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Stepping forward

To be at peace is to be able to look at chaos calmly, seeing beyond the ‘what is’ the beautiful ‘what can be’ when we synergize to make things better through The Almighty.

To be great is to be able to forgive others, keeping in mind our own countless moments of weakness that The Most Merciful forgives repeatedly.

To be faithful is to walk with courage in the dark, knowing The Guide will lead us to where we’ve always wanted to be, right where we’re meant to be.

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Posted by on May 21, 2017 in I + You = WE, reach UP, wOrK = pLaY

 

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mixed eMOMtions

I’ve been getting a lot of mother’s day greetings, and there are a lot of ads online that promote this international observance, too. I’ve nothing against those who observe this special day–everyday after all, is a day for moms, dads and everyone we dearly love and/or include in our prayers, so if you decide to make this day special, that’s really great! What I found alarming, however, are the companies that have made this day and other observances soooo…commercialized. Boo-hoo. And, mind you, they play real well with emotions and make the viewers feel guilty. In a way, it’s good for some who might really need a wake-up call. But, generally, I feel bad how such companies play with emotions to make them and their products a “regular” in people’s lives–like it won’t be the same without them. Status symbols, social comparisons (and competition), happiness definitions, here we go. Maybe I’m being jaded today…then again, maybe I feel sad because I’ve had enough of such sights (in this developing part of  the world) as dear parents spending hard-earned money on a fastfood (UNHEALTHY) meal for their child while they stare (happily) without anything for themselves, and kids buying their parents signature bags or clothes on this special day but can’t even think of sponsoring monthly bills or medications of their dear old folks.

Setting that aside, the greetings are a nice opportunity to ponder on how it is to be a mom. Motherhood. Mommyhood. Yes, it is often not glamorous–well, at least in this life; what with laundry, diapers, messy floor, etcetera etcetera, right?  Well, I’m barely a two-year-old mother, and have so much to learn. I quickly tell those who think I’m a supermom that I’m waaay far from being one; that is, if supermom is someone who doesn’t have bouts of impatience, low self-esteem and what-have-you’s.  Yep, I’m barely two years old, but this much I know:

I am going to need more and more PATIENCE everyday. My little one is going to continue to challenge me, knowingly or unknowingly, and it’s not because she hates me, but because she needs to grow up.

I am going to re-learn what TIME MANAGEMENT is…and that pretty much includes “alone time”, especially now that I’m at a stage where I can’t even have 5 minutes of peace in the toilet when my toddler is awake. (Yes, this is being written as catharsis and while my beloved is in dreamland. Harhar.)

I am going to discover the so many ways to LOVE and BE LOVED. I know that there’s nothing in the world that makes her feel more loved now than being breastfed (What?! There’s nothing gross about that.) and a close second is the time I spend just sitting beside her as we scribble or pretend-color where you’ll see the sudden sparkle in her eyes as she giggles looking at me then puts her head on my shoulder or makes our heads touch each other. I know there’s still so much more to discover, but I also know having those little arms wrapped around my neck or leg and her head leaned on me while she delivers her “I lowe you” will always make me feel so loved. And yes, I know she will always love me and her first love–who else but her Baba–differently.

I am going to constantly change my idea of SUCCESS. Yes, having a career outside the home has, admittedly, shaped my views about this. But, now I am learning it can be as simple–yet truly fulfilling–as catching my little one ‘steal’ some of my samosas while juggling them in her hands because they’re too hot yet she just can’t wait to eat them.

I am going to discover so many FEARS within me perhaps not for me but for this fragile beloved who is a fellow sojourner in this world. But, I also believe I am going to surprise myself with the COURAGE I never even knew I had just so I can erase the fears in those little eyes staring back at me. (And this is going to include killing those flying roaches, in shaa Allah.)

I am going to learn more and more about INTERDEPENDENCE in MARRIAGE as I see my husband in a different light even more now that we are parents. Yes, Miss Independent suddenly has her ‘mommy eyes’ playing with her head and Superman just has to be there to reassure her that they will do just fine (and that falls, bumps, bruises and all those mommy nightmares are a normal part of growing up).

I am going to learn to TRUST more that, as my husband tells me, our feisty litte princess is growing up just fine. It’s amazing how this once completely dependent being doesn’t even want her hand to be held now that she’s discovered how far and how fast her two little feet can go.

