7 Ramadan 2018: Lives Underpinned by Love

No matter what storm you face, you need to know that God loves you. He has not abandoned you. – Franklin Graham

We generally think that god loves us when good things happen in our lives; we feel special and feel blessed. We feel that god loves us and that he must be satisfied with who we are and the good things we strive to do, until … we experience tough moments or despite our best efforts, we fall short in doing good.

Feelings of disappointment start to creep up and we start to feel God does not love us, or has given up on us. With this feeling comes discouragement and negativity. With this feeling comes a lack of appreciation of positive instances and lack of acceptance of negative instances in our lives.

I experienced this the other day when I was not able to wake up for the night meal before starting the next fasting day. Despite taking practical steps to ensure I wake up, I was not able to enjoy a nice meal at a time during the night that is peaceful in one of the most blessed months. My immediate reaction? Complete negativity and feeling of discouragement.

I started to think, maybe acceptance is not only about accepting all that happens to us, but is about accepting that every single small or big thing that happens in our lives is underpinned by god’s love and not disappointment. I believe that this wonderful underpinning is the key to acceptance in all areas of our lives. As long as our intentions are good, every single second in our lives on earth is a single second where god showers us with his love irrespective of how we determine our second to be, good or bad.

May we always see our lives as they are, engrossed in god’s love.

 

Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

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4 Ramadan 2018: The Two Tales of Acceptance

Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and there’s got to be a way through it – Michael J. Fox

Acceptance may be seen as a way of giving up, but I believe that acceptance is an active verb and state of being that one consciously decides to be in. The difference? Acceptance brings calmness and serenity, surrender brings resentment.

I always liked the way Henry Cloud and John Townsend spoke about boundaries and how not asserting them is signaled through feelings of resentment; a negative gut feel generating emotions of anger, sadness, bitterness, and confusion.

Acceptance that generates these feelings is the result of either not asserting one’s, or in the opposite sense crossing another’s, boundaries. Acceptance in this case is not acceptance at all and action is often needed to rectify underlying issues.

As a friend of mine reminded me today, we are not meant to be unhappy, and happiness comes from accepting that which is meant to be accepted and striving, calmly, towards changing it in a way that brings goodness to self and others.

So when is acceptance right? When it generates feelings of peace and comfort, openness and courage … now that is a state worth being in.

Photo by Ivana Cajina on Unsplash

23 Ramadan 2017: Just when we thought

There used to be days that I thought I was okay, or at least that I was going to be. We’d be hanging out somewhere and everything would just fit right and I would think ‘it will be okay if it can just be like this forever’ but of course nothing can ever stay just how it is forever. – Nina LaCour

Can you relate to today’s quote? I certainly can.

Just when we think we can handle something challenging, something happens that blatantly shouts NOOOOOOOO.

As nothin in our lives are coincidental, I also happen to come across a talk about sadness blending it component so faith as well … and these are the tips that I thought I would share in this post for your benefit.

  1. Know that sadness will happen and even when good things happen, tough challenges will come up for this is life … life is a series of ups and downs … a series of thankfulness and patience … a series of joy and sadness … don’t be surprised
  2. Accept sadness, don’t fight it and just admit to yourself that you are sad and that is a right you have and let it be.
  3. Don’t befriend sadness even it is part of life. Move towards what is opposite to sadness … positive friends, positive environments, positive clothing, positive actions trying to get out of the “sad” situation
  4. Wait until the end … don’t assume the story has ended there especially when you have been unfairly treated or wronged as the root of your sadness. What goes around comes around even if we are not able to see it.

Life is full of sad moments … no one has been spared of sad moments, the key is to not befriend it, not complain about it, not to let it get into your heart.

Love life, live right and do good … and even if you think you are OK and sadness comes around again, it is OK … it is for a good reason.

You will be fine … I promise because god has promised we will be OK if our hearts are in a state of goodness.

 

 

Image courtesy of hinnamsaisuy at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

20 Ramadan 2017: I think of …

He foresaw my every fall, my every sin, my every backsliding; yet, nevertheless, fixed His heart upon me. ― Arthur W. Pink

As we start the last third of this blessed month, I think of god’s mercy and love that enters our hearts when all else seems dark around us.

