Posted in All I know, anxiety, depression, freshly pressed, Life, life lessons, stress, writing

Remember to Forget!

The story I wanted to share is one that I have thought about sharing, many times over. I may have offered a glimpse, here and there to a few people, but never the whole picture. After much trepidation and prayer, I have decided that just maybe, it can help someone else overcome depression and anxiety, to rebuild their life. It would be too long to share my entire journey in one post, so perhaps I will start with the basic outline and then decide if i want to colour in from there…
Frankly it scares me to begin delving into the dark waters of my past, but perhaps it must be done if it can help even one person heal. 

Will another person have had the same experience or breakthrough as me? Maybe not. But what was made very clear to me recently, is that the ‘ripple effect’ is all we need to try and be a part of. And we have absolutely no excuses not to contribute to that with the technology that we have available today.

There are so many parts of my life story, that if brought to the fore, will just cause pain to too many people, and somehow, it just does not seem worth it!
I have long since, built bridges over those troubled waters and found my Happy Island.
I am contented now…

But it was a long and dark journey from the port of rejection, to the harbour of emptiness, through the seas of depression and up the canals of anxiety!  And it surely did not come with a map!!

Eventually, I found the stars to guide me home, safe and sound…this is my story of depression…

I cannot pinpoint one specific incident that may have set off the darkness that enveloped me, but I know with certainty that I was swaddled in a dark mantle of depression from a very early age.  How do I know this? Because trying to recall any happy or joyous occasions or moment is not easy, no matter how far back I go.  So in essence, I have been wading the murky waters from an early age.  

For me, the most important lesson here is that I never forget to remember that the relationships between adults, affects the children, no matter how little they are.  It engraves into their psyche a pattern for their future, and not many children are strong enough to break free from the seams of this cloak.  They remain trapped without even understanding why, and they never know the glistening beauty of the rising sun or the glow of a full moon and a sky, impregnated with twinkling stars.

I manged to find a coping mechanism.  I simply remembered to forget! To forget the past, to forget the hurt, to forget the pain, to forget the things that make me sad.  Every time I remember a painful incident, I remember to forget it.  To let it go!  I cut ties with it and let it float away like a balloon…into nothingness.

There are still times that emotion overwhelms me and I spin into the vortex of anxiety, but my mind switches to forgetting, and I breathe and I breathe and I carry on, just sailing down the waterfall into a placid lake of clean water that washes away the darkness, the pain, the emotions, the anxiety. But sometimes, sometimes the tears roll, the rawness burns….and I let it, because tears, like the placid lake, washes it all away.  

This is not an easy fix that I just came up with. It’s an exhausting process to acquire the knack of forgetting and letting go, but it’s so worth it! It’s a choice I have to make, every single time.  I can wallow in the unfairness of it all, or I can take a deep breath and move on and choose to see the beauty in the mess. I can choose to appreciate the sweetness hidden in the bitter. I can feel sorry for myself or I can choose to make the best of a bad situation. I can curl up in a ball and give up or I can choose to stand tall and fight the darkness .
I have to constantly allow myself the silence, to let some of the stuff I don’t even know is holding me back, make itself known to me.
I must let myself be aware of it. I must find the place of the feelings, describe what it feels like and then decide how to deal with it. Or it will deal with ME!  I have to be brave enough to accept the reality of the pain, but then I can go against the tide and switch to JOY.  I can let the light buoy me and lift me out of the darkness, so I can breathe, turn my face to the sun and sail down the waterfall, into my placid lake.
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The strength to prevail is inside each and every one of us.  No matter what you’re going through, or what you’ve been through, NEVER give up!  Dig a little deeper, find that little light inside you and be brave enough to dream of a better time.  Feel the JOY, let it buoy you to the waterfall…
and REMEMBER TO FORGET!
Pretty much all I know…..is that we must make a choice, every day, to always grow…up toward the sunlight!
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Posted in All I know, anxiety, depression, early posts, freshly pressed, Life, life lessons, stress

Discovering the Secret Strength and Joy in Solitude

This is an article I wrote a while back for ProductiveMuslim.com

I am sharing here because I re-read it for inspiration.

