Dawn Rainbow

Today I listened to a short but tremendously inspiring book – “Man’s Search For Meaning”, by Viktor Frankl, a psychiatrist and survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp.

He believes that the cause of much 20th century malaise (and this is probably even more true of the 21st century) is a lack of life purpose. It was his own strong sense of purpose – the book that he intended to write – that helped him survive the horrors of the holocaust. When you have a strong enough reason why you want to stay alive, you’ll find a way how.

Not for a moment to compare my Atlantic crossing with a concentration camp – it was pretty bad, but nowhere near that bad – but I was interested to find that I stumbled across a couple of psychological survival techniques that he mentions.

When his life at Auschwitz was at a particularly low point, he mentally stepped outside his immediate situation, and imagined himself giving a lecture on the psychiatric aspects of the experience. In a much more mundane way, when I was struggling to cope mentally with the Atlantic crossing, I found it helpful to think about a speech I was due to give in New York in a few months’ time, and how I would summarise what I had learned on the ocean. It really helped to get some objectivity, and to derive something constructive from my struggles. The retrospective perspective.

He also mentioned something that has echoes in my obituary exercise. In helping people to find meaning in their lives, he suggests that they consider the biographies of the people they admire, and to deduce from that what might bring meaning to their own existence.

So maybe what I went through in my early thirties was not an early midlife crisis, but actually the realisation that I was in what Frankl calls an “existential vacuum”, that the pursuit of money and possessions could not fill.

He quotes statistics (from the 1980s, I think) showing that the “existential vacuum” is especially prevalent in the USA. This made me think of, and be encouraged by, the recent youth eco marches spearheaded by Alec Loorz that were called “iMatter”. I hope this movement is a sign that the tide is turning, that a new generation is emerging where individuals know that they matter, that they are responsible for their future, and that a life with no purpose is no life at all.

Other Stuff:

Having rowed my little heart out yesterday to reach a particular latitude, above which winds were due to turn favourable, I was rather crestfallen to receive an updated weather forecast saying that the goalposts had moved, and the good winds were still at least 60 miles to the north. So today, after a rather spectacular rainbow at dawn (see photo) I found myself in a meteorological “no man’s land” – no wind and not even much of a current. A funny kind of inbetweeny day.

That Big Something was around again. A quick dash and splash at the surface, but not revealing enough to offer clues as to its identity. I’ll call it the Heffalump after the mysterious creature in Winnie the Pooh.

Richard in DFW – the creature could be a Nessie, but would be a very long way from home! Loved the latest instalment of the poem. Very funny! (Oh dear, I’m sure I really shouldn’t encourage you!)

Special hellos to special friends – Doug, Jenna and Gabrielle in Chesapeake Bay, John in Juneau, Norm of the prairies, and Martha Kaufeldt. Martha – good to hear about the Maker Faire. I’m really intrigued by the Maker phenomenon since Vic mentioned it in our podcast, and will definitely be checking it out once I’m back on terra firma. It has to be the way of the future, if we’re going to avoid living in a Wall-E world!

Laurey – sorry to hear about your cancer diagnosis. You’re an incredibly strong woman, and I’m sure you will once again face this with a positive and purposeful outlook. I’ll be thinking of you and sending you my strength and love. And I’m sure the rest of the Rozling community will also be sending you their best wishes for a full recovery.

Mum tells me this is an amazing video. I can’t watch it from here, but I’ll post the link so you can enjoy it. Youtube video of a dolphin leading two whales to safety out at sea after they had been stranded on a sandbar in NZ. Humans had given up hope of helping after their rescue attempt failed. Sounds amazing.

