• The day Jim rowed 25 miles on the open Atlantic to benefit a young Canadian cancer patient

Kendall Grey

Kendall Grey, Urban Fantasy Author

Kendell Grey May 24, 2011 – Guest Blogger Jim Lindsey

Today’s guest blogger is Jim Lindsey, a writer, actor, and yoga expert (among other things). Because I love the ocean, I asked Jim to talk about Rowga, a combination of rowing and yoga. I thought it might be an interesting diversion. Welcome, Jim, and thanks for your post!


On a relative level, there are lifelines. When I go out alone, I trail one behind the boat. Should the boat and I separate, we have a chance of coming back together.

Absolutely speaking, we cannot cling to life for long because it does not last. The line has not been made that will bring us back once we have well and truly crossed over.

This has been happening to sentient beings a long time – a few thousand years, a few million, maybe over and over from beginningless time – yet we never get used to it. We harbour anxiety in the pits of our stomachs. We make bucket lists of things we’d like to do before we go, as if there will be someone left behind who can appreciate the value we have managed to squeeze out of life. We imagine another life somewhere, in which we might be reunited with the dearly departed or introduced to gods and goddesses.

Imagine if the winter ice decided not to melt. If the sun refused to lets its rays become the sweetness of a cherry. If night told day there was no room in the inn. If other parts of the puzzle refused their natural duty instead of fitting in according to plan.

This is not philosophy class but rowga, which is a practice class, so here are the instructions once again. Put your bucket list in a safe place, like the fire, then get your seaboots on and go out. Don’t rush. If the oar leathers need oiling, oil them. If you see trash floating on your way out, beer cans or water bottles, interrupt your rhythm and pick it up. In the end, this is not about you. If you feel the urge to do the circuit really fast, so you can get back and schedule that dentist appointment, buy your tickets to the Metallica concert, and generally ensure that all your lifelines are secure, do a little drifting practice. Add a few miles to the circuit. Go farther offshore. This is about relaxing into genuine being, for now as a genuine human being, at ease with just that and so of immeasurable benefit to all the other human beings who are not at ease. This is about relaxing into both life and death, decisively and proudly and humbly at the same time.

Stroke by stroke you go. The tide is full, the ocean easy. The fog is edging almost imperceptibly closer, first making a halo over Hopson’s Island, then extending its embrace toward you. You could flee straightaway for the harbour, but it’s been a long week at work. You want to go a little further, around Bald Rock, another five miles. A lone fisherman from the village, Charles, is out there in his aluminum skiff, just a dot. You know with his motor it’s a matter of minutes for him to get in. For you with your oars it is longer, but you let go of that thought too, of everything but just the continual unhurried and unforced effort to which you return – extend and reach, plunge and pull, relax and repeat.

When you get this discipline of rowga, coming back from your thoughts to your oars, to your stroke, to the ocean beneath you, the sky overhead and the wake that you trail, you will be well-placed in your life, and wherever death takes you, you will know how to be just there, on whatever course, with wonder and without fear and without any need of lifelines. Wherever and however you are will be home.


Jim Lindsey is a writer, actor, sailor, photographer, blues singer, Buddhist and Texan living in Nova Scotia with family in California, Colorado, Texas, and Germany. His first book,In Lieu of Mecca, published by University of Pittsburgh Press, was runner-up for the United States Poetry Award. His second, The Difficult Days, translations of poems by Roberto Sosa of Honduras, came out with Princeton University Press. His short story Message from the Thirteenth Floor took first place in Grain Magazine of Saskatchewan’s annual literary competition.

He has an M. A. in Creative Writing from Boston University and was a fellow at the Provincetown Fine Arts Workshop on Cape Cod.

While living aboard a small sailboat in San Francisco Bay, Lindsey worked as a technical writer and undertook a decade of Buddhist practice and study, at the end of which he moved to Nova Scotia in search of a better lifestyle. Now a dual citizen of the U. S. and Canada, he has lived for sixteen years in Prospect, a seaside village near Halifax.

You can find Jim on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter.

Book 1 of A Travellers Guide for Lost Souls

Jim Lindsey’s historical adventure along the Granite Coast of Nova Scotia The Flaw in the Fabric (A Travellers Guide for Lost Souls)

Combine and let simmer through a wandering lifetime Oz, Tolkien, Alice in Wonderland, the Buddha, the tall tales of a Nova Scotian fishing village and plenty of jalapeños and good grief … and if you’re Jim Lindsey you come up with A Travellers Guide for Lost Souls, a hearty stew in the first book of which a flaw in the fabric of the way things are, and a mad monk who can bring back the dead, jolt down-on-his-luck tour guide Raymond Kidd out of a lethargic solitude, reuniting him with his wives in two separate lifetimes and then tearing him away from them both to go rescue a reformed pirate’s sweetheart from a demon in a realm between lives.

Buy it on Amazon or  Goodreads.

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  • Available October 2013

  • Book 1 of A Travellers Guide for Lost Souls

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