challenge accepted.

I often hear people say they want to be challenged in life, and then you challenge them and they cannot handle it. It is much like truth telling, everyone wants the truth, up until you actually give them the truth. I for one, always want to be challenged and I always want the truth.

Regularly I say how self aware I am. It is critical that in life we are mostly aware of our flaws but habits in general. Conversations or emotions can get extremely real if someone else is the one telling you about yourself. Now and again though we need someone to hold the mirror to us. Whether that be your partner in life, family, friends, whomever – but you need someone to occasionally hold the mirror and tell you like, “hey have you ever thought about it this way?” Or better yet be that person for yourself.

I am flawed, naturally but it is an everyday process to be able to look in the mirror and still love yourself. Love yourself to the point where you understand that self improvement is also a form of self care, self love. Self care isn’t always luxury but a mean for survival, and constantly working towards improving yourself is in addition to a form of self care.

I am not going to preach that it is 2018 and we need to focus on ourselves. The thing is, we should strive daily to focus on ourselves. To protect our worth, our successes our failures. Our alignment doesn’t have to be everyone else’s alignment but it paramount to recognize that healing and self care has no end point, no summation, no finish line. It is the act dedicating each day to finding yourself and loving yourself despite how cruel the world can be.  One thing I have learned through my entire existence is the importance of perseverance, that in the face of true love – yourself, you don’t just give up – even if the world is urging otherwise.

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endings.

As the year is ending, I can’t help but to think of all the things I gained this year, and just as importantly, lost. I hate the cliché, New Year, new me. I actually hate New Years all together, I have never fancied the holiday, I think it is entirely overrated and just an excuse for people to party and pretend that they don’t enter the new year with the same problems. Yes, I am THAT person.

Growth is essential at every turn of your life. Some people need Mondays, a new calendar year, or just a new morning, and that is fine, but my real question is – are you growing, are you evolving are you challenging yourself to change the things in your life that give you no joy?

I often see people be complacent in their life. I have done it too. With jobs, with living situations. I see it happen in marriages, relationships all too regularly.  Why do we insist on torturing ourselves? Isn’t it a form of torture – to continue an act that literally is breaking us slowly?

I have stayed in toxic relationships a number of times, Mainly friends… people who disguise themselves as your friends but really do not value you or above all are not kind to you. Why do we allow people to be rude or make us feel bad? I have struggled with this my entire life. I see the good in people, and I give them the benefit of the doubt, that no they care about me, that is why they say things that way. But here’s the catch, you can challenge someone without being rude or ruthless. Recently, my closest friend has been challenging me to see the world differently. Constantly pushing me out my comfort zones, but in the gentlest way possible. Showing me how my patterns are actually quite harmful to myself because I continue let people and situations have space in my mind that do not need to be there.

If someone does not add value to your like then they are wasted space. If the friends or the people in your life do not challenge you with TACT, then they are bullies. If people are not kind to you, what is the point? The world is cruel place as it is, why allow people – who are supposed to be our pillars, be unkind? Growth is also realizing that you do not have to have the same friends you have always had if they do support you in your journey.

I do not think I value anything more than time. It is the only thing I can offer someone that truly is priceless. Where you spend your time as well speaks volumes about yourself. I always heard the company you keep is a reflection of your personality. So spending time with those who bring no value to your life, is truthfully a waste. How do you manage to rid people who are wasted space in your life?

I often ask this question to myself to help differentiate between people I want to invest in and where I want to spend my time – since I value it so highly, as one should.  I read once, you’re nothing special if everyone has access to you. Spend your time wisely. Spend it with those who bring you comfort.

365 days. How did you spend it? 2017 was full of lows and highs, as every year is. It was complete of goals and failures.  We must take time to nurture our minds, to turn those failures into lessons, to push ourselves to be the best version of ourselves. I am exceptionally grateful for the losses this year, it taught me to survive. Mental health and inner peace is the new success, the new goal. My focus for the New Year is to become solution oriented and not problem oriented. My focus will be to say No where my heart is not happy, no matter who it is. My focus will be to live a peaceful life even if that means it needs to be done in solitude. Leaving anything and everything behind that is toxic. Turning 30 this year was additionally a great reminder on – how do I want the next 30 years of my life to look?

Endings, or new beginnings? I suppose it all depends on how you look at it. Cheers 2018, I am so ready for you.

i don’t mind.

We hear the phrase, ‘be mindful of others’ regularly. Especially with social media consuming our lives, we consistently hear people say, ‘pay attention to your surroundings, be present, be aware, be mindful.’

