Posts by affinity

I like to reassert the beauty and liveliness of ordinary things in life through writing.

-The wide-eyed stillness-

IMG_4094Here I am sitting quietly appreciating the clear blue skies, warm sunlight (so heartwarming after almost 4 months of intense cold!!) and silence.

The stillness in the atmosphere just got interrupted by a noisy aeroplane swooshing in the air..

To appreciate life, one has to look at all the different but seemingly opposite processes, emotions, outcomes because one cannot exist without the other. Like a pendulum moments oscillate from sad to happy and back to sad again .. and so on & on it goes.

But it’s the stillness in between these two states that keeps the potential of transformation for every individual. It’s that state that is worthy of attention. It allows you to slow down and see where you are heading, reflect on what you’ve been through and how you made it, prepare for what you can and cannot see coming.

This stillness is what reminds you to take it easy, sometimes let go and let God because you cannot rush things through, you cannot change things beyond your control.. and most importantly this stillness is important to regain perspective; to appreciate what was & be mindful of what is.

Life isn’t only about movement, rush, go-after-it, hustle, grit, and etcetera.. life is also peace, quiet, feeling, imagining, enjoying, appreciating, AND trusting ..

You know I was playing ‘catch-me-if-u-can’ with my son in the backyard yesterday, so after about 20 something minutes of continuous running, my stamina and muscular endurance was biting the dust ..so eventually I sat down to catch my breath. A little later, my son (a little disappointed) came n’ sat next to me.
And I thought to myself, when we stop running after life, stop looking for the answers, they quietly creep into our life and manifest themselves ..

..but then who would’ve appreciated the outcome without enduring the process?

yes, I did get up and continued catch-me-If-u-can ‘coz obviously i had to 🙂 💕

Don’t stop but sometimes, in between, press the pause button…slow down, sit down if you’ve to and catch your breath..

-Prologues of death-

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-Trigger warning ⚠️

I woke up to the sound of rain falling heavily on the roof very early this morning .. with eyes drenched in sleep, I reached for my cell phone and a sense of triumph took over my senses, you know that feeling when you wake up way before your alarm is due to ring and it feels like you are in control of the day already! that’s just how I felt.

I lay there still buried under a pile of blankets and quilt staring into the darkest places emitting nothing but blanks and spaces in all shades of pitch blackness. The kind of darkness so real .. so physical I could almost touch it .. almost taste it. The pitter patter outside went on without a pause but I took no notice. “Look over here”! a heavy voice commanded, suddenly aware of the thunderous pounding inside my chest, I looked around helplessly as clammy darkness descended on me like a cloud, engulfing my senses rendering obscurity to my vision. All I could feel was molten dread surging through my veins when the voice continued .. “where are your loved ones?” Stretched out on my bed lifelessly, I barely shifted my gaze and looked around ..no home .. no friends .. no warmth .. “how could they leave me like this?”
There was nothingness all around .. and the voice started coming again, this time even louder, merciless than ever ..”you are welcome to stay here ‘alone and forever’!…have you brought something along to keep you company?” ..

The terrible loneliness so shockingly ugly jumped at me like a snarling beast. ..’stay out of my face’ ..I pushed the beast with all my might..releasing the muffled scream I could barely hear myself, while deep inside my throat a faint voice twisted itself open and shut down the next second…I screamed again .. over & over ..like a tape recorder it played on repeat but in my head alone ..echoing its deafness back to me…..
…..baffled by the irony, with every ounce of my might, I tried opening my eyes but my eye lids as if glued together, refused to let any light in.. forced to swallow darkness upon darkness, it felt like I was nothing but a speck of dot falling into an endlessly invisible dark hole …and then suddenly there was peace ..there was light.

It must’ve been the thunder clap that made me jerk out my sleep ..I looked around, unable to breathe for a few seconds and slowly reality resumed.

I had been dreaming! I was alive! … thank God.

I have been alive all these years so I didn’t know what to expect from death.
How absurd but exactly true.

Nobody knows and that’s most frightening.

Probably you’d have read a lot of text on what happens when you die – inside one’s grave, I have too. But it’s just text, like it’s knowing of a kind that’s equivalent to ‘not-knowing. I thought about the emotions I’d felt in my dream and it made me reflect on the preciousness of this life, although temporary, but extremely important for based on what we are doing here in this very transitory period, our *forever* is going to be determined and decided.

Running around after things day in and day out one day, ever so suddenly, ever so quietly, we will run into death. Just like that.

