As we enter the Muslim’s holy month of Ramadan, we look forward to the great blessings that are bestowed upon us every year and which we thank the Lord for as we are reminded of them daily. We are reminded of the poor’s feelings of starvation through our fasting and thus we thank the Lord for our financial status which enables us to purchase the basic foods, at least, that will allow us to sleep with full bellies.
We are thankful for our families who are happily gathering around the table at the time of breaking our fast and we are reminded of the many people who have lost their loved ones (may God bless and have mercy on their souls.)
We are thankful for not being at war. For having shelter above our heads and peace in our minds before our bodies.
And also, we are thankful for our mothers. Our mothers who look forward to this month to have us all sitting together as a family before we all got busy with our lives. And I don’t know about you, but my mother shows her love through food.
She infuses her dishes with love. Every single dish coming out of her kitchen smells of her. Every single dish has the sense of her soul. She use all her senses combined to produce a vast array of dishes that are loved by us all. She slaves away in the kitchen, replacing last year’s dish set with a brand new one as Ramadan’s blessings, just to make us smile. And instead of resting while she fasts, she chooses to go the extra mile and make my brother his kebabs because he just loves them.
And as if that’s not enough giving, she hand picks mint from her herb garden to infuse it in our tea, alongside love.
A big thank you to my mother who had a tiring day, you make Ramadan what it is. xoxo
With children, you sometimes question your sanity. If you were an outsider looking in, you will see the many repeated questions and the many ignored requests. Let’s assume you want to ask your child what he would like to have for dinner. You start by asking like a normal human being.
“What would you like for dinner?”
You decide that maybe he didn’t hear you, so you raise your voice a notch.
“Hey, what would you like for dinner?”
This may go on a few times before you realize that your child isn’t even looking in your direction, so you remember that you should probably try to grab his attention by gently putting your hand on him. Finally, eye contact. So you ask again, repeating the question using a normal volume then raising your voice a little bit. He squirms away, you walk behind him strong, thinking that you’re the mom, you are putting the rules. He’s not the boss of me, you say to yourself. He runs, you walk a bit faster. A few more minutes of this and it turns to a full on game of chase.
Who’s the boss now?
You throw your hands up shouting that this is not a game so your kid says fine but nothing else. You ask again and get nothing.
You wonder next whether you need to be facing your child when asking so you try that. It takes some effort but you finally have eye contact. You look into his eyes and suddenly all his childhood years fly by but no! You will not succumb to his cuteness.
So you ask, slowly and making sure to articulate each letter: “What would you want to have for dinner.”
It’s happening. You have eye contact, you see that your kid is listening to you, and then the dreaded answer comes: “anything”.
Scoff, because making “anything” means he will eat “anything,” isn’t it?
With children, looking at the many times I ran around like a headless chicken I salute myself. I salute myself for closing the door on my finger and for knocking my head into the cupboard for no reason, all in the same morning. I salute you, mothers, for being able to decipher your child so that no verbal confirmation is needed, you only need to be there to read the clues.
So you end up making some pasta, knowing that he’d eat it… and he does.
Verbal confirmation is not for mothers, they are telepathic,
We like to think that we have “everything under control” and that the time spent doing things not on the top of our priority list is an actual choice we made. Ha! Wake up and smell the coffee. Who is really pulling your strings?
Values and preconceptions have been embedded in out minds from a young age and seldom do we question their validity. We do not question why our parents raised us a certain way and why they enrolled us in a certain school. We take it as a given that they were and always will be looking out for our best interests. Now let’s assume that somebody’s parents were selfish people who couldn’t care less what he did in school and who he’s hanging around with. Does it mean that the strings they are supposed to hang on to and care for get thrown down for anyone to pick up? Yes, that’s precisely what it means.
If parents are not there to “pull their children’s strings” before the children are all grown up and can pull their own strings, someone bigger and probably not wiser will be more than happy to control them. Watch out for your kids.
Alright, back to you. Now after we as children were being controlled by our parents’ values and limits, we quickly graduated to have the school teachers have some control. This control doesn’t necessary mean it’s bad, on the contrary, it means that we still need some guidance before the time is right and we’re ready to fly from the best.-
The issue lies when we are introduced to a bigger circle. Friends included in a bigger social circle, the society and its many different ideologies, sometimes religion and people who represent it, celebrities, people with big names, people with no names, your neighbor, your local milk man, anybody can hold your strings and control you when you least know it. What can you do? Don’t allow it.
Don’t allow anyone to take control. Hold your own strings and stand your ground in regards to your beliefs. You may be surprised that one day you will turn from being the puppet to being the puppet master.
Influence, do not let people influence you
Lead, do not be satisfied with being led.
Make your own mark, find your own voice, and speak. Believe in yourself: you are your number one everything. Do not allow yourself to be controlled
Control, who’s really holding your strings?
