December 18, 2020

…it’s all about the journey – life reflections

By Nezar Mahmoud
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 for some dug even deeper. 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 reflect on the fact 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 engaging on the five senses, one can, like I did increase the number of minutes of mindfulness into hours. And when you increase this, you make more decisions that are true to what is really important 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 the death of my father, a divorce and the burden of debt to thrust me into a dark place before being ‘enlightened’. It was revealed to me; that the insatiable thirst for achievements and external goals would never be quenched. And this is when I began the pursuit of a deeper, more enriched living. A living that was to be spent beyond contemplating achievements, possessions and external things. One that went beyond career, cars and entertainment. One in which I wanted to be free of attachments, so that I didn’t have to bare the pain of its loss. One in which the me within was enough and nothing was needed on the out.

I consumed everything that was out there to help me on this journey. ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, Tony Robbins, hypnotherapy, counselling, Steve Covey’s 7 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, I took a chunky salary cut, I pursued charitable interests, I connected with the world in simple and sincere ways and I am now living each moment of the journey, without the anticipation of 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. To bring joy, inspiration and a moment of magic through speciality teas, artisan chai blends and exquisite 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, in 100 years from now you will be nothing. 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 in accordance with this thought…what really matters will undoubtedly emerge, and what enslaves you will be no more.

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