Growing up, my parents really wanted to embed mindfulness in to us kids. To be quite honest, it’s all they cared about. If we were sitting and someone (mainly elder) was standing, we should be mindful and offer our seat. If someone came to visit, I should be mindful and offer water, or chai. If someone was complaining about a situation we should be mindful and offer help. To constantly be aware of others needs. Growing up, my sister would jokingly refer to our mother as a social worker. Despite having three kids, she took on tasks for people like it was her job. Both my parents really. They were so kind to open their doors and have people stay if they ever needed a room or food. Literally anyone could call my parents for help, and you’d never hear a no. Never.

I am truly grateful to have witnessed such kind, extremely giving, and mindful parents. They not only taught us to be respectful to others but to always show compassion to those in need. And they really taught us to be attentive to not only others’ experiences but their feelings especially.

Desis are ALL about emotions. I mean just watch any Bollywood movie and see how we like to pull at peoples heart strings with emotional blackmail… err situations. Being mindful isn’t a dreadful thing. It’s a wonderful attribute but is there such a thing to be too mindful? I genuinely don’t think I have EVER made a life altering decision without listing the pro’s and con’s of how OTHERS might feel (and when I say others, I mainly mean my parents.) Sure, I’ve been selfish and did things I wanted but I also drove myself pretty crazy up until I made that decision.

I find my mindfulness has spread to other areas of my life. With friendships, with work. I have a hard time saying ‘No.’ Because, again my parents taught us to always be mindful of  people’s feelings.  I don’t quite know how my parents provided for three kids and were able to take on more than their share – because I find myself struggling. On one hand I want to be able to make everyone around me ‘happy’ (I say happy but I know it’s nearly impossible to make everyone happy – a general consensus if you will) but on the other hand it can take a huge toll on one’s sanity.

My friends who are amazing wives struggle between what their husbands want, what her parents want, and what her in-laws expect from her. She’s busy in her own life and of course has a voice but is also extremely mindful of keeping the harmony. I often listen to their struggles, pause and ask, “and what do you want?” The most daunting question of all time. We’re so wrapped up in trying to balance the beam. I truly believe they forget what they even want to begin with. I don’t want to make the bold statement that more often than not, women are asked to be more mindful than men, but in this case I’ll say it.

I once read a story that really resonated with me for many different reasons. A couple gets married and they make a pact for the first couple of weeks they won’t let anyone bother them no matter what. The guys parents come and they ask each other do we let them in and break the pact? The guy says it’ll be okay, they’ll be fine. The following week the girl’s parents are at the door. And of course not wanting to break the pact she convinces herself that it’s okay, they’ll understand. After a couple of minutes, she can’t take it, she tells her husband we should let them in, what if it’s something important? She opens the door. Fast forward a couple of years they have a son and then a girl. On the arrival of their daughter, the husband began to cry and the wife jokingly asked why are you crying? And he replied, “because the one who’s going to open the door for us, is here.”

I know plenty of guys who are mindful. I know plenty of women who are not. But there is something about this story that really resonates with me. The girl felt so many emotions upon opening that door. Firstly, to not want to disappoint her husband if she did open the door or feel guilty if she didn’t open the door for her parents. I often find myself at a similar crossroad. When my co workers say no to my boss for an extra task, I start to think of the all reasons why I should take the task. Mindfulness. It pops up everywhere.

For once, I’d like to be mindless. To solely make a decision based on my needs, only. We often spend our adult life fixing what our childhood broke and I’m not sure which part is more broken now.

My parents raised humanitarians, and as grateful as I am to them, I’m also upset they set me up for failure for my own sanity. The world wasn’t raised the same. The guilt that consumes me when I don’t fulfill a task that’s asked of me, will be the death of me. Many would say, this is a personal problem, and that’s feasible. Nevertheless, how is one to turn off being mindful? That’s just it though, there is nothing noble about not giving grace. It could be I’ve been on the right side all along, although for the sake of my sanity (and others like me) it’s time to fathom that No is a full a sentence and completely okay to use every once and awhile.

I do mind.

a minimalist perspective.

I scroll and scroll some more. Then I head to another outlet, tap on the picture and patiently wait for it to load and watch the story unfold. I realized an hour had passed keeping up with my peers. It dawned on me how I do indeed enjoy story time but perhpas more meaningful ones…

Is there an obsession with knowing what everyone else is doing? I’m a millennial and I see how our generation and Gen Z feels the need to be connected to everyone and everything, every second of the day. The digital natives have changed the game, they have upped the usage by 75%.  Have we lost all human connection? I know my eyes are tired from all the rolling they do as I scroll my Facebook feed.

