For those who don’t know much about its differing styles, yoga comes in many forms and levels but possibly its least flexible (yes, pun intended!), is that of Bikram Yoga. Unlike a general yoga work-out, a Bikram yoga class follows a precise script and format.
It is a 90-minute written dialogue in Bikram Choudhury’s own words, which teachers study intently and are supposed to repeat verbatim in each class. They are taught to recite this dialogue to its perfection. On top of that, they are taught how to “be” in the class. Instructors are taught to speak in a certain way, and to teach with a certain tone and are, in other words, taught to fit the mould that Bikram created.
At a Bikram class this week the trainee instructor was being evaluated by the owner of the studio, Sally. The class was told to ignore Sally who was participating in the class and intermittently taking notes. We all know Alpha Sally, the studio owner who runs a tight ship and an even tighter Bikram yoga class which takes no prisoners ; Alpha Sally is not known for her patience even though when she teaches she says such things as “an oak tree doesn’t grow overnight”, to emphasise the need for patience with one’s yoga progress, only to lose her own a few minutes later to shout at a disobedient student.
Anyway, Sally was writing away furiously but eventually it all became too much for her and she jumped up from her mat to shout the proper instructions to correct the student teacher. Then she went back to the mat. Then she was off the mat again shouting “follow-the-script “until effectively Sally’s participation was such that she had hijacked the class completely. I must just say that in my opinion the teacher was doing a fine job but, obviously not to Sally’s standards.
It was embarrassing for the student teacher to be corrected in front of the 60-strong class. It would have been undoubtedly more productive for Sally to continue taking notes, reflecting and then providing feedback at the end of the class in a private manner. It certainly would have been better for the class not to witness this training in session (remember we are paying customers here.)
Witnessing this I had a sort of epiphany when I realised that I have witnessed this type of hijacking behaviour before -in myself. I can attend a meeting with a junior member of staff and with the intention of creating a learning opportunity we agree prior to the meeting that he will handle the meeting and my role will be for support. And then I will start chipping in here and there until I have unintentionally wrestled power and credibility away from him.
It is because I know the answers and believe that I have the best solution. While consciously I know that the only way for him to learn is to jump in at the deep end, I throw him a life belt, even though he isn’t sinking and I ask him to cling tight while I take command and save him with an almost smug ‘look how well I can swim’ attitude. I hadn’t really been conscious of this until I watched Sally demonstrate the same behaviour. I saw me in her – dominant, impatient and driven to have things my own way.
When we are good at something and honestly Sally is probably the best, we can overplay our strengths. When the pressure's on, the line between strength and weakness isn't always clear — drive becomes ruthless ambition, attention to detail becomes micromanaging, in Sally’s case coaching became correcting. It is the dark side of personality as termed by Dr Robert Hogan.
To understand that let me first explain the bright side of personality. This describes people’s performance when they are paying attention to the normal rules of self-presentation, when they are controlling the way others perceive them and, therefore, trying to create a good impression. The dark side describes people’s behaviour when they are not paying attention and/or don’t care about creating a good impression; this happens when they are emotionally upset, when they are stressed or ill, and when they are simply being themselves.
According to Hogan “The dark side often emerges when individuals are dealing with someone whom they perceive as having a lesser status than they do – such as subordinate employees. The bright side represents maximal performance whereas the dark side represents typical performance. People move continuously and unconsciously back and forth between the two sides of personality. In essence, the bright side reflects faking and the dark side represents the real person. As Freud would say, however, “the real person is usually something to be avoided”.
I am sure that Sally is unaware how she came across that day – much like I have been unaware of the times I have hijacked situations at the expense of an employee’s development and growth. Most people are unaware of how they behave when they are just being themselves and that is because the dark side really is unconscious; but only to you.
Mark Twain wrote that ‘Everyone is a moon and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody’ but in reality, we can’t really keep that side entirely hidden. It might be outside of your conscious awareness, but the secrets of the dark side are readily accessible because they are captured by a person’s reputation – other people can tell you about your dark side. All you have to do is ask and then what you do with that information is up to you.
