-The very hungry caterpillar-

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There is something so comforting about tonight. The holy month of Ramadan has started.

This afternoon i caught sight of a caterpillar plugging on to a leaf. I bent over to look closely. For the first time, I realised that it’s pretty awkward looking you know. It’s kind of an extra-legged, fuzzy and somewhat funny creature. Tsk, Poor thing!! I kept staring at the body housing a tiny heart, lungs maybe, a set of nerves and brain (definitely maybe). I mean the rational side of my brain started pondering over its reason of being …when suddenly, out of nowhere, a butterfly fluttered by.. I looked at the extra-legged creature and then back at the perfect looking butterfly & it all started to make sense…

This furry creature is going to undergo metamorphosis and transcend into a lovely butterfly. Can you believe that? It is going to start off believing in its destiny, trying its utmost best using the inbuilt *god gifted* magic and come out the other end looking *nothing* like its previous self. Genius! All praise be to God.

But I think growing and changing in metamorphosis kind of way hurts big time. It’s going to skilfully knit its own cocoon, and what happens inside the cocoon it encapsulated it-self within?

-It sheds its body- -It painfully digests itself- and -disintegrates all its tissues till nothing of its body is left-….

What we see is a majestic butterfly but what we don’t ..is the gruesome process it takes for the fuzzy larva to become what seems totally unimaginable!

My eyes see a flawless butterfly proudly wearing colors on her wings but my heart weeps for the caterpillar that got morphed into pain in *becoming* what it wasn’t. But that’s how it is. There is comfort in knowing that it has become what it was destined to become. The pain and the cost was so worth it.

Aren’t we like caterpillars? Some stuffing leaves only getting started..some shedding skin bearing and wearing scars, some getting dissolved, some growing into a butterfly already and some been through it all!

The distance between *what was* and *what will be* is paved with struggle and suffering but the end of the tunnel is glowing. And what’s emerging from the other side is a smiling butterfly not a mourning caterpillar.

-what doesn’t kill you-

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If I could assign a name or a word for each day, I would pick ‘grumpy’, ‘grouchy’ or ‘disgruntled’ for yesterday. One of those days when you feel so bogged down ..you don’t even feel like smiling. My words aren’t going to sound jovial either. Sorry. I have been functioning solely on my will power lately which I extract from deep within but looks like that too is running short in supply so am barely going to power through .. and whoever thinks winter in Melb is beautiful has probably never had a crushing attack of hay fever when you sneeze every 2 minutes and not to mention the onslaught of pressure building behind your forehead makes you want to dig a deep nest in your couch.. a nest so so deep that swallows you whole and you’d simply not come out of it. But the dilemma is that you have to *get up* and make tea and take medicine for that matter *or* you’d just sit there simmer in every conceivable shade of blue!

Technically, the off and on bouts of severe flu (it’s a package deal with free sore throat, highs and lows of fever) has become an annual crisis for me. But I can already predict this season is worse than the last. Don’t you think that sickness, be it any kind is harsh in nature. It’s a blessing but *in disguise*. Why do I say so?!

1- it highlights one’s inability to do things other can easily do while you struggle .. stingy but true!

Let me explain. You see if you really probe deeper into your mind and god forbid the sickness is some serious kind, you know it’s not going away. You’ll automatically concede yourself lacking in the ability to think big, your confidence so beaten up you would compare yourself with others. It is natural and only human to do so. And I think it’s okay to see special things others have *but* not allowing yourself to work on yours to make them bigger and real is the problem.

And why is it a blessing in disguise?

1- it’s generally not health, but the opposite of it that makes you connect with God more so ‘coz you feel powerless and God is the ONLY source of power.
You need it. He has it all.

So what can you do?

Look beyond the immediate. You don’t have shoes? Probably someone out there doesn’t even have feet. The restaurant you dined at last night secured the worse review from you while someone out there went hungry two days in a row. There will always be someone who would merely manage to glisten while you’d be shining so brightly..