Please do read it and comment about any topics you would like me to cover that will be beneficial.


Stop the world! I want to get off!” Can you relate? This can be a very overwhelming feeling. You see, our humanity has this flaw that you will not find in other creation. We want to do all things, all at once! Multi-tasking, they call it. Supposedly a super human trait; but is it really? If so,

Source: Discovering the Secret Strength and Joy in Solitude – ProductiveMuslim.com

A letter to my 12 year old self

10/4/2016

Dear Pocahontas,

Right now everything is so unclear. You don’t understand this chaos that surrounds you. You have experienced things that are beyond your naïve understanding. These events do NOT define YOU!

That wall you built around your heart was raised by fear and it must come down or the fear will rule you.  It is ok to be scared of what you don’t understand, but you are still brave, even when you cry silently on your pillow at night.  Every hero has scars.  You feel alone and isolated. You even feel unloved and unwanted, but none of this is your fault.
Adults do things that are selfish, cruel and scary, without thinking of the consequences.  Some even tell you to grow up and not play the victim because they cannot admit to their responsibility for your shattered world.

But you only stare blankly at them all because you have learned how to numb yourself to the pain of this topsy-turvy world. You believe that the impenetrable walls around your hart will protect you from feeling so scared and helpless ever again.  You reach the conclusion that feelings are useless because they hurt.  It is better to be a lifeless zombie in this world than to try your very best and get shot down every time; than to be criticized for who you are, all the time.

What does love look like? What does love feel like?  These are questions that haunt you. You see happiness in other people’s lives and you wonder how they captured it.  You try to be like the happiest girl you know.  You imitate her, thinking it will make you happy…it will make them happy…maybe…. just maybe if you are some one different, they will like you and be happy too.
It doesn’t work.  Now he’s gone … for good, but it’s not your fault.  There is nothing you could do to change this.

I wish so hard that someone could have held you and told you how awesome you are.  I wish that there was one person who could help you through this pain and confusion.  I want to tell you now…

I want to let you know that you were amazing.  You were brave and strong beyond your years.  You were intelligent and suave. You were smart and special. You were so precious.

You still are!  You will always be!

Don’t doubt yourself because you have a beautiful mind and a beautiful soul.  Your fragile heart can hold more than you give it credit for.  All you have to do is stay true to yourself.  Be authentic, always.  Never be afraid of anything.  Go boldly where your heart and dreams take you.  Walk passionately and leave your mark gently.  You are sensational and you can make a difference.

Love does not hurt so give it a chance.  All the places you looked for it, were impoverished.  You never found it in its original state.  Plant love in your hart and cultivate it; nourish it. Let it grow wild and free and give it to everyone you encounter.  Never feel guilty for being happy and never be scared to show your love.  Follow your dreams and achieve all you set out to do.
Let no fear or doubt hold you back.  Failure is a stepping stone to greatness and you can fail many times at many things and still be wiser, stronger and more accomplished than if you stayed in the safe harbor and colored inside the lines.

Remember how you hated painting by numbers? Remember how you loved the 1-0-1-1-0-0-0 of your first programming book?

Believe in yourself! Life is a precious gift and anything is possible…so rip off the wrapping and bulldoze the walls around your heart!

Journey, Explore, Discover, Improve…become a JEDI!!

I’m waiting for you on the other side!!

 

Lots of Love and Big Hugs,

Me

Posted in All I know, freshly pressed, Life, life lessons, writing

Where’s the blackbox?!

How do you know when change is afoot?

When you feel lost…

When your inner compass is all over the place…

When you feel unsettled in your life…

Much like when a plane is about to go down; I know, I know…but with all the recent planes going down, it seemed an apt analogy [Don’t judge me!]


First, the alarm sounds, then all the needle displays start malfunctioning, then the pilot panics as he tries to figure out what is wrong, then he grabs the manual to check what his protocol action should be, and finally he switches off the alarms, takes control of the craft and brings it back to a glide.

This is exactly how I have been feeling. I am still in the “figuring it out” stage, but with the right amount of guidance, from the best manuals, I am bound to make a smooth transition.

