The anchor, the breeze, the shark - A letter to Joya

My dearest Joya,

I’ll never forget the discussion we had in front of the Sorbonne. It was the height of our trip together and the moment where we truly and deeply connected. I saw the depth of your thoughts, your joy of living and the strength of your will. And I had to share with you what felt like a personal milestone in my understanding of life.

I think I’ve mentioned the importance of matrices. Frameworks of thoughts to clarify one’s thinking and tackle new concepts and ideas. For a long time, I’ve searched for a universal lattice: one that would serve as a guidebook for life. Any time I get lost, I’d be able to read through it and I’d be on my way again.

And I was happy I was able to convey it in both a symbolic and a practical manner. So here’s a mutual reminder to both of us. Of that beautiful Sorbonne discussion that marked the end of our European trip together and the beginning and the rest of our shared trip through life.

The anchor

The anchor is who you were yesterday. It’s the Joya who sat down in her favourite place and dreamt of who she will be tomorrow. The anchor is the iron body of your dreams. Joya, the anchor sinks deepest. It’s this big piece of metal, iconic of life at sea. To many it symbolizes stability. Especially when the ship reaches new shores. The word anchor in itself has come to signify a point of reference. It’s there on your right arm to remind you why. Why you’re here. Why you’re waking up in the morning, why you’re moving and why you’ll keep doing so.

But the anchor isn’t something you’re born with. Dreams stem from a deep understanding of oneself. It’s only after you’ve erased the white board many times and sketched out all your thoughts that you’ll truly grab what Joya is all about. The anchor is stability, yes, but it’s a form of solidity born out of a constant self-disruption. The anchor sinks deepest, of course, but only because it is your relentless self-questioning made iron. It ensures that our matrix of thought is right because it constantly tests it and tries to break it down. The anchor is the product of a deep introspection. A profound understanding of yourself. Only then are your dreams truly yours and nobody else’s.

The breeze

The breeze is who you are right now. It’s your attitude to life and specifically to the present moment. The breeze is this gentle gust that sweeps your hair on a hot day. Few notice it. A handful appreciate it. And rare are the ones it leaves with a smile. A breeze is free of charge yet it’s a tremendous gift. The breeze is life. All-embracing, all-connecting. Grab it, see it, make it yours and smile, smile, smile. This is your constant reminder that life is not a race to the finish line. It’s a stroll in a Japanese garden or a millennial Italian city where every detail is filled with beauty and grace.

But just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, appreciating the moment is each one’s responsibility. Every time you feel your happiness is hanging on something happening (that dress on sale, this job offer, that guy’s next text…), remember the breeze. Happiness is not conditional. Happiness is an attitude and a habit. Happiness is the pursuit of happiness. It’s the journey itself. The steps to your dreams. Enjoy it. And be mindful. You are your best accomplice. The one who’ll always prompt you that the moment is all you’ve got. That there is life in every breath.

The shark

The shark is who you will be tomorrow. So the anchor is the dreams and projects you’ve set and the breeze your way up the steps to reach them. The shark is a bit more subtle. You see, sharks are constant movers. If a shark were to stop moving, water would stop going through its gills, oxygen would stop flowing through its body and its death would be imminent. Sharks must keep moving. They have no choice. If a shark could tattoo something on its fin, it’d be the word ‘forward’.

Sharks are here to remind us that tough times are a means to toughen us. If you fall, it is only to rise stronger, faster and better. Your drawbacks are the building blocks of a better self. Nature is amazing in that it has feedback mechanisms built in to make sure its next iteration leads to a better outcome. Resilience is good. Self-improvement is better. Mistakes are transitory. Movement is eternal. Rise always. Rise stronger. Forward and upward.

I love you Joya, Sky Priority my dearest, 

Yours affectionately and for ever, 

Halim