The incredible thing about this world and the people in it? You can always learn from them.

We all have missing pieces, incomplete agendas, shortcomings, half heartedness lurking inside our chests *but* we have talents, strengths, abilities, blessings and will power that compliment our weaknesses.

It’s *both* our strengths and our shortcomings we need to work on. And that’s exactly what God wants of us. That’s it. That’s really it.

May God give us the grace and wisdom to expand our soul instead of smothering it.

-Pirouette-

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“Darling! Please chew your food with your mouth closed!”..

This happens to be a *daily* reminder for my 8 yo. Yes exactly my 8 yo! You must be expecting that a toddler needs to be told to eat without making funny noises isn’t it..? 🤷‍♀️ well she’s special in her own way..she’s a walking talking ticking time bomb!! And as much as I despise the sound effects at the table; I equally adore her instant blurting out of a couple of Sorry’s and I love you – (not always in the same order though)
She knows how to distract me really. We both work collaboratively; I never forget to remind her of table manners and she never forgets her -I love yous-

Long time ago I used to wonder ..how often is too often? But not anymore.

You see there is no shortage of the ways we tell and remind and re tell our family of certain things. We find ourselves repeating things over and over and this never tires us out. But what happens when it comes to saying the magic words like I love you or even I’m sorry? wouldn’t you agree that majority of us save up this three letter word for a perfect meltdown moment? i used to muddle through these questions in my head and I think it kinda dates back to when I was a kid. I’d grown up believing that saying ‘I love you’ all too often makes it lose its flavour n value. So the less you say it, the more meaningful it becomes. It made sense big time back then.

My heart and I had always been spiteful enemies on matters like these. I never thought too highly of this weird, fuzzy, irrational box of muffled noises! Why do I have to listen to it’s endless rants guiltily and attempt to negotiate with it when it acts no more than an irrational toddler…? I always thought.

But funny how even my brain was always titling on the verge and I..? I was a coward all along snapping harshly every time my heart spoke like this:

“Listen! when I hear a simple I love you; I hold it in my hands .. I look at it gleefully and I beat a little harder, a tiny bit better and a little happier- i need this tranquilliser daily.
But when I go without it, I bang around loudly and you leave me alone like a sloppy mess all on my own!”

I’ve spent a good part of my life figuring out the obvious but all along the answer was held cupped in my hands. I had been so oblivious. So blind. All those years I realised little as to how deeply I’d anticipated to prove my own self wrong. Until one day it dawned on me when God planted this person in my life I was meant to spend the rest of my life with. [Just] Saying I love you is something different than actually living and experiencing it. However, after hearing it enough times from my significant other had ended my quest to the ever looming question – how much is too much?!

The answer is very simple: There ain’t no *too much* & there ain’t no *too often*. It is insatiable.

Love is the sole reason and purpose of our existence. God tells us time and again that He loves us. Money, fame, triumphs and material gains of all sorts and kinds don’t even come close to one simple i love you. The world out there is stingy, it leaves countless tiny dents on our being that are only repaired with an I love you. It is such a precious gift that nurtures our soul.

Love exists in the glint of someone’s eyes when they look at you and for that moment their heart temporarily resides in their eyes. It sometimes peeps through the rosy pink hint in someone’s cheeks. Deliberate teasing. Random hugs. Sweet nothingness. Salty tears. Love is here in each of these and love is right there when your loved ones are around!
It’s in the cluching of your beloved possessions close to your heart. It lurks in the desire to press pause on life because the moments are too precious to let go.

My heart and I are best friends now & its swaying in blissful tranquility. Never does it have to go without its I-love-yous anymore.
Not. One. Single. Day.

-Project D Clutter-

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It’s been a while since my fingers haven’t done any talking.. been quite busy lately.

