living your dreams

Second Chance

Think you have what it takes to design your own pirate flag? Maybe we’ll see you in the very first Pirate Olympics.

We’re two weeks into the New Year and by now most people have blown their New Year’s Resolutions. Still working out every day? Missed two days the first week and the second week wasn’t any better. Showed up two days. That diet you’ve been on? Some have gained another pound or two trying to get rid of that holiday candy calling their name.

But I’m not too concerned about that gym resolution or those few pounds that found their way to your waist. Doctors and psychologists will tell you it’s normal for people to break those kinds of resolutions shortly after they’re made unless they’re tied to a profound commitment to change.

And that’s why I’m offering you a second chance. A second chance to make some meaningful New Year Resolutions that will have a huge impact on your life. These twelve resolutions have less to do with diet and exercise and more to do with altering the behavior that will get you to the Far Side of the World where your Pirate Dreams await.

  1. Don’t surround yourself with negative people. These are people who make you feel small. People who laugh at your dreams. They may also be the people who get real quiet when you talk about your dreams instead of getting excited.
  2. Have a goal to work on every day. You always need to keep your Dream before you and do something small towards achieving it. It’s how you turn goals into GOLD.
  3. Forget the past. Forget the people who were mean to you, who gossiped about you, who failed when you needed help. Their negativity will consume too much of your energy. Don’t give them that power.
  4. When you’re tempted to quit, remember your dreams and why you held on for so long. They’re the reason you’ll hold on when the storms of life blow again.
  5. Have an island to go to. A retreat where you can rest when life is overbearing. It can be a room in your house, a corner of your yard, or simply a chair that offers comfort and a nice view. I’m lucky. I have an alcove in my bedroom with a sofa surrounded by bookcases brimming with books. I also have a sunporch and a backyard retreat with several hidden coves I can lose myself in. I can also retreat to Brookgreen Gardens only a stone’s throw from my house where the landscape and art work is salve to my soul.
  6. Take time to have fun every day. Jimmy Buffett once said, “Having fun is a good habit to get into.” It’s why children are so resilient when they get hurt emotionally and physically. They know how important it is to have fun.
  7. Take time to count your blessings. You’re richer than you think. Recognize all the good things working for you. Touch them mindfully every single day. If you’re not taking the time to savor the small things in your life, you’re killing it off.
  8. Enjoy the journey. If you wait until you reach a goal to be happy, you’re throwing away all the days you’re working to get there.
  9. Forgive yourself. We all mess up. When you fall, get up and keep going. Failure is not permanent unless you stay down. And remember people who remind you of your shortcomings, failings, and mistakes, aren’t your friends. Not to be too blunt about it, but in a sailor’s language, people who do that are scumbags that you don’t need in your life. The New Year is a good time to jettison them just as you would any other garbage mucking up your life.
  10. Raise your sails. The winds of opportunity may blow, but it does you no good if you stay in harbor.
  11. Don’t accept excuses from yourself. Somedays the storms of life never seem to stop blowing, but when your boat get swamped, bail it out, get yourself afloat, and sail on. Sitting your soggy ass in port feeling sorry for yourself isn’t going to get you any closer to the Island of your Dreams.
  12. Finally, don’t let fear paralyze you. I always remind my pirate wife that fear always makes the cannons seem louder than they are. The remedy is to act. The smallest action will get you moving and break the chains of fear holding you back.

Continue reading →

A Pirate’s New Year’s Resolutions

PIR FLAG 1800 PIXL

The Dawn of a New Year has broken, a leap year none the less, and many of you still have no idea where you want to set sail.

To be sure, you want this year to be different- you want this to be the year to make deep and profound changes in your life. For some those changes are personal, for others financial; yet for others the changes are more spiritual. But beyond that vague ache in your heart, you’re not sure where to set your course.

I say to you, to set a new course in the new year, follow your Pirate Heart.  “Follow my Pirate Heart?” you ask incredulously. Yes, and if you haven’t before, go to my website Uncommon Mariners and read the section “About Me.” It’s all about discovering your pirate heart and following your pirate dreams.

Pirates more than 200 years ago especially Caribbean pirates became pirates for a lot of reasons, only one of them being financial gain. Beyond money was the underlying hunger to regain control of their lives. In 2016, that’s what being a pirate is all about, at least on a more profound and symbolic level.

The quintessential question posed before you at the beginning of this new year is very basic. What do I need to do to reclaim my pirate life, the life I was born to lead?