I had been obsessed with living a minimalistic life for years, and I always thought how can I really do this? I own entirely too much for starters, but I wanted to declutter my life in every single aspect. To clothes, to jewelry, to people.

Yeah sure, I recognize people aren’t disposable per se, but in a way they are. The moment I turned 29, its as if I had a radar. The second someone was fake to me, my mind would start to beep. It always beeped, but the beeping got louder and louder.

I edit multiple times before I send emails, upload blogs,  and even my journal writings have tons of edits, scratch marks and all. So why would my life be any different? Be a ruthless editor of what you allow in your life, in your home and most importantly in your mind. What does this object mean to me? What does this person mean to me? Why do I continue to give someone space in my LIFE, when given the right time period, this person would give me nothing substantial (too specific?)

So I edited, deleted and kept going.

I guess that’s just it, I’ve never needed a great deal from people. Genuine friendship, appreciation, respect. But the more time passes, I acknowledge how difficult it is for people to give these elements that come so naturally to me. Its harder for me to be fake. It has absolutely drained me. The concept of keeping up with people became a job, people I didn’t even care for, but we continue to follow them on different mediums because we don’t want to offend anyone. I can’t uphold this persona. I can’t remain robotic of scrolling and eye rolling. Why deny myself the simple pleasure of being peaceful ON MY OWN DEVICES?

I’ve still been “documenting” moments in my life that make me feel a variety of emotions, but in a more old school manner. I pull out my journal and jot down how I am feeling in that instance. Whether I am thrilled, bitter, or somber. I follow with why I’m feeling this way and what can I do to change it or channel my energy differently.

No matter how we spin it. We want validation. We want someone to tell us we’re pretty or give us a pat on the back when we accomplish something of an importance. We want the world to validate our emotions. We want someone to approve the things we find joy in, but I don’t want that through an Instagram filter.I want it to be in a genuine more concrete way.

I don’t share too much of my personal life. My mind is forever on overdrive for my family, friends, the things I love and even despise. Daily, I fight small battles and enjoy victories I never share. Some days I even cry in my defeats, wipe my tears and head to work and tackle my day. There is an ENTIRE world you never see behind that Starbucks cup on Snapchat.

There have been numerous benefits of deleting people, social media, and decluttering my life thoroughly. I got rid of every little substance that didn’t give me joy. I detached myself from materialistic possessions. I cleared out bags and bags of random items from my bedroom. I wanted to feel free. Then I went through my social media and deleted EVERYONE who basically voted for Trump – this kind of petty I enjoyed indulging in briefly. It is nauseating enough to see Bills being passed that effect me directly and then to see those who openly agree to it all is something I could live completely without. Then I deleted social media entirely. I can read the news without people’s unsolicited opinions.

Also, because I wanted to be more productive with my time. In 31 days (do you see a trend?) I found time to read more, write more, declutter and really live that minimal life I wanted. I became self aware of my emotions without all the fake noise that surrounded me. I saved money easily by taking myself out of the mix of seeing what others had. I don’t feel the need to share my thoughts, my memories with others. I get to keep them to myself, something we don’t do enough of.

I also can admit this was kind of a drastic change in lifestyle and perhaps I need to find a balance, to disconnect and still feel connected. But by staying connected to others you can lose some connection with yourself. Valuable time you will never get back. We are taught that being able to multi-task is praise worthy. How can the age of distraction and half assing everything bring value to our life? I finally have self-control and discipline in various aspects of my life. Of course, we have the ability to do so but do we apply ourselves enough?

I want assets in my name, to build an empire, to be successful. And sure, you can do so while having thousands of fake followers watching your every move, but I rather not. Evil eye is very much a thing, and I’ve never believed it before as much as I do now, that being “envious” can strip you from all happiness. And it can be as simple as a momentary question. If you find yourself being jealous and asking, “I wish I had those shoes.” or “I wish I had that job.” Then ask yourself what are YOU doing different to actually obtain those things?

By eliminating, to put eloquently, the bullshit, I have made allowances for actual change. I’m not scrolling through a feed and saying, “man I wish I was traveling, or I wish I was in grad school.” I made it all happen in just a month by ridding myself of excessive commotion.

