-give power to your calling-

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Have you heard of Abraham Maslow?

Yes, the famous psychologist who presented the theory of hierarchy of needs (Please google if you aren’t familiar).

I’ve always loved the bottom line of his theory. Loved teaching it. Loved reflecting on it and even more so..I love applying it on my life ..

That said, it emphasises the *need* to realise one’s potential to be *truly* happy.

To further simplify the idea, it states, that we need to make an effort in finding out what our true potential is and then do our best to become that.

We all have latent abilities, sort of inbuilt in nature. ‘God-gifted’ is a better word for it.
And then there are abilities ..we work on to achieve what we aspire to achieve. right?

But the question is: how do we know what we are meant to do/can do/should do?

I say, it’s a quest. It’s something one really has to ponder on.
I think it has a lot to do with how doing something particular makes you feel at the end of the day.

Is it personally fulfilling?
Makes you want to do more of it?
Makes you want to advance in it?
Are you ready to sacrifice in terms of time, effort & energy relatively speaking? (the opportunity cost you know).

If the answer is yes, then keep doing it for a while. You think it’s a worthy pursuit. Put it to the test of time. After a good while, if it has you feeling bored then you’d know, it was just a hobby or something related but *not* your passion.
Passion doesn’t tire you out, even if the reward is less than the amount of effort you are willing to put into it; of course there will be days you’ll get tired and sick of yourself and even things you feel passionate about.. I mean life happens! 🙂

But if you are really passionate about something, you’ll come back & persevere because it makes you want to wait and do more and be an expert at it. It is beyond the need of securing public’s approval & applause and directly and essentially related to your personal sense of inspiration, motivation and it’s deeply fulfilling. As Maslow puts it. It’s self-actualisation.

It’s not surprising that some people do what they have to ..for a variety of reasons but passion/love not being one of those.

According to Maslow, it’s a *need* to self-actualise; to know who you must be/become in order to reach your optimal self or the best you can be.
It can be that you’d want to be the best wife/husband, mother/daughter/son, entrepreneur/doc/teacher or any capacity that you are in.. etcetera.

And I think it’s all about how much you *want* to grow as a person in general in that very capacity.

How strongly you *believe* that you can be what you want to be and then making a plan of action to do what you gotta do!

Suffice to say, wants have alternatives, if not A then B. But needs are quite fundamental in nature. You know *the have to have*-

We all need to move forward from safety needs (reference: Maslow hierarchy please) to an upper bracket of self-identification and actualisation.

Look deep within and you’ll know what moves you.

And just maybe you are already doing it but don’t know if it’s what’s driving you one step closer to be your best self one day at a time. But it really is.

Anyways, just felt like sharing this little chunk of my thought process with you guys..

Keep looking. Keep going. 👍🏻

-spread the light-

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We’ve all had people in our lives who pretend to care but they don’t.

They pretend to listen but all they want is for you to end the conversation (unless it serves any of their motives or is about them).

They’ll pretend to be by your side by all means but will be the first one to ignore your presence ..and existence too.

You’ll hear them chant about honesty, standing up for what’s right, and in practice you’ll see a diluted stance whenever there’s an uncomfortable or imperfect situation.

This is hypocrisy and it’s uncool.

Having the guts to communicate once and for all that you don’t give zero hoots is better than pretending otherwise.

I see it happening so often that it makes me think why in a world where you can be literally anything you want, you choose to become someone who is unkind. insensitive. This is exactly when I’m reminded that people in glass houses don’t throw stones at others. Aren’t we all living in a glass house? Don’t we all have an entity within called conscience/heart? Or maybe yours have become so alien to you that you don’t feel nothing happening inside..

Sometimes our seemingly insignificant actions can bring a world of happiness to those around us, and by the same token, its our very actions or a lack of them when needed, that can push someone so far away that finding their path back to us is never an option nor a possibility for them anymore.

It’s the rock bottom of any so called relationship, it’s where it’s pitch dark and not a slightest speck of hope left, where every lack of trust, every remnant of rage simply cease to matter, when you do not intentionally forget and ‘it’s all good’. It’s when you don’t drive down the same old path of deceiving your self time and time only to fall farther away.

I have seen, met and befriended those who think they aren’t worth-caring for and more than most of the times, I figured it was due to someone making them feel like they weren’t good enough or important enough to be worthy of love/attention or friendship etc. It’s so sad seeing people getting mistreated and letdown by people. This is why many people simply shut down emotionally.

I don’t mean to write this to indirectly invalidate your opinion or experience. I believe in humanity too : ) but I’ve noticed a pattern to this. I’ve also noticed that people can only extend to you what is there within themselves.

They show less empathy, less care, less love, hmmm it kinda makes things easier to understand.