I have been going back and forth in my head if I wanted to pen my thoughts down or just organize a rather good time slot to do so but then I decided to grace my very own corner of the Internet and make the most of my 30 min ‘me time’ while being a super cozy couch potato with ginger in my lap. *impluse*

I’ve also been thinking that I need to blog on a more consistent time skedule. It was quite heartwarming to receive random messages (from people I know and esp from complete strangers) telling me to blog more often. Makes me happy. I’m so humbled and motivated. And I just want to invent an emoji that truly represents how I feel right about now just to help drive home the point you know. ☺️ so this smiley will do for the moment.

As fasting is drawing closer day by day, I find myself more inclined to de-clutter as often as I can, re-organise my cupboards, kitchen cubbies etc etc & I have recently consumed a couple of hours every day doing just that. From all the cupboards to every drawer in the house, things are now neatly aligned & organised. And I love to feel the feeling I get every time I look at the outcome. Clutter free. Tidy. Just the way it should be. I think one of the best lessons in life is to move forward with *what you love & think is Important* simultaneously leaving behind what doesn’t serve you no more.

When we pile things up we don’t need, then the ones we do need are prone to get easily misplaced when needed the most! By the same token, when we get so busy in life, days tumble into nights..nights quietly creep back into mornings – and in a loop it goes over and over and we keep moving along dragging the baggage (literally as well as figuratively) we don’t even need tiring ourselves out. Less thinking and more doing done and *repeate*..

Clutter is a clever fellow, it lures you into thinking ‘stop! You might need me’! Clutter enjoys an intimate relationship with our emotional well being. If you are like me, you’d feel dysfunctional too in messy surroundings, generally distracted and in extreme cases totally disoriented. Same applies to having certain people in our lives and if you were lucky or should I say courages enough to let them out of your life, you’d have happily witnessed the *before* and *after* effect it had on you.
Sometimes it is as easy as pressing an unfollow/unfriend button and at times it takes every cell in your brain and every ounce of your might to decide to loosen your grip on the so called made-up pseudo hollow relationship with such people.

Love when genuine is without formalities. It believes in seeing the good in people and trying to accept and correct the bad in them. But if your energy goes off wandering and bounces back unappreciated, it is time to de-clutter. If you are the *only one* waiting and wanting to spend your effort, time and energy ..It’s time to de-clutter. It’s about mutual respect and reciprocity.

Life is precious, it is made of zillions of tiny time slots; when we give someone of our time, we are actually giving away a piece of ourselves.
The problem is that as long as we shall see ourselves through the eyes of people who don’t see our worth, we are bound to incur an unimaginable loss to ourselves. We will never know if we are good enough..capable enough..& sadly lovable enough. Those who love us will always make us feel good about ourselves and never otherwise. They never drain but *restore* our emotions- our ability- our faith- our energy and simply US. They make us feel whole.

Someone very correctly said something like ‘notice who makes an effort to stay in your life’. So notice the effort, multiply and return the favour.

But don’t ever pretend that hell feels like home. It never does.

-The more I see-

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Lately I have been thinking that how true it is that we can only give to others what we already have within ourselves. What do you think?

Let me share with you what prompted this post.

Some days ago, I had an important piece of work that made me navigate my way to the place to be. The moment I entered the building, the directory was right in front of my eyes. Moments later, I was waiting for the elevator. The doors opened & closed with a ding; I promptly hurried out of the elevator and scanned the office that stood in front of my eyes. There weren’t many people; I was so relieved to see that. From grabbing a ticket from the fast ticket machine to finding a rather quiet place i found myself constantly thinking about the long to-do list on that day. It was only after I had glanced at the ticket that I figured I was about to embark on a long waiting time. It made me inwardly appreciate my unconscious decision to be seated in the corner. I think seating in public places pretty much determines our interaction level with others. I’m good at striking conversations with absolute strangers but i find it kindof  hard & somewhat boring as it always starts and ends as small talk. So in my head there’s this distance dimension that I normally apply here and there. Odds are I might’ve sabotaged my chances of making new friends many times in life but nevertheless there’s some good in it too. So it’s all good!

