Classic Boat Week Antigua. Photo reportage.

Enjoy and appreciate every moment of your life. It could be an ordinary day in office with nice and friendly people. Or it could be a beautiful rainy day full of stillness which is so amazing to use for reading an interesting book you were aiming to read for a while and have some time-in. It could be a snowy winter evening when you can finally meet your best friend, have a glass or two chatting about anything with no restrictions and cooking something yummy. Or it could be a sunny day on a boat somewhere in Antigua…. 

Here is a  bit of boat “eye candy” for those who love sailing and those who appreciate sailing from a different era.

Our visit to Antigua to pick up our new North Sails coincided with Classic Yacht Week which meant we had the opportunity to watch old style sailing vessels.  Classic week draws sail boats in a variety of sizes and all of these aged beauties reflect an era of pre-fiberglass boating.

These wooden boats have a lot of teak which makes them look beautiful, but I imagine the TLC required to keep it bright and shiny is tremendous. It was fun to walk the docks and imagine the history of these old timers. It was even more fun to watch them race….

…Unfortunately, winds were very light so the boats didn’t have ideal condition but there was enough wind for them to raise sails and we enjoyed seeing them flying all the canvas they could hoist as they tried valiantly to compete with little wind.

Here is a  bit of boat “eye candy” for those who love sailing and those who appreciate sailing from a different era.


Antigua was a beautiful back drop for the races.


Classics in a variety of shapes and sizes.


“Mini-me” – the sailing variety.


I thought this helicopter was pretty low…


Until he decided to get even closer!


I can’t imagine tacking all these sails to round the buoy.


A close-up of this pretty girl.


That is a LOT of sail area on one boat!


Living in Rhythm

This is the third article of series about Kiteboarding as a spiritual practice.  

Learn how to follow the flow, trust the journey appreciating every single moment of being, and try to catch the insight when it is time to stop or change the direction. 

The oscillating rhythm of the heart knows there is a time for activation and a time for regeneration, a time for quiet and a time for ecstasy, a time for clearing and a time for celebrating, a time for receiving and a time for giving, a time for igniting the fire, and a time for letting go into the fire…
⁃ Shiva Rea

The key to living in flow is to see and feel your life as waves – rhythmic cycles- that connect throughout the day (periods of your life).

Kiting can be a potent reflection of a rhythmic cycle: each time we go out, we have a unique opportunity to connect with the ritual that occurs from the moment we are setting up our gear, till we pack up and leave .

To become a living witness of the miracle that is planing across the surface of the Ocean- our greatest teacher-, to receiving the sun and air around us is an art form.

The initiation can be related to the birth, an inhale, sunrise, new year, a new relationship, water-starting.

Sustaining the peak, related to mid-cycles such as noon, holding your edge, the full moon, challenges.

Letting go: landing, pack up, the exhale, a sunset, nighttime, death and release.                           

This is what I’d call a mini-vinyasa: a cycle that mirrors birth, peak and descent. A wave offers a perfect example.

These days I’m focusing in honoring the cycles of rhythm and flow.

For some of us – like myself  – that are ‘doers’/ go-getters and have a hard time letting go, it is of outmost importance to learn to release, return to shore and exhale when the time is right. Not when our body is too exhausted or the wind has died, but on the sacred juncture that our refined instinct says go back to shore.

One more tack can mean self-rescuing and much more “unnecessary” work than that if we would have respected sacred timing.

Can we learn together to honour every part of the cycle as of equal importance and challenge the collective to do this instead of pushing for more?

I’m about to embark on this ‘non-doing’ and more ‘being’ journey for the next 21 days. They say its what it takes to break a habit.

What would you like to break free from today?

Aloha with love


Reality Photo: Seven Days of Consecutive Sunsets. Food for meditation and tranquility. 

Sunset is the time of the day at which we are most likely to be reflective. That brief transitional period between light and darkness is – together with sunrise – often said by spiritual gurus to be the best time to meditate, and I agree. Sit down, cross your legs, open your eyes and just absorb. Connect with the Universe when the conduit is at its widest. It is a time to gain great insights into life…

This article provides some mind-expanding imagery, which may help you to touch the incredible essence of sundown.

Reality Photo: Seven Days of Consecutive Sunsets. Good, Boring or Fabulous?

