As India and the world pass through one of the worst public health crises in history, we sincerely hope and pray this finds you and your loved ones safe. This is unquestionably one of the most difficult times most of us have ever seen, and our hearts go out to those whose lives have been devastated by this pandemic.
Apollo 13 is a movie worth watching. Or, if you have already seen it, worth watching again.
The movie, starring Tom Hanks and Ed Harris, tells the story of NASA’s aborted moon mission in 1970. An explosion in the spaceship’s oxygen tanks put the astronauts’ lives in danger, forcing the crew to try to make their way back to earth again without landing on the moon.
The tag line for the movie is, “Houston, we have a problem.” It’s a good line for a movie blurb and captures the danger and the drama in the situation well.
But the line that truly turned the situation around was a question that NASA Mission Control Director, Gene Kraz, asked right after the explosion in the oxygen tanks:
“What have we got in that ship that’s still good?”
That is perhaps the best question to ask at a time when everything has gone overwhelmingly wrong!
Focusing only on the enormity and unexpectedness of disaster can paralyse us into despair and inaction. But identifying and focusing on what is still working and within our control empowers us to find solutions – sometimes in the most unexpected ways!
By asking, “What have we got in that ship that’s good?” Mission Control and the Apollo 13 astronauts figured out a way to keep everyone on board alive by building makeshift CO2 filters using containers and duct tape aboard the ship that managed to expel carbon dioxide from the ship and get the astronauts back safely to earth.
Apollo 13’s astronauts survived because Mission Control asked the right question. Perhaps this is a good time to ask ourselves similar questions:
- What do we have in our lives that is still good?
- What is still working that we can build on, regardless of what has gone wrong?
- What are our strengths?
- What is the next thing we can do?
Focusing on finding answers to those questions can help us find the strength and solutions we need in difficult and trying times.
Janaki and Mahesh
for Team Anahat
Welcome to ‘Midweek Musings’.
Life doesn’t seem to be getting any easier for anyone. As the world battles with yet another wave of the pandemic, it is vital that we each do what we can to keep ourselves healthy and strong, not just physically but mentally and emotionally as well. We hope that ‘Midweek Musings’ from Anahat will serve as your mid-week shot of strength and inspiration.
It is easy to feel like a victim of circumstance in these times of uncertainty and difficulty. As humans we have a pre-disposition to focus on negative experiences. A great day may have little emotional effect on the next day. If, on the other hand, we have a bad day, the experience can last for days. Research tells us that focusing on the negatives in a situation is an evolutionary response designed to protect us. But it is important to remember that doing so habitually can also land us in a state of cynicism, hopelessness and eventual stagnation.
It is during times like these that it helps to remember the words of Viktor E. Frankl, the Austrian psychiatrist who survived the Holocaust and went on to give an account of his struggle for survival in his powerful book ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’. When asked how he managed to choose his own attitude in circumstances that easily qualify as some of the worst that the modern era has known, Frankl gave a simple but profound answer:
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
By recognising that there is, indeed, a space between stimulus and response, and then consciously choosing our response to what is happening around us, we put ourselves back in the ‘driver’s seat’ of our lives. Frankl said that he forced himself to appreciate sunsets even through the barbed wire.
Let us awaken to the beauty around us, even in the midst of the chaos and uncertainty we are currently experiencing.
What beauty is calling out to you now?
We would love to hear from you.
Have a good week!
Janaki and Mahesh
for Team Anahat