We all know that sometimes it’s easier to talk to SIRI than actually going through the whole swish the finger across, swish it again, tap, and get what you want (we are a generhation who took the word lazy to a totally different level). SIRI uses voice recognition to follow commands given by the owner of the IPhone/Ipad/Ipod and other I-related products. For more information about what SIRI is, google SIRI wikipedia.
Last week, my five year old niece comes up to me and asks, “Can I talk to your phone?” I didn’t quite understand her and was like huh? She said, can I talk to your phone for a bit? Her mom tells me from across the room that her daughter wants to talk to SIRI so I tell her to go ahead. I was having a nice cup of tea and didn’t really need my phone so I didn’t think I would miss it.
A few minutes later, I hear my niece screaming, “I SAID SING A SONG!” over and over again, louder and louder each time. What she didn’t realize, though, was she wasn’t changing her command and when she does, it is very minimal. I totally ignored her for the next ten minutes and then started worrying about my battery. Luckily, she managed to get SIRI to “sing a song” which was basically just playing a random song from my music playlist. She was beaming! I took the phone away.
My three year old son wanted to, obviously, copy his “amazing older cousin” so he came and said, “mama can I use your phone? I want it to sing for me.” Which is very adorable because it sounded like he wanted someone to sing him a good night song. I let him have my phone and he, come to think of it, knew how to get SIRI working. Hmmm, I just realized this now. Anyway, I told him, “Tell her play a song SIRI” and he did. He was ecstatic and went to show his cousin who was surprised.
I got to hear how she doesn’t have a SIRI in her Ipad (it’s probably an older model) and how her mom’s SIRI isn’t working. So today she comes up and asks to talk to SIRI again, please just for five minutes, ok three minutes, pleeeeease. And I give in. She picks the phone and before she says anything I say, “if you want her to play music don’t ask her to sing a song, ask her to play music.” and she did. She didn’t have to scream, she didn’t have to waste her energy, she didn’t have to waste battery life, and she knew what she needed to ask to get her required result.
What we learn from this is
- when you want to ask for something, identify exactly what it is that you want and ask for it clearly and precisely.
- If you use the exact same words to ask for something, do not expect different outcomes at different times. This expectation is known as insanity according to Einstein (doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results).
- You will not get different results when you shout, you will only get a headache.
- Kids will get what they want when adults are having a tea break
- Sometimes when copying a cousin, you still need to listen to your mom for directions
All you need is one second. A pause where you can regain your strength. A pause to gather your nothingness into the empty shell of the person you once were. All you need is a pause to stop your tears from flowing. A pause to get out of the reality of darkness to the fantasy people call life.
A pause to push back the monster eating your insides, to stop your knees from buckling under you, and to avert your eyes from the innocent eyes of the children who see all. You smile in defiance of the energy building inside you. The volcano of anger banging in your head anticipating a chance to erupt. A pause is all it takes to put things into perspective, into the control you learned so long ago to master.
To turn your inner shell into a happy smile. A soulless puppet you always were, reluctant to move its limbs without the guidance of the puppeteer. A pause to gather your wisdom and hide away the strings attached, no strings attached.
A pause is all it takes to stop yourself from crumbling. From losing yourself into yourself and from seeing the true you. A pause to put on the mask, to stop the tears and start the smile. A pause to calm the tempest you so adore. The tempest that makes you who you are: filled with anger, rage, passion. A pause is all it takes to forget yourself and succumb to the chains of your imprisonment.
When you change nothing, nothing changes. When life reaches a point where every day is like the day before, things get comfortable. You know what is expected from you, what you expect from people, and what you will achieve that day. But in the long run, your achievements will be minimal in relation to the number of days you lived.
So why wait for the change to happen when the factor that is needed is you. You need to change to enforce change. You need to do things differently to get higher results or, at least, something else. Yes, we are all guilty of taking the back seat in our lives but we shouldn’t settle because there are many things out there that can be achieved.
Things you wanted to do before you turned 30 shouldn’t be a list thrown away. Even though 15 year old you is only living in the past, you owe him/her some respect towards their desires; he/she is still a part of you. When change happens, everything happens.
Your comfort zone is like your home. You feel comfortable in it and you stop growing. You stop learning, and you stop expanding your horizon. The world is continuously changing and people who follow these trends and accept these changes are no longer prisoners of their fear. Fear of change and fear of growth.
But how can you be the factor that induces this growth? Takes you from one phase in life to another? First, you need to accept the challenge and know your strengths and weaknesses. You need to identify what you want done, face your biggest fear, your demons, head on. You need to take one step outside your comfort zone. Feel uncomfortable: it won’t kill you.