Here are a few questions you should consider before you go to bed each night of 2016 or at least when you start each day: Continue reading →

The Greatest Treasure Hunter that Ever Lived

TODAY'S THE DAY

It’s the birthday of Mel Fisher this week. Born August 21, 1922, Mel will always be remembered as one of the greatest treasure hunters that ever lived. This is quite an accomplishment for a lad who grew up in the hinterlands of America, far from the sound of the ocean murmuring on a sandy beach.

Raised in Indiana, Mel became a humble chicken farmer. He eventually made his way to California where, as the Beach Boys say, “All the girls get so tan.” Mel fell in love with the sea and opened up California’s first dive shop. But there was one beauty who stood out from the rest of those tanned beach girls, and that was Dolores Horton. Deo not only became Mel’s lifelong business partner and wife but was an accomplished diver in her own right. Eventually, Mel moved to the East Coast where more opportunities to dive wrecks abounded.

For Mel it was never really about the money. As a kid, he read Treasure Island and would be possessed his whole life by the dreams of diving and finding sunken treasure. Mel turned his eye to the Florida Keys where the Nuestra Senora de Atocha waited to reward that one persistent treasure hunter who didn’t know how to quit. The Atocha became Mel’s Holy Grail. It was a quest that called to him even in the darkest hour of his soul when he lost his son, Dirk, his daughter-in-law, Angel, and his dear friend, Rick Gage in a terrible accident on the site.

With the help of family, friends, and investors, he searched sixteen years before discovering the mother of all shipwrecks July 20, 1985. Mel Fisher’s dream was realized.

Then the vultures came. Other treasure hunters. The state of Florida. The United States government. Even the government of Spain. All laid claim to the booty Mel and his coterie of friends, family, and investors sacrificed so long and hard for. Beleagured by a hundred legal battles, Mel, like the heroic Odysseus, stood his ground. Eventually, the Supreme Court came down on Mel’s side, noting it was Mel Fisher and his team who labored for years and invested millions of dollars to retrieve the treasure. Nowhere to be found during that time was the state or federal governments.

For anyone who has heard the story of Mel Fisher, the lessons are clear:

… Every dream has a price and you must be prepared to pay it.

… When it seems darkest, don’t quit.

… When the storms blow, don’t run for cover. Run for your wet suit.

… Mel redefined the meaning of persistence, attested to by sixteen years of relentless searching.

… Mel was also the master of laser focus. He would not allow himself or his crew to be distracted by anything.

… And to ward off discouragement for himself and his team, he kept a sign over his desk, reminding everyone of the need for faith and hope. TODAY’S THE DAY! became his mantra. You see those words everywhere today, but it was Mel Fisher and his crew who lived by those words in the face of uncertainty.

You may not have dreams of discovering treasure at the bottom of the sea, but no doubt your dreams involve untold treasure just the same. When you awake tomorrow, chart your course, set your sails, and check your compass. Your dreams are like the North Star. Follow them and you’ll never get lost. And when you climb into bed at night and every bone in your body aches, you can drop off to sleep contented, knowing you’ve come closer to realizing your dream.

Mel Fisher Museum, Key West is home to hundreds of artifacts from the Atocha.

Mel Fisher Museum, Key West is home to hundreds of artifacts from the Atocha.

Author’s Note:

The Atocha site still yields treasure. To learn more about it or to dive the site yourself, go to http://www.melfisher.com/ . Or better yet, stop by Mel Fisher’s Treasure Museum and Gift Shop at 1322 Hwy US 1 Sebastian, Florida. When you’re in Key West, check out the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum at 200 Greene St.

What’s in Your Treasure Chest?

KEYS SUNRISE, PELICANS, TARPONS AT ROBBIES JUNE 8 152  #2_edPirates have long enjoyed the notorious reputation of burying chests laden with treasure. Most of the stories are myth, but today I’m asking you, “What’s in your treasure chest? What kind of booty are you after?”

For some of us, it’s houses, cars, and fancy toys. For others adventure is the very touchstone of their soul. It’s why people travel, scuba dive, and jump out of airplanes.

For others it‘s health. Or a satisfied mind. It’s the reason both the Serenity Prayer of St. Francis and Buddhism have been so popular.

For many of us, family and friends are our greatest treasure. For others, it’s using their talents to make a difference. Van Gogh was hardly recognized in his lifetime, yet his  treasure chest was chock full of good things. Sadly, only Vincent knew it.