Seventy-seven years ago, on the evening of December 2, 1943, the Germans launched a surprise air raid on allied shipping in the Italian port of Bari, which was then the key supply centre for the British 8th army’s advance in Italy.
The attack was spearheaded by 105 Junkers JU88 bombers under the overall command of the infamous Air Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen (who had initially achieved international notoriety during the Spanish Civil War for his aerial bombardment of Guernica). In a little over an hour the German aircraft succeeded in sinking 28 transport and cargo ships, while further inflicting massive damage to the harbour’s facilities, resulting in the port being effectively put out of action for two months.
Over two thousand ground personnel were killed during the raid, with the release of a secret supply of mustard gas aboard one of the destroyed ships contributing to the death toll, as well as subsequent military and civilian casualties. The extent of the later is a controversy due to the fact that the American and British governments subsequently covered up the presence of the gas for decades.
At least five Batswana were killed and seven critically wounded during the raid, with one of the wounded being miraculously rescued floating unconscious out to sea with a head wound. He had been given up for dead when he returned to his unit fourteen days later. The fatalities and casualties all occurred when the enemy hit an ammunition ship adjacent to where 24 Batswana members of the African Pioneer Corps (APC) 1979 Smoke Company where posted.
Thereafter, the dozen surviving members of the unit distinguished themselves for their efficiency in putting up and maintaining smokescreens in their sector, which was credited with saving additional shipping. For his personal heroism in rallying his men following the initial explosions Company Corporal Chitu Bakombi was awarded the British Empire Medal, while his superior officer, Lieutenant N.F. Moor was later given an M.B.E.
Remember: bricks and cement are used to build a house, but mutual love, respect and companionship are used to build a HOME. And amongst His signs is this: He creates for you mates out of your own kind, so that you may find contentment (Sukoon) with them, and He engenders love and tenderness between you; in this behold, there are signs (messages) indeed for people who reflect and think (Quran 30:21).
This verse talks about contentment; this implies companionship, of their being together, sharing together, supporting one another and creating a home of peace. This verse also talks about love between them; this love is both physical and emotional. For love to exist it must be built on the foundation of a mutually supportive relationship guided by respect and tenderness. As the Quran says; ‘they are like garments for you, and you are garments for them (Quran 2:187)’. That means spouses should provide each other with comfort, intimacy and protection just as clothing protects, warms and dignifies the body.
In Islam marriage is considered an ‘ibaadah’, (an act of pleasing Allah) because it is about a commitment made to each other, that is built on mutual love, interdependence, integrity, trust, respect, companionship and harmony towards each other. It is about building of a home on an Islamic foundation in which peace and tranquillity reigns wherein your offspring are raised in an atmosphere conducive to a moral and upright upbringing so that when we all stand before Him (Allah) on that Promised Day, He will be pleased with them all.
Most marriages start out with great hopes and rosy dreams; spouses are truly committed to making their marriages work. However, as the pressures of life mount, many marriages change over time and it is quite common for some of them to run into problems and start to flounder as the reality of living with a spouse that does not meet with one’s pre-conceived ‘expectations’. However, with hard work and dedication, couples can keep their marriages strong and enjoyable. How is it done? What does it take to create a long-lasting, satisfying marriage?
Below are some of the points that have been taken from a marriage guidance article I read recently and adapted for this purposes.
POSITIVITY Spouses should have far more positive than negative interactions. If there is too much negativity — criticizing, demanding, name-calling, holding grudges, etc. — the relationship will suffer. However, if there is never any negativity, it probably means that frustrations and grievances are not getting ‘air time’ and unresolved tension is accumulating inside one or both partners waiting to ‘explode’ one day.
