-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. 💕

-Tiny Wings-

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1:11 pm

Hello friends!

So this afternoon, I had piled-up chores that were meant to be done *outside* the comfort of my home and I emphasise the word *comfort* ‘coz for anyone fasting and running around can be very challenging. Thankfully the weather at my end is very cold so trotting my way across the market was a walk in the park (slight exaggeration intended). After finishing the intended to-dos, I still had almost one whole empty hour on my hands before I could collect my daughter from skool. After a brief fix, I decided to not go home ‘coz I was (somewhat) physically tired and hungry (beyond description) to drive myself home and then back to skool again! So here I am waiting while writing this post!

Apart from all the non-sensensicle, demented, dumb & stupid stuff that I’ve done so far, there’s however some lessons that I’ve learnt along the way and would like to share with you. I call it ‘my version of reality’ ‘coz it may or may not resonate with you. Well, with that being said, learning never ends, there’s always something new to to be learnt everyday.

And I hope you’d enjoy reading it as much as I am enjoying composing it … 🙂

-1- things we intrinsically enjoy slowly become part of our personality in a way that reflects through us.

-2- people say love and trust don’t exist without each other. I think at times we love people dearly without having to trust them. Mind and heart tend to disagree on matters that are more than one. Let this be it.

-3- those who are expert at fooling others are in fact the biggest fools for not being able to see it coming right back full throttle.

-4- the notion of ‘ unconditional love’ is misinterpreted. You can not go on loving someone who makes you feel like you don’t even exist. “I love you nomatter what the conditions” (in life etc) *versus* ” I love you nomatter what you do to me”.. there’s a stark difference.

-5- life is so precious to be wasted fretting about what others are doing. You have a life too! If not, get one. The roadmap for you has already been signed and sealed. The wisdom to figure *it* out, & even the ability to put it to use shall come from Him. Your part is asking & asking fervently. It’s all up to Him ..To reveal. To guide.
* = roadmap/reason of being.

-6- treasure those who understand your needs without you having to say a word. In today’s time and age, this is extremely rare.

-7- it’s hard but do your utmost best not to take pride in or expect something in return from someone you’ve extended a favour. Just know that it’s Allah’s way of using you for someone in need. You are actually doing a world of good to *your own self*.

– 8- if you fear something, as in losing someone you love; failing at something etc; don’t bring it to life by voicing those fears/feelings. Once spoken/discussed, it has a funny way of materialising beyond our headspace. I fear the idea of how fear operates. It’s some sort of metaphysical phenomenon perhaps.

-9- the biggest risk? Not taking any risk.

-10- when you try to listen/learn/try something in every way you could…you also (somehow) figure out the ways one *can not* understand that very thing. Not knowing is knowing of its own kind & it leads to more knowing .. hence it runs in loops and circles. The desire, the intention starts it all.

-11- if you keep complaining about life when in fact you are blessed, soon life will give you real. reasons. to complain about. Be grateful for what you have already.

– 12- at any given point in life, you will always be happier, prettier, richer, healthier, smarter, and what not than *many* people you don’t even know about. Don’t underestimate your blessing and yourself. Everyone is unique and that includes you too.

-13-  hardwork, good luck, an opportunity wisely taken, references or a combination of these will help you get there but *prayer* is the .real. game changer.

– 14- when someone puts you down intentionally, it is usually done to showcase their own smartness (usually at the expense of your self-respect)

-15- it’s only fair to believe in hearts being fragile but tough enough to sustain hurt, loss and pain.
Sounds good until someone makes you experience the later part.

-16-  one of the vital decisions we’ll make involves who we let in and out of our lives.

-17- if you wish to be happy, or want to start something new, wish to decide whether or not something should be done, ask as many people as you like but remember their journeys are different than yours. Your heart knows the answer.

-18- people are most beautiful when they are their real self.

-19- the fastest and surefire way to fail at anything in life is to believe that you are better than others and that you don’t need to improve.

-20-our thoughts are but approximations. You can’t always be right. You can’t always be wrong. Same goes for other people.

-21-too much planning and overthinking is a waste of time. It does more harm than good.

-22- at the end of the day, there’s *only you* by your side.

-23- it’s not *looking* that matters, it’s *seeing* what you are looking at, it’s not *listening* that matters but what you *hear*..
-24- want to earn people’s attention fast? Start agreeing on everything. Be honest and you stand alone.