I slid the crumpled ticket into my pocket and sat down on a couch by the window side. Have you noticed how even spaces speak to us?! Sometimes in a language so soft and subtle & at times loud and gaudy. This one was somewhere in between…it was a nice green color beneath my feet and on the walls that appeared pleasantly smiling.
Features of the lady in a portrait on the wall looked strained but her eyes spoke volumes. I love figure and ground & monochromatic shots; the critical and intelligent use of the light and dark fringes on her face held my gaze for a few minutes. There was more of sadness than anything else in her faint smile that gave her eyes so much depth! I quietly admired the photographer & contemplated taking a similar picture very soon.

Windows always create a sleek impression. There was one from floor to ceiling about inches away from where I was seated. I love looking out the windows coz it makes me feel like I’m bridging the gap between my thoughts and the many many things that exist beyond the window panes. Its like when I look out the window frames, it helps me think my way forward. Like I mentioned earlier, I was on the fifth floor. As much as I love windows and watching floating cloudscapes and dynamic changes in weather, I’m always scared of leaning out and I admit it gives me a slight queasiness in the stomach. I feel my sense of balance deteriorates as I try to look out from a certain height. There must be an appropriate name for this kindof of fear or phobia which I’m going to google later.

There was plenty of natural light adorning the space. I mustered up the courage and stood right next to the glass window. Unconsciously i gently pushed the window to make sure it was intact. Hah silly stuff! The angle of the large window allowed as much of outside as one could possibly contain. There was a flaunting view of the city skyline. My eyes traced along the buildings that I would normally see everyday but looking at the same buildings from *this* height had actually accentuated their architectural design. The traffic and the people appeared deceptively tiny.

You know when you’re photographing an image, you use the zoom in/out feature to change its composition but if you really want to add a story or ‘perspective’ to it; you’d definitely change *your* position. You’d move away, climb, bend, go to a certain height etc…

Like for instance, if you lower your body to shoot an object, it’ll appear taller than it is. Stronger. Powerful. Commanding.
By the same token, if you take in a view from the top, the objects look Smaller. Insignificant. kindof losing their immensity and power.
It’s only *you* that moved and the same object assumed an entirely unique ability of storytelling.

Right..?

Pretty much what we experience in life is up to our own interpretation. And I believe, in order to gain perspective on a situation, you have to detach yourself from it. Whatever happens in life is going to be given meaning based on what we *already* know or believe in. Which is why whoever we meet and things that we experience is perceived not as what/who *they are* but as who *we are*. It’s our personal identification with life and it’s events that shape our identity. But when we put aside the cloak of self-identity & start looking at things neutrally, It allows us to take in a broader and wider outlook on life and all that exists within. Just like viewing the city from fifth floor lets so much view to be absorbed all in one go.

We don’t always have to look for similarities with people in order to like them or to know them better. Our existence, confined to our physical self is so limited, compared to life in totality that exists *outside* of our body. So many people, so many perspectives, situations and experiences..
When we let go the judgment, so much learning and growth takes place.

Elevate yourself. Look at life from all the different angels, places and perspectives.

“We’re all just walking each other home.”
― Ram Dass

Are we really?!

-All that YOU are-

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Getting up early on a freezing cloudy morning for work is extremely challenging and the snooze button looks like the most tempting thing that exists..
And then we have Mr Benjamin Franklin who solemnly affirms;
“The early morning has gold in its mouth.”

Who would disagree but imagine waking up early on a Sunday morning? It’s nothing short of an unintentional irony..is it not the case? 😴

7am reflections: I cocooned myself under the warm quilt, screwed my eyes shut adamant to grab another hour of sleep but a little over five seconds and it had me gasping for air! you know the momentarily drop of oxygen levels in closed dark spaces?! So I had to toss the covers to the side…
Sometimes sleep can be like happiness you know..the more you chase it, the more it eludes you.

