Ramadan Kareem

I was born a Muslim.

I say “was born” rather than “I am muslim” because now I choose to be one, even though my faith has taken it’s fair share of hits, especially with the way the news portrays the religion.  I have lead a pretty sheltered life, up until university, I could say that I was a devout Muslim, not that I have done anything that is against my religion to date, however, my devoutness has gone up and down, much like a roller coaster. When I went to university, I did some exploring, as most people would do. I read up on other religions, not because I didn’t believe what my religion taught but I suppose to better understand my own. I wanted to understand other people’s religion to better understand the way people think and to make sense of it all. It’s a daily mission, I suppose, it’s not easy to just follow a religion, without understanding it 100%. It opened my mind up as I have tried to look at things from various other perspectives. We live in such a diverse world and it really does amaze me. I have been fortunate enough to know and encounter people who are very different than me, in everyway and it’s a privilege to call some of those people my friend. 

Having said that, I’d like to emphasize my belief in God has been unaltered. It’s hard to explain it but my faith in Him has never changed. However, it is my belief in some of the stories of the teachings, which I find myself questioning and yet simultaneously, I am in awe of what the Qur’an (our holy scripture) has said. I won’t get into the details of it as the purpose of this post is to talk about one aspect of my religion, which is Ramadan.

It is the month where most Muslims fast in the name of the religion, to better themselves. It is a test for our patience, endurance and I suppose most of all, how grateful we ought to be that we are fortunate enough to break our fast at the end of the day with wonderful food. It teaches me to be generous and it is truly a month of giving. The reason for it to be a whole month, in my opinion, is because as popular theory also suggests, it takes 21 days to form a habit (though there are other studies that say 66 days). If we practice kind acts, after 21 days, surely kindness becomes a habit? This month we are meant to reflect (as the featured image shows, I suppose that’s what a person who is reflecting on life would look like?) and think about the bigger picture, to practice generosity, kindness, goodness and spread such acts of kindness. If people did follow this wholeheartedly, I do believe we would be living in a better world as I believe that kindness is contagious. Overall, at the end of the month, can’t speak for anyone else,  I feel that my soul is lighter, in terms of spiritually. I let go of petty things and there’s a lot about my faith that is reinforced, which has dimmed throughout the year, as a result of busy schedules.

I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on this post.

In the meantime as Michael Jackson said, “If You Wanna Make The World A Better Place Take A Look At Yourself, And Then Make A Change”

Ramadan Kareem everyone, may God bestow his blessings and mercy upon us all and may we all be better and try to make this world better, one person at a time. 🙂

Selectively Curious©

Are you too hard on yourself?

Yes! 

I like to please people and I like to be liked and yet I also do what I like. I’m a people pleaser but not a carpet, so to speak. The inspiration for today’s post stems from a few things, such as my job, my friends and the way that I am. 

Today at work I was given a task, which I didn’t do incorrectly but it wasn’t as it was expected to be done and it upset my supervisor. My mistake, in hindsight, is poor time management. I was given another task by a partner which was just as urgent and I should have communicated that with my direct supervisor. The problem is that I really wanted to complete the task myself. I ended up taking too long to turn it around, because of the second task and then the work product I delivered wasn’t great. I feel just awful about it and there isn’t anything I can do fix that. Ugh, tomorrow should be a better day! #needaholiday 

Now the friend issue, it’s most inconvenient. I have learnt to not trust too easily so I chose not to share something with her. I have since shared the information and she got upset about it because I didn’t tell her sooner, she now has her guard up and won’t speak to me as before. I understand her point of view but I’m not sure how to convince her that it isn’t personal and I don’t share everything with everyone, it’s just the way that I am. 

Quite a dilemma, it seems. I’m curious to see how tomorrow will turn out. 

You maybe curious the connection of the featured photo to this post. Well, I like rainbows and in days where I’m disappointed, I love how the simplest things such as a rainbow shining in darkness, makes me feel like everything is going to be ok. 🙂 

Selectively Curious©

Sensitive soul

The most difficult thing I’ve come to realise is trying to still be good to those who only do you wrong. When I was younger it would make me curious how my parents were always good to those, even if they were wronged. I grew up with such morals and have been taught that no matter what happens, always be kind. 

How do you maintain a balance? I am a sensitive soul, in hind sight, I always have been. I feel deeply about everything, whether it be happiness, sadness, confusion, anger, and anxiousness (can’t think of any more words to describe emotions). 

You may ask, what is a sensitive soul? Well for one, don’t be fooled by such individuals, they may be sensitive but they are far from weak. They have the ability to put aside their own needs and feelings to cater to those that need a boost. Their ability to feel deeply makes them great empaths thus helps them truly understand what the other person is going through. Often times people are unable to express how they feel and the sensitive soul will verbalise those feeling to the point, which shocks some people, sometimes. The emotions they feel are their strength as they allow themselves to feel deeply, thus making them able to handle a situation and controlling their feelings better than those who brush their emotions to the side. They can handle more than most because they’re used to feeling more than most. 

