21 Ramadan 2017: Forgiveness

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you. – Lewis B. Smedes

The definition of despair is the loss of hope and confidence. Despair is about pain, melancholy and sorrow.

One of the reasons of despair is people … people who hurt. People who abandon. People who disappoint. And the only way around that is to forgive and make peace with others.

Peace with others is looking back at what disappointed us and especially when the person in question is not directly hurtful, blame it on circumstances and the will of god.

Peace with others is about accepting people as they are, faults and all and not pick on what they did, said or didn’t say or didn’t do, just work around them, avoid putting them in a situation to hurt you and accept that we may not all like each other but we can accept each other.

Peace with others is recognizing those who are directly hurtful and avoid situations where we depend on them for anything and use words of respect and goodness and power of silence when dealing with them.

Peace with others is shifting the focus from others to ourselves and being generous with others in terms of sharing of knowledge, goodness and spreading of positivity.

May we find the strength within us to forgive others and not pick on what people do and don’t do and just walk on earth with peace in our hearts full of patience and mercy on all.

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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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

 

5 Ramadan 2017: Sometimes it is just a “talk” away

Talking with a friend is nothing else but thinking aloud – Jonathan Addison

From experience, I would say that a large portion of our worries and causes of despair can be significantly reduced by one small action, talking with a friend.

In the past, I have experienced times when excessive worries could have been avoided by simply getting a different perspective from someone we respect and trust to have our best interests at heart. Albeit, it takes effort to first admit that we are worried and to then be open about it with a friend without the fear of sounding naive, silly or idealistic.

While we have other means of sharing our worries through social media and alternative communication channels, none of these approaches can ever provide us with the immediate comfort and interaction needed to reduce feelings of despair if at least, to hear a voice on the other end or meet someone who can say “I understand how you might feel”.

I ask god in this blessed month to bless us with good friends who have the time to hear what we have to say and have the patience to advise us whenever we need it. Prior to that however, I ask god to give us the courage to stand up and ask others to listen.

 

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2 Ramadan 2017: First step, make peace with others

Make peace with others. The only thing you can change about the past is the damage you may have done to relationships. You may need to make amends with some people and say sorry. Sometimes it feels like we have unfinished business if we leave something in a state of tension. Break the ice, admit you were wrong, and then you and the other person can let go of any bitterness and move on. Sometimes God won’t let us rest with ourselves and be at peace unless we take care of certain things. – Lisa Bedrick

Before deciding on any goal or task one must always have the prerequisites to enhance the chance of success. When thinking about despair, hopelessness or anguish, I could not help but see that unless we make peace with others, and see the best in them, we would never overcome desperation.

Making peace with others means making peace with whatever wrongdoings that “we feel” have been done to us and finding ways to forgive them. “We feel” because more often than not, it is a matter of perspective and one of the ways to overcome these past ill feelings is to think of the many reasons why someone would have said or acted a certain way. It was Jesus PBH who guided us to give 70 excuses to why others let us down or hurt us.

Make peace with others … block thoughts of negativity towards them. Do not hate, and do not resent, for these two feelings will take up so much space in your heart blocking peace *within* from truly taking over.

Make peace with others … so you can make peace with yourself.

 

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20 Ramadan 2016: Here we go …

A day wasted on others is not wasted on one’s self.― Charles Dickens

RLSo we are in the last 10 days (or 9) of this beautiful month and parting is such sweet sorrow.

In preparation for the last stretch, as we hope to experience and see more of god’s mercy, love and generosity, one thing is important – purification of the heart.

Purification is about removing any ill feelings, negative associations, unnecessary judgements, and nagging suspicions about others in our hearts.

This purification is key to be fully aware and present in moments of blessings and moments of forgiveness and light.

May god open our hearts and keep us light as we embrace god’s presence and god’s blessings on us, our families and all of you humanity.

 

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10 Ramadan 2016: “How are you?”, Connecting while home

Sometimes, reaching out and taking someone’s hand is the beginning of a journey. At other times, it is allowing another to take yours.― Vera Nazarian

RLYes, “how are you” is not only powerful while away, but also while at home.

In an ever increasing, virtually connected world, we are missing the warmth, connectivity and empathy that comes with physical, face to face, contact.

Again, similar to when we travel, nothing connects the human race like connecting with the human purpose, human heart and human mind. This connection comes about from three simple words, “how are you?”.

While at home, these three words connect us with others and opens the door to discussions, sharing of information and more importantly, pressure release because for a moment, we are not alone.

The irony is not only does this benefit the recipient, but it benefits us when we say it.

So next time I am in an elevator, paying for a service or riding the taxi …

 

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9 Ramadan 2016: “How are you?”, Connecting while away

Invisible threads are the strongest ties.― Friedrich Nietzsche

RL

I was traveling recently and something occurred to me, one of the things that I consistently did while traveling is to speak and connect with those who live in the city I visit. I didn’t do it purposely but something always nudged me.

I did this by simply asking, “how are you?”, “how are things”?

It could be the cab driver, the hotel employee, the coffee barista, etc… simply anyone. I have rarely been let down … in fact, even when I am let down and someone is abrupt and short, it gives me a view of the city and its people.

Why is this important?

It connects us with the world and reminds us about how small we are and how large the Universe is leading to humility, empathy, acceptance and more importantly, love … yes, love.

