Urgency of Mindful Living

We live in a fast paced time, full of stimuli, comfort and ease. There has never been a time like what we are living in now. With information at our finger tips, whether it be useful or not, we have access to it.

The sheer amount of information, we are bombarded with, day in day out, is energy consuming. Text messages, phone calls, Whatsapp, Skype, video messages, snaps, gifs, pictures, tv, radio, music all this abstract information that seeps into our lives, our minds, our subconscious being.

Then there’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram desperately seeking our attention and time, demanding we be ‘present’ in the social media world. If you are offline for over 24 hours, alarm bells are ringing, people start to panic, something has happened to you! You could just be having a bad day or presumably busy, but if you are offline you are not connected, you are not even alive, some would assume.

You have to be ‘seen’ on media having a presence, always posting, performing, to be known as doing something successful. We live in an artificial reality of superficial frivolity. Showing all the frills of a highly edited airbrushed life, far from angst and struggle, no blips or bloopers.

I have started to turn away from all of this, as I can see, not only is it damaging my self, it’s also negatively impacting the eyes that watch me, my children. With every little moment, they have learnt to reach for my phone, trying to capture everything, rather than actually live the moment and have fun like no ones watching.

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How was it when we didn’t have phones and we didn’t have camera’s attached to our hands?

No one was really interested in what we ate in the morning.

Were we not living? Were we not having fun? Were we not successful?

I would argue we were more focused on our goals and mindful of the people around us. We could hold a decent length of conversation without being disturbed by noisy notifications by messages that were one consonant long.

We had childhoods that didn’t involve videoing everything that we did. Did our parents love us any less?

Were we always incessantly concerned about what others were doing throughout their day?

Our society is obsessed with the lives of the successful, be it socialites, celebrities, sport stars, YouTubers. Anybody can be famous, but what are they famous for? What are you willing to lose by being famous? Your real friends for millions of fake friends? Your identity? Your privacy? Your time?

Its time we reclaim our privacy, reevaluating our sense of being yourself for yourself, not seeking others comments and approval. To be lost in your thoughts and not have to share every brain fart with the world hoping it will go viral.

Silence the noise and the information overload and get in touch with your inner voice, it is being muted by this constant news feed and by the ‘like’ driven posts.

This mindless interaction with information needs to stop. Social media is making us over stimulated, to the point where it desensitises us to the sensation of disgust, shock and the power to act. The news feed that we scroll through often contains many devastating images we can’t bare to witness. We scroll past it fast because we cannot see it a second longer, we scroll and we scroll, till we get to something more appetising, something that makes us feel good or numbs our brain into feeling anything. But what of the disturbing picture, does that no longer exist? It’s still there, people are still suffering, but we don’t want to deal with that, we just want the cheap thrills and frills.

The creeping feeling of societies numbness, of not being shocked by what we see and read, is very disturbing, we are being disarmed of our voice. If we have no empathy towards each other, how can we stand up for one another? Its time to stop. Its time to stop this, with urgency and reflect who is this hurting? Those people are suffering physically but our heart is already dead!

 

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Being mindful, takes care of not just your outer beauty and aesthetics, but the true beauty that is neglected by social media, which needs the most amount of work and attention, your inner self.

The care you can give to yourself, no one else can. Listening to your inner most thoughts, you will always be true to yourself and not get swept up with any current hype. Regularly check in on yourself and question your actions and intentions, how is it developing you, are you going in a direction you want to.

Its time to have theses questions with yourself, put the hand break on heedlessness because the reality is, we will all die, and as morbid as it seems, how do you want to remembered. If you want to be remembered at all, live an epic life and leave behind a legacy. Work on it, not for other people’s praise, but so that your work, that you carved away at during your life, can be carried on once you are gone.

Make sure you are benefiting society, and humanity and not hindering it by going along like a lost sheep, because even lost sheeps are part of the problem. By shutting off your brain and letting others decide on how life should be is a big problem. Stand up and be counted, make sure you are at the table, make life decisions.

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Being Mindless

You may say, stop being so uptight, it doesn’t hurt anyone really. We’re just having fun, living in the moment, not thinking about tomorrow, yolo and all.

Who are you fooling? Are you living the moment by taking hundred selfies so you can capture the light, the angle, minus all the people? Are you enjoying the sight and smells of the place? Are you failing to hold eyes with the little child who watches you do all these things?

