Oct 28

En route from Bali to Singapore through the traffic clogged waters of the South China Sea on a ten-day passage that included seven days with only eight hours of sleep total…at midnight in a pitch-black moonless night the most terrifying moments in my eight-year voyage. On approaching the harbor at Singapore…an excerpt from By the Grace of the Sea: A Woman’s Solo Odyssey Around the World by Pat Henry:

…This one time, I would violate my personal rule prohibiting landfalls after dark in strange harbors. Something moved along the coast far off to port. Now and then tiny red lights darted in the distance ahead—fishing boats, probably.

…The current and engine together swept me ahead at more than six knots as I scouted periodically for traffic but worried most about my location. In the dim light on the cockpit seat it was impossible to plot it, and the Singapore shoreline offered few clues. The only other vessels moved far in the distance.

At Fairy Point, I could just make out a forest of masts to port. I was home safe. My shoulders unwound as I put the engine in neutral to set up the anchor. In the quiet of Serangoon Harbor, away from the press of big ships, I walked out to the bow, untied the cord restraining the anchor on the roller, lifted a few feet of chain through the hawsepipe, and lowered it to dangle just above the surface of the water—ready to drop when I found a good spot.

Turning to go back, I froze. Ice water surged through my knees. High above the stern of SC (SV Southern Cross), stacks of red and white lights glowed menacingly, the vessel below them invisible in the dense black air. Something very large and very close was under tow and being carried by the same current pushing SC.

I jumped into the cockpit, pulled off the autopilot arm, threw the engine into gear, and opened the throttle, turning to port—away from the looming monster. When the danger receded, my heart thudded still as the questions raced through my head. Why didn’t her captain see SC’s navigation lights? Why didn’t he call? Maybe he did, and I couldn’t hear him above the engine. Where did she come from? Was she the vessel I saw earlier by the shore? How could she be that close and not hit me? I found a spot near the other cruising boats, dropped the hook, and sank down on the settee, still shaken.

Over breakfast I watched a steady stream of shipping traffic passing in the channel that had seemed only a backwater the night before. Two oceangoing tugs left for offshore oil fields towing towering cranes that extended over the bows of the tugs and rose twice the height of passing tankers. Perhaps one of them had made the light pattern that crept up on me the night before. If so, even if the tug captain had seen SC, he could never have changed course in time.

My close brush with death?

My close brush with death?

Once again I had been delivered by Divine Protection, this time from fishing traps, ships, reefs, and finally, in the moment of arrival, from a brush with death.

We know our fears far more than we recognize our courage.

In country after country, on my solo sail around the world, I met the astonishment of people who applauded my courage. I really didn’t see it that way at all and was embarrassed by the attention. I certainly had as much fear as the next person and was not especially brave. I would usually brush off the remark with a laugh, saying, “No, just a bit crazy.”

The expression for courage in so many cultures/languages ties courage to the heart. They would say, “you have a big heart,” in one way or another. Or they would touch their chests. It comes from the Latin root cor (heart). Many define it as acting despite having fear, but others say “without having fear.” I believe there must be fear for it to take courage to act. Otherwise it is empty bravado. My story above was not really about courage, but fear driven survival.

I wrote a previous blog about dealing with severe sciatica for half of my 36-day Pacific crossing from Acapulco to the Marquesas Islands. In the end, I discovered that I had a great deal of unacknowledged fear about the voyage I was undertaking. Facing and accepting that fear as a healthy ingredient that would keep me safe for the next eight years became the tool to heal the sciatica!

I have come to a more rounded view of fear and courage today.

What we have met and come to know, in its familiarity, is less scary…i.e.: I’ve seen this before and understand it to some degree. The more we have experienced in life, the less there is to fear.

But, when we do have fear it is only relative to our individual lifetime exposure. What is very courageous for one is just an everyday experience for another. Every time you step across a border at the edge of your comfort zone, the zone expands.

