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What's Missing?

The ocean provides many lessons, some in brutality and some in tranquility. A beautiful beach photo is missing something. Exactly what that is correlates to our everyday life.

What is missing in this picture? Go ahead, take a moment to scroll back up and look at it. I’ll wait.

Nothing has been photoshopped. Filters were not used. It hasn’t been enhanced in any way. Of course, I’m not going to just immediately give the answer away. That would be too easy!

I was scrolling through my photo gallery to get inspiration for my next post when I came across this particular one. It was not new; I had scrolled past it when I selected photos for many other posts.

But today, this one hit just a little bit different. Looking at it full screen on my monitor, I took all the details in. Almost immediately, my muscles started to relax ever so slightly. An audible sigh may have even escaped my lips.

And that made me examine this photo a little bit more closely. What was it that caused this calming effect?

Sure, water is generally a serene and peaceful environment. And it’s the beach, so extra points for that.

But still, none of those things are what is missing.

Do you know what’s missing?

A focal point.

Something (or someone) taking center stage and demanding attention.

It simply isn’t there, in any form. The ocean is content to play its background role. The waves are equidistant and ever so slight, allowing you to see their wrinkles as they lap at the shoreline. The clouds handle the sky, covering quite the expanse. Even the sun is restrained, blocked by the clouds’ array.

And that is inherently what makes this photo so peaceful.

Every day we have something, someone, or some issue taking center stage, demanding attention. When that happens, we go into alert mode. We focus on that thing, person, or issue to the detriment of everything else around.

Many times, we have to. But if we’re not careful, like kudzu it can also be invasive. There is no peace with a rotating door of focal points. It is only when we remove the distractions, the ‘look at me’ characters, the issues that never seem to die down that we can exhale. The temperature changes, the vibe is different.


Just like the photo. Imagine if there was a person or group of people in the middle of the picture. Would it have had the same effect? Would you have been able to have a few seconds of serenity?

Likely not.

On whatever day you happen to read this post, I hope you too find peace in the photo. But more importantly, I hope you find ways to remove focal points from some of your days to come.

You can’t beat the view.

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