Chilling fact is whether we have children or not, we fail to see that we are all connected, and our behaviour effects the society, the community the neighbourhood we live in whether we want to accept it or not.

Social media is so huge and so fast, that it doesn’t take a day for something to go viral, which means the whole world knows about something, be it a message, a thought, an idea good or bad, we have greater influence over people more than we think to take responsibility for.

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Start now…

Stop and reclaim that beating heart and do not let it die in the hands of social media.

Wake up and thank the powers of be that you are waking up to other day.

Wake up and be thankful that you have been given another taste of life, what will you do with it?

Wake up and think that what things can make this day great for you, for the people around you?

What can I do that can make my yesterday more better?

It can be as simple as I will smile at every person that I go past today.

I will keep my calm with my kids.

I will make an effort to get to know my neighbours.

Cut out the noise, don’t always feel the need to fill up your head with something. Just breathe and be. It might feel awkward and even meaningless at first. But the very reason why you feel it is awkward, meaningless and time consuming is exactly why you need it. You qualify, so just do it!

Make breakfast, that in itself is mindful, instead of grabbing and going, make it yourself.

Already make breakfast? Ok hot shot, try making it with no white noise, just be in the moment of making breakfast and now think how grateful you are at having food of your own choosing.

Wash the dishes and be thankful that you have a family to feed and you have for in your bellies be in the moment without having a million other things going on. be thankful for the clean running water you have.

Put your phone away, eat your nutritious food, this a opportunity to be one with your self, have little one to one with your inner thoughts, who is being shoved to the back of the line.

  • Reintroduce yourself to yourself it might seem awkward because you have neglected yourself so long, talk to yourself you’ve been waiting to hear from you. You now have centre stage and no one is watching you, you can be free to think and develop how you like.
  • Do you like who you are and if you don’t why not? Tell yourself you’re amazing and you have so much value to give. Be your own cheerleader, you don’t need anyone else to tell you how unique you are, and how much you matter, the 100+ likes can wait.
  • Care for others, help others, yes think about your well-being but don’t be self absorbed. Facebook, Twitter and all the other social platforms promote the ‘me me me’ generation. Hey look at what I’m doing, what I’m wearing, what I’m enjoying, its all doing but not actually doing much.
  • How about you take care of someone and not tell a soul, now that is really caring for that person, genuinely and also taking care of your mental health, because that buzz of helping someone can not be told, only be felt. Word.

 

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What mindful living looks like?

Once you become mindful you start being more aware of your surroundings.

You are more intune with yourself.

You are more aware of what you see, read, hear, watch and witness. You live with intent and purpose. You are mindful or what your kids watch, eat, see and hear.

You are more sensitive to others, you are more open to others. You value peoples time and not their likes. You cherish relations and not fleeting thrills.

Well once you become mindful you realise the power in yourself and not in others. You reclaim your voice. You become activists, humanists, vocalists. Reclaim your inner worth and the gift you have that you want to share with the world without being glory hunters.

You seek to be a positive influence on people with everyone you meet. You echo oneness with the universe and unity with all. You pick up litter, you buy a hybrid, and go paperless. 

Ok maybe not all that, thats wishful thinking, but its a start, to a life long journey of mindful living. The point being the list is endless.

So do you unplug yourself?  Which pill do you take the red or blue pill? Its your call.

 

 

 

 

 

How to Make Friends Like an Introvert

So it’s been 4 years now I have moved to the UAE from the UK. Although I have lots of family here (albeit inlaws) I have yet to replace good friends from the UK. It’s a hard task to do especially difficult when you don’t work and the only people you meet are passerby type. The friends I have accumulated over the years have pretty much come from school, college, university and then work. Now a stay at home mom, I am not in a scenario where I see people day in day out for long periods of time like I did in other organisations, I feel I’m left to fend for myself. In a country where I didn’t grow up, I don’t have my catalogue of friends that I can just hang with.  Another  weird realisation was that I hadn’t made much friends from my neighbourhood growing up. I always went to a school that was just enough far away that all my friends lived in a different area code. I only met my friends at school. At college and univeristy again I went to a different city to study and all my friends lived far. Now in my 30’s I’m finding it difficult to just say hey to anyone as I’m not used to just doing that.