The constant tick tick of the clock echoed in the stillness of the room. There was a faint yet very distinct smell of potpourri in the air. The weather outside wasn’t too great. And I realised I had been staring at the haphazard traces of lines that seemed to have gotten frozen near the confined edges of my palms.
ناحق ہم مجبوروں پہ یہ تہمت ہےمختاری کی
جو چاہیں سو آپ کریں، ہم کو عبث بدنام کیا!
– میر تقی میر

It’s all part of God’s Divine will. Period.

An uncontainable host of feelings crashed in around me. I reached for my journal and waited for the thoughts to explain their unannounced visit. The air hung over me with the weight of the unsaid.

I blinked hard and reality resumed.

Have you ever wished for an Undo button in life?

It sounds like an unbelievably tempting idea to entertain but is it worth the person that you have become over all these years? Is it really worth forgetting all that you’ve known so far and start all over again?

The thought of pushing the undo button grab holds my arm, sternly looks into my eyes and accuses me of being weak and helpless. It wants me to become oblivious to the boldest yet most beautiful ways my life has trended toward. It fools me into buying that a life lived free of mistakes and errors is a life fulfilled. It tries to bribe my mind by negotiating the grip on my life at the cost of letting go of all the details that occurred to design my life the way it is now. It whispers into my ear with a hissing voice..”you lose some you gain some”. I let this voice be whisked away by the wind!
But it doesn’t give up and continues to distract me from the pounding of my heart filled with gratitude for all the people who travelled miles and miles n’ their lives touched mine. This reset button lures me into shutting all the doors that lead me to the path of self discovery where every single step released a new journey in and of itself. It makes me doubt that each turn in our life is guided by His loving hand and at this very breath, we are exactly where we are meant to be. And the people whom we were supposed to meet showed up exactly when we needed them the most. It was meant to be at that very moment when they offered us their hand in comfort in a stormy chapter of our life. And trace your own footprints making their way to the lives of so many people and creating an impact forever. Think about those friends who helped you grow to be your best possible version and your foes who gave you the motivation to exceed your own expectations. And in the end, take a look in the mirror. You’ll see the person who has never left your side!
Are you willing to trade all of this for one glittery undo button?

I choose not to press this button for it invalidates my experiences, undermines my strengths and highlights my weaknesses.

I choose to withdraw judgement and look for the magic that exists not outside of me but only within myself..

I choose to keep offering the gift of my presence to all the precious people in my life just like they have always offered theirs.

I choose to be honest with myself for being ungrateful for all the blessings I unknowingly took for granted.

This button is a thief that robs us of our present happiness. It shows up at the door of your heart looking like nothing you’ve ever seen, entrancing your wits into an impossible dream. Don’t be intrigued by its mysterious character. Listen intently to the soft voice guiding you to the light and shift your vision to a larger perspective.
Be grateful for everything that you are. And trust your journey. Say Thankyou to the Almighty.

Swing open the doors of your heart and let the so called tragedy of ‘could.have.beens’ stomp out of your life. Hear the deadened sound of its footsteps and rejoice. Let it go soo far and away that it never interferes with your reality again.

May God grant us the wisdom to live our life in congruence with His will.

Lo, when you look for God,
God is in the look of your eyes,
in the thought of looking,
nearer to you than your self,
or things that have happened to you..
There’s no need to go outside
Be melting snow..
Wash yourself of yourself!

-Rumi

-Grey Matter(s)-

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So tell me where shall I go..
To the left, where nothing is right?
Or to the right where nothing is left?!

I don’t know who said it and why he/she said it?!
I mean what happened to the good old middle ground? There is something called in between, ever heard of moderate? How about staying neutral for a while..?

You know when I read it first up, I didn’t like the vibe it gave me. But there are exceptions to every rule, so let this be it.

Okay listen to the sound of this;
A: How are you today?
B: Awful!
Hang on…are you REALLY feeling Awful?