-25-you lose in holding back.

-26-time is both abundant and limited. It’s pretty much how we use it.

-27-pain makes you grow profoundly close to God and your own self.

-28- nothing humbles you more than sickness and adversity. It’s when you know how powerless you are!
-29- happiness is only within.

-30- disappointments, parting and losses are essential for they teach you the reality of life; that is *impermanence*.

On this journey called life, we all have learned lessons that serve as tiny wings and carry us through.. those were my tiny wings…and the journey continues….🙏

… singing out now..

Love and peace. 💕

2:02 pm

-On Becoming-

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Hope you guys are well.

The other day, I was assisting my daughter with a Science project that involved things that are light and heavy and hence float on the surface of water or sink deeply due to their weight/mass respectively.

And it made me think that isn’t our individual existence too oscillating between two continuums; our being and becoming?

In this very second, as I write this, I’m reflecting a part of who I am and simultaneously working on who I’m becoming or trying to become.

By the same token, things holding you back from becoming who you’d like to become, at any given moment in time, are weighing heavily on your heart. And things that make your heart and soul joyous are holding you above water.. keeping you afloat there in peace and happiness.

What needs to be done is to know that not all of what brings us down needs to stay. Some things are harder to let go of because we’ve known them too long and they seem to have altered our chemistry so to speak..some ideas, beliefs, schools of thought and even people are hard to part with..

How?

There’s a part of us still holding on to the aftertaste of a failure. We often forget that It is but a tiny part of our past, and not who we are as a person. It is *not* a true reflection of our abilities. It happened only to show that if we were capable enough to try it once, we can do it again ..

I always believe that people who try often and fail have definitely an edge over those who have it all in the first go. Why? Because they have known more than one way of getting around n’ trying something ..

All of us, from time to time, withhold forgiveness, unknowingly grow into our insecurities, dwell on unmet expectations, hold on to relationships that keep us feeling broken and inadequate.

*Knowing* the difference between what keeps us afloat and what weighs us down is the first step in allowing ourselves the grace to admit that its only human to make mistakes. To get tired. To lose heart. To compare. To give up.

So that makes the first part of becoming. *Realising. Knowing.*

Who and what is serving as our life boat? Who and what is drowning us..?

Second part is *deciding* what impact it is having on your life. Deciding what we want to let define us. And this [what] could be our Experiences, People we meet and choose to spend time with, and Accomplishment/s. Basically who and what you want to pursue?

And last but not the least, *act*!

What you’ve known, thought about and decided upon ..(in the end) requires us to take action.

How?

Make room for change by letting go.

Letting go of anger by forgiving.

Letting go of greed by acts of charity and internalising that what we give here is what’s going to be multiplied and enstored for us in hereafter.

Letting go of hate and envy by praying for the ones you feel negative about.

Letting go of unhealthy thoughts by pursuing more acts of self love and compassion ..not to leverage yourself excuses to ignore imperfections but a humble attempt to become a better version of ourselves by the will of God.

And whatever you choose to think, decide or do, look at it through a lens of light and positivity. Pray it up and believe that with Him, all things are just a matter of کن فیکون/Be and It is. 💕

Time for me to go and have some tea.

And tonite marks the end of first ten days of the blessed ramzaan. Wish I could slow it down.

~ Love and peace..

– H a l l e l u j a h-

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I have childhood memories of the late night praying routine towards the end of the holy month of Ramadan, especially the last three sacred nights. I may have been a teenager at the time but the memories from the distant past are crystal clear even to date. I have replayed those memories and flashbacks in my head every Ramadan for so many years …going to do the same now…

You know after fasting the whole day it is incredibly hard to stay up all night in prayer, it takes strength we don’t have and determination that easily wears off!! After about an hour or so, you are done!

it is *only* by the grace of God that one is  given the desire and the strength to actually withstand the difficulty of going through the day hungry and thirsty. There’s simply no other way one would be functioning without His help and mercy. And the idea that this kind of prayer was modelled by our beloved Prophet was what kept us going big time then and does the same as of now.

