Friday, August 07, 2015

Looking at the "glass" (from the kayak cockpit) as half full...

Gliding between skerries.
A day of sea kayaking on the Scotland's North Sea's Moray Firth allowed lots of time for thought and reflection...the gentle swell massages the body and mind and spirit. 

I thought about the fact that there is so much beauty in the world, so much. Sadly, however, it is the expression of negativism that makes the headlines - and sells the newspapers, magazines, and draws the morbidly curious to special televised docu-disasters. Litanies of "what's wrong" are heralded from every corner. 

It's overwhelming at times. We know what's wrong...beginning with our carelessness with our precious environment.

We know what's wrong, and good and concerned people suffer "compassion fatigue" and end up throwing their hands up in despair, believing that it is all too overwhelming. Those who would call us to direct our energies and passions to good works simply end up turning people away...succeeding only in giving the impression that it is all too much.

Energies spent, warning us of impending doom, distract us from the beauty. So many profoundly moving sources of inspiration go virtually unnoticed.

This is not to suggest that we bury our heads in the sand and ignore all that needs fixing in the world. Far from it. It's not about becoming "Pollyannas" either...although would it be so wrong to have a positive world view or cognitive understanding of life? Frankly, I think it would be refreshing, inspiring, and motivating to focus on optimistic outcomes.

I'm so tired of the negativism and of all the doomsayers who simply appear to be unabashedly "intoxicated by the exuberance of their own verbosity" (quoting my late dad). I so yearn for inspiration. 

I think we all do.

A rock of ages.
There is the wonderful, and inspiring, story of several days ago about a newly married couple in Turkey, Fethullah Uzumcuoglu and Esra Polat. They decided, that rather than treat their friends and family to a lavish wedding reception and dinner and celebration, they would share their wedding feast with 4000 Syrian refugees. 

Their reward: the visible and immense happiness in the eyes of countless children and their parents. Fethullah and Esra will be enriched forever by their selfless act of kindness and generosity. Pretty inspiring - but not a story that one will find on the front page of many publications. And the thing is, most folks want to emulate that which inspires them. It won't be surprising to find similar wedding stories taking place around the world.

It's about looking at the world as a glass "half full"...because despite all that is wrong - and there are obviously a lot of critical issues to address - there is a great deal that is right. And it gets forgotten, shunted off to the's inspiration lost. 

I just needed to share that.

So, what a day on the Moray Firth...castles, caves, tunnels, birds, marine life.

Endless sea.
Did I mention the dolphins? 

We were so fortunate to have several pods pass by. Our small waterproof cameras, and our excited hands, struggled to get a clear image of these Bottlenose Dolphins - the largest anywhere. 

They seemed so happy, so inspired as they leapt out of the water so close to our kayaks. They seemed to celebrate life. Perhaps they know that they bring great delight to their human relatives. They inspire us to do all that one can to take care of the ocean, their habitat. No dire, doomsayer warnings from them...just pure inspiration.

They are simply marvellous...and magical.

Bottlenose dolphins...and lots of them on this day!
Beaches await the exhilarated paddler.

Beach time.
They allow a time of rest, a second (even third!) lunch, an opportunity to stretch legs...

...even enjoy a short run, just for the fun of it - and to get the kinks out of stiff lower body muscles.

Off and running.
Beaches invite exploration...a place to touch the mystery of timeless erosion on the planet's surface.

Resisting erosion.
And then, as the dynamics of the ocean quickly change, as the tide's time to head back to the launch site.

Surf's up coming up.
Paddling can be a contemplative exercise, focussing only on each paddle stroke, one at a time.

It can be productive thinking time.

The Moray Firth coast - stunning features.
It can be a time to absorb the astonishing beauty of nature...and be reminded that there is, indeed, so much loveliness on this planet, and that we need to take much better care of both it, and one another.

Paradise found.
In order to carry a positive action, 
we must develop here a positive vision.
- Dalai Lama

Whether we choose, in life, to see a "glass" half-empty, or half-full determines our world view. We can choose to focus on what's wrong...and risk becoming overwhelmed and eventually burnt out. Or we can choose to balance our perspective, with an advantage to the good and to the beautiful that already exists...and be motivated, inspired, energised, and enthused to help fill the glass, all the way to the top.

It's always a choice. I'm partial to a world view that finds beauty...and calls us to find and discern the ways and means to create even more.


  1. Wonderful words! We so need to look at life with positivity. It's the only way we can be inspired to move towards a better world for all people. Thank you so much for sharing this Duncan. I love the Dolphins, they were worth the wait!

    1. Thank you for that, Linda, inspiration is powerful stuff...we all need it. Outdoor pursuits, in just about any form, always give us a healthy measure! It's an amazing world out there. :) Warm wishes. Duncan.

  2. Great words Duncan, and on such a day, the glass is just that bit more than half full! :o)

    Warm wishes

    1. Many thanks Ian, on that day, the water in the glass broke right through the surface tension and overflowed! Seems to happen a lot. :) Warm wishes. Duncan.

  3. Just caught up with your last couple of blogs and I realised just how much I am going to miss those magical words and pictures of "Blue Sky Scotland" when you return to Canada.
    Yes I agree that it is always best to try and think of the glass as being half full, especially when it contains the "water of life."
    Thanks yet again Duncan.

  4. Hey cousin Mike, great to hear from you. I have tried to acquire a taste for the "water of life" and after all this time...I'm still reaching for a can of Tennents lager. How classy is that? Haha! Ah, there will be more from "Blue Sky Canada" for a while...until we see the blue skies here again. Meet up soon. Warmest wishes. Duncan.