And, yes, I am going to have to increase and deepen my FAITH to be able to attain all of the above, and most especially, to do two of the most difficult things I can ever think of for anyone in any loving relationship (and especially for parents): to hang on and to let go…always for the sake of The Most Loving One Who, Alhamdulillah, mercifully gave me this chance to be a mom.

Difficult? Yes, definitely…but with HIM, it will always be possible. In shaa Allah.

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2017 in I + You = WE

 

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Step One

Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim
(In the Name of ALLAH, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful)
How do I begin?
As I pondered on how to start this new entry, I realized my question was something that has actually been posed several times in dialogues I’ve been blessed enough to have.
How do I begin?
Perhaps, it sounds absurd for some—even a ‘no-brainer’, so they say. However, admit it or not, there indeed comes a point in our lives when we feel paralyzed by unexpected situations or overwhelming expectations. It could be that sudden loss of something or someone so valuable that we are left wondering how we can possibly take another step, let alone another breath. Or, it could be the realization that we’ve committed a major mistake that has now caused significant people in our lives so much pain—thus, hurting ourselves as well. Or, it could be finding ourselves being given that opportunity to get our biggest dreams yet it also feels like the whole world’s breathing down our necks, telling us we cannot afford to make a mistake. SubhanALLAH (Glory be to Allah), three scenarios that are different yet are also quite the same. Why don’t we ponder on them a bit?
Loss. It never is easy to lose hold of those we’ve come to consider as life essentials. Yes, maybe we all know that sooner or later losing them was bound to happen (after all, nothing in this world is permanent). But, let’s admit this: as we get attached even more to this world, we unconsciously forget that loss is inevitable and it is something that we can and will experience. We forget this basic truth that when it finally does happen, we often feel devastated—how can something so wonderful end just like that? And, how can others expect us to begin anew? Speak to an old lady whose better half for almost 50 years passed away and you’ll realize how difficult beginning could be: first morning without him…first breakfast, first step out of the house, first trip to that familiar supermart to do the groceries, first chat with old friends…first of everything once again—without him. And we suddenly grasp why lines like “you can do it” or “you’ll be ok” can sound so meaningless for the bereaved. How do we begin, so they wonder…but…inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon, remember? To ALLAH we belong and to HIM is our return.
Mistake. It’s easy to demand or expect our loved ones to make amends immediately when they hurt us. Yet, when it’s the other way around, especially when we realize the gravity of our mistakes, the acts we know we should do to make things right become difficult. How do we begin to say sorry? How do we take away the pain they feel? How can we expect them to forgive us after the things we’ve done? The simple is suddenly blurred by the complex and exaggerated thoughts of what would happen next. And, before we know it, selective amnesia sets in—we remember so well what we’ve done wrong but we’ve forgotten the timeless essentials that would help make things better. We’ll expound on this some more in a separate article. For now, suffice it to say that the i-am-beyond-redemption mindset makes us forget that it is actually possible to tread on the path towards a brand new start. La taqnatoo min rahmati Allah, remember? “…despair not of the mercy of ALLAH.” (see Holy Qur’an 39:53 for complete verse)
Risk. It’s quite ironic how we pray so hard that The Most Gracious gives us our hearts’ desire yet when an opportunity to turn those dreams into reality is presented, we freeze. What are we going to do next? What step must we take? What if things go wrong? What if we fail our loved ones? What if we fail ourselves? Imagine that. We’ve been brought this close to our dreams by The All-Powerful One yet we now forget to trust that HE will continue to guide us in our next steps. Hasbiyallaahu laa ‘ilaaha ‘illaa Huwa ‘alayhi tawakkaltu wa Huwa Rabbul-’Arshil-’Adheem, remember? Allah is sufficient for me. There is none worthy of worship but Him. I have placed my trust in Him, He is Lord of the Majestic Throne.
There…three different life events that make us ask how to begin. Events that reveal our fears—fear of getting attached too much only to lose, fear of never being forgiven, and fear of failing to reach much-wanted goals. And, if we ponder on them some more, fears tell us how afraid we are of experiencing pain. After all, it is painful to lose something or someone we’ve considered an extension of ourselves. It is painful to realize it is our own selves who’ve caused the very ones we love pain. And, it is painful to not get those much-wanted dreams in life. Fear and pain. Indeed, different scenarios yet the same—always a test of faith. Fear reveals how strong our faith is in The Best Planner, The All-Wise. And, pain can actually be a blessing in disguise; a way to remind us of the purpose of our existence.
How do I begin?
Others quite often say, you just do it…just begin. It may sound absurd, but then again, think of it. Each moment of our lives is a beginning. I mean, who would’ve thought we’d make it to the next moment? Had HE willed, this could be our last breath, subhanALLAH. But, we’re still here, Alhamdulillah (praise be to Allah). In fact, wherever you are right now, if you’re still reading this, then that’s more than enough to say, “Alhamdulillah.” (And we’re not yet even reflecting deeply on the air, the sun, the electricity, the computer you’re using, the sense of sight, and all the what-have-you’s that we often take for granted) Some of us may not have wanted to still be breathing right now because of how tragic life seems to them, but hey, we’re still here. Alhamdulillah. And, whether we like it or not, life goes on as long as HE wills it.
Hence, if each moment is a beginning which HE lovingly gives, then we are left with only two options: to either begin by giving it the best we have or to begin by letting our fears and all the negativities get in the way. Reflect. If you wake up and you tell yourself “It’s too difficult” or “It’s no use” or “I won’t make it”, then that’s already how you chose to begin your life at that very moment—and seriously, it’s going to affect the next moments you may be given unless you decide to change. So, which option is it going to be?
Still finding it hard? Perhaps, it’ll help if we modify the question:
How do I want to begin this moment of my life?
There. We’re not even talking about the rest of our lives; just this very important moment given to us—the here and now; the (gift of the) present. One moment at a time. One step at a time. Step one. And what matters is the kind of step one we make out of the moment HE lovingly gives, in shaa ALLAH (God willing).
Difficult? Perhaps—when faith wanes…but may we remember that with HIM, it always is possible. And, truthfully, may we pray that each of us decide to begin each moment with our lips, our minds, and our hearts saying,
Bismillah. In the Name of Allah.
In the Name of Allah. In the Name of The One Who’s lovingly created you and me. In the Name of The One Who never tires. In the Name of The One Who Hears even our hearts’ unspoken prayers. In the Name of The One Who gives peace and light. In The Name of The One Who bestows more than what we can ever imagine.
Bismillah. In the Name of Allah.
Don’t you just love how that sounds? I honestly hope we find our hearts smiling much, in shaa ALLAH.
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“Bismillah is the start of all things good.” – Bediuzzaman Said Nursi
 
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Posted by on April 21, 2017 in reach UP

 

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Pencil

This is not an original. I often hear this way back college during our recollections and retreats. I just summarized and added some. Read on…

Be a PENCIL:

1. Allow ALLAH The Most Loving Teacher to guide you as you write your story.

2. Your capacity to leave a mark comes from within.

3. Sharpening may be painful, but it brings out the best in you.

4. Mistakes are a part of life. Be humble enough to use your eraser.

5. Your eraser’s quite small and it will one day run out. Remember that there are things you won’t be able to erase, and you’d have to live with them forever.

6. There will always be someone who seems to be better than you…but why make comparisons or concern yourself too much with what they write? Focus on YOUR story. Focus on making YOUR mark. No one can do that for you except yourself.

7. Your lead one day will all be consumed. Make the most of it & remember that though you’ll never run out of opportunities to leave a mark while you’re still here, you do have limited time & opportunities to touch the same exact sheets of paper and make your mark there.

Be a blessed PENCIL! 🙂

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2017 in I + You = WE, reach UP

 

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Forget not

Interestingly, FB memories remind me how my Decembers have been for the past five years…all about psychosocial support. More interestingly, however–and one i pray i never forget–is the fact that in the process of providing such support, in the face of such raw and honest interhuman encounters, i find that it is i who has been awakened, who has been touched and inspired, who has learned so, so much. Alhamdulillah.

 

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Posted by on December 3, 2016 in I + You = WE, reach UP

 

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Image

un-lost

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Posted by on November 6, 2016 in reach UP

 

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EaRtHLiNgs

For now, that’s us. And, the truth is, this earthly life was never meant to be perfect. There’ll be a lot of tests and there’ll be moments when we’d want to give up; to give up on others or the situation, which makes me realize that’d be us giving up on ourselves–on the servants HE wishes us to be.

EaRtHLiNgs. It may not be easy to be one, but Alhamdulillah, we’re here…still here with an opportunity to make the most of this life so we can successfully go back to our real home in the end, bi’idhnillah.

Smile, supplicate, and strive to keep the faith! 💗

 

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2016 in reach UP

 

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