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Hazard Peaks

 

Ironically named for 19th-century Australian ships captain Richard Hazard, these bare and stony flanks leer like a volcanic grimace over the soft, inviting sands of Coles and Wineglass bays.   Proof that beauty comes in forms both harsh and gentle.

The Power of Martin

“Persistence, Avarice & Ambition

can fire you into a powerful force of one.

But Compassion will put an army behind you.”*

It is one of my less funny quips, but every Ides of January it seeps back into my mind.  Dr. Martin Luther King displayed the power of compassion like few others seen or recorded in human history.  In August 1963, an estimated a quarter million people joined the March on Washington following Rev. King.  They embraced his mission and dream of civil rights in America.  That’s two and a half times the number of soldiers either Adolph Hitler or Genghis Kahn could muster as they launched their bloody campaigns.

‘Tis a simple, yet oft neglected human truth:  Show people that you hold a sincere concern for their pain and want to alleviate it, and they will flock to your banner much more readily than if all you can say is, “we both hate the same group of other folks.”  Loyalty comes from love and lasts a lifetime.  The rallying point of mutual hate is a flickering flame and must ever be fueled with fear.

The hopeful news is that more and more business leaders’ eyes are opening to the power of compassion.  That feeling of honest concern sustains in a way that all the other whipped-up motivational techniques are powerless to bestow.  I do indeed witness this hopeful shift.

So may we all this day honor the amazing tangible and inspirational achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King.  Yet, if I may, allow me to point out one major pitfall.  Beware of labeling Mr. King or any other individual of note as a “genius.”  This term is too often employed as as an easy avenue into inertia.  “You know, King, Einstein, Jobs – they were geniuses.  I am not so gifted, so why should I bother?”

Well, my friend, you have every bit of the genius you require to make your mark.  It is not how fertile stands the land you were given – it’s how well you cultivate it.  Perhaps in memory of Rev. King, now is the time for all of us to get our hands dirty.

And please, don’t keep compassion in your heart.  Let it out to roam and glisten on all you meet.

Wishing you every success,

– Bart Jackson

 

 

A Thought for Giving Tuesday

“Would you like this wrapped as a gift?”

“No, I’d like it wrapped as an obligation.”

What if we all gave only in ways that made us happy?  No hair-shirt, sacrificial giving performed in pain that makes the deed even more “noble.”  No cautious, statistical gift with well-weighed outcomes.  And no gifts because Dad, Christ, or Culture commands.  What if our non-deductible giving exuberantly gushed forth from that divinely-planted seed within, and we did it just because of the anticipated thrill of the feeling that comes with the gift – like the second and third lick of an ice cream cone?

Doubtless, a legion of stern and ledgerly saints (reveling in their own disapproval) would get very upset.  But I’ll bet the entire total of my 1040-schedule A that the good Lord’s globe would fill with a lot more smiles – and just maybe a lot more giving.  And I’ll bet He’d like it.  What about you?

Wishing You Every Success,

– Bart Jackson

 

One Day in Tibet

…So we are squatting there, huddled tightly around this tiny tin stove, glowing with embers of yak dung, clutching a stone cup of ink-black tea in our hands.

Now this is good, because the wind outside is blowing its cold and constant 40 mph across the Tibetan plateau at 16,000 feet of elevation, and we are tucked toastily with the nomads inside their yurt – a tent made of pressed yak felt, held up by ropes of twined yak hair, and staked down by shards of yak bone.

And from over in the corner comes Neema who has been churning, churning, churning in her precious wooden churn.  And as she passes, every hand goes out – and thus so does mine – and slap.  A greasy glob lands in my palm.  And I look.  Following suit, I scrape it into the stone cup, watching it ooze and sprawl across the tea’s surface in grey, bobbing globules.

This is yak butter.  It’s intriguingly cloying – at least for the first four cups.  But the grinning nomads who have invited us into their toasty home are really putting it down and my wife Lorraine and I are expected to keep up.

 

Then sweet-smiling Neema comes by again.  This time it’s a bowl of nearly-ground barley; and out go the hands, and slap! More yak butter.   Following suit, we kneed and kneed and kneed these two until we get something about the consistency of wallpaper paste, but not quite as tasty.  This is the second staple of the Tibetan diet, called tsampa.

The wind continues outside, driving blasts of horizontal snow.  The laughter grows more raucous.  Our 200-word Tibetan vocabulary gets stretched beyond comprehension, but the language of camaraderie melded us together like warm tsampa. In appreciation for their gracious hospitality and feast, we shared pictures of our home torn from calendars we’d brought with us.  As Lorraine and I eventually toddled off to our little backpacking tent, several of the children followed, poking heads and hands inside to examine the strange gear belonging to their strange guests.  (Our down sleeping bags were a great hit.)

So if you are considering making your way to this enchanted land pressed hard against the northern flanks of the high Himalayas – Yes.  By all means go to Tibet.  Experience the globe’s most physically rugged and spiritually rich people.  Find joyful companions.  Explore what Everest is like.  Discover if there is truly a Shangri-la.  But do not, I beg you, go to Tibet for the food.

  Wishing you joyful treks & warm companions,

                        – Bart Jackson

 

The Healing Shore

HD Thoreau noted of Eastham Cape Cod, that “the barren aspect of land would hardly be believed if described.”  I suppose it depends upon what you are cultivating.  For me, our home in Eastham shores writhes abundantly with life.  Whether it is the view from out of my window on Cape Cod Bay, or walking the hard sand flats at low tide, there stands no more fertile plain for raising up one’s most profound and deepest thoughts.

Or wading heavily amidst the thunderous rhythms of Nauset Beach’s ocean waves as they crash and seethe along the slender sandy strand hemmed by towering dunes and open sea.  Surely, there lies no richer field for planting soul into perspective & the mind into more astute reflection.

‘Twas to this most blessed retreat I came this week after shoulder-replacement surgery.  The quelling of the mind and the release from the daily frenzies of home and office life proffered the utmost recuperation.  With my good wife Lorraine, and later joined by my COO & laughing adventuress Carol Ezzo, we journeyed into the realm of simple re-creations such as finding clams on the flats, half-shell oysters amongst the shoreside restaurants, and bright-plumed birds in remote marshes.  And yes, and in the eve, we even made some amazing strides in our latest book, along with lining up new guests for our The Art of the CEO radio show.  The brain works best when freed from the chaff of distraction – and fueled by good friends and lobster in drawn butter.

Wishing you all a grand summer,

– Bart Jackson