I starved my distractions to feed my focus. If you want your life to flourish and shift in the right direction, then you must do something completely different.  You must reconstruct your life to fit the vision you have set for yourself. And you don’t need your 1000 friends on Facebook to give you accolades when you get a promotion or get that Instagran like for your #OOTD to validate the fact your outfit is dope. Share those stories with TRUE friends who aren’t jealous of your successes or deep down want you to fail. In the words of Drizzy, we have fake people showing fake love to us… and we continue to accommodate them? We can deny all we want, that we don’t post for people, but it goes back to the question I ask myself often now, “if the world were blind, would I still do this?” A small part of us does want to impress others, and the other half of us indulges in worldly affairs solely for ourselves and to share with those that actually matter. So ask yourself, which part are you feeding?

I deprived my “followers” and found out quickly who truly cared for what I was feeling or thinking. And who cared enough to text me about the Muslim Ban. Who really stood in solidarity with me, not just behind a lousy like.

By feeding my focus I became the most productive and peaceful I have been in a very long time. Insert 300 likes here.

Ramdan Series: Forgivness.

My sister has been begging me to do a Ramadan Series, and I kept telling myself I would eventually get to it. You know, life, it happens, all too often, but it’s important to make time for the things that matter and for the people that matter. I have so many amazing ideas for the series but first lets talk about anger.

Going into Ramadan, God recommends, almost enforces, Muslims to ask for forgiveness from those they have wronged or hurt. The concept behind this is simple, this is month Muslims repent, the month of ultimate forgiveness from the most merciful. Consequently, it is extremely vital we understand the concept ourselves. How can we believe God will forgive us, when we hold on to anger for others?

Life betrays you. You know that moment you’re running late to work and you can’t find your keys? Lovers betray you. Friends betray you in the worst possible way and sometimes even you betray yourself… but we forgive ourselves. Ultimately because we judge our actions by our intentions and others just by their actions. It’s essential that we allow room for others to make their intentions known.

This month is about finding inner peace, and personally, for me, this is the first step. Being able to forgive others for what they lack is exceedingly imperative and humbling, because we forgive ourselves daily… for small things and sometimes for even bigger things. I constantly push myself to be patient with others, because I want the very same regard. Push yourself this month to have self-control in various aspects of your life.

No one ever said it was going to be easy, but it will be worth it.

the bigger picture.

Ramadan means different things to different people. Most people utilize this month to get closer to God and get in touch with their spiritual side. For me, this month has particularly been about reflection. With all the horror happening around the world, I’ve been constantly counting my blessings. How can you not? It’s hard not to wonder, how is it, that this is my life? I might be many things, but one thing I never want to be is ungrateful. I’ve done my best to really use this month to reflect on me and those around me, to gain perspective and wisdom. Another thing I tried extremely hard to improve and focus on is, patience. You can never have enough, it seems.

I don’t consider myself an angry person, but when I do get angry or upset – it consumes me. This month I focused on how foolish that is. We can’t control other peoples actions nor the things they say, but we can control how we react. The trouble with this is though, I might know how to control my actions but not so much my thoughts. How can I control those?

Prior to this month, I was angry at a friend. It took me awhile to stop caring, but it happened. It’s not easy to let go of the things we hold so dearly, but why let it ruin our lives? It was ruining my life. When I don’t understand something, my mind fixates on it. I recently had someone apologize to me for something they did five years ago. I told them it was too late and how none of that mattered anymore, they continued to say ‘better late than never’ but is that actually true? I constantly talk about closure, and how we’re the only ones who can make ourselves come to any sort of conclusion. Their apology was five years too late, and perhaps that apology was actually for them. I’m thankful I picked up the pieces a long time ago and rearranged them in order to suit myself. 

What I realize now, that not everyone thinks or more importantly, feels like we do, AND that’s okay. Either we accept them, or we don’t. It’s actually quite simple, we just make it complicated. Going through those emotions, brought me to this point, so perhaps the angry phase was necessary. It took me awhile, a month to be exact, to come to the realization, that there are bigger things than you and me. 

The only way to drive out darkness is with light. The only way to rid yourself of hate, is to embrace love. Any time you get angry or upset, in that instance just remind yourself how it isn’t worth the burden. Our hearts weren’t meant to carry hate or anger. 

As this month is ending, I just want to take a moment and reflect, on everything we’ve tried to achieve, everything we have to be thankful for. Think of those who are less fortunate, and do everything in your power to help them. Make sincere du’a (prayer) and give charity. Whatever your goals were this Ramadan, I hope you reached them and continue to strive for the bigger picture.

 

It’s Eid! Let’s eat 🙂 

 

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