Sponsored Miles: David Church, Joe Dominguez (several miles each)

31 Comments

  • Hey Roz: Wow, Our minds met again from 1000’s of miles away… I had a housemate once, Gus, who spent WWII in a Japanese Concentration Camp… One time as I came home from surgery one afternoon he said, “God, If I ever got Cancer, I’d kill myself!” I said, “Gus, YOU were in a Concentration Camp, I would NOT trade places with you!” He said, “Oh, It wasn’t that bad!” Then one day I came home, and he was looking in the mirror in horror, He asked me, “What’s this spot?” I looked at it and said, “It looks like a Basal Cell – 95% of the population will develop at least one in their lifetime.” He SCREAMED, “CANCER???” I said, “Gus, You have ONE!!! I have had THOUSANDS removed and I am fine. We’ll get yours removed and you will be done with it.” He panicked for the week that it took to get him an appointment with my surgeon… It took 30 minutes to remove his one spot, permanently… Now, and to this day – 23 years later, never another “spot”, he still complains about the “$300 it cost for the 30 minutes that it took to remove it.”

    I guess it is all perspective!

  • Roz Was Our Seagoing English “Hottie”
    In Spite Of Her Occasional Spotty Botty
    We All Send Her Our Best
    Thinking Of Her In Sedna’s Nest
    Which In Some Ways Is The Ultimate Porta-Potty

  • A big THANK YOU to June Barnard for all her hard work in supporting Roz. A special thank you also to Rita!

  • Hi Roz,
     
    Mark Twain once said, “Really great people make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

    (I hear it is a six-cd auto biography full of wry humor)
     
    Maybe your purpose is to lead by example? 🙂 …just a rhetorical question I ask myself sometimes.
     
    This is in reply to some previous blogs and one of your pod casts regarding your effectiveness on the greater global arena while out at sea, networking, and also regarding the use of social networks such as twitter and facebook.
     
    This is NOT an attempt to toot my own horn. It is simultaneously a way to affirm your valiant and ongoing efforts, as well as an invitation for others to assist you in possibly similar acts.
     
    Several months ago, you asked me to research the conservation efforts begun in the town of Modbury UK. I have now logged onto several facebook pages including Plastic Pollution Coalition (16,541 fans), Earth Hour (633,689 fans) and Surfing for Change (Martha’s son) as well as a few others listed below, and have been able to promote the video at http://www.messageinthewaves.com that I originally found on a sleuthing quest for you.
     
    Recently, I have found this article that I have shared at the same facebook pages regarding ecology and sustainability. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/apr/16/plastic-bags-activism It is nine things to do in order to turn a town plastic bag free. It was written after interviewing your friend Rebecca.
     
    I found your youtube video produced by the new movie due to premier later this year, Plastic Oceans by David Jones. I have been able to post those and happily have gotten several “likes” to each of the individual facebook pages. You have mutual friends involved in the production of the movie, most notably, Her Deepness, Doctor Sylvia Earl and ocean rower, Ben Fogle.
     
    Plastic Bag Free 2012 Olympics has joined the facebook site of Plastic Pollution Coalition and has also posted the petition that is so dear to your cause. The petition has been put on the other facebook sites as well.
     
