An Adventure Psychologist's perspective... 1/6/2020
I am Dave Gallagher, resident 'Adventure Psychologist', and would like to talk a little bit about my association with Shadow Wind, and where ‘Adventure Psychology’ can truly benefit the individual who takes that ‘first step’ towards acquiring sea legs! My own personal journey began with Shadow Wind a couple of years ago when it was at the conceptual stage, with Skipper James showing sailing novices (such as myself) how the sea can provide a stimulating environment that provokes individual growth and resilience.
Life is all about challenge, and how one can overcome the daily struggle, traumatic life events, and the self-doubt that resides within us all... The sea provides, likewise, challenge, uncertainty, and the opportunity to face one’s self-doubt, and to realise aspirations towards becoming a more capable, and confident individual. In short it provides adventure, and that stimulus for growth and inspiration! My twin passions come together with Shadow Wind: adventure pursuits and understanding how to unlock mental potential by using adventurous circumstances to stretch one’s boundaries and perspective. And where better to do that than out to sea, where the horizon seems to stretch to infinity, and one confronts elemental nature, raw and truthful.
In a time of personal change of circumstance that cast me adrift, I needed a means to focus, restore confidence, and replenish emotional stores. So it was I joined James and a motley crew of mixed ability sailors (mostly newbies like myself) and off we went to sea, sailing continuously from the south coast, up west and to our present home at Liverpool Marina. It was not what I expected, we didn’t stop for gin and tonics (!), we sailed through the night, I was put on the helm 10 minutes after we left the dock, and even took first (night) watch!
It was a formative experience. It was fatiguing (but in a good way). I found peace and serenity, and confidence in my ability to remain alone on watch, steering by the stars in the dead of night. We bonded as a crew, despite different personalities and life backgrounds. We became lifelong devotees of the allure of the sea. I even saw strange visual effects for lack of sleep, enriching my perceptions and renewing my outlook!
Fast forward a couple of years and I am proud to be associated officially with Shadow Wind. To cap it all off, I have been granted Chartered Psychologist status by the British Psychological Society. This recognises my experience and expertise honed in a
previous career in industry, and my passion for applying what I know to develop experiences that others can benefit from. Ultimately, what we can all benefit from in life is embracing an adventurous mindset that seeks out challenge, stimulation, and personal growth.
This doesn’t have to mean battling gale force 8 winds (like I did on my Day Skipper course earlier this winter), or ‘battening down the hatches’ in turbulent conditions. It just means being open to new experiences, and applying oneself to learn new skills and become part of a community of individuals striving for something better in life. And that’s what Shadow Wind is about! The first lesson from Adventure Psychology is deciding: "you know what, let’s see what this is all about. I’ll give it a go. What’s the worst that can happen?" Well, rest assured, you WILL expand your field of view and notice the horizon is big, and inviting... Then you are under the spell of the sea, and approaching life with an adventurous mindset!
"Life is an adventure, not a package tour” – Eckhart Tolle