On Ambergris Caye, life begins at the end of the pier

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Now, I’m not saying that sitting at the end of a dock for an hour every day will cure everything that ails you.

Well, yes, maybe I am.

It certainly makes possible a beneficial attitude adjustment that will carry you through your day. Problems look so much smaller when you are gazing out at the sea. Life seems less in your control and more a microscopic part of the greater cosmos.

Gazing out from the end of a dock isn’t exactly like an astronaut gazing out into space. But I bet it is really close.


Here’s the thing: You don’t even have to do anything.

Sure you could read a book or slather on some sunbathing oil or drop a fishing line over the edge — but those are all just distractions to me.

Every dock that I encounter beckons me to take a walk to its very end and sit for a while. Some offer chairs. Some have built in benches and some simply offer the wooden deck. Each has its own appeal.


The main thing is what you find at the end, and that is yourself. If you are willing to sit long enough.

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I find the end of a pier to be a very welcoming place for my daily meditation.  Over time I have devised a mantra which I repeat over and over, as I empty my brain of noise and distraction. It is inspired by things I have picked up from talks by the Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hahn. He often suggested mantras which can lead a person toward mindfulness — a complete awareness of all that surrounds you in the moment.


So, I sit, and I gaze out toward the beautiful  barrier reef and I begin to repeat:

I am here  . . . . . I am present.

I am home . . . . . I have arrived.

I am earth . . . . . I am this island.

I am water . . . . . I am this sea.

I am air . . . . . . . I am this breeze.

I am heat . . . . . . I am this sun.

I am here . . . . . . I am present.

I am home . . . . . I have arrived.

I am Belize.


Am I filled with wisdom? No.

Do I become a better person? I can only hope that everything I do leads toward becoming a better person.

Are there super powers involved? Not any.

Can I see things I have never seen before? Perhaps by being still, some things become more apparent.

Will I become richer or more powerful? I don’t see how that is possible.

Am I a more thoughtful person? That is something to always aspire toward. But this is not a magic potent.

Am I more sensitive? Again, sensitivity, like thoughtfulness, improves through mindful practice in our daily lives. They don’t “happen” after a few minutes of meditation.

I can’t promise you a thing, should you sit at the end of a dock and meditate. Honestly.

What you find will be entirely up to you.


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I can only say that, for me, finding stillness and peace at the end of a pier is reward enough.

I believe that a person who finds happiness in sitting still at the end of a pier, awash in the sounds of the sea and warmed by the sun, can more easily find happiness and contentment in other parts of their life.

No pier? No worries.

My pier may be your rock on a mountainside, or your open patch in a forest, or your matted grass in a meadow, or your desk in a crowded office, or your seat on the water taxi to Belize City, or the hanging strap on the subway to the suburbs — a place where stillness and peace can reign inside you for a few minutes in your day.

Peace be with you.

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7 thoughts on “On Ambergris Caye, life begins at the end of the pier

    Susan Watts said:
    December 20, 2014 at 6:37 am

    And with you.
    One of your best blogs so far IMO.


    Karen Kelly said:
    December 20, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    Well said. Yes, it is in the quiet moments that we get to know ourselves best. Sometimes the quiet times bring up issues that we didn’t know existed. It can be life changing. Namaste Bob.


    Susan Watts said:
    December 21, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Say Bob, question: do y’all get junk mail and tons of catalogs for Wolferman’s, Harry & David, etc. etc. down there? If not just one more reason to LOVE Belize! – Susan


      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      December 21, 2014 at 6:50 pm

      Hi Susan,
      We eliminated nearly all the junk stuff before we left — I think the post office will block third class mail if you request it. What they can not block are political flyers during an election season. You can imagine how many of those show up! About the only mail we get these days is from banks, pension, financial /legal papers. All bill paying and banking is now done online. There is an allotment of so many ounces a month in mail and packages and we’ve never exceeded the maximum.


    Susan Watts said:
    December 21, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    Thanks Robert, good to know. When we do finally move there I don’t think I’ll leave a forwarding address…maybe they won’t find us! LOL


    Susan Watts said:
    December 24, 2014 at 6:38 am

    Want to wish you and Rose a wonderful Christmas! Love your blogs…so much I couldn’t stay away for long. Get mad get glad and move one (a motto I try to live by)…anyway, Merry Christmas! May God continue to bless and keep you and hope next year is even better! Merry Christmas, Happy New Year! Thanks for the blogs!


      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      December 24, 2014 at 3:19 pm

      Sounds like we’re close enough to be family (“get mad and move on”) Susan! Some of my closest friends think I’m a political idiot but friendship is always bigger than the rest of it. Stay friends! Wishing you only the best in the new year!


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