It makes one love the fact that the world is small and what worries someone 3,000 km away is that as what worries someone 1 meter away. It makes one love others for being normal and human. It makes one love their own destiny as they hear others’ destinies.

I have learned a lot in my travels … and while seeing the local sights and museums is important, nothing beats connecting with others like traveling.

 

 

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7 Ramadan 2016: Dealing with people … Let it go

Letting go doesn’t mean that you don’t care about someone anymore. It’s just realizing that the only person you really have control over is yourself.-Deborah Reber

RLDefinitely … there is no happiness unless I let go of the small stuff and just focus on my own behavior, goals and dreams.

What good is picking at what people do or say all the time? People pick on themselves and put themselves under enough pressure already.

From experience, picking on what people say or do will only consume one’s valuable time on something that is not only out of our control but also meaningless for us.

Yes, people say silly things … they hurt our feelings … and can be narrow minded, ignorant and simply mean … but other than our ego, what happens as a result?

If our boundaries have been crossed, we should speak up then and there and then let it go.

If our boundaries may have been crossed but could be attributed to anger, mood or ignorance, I believe that the best thing to do is to let it go.

Let us not let these petty things disrupt our path to our dreams and goals.

 

 

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2 Ramadan 2016: Strangers … The New Support Network

No one is ever really a stranger. We cling to the belief that we share nothing with certain people. It’s rubbish. We have almost everything in common with everyone. – Mark Haddon

HC

From war, disease and poverty to fear, stress and loneliness; our days seem to be more gloomy, no?

At the same time, we are spending more and more time away from those who love us and make us feel better, whether it is because of increased globalization as people study and work elsewhere or because of digitalization that has made our interactions more virtual or simply because we are too “busy”.

We are also spending more time driving on roads, waiting longer for appointments, traveling and catching buses, riding elevators, ordering food, buying products, seeking services, working, etc… with strangers! We are constantly seeing, speaking, and listening to … complete strangers!

The irony is that as we interact with strangers more than ever … and our need for love, care and compassion increases … more than ever,

  • we treat strangers or get treated by strangers with a suspicious eye for one reason or another based on unspoken judgements …
  • we speak to strangers or get spoken to by strangers in a rude and abrupt manner …
  • we cut off strangers on roads or in lines or even when speaking and vice versa …
  • we are sometimes downright aggressive with strangers or are treated with aggression …
  • we all feel entitled, we all feel that we are to be served and not to be of service.

It is ironic because we are all lonely, stressed and afraid and instead of making it better for each other, we make it 10x worse!

The truth is, we are not strangers, we are all in the same boat and as the month of Ramadan blesses us with its many benefits, I can’t help but pray that we start to see each other through the lens of similarity.

I wish that we all treat each other the way we want to be treated and no matter how bad we have it, treating each other politely and respectfully will only result in finding support in the strangest of places!

Politeness is the flower of humanity. – Joseph Joubert

And this is how we can make it count, supporting those we may never see again.

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28 Ramadan 2015: Role of a Woman

A beautiful woman delights the eye; a wise woman, the understanding; a pure one, the soul. – Minna Antrim

Woman

This post is not for some to disagree or agree with, this post only brings across how I felt when my mom’s life all came to an end and I would add to that, my beloved grandma who passed away 3 months prior to her.

As I stood watching my beloved grandma for the last time before her burial, and likewise, as I stood watching my beloved mother for the last time before her burial, only two thoughts came across my mind – the summary of all their years and interestingly enough, their role as women.

My grandma was a stay-at-home mom. She raised 8 children, moved to a place she never knew before with her husband just to support his career goals, lost her husband approximately 45 years into their marriage, lost her daughter at a young age of 37. She lived 20 more years after these two events. She celebrated weddings, saw her grandchildren, great grandchildren, lost parents, brothers and sisters. Suffered health challenges both her own and her friends and family. The only thing that came to my mind was, WOW, she did all that with patience and looking forward to the good and leaving the bad – what a woman!

My mom was one of the first few groups of women to complete a University education and move away from her parents at a very young age. She raised 2 children, moved to various places supporting my father to achieve his dreams. She worked – she was a teacher – for a few years but then dedicated her life to … life. She saw her grandchildren, lost a parent, a sister. Suffered health challenges both her own and her friends and family. Kept up her interests and connected with long lost relatives and gave love to everyone she knew. The only thing that came to my mind was, WOW, she did all that with patience and looking forward to the good and leaving the bad – what a woman!

You see in both cases, I didn’t think of their status, or reputation, or popularity. I didn’t think of their wealth or assets. I didn’t think of their education or literacy. I didn’t think of their image or their job titles at work. All I thought about is their role as women …

to give love, find and share hope with all

Was that what it came down to?

Yes – and it made me revisit my whole life again.

While pursuing one’s dream is not only a right, but a responsibility on each one of us given the air to breath in this life, it is not what our life is worth. Our life’s worth as women, and others I would say for that matter, is how much love we give and how much hope we find and share with others.

And that is what I saw – and that is what I felt – and nothing can change that.

If doing what one loves achieves this purpose so be it, but I continue to see women striving for many things that either tires them out or limits their ability to give love, find and share hope.

My mother taught me that …

we are remembered by the love we give and the hope we find within ourselves and share with others

And that is the beauty of a woman.

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