Mid Week Musings

THE 13,000-MILE JOURNEY

For many, 2022 has not brought with it the hope and sense of anticipation that the dawn of a new year usually brings. One big reason for this, of course, is the onset of Coronoavirus’ third wave, making 2022 feel like a deja vu and a repeat of 2021 and 2020. The scourge of sickness and the continuing uncertainty and disruption have been difficult and draining, to put it mildly.  

So how do we renew our spirits and courage at a time like this? One way is by reminding ourselves that the world is a big and beautiful place and there is still much in it that is good and inspiring. While there is, of course, no substitute for experiencing the wonder of the planet firsthand, sometimes that is just not possible. That is when a well-made TV series like Long Way Up comes in handy. 

Long Way Up is the story of movie actor Ewan McGregor (of Star Wars, Moulin Rouge and Christopher Robin fame) and his best friend Charley Boorman’s 13,000-mile journey across South and Central America on electric motorcycles. Starting from the southernmost tip of South America, the friends travel through Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico and finally end their journey in Los Angeles 100 days later.

As Ewan and Charley travel across the frozen, snow-covered Andes mountains, the burning Atacama desert, the Bolivian salt plains and the ruins of Machu Pichu, to name just a few of many spectacular locations, their adventures remind us of some basic truths we tend to forget in the midst of dreary and difficult times: 

1. The world is a beautiful place. There is much that is still good and un-ruined, if we will but look for it.

2. Everything that can go wrong probably will go wrong, specially in the beginning, but if we can make it past our teething troubles, then we have a good journey to look forward to, full of learning and adventure.

3. There are kind and generous people everywhere. Sometimes our own personal experiences leave us embittered but it is important to remember that our own experiences are not necessarily representative of the human race. It is important to look at people with kind eyes.

4. A strong bond of camaraderie will make even the toughest journey smooth. Charley Boorman, it turns out, is not in the best physical condition to make this trip, and an adventure of this magnitude poses a definite risk. But it is moving to see the two protagonists look out for each other and be there for each other through thick and thin. 

5. Things work out. Even when they look like they may not. The series is full of challenges, problems and dangers, all of which are conquered one by one.

Watch the series (currently streaming on Apple TV), even a couple of episodes if that is all you have time for. You’ll be glad you did.

Have a great week!

Team Anahat

Mid Week Musings

THE PROBLEM WITH HARSH FEEDBACK

How many times have you heard the following? : ‘Feedback is a gift.’

While it is true that feedback can most certainly be a gift, there are times when it is not. — These are usually the times when feedback is given harshly or thoughtlessly and when that happens, the very purpose of giving it is defeated. Author and marketing guru, Seth Godin, explains why this happens. He says:

“(Harsh feedback) often comes from one of two kinds of people: People who give themselves feedback in the same heartless tone. They don’t hesitate to brutally lash out, because that’s the noise they often hear inside. And folks who honestly believe that their work is flawless. They can’t understand how anyone else can fail to measure up, because they never seem to.”

In order to give good and effective feedback, it is important to try and avoid being either of these two kinds of people. It also helps to remember the apocryphal story of the young lad who had a temper and would often fly into a rage. 

After trying to convince him many times to control his anger, the boy’s father finally said to him, “Every time you lose your temper, go and hammer a nail into the wooden gatepost at the entrance of the garden. And every day that you manage to not lose your temper, pull one nail out.”

Ingrained habits can be hard to break and the number of nails in the gatepost kept increasing. Finally, embarrassed by the sight of the hammered-in nails, the boy decided he needed to start controlling his temper. It took many months, but the day finally came when the last of the nails came out.

Rejoicing, the boy went to his father and said, ‘Look, all the nails are out.” The father rejoiced with him and commended him and then looked closely at the gatepost. After a long silence, the father said, “The nails are out, but never forget, the scars remain.”

Let’s make sure the feedback we give others actually helps them instead of scarring them.

Have a great week!

Team Anahat

Mid Week Musings

THE KEY LOG

‘Log driving’ refers to the practise of moving logs (sawn tree trunks) from a forest to sawmills and pulp mills downstream using the current of a river. For hundreds of years, it remained the main method of transporting logs in Europe and North America.

(Believe it or not, the term ‘come hell or high water’ which is used to describe the determination to get something accomplished no matter how great the difficulty, originated in the race to get logs into brooks and streams so that they could reach the rivers while the water level was high enough to float the logs.)

To ensure that logs drifted freely along the river, men called ‘log drivers’ guided the logs. They watched the spots along the river where the logs were likely to jam, and moved quickly to unclog the ‘log jams’ as they happened.

It is interesting to note how they did so. Instead of trying to work with all the logs, the log drivers would focus on ‘the key log’, or the main log that was causing the jam and simply concentrate on removing that. Once that log was dislodged, the other logs, too, came free and started moving downstream again.

There is a lesson here for us. Sometimes we, too, feel ‘stuck’ in our lives. At times like that, it is important to try and identify the ‘key log’ or the main thing that is blocking the ‘flow’ of our life, and take care of that first.

Perhaps the ‘key log’ in one person’s case is a fear that is holding them back from living the kind of life they should. In another person’s case, it could be an unresolved bitterness which is causing them to have inexplicable anger issues. In yet another person’s case. it could be the habit of comparing themselves with others negatively, which is causing them to behave in irrational ways with others. 

Discovering the ‘key log’ in our lives is a vital step to becoming ‘unstuck’ and making the progress we need to make. The start of a new year is a great time to take a fresh look at old problems and come up with fresh solutions. Insight, as we often say, changes everything!

Have a great week!

Team Anahat