There are many cliche sayings such as “think outside the box” and “there is no box” and “be the change you want to see in the world,” but in my opinion, the best is “There is no spoon”. Yes, there is no spoon because the boundaries and your fear is all in your head. For example, let’s assume I am afraid to present in front of a big group. It’s not an impossible task; many people are capable of doing it and yet my speech starts to slur and I feel like I’m having a nervous breakdown. Now, this contains me in a little bit, taking away possibilities and choices, and reduces my skills by one skill. Imagine that this goes on to include more skills: networking, socializing, report writing, too scared to watch movies that have to do with death, too scared to read books that have more than 300 pages. These are all restrictions on ME. I am actively putting myself in jail and making it smaller by these ridiculous constraints that nobody placed but myself.
So why do it?
Because it’s too scary?
Well, outside is where the magic happens. Where possibilities are infinite and everything is within reach. Stepping outside your comfort zone may be hard to start, but after a few steps and familiarizing yourself with your new surroundings, you have a new bigger comfort zone. One that may have included one thing you consider “magic.” And you take another step out, and you grow your comfort zone, thereby including more magic in your life.
Stepping outside your comfort zone doesn’t necessarily mean meeting new people, it could mean doing something different. Skiing, skateboarding, traveling, meditating, taking a journey inwards, taking a journey outwards, reading a new genre, it doesn’t matter. It only matters that you made the effort to change your days and understand that perception is everything. You are the only one binding you with unnecessary limits in a place where there are no limits.
Think. Step outside. Grow. Find your magic. And remember, there is no spoon.
Age is nothing but a number.
A number that defines the days we spent living in the world. A number that defines where we are, or should be, in our lives and maturity levels. A number that defines how we should think, act, and be. A number that restricts our being into being what it should and shouldn’t be.
Some people perceive themselves younger. Some believe their minds are older, probably even think they are wiser. Born wise, they say. But what ages us? How many years have we spent not learning, not living, and not growing where the only difference is the number of candles on our cake. So if we didn’t grow, how can the number go forward? And if we forget and change our perspectives, why doesn’t the number turn back?
Back in time to what was.
But can you un-see what was seen? Can you unlearn what was learnt? Can you spare yourself the heartbreak and the major lesson that you still hold onto. The lesson that gained you ten years or more.
When a person chooses to live shut away from people, does he grow? When time ticks and nothing happens, does time proceed or does it stop? When we are still, why does time pass us by?
In our minds, the age we see ourselves is the age that mattered most to us. The time we peaked (and hopefully we shall peak again), but in the meantime, our memories from that age live on, so technically, if you see yourself as an 18 year old and can swear by the moon and the stars in the sky (I swear- Boys2men), then you are living in that era. In that age.
Time should not pass.
In the mirror, do you see who you are or do you think you see what is? Do you exist now or then? And if time has passed, shouldn’t you have stayed with time?
Living in the past is never the best place to live, but to question every decision made helps clear your way forward. Nostalgia for what was should fuel what is and what should be.
But when your mind and soul are living in a different era, how can you pull yourself forward? How can you pull yourself back to your age?
Age is nothing but a number.
Places hold witness to many stories and many stories take place in certain places. The concept of constructing a home, a building, a castle, or a mall doesn’t just mean it will forever only serve its purpose whether it’s commercial or residential, places serve a higher purpose for memories.
A starting ground for many stories.
Many memories we have in our minds are linked to places. A mall entrance where you first lay eyes on your current husband, the Dairy Queen booth where your boyfriend first held your hand, and even the supermarket where you saw your childhood friend after years of losing contact. The walls and ceilings of the places mean more than their purpose, they hold within them feelings and energy once surrounding them.
There is energy when you enter a place which held in it many events. A church withholds in its walls energy filled with fear, flight, fright, love, sadness, despair, hope, and faith. Many feelings make the place jump with life and you could sense the energy the moment you walk in.
When visiting old castles, you could almost see people walking by, with their medieval clothes and hair swept up with tassels on the sides. Women walking with their hands around a gentleman’s arm, dressed in a long-tailed suit with long sideburns and a groomed mustache. The sound of ducks in the nearby fountain and the chirping of the chicks. A little dog running across the field and the smell of the peonies whiff by.
Standing in the face of time, history holds still. Time stops, and people stop in bewilderment trying to guess what went on here. Who stood on these grounds and who held onto this rail. Who built these walls and who planted this ancient tree? What was he thinking and did he ever imagine that it would stand in the face of time, thereby making his act immortal.
History holds still in the walls of castles; in the gravel roads behind the major cities. In the Stonehenge, the hanging gardens, the pyramids, the great wall, and other wonders of the world. Yes, they remain a wonder to all people who realize the amount of energy it takes to build and mysteriously create such colossal beauties. Points where energy is fused with life, in life, and within life. Points that once made sense to the architect, and which no longer make sense to our brains… but which stun our feelings into speechlessness.
Places do not speak, but if they do, oh the stories they could tell.