Mindful heart

storms-over-the-oceanAs we stand and gaze out over the horizon, storm clouds rising in the distance, high tide beginning to tickle our toes with foamy water, my mind can’t help but wander. I look to my son with a grin on my face and express, “You know, if we just start swimming east, we’ll eventually end up in Africa.” He chuckles with sarcastic disbelief. The mythical journey would find us swimming our last few strokes towards a new continent, approaching the western shores of Morocco. How grand an adventure would that be? There is something magical about the grains of sand beneath my feet, a power within that allows these magnificent dreams to take flight. My mind begins to wander even further.

Arms wrapped around my sweetheart’s neck, feet sinking into the sand with each lapping wave, lips locked, butterflies fluttering about within, I reminisce about the very first evening seventeen years ago when I met the woman who would become my wife. Words were spoken, but unnecessary. I could see forever in her eyes.

Several years later, walking along the dunes with my six year old son, the same ocean provided solace during an especially difficult time in his young life. We caught a glimpse of new life in action as newborn leatherback turtles, small enough to get lost in the palm your hand, emerged from underground and began their trek towards the deep waters of the ocean. I fondly recall the sense of courage conveyed by these tiny creatures, to father and son alike, in the face of overwhelming adversity.

There is a quiet serenity in the sights, sounds, and scents provided by this wondrous power of nature. Each time I take the time to engage in a conversation with the sea through my senses, beautiful things transpire. This past weekend was no exception.

As is customary in our household, Friday night is movie night accompanied by pizza for dinner. Except it is Saturday night and we’re having smoothies and wraps instead of pizza. But, hey, flexibility is an admirable trait, right? On the playlist this evening is Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Having consumed the first five books of this series in a period of two months, my son is following suit with the theatrical renditions.

At the completion of the movie, I remember hearing a memorable quote and I am struggling to recall it. As the movie credits are rolling, we all disperse to do our individual thing. My wife at her computer processing photos, my son wandering around aimlessly, giddy from the experience that is Harry Potter. Meanwhile, I am engaged in perhaps the most mundane task, gathering and emptying the trash from around the house. Well, I assumed it was going to be unexciting.

As I reached for the plastic receptacle beneath my son’s desk, I was greeted with the most unexpected trash item. At the bottom of the container sat little globs of the blue raspberry gelatin that we made earlier that day. Returning to our family room, I inquired to the general population “Should I even ask why there is blue Jello in the trash can?” My son’s response, very sincere, was “It fell on the floor, where else was I supposed to put it?”

There is an amiable serendipity that often visits me when I least expect it. And usually it arrives just when I need it the most. After recovering from the ensuing laughter of this trash experience, my wife called me over to her computer. She wanted to share a picture with me that she had captured while taking our family walk on the beach.


In my last post, a first foray into the land of fiction, I spoke of everyday events causing something to shift in our perception of the world. Sometimes almost imperceptible, there is no doubting when this occurs. The first glimpse at the photo displayed on my wife’s computer screen did just that.

Guide by the hand and lead by the heart. Reflecting on my son’s comical response to his trash disposal ideals, I can see we may need to spend a little more time on the guidance part. But more significant to me, is the second part. Lead with the heart. I want him to look over the horizon, perched at the edge of one continent, and feel it is not only possible, but probable, to reach the coastline of another land that is beyond what we can see. I want his imagination to run rampant. Too often our creative thoughts are interrupted by the devious and misinformed ploys of what we call the real world. The most compelling way to overcome these negative pulls toward the black hole of reality? Lead from the heart. Allow the seemingly impossible to become possible.

A picture speaks a thousand words. And sometimes it embodies many more sentiments. This simple arrangement of digital pixels, millions in number, carried with it a commensurate depth of emotions. Not only because of who is in the picture, or for the message it conveys, but also for the beautiful person who captured it. The person who cared enough to open my eyes to the influence we are able to impart on a future generation. The same beautiful woman, my wife, whose eyes seventeen years ago showed me a glimpse of how glorious forever is when you are with the one you love.