In the spirit of Reality TV, I thought I would show you seven consecutive sunsets and share the actual views we see every night…

… And somehow you might believe you are missing these nightly masterpieces…

Well, honestly, we do have the privilege of seeing stunning sets nearly every night and we remain grateful for the opportunity. So grateful that we wanted to share them with you…

Sunset “one”

If not for the deep sapphire water, I think this could be a desert somewhere instead of Ashton, Union Island.

Sunset “two”

Same anchor spot but the very next night and a completely different “painting.”

Sunset “three”

You guessed it, we have not moved our anchor and here is a third and unique sunset.

Sunset “four”

Our first night in Mustique.

Sunset “five”

Our second night in Mustique. The clouds look like smoke accumulated from a smoke stack…

Sunset “six”

Our third and final night in Mustique the silhouette of this sailboat was beautiful. I really wish I knew who owns this boat because I would love to send him this picture.

Sunset “seven”

Safely moored in St. Lucia after a very pretty 70 nautical mile sail with a little help from our friends, volvo one and volvo two, when the wind died…

One last gratuitous sunset photo featuring our sweet dog, Captain.

Sunset “eight”

Captain is in a kennel this week because we were unable to find a rental place that would allow pets. We are really sad to have her in a kennel and can’t wait to “free” her on Thursday!!!

Do you have a favorite sunset from this blog post? I would love to know which one calls to you or speaks to you most. Or does your mood affect which one you like best so your favorite changes? Please leave your answers in the comments!

Posted by Let It Be


Kiteboarding as a spiritual practice: Zen, mindfulness, universal rules of being

I first tried kiteboarding in May 2016, so I’m actually something of a novice at this sport. But being a beginner has its advantages: When you try something completely new, you’re fully focused on what you’re doing. You could say that you’re 100% present in the moment, and this heightened, intense state is precisely when all profound spiritual moments occur.


Every second, every breath, every tiny sensation that your body experiences becomes so much more spiritual. It’s not simply a matter of novelty, or the fact that you are locked in a state of deep concentration. Kiteboarding itself is all about life. The guidance for manipulating the kite brought to mind those universal truths and rules for life described in the Bible, Buddhist texts, the Kabbala, and many other spiritual books that I’ve read.

This topic merits a series of articles. While the topic of kiteboarding is in itself interesting, one of the central missions of this portal is to help you, the reader, to explore new things in life. This is not simply a matter of physical experience, but of spiritual development. ‘Being present’, a concept also explored elsewhere on this site, is a key to opening your mind – and soul – to the unknown, the unexpected and the wondrous.

To kick off this series, this brief article sums up a few of my ‘spiritual takeaways’ from my very first kiteboarding lessons.

When we’re confronted with the unexpected, whether a strong blast of wind or stress in life, we instinctively try to increase our level of control over the situation… It’s a completely normal mental reaction. To a degree, we’re all control freaks, but does fanatically trying to assert our authority over a situation actually help?

  1. Kiteboarding taught me to let go: Allow the situation unfold, and observe before trying to change anything. The Universe will help you to accomplish you task, or at least will save you from broken arms, legs, ribs and heart….
  2. No need to rush. You will achieve what you want to if you keep doing it, but do it slowly; one step and one breath at a time.
  3. No matter what you planned, you will reach the right level when it’s meant to be. Not earlier, not later. My advice? Stay calm and keep doing what you’re doing.
  4. Slow down all your movements, and decisions, but always be ahead of the kite in your mind. Substitute ‘kite’ for ‘project’, and you can see my point!
  5. You can choose a direction, but you can’t predict how exactly the movement will be executed. The wind could change any time, and you have to be agile enough to respond to its capriciousness. In kiteboarding you have to be consciously present 100% of the time, and this is hugely important in other areas of life too. Fretting about uncertainty is both wasteful and dangerous. Save your energy for the moves you need to make, and don’t expend it on worrying. Learn to ‘go with the flow’, but gently steer yourself in the right general direction.
  6. I was instructed not to over-tense my hands when steering the kite. Similarly, try not to over-think, worry too much, or micro-manage. These are all a waste of energy, and time.
  7. The kite and wind will do everything for you, if you just stop fighting it. The lesson here is to work with the powerful forces that you encounter in life, rather than against them: Do this successfully, and you will fly.
  8. Finally, when kiteboarding I had to be highly attentive to the other kiters’ around me. Likewise, when interacting with people in life or in business, try to coordinate, collaborate and communicate. Competition could easily kill both parties.