I expect the panic to spur me on, in new directions, to find gusts of wind, that will lift me up to greater heights…

Change is afoot!

Feeling lost in the woods, like Red Riding Hood!

Change is afoot!

Feeling lost in the mountains, like Mulan!

Change is afoot!

Feeling lost in the meadows, like the sheep of Bo-peep!

Change is afoot!

Feeling lost at sea, like Sinbad without a compass!

Change is afoot!

Pretty much all I know, is that Lost…I, will no longer be!!!

 

Critical…

Who Am I?

I am ME

I am my thoughts

I am my emotions

I am my experiences

I am my conscience

I am my subconscience

I am my unique naunces

Can you take my body and not take ME?

The scar on my hand is ME

The ache of my joints is ME

The tension in my muscles is ME

The curl of my toes is ME

The laugh lines on my eyes are ME

The birthmarks and moles on my skin are ME

You can take my body, but you can NEVER take ME

I am ME

You can take my DNA, but you can NEVER take ME

Only I am ME

You can take my brain, but you’ll need my spine too – it makes up the whole CNS

But you can NEVER take ME

Those synapses will still fire, the blood will still flow, the cells will still grow

But you will NEVER be ME

You will not have MY thoughts

You will not have MY emotions

You will not have MY experiences

You will not have MY conscience

You will not have MY subconscience

You will not have MY unique nuances

I am ME

Only I am ME

You can take it all

But you will never take ME

Posted in All I know, freshly pressed, Life, life lessons, newbie, writing

Good Grief!

No! It’s not an exclaim of disbelief…

I just met a mother who lost her son. Her grief is so real and raw that she wore it like a garment. It enveloped her and seeped from her very being. It was in her walk, in her eyes, in her face, in her hands, in her posture. It gripped me when she spoke, her words soaked with grief;heavy with pain and heartache…

It defies nature that a parent should bury a child. The grief in this regard can be difficult to reconcile. The intense blow of receiving tragic news in the early hours of the morning can not be compared to anything! This family had to endure that, not once, but twice! The first call brought news of death and injury. 3 funerals at once, while 3 others were seriously injured and in hospital. 2 days later, another call of death.
I cannot begin to imagine the depths of sorrow and other emotions that overtook this family in such a short time. How did they absorb the double shock?! How did they accept the reality of the deaths?! How long will the loss batter this family?!

In Islam we are taught that it is natural to grieve and feel sorrow over the loss of loved ones. Our Prophet Muhammed (p.b.u.h) experienced more loss than anyone could possibly endure in one lifetime, and he did not repress his suffering. We are taught to practice patience and acceptance in the face of loss and tragedy. The grieving period is prescribed as 3 days and excessive mourning and wailing is not permitted. The Quran says: “who say, when afflicted with calamity: To God we belong, and to God is our return..” [2:156]
Certainly if every person accepts this, there is no need for an extended mourning period?? But we are human and our mind, body and hearts are fallible. They do not simply “adhere” to a teaching!

A friend and ex-colleague lost her spouse and soul mate, very suddenly and tragically. A young family, with kids who must still begin school and life in the big bad world. They will make this journey without their father!

The overwhelming feeling of pain and grief that accompanies loss, does not come with a handbook on how to deal with it! The intensity never leaves or lessens… truth is, our hearts grow bigger to allow this pain and grief it’s own space. We learn to accommodate it. This is how acceptance comes. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. There is no stipulated time. It truly is ‘each to his own.’

When my beloved grandmother passed, it took me 3 days to absorb the shock! 3 days before I cried! 3 days before I realised I would never see her again! But I have green beans and lentils, oil of olay and other little, everyday things that bring memories of time spent with her. I treasure those moments and sometimes, I grieve…

The Japanese culture have a lovely practice of mending broken pieces of pottery. I draw great inspiration from this art.
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All the memories will fill our hearts with streaks of golden light. The broken pieces will be mended with golden moments.
The stories, the smiles, the tears, the joys, the sadness…all have a place to go. This will be the magic of repair, removal of despair, addition of art, rare!!!

