Pirates 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.
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 →
Someone once asked me: What’s with this obsession with pirates? If we all live like pirates, won’t we degenerate into a bunch of selfish cutthroats creating a hell for each other? The truth is living life with a pirate spirit is not about cheating and lying to aggrandize ourselves. It isn’t about taking what doesn’t belong to you. The thugs who create havoc around the world stealing ships, taking hostages, maiming and killing aren’t really part of this pirate equation. In denying mariners their property, their right to earn an honest living on the seas, and often enough their lives, these criminals become the very pariah they flail against.
Living life with a pirate spirit is really about reclaiming your life and your dreams, two things stolen from many of us a long, long time ago. The reason pirates from the Golden Age appeal so strongly to us is that they symbolize the independent, swashbuckling adventurer we all long to be, an adventurer willing to take chances to bring his dreams to life.
Sailors love the sea for the very same reason. Beyond the sight of land, a thousand miles from everywhere, something stirs in us and we feel alive like it was the first day of creation. Anything and everything suddenly becomes possible.
There’s another aspect to living our pirate dreams. When we become emboldened and take steps to make our dreams real, there is a rippling effect, so that we can’t help but want others to live their dreams as well.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh once said, “We are all islands in a common sea.” The humanity we share, knowing what it is to hope and dream and love and despair, these are the things that connect us to each other. No island ever became greater by taking from another. Would you live your pirate dreams? Then encourage others to do the same. You cannot claim freedom for yourself and deny it to others.
What chance have you taken lately? What dreams burn in your heart? What are you willing to do this coming week to help make one of them come true? Steal back part of your life. Chart a new course, and when you see a fellow mariner on the sea of life, lend him a helping hand. Pirates like other pirates. They love their adventurous spirit; they relate to the yearnings deep in their hearts. You can see it at a Jimmy Buffett concert. You can see it at a Bike Rally. Stand fast! See you out on the High Seas.