    There is a list of 51 things to do to lessen one’s plastic foot print (http://www.squidoo.com/reduceplastic) but since I believe some suggestions are repetative or very similar and some suggestions are too far from ordinary to ask of most folk, I am doing my best to pare them down to a figurable initial step before sharing them.
    I reposted your video that you made for Earth Hour, Beyond the Hour onto Earth Hour’s Facebook page.
    Your friend, Nova attended the Maker Faire (http://makerfaire.com/) that Vic mentioned on your past podcast and that you mention today. I am sure that she can update you all about it once you make landfall. She has several pictures up on Facebook, very interesting! WiserEarth (http://www.wiserearth.org/) is going strong and will welcome you as soon as you make landfall also. They will make great allies, I believe. As you know, mutual friends starting in New York at Climate Ride (http://www.climateride.org/) have arrived in Washington DC and being unstoppable, they are now set for the Pacific Coast in October. You had mentioned about the award you recieved at Ocean Inspiration where Margaret recieved your award in your honor. It is with sheer pride that I re-mention these last two notes. Of coarse, I would be remiss if not to mention Doug and Margo, the tip of the spears in each of their endeavors. I now assist Mylene Paquette. She will attempt to be the first Canadian to row the North Atlantic in 2012. She will row solo from Canada to France at the same time that you will be rowing from New York to London! Coinceidentally, one of her fans on Facebook posted your TED Talk video on her wall just yesterday. They all inspire me as well. I am sure you are aware of the “sharing” of your blogs on several of your fan’s facebook profiles. There is also personal talk amongst friends and friends of friends that is permeating through to your blog comments as well. As you can see, your leadership and your ability to network is constant even when solo, out at sea. (When most of this took place)
    You have several miles donated to your cause and a few more fans because I had a blast taking them down a whitewater rafting run. I will definately do that again!
     Below is a very short list of the Facebook organizations or businesses that Roz has mutually beneficial ties to… 350 Sailing ChallengeMarmotAquapac – 100% waterproof protectionSocial Media for Business – Powered by DellBan the Bag! – A campaign to end single use plastic bags in PortlandThe Global “Declaration of Interdependence”The Blue Climate & Oceans ProjectOcean ChampionsJetboilTwo Hands Project.org2012 Plastic-Bag-Free OlympicsBrother Number One (film)EpicTrackerPlastic Pollution CoalitionAdventurers and Scientists for ConservationNational Marine Sanctuary FoundationUN Climate Talks: Our ClimateOur FutureRising Tide North AmericaPlastic OceansGobi 2011 Expedition5 GyresMission BlueAction for Happiness,CommonDreams.orgBlue Frontier CampaignCycleforWaterEcocide is a CrimeGarage Sale TrailROAR FOODGreenpeace InternationalSan Francisco Ocean Film FestivalDavid SuzukiTEDTED.com And the below organizations I have found on Facebook. They are “sister” organizations that I have joined due simply for the fact that you have inspired me to continue to “carry the torch”.  My Plastic-free Life (formerly Fake Plastic Fish)No More Plastic Bags Please!1,000,000 who care about healthy oceansSurfing For ChangeThe Story of Stuff ProjectBrother Number One (film)Sarah Outen’s ‘London-2-London via the World’ ExpeditionBag MonstersEarth Hour
    MylenePaquette.com So there you go Roz. Your ripples and oarstrokes…I hope you have a wonderful day at sea.  
     
    ~Jay
     
    btw out of 4505 miles to row, 1322 miles are sponsored, 3183 to go. What a great ending to share with your friends… just sayin 🙂
     
    Any appreciation towards me should be immediately redirected to my other good friend, June, Roz’s right hand gal!

      • Sure thing! I see the video surpassed the 10,000 veiws goal post. Thank you! And have fun showing Maker Faire to Roz when you guys get around to doing that!

        Row Roz Row!

      • Sure thing! I see the video surpassed the 10,000 veiws goal post. Thank you! And have fun showing Maker Faire to Roz when you guys get around to doing that!

        Row Roz Row!

    • Jay, You are AMAZING. Toot your horn. You deserve it for all the good work you do. Seriously. You’re focused and it’s an inspiration. -Bruce

  • To Roz and @June:disqus and touching on something @UncaDoug:disqus touched on the other day – about your silent followers in the background here, I have some perspective on that too… A HUGELY popular website here in the states – Craigslist – has 9 Million or so “Results” on “Google”… Roz with June’s and @Rita:disqus ‘s help, You now have close to 2 Million “Results” followers, most in the background, on Google… That MAY not sound like a lot, But to be 20% as popular as one of the most popular websites in America is HUGE… Congrats all around!!!

  • “He also mentioned something that has echoes in my obituary exercise. In
    helping people to find meaning in their lives, he suggests that they
    consider the biographies of the people they admire, and to deduce from
    that what might bring meaning to their own existence.” Roz, @Rita:disqus @June:disqus and all Rozlings, Like Roz’s book mentioned here, Tuesdays With Morrie” is a VERY quick read – I read it in the surgeons’ waiting room while waiting for the results from that day’s surgery – and it changed my life as I did… Writing it even changed “The Writer’s”/Mitch Albom’s life as he wrote it – as Morrie told his story… A really good read!

  • Global temperatures, measured by satellites) show a fall of one degree (F) over the past year. The highest global temperature recorded since satellite measurements started (in1979) was in 1998.