Figuratively speaking, we’re all on the High Seas of Life, swinging our cutlasses, gleefully shouting, “Arrrgh!”  Each day we set sail, striving to fill our lives with all the happiness, adventure, and contentment our pirate hearts can hold. Yet everyone’s chest has its own unique mix of  treasure, and not one of us can tell another his chest is all wrong. That’s something everyone has to figure out for himself.

Once in a while, we need to drop anchor and dig through our booty. Lots of good stuff in there! But are you missing anything? A better relationship? A dream you left to wither in a shadowy corner of your soul?

Or perhaps your treasure chest has gotten filled with things that no longer work for you. Things that have become more of a burden than a joy. Maybe it’s time to ask yourself, “How does this serve me now?” Letting go of what we cling to opens our hands to new treasure.

Go ahead. Take a look inside that chest of yours before you drop off to sleep tonight. Do you like what you see? Anything missing? Time to make a few adjustments?

When you make that final voyage on the Sea of Life and the Great Mariner greets you, maybe he’ll be grinning more than you when you open your chest and show him what you’ve got.

Eight Reasons to Adopt a Pirate Spirit

  1. Life is more fun when you have an adventurous spirit. If it’s one thing pirates have it’s that. Countless studies show when you allow enough room in your life to break from your routine, you live longer. Okay, I made that up, but I bet pirates live a lot longer than their counterparts. Unless, of course, they’re hanging around the dock all day.
  1. Life is a lot less stressful when you yell, “Aaarrrgh,” instead of yelling at your kids, or your wife, or your boss, or your computer, or your ….. Well, you get the idea.
  1. Life is exciting when you wake up with a dream in your heart. It doesn’t matter whether you’re burying treasure or digging it up. Excavate your dreams and put them on a bucket list. Life takes on new meaning when you wake up with a purpose.
  1. Being a pirate gives you room to be silly. How cool is it to do what little kids do all the time. Dress up and play make believe. Swing those plastic cutlasses. Put that pirate hat on. If you don’t do it, someone else will. And why should they have the fun that could have been yours?
  1. Being a pirate gives you permission to be different, think differently, act differently, and dream differently. You get to try new roles, go to different places, and make new friends, And if you think we’re talking facebook friends, you need to get a life. A pirate‘s life!
  1. When you dress up like a pirate, you make a lot of people smile. Too many people have misplaced their smile. So think of this whole pirate thing as a public service.

Continue reading →

A Pirate’s Pirate: Jimmy Buffett Lessons from the Far Side of Paradise

Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all. When Helen Keller spoke those words, it’s not likely she was thinking of pirates, but they fit perfectly the happiest pirate this side of Margaritaville and his parrothead followers.

If there are three trademarks of a pirate, it’s these

1. The willingness to take bold chances.

2. The willingness to steal.

3. The thirst for adventure.

If this is true, then Jimmy Buffett is not only a pirate’s pirate, but he’s had school in session for over forty years, teaching parrothead/pirates the intimate details of how to pull this pirate thing off. Let’s get started by putting a few things up front.

Jimmy’s been shot down in Jamaica, crashed his plane in Long Island, been put down by critics, thrown out of sports arenas, and had his share of illicit taxi rides. Yet each time cannon balls fly his way, he’s found a way to “… jump up and smile back at …” us.

This is exactly what makes Jimmy Buffett a pirate’s pirate. Adversity is no stranger to him. It’s just that he’s learned to make friends with it. It’s hard to know whether Jimmy shines because of his resilience, or whether his resilience comes from his ability to shine. I’m convinced if given an electric guitar and Jimmy Buffett‘s example, Blackbeard would have turned out differently.

Let’s face it. No one would ever accuse Jimmy of being a saint, yet there are few people I know closer to God. When you make so many people happy in a world writhing in pain, it’s one of the most godlike things a human can do. More of us should learn to do that.

As for this whole stealing thing, Jimmy is guilty. For over forty years, he’s stolen our hearts while encouraging us to live our dreams. What‘s more, he’s taught us to steal our lives and our dreams back from those who stole them from us a piece at a time.

Though he seems to preach a hedonistic lifestyle, Jimmy is more of a Buddha than a sensualist. It’s all about the present moment. No matter what you were expecting, it is always now. Breathe in, breathe out. Move on. It’s a terrific lesson. Continue reading →