Having three kids I’m so much aware of how introverted I am and how much I don’t want my kids to face the same problems I faced or face even now. So I have made up my mind that I will push myself to get out of my comfort zone in a mission to seek meaningful friendships. If you don’t seek you won’t find right?

So here’s my plan of how to make friends when you’re naturally introverted .

1. Go out more regular, to the same places, then you’ll likely to meet the same people who have similar interests to you. E.g.I have started going to the coffee mornings at my daughters school. Although all the moms I meet are not normally people I would hang out with you see familiar faces and you start to build a rapport and soon enough you see them in a different light to than when you first met them.

Also I hang out a lot more in the playground of the school. I used to shoot of home because I had lot more mundane things to do. However now on my self proclaimed ‘bff mission’ I pretend to give my kids more time to play on the jungle gym while I am actually giving more time to myself to get out of my comfort zone and meet more people. I see my kids feeling shy around kids at first, playing around kids, not asking their names, not even saying a word when kids push in front of them and they continue waitting patiently for their turn on the swing. They remind me of myself at that age not speaking up when kids jumped the line. Just after a few extra afternoons spending time there Ive seen such a difference in my kids behaviour. They are more adventurous, taking more risks, going higher and higher up on the gym, they have started to play with kids who they don’t know, have made relationships with older kids and enjoy the experience much more even though its awkward sometimes. They used to always look at me like a safety net, looking at me for my approval at every little step they went higher. Now they’re busy playing and interacting that they don’t even see me or run away from me least they hear me telling them it’s time to go. And me? I’ve made a few friends that I talk to with the extra 20 minutes that I spend at the end of the day. No one is in a rush to get anywhere everyone has their kids playing with each other so we have a common bond. I’ve joined several parents whatsap groups but nothing as satisfying as having a friend who you can talk about anything or nothing about. We mostly talk about kids,  struggles of being a mom, the traffic, the weather and homework. So still looking for the one.

2. Get involved in the community, do a fundraiser, collecting clothes, offering your services, get yourself known. People will soon associate you with a friendly face and you are bound to meet like minded people. During Ramadan the Islamic holy month of fasting, I organised a fridge for workers in our community. Labourer where offered to come and pick up free food. The whole community chipped in, it was amazing. This is the kind of people I want to hang out with. People were knocking on my door all throughout the day, asking what was needed,bringing food, new faces, regular faces it was so heartwarming. It was amazing, but after the month had finished, it all kind of fizzled out. Now I can’t wait for next Ramadan for that community feel.

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Ramadan fridge

3. Make a group on Facebook just to start with eg book club, moms group, coffee mornings, toddler group, bikers group gardeners group, fitness group walking with your buggy group, whatever interests you and keep it up, turn up at meetings regularly. Swap numbers and there you go. I’ve joined a ton of groups that are local to me and met up women in big groups and on individual level, I found some real friends, so really recommend this.

4. Go to your local park go on regular walks that’s the only way you’ll meet new people who have time on their hands. Strike a conversation and see where it leads you. I take the kids out more regular to the park in our area and they have made so many friends who invite them back to their house and they come over to our house. I’ve made friendships with their moms so win win.

5. Go knock on your neighbours door, introduce yourself if you’re new in the area. Ask any questions you have where’s the nearest…( you fill in the blank) and offer them tea and coffee with them the next day so that’s one friend you’ve made at least. Offer to help them whenever they need anything and you’re as good as gold!

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Get to know your neighbours

Those are my ideas and so far the joining groups and getting involved in the community has been the most successful for me.

Let me know your ideas and suggestions on making new friends and any problems you have faced when moving into a new city.

Sunnah the better : 30 day challenge

Forever wanting to inject more peace into my life I’ve longed to add more sunnah into my day to day life.

What the what now?

Sunnah.

Its not the latest trending vegan lifestyle, no.

Sun-nah is the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). The prophetic practices have been meticulously recorded and preserved for over 1400 years. Muhammad (peace be upon him) is undoubtedly the most well documented figure in history. The way he sat, talked, walked, ate, drank slept to even the way he brushed his teeth was all recorded and past down from generation to generation. Why? Because he embodied the quranic teachings, he was the best of mankind in his noble character. From the way he dealt with youngsters, to the way he spoke to world leaders, to the way he spoke to those who insulted him, to the way he took care of the elderly, sick and poor. He endured extreme hardships, orphaned at a young age, loss of successive guardians, children and wife to being boycotted facing poverty, starvation, fear, insult, doubt all the emotions that we face with today. 1400 years seems like a long time and an outdated perspective to look up to but the human being and its emotions and how we react have not changed. We as a race and our biological make up has not changed we are the same regardless if we are in the desert or on the moon. Muhammed (peace be upon him) embodied peace and compassion and the middle path in every single very human encounter he had but he had a uniquely simple and humble approach to them. His message was to convey mercy and bring people together to the oneness we all posses.

