24 Ramadan 2017: Don’t Wait … Just Start

Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along. – George Herbert

How many times have we found ourselves within a very busy period of time at work or in life with parents or with children or with limited time or money to actually do what we want. In what we want, I am talking about things that our hearts and minds literally shout for within ourselves but we try to ignore them because we “can’t” and we don’t see a “way”.

The truth is, we think we won’t be busy tomorrow and we can get started then or we think our parents or kids will not need much of our time tomorrow or we will have more money and and and. That might be true but the truth is that these are all priorities in our lives and will not stop or go away.

Our parents, our children, our work, our money and any other resources or blessings god has given to us, they are all a priority and we must be committed to them, but there is a calling and one must respond to that calling without delay with whatever we have access to today.

We just have to start and see where it takes us from there without any expectations.

This post is a call to recognize, listen and respond to the calling, you never know, maybe the calling is today because it is critical I take action today for success tomorrow as opposed to delaying things.

Start moving … even if slowly, start, you will always have an excuse, might as well start today.

 

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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19 Ramadan 2017: It is time …

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. – Steve Jobs

We all know the state of the world these days, what we didn’t need is another tragedy. We woke up to the story of a burning building in London where many are believed to be in critical state or have moved on from this life. May those who have left their families and loved ones behind rest in peace.

What it did get me thinking about is how something like this awakens something in one’s soul that tackles despair…we have a limited time on earth and if it was our turn tomorrow, what have we left behind?

A good reputation? Helpful advice? Some charity? Knowledge? Anger? Materialistic behavior? Shallow advice? Envy? Greed?

We are what we leave behind … and we leave behind our words, our money, our work, our families, and our friendships … so are they in the condition we would like to leave it in?

We might not achieve what we hope to achieve but at least we can try and people know we tried.

It is time … it is time to be free of fears and expectations that are unjustified.

It is time … to go after what we want and share it with others.

It is time … to enjoy each other’s time while we still can.

It is time … to help those in need in whatever way we can.

It is time … to choose our words carefully.

It is time … to commit to excellence in whatever we set our minds to.

It is time …

 

 

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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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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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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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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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4 Ramadan 2017: Keep Going

Does anything in nature despair except man? An animal with a foot caught in a trap does not seem to despair. It is too busy trying to survive. It is all closed in, to a kind of still, intense waiting. Is this a key? Keep busy with survival. Imitate the trees. Learn to lose in order to recover, and remember that nothing stays the same for long, not even pain, psychic pain. Sit it out. Let it all pass. Let it go. – May Sarton

If we accept the nature of life, we accept that there will always be low and challenging moments to deal with. What I really liked about this quote though is that it eloquently covers what conscious “action” could be taking place in such moments.

Go on living and wait for such times to pass.

Simply continuing to go about living our lives; eating, drinking, chores, work and focusing on those, we can simply outlive the challenging moments. I am not advocating passive behaviors to conflict and difficulty but a big part of dealing with challenging situations sometimes involves waiting and reacting simply to what requires our immediate action, especially when it comes to other people’s rights, and not let these moments consume our lives.

“This too shall pass”

 

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13 Ramadan 2016: No to news, Yes to life

If people in the media cannot decide whether they are in the business of reporting news or manufacturing propaganda, it is all the more important that the public understand that difference, and choose their news sources accordingly. – Thomas Sowell

RLFive years ago, I started to get the sense that news, both written and spoken, had a negative impact on me even if sub-conciousely.

Three years ago, I tried a pilot project to not read or listen to any news for 30 days of Ramadan 2014 and I continued that way until Ramadan 2015 when I started to allow news back into my life, minimally.

Now, Ramadan 2016, I can tell you that my experience in the past couple of years confirmed a few important things, news:

  1. Takes the exception and presents it as a norm
  2. Breeds fear in the hearts of people
  3. Exaggerates other people’ actions and words
  4. Subconsciously makes one negative about the future
  5. Dramatises events and/or other people’s actions

In other words, news is a source of poor mental health be it consciously or subconsciously.

Other than knowing main headlines, I ask god to help us turn off our TVs and stay away from online news which hurt more than benefit us.

The truth is that life is beautiful and:

  1. is filled with universal truths as a norm irrespective of differences
  2. there is nothing to fear is we continue to be ourselves in our decisions
  3. all of people’s actions and words are equally important and it is always best to either say good or say nothing at all
  4. positivity breeds positivity
  5. there is no drama over people’s actions and words, there are just decisions that other people take within their capabilities

Life is real … news is not!

 

 

 

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11 Ramadan 2016: Before asking about your purpose

If you don’t know who you are, a university is an expensive place to find out. – A. Armstrong

RLI heard it from a scholar on a show today, before asking about what your purpose is, ask about who you are first.

Who you are is the how, when, where and circumstances of your creation.

Knowing who we are in nature illustrates for us where we stand in both the cycle of life and level of creation amongst others.

Once we know this information, our purpose, our destiny, our dreams become more easily identifiable and clear.

Man, know thyself. – Socrates

Knowing the how, when, where and circumstances of our creation opens for us new avenues to what our purpose may be and provides us with the humility to understand where we stand in the middle of it all and set goals and dreams that align with who we are.

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