We will be taken away with nothing but our deeds good and bad only to present them & have them assessed in the court of Almighty.

So the sorry’s you have been keeping on hold for whatever reason, need to be said now.

the compliments, the Thankyous, the hugs and cuddles, those little big things we won’t say or do .. need to be said n’ done now ..

our mountainous ego, pride, anger n’ resentment all are destined to bite the dust! Let go of that burden.

Take care of your deeds for those will be the *only* companion in the darkest endless hours of life after death..

More fun times first, more changes first, more chances first, me first.. me first.. ? We are only kidding ourselves.
there’s nothing more deceptive in life than life itself.

Time is short and death is closer than we could ever imagine .. the beast is breathing over the shoulder & who knows within one split second we’d breathe our last & things could change forever.

-Fear factor-

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I saw this kitty (which I’d named “fluffy” straight after seeing her up close) no more than one or two years of age, hiding behind the water tank in my backyard this morning..the sound of her constant meows far from peace, was so disturbing!
Very intrigued by her beautiful but scared eyes, I stood a few feet away from her. As I observed for a while, she appeared to be so very scared…

Fear ..

every time I think of fear, my mind immediately (in search of a backup I suppose!) pictures those objects/people who/whom I perceive as my rock or support system, just like Linus from the cartoon strip Peanuts, who carries and clings to his blanket everywhere he goes.. 🙂

But isn’t it the fear of fear itself that we fear? Hang on, let me hear my self say that in my head & see if it makes sense..
I guess it does.

What I mean to say is, most of the times the stuff we normally fear about, doesn’t even happen .. so we end up *not* doing things that would’ve produced great results had we not feared doing them you know.

Like if we try n’ stop fearing rejection for instance, we will feel more open to giving and receiving love .. if we stop fearing failure, we’ll feel more confident and not withheld by negativity. Probably we’ll end up trying out new ways of doing things if we weren’t afraid of taking risk in the first place ..

“O you who believe! Fear God as He ought to be feared” – AlQuran

If there wasn’t any fear of God, the fear of being accountable, being punished, I suppose it would’ve been very hard to carry out His commands and abstain from what’s forbidden. And I think, it’s more about the fear of getting punished for something than the reward of not doing that very something, that motivates/drives majority to do or not do something. Although it can be the other way round in some cases, more reward-driven that is.
سزا کا خوف یا پھر صلےکی تمنا/خوشی ؟

So keeping this and many other things in mind, fear isn’t entirely a bad thing. Also, because the fear factor *can* serve as the needed dose of motivation to do something. And not to mention, the pressure to comply with societal norms, or standards established by our peers or people we look up to, too, have a content of fear in it. If my memory serves me right, it’s called subjective norms.

On a lighter note though, fear of gaining weight will make us eat right n’ healthy. Fear of failing will make us work harder ..[but too much fear won’t even let you try] it’s like saying .. drink a hot cup of tea, it’ll cool you down .. 😃

Anyways I gotta go .. fear isn’t the greatest or even the worst of all emotions for that matter.. it’s just complex for it always comes with its successors; emotions like disappointment, timidity, anxiety *as well as* excitement, hope and challenge.. leaving it pretty much up to us which side and how much of it we’d want to pick ….. right?!

have a nice weekend guys… God bless.

 

 

 

 

[La vie’ en rose] life through rose tinted glasses

IMG_3669My toddler is quite a chatterbox you know. He loves being in the car going places & chatting nonstop (it’s only recently that he’s started talking and boy does he talk or does he talk!) but things have gotten better with him being a bit older, he doesn’t mind getting buckled up, happily falls asleep on a relatively long journey but there are things that have *not* changed, for instance, me planning ahead of time in respect to hoarding extra snacks, getting audiobooks n’ stuff irrespective of the length of the journey, & him demanding to take my eyes off the road n’ hands off the steering wheel because he thinks he’s done something so fabulous that needs a round of applause with my attention that is totally undivided. 🙃

Seriously, I must’ve twisted & strained my lower back discs on multiple levels and at multiple times in attempts to reach for the fallen toys in the back seat (waiting on red lights of course) I’m glad that so far no one has witnessed the display of such extreme physical flexibility by this contortionist (a mom can be anything if need be ..trust me) in the car! It must be so funny like there’s no tomorrow!! 😁

The other day, as the two of us were heading back home from skool drop off, he was unusually quiet and mostly observing. I looked at him a few times and he flashed a teethy grin at me across the small space between us. Then came the million dollar question after a while, “what you looking in the mirror mama?!” He pointed at the rear view mirror and asked. Explaining how and why a driver uses a rear view mirror to a toddler is certainly tricky, so after a couple umms, I did manage to come up with something for his tiny mind that wasn’t far from reality either. I said, “I gotta move forward so I’m looking at the cars behind me you know..” I briefly looked at his eyes and the expression conveyed that he had, in fact,  picked up the idea..I didn’t have to explain any further. It was a relief!!

