-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

– 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…*

-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?!