A way from the hustle and bustle of routine life, on a beach, closer to nature ... what else could be a better way to connect to oneself?
We devote our time and efforts to all the pursuits that can provide us with material comforts and good life, but do we ever think of devoting our time to nature? Do we ever feel a sense of belonging to nature that is a reflection of God’s love? Connecting to nature is what brings one closer to one’s own self and this is a real challenge in today’s fast-paced, digital age.
MAX – an event organized by School of Leadership at a beach on a bright, sunny Saturday – allowed young people, aged between 20 and 30, to take a break from their monotonous lives. Held at Turtle Beach, Karachi, the event featured interactive sessions and physical activities conducted by trainers Waqar Ali and Umair Jaliawala who stressed on living life 100 percent. The major focus was on capacity building, unleashing one’s potential, forgetting the fears and surrendering oneself to nature.
The day opened with a brief introductory session with the energetic Waqar Ali, followed by a warm-up interactive session of sorts in which over 50 participants were asked to mingle with new people every time they wanted to speak to someone. Teams were formed based on an exciting activity that set the energy for the day, bringing together individuals from different walks of life, who were united to give their best.
The first challenge, called the Box Game, required all team members to jump into a box – formed by a rope – one by one from a distance. Each group was supposed to fit into it at the same time. The group that took the least time won. My team, Janbaaz – Jaan Laga Denge, was ranked at number three. Though we didn’t win, it taught us that “if you decide to do something, no one can stop you from that.”
We were new to one another (I still don’t even know the names of a few) but our communication and unity was strong. One of us was confident that we’d be able to do this in less time, and with that in mind, we just went for it. I couldn’t land into the box in my first attempt, but I was encouraged by someone from a competing team that I could do it and I was finally able to get into the box the third time I attempted. It looked like an achievement, though a small one, at that point when I had thought I was unable to do it.
This is what the purpose of this entire thing was! You couldn’t simply say that “I can’t do it”; rather, you had to give your best and see how far you could go. You had to come out of your comfort zone to achieve your goals.
As Waqar Ali put it, while speaking to Us on the sidelines of the event about the purpose of MAX, “We had three objectives in mind for this programme. Firstly, ‘disconnect and then reconnect’. It means that the participants had to take a break from their usual lives and reflect upon what they do and learn through it; reflect on the challenges they face and then they connect again. Secondly, we exposed them to challenges that could help them connect well with nature because nature is the best teacher and we often tend to forget that. The third objective was to make them differentiate between technical skills and soft skills; and help them understand the importance of the latter.”
Having indulged in the experiential learning and activities (Bucket Challenge, Plank Game and Group Skipping) that were designed for the day, I must say that the three objectives mentioned above were very well achieved. We were able to disconnect with the monotony and get closer to ourselves, realizing what we are capable of doing. Given that the programme was held at a beach, where most things we were surrounded by were natural – the sand, the sea, the sky and the wind – it helped us explore the beauty of nature and eventually look into ourselves from a fresh perspective. We challenged ourselves to do things that we generally like to stay away from. Hence, we enjoyed the process more than victory and this is what made it a memorable learning experience which is in sharp contrast with academic and professional learning.
The best time of the day for me was when the sun was setting and we meditated against the backdrop while Umair Jaliawala took us to a peaceful world of imagination with our eyes closed. Sunset was upon us and the wind touched my face, I found myself in another world – a world of my own. That was the moment when everything seemed to fall back into place and summed up the entire purpose of this beautiful one-day beach experience.
Kudos to the School of Leadership team, who managed everything smoothly, and the trainers who exposed the participants to new horizons within themselves.