Now, I sit at my computer delving into foreign technologies, unfamiliar vocabulary, unsolicited actions on my screen, attempting to move mountains on a strange landscape. Every day I gather up fragments of courage to accomplish one small task that my grandchildren can do blindfolded. My heart is not racing as when coming down the face of a 28-foot wave or surviving a near collision, but there is enough cortisol at the end of the day to do its damage! It is still fear. I promise the results of all this brave effort within the next two months, if not sooner, in your inbox.

When was the last time you stepped across your comfort zone border? And what were you doing? Leave a message in the comments below…and congratulations!!! It helps everyone when they know that others have been there…and survived!

Pat Henry (54) copy-2



Pat Henry, founder of Organic Stretching®, became the first American woman to complete a solo circumnavigation (via the canals), in 1997,

Share this:
Oct 26

When Linda Linder arrived in Puerto Vallara in January, 2014, she had one flexibility goal and a ten-hour workshop to reach it. She is fit and leads a busy life with tennis, walks, time with her grandchildren and a host of other activities. Her close friend and tennis partner Gayle James is a childhood friend and classmate of mine, and together they escaped the cold Ohio winter for an Organic Stretching® Weekend Workshop.

Early in the workshop, I asked everyone what area they wanted to release for greater flexibility. We took measurements and photos to record the starting point. Linda loved to play a game with her young grandchildren, but she couldn’t touch her right shoulder with her right hand, as the game required. Her hand stopped about 4″ above her shoulder and would not go lower. And that was her goal. Six hours or so later (the following day) we checked-in for new measurements and photos. Surprise! See what happened to Linda…

Linda, I would love to know how surprised your grandchildren were when you arrived home. This was Linda’s experience, and there is no guarantee that others will have the same results.

In accordance with the FTC guidelines concerning use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising, please be aware of the following: Testimonials appearing on this site are actually received via text, audio or video submission. They are individual experiences, reflecting real life experiences of those who have used our products and/or services in some way or another. However, they are individual results and results do vary. We do not claim that they are typical results that consumers will generally achieve. The testimonials are not necessarily representative of all of those who will use our products and/or services.

Additionally, these testimonials are not intended to make claims that these products can be used to diagnose, treat, cure, mitigate of prevent any disease. These claims have not been clinically proven or evaluated by the FDA.

What would you like to be able to do with your grandchildren, but can’t? Leave a note below the video!

Share this:
Oct 12

Tell me what is on the top of your Bucket List? When do you plan to do it? What keeps you from doing it tomorrow? You don’t have to be retired, you know. I read about a guy 28 who realized that if he didn’t get started, he wouldn’t accomplish much. He began then to do at least one thing each year.

Maybe you don’t even have a list yet! Here is a resource guide from an award winning Bucket List website. Annette, the author has started at a young age, judging by her photo. She’ll need it for her list which is over 600 items now, but she has checked off somewhere around 200 already!!

And if you need some inspiration to create your list, this quote from the author Diane Ackerman might spur you on:

I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well. –Diane Ackerman

Once you have the list, it is time to start living it. Don’t let the usual excuses slow you down: not enough time, not enough money, no one to do it with, I’m not ready…Research? Study? Or how about: My body isn’t ready?

Travel Dreams

Are there things on your list that look daunting? Maybe even just getting up in the morning is already a challenge, let alone taking on the major travel plans that inhabit most Bucket Lists…remember the movie with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson? Any decent Bucket List needs lots of travel!

It might be a good time to start some conditioning so you’re ready for item No. 1. Maybe a visit to the hillside villages of the Mediterranean Coast or the top of St. Peter’s or an old Viennese castle?

Hillside Village

Or even to the top of a mountain! How about Kilimanjaro–my daughter Tamara and her daughter Kira in 2010!

Topping Kilimanjaro

Is taking up a hobby or sport you used to enjoy on the list?

Ready for your game?

Maybe more time playing with your grandchildren, if you can still get down to join them on the floor?

7 step prg nana

Make that list, loosen up those joints, and hit the road! Or the course! Or wherever it takes you.

PS: Organic Stretching is the perfect conditioning program to get you ready!! More options coming soon. Subscribe for the latest news.

Leave a note below and share a few of your Bucket List items to encourage and inspire others.


Share this:
Share this: