Ocean of Insight: A Sailor's Voyage from Despair to Hope

Ocean of Insight: A Sailor's Voyage from Despair to Hope

by Heather Lyn Mann


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Heather Lyn Mann was a battle–weary environmental advocate in Madison, Wisconsin, struggling over what to do about climate change when she and her husband decided to explore the Atlantic on a small sloop. This memoir of six years living afloat is a chronological unfolding of disasters and discoveries—life–threatening storms, the boredom of isolation, societies on the brink of extinction, sinking ships, colorful Caribbean characters, near collisions, a pirate scare, and more. Throughout, the ocean becomes Mann’s teacher, transforming her with uncompromising lessons on how to harmonize with natural order, the exact moments and ways to let in fearlessness, resilience, happiness, impermanence, balance, compassion, skillful action, and beginner’s mind. 

Her suspenseful, sometimes hilarious, and always heart–warming journey of body and mind, shaped by ancient Buddhist teachings, entertains as it charts reality’s depths and danger zones so arm–chair adventurers, spiritual seekers, and the climate concerned can navigate tumultuous waters and arrive together on the shore of planetary well–being.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781941529300
Publisher: Parallax Press
Publication date: 11/08/2016
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 800,195
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Spiritual Ecologist Heather Lyn Mann is a practitioner of Buddhism, sailing, and mindful advocacy. Mann founded and led the not-for-profit Center for Resilient Cities—an organization mobilizing inner–city residents to restore natural beauty and function in damaged neighborhood landscapes. She also co–edits Touching the Earth: A Newsletter of Earth Holding Actions in the Plum Village Tradition. 

In 2007, together with her husband and cat, Mann set sail on a 15,000–nautical–mile, six–year voyage.

Read an Excerpt


Tilloo Cay, Abaco Islands—Bahamas December 31, 2008

I look upon the jagged shore to calculate the time until impact. It’s difficult to know exactly because the anchors scrape the ocean floor, slowing our approach. The storm is building. Waves slam against the bow and drive us backward. The ship’s engine picked this moment to stop functioning, so Dave and I are suddenly, inexplicably, without power. The sun is slipping low and soon we will be without light.

I sailed my ship, Wild Hair, to this spot because I wanted lobster from the reef for a New Year’s dinner. But this is a place of peril in a gale––especially with a busted throttle cable. Now I am exposed, disabled, at risk of losing my ship, and maybe my life.

A primal panic starts simmering at the base of my spine. It wraps my intestines. My limbs feel thick as logs and my thoughts are slow; they roll into consciousness with the speed of old movie credits. Usually, I’m a quick thinker with good judgment, but fear is turning me into a sluggish animal—a bear sliding into hibernation.

“Wind, please stop blowing,” I whisper. A cold blast strong enough to make me stagger in place is the answer.

Wishful thinking is my problem. The promise of buttered seafood seduced me into believing the wind and sea wouldn’t turn foul until late in the evening, the storm would come more from the northeast, and this lobster-peppered harbor would remain flat. In reality, the fifty-four-degree cold front textures my flesh with goose bumps and shoves the boat toward ruin. The sky and ocean froth in a matching Soviet color palette. I don’t know what to do.

Table of Contents

Part I: Transmission of Learning







Part II: The Practice of Knowing





12. HOPE

Part III: Unlearning What is Known



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Ocean of Insight: A Sailor's Voyage from Despair to Hope 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Captain Jack Sparrow once said: "The problem is not the problem; Your attitude toward the problem, is the problem." Using the inherent joys and challenges of sailing as a microcosm of life, Heather lets you crew with Her, Dave, & Dinghy. During this incredible voyage , you will be part of the crew's discovery of impermanence, mindfulness, fearlessness, resilience, happiness, balance, compassion, skillful action, and beginner’s mind. Oceans of Insight is a superbly written, exciting, & informative read. Weaving a braid of sailing, spirituality, and environment, Insight unravels some of life's mysteries. By the end of the journey I encountered a paradigm shift that adjusted my attitude about life . It is time to be part of the solution, and not part of the problem.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ocean of Insight took off for my right from the beginning and I could not put it down. It is a modern day cruising adventure and what it takes today to live on the water. It is a book about running head on into environmental/global warming issues that are happening today. A story about a strong women and how she deals with adversity, danger and feeling her warmth and sharing with her husband and children, her strength and wisdom. A book on how practicing Buddhism and mindfulness helps you in real life situations. Her writing skills keep you interested and involved in her life and adventures I highly recommend everyone reading this
Chan_Bao_Tieu More than 1 year ago
I’ve had the pleasure of sharing business emails with this author, but had no idea of her captivating writing and storytelling. Ms. Mann paints such a visual story that she pulled me right into the boat, with roiling seas and the suspense of challenging moments, as well as with the quiet, serenity and majesty of the oceans as Teacher. At times my mind was drawn to Robert Redford’s film, All is Lost, a related sailing adventure story, where not a word is spoken, but so much is communicated. The depth of Heather’s insights and teaching about living Life fully in each moment, the real story, adds many fathoms to this wonderful sea saga. I highly recommend this book.
StewartWeinbergPhD More than 1 year ago
The power of learning, mindfulness, meditation, and courage. A very inspiring narrative of learning from the Great Atlantic Teacher. Lyn shares her experiences with her husband, Dave, in a very moving story of sailing in the Atlantic, while learning more about life, love, relationships, philosophy, and climate change. The reader can really relate while examining their own thoughts and feelings. The reader is provoked to look at their own life and possibly reset their great goals for the future. The stories are exciting. Lyn shares the power of meditation and mindfulness and presents meditations that the reader can use.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago