18 Ramadan 2017: Moderation and Balance

Everything in moderation, and there’s a perfect balance in this life if we can find it. – Ryan Robbins

Susan Jeffers’, in Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway, presents a model for one’s “whole life” (p. 139). It has 9 boxes covering different facets in one’s life as opposed to one or two aspects that if gone, sends one on a downward spiral towards depression, sadness or despair.

Moderation, to me, is having a balanced life in different aspects. We may not be perfect in each sphere, but we are balanced. Being extreme is about putting our eggs in one basket be it work, relationship, kids, friends etc… without taking other spheres into account.

So when we are not where we want to be at work, we look at the other areas to provide balance until we are satisfied with work again, and so forth. So the key is also to have the right “spheres” within our lives that together, give us a balanced and satisfactory life.

I ask god, in this blessed month, to help us identify the different spheres of focus in our lives and help us live our life in moderation practicing patience when things don’t seem* to be good and practicing gratitude when things seem* to go well.

* sometimes we label things good or bad, but in reality, only outcomes can be assessed good or bad.

 

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17 Ramadan 2017: It can be much worse

Such is life and life is such and after all it isn’t much. First a cradle. Then a hearse. It might have been better, but it could have been worse. – Norman Wisdom

One very effective way around feelings of despair is the power of imagination … imaging how different and worse things could be that brings us back to the circle of thankfulness and satisfaction with self, society and god.

I know, this might sound like a passive approach to positivity and change but the truth is that it cannot be ignored because yes, things could be much much much worse and our current situation can become much much much worse in a split second.

Take one moment, and imagine just one aspect that could be worse … believe me, your feelings of desperation will switch, even if temporarily or momentarily, to feelings of thankfulness.

There are so many negative things in our world today. Thank god for our safety. Thank god for clean water. Thank god for food. Thank god for a roof over our heads. Thank god for decent health to move around. Thanks to god always.

So again, why are we sad? It really could be much much worse.

I may not be where I want to be, but thank God I am not where I used to be. Joyce Meyer

 

 

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16 Ramadan 2017: The Real You

Starve the ego, feed the soul – Unknown

As we approach the last days of Ramadan, it is worth looking back at the last 16 days and use the next couple of days to prepare for what it is we want, we hope, and we seek for the next year and beyond.

The last 10 days are special because those who fast this month believe that there is one special night that is bestowed on people who are genuine in their actions of worship, love and charity bringing great blessings with it where angels surround earth, the skies and the heavens above. It is also in this special night that our destinies for the next year are revealed, may they be great.

Reflection is key to this preparation as we have had 16 days to really see who we really are as fasting and the fasting month expose our souls in ways that are often more challenging day to day as we are busy at work, home, friends, and life more generally.

How were you with people? Did you gossip? Did you hurt someone with your words or actions?

How did you feel about people? Envious? Hoping for them what you hope for yourself?

How were you with your family? Your children? Were you angry? Were you kind and merciful?

How were you with money? Did you waste it? Did you share it with others through gifts and generosity?

How were you with work? Did you complete tasks with excellence?

How were you with god? Did you seek forgiveness for the *not so proud* things you did? Did you ask for all the things you want?

Ramadan is not about limiting food and drink, ramadan is about seeing who we truly are and working on what needs to improve and thanking god for the lovely qualities we have.

 

 

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15 Ramadan 2017: Control

You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you. – Brian Tracy

I spoke about destiny in an earlier post, in a larger sense, it is about letting go of events and matters in our lives that we cannot control.

Whether it is a child who is adamant about disrespecting, or a person determined to bring negativity to others, or natural disasters or acts of war, or even a bankrupted employer, these are all matters that we cannot control whatsoever.

What we can control however, is how we respond to them and more specifically, responding assertively to events out of our reach or influence.

The first step is to never blame oneself.

The second is to to recognize that just because a certain undesirable event is happening,  it does not mean that I am a victim of it without any say in how I can reduce its impact on myself and my loved ones.

The third step is to seek the learning and the change that is meant to happen within me as a result of me experiencing or witnessing this event for nothing is by chance.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Reinhold Niebuhr

 

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14 Ramadan 2017: Why we struggle sometimes

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. – Frederick Douglass

Despite what we may see in life, be it in person or in social media, everyone struggles … everyone.

Looking back at all my previous and current struggles, I find this to be true … our struggles are stimulated by either something in the future that we need to be prepared for both in knowledge and resilience or something we need to learn about ourselves in order to lead happier lives.

Struggling with a business sale, struggles in relationships, struggling at work, struggles in health, struggling in school, they all uncover traits within ourselves that we need to work on or prepare us for what is to come in the future.