    Trash is a problem that is actually growing. Anthropogenic Global Warming appears not to be.

  • Hi Roz,
     
    Sorry to hear the goal posts moved.  It happens a lot.  But if you’re determined to go through the goal posts you wont be too upset when they move.  That’s why martial artists practice punching and kicking through a target and occasionally Soldiers on long marches are led an extra mile beyond the so called end.  Also, remember what Prof. Frankl said about individual freedom.  I hope the huffalump proves both interesting and comfortably distant.

    Cheers!
    Eric

  • “Jenna and Gabrielle in Chesapeake Bay” – Where are you on The Chesapeake? I moved from Chestertown to DFW – and will be moving Back East soon I hope. It would be fun to meet some fellow Rozlings – and I am hoping that Roz herself will be in on a movie they are making about me – and my Bucket List Environmental Project – part of which will be filmed in Chestertown and on The Bay – having grown-up on it, and being the inspiration for my project…

  • I came across Frankl’s work when planning management training in the late ’60s (about the time of the “Global Cooling” enthusiasm). The idea of planning a  lecture – or simply the attempt to explain something to an imaginary group – proved invaluable to me and to my students. It’s a technique I have used since whenever faced with a problem however trivial. Explaining something to another person forces one to think carefully and in detail. My life’s purpose became, in practise, to analyse situations in sufficient detail to enable their explanation to people who needed to develop solutions. It worked well for systems analysis, industrial trainining, political problems, writing instruction manuals and suchlike.

  • The term “MAN” is so…well…how shall I say this delicately?…Totally !!@#! sexist and antiquated!! Hellooo? 21st Century Earth to Roz!  
    -Bruce 

    • Properly, “man” encompasses both sexes; only “woman” is specific. That is, there is no noun for the male of the species, modern usage notwithstanding.

    • Hi Bruce, it is not Roz’s fault that that was the title of the book that she has been listening to. She could hardly change it, could she? Please don’t think ill of her. 

    • @f1ee5b0ed5a44046b8ac90811c00bc49:disqus  Very Odd Comment… I am hoping that it is simply that you did not read the Blog and just decided to comment on it blindly… As said here by @d9af093cfe929083ea9270ba4c02b5e6:disqus , “Man’s Search For Meaning” was the Title of the book by Viktor Frankl… Viktor is a Hu(Man) – touched on by @42a8947347a926bf43f877644593cb3d:disqus here, and a Man – Male too… So I guess Viktor Frankl Male/Human is “Totally !!@#! sexist” too?

  • Hi Roz,

    Upon your return to man’s world, you should listen to a clip by Viktor Frankl shown on TED, “Why to believe in others” made at the Toronto Youth Corps in 1972, on how to get the best out of individuals in what Frankl described as “how to promote a person to what he/she can be”.

  • Hi Roz,

    (I love it when I get to post the 23rd comment on your blog!)

    Last night I received an email from Jim Hansen with his latest paper and letter to the Prime Minister of New Zealand. http://bit.ly/HansenJun1NZ

    He recently was invited to tour NZ and made several presentations on why a small gradually increasing carbon fee is the price signal (with 100% compensating rebates to consumers) is what is needed to incent industry to ween itself away from unfettered digging up and burning of cheap coal.

    I learned from his paper that “New Zealand has a massive deposit of low-grade lignite coal.  Analogous to tar sands, it is among the dirtiest of fossil fuels; on per capita basis New Zealand would be a major source.  New Zealand has the second largest coal deposits per capita in the world, after Australia.”

    You have been there. Can you imagine if NZ were to excavate its coal like we are now doing with MOUNTAIN TOP REMOVAL?  Not just bad for exacerbating climate, but BAD for the island nation.

    Let me know if you are interested reading the paper.  The charts that show Sweden and Denmark’s dramatic reductions in CO2 emissions are very heartening … good examples of developed countries that are setting responsible examples for the rest of us.