Pretty much all I know…is that it takes time! And time is all we have…

Posted in All I know, freshly pressed, Life, life lessons, Uncategorized

Reflections…

So, I just wrote my first exam of this semester!
I have not written a blog post since February of this year!

Reflection: Time really does fly…..it’s not just a saying!

Truth be told, I think I have allowed the negative committee to convene and preside over this sitting for too long!!
‘Tis time to clean house!!  [NO! not literally…gosh! imagine me, with a mop and dust cloth?!]

NO! DON’T! You know what they say about thoughts…

Back to reflections….In hindsight, I realised that what we keep in the fore of our minds and what we speak really does become a reality.  I tested this theory after attending a 3 day workshop on how to memorise the Quran in 56 days! So the crux of the workshop was more about how we train and prepare our minds and about removing negatives and excuses from our lives.  It was about breathing properly, about activating both sides of the brain for success. It was about finding your methodology for success and challenging the mind to remove all limitations!

Moreover, it was about learning that EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE!

This was only in the level one workshop. Naturally, I was inclined to attend the second workshop.  I decided to monitor the people around me and see how they respond to negativity and what their perceptions were.  I mean we all carry around this box of colours that we constantly use on the canvas of life and I wanted to know more about this.

On the first day, I took note of body language (kinesics), speech and facial expressions ( a tad difficult when some women wore niqab). The thing is, I went in gung ho and expected reciprocation because I was fired up from the first workshop!  I was met with fallen gazes, half smiles, soft greetings, bossiness, shyness, overtness, vociferousness, opinionatedness, divisiveness and a myriad of otherness.  So, I guessed that not everyone attended the level two workshop because they were amped to learn more; not everyone was as fired up as I was and not everyone had a really good night’s rest!

As the workshop began, we were taught that we should “Step back and look again with new perspective”, when we encounter hurdles in life.

I immediately took this advice and removed all the colours I had just used to colour the people in the room!  Blank canvas – Done!

I decided a new litmus test was in order.  So in the break I smiled at people a lot and quite a few smiled back.  Had an interesting lady talk to me in the bathroom and then met another lady from the first workshop who never stopped talking about herself, her situation, her kids and even though I love to listen to people, even when I wanted to ask a question or make a comment, she would just cut me off and continue on a different tangent.  I still didn’t take out my colours to colour anyone!  When we returned to the session, I noticed that I was not at all concerned about anything that had happened in the break. None of it was replaying in my head and there was no emotional attachment to the situations.  WOW!!  The next lesson was about staying positive always, even if negativity abounds.  I resolved to use all the information I had learned at the workshop!

I entered the venue on day two with little to no expectations!  I marched in sombrely and grabbed a bottle of water before settling into my seat.  I went to greet my new-found friend who doesn’t stop talking and she seemed calmer.  I also greeted the lady who conversed with me in the bathroom and she was quite chipper.  My ‘neighbours’ from the day before were all smiling and greeting and asking for my name!   I wasn’t sure if it was Sunday vibes or the effects of the workshop.  I decided to adopt the opposite stance, in relation to the lesson we learnt the previous day.  I lowered my energies mentally and told everyone who asked that I was just “tired”.  Some people were curious about my sleep time, others were just responsive with sympathies, others wished I felt better and others agreed to feeling the same way.  More than that though, I realised that when I was super-charged the previous day, it seemed everyone else was not and when I was low, everyone seemed cheerier and concerned that I wasn’t.  Crazily enough, my ‘neighbour’ started actually nodding off during the workshop! WOW! The lesson about a strong mental state and conviction was paying off!  I had learning and practice in one go and, I must say, as a Psychology student, that was the most interesting survey yet!

Pretty much all I know….is that practice makes perfect!

Posted in All I know, freshly pressed, Life, life lessons, newbie, Uncategorized

Eat the Frog!

So, I’ve heard they eat frog legs in Paris, the city of love?  That does not sound romantic! Nor like any delicacy I would like to wrap my mouth around!  No sirree!! No, thank you!!