So my 30 day challenge is to practice what the Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) left behind to humanity his everyday simple practices. To remind people what it really means to be muslim and be proud followers of his legacy.

So lets get started.

Day 1. Smile 🙂 yep its that easy. Smiling is a charity in Islam meaning you get rewarded for it. It costs nothing nor does it take up any of your time. However its impact is huge on peoples lives. So go ahead turn that frown upside down. Simples.

Day 2. Give greetings to those that you know and don’t know. Spread Salam! Salam is the islamic greeting which literally means to wish others peace. Greet your neighbours and colleagues when you see them don’t avoid eye contact, smile (see day 1) and greet there you go you’ve got this!

Day 3. Give to the needy. Go out and find someone, an organisation or a family member that needs help whether it by donation or by giving some time or expertise. Reach out to people. People need people and you might not realise it but your soul needs it too.

Day 4. Show love to your parents. It can be difficult to keep in touch with our parents due to our busy schedules but we should carve out time for things and people who should be a priority in our lives, such as our children and spouse, so to are our parents. They may not need our constant presence but shoot a text, a video a call or a visit whenever it is possible. If not daily, fix up a time weekly where you have parent catch up time. If distance doesn’t allow it then visit them monthly and if you live internationally like I do then yearly. Never let time pass that they do not feel loved and connected to your lives. Show them some love and care. Everyone knows in their heart there is love but you need to be shown also.

Day 5. Keeping family ties. Pick up the phone and call someone that I haven’t spoken to in a long time. Visit family members asking about each other keeping the bonds tight. broaden your circle an don’t just stick to your siblings and cousins reach out to other generations besides your own especially the elders as that generation and the wealth of wisdom will be lost too.

Day 6. Spend time with the youth. Sometimes we grow up and only stick to people our own age group but remember the time when you were growing up how daunting was it to speak to a grown up. Bring down these barriers, spend time with the kids your younger cousins nieces nephews or even grand kids. Your first move will be imprinted in their memory forever.

Day 7. Love for your brother what you love for yourself. Whats your most favourite thing? Mine is coffee and cookies. How about surprise someone with that thing that you love, you’ll touch their heart by thinking about them before yourself. Go ahead try it.

Day 8. Remove something out of harms way. Too often we walk around in our own bubble minding our own business. Today take a look at your surroundings and see is there anything that looks like it can be harmful, be it a messy bush that is covering a sign or creating a blind spot for drivings on the road.  Something simple as removing shattered glass from the ground or even any litter that can be a choking hazard for bird or animals seek and you shall find.

Day 9. Pray for others. Choose a person daily it might be a person passing by, pray for their well being that whatever difficulty they may be facing be taken care of. May they exceed in earnings and be happy in their lives. Next day choose someone else. This may be someone you know or you don’t know. The best place to be is someone else prayers because the listener is God. When you pray for others the angels repeat the Prayer and say may you blessed with this too how amazing is that! Create compassion for others in your heart.

Day 10. Don’t waste food. Buy only what you need and if you have bought/made excess don’t immediately throw it away, use up the leftovers for the following meal. Ok, so you can’t stand meatballs for four meals straight, how about share it amongst your neighbours? Do this when they’re still piping hot and fresh, or freeze them so that you can have it in an instant when you do feel like meatballs.

Part 2 Day 11 – 20 coming soon 

Part 3 Day 22 – 30 coming soon

 

Note: If you are wondering why do I keep repeating Peace be upon him after the Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him)’s name. Its because as muslims we give respect to all our Quranic or biblical prophets first and foremost. Secondly as ordinary muslims we greet each other on every encounter with peace as a little prayer that we hope that we have peace and blessings in our day. Thirdly it is a little salutation and prayer to our beloved prophet and we believe that each and every salvation is delivered to him and so we like to say it abundantly by increasing his rank we are increasing ours also by way of remembrance.

And Allah knows best.