In 1986, Sherif El Ghamrawy, a young aspiring Egyptian Engineer, decided to leave city-life behind and founded what was then known as the first Egyptian eco lodge “Basata” (i.e. Simplicity), north of Nuweiba on the Sinai Peninsula. By that, he consciously chose his well-being and became one of Egypt’s most prominent trend-setting social Entrepreneurs.
Now, Basata is a well-known eco-lodge and internationally awarded project. Despite the hardships it may have faced over the years, it is now almost an entire foundation that is self-sufficient. Not only has it made the lives of Bedouins in the region better, by focusing on social development including community schools, waste recycling, and ecotourism, but also has given to a handful of Egyptians an escape and a new question:
Can I choose a simpler lifestyle that redeems my well-being too?
Now, more Egyptians are making choices to move out of Cairo and flee to simpler and healthier places in Egypt. Still, a lot of Cairo residents cannot afford to make such a change on the financial and emotional level, even if they aspire to.
Since many of us have to stay in the city, we have got to know how to fight our battle! And in case you are wondering what happened to human beings in Cairo, here is a snapshot!
- Consumerism culture:
Cities are managed by capitalism. A condition that makes everything thrives on consumerism. People end-up consuming 70% more than their needs, and more than what they can afford. This alone, makes you drain yourself in jobs that you don’t like, to afford the things you don’t need.
- Emotional and psychological pollution:
Side effects of capitalism include speed, fear, and risk. The most obvious example would be car accidents rates on Egypt’s roads. Everything is geared like a machine. One has to be in a never ending rush that leads to high levels of stress, anger, anxiety, etc. In Cairo, capitalism seems to be the jack of all trades and the master of none! Hardly anything works properly, which magnifies the level of stress, with all its toxic residuals.
- Physical pollution:
What makes you need to pay triple the price for an organic product, while that was the default product coming out of the land in the first place just before capitalism started messing it up for its greedy intentions?
With massively polluted environments, awareness seems to rise about healthy lifestyles and specifically food. Capitalism has made your initial product back into fashion after realizing how much illnesses has their GM and chemically induced products brought upon humanity. So you have to pay for your organic product, in addition to a medical bill, as simple as, a vitamin supplement! Another source of gigantic income for large pharmaceuticals.
People are better off going back to the ancestral wisdom of living; plant what you eat, or more ethical organic food producers coming into the market supported by people, who demand basic needs delivered right!
- Mind the gap
Research suggests that people in big cities can waste something as much as 60% of their time in traffic jams. The minute you walk out of your door, you find yourself overwhelmed with congested zombie-zones!
Inevitably, you are knocked out of your temper, defocused with palpitations, blood pressure disturbance and 70% energy drainage, and to top it all off, you are forced to make compromises in your path to arrive at your destination at any cost, because you have been given no options. Regardless of your way of commuting, you are put under enormous pollution that hinders your ability to tune into your mind.
Traffic teaches you that making a different choice than what is forced, will make you lose your way or get into dodgy roads. The system builds that type of fear in you. Damaged systems create damaged human beings and that is a no philosophy for evolution. Gradually, you are like a second-hand battery that drains quickly, finding yourself unconsciously driven by illusionary collective consciousness shifting to parasite living mode, because you eventually start applying traffic psychology management everywhere else in your life.
Social Media Monster
All the above makes you feel isolated, empty, emotionally stressed, insecure, with low self-esteem, depleted energy reserves and drained enthusiasm. But now what? You want to experience one of the third-tier up in Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs; love, friendships, and belongingness. All, which requires communication, and communication’s key driver is energy! But with all the turbulence above, where is the energy to do that? Well, capitalism has got your back with this one too. A variety of social media platforms at the tip of your fingertips, free and effortless are just what you need, wouldn’t you think?
Simply, if you are not on top of the social media game, it will eventually sneak in to swamp your life with negative energy, trivia, tabloid news, red tape brain holocaust-like conflicts, fake relationships, and physical and mental illnesses. Eating up the rest of what makes us human and making us believe again; an only choice, which is, a virtual reality that drains one of the most beautiful things about humanity; human emotions that are driven by live interactions.
Master your mind
There are a lot of psycho-social stages that one needs to master to survive in a city, more accurately, in life. We must have been taught life skills at schools. Building awareness is key to reinstall our inner resilience, our power to choose and assertively select what is in tune to our well-being.
The highest bill a human-being pays in their lifetime, is one that entails being out of tune from our well-being.
And if you have not mastered your power of choice, you are like a ship amidst sea with no sailor or anchor. You must regain the mastery of your mind despite it all.
We must be ready to learn how to make our choices happen when they hardly exist.
If you would like to learn more about Ghada’s wellbeing workshops, see here.