Saturday, April 30, 2016

Celebrating growth, and avoiding "shrink-wrapping" comfort zones...

There is a river flowing now very fast.
It is so great and swift that there will be those who will be afraid.
They will try to hold onto the shore.

The elders say we must let go of the shore, 
and push off and into the river,
keep our eyes open, and our head above the water.
See who is there with you...and celebrate.*

It was a perfect day to be on the North Sea, there was every reason to get out on the water, and to let go of the shore.

But there are other times we cling to the shore...and shouldn't. Those times are never about personal safety, which, of course, would be sensible. 

They are about, for whatever reason, the unwillingness to make the effort. 

Dickmont's full flood.
Effort, after all, can be demanding. It pushes boundaries, and requires us to leave comfort zones. What effort does promise, however, is growth.

The fullest experience of life, after all, comes with participation, not spectatorship.

Cliff dwellers.
Life needs to be large. It begs exploration, continued learning, and continually expanding horizons. Life, by its very nature, issues a never-ending invitation to seek out new sources of meaning, to explore new directions, to risk, and then savour the promised new experiences. 

The alternative is to fuss and fret about the consequences of leaving the comfort zone, the "shore" - and ending up settling for less than life offers. 

We must never tempt "regret".

Dreams need to be nurtured with confidence and expectation - there is usually a way to fulfil them. Even in the trying, there is a sense of satisfaction and the discovery of new sources of meaning. 

A compass, a horizon, and the faint image of a destination are all any of us really need to entice us on. They bring us the magic and mystery of unexplored places.

Shore time.
Emerson, essayist and poet, said, "Always do what you are afraid to do." I've found that that has almost always been the secret. 

Taking that counsel has a way of satisfying the hunger for adventure.

Tortilla, home-made hummus, lettuce, and chunky-crunchy Ploughman's (Heinz) pickle...mmmm!
Effort, however, is always the key ingredient.

Roz Savage, world record holder for ocean rowing (the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans) writes, "I believe that if you don't keep pushing the boundaries, keep expanding your comfort zone, your comfort zone actually gets smaller and smaller, until you're shrink-wrapped in such a tiny comfort zone that you can't move, you can't achieve anything, you can't grow."

Roz, and the Hopi elders were right, we have to be willing to leave the shelter of what's comfortable, let go of the shore...and choose to grow.

Safely inside a cave, with a view to where we need to be.
We will always find others there, sharing the very same journey...and there will be much reason for celebration. :)

* Part of a statement by the Hopi Nation elders (Oraibi, Arizona, June 8, 2000)


  1. Your thoughts are so well expressed in the text, I almost forgot to watch the beautiful pictures. Fascinating landscape your efforts were rewarded with!
    Safe paddling,

    1. Thank you for that, Leif, really good to hear from you again. It's a magical landscape and we never tire of it...but there's so much more to explore! :) Take good care and warm wishes to you.

  2. Great words Duncan - and so very true. Here's to launching from the shore.....

    Warm wishes

    1. Really enjoying your launches off Jura, Ian. You very much "paddle the talk". :) Warm wishes from us both.

  3. Another enjoyable journey to read and view your thoughts of life in "Blue Sky Scotland". Not much chance of you two standing on the shore for long.

  4. Hi Mike, thank you for that. It must be admitted that this blog largely represents the "offshore" time. There are other times when we have to work hard to resist clinging to the's a matter of being "a work in progress", striving for what is believed to be the right course. :) Warm wishes from us both.

  5. There is no right course from what I can tell Duncan. I've come to the conclusion we are a program. A diagnostic one.....hence the wildly varying existences we find here. Each one just the universe getting to know itself.....Sitting here in my boathouse doing some construction. Just bought 5 acres up the road 400 feet for the one day home/farm. currently working on this 21x10 shed. It will be my demonstration/place to mess up going totally off grid. drop me a email Duncan love to correspond

    1. Lee, it's been a very long time, we've missed your kayaking pics and adventures. Sounds like you are into an interesting project. I think I have an email address and will be in touch soon. Warm wishes.