The rain was trickling down the outside of the car window silently.. while some of its silver drops quivered restlessly before the vipers brushed them aside like an afterthought. I gave in to the desire to have them rest on my palm a bit by sliding the window down ..the droplets came rushing in, just like memories when you look back on them. “It’s only 8:50am and with the dark clouds obscuring the morning sky, it looked more like night than day,” I glanced at the lights turning green and thought to myself. Fearing that the gust of cold wind might wake my son up, who’d peacefully just drifted off to sleep, I closed my window immediately…

The car kept rolling down the road with rain steadily striking against its roof and windows. With another mile down and it had started to shower heavily. Buildings and trees forcing themselves into my view stood pretty and clean along the roadside.. I looked momentarily at the car that had suddenly zoomed in inside the rectangle of my rear view mirror. With very wet conditions & windows getting slightly foggy I looked again, cars appear bigger than they actually are in rear view mirror anyway! I looked away.

This very thought made me reflect on what I had explained to my son earlier regarding the functions of a rear view mirror.

Sometimes we unknowingly live life as a rear viewer you know.. we keep looking into ‘what was’, ‘could have been’, and dwell on ‘should’ve beens’ to ‘would have beens’, not realising that the wider windshield is holding up so much to view, so much to experience and absorb at any given moment in time.

Needless to say, what’ll happen if you keep looking longer than expected in the rear view?

Yes. You’ll crash.

The idea is never to take your eyes off the road, of your present, of what is, of now. Look into the rear view/past as and when needed for there are lessons that cannot be overlooked, ignored or abandoned. Leave the past where it belongs, consult only for guidance and advice.

you have to move forward so don’t let the past hold you back.

Philip Zombardo in his book ‘the time paradox’ says that memories are but “reconstructions” of our past based on our recent or current circumstances plus understanding of the world.

Let that sink in for a while ..

It means that if you are happy today, you’re going to think happy. Those memories will bring a smile and not hurt you. And the opposite is true as well. So aren’t memories filtered? brought back into our headspace & shaped *in accordance* with the meaning that *we assign* to them.

This is so. very true. Philip Zimbardo you are a genius! 😎

Why not re define the past? It’s true that there’s nothing, literally nothing you can do to change the past, however, the good news is that you *can* always change the way you choose to view your past and assign it a brand new meaning.

Sounds great to me.. what do you think?!

May God Almighty give us all the ability to think positive & uplifting thoughts. Miracles blossom in places where faith & hope grows. All praise be to God now and forever. ❤️

-this post has no title-

IMG_3661.PNGThe other day, I mentally created a checklist of items/events that had happened in the last couple years & I realised that there had been times I cried until my throat went dry and raspy, events so funny that even the thought of them after years is enough to plant an ear to ear to grin on my face, events so grim that thinking about how it felt back then feels as if the blind air around me is closing in on me, events that kept me up so late that I’d stare at the lone star thinking if I happen to be the last person falling asleep, events that made me prostrate for the longest that I can recall sometimes to recover from grief and sometimes to say Thankyou for all the blessings I received almost unasked.

Life is as you see it, things like grief, happiness are described as determined by our perception. Here’s what I have realised.

For every low in life, there’s an equal amount of high, which gives life meaning, perspective and is what keeps it moving.

Last year around this time, I went to the dentist and reported the excruciating level of pain that had kept me up all night.

One of the roughest times when I realised how pain, be it physical or emotional in nature, grows like a weed.. right, left, here and there .. everywhere! Resort to temporary relief and have it come back with vengeance, an extreme concentration you would’ve ever experienced. The solution? Get rid of the source of pain.
Analgesics are welcome but don’t rely on them for too long.

People often underestimate emotional pain and say a lot of things that don’t even come close to reality. Like it’s all in your head. You are only making a mountain outta molehill and etc etc.
Every time I come across someone apparently smiling but their body screaming unhappiness, I feel like reaching out and reassuring that It. Is. Going. To. Be. Ok.