Being a sensitive soul also gives you a hightened intuition in someways because they notice everything, even the most minor details such as a expression change on someone’s face, which may have only lasted for a second. At times when logic makes no sense, their souls are able to come up with answers that does make sense. However there is a flip side, often such people have insecurities that cloud their intuition, as I have experienced many times and I think it’s important to listen to your intuition. Even if your mind tells you otherwise, listen to your inner voice, before the voice disappears forever. 

Being around a sensitive soul, you will notice that they give you their undivided attention (to be fair sometimes people drag on a story longer than it should be and I get distracted). They can judge a situation and give you what you need. Even if it is just someone to sit quietly with. There is comfort in silence. 

They have compassion on a deeper level and have the ability to move the world. Their kindness shines through their face and you can feel the genuine love they have to offer. They have so much to give and the ability to give wholeheartedly without being worn down. If anything the giving fuels them, especially when they see the joy on people’s faces. That is priceless. 

Selectively Curious©

Have you ever?

Have you ever looked at a full grown person and wondered what they looked like when they were babies?

It used to be my favourite thing to do when I didn’t have my ipod or a book to read on the tube (aka the underground train in London). Of course I would look away before any eye contact was made, didn’t want to be break the unwritten rule of “no eye contact”. I love how my imagination takes me to unknown territory. It’s not easy of course to picture a man with a full grown beard as a baby, or an older person who looks so tired and sick of life and it shows on the face.

Have you ever cut your hair? I don’t mean just snippets, trimmed but actually completely chop off your long hair into really short, ear length hair?

It’s absolutely the most liberating activity I have taken a part in and I’ve done it a few times. Usually when I feel that I’m losing control of certain aspects of my life and the frustration gets to me,  I pick up a pair or scissors and just cut it all off. I love it and it’s actually quite addictive. I probably would never shave it all off completely but who knows what the future holds.

Have you ever seen something and not believe your own eyes, something that may be paranormal?

When I was younger, I used to play the piano. I wasn’t very good but I would play random things, reminds me I should probably take it up again. Anyway, on one of those days, I was sitting by the window about to play and I see black smoke come out of a building opposite mine. One of the apartments was on fire and I could see the flames burning and in that moment I see a figure step out on to the balcony of his/her apartment and just lean on the ledge. I stopped and looked a little closer and I saw that the man’s (or well at least it looked like a man) arm was on fire and he was just standing there. I ran to go call my brothers to see what was happening but by the time we came back to the window, the man had gone. I still can’t believe what I saw. He was just standing there as his arm burnt.

Have you ever been electrocuted?

Just once and it felt really weird. My mom asked me to change a light bulb in the living room. I took the new bulb and walked over to the lamp that needed the change, barefoot. As I put my hand on the old bulb, to twist it out, I felt a shock go through my whole arm and my hand got stuck to the bulb. First impulse of any person, is to get away from the hurt, in any way. Since my hand was stuck to the bulb I moved away (all whilst screaming and shaking). It all happened so fast and the next thing I knew, the porcelain lamp had fallen and shattered on the ground. I broke free from the electrocution. Honestly, I didn’t even realise I was screaming until my brother came out and asked me why I was screaming.

Have you ever been determined and stuck by it?

Story of my life, which sometimes tickles me.

Selectively Curious©

Interesting fact

As I was looking for inspiration for today’s post, I came across a fact, which made me smile:

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the most commonly stolen vehicle in 2012 was the 1994 Honda Accord.

We had that car for years, ours was gold (featured image is found in google, as we no longer have this car) and I still remember the new car smell it had when we bought it. My brothers and I had countless road trips in that car. When we were young we went to Saudi Arabia from the UAE in that car. As far as I remember, I was 6 and my brothers were 8 and 4. It was a 16 hour car journey and we put cartons of water bottles where our feet would be. So it became like a bed, more or less.

Whenever we went on a road trip, I would curl up on my side and sleep. Of course if you ask my brothers, they will say I took all the place, which I possibly did, I was sleeping so I’m not sure how accurate they were in their accusations. I’ve always been skinny and they would always tease me for taking so much space for a someone as skinny as me.

Amazing how quickly time flies, I feel like the three of us practically grew up in that car. We’d play the oddest games. Have you ever heard of dead leg or dead arm? Well, it’s a game where one person hits the other so hard that your arm or leg goes numb. It’s only fun in hindsight, I assure you. I am actually laughing at the memory of it.

