What does Patience mean to us?

By far the most manipulated word I have come across is’ patience. Here’s a fun activity to do; ask people around you of varied ages what they mean when they say ‘have patience’. You will get a mixed answers, some may make you feel pessimistic about it, some may make you feel good. You see, patience is like a shawl that all of us have had to wrap ourselves with at some point in our lives, and based on how our issues were resolved we define patience. I know that a lot of the people around me take patience to be this miracle that will cure all problems, but their way to practicing it is just sad.

Patience around me mostly has been defined as to bearing with whatever is happening, basically putting up with whatever rubbish it is that is going on in your life. Now mostly our problems are due to others around us and not so much because of ourselves. So once we do whatever we can to resolve our problems, we have to be patient while others continue to be the way they are and hence continue to mess with our lives. Spiritual people will manipulate patience with no end. They will say God will reward you for your patience (as defined earlier in this para), you shall go to heaven for your patient (ditto) blah blah blah….But I was never satisfied, why would my own creator want me to just sit and suffer?

So I got very interested in the topic of patience/Sabr and found much to read, and understand. Some of the stuff didn’t set with me, as humans we always try to apply every concept to our own personal lives and see if it fits, and if it doesn’t or seems like it doesn’t we totally reject the idea/concept/belief. In Islam patience is of different types, there is much reward for the one who is practicing patience etc etc. Understood. My ultimate understanding of patience was discovered in an interview of Maulana Jaun, it wasn’t even on the topic of patience BTW, but in his talk he cleared the air about it. And that is when the cloud of confusion moved away. However this cloud is one stubborn cloud and keeps coming back, and pushes us to despair.

As struggles in life increase with age, I have noticed that the most difficult problems are the ones caused by others. We don’t control the universe, and anxiety can totally take over our sanity and leave us pessimistic, sad and depressed. The worst state that one can reach due to such happenings in life is despair AKA Yas. (It is the second greater sin in Islam). Basically once you reach there, it’s all downhill!

Anyway, today being the first day of the month of Ramadan, I decided to listen to a lecture I had saved in my ‘watch later’ list on Youtube. Usually in life I have noticed that I go looking for something, with good intentions but I most of the time do not end up getting it, however I end up with something more. I guess it’s Gods way of guiding His people. Just like the lecture above I actually went about to know more and learn more from and about Bibi Zainab (AS) since I share her name and believe it is important for us to understand the affect of the name of the person on whom you have been named.

It just so happened that Sheikh Jaffer in this lecture speaks about the various good qualities of her, but focuses the majority of his lecture on Patience, and while some of the information (like the types of patience) was already familiar to me, it was his explanation that answered some of my questions, brought peace to my heart, and most importantly gave me the inspiration to be more patient.

Patience in all it’s true meaning, means to be steadfast, while waiting for the results. And so you don’t sit thinking patience is the finality of your struggle, it is what will enable you to work, struggle, move to make things better.  The truth is that it’s a phase, and Islamically your patience being tested is a sign that you are chosen to be tested.

As mothers and human beings, we have the responsibility of a society on us as we nurture future adult members of the society. It also the responsibility of the fathers, but I am focusing on mothers because I am one. And I firmly believe and second Maulana Jaffer in educating and supporting our children in understanding what patience is. And most importantly as parents we need to not just jabber about the theory of patience, but be brave role models. We all know that children learn through what they see, and they should see the beauty in our struggles, so that they are chosen for bigger struggles and grow closer to their creator, and also become the support system for others who are going through a difficult time.

Anyone can make you laugh to take your mind off worries, but it is a true human who will help you through your difficult time by showing you how to be patient, and be patient with you while you struggle 🙂

The hypocrisy of helplessness

Human beings have to make decisions in life, these range from small mundane everyday decisions to big life changing ones. Some of these impact only us on an individual level, while others have a wider family/societal impact. Decisions are not easy to make, we can’t possibly be trained to make decisions, no amount of education can prepare us for them, we all have our unique life experiences and encounters that require decision making. However, a strong moral compass helps you make the right one.

