Relax, reflect and rejoice

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Our smartphones have stolen our souls and our solace. Notice how almost everyone from a seven-year-old to a 70-year-old is stuck to some kind of an interactive gadget. Nowadays, it takes a herculean effort to just sit down for a while and do nothing but gently browse through our own thoughts and feelings.

By Raju Mandhyan

WE are hitting week two since the year turned and the rigmarole of life catching up. The waking up to a yearning of coffee, the shoving of self into some fitness regimen, the pulling up of the socks to march into the day and the constant flicking through the beeps, the tweets and the pings from our soul and solace stealing smartphones. Life begins to coil around us like Kaa from Mowgli and take us for a spin while we strive and struggle to keep the train of our lives on track.

A motivational speaker friend of mine from Dubai, Rohit Bassi, put up a great message at the start of the year where he claimed that the whole world and especially motivational speakers like us will urge you into setting goals, micro-minding time, working hard, working smart; hustling and bustling towards your chosen dreams and purpose in life. That is all fine and dandy, claims Rohit Bassi, but at the same time we need to also set in intentions and time to relax, reflect and rejoice. Relaxing, reflecting and rejoicing will give you inner peace and peace inside will help your strengths and energy flow and flourish instead of them being all churned and twisted like a Kaa on an overdose of nitro coffee.

How does one relax, reflect and rejoice?

So there was this one time, I was at this motivational seminar and the speaker was ranting away like “not only will you become the captain of your own ship but the future will be yours to hold and behold; the world, ladies and gentlemen will be in your pocket. You will win and win again and again!” Just as he was about to pause from his huffing and puffing, an elderly man raised his hand and haltingly asked, “And then how big a deal will it be should I really and truly win this world?” The crowd in the room roared into laughter and the speaker-man literally shrunk into a kitten. The point was well made and the message today is that, yes, please chase all the dreams you would like to chase and set all the goals you want to set but do realize that bigger men and women before us have tried to conquer and own the world and many of them like Alexander the Great, rumor has it, was buried with his hands outside the ground evidence to the fact that we take nothing with us when we move onto the afterlife. All that we win and claim to own stays back and continues belonging to the world which we grab it from. To relax then is to keep awareness in the back of our minds that the life we live is just a game and the numbers that we score are only good until the game lasts. Also, we do not have to always win but we do, always, have to play the game well.

Yes, our smartphones have stolen our souls and our solace. It is a fact, look around us and notice how almost everyone from a seven-year-old to a 70-year-old is stuck to some kind of an interactive gadget. Take that away from them and their eyes begin to roll, their lips curl and it seems like you are choking their life support system. Back in the day people used to go out for an after-dinner stroll, curl up under a tree with a book or just sit by the ocean and spend time reflecting upon life, upon relationships and upon the finer things of living. Nowadays, it takes a herculean effort to just sit down for a while and do nothing but gently browse through our own thoughts and feelings. Authors Arthur L. Costa and Bena Kallick in their book, Habits of the Mind, claim reflecting on work enhances its meaning. Reflecting on experiences encourages insight and fosters all around nurturing and growth of self and self in relation to others. Just as we set goals, let’s also set aside spaces of time which have no goals.

Ah, and the idea of just, plain rejoicing for the sake of rejoicing makes me smile!

My friend, motivational humorist and international speaker Scott Friedman, has spent a lifetime teaching and preaching the idea of Celebrate. In fact, he has written a whole book on the why, the how and the when of celebrating. In his book he shares scores of hard core, case studies where individuals and organizations focused on being grateful and appreciative as their core values had improved engagement scores and improved productivity. Once over drink and dinner, he mused over the thought that perhaps the gift of life was a gift of freedom for us humans to just enjoy and play here on earth. That conversation came back to me recently, when someone jokingly said, “Hey Raju, What if when you meet up with Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates, and he asks ‘how was Heaven?” Yeah, ever reflected on that angle? It is something to think about, huh? And if you do not wish to strain your mind so much, then just go play, celebrate and, yes, most of all rejoice.

Download this into your souls, and have a great year and a life.


Raju Mandhyan is an author, coach and speaker.