Can we imagine the density of emotions so bleak that it cascades all over them, engulfs them over and out!?

People battling depression feel overwhelmingly exhausted on the brink of losing all internal battles, there’s a vacuum inside that sucks life out of them rendering them unable to escape, pronouncing their coping mechanism dead, the demons of loneliness breaking through twisting themselves around their ankles so bad that they can’t move forward coz if they did, they’d trip. Sheer silence surrounding them is but a plea for help, but rebranded often as a mistaken sign of arrogance, they shrink in their head day after day; a voluntary submission that they’ve lived a thousand lives already ..that they’ve had it enough..

…this and a lot more happens to them but life continues without stopping by, without taking a notice, their words remain unspoken and stories untold ..the kind of pain that only some can comprehend, a mindset very few can understand.

I often think about how in so many different forms and shapes does pain manifest in our lives. And how so different is it’s aftertaste literally for all of us.

All of us have been there. I’m no different.

The little big things I want to share in this post are these:

1- Re-invest in your relationship with God. I cannot emphasise enough how deeply it improves your perception of self, of this world, and even of pain.

What you get after reconciliation:

A- A clearer view of this world which leads to an accentuated understanding of its imperfections and impermanence of every relationship that got you feeling disappointed in the first place.

B- God knows how to fulfil your empty cup. There’s a subtle shift of expectations from the creation to the Creator. With you asking God & only God, He blesses you in most amazing ways. You realise that the worse kind of loneliness is letting the wrong company in on your life and *not* staying alone. Being alone no longer hurts, instead is therapeutic & much needed.

C- You learn to take it in your hands to not just mentally but physically helping yourself. Eat healthy. Read. Write. Pray regularly.
Even if you tried explaining it to people, they won’t get it like you do. Its just like you can’t show that you are having a headache. Talking to the right people helps!

D- You resign yourself to the fact that you can’t get rid of it in a snap. Learn to live with it but don’t get too comfortable. Just think of it as a nasty guest sharing an apartment with you temporarily.

I feel a world of gratitude for all the wrong people, who showed up in my life, for ALL the right reasons. Thankyou so much for showing me the side of you which, I bet, would’ve taken me a lifetime to comprehend on my own. For making me believe in my self more than I ever did before until you turned your back on me. Please know that I didn’t just stare blankly, I swallowed ever ounce of disappointment and asked God to help me make something better out of it. Thankyou so much for de-friending me, that’s exactly when I learnt the value of valuing oneself and knowing beyond doubt that sometimes the precious space in our lives gets crowded by things not helping us in the least, in fact eating up at us. Better free up that space and conserve energy for all things positive! & thanks so much to those who silently & unexpectedly drifted away, only to teach me that not everything n’ everyone is worth holding onto…

& a huge huuge Thankyou to God for planting all the right people in my life *exactly* when I needed them.

Eternally grateful,

Aisha

-Feelings in a ziplock-

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My daughter is into sports and recently she got enrolled in after-school sports program which actually means two things. One is good and one is bad.
Good thing that her abundant energy finds a way to be utilised positively and bad coz I’m imagining myself looking at a few more bruises, skinned knees (as if there weren’t enough already! & yes this happens to be the same child who broke her arm by falling off the monkey bars 2 years ago, sigh!) anyways, so I was telling you how sporty she is.

Yesterday as she sat next to me in the evening as usual sharing a detailed account of how her day went and all that.. you know little things like who sat next to her during the test and how that happened to be an unpleasant experience coz he/she kept looking at her sheets and that how she rolled her eyes a couple times to convey her displeasure..I asked who that child was, to which she replied, “sorry! I don’t wanna be a dibber-dobber”. 🙂 I’m happy she’s learning good things.

But all this time, as she talked nonstop, she was most interested in scraping the newly formed crusty layer on her latest knee wound and there were tiny droplets of blood oozing out…😖

That’s the thing about her playing sports that I do not like, she gets bruised easily, endures soo many grazes but *doesnt* let them heal or fall off naturally. She would sit and scratch them, expose the would to a potential infection, scream a little in the process and I’m like what can i do 🤷‍♀️..

Someday I’m certain she will learn that in order to heal quickly, you’ve to leave the would alone for a while, as if it doesn’t even exist!

We, as adults do the same you know. We have a unique way of hurting our own selves. There’s this place within each one of us we keep going back to. It’s so stuffy in there you can’t even stay longer but ironically you can’t help but peep into it every once in a while. You can’t get rid of it coz its within you, and is automatically getting transported to wherever you go.

