Sunday, January 25, 2015

Reining in those Crazy Emotions.

I’ve written a fair bit about how you should keep the heart & mind separate when it comes to decision making and understanding how to sort out your life. It makes sense, doesn’t it? But now I’m beginning to think otherwise. I won’t throw my old theories out the window – they’re still valid, but maybe they aren’t as sure footed as I initially thought they were.

As days more forward, I feel that the heart and mind are too heavily intertwined to be separated. There is no possible way to separate your emotions from your thought process. Emotions are strong as they are meant to be. Strong emotions bring people together and make us experience life in the way it was meant to be experienced. Imagine not being able to love deeply or feel sad when someone close passes away?

As crucial as emotions are to driving you to progress they can be equally counterproductive to making progress. We can’t deny that you need to be passionate about something to succeed at it. But being distracted by emotions is a major problem that everyone has had to struggle with.
As I grow, I realize more and more what aspects of my character are dynamic and what aspects are static. I know that I’m an emotional person and realize that situations that stirred my emotions as a teen have a similar effect on me now. Not everything, no; but, many things are the same and I’ve embraced that. However, if I allow these emotions distract me, than they will surely steer me clear of the progress I am determined to make. My determination is emotional – a lack of determination is a lack of passion.

So there’s a complex balancing act that needs to be practiced in order to ensure that you are successful at attaining what you want. When these emotions start, they always furious and aggressive as they need to be. These emotions that are wild and free need to be reined in and managed. However, like an undomesticated animal that is averse to human touch, your emotions will always have the instinct to return to their wild roots. Containing your emotions while still utilizing them in order to achieve your goals seems counter intuitive; but absolutely necessary. The only tool you can use to contain these emotions is your mind. Your quiet time before your day starts and just before it ends are some of the most important moments of the day. Early morning meditation and late evening contemplation are what make your emotions balanced and centered. The idea of meditating before sunrise to set goals as to how you want to behave, perform and react will definitely make your day much more tranquil. On the flip side, reflecting on everything you’ve said and done during the day just before you go to bed will work miracles in controlling your emotions. These tangible practices lie in three spiritual essences; patience, humility & focused thought.

You will fail 100 times before you finally rein in on your emotions and use them to your advantage. But don’t worry, failing is a blessing in disguise if you look hard enough.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

That Gut Feeling You Get

Take a seat in the corner of your room in total silence and contemplate that everyone you meet is either going through something difficult or will experience it at some point in their lives. We have a tendency to think that the world revolves around us and no one really gets how we feel or comprehends our day-to-day struggles. I can promise you that everyone you will ever meet will share a story or situation that you can relate to

They'll share some words of wisdom that will help as you journey on. I find that wisdom plays a very important role in your capacity to articulate your thoughts and feelings. As well, humility is equally important when listening to what sincere people have to say. I stress the word sincere because there are many people you come across that will spew (mostly) rubbish. Therefore, wisdom is to speech what humility is to listening; you cannot be confident in what you have to say unless you've delved into it AND you cannot take anyone else's words seriously unless you have the humility to squash your own preconceived notions.

So in this letter, I will need you to be humble because I am confident that you will not agree with me. What I've experienced is something that defined the next leg of my life's journey and if I didn't listen to my gut, the remainder of my life would be very different.

That gut feeling...

Dear Lord that gut feeling that wakes you up at night and tears apart your insides. That feeling that feels so certain, but sometimes seems so hazy that you have to search for it, although its screaming at you.

That gut feeling...

The sensation you have burning a hole in your abdomen when you absolutely have to make a decision that could possibly direct your next course of action. You're never really sure how it got there and why you feel it, but its there and you have to obey it.

Just recently, I was torn about a decision that it was the central theme to my life for a month. Day and night, I had only one thought in my mind and I had no idea which side to take, my heart, or the....other confusing feeling I sensed in my gut. My heart was screaming yes and the only thing it wanted was to feel fulfilled and content. However, something else started whispering to me, completely throwing off my thoughts and feelings and with each passing day, it got louder and louder.

Over the past several years, I've made decisions and disregarded that voice that whispered and screamed until I eventually felt it burning my gut. I ignored it because I saw it as 'doubt' or 'negativity' and I wanted to take risks and leaps of faith. As far as I was concerned, it was a 'feeling' of doubt and fear; a state of mind I actively avoided.

Or so I thought. I really want to be a risk taker, someone who gets on board with decisions that could possibly change the course of my life for the better. I know that with every major decision has the potential to either set flight or come crashing down. I loved the fact that with every decision, I could possibly become a millionaire, or a family man. I got a rush out of being risky with big decisions; actually, now that I look back at the decisions I failed miserably with, I wouldn't have done them any differently.

