The Mindful Paddler - Graham Carter: Performance Coach and Adventure Specialist, From Here To There

As I sit with my eyes closed, I can feel the gentle breeze on my cheeks.  Over my left shoulder I hear the excited giggles of the children sat on the harbour wall as they experience the delights of crabbing.  To my right I can hear the very gentle sound of the waves lapping on the shingle beach at the same time as a seagull flies low over-head; its wings beating in the rhythm only a seagull can produce and calling to its friends with perhaps a warning or maybe a suggestion of a potential lunch where the youngsters are.  Further away the industrial sounds of the docks can be heard.  The straddle carriers are gracefully lifting, moving and lowering huge metal containers full of exciting products destined for towns and shops across the UK.  And as I sit I become aware of the very gentle motion of the canoe as I slowly drift along with the wind and the tide.  I become aware of the coolness of the wooden thwart upon which I am sitting with my legs tucked under in a kneeling position, and the contact of my legs and feet with the boat.  I am holding my wooden paddle with my left hand at the top and I can feel under my palm where the varnish is wearing off from the many miles and hours of use.  My right hand grips the round smooth shaft and becomes aware of the weight of the paddle blade.  I take a deep breathe, the smell of salt water, mixed with the mud still exposed on the incoming tide as the cool air enters my nostrils and passes into my expanding lungs, I slowly lick my lips intensely tasting the very same smell.  At this moment I open my eyes, and smile a smile so wide as I can now see what my other senses have been experiencing and this adds a richness to my experience, a depth of understanding and a greater emotional link.

I am free yet connections are made all around

There is peace, love and beauty in everything found

My senses are still yet heightened with awe

The time is right now, not next or before

By Graham Carter

Performance Coach and Adventure Specialist