Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"Dreams of happiness and visions of hope", and a night paddle coming up...

The "Gear Room" - ever-present "good vibes" - 24/7/365 :-)
There is something Zen-like about the process of organizing and preparing the equipment. When I say, "Zen-like", I mean there is a contemplative or meditative component to checking everything over, and checking it twice, even three times. After the busyness of Christmas, the quiet focus feels good. Our next paddle will be a night excursion into Sansum Narrows, and everything has to be in order.

Wet suits (dry suits would be really nice...ahh, maybe one day), paddling jackets, spray covers, and PFDs need to be checked, pockets emptied of the last paddle's odds and ends and refilled with energy snacks. Headlamps, sea lights, emergency strobe light, and VHF radio must have a battery check. SPOT satellite messenger is ready to record our track over the water. The kayaks were washed today, inside and out - yes, the excitement is building. Preparing to launch is exciting - every time, and it's been way too long since we've been out.

"Energized", and ready to go!
Going through the equipment checklist, I kept thinking about an extraordinarily beautiful poem that I came upon just before Christmas, and have shared at a number of occasions since. Turned out that several folks were familiar with the words of Kālidāsa, the Sanskrit poet and dramatist of around the 5th century.

His words, in Salutation to the Dawn, reveal an essential key to the experience of happiness and inner peace. It's all about living one day at a time, cherishing each day, and living fully in the present. That means letting go of perceived past failures or hurts and refusing to feel the debilitating anxiousness for a future that really doesn't even exist yet. I've discovered that regretting the past or worrying about the future does little more than make us sick - often in body and mind. Anxiety "sucks", in more ways than one! These are the words from a poem that Kālidāsa wrote: "Today well lived, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope".

Here's the poem. I hope you find it meaningful too. The words are really quite remarkable. (italics mine)

"Salutation to the Dawn"

Look to this day
For it is life, the very life of life
In its brief course
lie all the verities and realities of your existence.

The bliss of growth
The glory of action
The splendour of beauty.

For yesterday is but a dream
and tomorrow is only a vision,
but today well lived makes every yesterday
a dream of happiness
and every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore, to this day!

Such is the salutation of the dawn.

Just imagine how wonderful it would be if we could look back into the past and see that time as a "dream of happiness". Imagine looking into the future and seeing it as a "vision of hope". The thing is, it is within our grasp...if we just determine to live this day well.

We'll report later on the night paddle.



  1. Love the poem! You so need to get dry suits....maybe New Years gifts for each other??? We both know you need to be out on the water and it is cold out there.
    Enjoy the night paddle....and try to stay warm and dry.

  2. I like the way you think, L!! Hang on, I'll run the idea by Joan...

    Ahhh, well it was a good try anyway. Maybe "next year". Hey! That's just a COUPLE of days from now. D'ya think...? :-)