Even now, I don't see how my thought process and my reasoning was fallible. It seemed concrete, albeit not a recipe for guaranteed success, it felt logical. However, there was a missing component in the logical reasoning I was using to come to conclusions. I was not factoring in my gut feeling. I brushed it off, the same way I tend to brush off my emotions. I put them both my emotions and my gut into the same damn basket.

So, as the month moved on and as the void between my heart and the 'whisper' became wider, I had to retreat from the rituals of daily life to really contemplate what in God's name was going on inside me. Here I was, poised to make a decision that would affect numerous people for a very long time and I had no idea what to do.

Than I realized, the gut feeling was the only real decision maker in this situation, I just needed to find the courage to pull the trigger.

Ahhhhh courage. Usually a term reserved for hero's - but in essence, it's the energy necessary to do the right thing at the right time. It usually sucks the life right out of you once you finally tap into it. Hollywood has bombarded us with notions that courage comes from big burly men that save countless lives from disaster. However, if you think about it, even saying 'no' takes courage. Saying no has become taboo in fear of being defined as someone who isn't supportive or helpful. But really, it is completely necessary to keep your relationships health (friend, work, lovers, etc.)

So, to add some science to the concept of the gut feeling - I did a little research. It's so perplexing that a sensation in your abdomen is telling you what to do, where does this sensation come from and how does it communicate a positive & negative vibe? Long story - short: it is the collective analysis that your subconscious mind makes over an extended period of time. In our waking hours, our subconscious is working over time picking up bits and pieces of information that our eyes and senses may only 'glance' over. Situations that may seem simple and easy may harbour signs and lessons that we don't see. However, over time, your subconscious is a diligent genius taking notes frantically so when its time to pull that trigger and make a serious decision - you have the right tools to work with.

Now, whenever I have a vivid dream with bizarre symbolism, I always viewed that as my subconscious communicating with me. That's one of the numerous ways it speaks to you. Another way (when your awake) when you need to make that courageous decision on the spot, that's when that gut feeling screams at you. You absolutely have to listen to it. Forget your damn heart and what everyone has told you. Your subconscious has been studying the situation and your surroundings for a while and you need to trust it.

In Arabic, the word heart and turnover come from the same root word. Can you bloody-hell believe that?! Do you know why they do? Because that's what heart's do, they're never consistent. You can love your sweetheart today, and want to kick them in the junk tomorrow. It plays a crucial role in your emotional well being, but is definitely a poor decision maker.

So, for the first time in my life I chose my gut over any other sensation in my body and the sense of peace was overwhelming. I was satisfied & content and nothing in the world can give that to you other than you. With every major decision and and junction in life, you grow by leaps and bounds - to take advantage of that growth, trust your gut.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Don't Cling, Be Detached

One of the traits of critical thinkers is their ability to be critiqued and also redefine the way they think. Critical thinking requires a lot of inward reflection. The ability to converse with yourself and constantly challenging your own ideas and thought patterns. It is the capacity to decipher someones harsh words, and the message that they are trying to relay when the topic is sensitive and difficult to listen to (i.e. an argument, debate, criticism, etc.)

I spend a lot of my time looking inward and I am very critical of myself. I am content with the journey that I am on and am sincerely grateful for the struggles I've experienced over the past 3 years. I've lost more in the last 3 years, than the prior 28 years combined. I can count two failed business ventures, every nickle I ever saved, a divorce, and my health. There are many tiny struggles within that massive sense of loss, but there's no need to elaborate; just know that these years tested my resilience.

I reflect back on all that I've lost, and all that I've gained and I regret nothing. I took risks, leaps of faith and failed each time. I put all my funds, and my heart on the line and lost it all. Not because of carelessness or naive behaviour, but because I felt compelled to take risks. With every great risk, there's a sense of hope and a sense of fear and each and every time, I chose hope. You know why, because failure needs to happen.

You need to accept loss as an inevitability in life.

Loss and failure are platforms for better days to come.

Risk taking is making the conscious decision to put something valuable on the line, knowing it can be lost. You are foolish to believe that the outcome will be in your favor, you need to plan as if things will be lost. Only at that point, will you see success in every failure, and only then will loss seem like the greatest gain you can ever make.

How so you ask?

Well, dear reader, I see it from this perspective - when I loose money, the university of life collects it's tuition. The sheer anxiety,anger, sense of loss and panic remap your mind, and give you a greater understanding than any lecture hall could ever give you. I always become a completely different person with loss. I become far more wiser, braver, and more confident with every decision I make whenever I loose something.

When you put your heart on the line and take that leap of faith with love, you are essentially putting your most valuable and personal asset up for grabs to someone who can potentially destroy it for you. You are willing to tell someone "here's my soul, treat it with care" and you do so willingly and naively, but somewhere inside you, the sense of fear lingers. Why wouldn't it? This is something that if treated poorly, can result in sleepless nights, anxiety, depression, mania, and so on. But that sense of hope which love inspires propels you forward because the reward is grand, if the outcome is that which you hoped for.

