Harmony Beach Park – Montego Bay

In May 2021 the 16-acre Harmony Beach Park was opened to public in Montego Bay Jamaica. It was built at a cost of 1.3 billion dollars. It is a flagship project by the Urban Development Corporation. It was opened by the Prime Minister, Most Hon. Andrew Holness. Harmony Beach Park is located along Howard Cooke Boulevard and entry is free for all. I visited the park in July, the wide-open green space, the shady trees, the cool breeze, the clear blue waters and the clean beach was very, very beautiful.

There is a trail built for anyone who would like to jog in the park and this jogging trail is made of special recycled rubber. The beach at the park is a big plus. The early morning view and sun sets are great.

There are good rest rooms also and locker facility for visitors to store their belongings. The best thing is that there are enough of security personnel and I know am safe. No vendors are allowed into the park. I saw some new shops also constructed but they are not yet let out. I guess soon the shops will also open.

There is a special play area for children and a basketball court also. I have been to the park a few times to take either an early morning walk or an evening walk and it was very relaxing. The Park is well lit in the evening and during the day there are lots of trees that provide shade from the heat. Due to the pandemic, I could not visit the park as often as I would like to.

Welcome 2021!!

I wish all my readers, fellow bloggers and friends, A Very Happy New Year!!

In the past, I would have wished everyone for an exciting year ahead, that was filled with travel, adventure and parties with friends. Considering what happened in 2020 and the new social norms, I have updated my new year wish for everyone.

I wish everyone good health, a safe home, company of your good friends and peace of mind.

For this New year, let us make a resolution to take care of our health. Be patient and tolerant with everyone around us. Stop judging people before we know the complete story.

Here’s to wishing everyone a Happy New Year and a Joyous year ahead.

Being selfish is not all bad

We are always taught to be selfless and put others before self. This is one lesson that transcends religion, nationality, time and age. If you are a mother, it is always the child before self. For a father the family comes first. It is a universally accepted norm, but does it always ring true? Can you always deliver the results when you put others before self?

I have recently viewed a short video of Jubril Agoro, where he talks about how we need to be take time out for our self before we can help others. Here is the video, watch it and tell me if it is true.

I have felt the same way for quite some time, but I was ashamed to think like that. I felt that one cannot give peace to others when they have none in their mind. One cannot give joy to others when they feel none in their heart. It is essential to keep our stock of peace and joy filled to the brim, so that we can share and dispense some to others. Though my mind agreed with this idea, my heart always felt that being selfish was wrong and blamed me of being a bad person. I felt that I have no right to enjoy peace when my friends or family  were in distress. It felt like a betrayal of loyalty and friendship.

It took me a long time to realize that, though I would smile and laugh for their sake, my laughter was hollow and the smile lacked the joy. This applies to everyone. We all push our self to the limit and beyond thinking of others. We however, fail to notice that our loved ones can see right through the facade.

When I say that we need to be selfish, it only means that we are not being disloyal when we enjoy our day. We need not push all joy and enjoyment away because others are unhappy. We need to take a mandatory 10 minutes of personal time every day to just laugh and breathe peacefully. As the video suggests, in a situation of emergency, first put on your oxygen mask before you help the person next to you. If not, you are of no help to that person or yourself.

I know, some of you might say, how does it help others if I take time out to relax? The answer is simple really. Only when you are relaxed and calm, will you be able to take the best decisions and understand the problems correctly. If we are as worked up as the person next to us, then we will only add to the chaos. To be that one sane voice that calms the crowd, one should be sane in their mind. Believe it or not, when we pretend to be happy, we are fooling no one but ourselves.

So, how do we go about relaxing in a chaotic situation?

  • One sure shot way is to remove yourself from the situation and have some alone time to breathe and reflect.
  • Take daily break for 30 minutes to watch a good comedy that makes you laugh.
  • Start your day by counting your blessings, however small they may be, rather than checking your to do list.
  • Pick up any small hobby or pastime that is close to your heart and allocate a fixed time for it, on a regular basis. The hobby could be drawing, coloring, crafts, walks, gardening etc.
  • Try to see the comedy in every situation. It might be a difficult task, but not impossible. It will make any situation bearable when you can laugh at it.

All these ideas are there to help you to help yourself. Because, only a happy smile can spread joy, a forced or false smile never helps.

Gardening- Is it just a hobby?

Most of us practice gardening as a hobby, a pastime or some times as a relaxation. Recently, a friend of mine opened my eyes to a different thinking. Gardening can also be a therapy or a door to a healthy way of life. It might not be the most glamorous of hobbies, but it is one hobby that will pay you back many times. As with all my blogs there is a backstory to this too. So, here goes….

A friend of mine faced a personal tragedy and was totally lost. I would say he was in a state of depression, but he never approached a psychiatrist due to the stigma attached to it. For a long time he refused to accept the fact too and persevered on. We could all see him go on a downward spiral, but no one was able to get through to him. My friend strongly resisted any help in the form of therapy or otherwise. We were at our wits end on how to help him.

The solution came to us quite unexpectedly. One day we had a chance meeting with an owner of a nursery for plants. The owner was trying to market his plants and sat down to tell us the different benefits of each plant. The fresh and cool air around the plants, the aroma of wet soil and perfume of flowers gave my friends a sense of peace. From here his healing process started. Initially, he volunteered to take care of the plants at the nursery and slowly built his own terrace garden. He said working closely with a plant right from its germination up till it flourishes on its own, it gave him a sense of achievement. He considered them as his children and would spend most of his time in his garden. For a time we were worried for his sanity as he started talking to his plants about innate things and events. He brushed away our fear saying that he was just encouraging his plants to grow better. His smile and joy told us that we have nothing to worry anymore.

Though he found his peace and recovered completely, he continued his gardening and turned it into his own organic farm. At one time he was growing crotons and flowering plants for beauty. Now, he spent more effort to grow vegetables and fruits. He strongly avoided chemical pesticides and used organic means like neem oil, mango leaves, green tea, guava leaves, turmeric etc. He says using chemicals harms the nutritional value of the plant products. He also started growing more of plants like Areca palm, money plant, snake plant etc. They are indoor plants that produce more oxygen at night and day, while also removing harmful pollutants from air around us. More oxygen in the air not only makes breathing easy, but also helps keep the mind sharp and energetic.

Gardening involves not just growing plants, but also taking care of the soil, the air and the water quality. So, by making them healthy, we are in turn making ourselves healthy. This is one hobby that is worth trying.