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Today I wanted to share the phenomenon on portraying oneself as helpless, when not really making any conscious effort to change your situation in life. Self-pity, playing the victim, are both cousins of the helpless person. You will come across people who are dangerous, and while danger can be described through various definitions, one kind of dangerous people are the ones who meddle, ruin things cause great chaos and when they realise they messed up, they conveniently hide behind the ‘helpless’ tag in order to avoid un-doing their mess. These are dangerous people, because you’d expect them to use the same power that they implemented initially to mess things in making things right, but they choose not to. The helplessness bandwagon is always full, filled with ego stroking, reality avoiding individuals whose conscience dies by the day. You will also find a bunch of soul dead, people in there who pep up and inspire these weak individuals.
When you take a deep breath and think, we are the best of creatures on earth, we are intellectually above every living organism on the planet. And if the animals are able to strive to solve their day to day problems and hustle; then why do we underestimate ourselves? I have observed the self-proclaimed ‘helpless’ and come to a conclusion that helplessness is a choice. A choice you make when you just don’t want to do anything, at the same time not take responsibility. Helplessness is a weak person’s way of gaining sympathy in situations where they know the guilt is killing them, an instant gratification from other humans is important for survival. Helplessness is a phenomenon those who are faithless feel, because they restrict their power to either themselves, their physical/mental capacity, or to that of the other human beings around them. If you’re an adult you’re not helpless, you’re merely trying to pacify yourself and probably create an excuse that will be universally accepted by other naïve/stupid people around you.

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If you want to test such people, give them ideas to help themselves, offer them opportunities to get out of their ‘helpless’ situation and see if they’re willing to put in any effort or just dismiss your ideas all together. The helplessness may also stem from hypocrisy. You will be able to identify it all, just takes a small conversation. I look at helplessness as a disease that makes you weaker spiritually, mentally and even physically. It eats you up, and leaves you in a state of despair. And I refuse to ever regard myself as helpless, no matter how tough life gets, no matter how difficult it seems to get out of a sticky situation, and I get the inspiration from that by having faith in a higher power, a God that doesn’t abandon its creatures. The more power we hand over to others, the weaker we feel. Hand over your troubles to your lord, He will guide you and help you. Stay focused on the truth and acting right. A person who is in a constant struggle to get out of a mess and seeking justice is never helpless, the strength only increases, and the truth about others becomes clear.
I pity and feel sorry for those who take pride in their helplessness. I feel happy that I am not one of them; I am glad that I have faith that makes me believe in my potential- potential whose extent I am unaware of, but am mindful of its existence. It’s sad, to  be the best of creatures on earth, and live it like the worst of creatures. I refuse to belittle myself with the helpless tag.

What 2016 taught me

It’s different this time, I started off the year with certain goals in mind and while they flew out the window the only realization I have left with me is to not be stupid again.
I have learned quite a few life lessons this year I will share the top three only….The beauty of life lessons is that they don’t necessarily need to come from your own life, being observant of others helps tremendously. So let’s get into it..
Lesson 1. Having faith is everything. There have been real lows in my life this year, and I continue to be in some of them still. But every time I felt lost, and confused the only hope came from having faith. I used to lose hope very quickly, and it takes a lot to get my spirits up. But not anymore, now I have figured out that when I see a cloud of hopelessness come toward me, I just skip the steps of sadness, and misery and hop on to what saves me, ie faith. Having faith in God helps you because He is the most powerful, so while the humans of the world can try to snatch away your happiness with their actions and intentions, you need not worry because they aren’t all powerful! And a regular dose of exploring faith, and just the mercy of Allah can help you stay on the track of positivity. It is important to be sane to be able to deal with hardships. And being calm in the storm is the key to success.
Lesson 2- No one deserves trust and respect unless they prove it. We will hear 10000 versions of opinions about a person from different people, but there’s no guarantee you will have the same holy experience. In fact human beings do a great job at hiding their true self, it’s a talent. Animals have more honesty in that respect, so there’s absolutely no need to have blind trust in anyone unless they have proved to your satisfaction that they are worthy of it. Have positive thoughts and opinions about everyone, innocent until proven guilty. But don’t be stupid and naïve enough to put your trust in someone’s hands just based on words.