When the outcome you wished for comes crashing down and the sense of anxiety crushes you - you have two options. Allow it to suffocate you, or barely hold on for dear life. There is no immediate bounce back from such a loss. It treats a great amount of mental and spiritual conditioning to reclaim the rights to your soul. This process takes it and moves it to a higher understand, you see life with much more clarity and you feel a greater sense of wholeness.

You may disagree because many who lost health, wealth, and love sink into despair. However, it is you who allows despair to swallow you whole. It is also you who can scrape by from underneath the crushing pressure of anxiety and keep moving, even if you're just crawling.

This is why I titled this: Don't cling, be detached. Detachment is not that you do not own anything, but nothing worldly owns you (Imam Ali [a.s]). Loose everything worldly and gain so much more spiritual when you employ this way of life.

Every sense of difficult is a right of passage and a push in the direction of becoming a complete and 'whole' human being, who sees life for what it really is - a journey, a dream and race towards death.

Death, being the place where you reflect on that you've done and those whom you've left a legacy with; the one place where you won't count your dollars and won't remember the people who hurt you. It is the one place where you will count the blessings God endowed upon you to give to others.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Contentment Vs. Happiness

I found myself speaking to a friend about the need for happiness in one's life. The topic was very sensitive as the person was contemplating on sticking to a new affair and was adamant about leaving their partner of 10 years citing a lack of happiness. I had the answer ready, but couldn't articulate it effectively enough to get my point across. Even though I wasn't satisfied with my answer, the person decided to ditch the affair and work on the long-term relationship that was in dire need of attention.

Where do I start? Happiness seems to be everyone's prime goal in life. So many people have expressed their need to find happiness. People tend to miss-cite the Buddhist philosophy that 'achieving happiness" is the ultimate goal in life. Nothing is wrong with being happy; however - in a world of short attention spans and the need for constant stimulation, we've bastardized the concept of happiness to be the search of short term high's (or more appropriately termed as 'stimulation').

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I find that us, living here in North America, forgot how to search for spiritual belonging, nevertheless being able to find it. We don't even know what to look for when we're trying to find the core of our 'being', the core of our 'existence'. However, whether or not you believe in concept of a 'soul', its exists and needs to be fed. These short term high's (our misunderstanding of happiness) to the soul is like the 'simple-carbs' to your body. It feeds your body quickly, you feel full, but you're hungry in no time. They certainly play a role in being a healthy individual, but if you lived off of simple carbs, you'd be unhealthy, fat, and lack any strength.

THE SAME with feeding your body with these stim-pack high's we think are true happiness. There's nothing wrong with a quick fix stimulation, that's why we have sex, laughs, beach-days and cute baby ducks. However, you can't keep feeding your self those temp-high's because your soul will be malnourished and you'll be miserable and clinically depressed as the years move on.

Now, there's something much deeper than happiness that will nourish your soul and keep it satisfied indefinitely; contentment. The sense of satisfaction with who you are and where you are in life. If you're not satisfied with where you are, than at least satisfied that you're on a journey to self-satisfaction. The ability to be by yourself and not feel a sense of boredom by virtue of being at peace with your thoughts. Being patient with the trials and tribulations that you experience; knowing that these are a 'right-of-passage' to make you a more 'complete' human being.

Being content is being satisfied with who you are, your current state and where you're going. Contentment is having the foresight to know that your journey through life will be a beautiful one and that if you are not satisfied with where you're going, that you will make the effort to chart a new path. 

You will begin to see life from an entirely new perspective. Contentment is knowing that you will certainly experience hardship, you will certainly experience difficulty, you will certainly be let down, but you know that it's all for the sake of actualizing the person whom you've figured out you need to be.

Being content is being self-fulfilled; you are not bothered or swayed by the petty murmurs of laymen and the silly discourse of the those who have nothing valuable to say.

Contentment and inner peace come from your understanding that you are part of God's united and complete ecosystem of existence and remembing God gives you a sense of belonging, and where you're going.

This, my dear reader - is the foundation to true happiness. Contentment keeps you neutral and at peace when there's a void of happiness (for whatever reason). However, when you're happy you're ecstatic, but when times are tough, you're fiercely positive

When you have contentment, everything and anything is a source of happiness for you. You become happy at the slightest thought of something or someone you love.

However, we've developed such a high tolerance to the stim-pack high's we're using to fulfill our need for happiness, that contentment comes off as boredom and sadness.

This is the modern day malady, the lack of soul and contentment.

Take contentment seriously, take the time and be patient as you figure out who you truly are and where you belong.