It’s a place housing feelings of resentment, unforgiveness, hopes of vengeance so that scores are even and the field levelled.

You keep picking the crust off the wound and you never allow yourself to heal or forget what happened to you or whoever wronged you.

Someone hurt you once… but you hurt yourself again and again & ..yet again.

To me, Forgiveness is a decision that sometimes takes longer than expected and the time in between is where you either “grow or shrink.”

Grow as someone who knows that I have to restore the damage by *not* scratching the wound and allowing time to do the healing. It doesn’t mean you make amends with the wrong doer, it simply means you leave it upto God and move on. He’s the best of Judges. Try to forget about it n’ hopefully forgiveness should follow or it can be the otheway round for some, forgive & forget that is.

And shrink in the sense that you let the negativity *owerpower* you, mould you and change you for worse. You keep thinking about the person you used to be and feel stuck chronically. Hence going back and scratching the wound and never letting the new skin to take over.

Holding on to resentment is exactly like drinking slow poison that makes your heart go weaker by the day. Navigating through wounds/grief isn’t easy but it’s not impossible either. Ask Allah to take care of your affairs and don’t let someone else’s wrong doing change your outlook on life.

Reach out to that hidden place inside, grab the ziplock bag that has kept feelings of hurt still raw and fresh.. and chuck it into the bin! You’ll do tons of good to your mind, body and spirit.

If you think the post is long and you’ve scrolled down to read the bottom line, this is for you.

1- Accept that you have a wound. You can’t go back to pre-wound state just as yet.

2-Clean the wound. Cry/share/get it off your chest!

3-Apply antiseptic and dress your wound. Take care of yourself by disconnecting with the source of wound and further harm.

4- Let time take its time to heal. Pray. Don’t go back and scratch, excercise patience.

5-Once the bandage is off, the scar might serve as a reminder of your pre-scar state and cause some hurt but accept it as a sign of recovery that you were strong enough to sustain it and God allowed you to heal.

6- Smile, move on…& repeat.

The fact that there will be more scars and more injuries as long as there’s life, will not change but what should change is, *you* and your *attitude* towards them.

Wishing you peace. 💕

-Stay humble-hustle hard-

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Visualise failing, not success.
-Chris Hadfield

There’s this one thing I do when I’m looking for inspiration. I read quotes. Some I write down and reflect on later if they don’t make sense on reading first up. Well, the one I just started my post with, is something that falls in the same category. I took a snapshot of it and kept coming back to it time & again ‘coz honestly at first I didn’t quite get what the author actually meant ..

This one sounds weird, right? I mean every one tells you to visualise yourself on a higher level; something more ..something bigger than your self. Strive. Hustle. Push the limits. Imagine. Dream. blah blah.. whereas this quote is telling you to start off as a negative thinker. Come to think of it, negativity here implies preparing ahead of time for what could go wrong. And that’s not entirely a bad thing. Why? Let’s dissect the myth ..

Because let’s say you have a goal to accomplish.

There are ways to make progress. You’ll have an agenda. You’ll plan. There’s going to be a checklist. Perhaps you’ll break it down to do-able portions. I think that’s planning. Once all is in place, you’ll get going, take things as they come and follow through.

There’s one thing, however, that we tend to sort of overlook in this entire process.
Which is mentally and emotionally preparing for what could go wrong and if it does, what next?

Does it make sense so far?

That’s the thing about goals and dreams. Outcome is never in our hands; effort is. This is one part sad but ten parts hopeful. The unpredictability. The not-knowing where it’ll take you.

I am a firm believer in ‘aiming high & shooting for the moon and if you fall short.. you’ll land somewhere among the stars’ …true! but make sure that you have *psychologically* trained yourself enough to accept and get on with the risk.fear.failure.

Preparing against the odds is absolutely wise but yes materialising your fear to an extent that it leaves you paralysed isn’t.

And sometimes, only sometimes, when visualising success ahead of time, we r inclined to overestimate our ability & underestimate the challenge. It’s like being a bit over-confident and taking it lightly .. & procrastinating here n there .. (coming from experience).. no?

So I think what one could do is ..pray for the best, be prepare if it doesn’t go as planned.
Rejoice if it’s all good, be patient if it isn’t. But try AGAIN. If you win.. ofc. nothing like it! but if you lose, you’ll gain perspective…