16 November 2017
Lessons taught by wild geese
Never in my life have I seen, felt and heard so many geese formations flying across the sky as this year. The fact that nowadays I am spending more time outdoors obviously has a lot to do with this – it is not as if there are more of these formations than before, it is just that I notice them now. My daily walks with the dog come with many perks (but that you already knew).
It is a formidable and powerful feeling to see those mighty birds cross the sky in a beautiful V-formation. Django chases after them madly, as if their energy is catching.
I did some research – I cannot help myself – and apparently the geese fly in V-formation during their yearly migration as it conserves more of their energy compared to flying in a single line. Each bird flies slightly above the bird in front of him, resulting in a reduction of wind resistance. These feathered creatures basically put aerodynamics into practice without a university degree.
Apparently the birds in front have the easiest job. The ‘lift’ caused by the formation creates a negative pressure area above the birds. This negative pressure sucks the air upwards, so the birds in front experience a lifting air stream. The birds alternate position during flight, to allow each in turn some rest. During migration the geese also communicate with each other. The geese in the back urge those in front to keep up the speed.
How the geese decide who flies at the head of the formation is a well-kept secret, as so many things in the animal and plant kingdom. We humans, with our big brains, can only guess.
Without fully understanding the mystery of their behaviour, the metaphor of the flying wild geese provides many beautiful insights.
- Our classic image of a leader is someone who leads the troops from the front, with authority and a firm hand. The geese teach us that leadership can take quite different forms: each individual in the group – and not just the one in front – is a leader, with his own role and responsibilities. You can lead from the front, from the side, from the back and from within. And the group clearly benefits. They demonstrate this in an inspiring way.
- We often don’t bother or are too proud to accept or ask for help, or to delegate. We prefer to appear independent and strong, because asking for help is putting ourselves in a vulnerable position. The geese give up their leadership position in a very smart and timely manner. They know better.
- Like the geese in formation urge the ones in front to keep going, we can also encourage and compliment each other, which we don’t do often enough. It gives people wings to fly, as the jargon has it.
As for the mystery behind their striking behaviour, maybe it is not even that mysterious. I wrote about it in a previous blog ‘Who is the King of the creation?’. Someone who researches this quite extensively is the cell biologist Rupert Sheldrake (his work is considered as quite controversial by the so-called serious scientists).
He specifically focuses on those questions for which there is no answer (yet), like how ants behave and communicate, how pigeons find their way back, how dogs ‘know’ when their owner is about to come home, etc.. His books and talks are highly recommended when you are interested in learning more about this.
In any case, it is simply inspiring to watch the animal and plant world. “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better”, our friend Einstein said.
Ancient Wisdom as a vaccine
In De Standaard of 21 April (one of the major local newspapers) there was a beautiful article entitled "Art as a vaccine in the post-corona era". Why wait for that post-corona era? Yesterday the parable "This too shall pass" ended up in my mailbox.
28 April 2020
The invisible dog or how being hard headed does not pay off
"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”. Humans excel in that. We somehow believe that if we keep trying harder we will ultimately succeed, even if we keep ending up with the same result, time and time again.
2 November 2018
From King of the Mountain to Swimming Champion
23 August 2018
What if email, mobile phones and social media did not exist?
12 July 2018
Don’t make change too complicated. Just begin.
14 June 2018
Why not take a mini-holiday
10 May 2018
Lost in deconstruction
"You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star" [Friedrich Nietzsche]
19 April 2018
How Dog had a breakthrough – a contemporary fable (part 2)
15 March 2018
How Cat & Dog should follow the example of Mouse, a contemporary fable
15 February 2018
Winter’s life lesson
21 November 2017
A juvenile delinquent dog or the price of adulthood
When we reach the age of adulthood we seem to have internalised all those responsibilities, expectations and limitations. As if the free creatures that we once were are forgotten.
18 January 2018
Who is the King of Creation?
What if things were different from what we have always assumed? It can make you feel very unsafe to question your normal perspective. On the other hand it also offers incredible freedom and creativity to step outside the beaten track and become curious.
19 October 2017
From prey to predator and vice versa
From prey to predator and vice versa, the natural order put upside down. The animals themselves do not seem to be bothered by it - for sure Django isn’t, and the hens appear to find it quite normal to be on top of the food chain.
5 October 2017
How is your Monkey Mind?
We all have a Monkey Mind, Buddha said, with scores of monkeys, all demanding attention. The fear monkey is the loudest of them all, he is constantly ringing the alarm bell, drawing our attention to things we should be wary of and to everything that can go wrong.
21 September 2017
The parable of the businessman and the fisherman
We always have a choice: do we listen to our sabotaging inner voices or do we opt for what we really want, like the fisherman?
24 August 2017
Mr Goldberg and his assumptions
It is worthwhile to take a closer look at the assumptions you have about the persons with whom you have a relationship. You could develop the habit to ask yourself if a certain assumption is really true. And what if it is not?
10 August 2017
Asking for help is something we struggle with and we will only ask when we have no other option. We believe that asking for help and putting ourselves in a vulnerable position is a sign of weakness. Asking for help creates a warm connection between the asker and the giver.
20 April 2017
What if ....?
What if you would use a different perspective to look at what you have always assumed to be the objective reality? Does objective reality as such even exist?
9 February 2017
Frieda just asks
Asking for help is something that is hard to do for a lot of us. Self-reliance and autonomy are highly respected in our individualistic society. Another aspect of asking for help is that we build up a 'debt' as it were, We also do not like to disturb others with our problems
18 February 2016