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Lesson 3. There are good people in the world. There are. And if you’re lucky enough to attract any of them be super grateful and honest with them. Because you being chosen for another good human being is a blessing for yourself. Trust that your goodness can help others, and bring positivity into the life of another human being. Relationships have to be built on mutual love, trust and respect. Not taking anyone for granted is very important; it’s the only way to build and grow the positive circle around you.
Life is about growing; I have been observant of the people around me this year and noticed that those who don’t grow tend to never do justice to their purpose of existence. And I refuse to be one of those. Sometimes the best role model for you will be you and your own experiences. Respect is very difficult to attain, and sadly some people just don’t know how to handle it while they have it, and lose it all in their ego and high headedness. Our purpose in life is simple, it was never meant to be complicated, the sooner we figure it out the more productive we will be and hopefully die attaining it.

The human moles

Some of the best descriptions of human beings can be made through comparisons with animals. We’ve all done it at some point in our lives, sometimes in anger, sometimes in just plain humor. We ourselves tend to identify ourselves with certain animal instincts and personalities that are exclusive to certain animals. And while I do not like to categorise humans being as animals, there is a mole phenomenon that exists.

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Who are the human moles (as I like to call them)?

For starters let’s try to zoom into which aspect of the animal I am referring to -The digging deep into the earth, FYI moles are nocturnal animals. And when you have a mole problem in your garden or back yard or house even, you will constantly be surprised as you explore each hole they have dug. Just when you think you’ve seen the deepest, you will discover a deeper one few steps ahead. Ditto is the case with the human moles. They’re not physically digging any hole, they are stooping lower and lower, losing all their self-worth, respect, sense of humanity.And just when you thought you discovered the lowest of that person, you will surprised by another lower level fall.

This is an experience of great betrayal. It eventually makes you accept that there’s talent in stooping low and that this person has no baseline. There is just no stopping such people, who are determined to showcase their true status in life. Initially it is difficult to accept, but then you just can’t even get surprised, just feel sorry for them. The lower they go the more difficult it is for them to get out.

Moles die due to prolonged exposure to sun. It’s same with the human moles, they can’t survive the light of a good human being. While you may not be able to witness the tortured death of the human moles, I advice you to have faith in yourself, your goodness, the light of integrity that you carry within your soul and be grateful you aren’t them.

Identifying the strength in you is enough to deal with the rubbish in others. We tend to think we are weak based on the  false/ exaggerated power showcased by our enemies, but the fact is, their strength doesn’t define ours 🙂

Playing the victim

I am only 27 years of age. Sometimes when we get into the true adult struggles at a young age, we tend to start feeling like we’ve seen it all. I have to remind myself that there’s much more to learn, this reality especially strikes when my husband tells me that the world isn’t as simple as I look at it. And well while it is difficult to hear those words, I have learned to accept it, because it is the truth.
There have been various experiences I have been through, till date I have gotten married twice, had multiple miscarriages, a pre-term baby, co-founded a non-profit organisation, worked and volunteered, and now growing my family with my husband. There have been problems, and being an observant and empathetic person I always tried to put myself in the shoes of others and be forgiving. But that doesn’t work for all, not all the people are deserving of that. And now I have learned to draw boundaries. I have explored my personality strengths, both in my professional and personal life. I have discovered many characteristics about myself that I need to love and respect, and several I need to work on and eventually let go of. One of the major lessons I have learnt is that there’s always scope to grow, and the right people will bring out the good in you, and help you work on the not-so-good bits about yourself. These people are the ones who are worthy of patience, care, empathy and love.