Hurt people hurt people.

Someone once said to me, ‘but people have their own share of troubles and sad you know! You can’t expect them to become such and such.’

And I say, if you want to be happy, start spreading happiness. If you want ease and comfort, try making things easy for others.. by doing that you are only going to send into the universe which will come back compounded right back to you.

And to everyone out there who’s ever been made to think that something’s wrong with them, please know that you are a lot more than what people tell you. Let their opinion of you be their business and if putting people down for whatever reason is what they are good at.. you be good at doing the opposite.

You’ve probably worn that mask too long yourself and you know there’s pain under the surface.
Reach out and connect with those who need you.

If, for no other reason, than that you owe it to them. Keep the ball rolling.

-untamed flurry-

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To the restless hammering of the heart..

when untamed flurry crawls up
your walls..
breathe easy my heart..
confront the haunted twinge incessantly ..

wander down the hallways,
looking for the meaning of life
you’ll find it
in pieces
scarred, battered & beaten ..
pieces that turned blue
from holding their breath

pick up those shards
watch them come back to life,
as they sip warmth
from your hand ..

embrace them
but put them back
differently this time..

for rebirth..
no matter how painful,
is worth
a thousand lives!

-remember why you started-

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To the feet,

running aimlessly to be part
of the walking dead..
to fit in
and to belong ..

Slow down dear feet ..
hold your ground!

for this is,
an immaculate misconception ..

Let the love of God,
be the medicine
to cure
your need of love & affection..

let their ticket of approval,
be whisked away
by the wind..

and let the lesson stay etched
on your heart..

let the knowledge of the path,
you once had trodden
with bruised ego
and eyes lamented ..
be the guiding power
to another path,
that blesses you ..
enriches you
and make you
ineffably happy!

-the start is what stops-

Australian Swimming Photography In Black And White. Photo By Lucas Wroe

Australian Swimming Photography In Black And White By Melbourne, Australia Photographer Lucas Wroe

The start is what stops most people.
– Don Shula

My most cherished childhood memories comprise of skinned knees after roller skating, climbing the tallest tree possible and feeling like I had conquered the world, learning to ride the bicycle, eating kitkat, recording silly songs in Fisher Price’s toy tape recorder and the absolutely incomparable joy that resulted from heading to the pool for a dip on a hot day & buying a hot plate of fries to compensate for all the lost calories!

My sister would always swim like a pro but my status had remained as a beginner for a good long time. It’s not like I didn’t try, I did (number of attempts purposely undisclosed) only in less deep end of the pool!  But every time it seemed like I was throwing my body’s alignment out of whack, I was popping my head up way too many times gasping for air..
funny how I knew I could’ve done it right, had I tried harder but fear always took the better of me..!

To the swimmers around me, it must’ve been a funny sight how I propelled against water kicking but not quite going anywhere and how sheepishly I made my way back to the baby pool every time i didn’t feel like trying anymore..

The convenient escape saved me the effort and lots of energy and I couldn’t have been happier for not trying further.. surrounded by colourful inflatable toys n’ kids mostly younger than me, I wasn’t bothered if the water was shallow for my age. This practice went on ..until that one fateful Sunday afternoon, when my father came along for a swim with us!!

It was a dauntingly long day of summer; the hour hand barely crawled from one hour to the next out of dire thirst meanwhile somewhere far & away in the desert, a cacti proudly smiled at its God-gifted adaptation and took a long satisfying sip of water from the reserves within ..Sweltering summer afternoons in deserts when the air sizzles with heat, lone birds hum occasionally, school-aged kids sport indoor activities of all sorts and kinds yet are determined to go out the moment sun packs its bags and prepares to take a leave.

My father summoned us to get ready and I could see the fear getting compounded in my head. I donned my swimming gown with an embroidered dragon on its back and headed to the pool. With every step, the dragon kept chipping at my confidence for being so afraid and not trying enough all this while.. in my mind’s eye, I could already predict what awaited me..

Moments later, I was standing on the warm concrete deck right at the edge of the (dreadful) pool! staring at deep blue ripples of water and exchanging glances with my sister who’d gladly jumped straight into the deep side!
My father tapped me on the shoulder & asked me to go ahead n’ swim too..my stomach fell to my feet already glued to the pavement! I curled my toes and clenched my fists but before I knew, my father held my shoulders n’ plunged me into the pool, I thrashed and a wave of terror swept through me as I struggled to keep my eyes open while sinking down and losing the remains of mindfulness..the cold refrigerated feel of the water had my heart racing.. I desperately needed to breathe! The noises on the other side of the water died down as I sank further down… even the sun couldn’t penetrate the reflecting layers of water..