In some ways, I’m not surprised that the 1994 Honda Accord model is the most stolen, maybe the thieves had equally good memories? Maybe we can give them that benefit of the doubt. As for me, I’m glad in my own selfish way that so many of those cars were stolen. I can honestly say that I probably wouldn’t have thought of that car today had I not seen this fact. It was a wonderful trip down memory lane. As I live, the more curious I get about the mysterious ways of God and how random connections come your way. Remember, everything is connected or maybe it isn’t, who knows?

Selectively Curious©

I love the beach

I love how it’s empty on a Saturday morning and I love the way the sand is slightly cool at this time of the year. 

Abu Dhabi has really good beaches and the one shown in the featured photo is the famous corchiche beach. I can’t believe it’s been 22 years since I first went to it. So much has changed and yet so much has remained the same. It’s nostalgic. The sand is smooth so it’s comfortable to walk on it since there are no pebbles or shells mildly stabbing you as you walk on it. The waves are calm and I love the slight swoosh noise they make as the water comes to touch the shore before retreating back into the sea. 

This is what Saturday mornings are for. To take a break from the troubles of life and just forget, even if momentarily the things that stress you out. The beach is my sanctuary in some ways, I feel refreshed as I sit there and sort out my thoughts. 

I have always been positive but I’m trying something new. I’m curious to see how this will pan out and effect my life. I have begun to practice gratitude since this morning as I believe it helps ground a person and makes one realise the the important things in life. Everything is temporary, best enjoy the present and as the title of Richard Carlson’s book: don’t sweat the small stuff, and its all small stuff. 

Selectively Curious©

Never lose your childish innocence

As I was grabbing lunch today, I saw a little girl, skating on her scooter and as she went past me she was in her own little world, humming away.

It made me remember a line from the movie Under the Tuscan Sun, which is one of my favourite movies, when Katherine says “No matter what happens, always keep your childish innocence. It’s the most important thing” It is also something the Italian director and writer Fedrico Fellini said. 🙂

I really like the idea behind this, we get so caught up by the unnecessary stresses of life that we lose our childish innocence and it’s sad. I think it’s important to take a step back to reflect, re-ground ourselves and just keep it simple. To quote Leonardo Da Vinci

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication

I wholeheartedly agree with him. There’s elegance in being simple, which is why everyone I know owns a simple black dress (although their reasons can be entirely unrelated to this idea) and would also explain why Mona Lisa was such a masterpiece. If you analyse the painting, there’s nothing spectacular about it and at the same time everything about it is spectacular. It’s a simple paining of a simple looking woman and it represents so much grace, elegance and sophistication, in the way that she is smiling, sitting and looking at the painter. Arguably, she was drawn from the imagination of Leonardo Da Vinci and wasn’t an actual person, but still. I can somehow understand where he was coming from he said that, even though maybe the context of why he said it might be completely different.

This also makes me think of Einstein’s quotes:

Things should be made as simple as possible but not any simpler

Things should be simple, I don’t understand the incessant need people have to complicate matters. For example, lawyers are known to be all fancy shmancy when usually they can say what needs to be said in three sentences rather than 3 paragraphs. Although, in our defense, this has changed immensely and good lawyers are known for their succinctness and the following quote emphasizes and proves that:

If you cannot explain it simply, you do not understand it well enough

and lastly, since I am speaking of keeping it simple, Einstein’s quote:

I believe that a simple and unassuming life is good for everybody physically and mentally

This is where I don’t agree with Einstein. I was listening to a song called Happiness sung by Needtobreath, a song I felt they sung for me as it resonates with me on so many levels and in the song they sing:

I’ve got dreams that keep me up in the dead of night telling me I wasn’t made for the simple life…

I don’t think everyone is made for the simple life and I don’t think one should be simple in every aspect of their life, just maybe in the way they communicate. I think a conscious effort must be made to keep things simple, don’t over stress and don’t sweat the small stuff. Sometimes it’s better to take things at face value and not allow yourself to overreact to something that’s nothing, don’t assume anything without having hard facts, as Eintein did say “unassuming life”. This point is crucial as the less you assume the more peaceful your life will be, mentally and if you’re mentally at peace then you’re mentally healthy, I think that makes you somewhat physically healthy too.I mention this because often times I find my girlfriends complaining about a man in their lives, where they’ve gone 100 miles away from the facts because they’ve assumed the worst and built a whole story in their mind. Having said that, a lot of the times they get the worst advice from their girlfriends.

If I can add any value to anyone’s life, please do not assume anything about anyone, until you know for a 100% that they’ve done something wrong and even then, give them the benefit of the doubt and hear their side of the story. 🙂

Featured image: I chose this photo for the featured image because there is nothing more innocent than the beauty nature represents, it’s simply beautiful and I didn’t use filters to enhance the beauty of the image. At the same time, I like that over the horizon you can see the complexities of life, aka high rise buildings and it’s complex nature, thus demonstrating a balance in the world.

Selectively Curious©