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What’s the purpose of this post? Well, I wanted to discuss a classic characteristic of people I have come across- Victimizing yourself. The people who just won’t accept their fault, and their ego is too big to accept any weakness in themselves, and when they know they’re wrong, they turn to playing the victim. Blaming you for the problems you are in and they are in as well, instead of owning it. You may have come across such people in your life. What I have observed is such people tend to become the way they are due to backing from their parents, family or friends. Poor parenting results in irresponsible children, who just refuse to take ownership of the rubbish they have created, they also tend to be liars, lazy, selfish, and inconsiderate. If you’re a sensitive or naïve person you will very easily fall into the trap, and start feeling like the problem, because of their skills in playing victim. They do it with confidence BTW.
Fact is, when it’s a stranger you will behave differently, but when your own friends or family are like this you tend to be more forgiving and hence are taken for granted. This is where the damage on you starts while the other person just enjoys the attention and pampering. Anything wrong that happens becomes your fault by default. Point to remember here is; you are strong and don’t need to manage anyone’s rubbish. I learned this the hard way. In the end it’s a logical discussion to have in your mind, take a deep breath and be sure of yourself, be rational in analyzing the scenario and try to see from a third persons eye if it truly is your fault. And don’t worry about how elder or younger the person is, if they’re wrong they’re wrong. You need not be their ego polisher, that’s not our job on earth.

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A recent experience just boiled my blood, and I for the first time stood my ground and didn’t give in to the emotional manipulation. Makes me feel so strong it’s indescribable. Experiences mold us, but we can choose to change our reactions to every situation, see what works best for us. As human beings we have a natural pre-disposition to gravitate to goodness. Let’s liberate ourselves from the negative people in it who unfortunately walk the earth. And make sure we aren’t contributing more of such types, through strong parenting.
Be strong, be right!

 

The Gordon Ramsay Obsession

One thing I do just before falling asleep is watch a great load of YouTube, or TV shows I’ve downloaded. I like really shallow entertainment at night, because my brain is exhausted and just doesn’t want to be strained. My latest obsession has been Hells Kitchen US.

I love Gordon Ramsay, he’s the bomb. I used to watch Hells Kitchen a long time ago when it used to air on TV. But then forgot about it, recently I had been seeing a lot of updates on the current season (12th) on Facebook and all around on the web. So I thought ‘hmm, lets go down that lane again’ and boy am I enjoying it!. Now the new episodes air every Friday, so you can get your torrents by Sat or Sun, however I like things fast paced. I like back to back madness. So I asked the husband to download the whole of season 10, and I finished that in two to three days, staying up till 3am, then it was time for season 11 finished that last night. And I have a new found love for Gordon Ramsay.

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I love the yelling, the screaming, the aggression because unlike other reality shows; this is legit. Gordon Ramsay is not the kind who can fall for overly choreographed crap. His passion for food is inspiring, it reminds you of how much you can love and dedicate yourself to something. Not only that, the contestants too are passionate, no one is hitting flukes. The moments I love the most about the show is when he gifts the challenge winners cookware, and knives. That’s amazing, the look on their faces for utensils, that’s what a true lover of cooking is. A true chef. And the cocky smile on his face when he’s making them do ridiculous punishments, hysterical challenges and pulls pranks on them.

Much respect for anyone who inspires you to have command over your career, you can demand respect, when you truly own expertise in a field. It’s about working hard, valuing the hard work of other, and moving forward with faith no matter how many failures you encounter. Gordon Ramsays energy is contagious, he makes me want to work harder and faster. It’s about being quick, and precise, maintaining standards, being yourself and not apologising for it.

While I am exhausted after watching two seasons back to back, I am going to take the sane persons route and watch an episode a week as it airs, and on my next book buy list is the biography of the chef himself ‘Humble Pie’. I am excited about that, found it on flipkart too, my go-to online book hauling site. Here’s a fantastic review of the book.

I haven’t ever read a biography, I’ve only checked out information online, but never read cover to cover. So I am excited to read this one. I am looking to forming a regular reading habit and not the audio books, physically READING, books. It’s been long, and it’s one of my goals this year; to get into the swing of regular reading, especially exploring works I haven’t ever tried.

So mommies (or non-mommies), what do you think about Gordon Ramsay? What are your current favourite reads? Leave comments below, I’d love to know about you wonderful readers!