I looked around for help, but I knew there wasn’t no one coming..

And then something nudged me and as if suddenly I woke up from a deep slumber, pulled my arm back, kicked as hard as I could, the muffled noises and blurred visuals on the other side started becoming relevant every time I cruised up, the sun gleefully glanced off my skin in that liberating moment when I finally surfaced … only to dive back again for another glide seconds after my first one..

You must be wondering what’s so important about this whole story?

Let me try to put things into perspective. That said, this event alone has stayed with me even to date and has always served as a guiding light in the dark alleys of life.

1- We all have mind-numbing elements of fear. Know that it’s all in your head. Know that fear and courage are but two siblings suffering from acute siblings rivalry. Each one fighting for attention and doing what they can to get it. Choice is yours who you’d like to pick and befriend with.

2- The darker the night, the brighter the stars!
It’s usually in the toughest of times that you learn about the rarest abilities, strength and courage that had always been part of you.
It takes enough pressure and time-taking for carbon to turn into a diamond. Learning & growth takes place in turbulent waters.
Never fear for it’s a blessing in disguise.

3- If you are waiting for the *right time* ..it’s about NOW, & believing this ardently comes from my faith in the fact that you are where you’re meant to be; faced with the circumstances you are supposed to be facing and feeling what you ought to be feeling ..
Don’t waste time, have faith.

4-  Extremely  precious are those who believe in you when you don’t believe in yourself, who push you out of your comfort zone and encourage you to be the best possible version of yourself.

5- Hard work and training will make you better at something for sure but there are times in life when all it takes is *courage* to step ahead. You’ll find a majority who know it only too well but very few who actually put it to use. So Applying what you Know makes a lot of difference.

6- And last but not least, people will teach you & preach you, honour you and pray for you, motivate you & do what’s within their capacity to help you BUT its only the *telling* they can do .. it’s you and you alone who has to do the *doing* part. Believe that God has given you *everything* it takes to do what you want to do. If this hadn’t been the case, you’d have never had the urge or the inclination to do it in the first place.

All of us, at one point or another, find ourselves standing at the brink of uncertainty in life not knowing what to do and sometimes not having enough support to do the needful.. that’s exactly when we need to take a deep breath, look in the eye of whatever that is blocking you, push it aside and ..Jump!!

Remember God only helps those who help themselves!

Love & peace 💕

-what grannies won’t tell-

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So the holy month of Ramadan arrives after sooo much anticipation and, as always, is in a jiffy to leave!

That’s the thing about good times ..they aren’t meant to last long. And I guess that’s exactly what makes them more important and beautiful.

Ramadan this year was relatively more productive for me than last year. There wasn’t any excruciating toothache this time. So this factor alone had helped in creating a sense of self which was more in control of itself. Last time in Ramadan, I was a sloppy mess of pain, with off n on bouts of gall pain due to my pathetic eating habits (super greasy fried food consumption in Ramadan aka سموسے، پکوڑے), helplessly trying to collect time slots dripping through the loose pattern of habits that clearly lacked consistency. One day i was Muslim enough and the other day I was just failing. I wasn’t not doing what I could have done and honestly, what I should have done.

There was an almost autonomous robotic sound in my head that echoed – Access Denied- every time I looked for motivation. Know that feeling?

Earlier this year, I had undergone a surgery. Nothing complicated. Easy peezy. Or let’s say it was *made* easy for me only because I was meant to live this far and God alone knows how long. Being someone who’s been to the operation theatre a couple times in life, a minor surgery isn’t a big deal but taking your life for granted is, predicting that you are going to live to see what’s going to happen in far future is, and dwelling high on the capacity of self delusion IS a big deal.

“A surgery as simple as laparoscopy *is* bound to be successful, relax!”..I remember reassuring myself as I was lying still on the operating table staring into the surgical lights slowly tasting unconsciousness. The surgeon pulled the sterile handle downward and the blinding light rendered clarity to my obscured thoughts. What if I didn’t make it this time? What if God has a different plan?

You know how fear operates? It manifests itself when you least expect it ..’coz you are guilty of feeling it’s lurking presence.
I recall the struggle in the recovery room. I faintly recollect concerned voices that sounded like whispers at the time. I remind myself of those moments when I couldn’t revive myself; when the medical staff couldn’t help me. And I remember thinking that people are cancers survivors because Allah YOU want them to survive. And people die abruptly in accidents or even after seemingly harmless infections that turn deadly, for no other reason but only because *you* willed it.

I kept pondering over things throughout this Ramadan which I feel compelled to share.

Words like recovery, pain, life, love are far easier to pronounce but we lack the ability to deeply decipher their meaning until a certain point in life.