I think of god’s fairness in giving us all a set of strengths and talents that help us live a meaningful and fulfilling life.

I think of god’s wisdom and knowledge that allows certain tribulations to take place yet gives us other matters that give us hope and positivity for the future.

I think of god’s kindness that no matter how long we take to count our many blessings, we would never feel like we captured them all.

I think of god’s beauty as I look around and see the beautiful flowers, the magnificent skies, the chirping of the birds and the many beauty colors and designs they have together with the butterflies.

I think of god’s forgiveness as no matter how far we go and how much we divert from doing good in this world, god is always ready for us to come back and live our best lives for ourselves and for others as well.

With an open heart and an open mind, I ask god to uplift us all and give us yet the greatest days ahead with blessings, love and peace of mind and heart.

 

Image courtesy of khumthong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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.

 

 

Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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

 

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

8 Ramadan 2017: Help Others

The best antidote I know for worry is work. The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired. One of the great ironies of life is this: He or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served. ― Gordon B. Hinckley

Get up and do something … and besides taking care of yourself and your loved ones … reach out and check on others … someone might need something … and if they do, help them or find the right person to help them.

This is the magic formula to not despair.

Help does not necessarily mean giving up a significant amount of time and money … it is “volunteering” information … a connection … a good word … hope.

If you can’t find someone who needs help, think of an area of knowledge, ability or leadership you have, and share it with the world either in writing or in action starting with your family and loved ones.

Do it swiftly, do it without seeking a return, it will change your life.

 

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

1 Ramadan 2017: No to Despair

“The greatest hazard of all, losing one’s self, can occur very quietly in the world, as if it were nothing at all. No other loss can occur so quietly; any other loss … is sure to be noticed.” ― Søren Kierkegaard

Welcome to another year and another 30 day journey with Ramadan Living!

Between negativity, loss and crises … the theme this year was not too hard to choose. Between making it real and between no to despair, I chose no to despair to bring everything that is hope and everything that is real, i.e. blessings that we do not always see.

On this first day of Ramadan 2017, I pray that we are all showered with god’s blessings, mercy and love and more importantly, we recognize them and see that there is no need to despair and that desperation leads to nothing but more desperation.

Happy ramadan !!!

Get ready for the start of another lovely journey through Ramadan!

 

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

23 Ramadan 2016: What better giving than inspiration

The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do. – Kobe Bryant

RLWe always hear it from others, giving is far more effective in bringing in positivity and hope in one’s life than anything else.

No therapist, exercise, retreat, shopping or whatever other mean to self satisfaction can impact one’s life the way giving does.

Typically, giving is seen in the form of charity and social work, but in fact giving doesn’t have to be further than your own home.

Give others hope … give others inspiration … give them solutions … give them options … give them something … something to make life’s challenges and tribulation feel easier.

In these blessed days, I ask god to make us keys to goodness in every aspect of our own and other people’s lives.

 

 

Image courtesy of dan / freedigitalphotos.net

21 Ramadan 2016: Courage

You know, sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of instance courage, just literally 20 seconds of embarrassing bravery, and I promise you something great will come of it. – Benjamin Mee

 

If one had a choice between courage and perseverance, I would imagine that courage trumps the card.

You see perseverance gets us through good times, bad times, challenges, opportunities, and life more generally, but what gets us to recognize these times, challenges and opportunities is courage and as a result, have wisdom in how we approach these matters.

Without courage, we succumb to irrational fears and worries that make it difficult to see what and where opportunities lie. Without courage, we might see the good times as bad or the bad times as good. Without courage, challenges take over us instead of us taking over the challenges and brushing past them.

At some point, saying yes to everything was the big thing … today, having courage is.

During these bless days, may we find the courage to hope, wish and ask god for opportunities and dreams that make us the best we can be for ourselves, our families and humanity.

 

Image courtesy of Graur Razvan Ionut / freedigitalphotos.net