I distinctly remember the dimly lit area outside our bedrooms, a wall to wall carpeted square space having a wooden buffet sitting under the kitchen window adorned by many items; of which I lovingly recall an offwhite telephone set, which must be totally obsolete now! I remember how so instantly our velvety, deep-coloured prayer mats brightened up the rather dull looking brown carpet. I have no trouble recalling the sweet scent akin to that place, the upright long standing in prayer shoulder to shoulder, staring upon silence and reciting small prayers under our breath- floating peace that occasionally got interrupted by tiny barking sound of a lone dog. This and many other details are but a blink away from my mind’s eye…
A sheet of paper would be tucked under our prayer rugs. A neatly cut out square piece of paper that religiously collected our glances every 10 min. This sheet was undoubtedly the highlight of the night. So there were a few untiring attempts at things like;

1- that the table we drew on the paper was designed with 100 checkboxes.. not one more not one less! .Strictly. One. Hundred. Which were meant to be checked off one by one with each unit of prayer. So basically we’d challenge ourselves to read up 100 raka’ts/units of prayer in a few hours..

2- that the pen used for marking and ticking off was *the best* among its pencil box companions. As if the poor stationary too was going to engage in some sorta competition where it’s dexterity and swiftness was to be tested! *chuckle*

3- a half filled jug of water that we shared to keep hydrated in between our sometimes mutually-agreed and sometimes just-like-that prayer intervals. Mostly it would be predetermined as in every 30 minutes or after a certain number of boxes being checked off.

4- and my favourite was the invisible [unannounced & random] slots of mini breaks; chatting about stuff whilst seated on our prayer mats and the very visible patches of light that windowed through from the lamp in the kitchen onto the somber designs of our mats.

The first two hours of praying, the momentum stayed on track although internally we’d be struggling to stay alert! Strangely each time a brief exchange of concern to complete 100 nafls (prayer) would improve our motivation  dramatically as if the chat had served as chicken soup for the very tired body and soul. And immediately we would go back to our knees in awe and praise of the holy night …

It makes me smile to recall how after finishing every unit of prayer, when I sat down, I had the urge to pray for my academic success ..to secure top position/s and all that. How very simple and only-academic life used to be! I don’t remember praying for anything else but generally and genuinely for my family. And I’m grateful to God for keeping me obediently prompted to pray for their well being even to date.

Looking back into the light of my memory, I fondly recall that almost always we’d managed to tick off the last box that read 100. With our bodies sore to the core, hearts filled with relief & eyes soaked in sleep, we would then wait for sehree (early morning breakfast ritual for the next day/fast).

Recollection of those nights leads to some nugget of wisdom that I hope holds meaning and truth for you guys.

1- When we hold someone/something dear to us, we praise it. But mere verbal praise means nothing. As they say, ‘actions speak louder than words’. God requires us to actually *live our claim* of Love for Him through *actions*, it cannot be contained in our hearts alone. The most wonderful opening chapter of the holy Quran starts off with Praising God. Hence,  praise and acknowledgement being the theme of the whole prayer. And not just God but it applies to worldly relationships. Praise. Acknowledge. Sacrifice.

2- Praise involves sacrifice. Giving up something you love for someone you love. Giving up your ego. Giving up sleep to stay up nights. Giving up time to reach out and be there for someone in need. Giving up money for the sake of charity. Anything that costs us time, effort & energy is a sacrifice in and of itself. The amount of sacrifice we are ready to do is reciprocal to our love for that very entity.

3- Prayer is not limited to box-checked or a to-do list accomplished sort of a phenomenon. It is a process that requires consistency and intention. It is just like sowing a seed, watering and caring for it regularly and watching it grow, bear fruit & benefit not just oneself but those around us.

We may be thousands of miles apart geographically and belong to altogether different religions and cultures, the reasons and routines of prayer might not match, perhaps some of us pray by crying out loud or some of us pour our heart out only through a soft whisper emerging from the deepest core of our heart. Despite our differences and distances, we got this one thing in common. And it is ..the *language* & the *sound* of prayer. It is Universal. It is One.

However, wherever and whenever a prayer is made, it makes one feel grounded and anchored in the belief that God, Glorified and Exalted is He, is capable of answering it. Once we internalise this, rest assured we will be given what we want or something much much better than what we asked for and He will most likely give it to us in a way that we never would have imagined..

I wish we’d had given the ability to once in a while take a step back into our past and relive some days if not all of it….but that’s asking too much .. is it?!

*sending prayers…*