The key is to treat these struggles as such, means to self-improvement and happiness and not let them set in our hearts in the form of despair.

 

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13 Ramadan 2017: Despair, Criticism and Failure

Do not let arrogance go to your head and despair to your heart; do not let compliments go to your head and criticisms to your heart; do not let success go to your head and failure to your heart.― Roy T. Bennett

What I liked about this quote is how it ultimately presents three key facts when it comes to despair.

The first is that despair is set in the heart. This explains why it is more challenging to let go of the negative feelings that come with despair for if it was rationality, we could logically limit its’ effects on our lives.

The second is that criticisms often negatively affect our hearts leading to despair even if they are neither justified nor warranting feelings of despair in our lives.

The third is that we sometimes take failure so seriously, it affects the state of our hearts in feelings of loss, and despair sets in.

So while criticism and failure does give us feelings of sadness and disappointment, maybe engaging our rationality is a way through to prevent these feelings from taking over our hearts and setting us in on a path of despair.

 

 

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12 Ramadan 2017: Knowledge all the way through

The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge. – Bertrand Russell

Going on through life without seeking the knowledge to help make one’s life better is like walking across the street blindfolded. So imagine when one is going through a tough time leading to some despair?

The only way through, after depending on god to respond to our need for help to get over the toughest moments, is to understand why we are going through a particular situation, what others have done to get over similar situations and which steps can be taken to overcome the challenges.

In other words, despair is linked to action and movement towards resolving challenges and before we know it, we are busy taking action Deakin with the challenges we face … and pufffff … they disappear.

 

 

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11 Ramadan 2017: Just one more step

Before success comes in any man’s life, he is sure to meet with much temporary defeat, and, perhaps, some failure. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and most logical thing to do is to quit. That is exactly what the majority of men do. More than five hundred of the most successful men this country has ever known told the author their greatest success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them. ― Napoleon Hill

Feelings of despair tend to initially come when we struggle or fail to achieve our goals and dreams. This then escalates to other areas of our life, from family, to friends, to materials we own and to our own inner spirit.

So, what if we stopped “despair” in its tracks before it escalates?

Part of it maybe is managing our own expectations and adjusting our state of mind on what failure actually means. The other part may be pushing ourselves just a bit more beyond the initial signs of failure, which is not easily done and takes a good support system to help one do that.

In essence, can we stop despair in its tracks before it materialises? I think we can.

 

 

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10 Ramadan 2017: He is always there

God will never give you anything you can’t handle, so don’t stress. – Kelly Clarkson

As we complete the first third of this blessed month, I can’t help but think of god’s role when it comes to despair.

In addition to god telling us in the various holy books that he is always with us and does not give us what we cannot bear, we only have to look closely to see this sign within ourselves.

Think of the most difficult times in your life when you thought you were never going to be able to “make it through” or get out of a situation, have you noticed that you always do? Have you noticed that when you look back you think, “I had everything I needed to get through this one”?

God is always here and he is always listening to us and he knows us better than we know ourselves. Knowing that gives me comfort that there is no need to despair, we just need faith that …

this too shall pass.

 

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9 Ramadan 2017: We are all special

Don’t compare yourself with anyone in this world…if you do so, you are insulting yourself. ― Bill Gates

One of the causes of desperation is a worry about not measuring up, or not being as good as a person or another, or feeling “un”special because of a lack of attention online or offline and basically feeling inferior to others.

Inferiority is the antagonist of being the best we can be.

The key is to recognize that we actually don’t need to measure up to anyone other than ourselves. We should not seek to be as good as or better than anyone and we definitely should not seek our worth from other people’s attention, online or offline.

Earl Nightingale is one of my favorite inspirational speaker and thinker. So in today’s post, I wanted to share with you what he said about inferiority from his audio about self esteem.

People have an inferiority complex because they compare themselves to others.

Everyone is inferior in some areas and superiour in others. So a well adjusted person does not get bothered if someone is better than them in something. Inferiority and superioirity are reverse sides of the same coin. The coin itself is spurious.

You are neither … you are simply you. You as a personality are not in competition with any other personality because no one is like you. You are unique and no other person is supposed to be like you. God did not create one person and said this is it, he made each person unique.

We are all different and nothing is by accident.

Your job is to know yourself and like yourself.

You will accept the things you cannot do and appreciate the things you can do and accept yourself as one of a kind.

(Earl Nightingale)

During this blessed month, I ask god to give us a true perspective of ourselves and the ability to see the good in ourselves and be 100% original!

 

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