our unknowns, and
unknowns were in abundance. During the trip around the world, we
often ran out of wind, sometimes we ran low on diesel fuel, but we
never ran out of unknowns.
I didn't know how much
the trip was going to cost. Working for eleven years in Saudi
Arabia paid for my boat and supplied me with enough freedom chips to
weather any financial storms that came our way. I knew that the trip
was going to cost a lot of money, especially with college coming up
for my kids. Some days, I wondered if I could really afford to make
the trip, but on most days, I KNEW THAT I COULDN'T AFFORD TO NOT MAKE
THE TRIP. The currency of my youth was in short supply, and having an
awesome adventure with my family was worth any price. And how do you
count the richness of your life anyway? Dreams or dollars? Which
will it be. I'll take my dreams any day.
Second, I had never
made an ocean passage before I started the voyage. I had only sailed
my catamaran six times before I started out on the trip. I was
unproven and my yacht was unproven.
The biggest things I had going for me were that I had a positive
attitude, a positive family, and I had already sailed around the world
dozens of time in my mind. I quickly learned that sailing a catamaran
isn't rocket science, and if we can do it, anyone can. A conservative
amount of sail and a positive attitude will take a sailboat just about
anywhere you want to go.
Third, in my mind, I
was afraid of pirates, tsunamis, and hurricanes. As it turned out, we
never met a pirate, we survived one global tsunami in Thailand
totally unscathed, and there was nary a hurricane that threatened our
eleven year voyage. The worst thing that happened on the entire
circumnavigation was a car accident in New Zealand that broke two
legs, fractured five ribs, and punctured one lung. It took me out of
commission for nearly a year, but it didn't stop the voyage of Exit
Only. After the fractures healed and I learned to walk again, we set
sail for Fiji and continued sailing for nine more years before we
completed our trip around the world.
Dreams do come true,
and making them happen is within the capability of ordinary folks who
have extraordinary dreams. A positive attitude and unstoppable
persistence allows anyone to sail on the ocean of their dreams. All
they have to do is do it. All you can do, is all you can do, but all
you can do is enough.
It's a lot of work to
live your dreams, but that doesn't matter, because when you live your
dreams, your life is worth living. Your life keeps getting better,
and before long you realize that there is no limit to how good your
life can become.
THE POSITIVE WEB RING
The Positive Web Ring has twelve positive web
sites. Each site lifts you up, pushes your mind in a positive
direction, and makes it easier to live your dreams. The
Positive Web Ring has something positive for everyone. There's
podcasts, and much more.
If you are fighting against depression, visit
If you struggle with negative thinking, visit
The wheel of change always turns in the direction of what you put into
your mind, and the Positive Web Ring fills your mind with good things.
Give your mind a push in a positive direction today. Cruise your way
to a positive life. If you really want to be positive, nobody
can stop you.
RED SEA CHRONICLES DVD
When Dr. Dave isn't working as a flying doctor for the Indian Health
Service, He is sailing around the world on his sailboat. Find
out what it's like to sail on the ocean of your dreams by watching
Captain Dave's DVD.
Chronicles DVD Previews