See the thing is that more than most of the times, what we are actually feeling is a little boredem, out of sync, lagging behind, lethargic, a tad bit disoriented, unwell and —– you can fill in the blank space with a feeling of your choice. It has become more of a habit to resort to polar opposites when a middle ground suggestion could’ve fit the bill. We come across so many black n’ white statements that it has slowly desensitised us towards their meaning.

Here’s my personal favourite.

Child: listen to mee..
You: yes honey…?
Child: listen to meeeeee
You: hmm? (Responded without looking@the child coz maybe you were multitasking etc..)
Child: you NEVER listen to me!
You: 🤔 All or nothing! Here we come..!

P.s. sometimes a child, as little as 6 yo, can be an expert at disqualifying your credentials as a parent.

Ok back to where we’d started, you see how one simple word can entirely change, twist or even reverse the truth of a situation? It is commonplace for us to delve into black and white/extreme thinking and underestimate the power of words.
Like It’s either love or hate, this or that, fight or flight, good or bad. I mean if it’s not “perfect” then it must be “horrible”. If it’s not “beautiful”, it must be ugly. If it’s not amazing.. fantastic ..superb ..brilliant then it must be boring..bogus..absurd ..stupid..

Doesn’t it seem like that our brain is a compartmentalised space thinking in terms of absolutes? A space inhabitating over simplified opinions and feelings but breeding massive emotional swings. This categorical simplicity of thinking in black and white shuts the window to the spectrum of ‘greys’. Possibilities that exist beyond these coherent units are numerous but are easily and automatically overlooked in favour of BnW. And that’s where satan jumps in, exploiting our weaknesses through polar extremes. Like If I’m inherently sensitive, he will make me look at the dark morbid side of life making me feel even more miserable.

Recalling a very old account of my childhood, I remember I used to struggle with mathematics and every time someone asked me how the exam went? I would say: “I know I’m going to fail.” But did I actually believe I would fail? No.
The point is that I could’ve had said, “Oh i didn’t do “that well” this time..or something like, “not too excited about my attempt etc etc “.. but I guess normalcy in language isn’t cool! We like to pack our words with a verbal punch by adding unnecessary degrees and flavours of extremes.

BnW thinking is restrictive. It withholds you from imagining and appreciating a wide array of possibilities and dimensions. Like if a student is made to believe that getting anything less than an A+ is a sign that he’s not smart enough ..& let’s suppose he ends up getting a B+, It’s highly likely that this outcome is going to fill him with despair and a lack of faith in his ability. But what if the child managed to secure an A+?? Sounds promising but did you not reaffirm (oh I’m sorry) did you not DISTORT his perception of success? It is rightly said in a situation like this that “nothing fails like success!”

This one stings..
Child: mom I came second place .. i am so happy!!
mom: why second?! what went WRONG?!

By the same token, when we become too tough in relationships, we are falling prey to the same All or Nothing mentality. You know the famous my way-or-the-highway attitude! 🤷‍♀️

Here’s some good news: BnW thinking does have benefits like when in practical life there’s a deadline or something. You’ve gotta do it – so you’ve gotta do it! There’s no grey matter. 12pm-is-12pm sharp!! And likewise certain ideologies (religious and otherwise) and personal convictions do not have any room for what we call ‘grey matter’. There are parenting practices, principles and goals you would never compromise on. Those are justifiable absolutes. Any chance of ambiguity? Not a chance.

Answer this for me and for yourself please… Thankyou.

If I’m not all success, does this make me a total failure?
If I’m not drop dead gorgeous does this imply I am ugly?
My friends are few in number, does this make me a loner or an out-and-out introvert?
If i am not the smartest in a specific field, does it mean I am absolutely dumb in that area?

Life is complex enough to be lived in total black and white while being oblivious to the many shades of grey in between the stark blackness ‘n whites.

There is always some calm in the chaos and some method in madness. What’s needed is an eye that looks deeply and a heart that feels profoundly. 💕