Interactive Feedback: Gratitude lessons from the Indian Ocean

Indian Ocean

I HAD the humbling experience of witnessing the power of the Indian Ocean from a strategic vantage point — an Island in Zanzibar. It was one of the most spiritual experiences I have ever had! The ocean does have a life of its own and each encounter with it at any level left me feeling a great sense of overwhelm and insight.

There are so many amazing and scary things I explored from the ocean and I was left with a great sense of insight. From the beach experience, this meant a lot being a Zimbabwean often confined to my landlocked motherland, the indigenous Zanzibaris, the tourists, hotel staff, the cats roaming the hotel and all sorts of things! One can never fully comprehend the vastness of the ocean and what it brings. It brought me to think about life as a Zimbabwean and what that means as we live each day.


As I checked into the hotel, I could not help but notice how beautiful the hotel itself was but above all, the ocean and the whole scenic view it gave to the hotel. It was truly breathtaking and it did feel like paradise. I am sure Eve and Adam must have struggled to redefine their new narrative after the encounter with the snake because the views I saw compared to what I have read around the definition of paradise!

There was just so much beauty. The fusion of the tall standing palm trees, the children running around, the magnificent swimming pools and the greenery, it was beyond words. I absolutely loved just arriving at this paradise — looking Zanzibar. It was just what I needed. I felt like I had been transported to another dimension.

It is just like what we choose to focus on in life. One of my life coaches, Laurie Thompson (bless her heart), always emphasises that what we focus on expands because the brain is wired to do just that. There is so much in need of our urgent attention in Zimbabwe at the moment.

The number of children being raped and giving birth is appalling, with this commemoration of International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists: there is a lot we can sigh about and if we marry that with the just ended Zanu Pf congress including all the political dynamics, so much is there for us to look at discouragingly.

We tend to forget that life is more than our challenges, the politics that surrounds us, the pain and all sorts of downs.

Yes, we are struggling as Zimbabweans, there are just too many things going wrong wangu (my very own) but, there is also so much to be grateful for. So instead of focusing on the potholes, poor social service delivery, shall we also choose to focus on what we can each be grateful for?

One of my mentors, Ambassador Rudo, reminds me constantly that it is also good to focus on the microenvironment as much as I focus on the macroenvironment. However, it is important to focus on the positives as much as we focus on where we are struggling – that is focusing on the microenvironment, in your own little corner.  Guess what? If you, my dear reader, are reading this, it means you survived through a global pandemic — Covid-19, you are here, with the rest of us, no matter what your life is currently looking like, we are all here and it is something to celebrate! If you are breathing, that in itself is a big deal, you still have an opportunity to make life better.

Yes, we might not be where we want to be but, we are here and we might as well choose to look at life like we are at that vantage point, Zanzibar, seeing the ocean. Yes, we might struggle, we might be confused, we might be unsure but as long as you and I are here, we choose to look at the bright side of life as we live it and do the needful.

Can you do that dear reader? That is the start of making a difference. Is it easy? Not really at times but we keep our eyes on the ball; we push to see the beauty in life and choose to celebrate the beauty of that view of the imaginary ocean.

We remain grateful for the pockets of hope, joy and beauty, if we cannot see those positives right away, we choose to create these pockets for our own sake!

Just keep swimming

I explored the ocean one morning as I sought to take a dive and swim. I came across a very rocky place and no matter how I attempted to access the ocean, I failed. I ended up walking back, tracing my steps until I found a beautiful place where I could access the ocean in a safer way. That is a little bit like life, I suppose.

We are constantly having to look out for what we want to see manifesting and if it does not work out the way we hope, we adjust and look for ways that are useful for our growth.

It is a daily struggle, we as a people have to be reminded of how much work we can do so as to make a difference not just for ourselves but for others as well.

With each good or even bad thing, there is always something great to be grateful for; we just keep swimming and chasing life. So, my dear reader, let us choose to be grateful so we unlock goodness. Yes, we acknowledge our reality, with balance like we are viewing the ocean and all its wholeness.

We will achieve synchronicity for sure; we just keep swimming and not lose sight of the shore. Until then, we live, laugh and love in a bid to show the world that we were here, becoming better, making our mark, and leaving our footprint as we make the world a better place!


Chirenje writes in her personal capacity as a citizen of Zimbabwe. Twitter: @graceruvimbo; Facebook: Grace Chirenje; Instagram: @graceruvimbo


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