    This is rather lengthy, but I think you will appreciate Jim’s letter:

    Dear Prime Minister Key,Encouraged by youth of New Zealand, especially members of the organization 350.org, I write this open letter to inform you of recent advances in understanding of climate change, consequences for young people and nature, and implications for government policies.I recognize that New Zealanders, blessed with a land of rare beauty, are exemplary in their environmental awareness.  Also New Zealand contributes relatively little to carbon emissions that drive climate change. Per capita fossil fuel emissions from New Zealand are just over 2 tons of carbon per year, while in my country fossil fuel carbon emissions are about 5 tons per person.However, we are all on the same boat.  New Zealand youth, future generations, and all species in your country will be affected by global climate change, as will people and species in all nations.New Zealand’s actions affecting climate change are important.  Your leadership in helping the public understand the facts and the merits of actions to ameliorate climate change will be important, as will New Zealand’s voice in support of effective international actions.The fact is that we, the older generation, are on the verge of handing young people a dynamically changing climate out of their control, with major consequences for humanity and nature.  A path to a healthy, natural, prosperous future is still possible, but not if business-as-usual continues.The state of Earth’s climate is summarized in the attached paper, whose authorship includes leading world scientists in relevant fields.  The bottom line is that Earth is out of energy balance, more energy coming in than going out.  Thus more climate change is “in the pipeline”.Failure to address emissions of carbon dioxide, the main cause of human-made climate change, will produce increased regional climate extremes, as seen in Australia during the past few years.  But young people, quite appropriately, are concerned especially that continued emissions will drive the climate system past tipping points with irreversible consequences during their lifetimes.Shifting of climate zones accompanying business-as-usual emissions are expected to commit at least 20 percent of the species on our planet to extermination – possibly 40 percent or more.  Extermination of species would be irreversible, leaving a more desolate planet for young people.Sea level rise is a second irreversible consequence of global warming.  Some sea level rise is now inevitable, but with phase down of fossil fuel use it may be kept to a level measured in a few tens of centimeters.  Business-as-usual is expected to cause sea level rise exceeding a meter this century and to set ice sheet disintegration in motion guaranteeing multi-meter sea level rise.Prompt actions are needed to avoid these large effects.  Phase-out of coal emissions by 2030 is the principal requirement.  Also unconventional fossil fuels, such as tar sands, must be left in the ground.  These conditions, plus improved agricultural practices and reforestation of lands that are not effective for food production, could stabilize climate.Implications for New Zealand are clear.  First, New Zealand should leave the massive deposits of lignite coal in the ground, instead developing its natural bounty of renewable energies and energy efficiency.  If, instead,development of such coal resources proceeds, New Zealand’s portion of resulting species extermination estimated by biological experts would be well over 1000 species.  Most New Zealanders, I suspect, would not want to make such ‘contributions’ to global change.  Second, New Zealand should lend its voice to the cause of moving the global community onto a path leading to a healthy, natural, prosperous future.  That path requires a flat rising carbon fee collected from fossil fuel companies domestically, with the funds distributed uniformly to citizens, thus moving the world toward carbon-free energies of the future.Prime Minister Key, the youth of New Zealand are asking you to consider their concerns and exercise your leadership on behalf of their future, indeed on behalf of humankind and nature.With all best wishes,James E. HansenAdjunct ProfessorColumbia University Earth Institute

    http://bit.ly/HansenJun1NZ

  • Some of the most popular celebrity baby names from the past few years include Suri Cruise, Apple and Sunday Rose. Anyone who has been paying attention to the media will know just how famous these names really are. 

  • Some of the most popular celebrity baby names from the past few years include Suri Cruise, Apple and Sunday Rose. Anyone who has been paying attention to the media will know just how famous these names really are. 

  • Some of the most popular celebrity baby names from the past few years include Suri Cruise, Apple and Sunday Rose. Anyone who has been paying attention to the media will know just how famous these names really are. 

  • I kind of wonder why anyone would keep on rowing and rowing and rowing. . . Kind of reminds me of the movie character Forrest Gump, when he starts running, he reaches one shore, then he turns around and runs all the way back to the other shore! Hope that one day you figure out what you are running from. Certainly one could have a greater purpose in life than just rowing. You are not a slave in a Roman Galley.

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