These are just a few life lessons that I drew from my first kiteboarding experience.

What do you think?

Photos I Wish I Had Taken: Thierry Bornier

A life filled with wonder is a wonderful life… Just open your soul and let it in….

Chinese rice-paddie.jpg

“Sometimes the world’s beauty is overwhelming. I caught my breath when I saw this image last night and I just stared at it for a good long time, transfixed. It’s one of many gorgeous landscapes from a photo-essay by photographer, Thierry Bornier, of the rice terraces in Yuanyang, China, a UNESCO World Heritage site, but …

Chinese rice terraces

To begin, the lighting is spectacular. It’s soft and dreamy and my blood pressure drops three points just looking at it. I love the curves of the terraces radiating out towards the edge of the photo, almost as if a a giant pebble had been dropped in a pool. I am struck by the vividness of the water and the softness of the orange and pinks that float through the image. I love the farmer in silhouette and how he gives the picture scale. In fact, the photo is almost too beautiful to be true but the farmer grounds the image in reality.

Chinese rice teerraces 2

I wish I had taken this photo not only because it’s beautiful, but because I wish I’d been there to see it in person. And if you look at the rest of the photo-essay, you’ll understand why the terraces of Yuanyang just went on my “Must-see” list’.

Continue reading Photos I Wish I Had Taken: Thierry Bornier

Kawah Ijen: a lethal beauty

kawah ijen.JPEG

The hike to Kawah Ijen begins with a struggle. It is most likely the sulphurous fumes rising from the depths of the volcano, combined with the effects of little sleep. Bama tells me he doesn’t feel well – he is gripped by nausea. We limp along a trail of volcanic ash, taking refuge on the […]

kawah ijen.JPEG

Big sky country: photos from Baluran


Indonesia seen
Places you have never seen before.


Several years ago, while asleep in a bungalow not far from a beach in Lombok, Indonesia, I was rudely awakened by the shrill sound of a mosquito buzzing in my ear. Bama and I eventually killed the thing, but I couldn’t forget what it said to me that night: “Uaaaaaang.” For the mosquito had been […]

Havana’s Colorful Streets and “Happy Souls”

havana seen
Placed you have never seen before 

For the avid traveler and photographer, Havana is a wonderland, a source of 24/7 inspiration that goes beyond the brightly colored, decaying facades and a seemingly inexhaustible fleet of vintage automobiles. There is a rich history and warm, inviting locales who welcome travelers with genuine interest, broad smiles and a palpable desire to connect. For […]


Universal rules of happiness

Everything is easy when you know the rules. It is even easier when you enjoy them. Stay positive whatever happens, be in charge of your life, in control of your thoughts, be consciously aware of your own imperfections, and understand and embrace those flaws without blaming yourself or being envious of others: accept people as they are without ego-driven expectations, and – ultimately – try to love them by reminding that they are moulded from the same universal dough as you.  Enjoy the moment, even if it doesn’t seem ideal, but don’t postpone your happiness to a point in the future…
All of these look easy at  first glance, but require hard work, focus, and knowing the rules. There are plenty of them, and there are even more interpretations. However, everything is actually simple.
universal rules of happiness 35
Universal rules of happiness 

Rule 1: Be open 

The universe constantly brings people and opportunities into your life, and teaches you lessons. That’s why it is important to be open and accepting. I have a philosophy: never close doors. I never close them for two reasons: because I trust the universe and hence feel safe and open to accept whatever/whomever comes into my life. I also believe that everything and everyone comes with a purpose.


Rule 2: Trust.

There is a Buddhist parable which states that before any soul is reincarnated it meets the souls of all the other people it is going to meet during its life journey, and makes a pact with all of them to bring them both good and bad experiences in order to learn, and obtain the required experience to attain higher consciousness. So there is no need to be worried. Simply meet people, and accept whatever they bring with gratitude. Even if they bring you pain and suffering you have to remember: there is nothing you can’t go through and that everything happens for a reason. Learn. Learn and be grateful each time.


