December 18, 2020

…it’s all about the journey – life reflections

By Tabassum Awan
Afternoon tea set with sunshine coming in

Our world can be an overwhelmingly busy place. A place that strips us of moments to pause. And so we move fast - so fast that we can no longer register what is truly valuable for our being. And in that rat race, we often run after goals and destinations without living the journey, encountering "a constant desire for more and the feeling of not enough". 2020 jolted unconscious minds, obliterated routine, and dug even more profound for some. However, what many of us gained despite all the pain, suffering, and loneliness was the time to reflect. And those who are lucky were able to remember that all we have is this moment called now.

"To see a World in a Grain of Sand,
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,
And Eternity in an hour."
- William Blake

I have experienced the bliss of conscious, mindful moments and believe in their power to enable one to transcend beyond the circumstances they're in. It wasn't a moment of eureka or something that happened overnight, but a personal intention that I was committed to. By exercising discipline on thoughts and instead of engaging on the five senses, one can, like I did, increase the number of minutes of mindfulness into hours. And when you grow this, you make more decisions that are true to what is essential in life. But where does a strong commitment come from? In difficult times like now. Times of pain and suffering, and as Rumi famously said, "the wound is the place where the light gets in". The life I was once living was rampant with tick boxes and a constant striving to all that was lauded. It took my father's death, a divorce, and the burden of debt to thrust me into a dark place before being 'enlightened'. It was revealed to me; that I would never quench an insatiable thirst for achievements and external goals. And this is when I began the pursuit of a deeper, more enriched living. One in which I wished to be free from attachments so that I did not have to endure the pain of its loss. Needed one is enough, and nothing is required on the out.
A life that had to go beyond the contemplation of achievements, possessions and outward things. One that goes beyond career, cars and entertainment
I consumed everything that was out there to help me on this journey. 'Eat, Pray, Love', Tony Robbins, hypnotherapy, counselling, Steve Covey's seven habits, The Landmark Forum, meditation retreats and prayer, and last but not least, Ekhart Tolle's "The Power of Now". Following this, I left the world of Investment Banking, took a chunky salary cut, pursued charitable interests, connected with the world in simple and sincere ways, and now living each moment of the journey without anticipating a destination. My passion project, Pink Tea Café – which has just launched online and will soon launch as a physical café early next year, is the epilogue to my story. Bring joy, inspiration and a moment of magic through speciality teas, artisan chai blends and exquisitely handcrafted sweets. Each of our teas is complemented with poetic inspirations so that each sip is a conscious and mindful one.
You can try something I did on many occasions. Start by taking a deep breath from the pit of your stomach. Do it for a second and a third time. Then, imagine yourself at 85, with just one day to live. You ask yourself what matters most? Cherish that answer, write it down and refer to it at each junction and decision in life. If that didn't work, then remember, you will be nothing 100 years from now. Perhaps no one will be alive that even knew of your existence. Feel within the whole mind, body and heart the reality; the fact that everything you own right now will be left on Earth, even memories perhaps. Wait and see how your living changes by this thought…what matters will undoubtedly emerge, and what enslaves you will be no more.

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