I watched a frog the other night.  It was not anything pretty to look at, but it seemed to think it could scale a glass window! I kid you not!!  It was fascinating. I should have snapped a pic. [Note to self: Try to remember to whip out your phone and use the camera to capture moments]

It’s been a while since my last blog post and I vaguely remember promising to post more often. Yeah, I seem to like to make promises to myself that I am unable to keep.  *rolls eyes*  Well the real reason I have not blogged much, even though I have a good list of blog post topics running, is that I have been in a negative space lately.  Somehow, I think it infuses in my writing and makes my posts heavy weighted.  The last thing I want, is for that energy to make it’s way off the page and into someone else’s space.  It is likely, you know.  Sure! You may scoff at the thought of it, but I have known negativity to travel through time and space to devour what it wills, at a whim!

Anyhoo, I digress…I was saying, about the frog…yes!  I may not want to, ever, eat real frog legs or snails, *yuck* but eating the proverbial frog is something I have to learn to do. It’s a key step in many productivity talks.  “What does it entail?”, you may be thinking.

Well it’s explained like this:-
You must do the most difficult thing on your To-do-List, first thing in the morning.  That way, all the other tasks are less daunting and thus easier to accomplish and you get to be more productive.

And it was derived from this wise quote:-

Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.

Mark Twain

I learned another way to be productive, that follows that same principal. It is the MIT system from Productive Muslim .  MIT means Most Important Task and Productive Muslim even developed a taskinator to assist you in getting your MIT’s done.  Go check it out; I promise you will not leave without some valuable information to help you be more productive.

Pretty much all I know about productivity is….. the sooner you put one foot in front of the other, the more it starts to look like success. Never stop moving because productivity is never an accident!

 

A measure of Time…

Time!

Elusive Time!

A rare commodity that is so easily bought and sold!

It cannot be bottled or stored…

Never shared, traded or gifted.

Why then do we take it for granted?!

Time!

A measure of time is never contained!

“I’ll be there in 5!” yet only arrive in 15…

” I’ll do it just now!” only it always is now, but never is done…

Time!

Always the 1 that got away!

Never the 1 to stay a while…

Time!

The essence of life…

This prose was inspired

by the myriad of times

I have intended to blog in the last 2 months!

Exams were done.

Results arrived.

Summer holidays began.

School runs ended.

And still,

I never found the time.

The time I longed for all the while.

The blissful time,

to write to my heart’s content.

All I ended up with,

was a list of possible blog topics.

And so,

I begin again.

Making time.

Time to write.

Time to release.

Time to ponder.

Time to reflect.

Time to learn.

Time to grow.

It is my time.

Never to be bought or sold.

Never to stay a little longer.

Until my time

RUNS OUT!

Pretty much All I know….is that Time waits for no man!

Mid-Life Crisis

Well, well, well…Look who’s back!
Yes, it has been a whole month, and I missed the Blogosphere. It was an un-intended sabbatical, really.

Even though I was travelling, I had every intention of blogging throughout the roadtrip, as well as about the amazing time I would have with my mum and my siblings, all under one roof!

For a whole week!

NB: We all survived.
Unscathed!

It’s not like there is anything glaringly wrong with us. And don’t get me wrong, we all mostly love each other[ I think?!] , it just doesn’t ooze out of our every pore and it is not sickly sweet. I know some families are all about that, but we’re not. It has taken us years to learn to say the words ” love you” to each other, but that in no way means we fought like cats and dogs. Mother dearest, managed to single-handedly raise decent, functional humans after Father went AWOL.

empty cup

I recently learned this concept and it all made sense; I understood why we were not raised on sickly sweet love. Our “cup” was empty.  As I imagine it would be, for most single parents,attempting to pick up the pieces and raise 3 decent humans at the same time.

I am proud to say that our hearts are in the right place, and that speaks volumes!

My Mom was, an amazing Mother, is, an awesome Mom and will ALWAYS be, OUR SUPER MOM!

In my last assignment of this semester, some reading revealed that “…an unhealthy symbiotic relationship with an overprotective mother who frustrates her children’s own individuality and play, not allowing them to feel for themselves.” can manifest and induce mid-life crisis.

I am now thankful for not having an overprotective, smothering Mother 🙂

Pretty much all I know…is that I don’t have to worry about suffering a mid-life crisis!