Maybe you can absorb what I’m writing to express maybe you cannot. Here’s my take anyway..

1- Slow down. Enjoy the little things. You never know when might be the last time you ever heard/seen them happen.

2- outcome is never in your hands. Every now and then we must remind ourselves that no matter what we are doing, it is up to us to give it a 100 percent or less but it is always up to God to grace the efforts with your desired outcome & even more. (To be extremely honest, I also believe that even the will to do your best comes from God)
.from Allah. by Allah.

3- Accept. There’s always some goodness in however bad a situation appears to be. God alone knows best and it’s up to Him to let you see the wisdom behind a predicament.

4- the biggest comfort in distress is gained not by a hug from a loved one, not by music, or a long shower or spa or my goodness the stuff you read in those Pinterest quotes. But zoning out in a place of oneness with the creator, placing your hand on your heart and imagining the zillion drops of blood getting transported to the remotest corners of your body and truly believing that God exists within you. And that He controls everything. He hears you out.

5- forgive those who’ve done you wrong. There have been times in life I never wanted to forgive certain people but did so only because our beloved Prophet SAWW said so. modelled so.

6- continue to show your loved ones that you love them. Holding back is so uncool. The most cherished part of my day is when my husband microwaves my tea ( partly coz this happens to be the *only* time he steps into the kitchen haha)
But I love everything about this gesture. 🙂

7- I used to be so mean to myself for every mistrust that I collected, every failure and disappointment I faced, I would blame myself and sideline as stupid for even trying until I realised that it’s God who tries to show you, through you, that you need Him. That you need to be punched right in the gut for looking far and away from God. And that every hole in your soul is helping you to grow and expand .. you just got to trust faithfully & yes blindly.

Fast forward to This Ramadan .. it’s a long post already & Thankyou for reading ..💐

8- I learnt that no matter how small a deed is, if it’s consistent, it is bound to create an impact. It is bound to affect your life and those around you.

Life is fragile..handle with prayer. ❤️

-because of stillness-

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All too frequently each one of us wind up thinking about how fast time is whizzing by; as if there aren’t enough hours in a day, days in a week and months in a year. And it’s true to some extent. But let’s admit it’s not just a lack of time .. there’s a tiny lack of deliberateness coupled with diminishing will power every now and then.. sometimes the quest to do too much of this and too much of that itself can be very tiring.

So June has started. I mean have you realised that we are past 6 months of 2017 already? Wow. It’s amazing how busyness keeps growing and the time continues to slip past us with a dizzying speed right?!

I’ve been trying to be as mindful as I can lately which means saying no to distractions, strictly living and breathing in the now/present and the only time of the day that actually allows me to do so is morning prayers when my very demanding toddler is asleep. So this morning while I was sitting all by myself in PEACE (notice how I write it in bold .. needless to explain why 🙂 I was just being there .. not doing anything .. not thinking about anything .. just be!

Don’t you crave stillness during the rush hours of the day when we are multi tasking from one task to another; when the self imposed deadlines rob us of our peace of mind; when the internal critic pressurises us by placing high expectations; when we are running to reach the finish line but the distance never seems to end..

So this morning after morning prayers, as I sat in my room enjoying the stillness of the moment; accompanying me there were a few faint streaks of silver on the carpet competing for my attention. Among the candidates was this one thin line that had finally been able to connect with me. I instantly drew the curtains and the silverish fluid impatiently flooded right through..

My best friend was right there smiling in my window frame.

I looked at the most wonderful silver light cupped inside the palm of my hands..resting there peacefully.

Palms ..that hold a world of distraction during the day, tolerate our mindless scrolling hour by hour and minute by minute ..

Mind ..that stays focused on nostalgia ..

Heart ..that beats to remind us of the *only* time we are in control of – and the *only* thing we are guaranteed is the *present moment* ..
Not future..not past. But this very moment.

We are all so conscious of the *next place* we are trying to reach, the *next goal* we are trying to achieve, the *next* vacation, the *next* year.. the *next* look, the *next* make over ..

This mindless WHATS NEXT has dimmed the magic of our current experiences, emotions, relationship and achievements.

Time is both limited and abundant.

One simple app that works for me personally & enables me to shut the door on ‘what-will-be or what-was-and-why-it-was-the-way-it-was is being *intentional*.

How?

1- identify the areas in your life that require most commitment
2-identify and eliminate excuses and distractions that you’ve hired for nothing

From here on, you work your way to channelising your energy, focus and talents to things that are worth your time and attention and whisk away the unnecessary details that plague our daily routines with lethargy and demotivation.

There’s nothing bad about looking forward to the future as long as we live each moment because it is what our life is actually made of.

Do it now. Feel it now. Be it now. 💕