Rule 3: Be grateful

Appreciate and value everything you have at this moment in time. Never forget that there are far worse scenarios. Many people in the world couldn’t begin to imagine what you have, yet do not value. A while ago I met a lady who was very angry at her mother. She kept a childhood memory of when she had a toothache. At the time, her mother was young, single and insecure – both financially, and psychologically. To boost her confidence,  she bought herself a necklace instead of spending the money on taking her daughter to the dentist. My acquaintance carried that sad memory for more than 20 years, that deep-seated anger with her mother. Her mother died of cancer, without the issues between her and her daughter being resolved . Very often we take things, people, and opportunities for granted. What often happens next? We lose them. So, be grateful for everything, even for tough experiences.

love gratitude

Rule 4: Be attentive

When you have something – be attentive to it. It could be a new book you are supposed to read, or new person you are supposed to learn from or teach, or even just a moment with someone special. Be attentive; listen, feel, and utilise all your senses. Very often we are only partly focused on the reality around us. That is why we miss those little miracles that other more attentive people (talented artists, photographers, writers, or the very lucky!) can grasp and transform into something wonderful, or obtain priceless knowledge from. Everything we experience carries information and messages.  Some of these are more immediately obvious, whereas some insights are more deeply hidden. But all these messages are sent to us with a purpose.  They will continue to be sent until we learn a particular lesson, or get the information we are meant to acquire. Every subsequent message will frequently be harder and more painful than the previous one, in order to make you listen more carefully and to wake you up. Have you ever noticed that before something unpleasant happens in your life, you may experience a series of events that give you a hint that something bad will happen? Those are messages. Possibly the unpleasant event itself is a message, but by that point it’s a kick rather than a nudge as a result of your ignoring it.


Being attentive to events and people is not the same as overthinking things. It’s all about awareness and being conscious of your surroundings. If you are truly awake you will know what is worth paying attention to, and what is just background noise.

Rule 5: Everything is temporary  

temporary love

People and opportunities, pleasure and pain… these things come to us, enter our lives, and then they pass. It is part of the natural cycle – nothing is permanent. Even tattoos and scars will disappear when the body dies. Everything and everyone will eventually go away. We do not possess anything really, and the weakest form of attachment is to the ego. We should accept the fact that everything is transient, and life will become brighter and better. After every end, a new fantastic beginning will emerge and the new experiences it brings will be both exciting and disappointing. There is always a shadow on a sunny day.

It today’s world we crave excitement, which is often a good thing: It can make our life sparkle and worth living. (I’m not speaking about pathological cases when people look for pain and drama.) But we are very bad at having no expectations. Our tendency is to create unrealistic aspirations and expectations, and consequently to be disappointed after they are crushed. We often fail to see clearly, our consciousness number by the churn of conflicting thoughts, sensations and feelings that we continuously experience.

We are dreamers. But every dream has a chance of being realised. The secret is just to accept from the outset that the pursuit of our dreams may be fraught with difficulty,  and that those aspirations and ambitions may even dissolve. But never stop dreaming. It makes us go forward.

Rule 6:  Learn to let go, and have no regrets.


When we get something great, we tend to think it belongs to us forever. But it is not our property at all. We possess nothing: we are guests who are, on occasion, treated very well, but those experiences inevitably disappear in time.

Rule 7: Don’t resist

no resistance

Just relax, breathe, smile, and be grateful for everything you’ve got – people, feelings, experiences – and learn to let them go at the right time. Keep yourself clear from possessiveness, worries, jealousy, and sacrifice.

Rule 8: Don’t sacrifice 

no sacrifice

Nothing is worth it. Sacrifice is betrayal of who you are. You are a part of the universe – in fact you are the universe. By sacrificing yourself you betray the universe, as doing so has no positive net effect. No one will be happy at the end of the day and any sacrifice always brings suffering, drama, resentment, recriminations, and hatred. Sacrifice is a form of collective madness. Some theologists say that holy scripts teach to sacrifice. No one can deny the proliferation of fiction books devoted to various forms of sacrifice, declaring it as a good thing. But it is a lie. It is the biggest lie, based on a fundamental misinterpretation of who we are as human beings. Jesus taught: “Do not let your heart be troubled…”. For me, that means a happy heart radiates happiness out into the world, making it a better place for everyone. Carrying the burden of a sacrificed heart leads to resentment, and the poisoning of everything around you. This is why our principal mission in life should always be to bring light and positivity into the world. Our duty? Simply to be happy.  And it really is easy when you know the rules.

Tatiana Dmitrieva