Friday, April 11, 2008


One of the things that I like about kayaking is that it allows me to be a part of a group activity without being completely immersed in the group. When kayaking it is very easy to control the amount of interaction you need to have with your fellow paddlers. Wind noise, waves, rocks and the simple fact that you are traveling in separate vessels provide natural barriers to interacting with people when you'd rather not interact.
This may seem antithetical to creating cohesive groups, but, in my opinion, can actually help stabilize a group. In a large group there are bound to be people who don't mix well and the mixture can prove destabilizing. There are also bound to be situations where individuals just need some space. Because they can get that space, they are likely to be more effective members of the group. There is less chance for anyone feeling put upon, upset, or otherwise disinclined to play nice with the rest of the group.
I have a situation at work where a little space would work wonders. A co-worker and I simply do not mix well. I can be abrasive and don't always hide my annoyance with others well. He is sensitive and doesn't do confrontation well. He likes to process feelings and strategies. I like to bury the hatchet and move on. He wants to be collegial and chatty. I want to do my work and go home.
Sadly, at work, trapped in a neon lit cube, I cannot paddle a little faster and get the space needed to let the situation air itself out. There are no rock gardens to create a distraction. I imagine that the situation is akin to hiding in a fox hole waiting for a snipper to shoot. There is no where to run and the sniper will surely fire eventually. When the shot does come, someone will be hurt.
The best outcome is for everyone to head to to there respective corners and cool down. Water will pass under the bows and the group will regain stability. People cannot hold onto crap for too long and stay sane. (If they can, I don't want them on my team.)
Soon the weekends will be filled with kayaking and this will be a bad memory. Kayaking can ease many ailments. It also provides the meditative space to rejuvenate the weary soul.

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