“Let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor let some women laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames.” (49:11)
We all have our individual faults though we may not see them nor want to admit to them but we will easily identify them in others. The key is balance between the two extremes and being supportive of one another. To foster positivity in a marriage that help make them stable and happy, being affectionate, truly listening to each other, taking joy in each other’s achievements and being playful are just a few examples of positive interactions. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The believers who show the most perfect faith are those who have the best character and the best of you are those who are best to their wives”
Another characteristic of happy marriages is empathy; understanding your spouses’ perspective by putting oneself in his or her shoes. By showing that understanding and identifying with your spouse is important for relationship satisfaction. Spouses are more likely to feel good about their marriage and if their partner expresses empathy towards them. Husbands and wives are more content in their relationships when they feel that their partners understand their thoughts and feelings.
Successful married couples grow with each other; it simply isn’t wise to put any person in charge of your happiness. You must be happy with yourself before anyone else can be. You are responsible for your actions, your attitudes and your happiness. Your spouse just enhances those things in your life. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.”
Successful marriages involve both spouses’ commitment to the relationship. The married couple should learn the art of compromise and this usually takes years. The largest parts of compromise are openness to the other’s point of view and good communication when differences arise.
When two people are truly dedicated to making their marriage work, despite the unavoidable challenges and obstacles that come, they are much more likely to have a relationship that lasts. Husbands and wives who only focus on themselves and their own desires are not as likely to find joy and satisfaction in their relationships.
Another basic need in a relationship is each partner wants to feel valued and respected. When people feel that their spouses truly accept them for who they are, they are usually more secure and confident in their relationships. Often, there is conflict in marriage because partners cannot accept the individual preferences of their spouses and try to demand change from one another. When one person tries to force change from another, he or she is usually met with resistance.
However, change is much more likely to occur when spouses respect differences and accept each other unconditionally. Basic acceptance is vital to a happy marriage. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “It is the generous (in character) who is good to women, and it is the wicked who insults them.” “Overlook (any human faults) with gracious forgiveness.” (Quran 15:85)
COMPASSION, MUTUAL LOVE AND RESPECT
Other important components of successful marriages are love, compassion and respect for each other. The fact is, as time passes and life becomes increasingly complicated, the marriage is often stressed and suffers as a result. A happy and successful marriage is based on equality. When one or the other dominates strongly, intimacy is replaced by fear of displeasing.
It is all too easy for spouses to lose touch with each other and neglect the love and romance that once came so easily. It is vital that husbands and wives continue to cultivate love and respect for each other throughout their lives. If they do, it is highly likely that their relationships will remain happy and satisfying. Move beyond the fantasy and unrealistic expectations and realize that marriage is about making a conscious choice to love and care for your spouse-even when you do not feel like it.
Seldom can one love someone for whom we have no respect. This also means that we have to learn to overlook and forgive the mistakes of one’s partner. In other words write the good about your partner in stone and the bad in dust, so that when the wind comes it blows away the bad and only the good remains.
Paramount of all, marriage must be based on the teachings of the Noble Qur’an and the teachings and guidance of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). To grow spiritually in your marriage requires that you learn to be less selfish and more loving, even during times of conflict. A marriage needs love, support, tolerance, honesty, respect, humility, realistic expectations and a sense of humour to be successful.
The past week or two has been a mixed grill of briefs in so far as the national employment picture is concerned. BDC just injected a further P64 million in Kromberg & Schubert, the automotive cable manufacturer and exporter, to help keep it afloat in the face of the COVID-19-engendered global economic apocalypse. The financial lifeline, which follows an earlier P36 million way back in 2017, hopefully guarantees the jobs of 2500, maybe for another year or two.
It was also reported that a bulb manufacturing company, which is two years old and is youth-led, is making waves in Selibe Phikwe. Called Bulb Word, it is the only bulb manufacturing operation in Botswana and employs 60 people. The figure is not insignificant in a town that had 5000 jobs offloaded in one fell swoop when BCL closed shop in 2016 under seemingly contrived circumstances, so that as I write, two or three buyers have submitted bids to acquire and exhume it from its stage-managed grave.