A visit to a scenic retreat didn’t turn out as regenerating as expected, but it did lead to some important lessons being learnt
Last evening, I went to a serene eco-village for renewal and regeneration. It was a United Nations-awarded environmental resort which was mobile-free and I expected a day of silence, reflection and serenity. I learnt a few things that I’m sharing with you.
I had planned the visit to suit a friend who wanted to join me. I wanted to show her the magical high points of streams, lotus-filled ponds, lakes, hills, ferns, trees and the aesthetic eco village just a short drive away from Mumbai.
Being an eco-aware area, cell phones were banned from disturbing the serene silence heightened by birdsong, the mooing of cows and other sounds of nature around. We alighted from the car and entered the breathtakingly beautiful space. Such surroundings, I’ve observed, always bring out a reaction of awed wonder. There’s a spiritual bliss in the heart. That was the frame of mind I was transported to.
A guest must fall in with the host - that is common courtesy. My friend, however, displayed a lack of consideration not just for me but for the establishment. She promptly pulled out her phone, and to my amazement, destroyed the quiet by talking into it in high decibels, in total disregard of the environment. I withheld comment in politeness, but to me it pointed to a lack of basic manners, as I had made all arrangements with care for her to enjoy a piece of paradise.
But that was just the beginning...
I had hoped to give my friend a pleasant break from the perennial tending of home and hearth that the lady of the house is beset by during these COVID times. I tried to get her to stroke the free-range cows, but the delight completely escaped her. She went back to the phone, loudly trying to control some domestic matters, and trying my patience.
But as I was trying to clamp down on my frustration, my counsellor-self took over and asked me why I was taking accountability for another’s joy and pleasure. I had done my good deed. I did not need to sacrifice my need for renewal and regeneration. I could stay focused on bonding with nature as best as I could. The lesson was to ‘let go’.
Let me let go of all the grouses that rise up in my mind and spoil my day — let go and create my own bubble of immense joy that this visit is providing. The world is as it is, but I’m in charge of me — the simplest solution for a happy day and a happy life.
Letting go and taking time off are often required for our well-being. Maybe my friend will realise this and understand that when we recharge and revitalise our senses, we become more effective at dealing with life. Her continuous desire to control her environment is tiring and drains even those around. To let go is essential to combat stress and anxiety.
I had planned a day of complete equipoise but it turned out to be a trying one. Another learning then is that things don’t go as planned (nearly) ever, and we have to try to be resilient and adapt to unprecedented situations as best as we can. Look at 2020 — the year has turned all carefully laid plans on their head and we are left wondering what hit us. The smart ones have adapted and worked through the situation with resilience, becoming more sensitive to nature and the world, and using this time to revive, reinvent, rekindle relationships, redevelop in general, while adapting to the ‘new-normal’ vis-a-vis home, career, kids and life. The less adaptive took a harder hit and felt the Corona crisis and lockdowns more acutely didn’t they?
We need to learn the joy of acceptance – of people and situations; and most importantly, we have to learn to let go and realise that the earth will continue to rotate without us on the driving seat. Gratitude, appreciation and joy find pride of place when we learn to trust life without trying to change situations to conform to our formats and schedules.