It is not our abilities that show what we truly are. It is our choices. ~Professor Dumbledore

Finally, the quote that had eluded me returns to my consciousness. We find ourselves captivated by magical worlds projected onto the canvas of a movie screen. Filled with majestic castles, levitation potions, magic invisibility cloaks, and mischievous house elves, we wish we could visit, or even take up permanent residence in these enchanted lands. We fail to realize that same magic can be created on the blank canvas presented to us at the beginning of each day in our lives. We are the producers, directors, and participants in that movie. When we lead from the heart, we cast our own spell, we create our own magic. We have to make that choice. Keep a mindful heart. Choose well.



15 thoughts on “Mindful heart

  1. Don June 3, 2014 / 9:17 am

    Beautiful post Dave – so homely. The image of you and your son is a very moving one.

    • davecenker June 3, 2014 / 9:38 am

      Thank you Don, I appreciate your kind words. I am positive emotions connected to the image with my son is thanks to my wife’s gift of capturing what’s in her heart through the lens of a camera. Thanks again and best wishes for an inspired day 😉

  2. Barbara June 3, 2014 / 9:43 am

    Beautiful thoughts and insight!

    • davecenker June 3, 2014 / 1:21 pm

      Thanks for stopping by and reading. It’s the feedback and comments by others that bring a smile to my face 🙂

  3. Lynn June 3, 2014 / 9:51 am

    Dave, this post touches my heart so deeply. “Lead by the heart”, these are very wise words indeed & ones we could all benefit from.

    I felt like I was standing on the beach listening to you describe this beautiful scene. The love you feel for your family shines so very brightly through your words & that photo!!! Well, that just did me in. Shedding a beautiful tear on your behalf!

    • davecenker June 3, 2014 / 1:18 pm

      Although I don’t like to necessarily cause tears, I write with the hope of evoking emotion. For that, I thank you for your very honest and thoughtful comments Lynn 😉 Best wishes for an inspired day!

    • davecenker June 4, 2014 / 8:48 am

      Thanks for stopping by and reading Michael. I always appreciate the comments and feedback 😉

  4. apartmentwife June 5, 2014 / 1:01 pm

    is that an actual photo of you with your son? if so, frame it immediately – so lovely. also, i hope you let your wife read this post, it’s just gorgeous with the “Words were spoken, but unnecessary. I could see forever in her eyes” and the way you make the every day events in your household seem somewhat magical 🙂

    • davecenker June 5, 2014 / 1:38 pm

      Thank you Jen, as always, for your thoughtful comments. And I will respond first with a triple yep. This is an actual picture with my son. My wife has read my post and labeled it her favorite so far (although she is slightly biased). And I have submitted a request for print and frame to accompany the photo 😉 I know it sounds sort of corny (maybe), but I don’t think that the photo would have turned out as well as it did if it was taken by someone else.

      You know, it’s pretty amazing. Those everyday events in our household are magical. It’s just that sometimes it takes sitting down with a piece of paper and pen to discover the depth of it. Yet another reason why I love to write so much 🙂

  5. Marquita Herald (@marquitaherald) June 7, 2014 / 12:48 pm

    Wonderful photographs Dave! I’ve lived near the beach all my life so I can appreciate your musings. In fact my husband proposed to me on the beach. When we were young and just starting our careers our big Saturday evening out was a luxurious fine dining experience of cold duck (as in the sparkling wine) and crackerjacks (my favorite!) while sitting under the moonlight on the beach. One of those evenings the prize in my crackerjacks was a diamond ring. Yep, he scored BIG time on the romantic scale for that one!

    • davecenker June 9, 2014 / 8:59 am

      Wonderful story Marty, thanks for sharing 😉 There is something inherently romantic about the beach. sometimes in the feelings of love and admiration, but also in terms of the idyllic landscape that it provides for deep and contemplative thoughts. I just mentioned to my wife over the weekend that I could probably not live somewhere that wasn’t close to a large body of water. It is magical in an unexplainable way 😉

  6. Lisa Kirazian June 8, 2014 / 10:33 pm

    Lovely blog, Dave. Part of the leading and guiding you speak of involves taking wisdom out of the everyday occurrences and details that we so often miss due to busyness. But your blog did just that. Thank you!

    • davecenker June 9, 2014 / 9:02 am

      Thank you Lisa, I couldn’t agree more. That has been one of the true blessings of writing for me, to stop and contemplate those seemingly ordinary occurrences only to find something magical and sometimes transformation buried within. Thanks for stopping by and providing your thoughtful comments. Best wishes for an inspired day 😉

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