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Gus Van Horn blog

Reblogged:Old Job Skills Reemerge

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Several times over the past few weeks of being cooped up with my kids, I have surprised myself a little by thinking how similar the experience was to being deployed on a submarine. And now, I know for a fact that I am not alone in making such an observation.

Fellow former nuclear submarine officer Steve Weiner has written an interesting and engaging piece at Nautilus about that very subject. Aside from the description of Weiner's current morning routine, which reminds me of my own blogging habit, I particularly enjoyed the following passage:

monk.jpg
Dive! Dive! (Image by Nicolas Häns, via Unsplash, license.)
Like a heavily watered-down version of a Buddhist monk taking solitary retreat in a cave, my extended submarine confinements opened something up in my psyche and I gave myself permission to let go of my anxieties. Transiting underneath a vast ocean in a vessel with a few inches of steel preventing us from drowning helps put things into perspective. Now that I'm out of the Navy, I have more appreciation for the freedoms of personal choice, a fresh piece of fruit, and 24 hours in a day. My only regrets are not keeping a journal or having the wherewithal to discover the practice of meditation under the sea.
Yes. That was something of a monastic existence, despite the close quarters. And, yes, it would have been nice to have learned meditation then: I'd been planning on starting an online course right before things hit the fan, in fact. That's going to have to wait, though, because the kids are young enough that the very idea of either attending to a lecture uninterrupted -- or of really clearing my mind -- is something of a joke.

So I'll look forward to doing that once this "deployment" is over. For me, that will be in the summer: Our governor cancelled the rest of the school year over the weekend.

My own memories aside, I highly recommend the piece to anyone who might be curious about what training and life at sea are like for an American submarine officer.

-- CAV

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