As a Muslim, I use to believe that God was directly involved in my life. I still believe so, but in a very different way. - The way God involved himself in your life was that he gave you a brain and he gave you a soul. Use them to your advantage.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

The Bear & the Butterfly

                Naïve, and curious; the usual combination of emotions when love begins to flourish between two people. You look deep in to your own hearts wondering what is it that pulled you in closer to this one person that may possibly be by your side until after everyone leaves you. A sense of worry lingers in your mind not knowing if the leap-of-faith you’ve made will result in the desired outcome. It may be the best thing that ever happened to you, or it could be the reason why your story turns into a tragedy.
                Picturesque was the setting; the glory and fragrance of late spring. In the surroundings is the untamed wild and within it, a retreat that is quiet and secluded. Two people who barley know each other, resting quietly in their room, both equally curious as to what the other feels. No one really knows, but their naïve hearts are too focused on what goodness may unfold. No questions are ever asked, only the exchange of eye contact, laughs and a sense of shyness.
                They even shied away from asking questions within themselves, worried that their rationale would hurt their sapling of love. The curiosity and the infatuation were sufficient to keep them playful and happy. Than the rush of emotions and curiosity unravel with gentle conversation about petty topics. Simple philosophies are exchanged and the attempt to bring each other’s heart even closer with topics of similar interests, looking for anything that would justify their sense of love-at-first-sight.
                The angels looked onwards to see if they would take that leap of faith and let go of their fear of the unknown. The fear that their longing for love would end in misery. Little did they know that a bear so grand and ruthless was lurking at their door. Angry and ravenous did it claw at their secluded life. Their sense of panic and fear dispersed them as they sought shelter; only to realize after moments of anxiety that it was a moth trying to escape.  In their minds, their sense of fear took precedence and cause a stir, but in hindsight they laughed at their foolishness.
                At that moment, did they realize that the leap of faith they needed to find happiness was much simpler than smaller than their fears had led them to believe. It wasn’t so much of a leap, rather it was just a step forward in the direction of love.
                Forget all of the whispers of others, the naysayers will always cause a stir. Focus on what your heart tells you even if the bear claws angrily. Because fear is but a figment of your imagination – no need to heed.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Love means different things to different people

Dear readers,

I sincerely appologize for the very long time since I last wrote a blog entry. I have been plagued with a disease called "laziness" and it crippled my hands from interpreting the thoughts on to paper. But today is special.

I had an epiphany today and I could not let these thoughts fall through the void of long lost memories. I have been engaged now for over a year and yes, it's been a wonderful experience. In this time frame, it's helped me redefine and better understand this thing called "love".

Before I explain the concept of love, it's important for you to understand that I am rather cynical; however, that does not hinder my ability to see and think in a positive manner. As I come of age, I experiece situations that help me realize that a positive lesson can be derived from a terribly negative situation. However, sometimes its necessary to experience negative feelings to reap positve rewards. Negative experiences are filtered through a positive light in order to make the best out of a difficult situation.

So this "wonderful experence" I mentioned earlier consists of a broad spectrum of emotions. I really must stress that many of the situations you once fantasized about love do come true within marriage. Also, the many situations that you never imagined could happen to you, will certainly, happen to you.

Love is a work in progress.

It is an organism that starts off as an infant that requires tender care and round-the-clock supervision. With age, the type of attention and care you give this "organism" changes; you don't have to pour as much time into it; but, it must be quality.

Love means different things to different people. Each and every person has a curiosity in the mystical science of love and everyone understands it in very different wavelengths. It is a series of emotional impulses that alter the way an individual would think. We all have predetermined ideas of what it is like to be in love and when we finally experience it, we put those ideas into practice. Humans are anxious to put their ideals of love into practice and are convinced that it will bring them contentment and happiness.


One person's love, could be another person's anxiety. My notion of love may be satisfaction to one person; but to someone else, it could be the most complicated and nerve wrecking experience. Not all types of "love" are compatible.

Does that mean that a couple with clashing love interests can't be together? That's a good question and here are some possible answers and I'm sure all of them apply.

- Love can be manipulated and adjusted to suit the needs of the partner
- Love can be socially hardwired and will always be the same because of it's intense emotional impact
- Incompatible people are able to fall in love with one another, but are unable to satisfy each other's personal concept of love (resulting in a complicated relationship and ending in seperation)

Happy soul mate searching everyone! Tread carefully.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Visions, Omens, and Inspirations

i looked deeply into my heart and saw the conclusion of this chapter in my life far sooner than it was destined to happen. i look into my soul and see what others fail to see because i ask the all knowing for wisdom and knowledge. i start a chapter, knowing how it will end, and write the story as the days go by. i sometimes wish i didnt know the end far before it ever happens, but than i see it as a blessing because when it happens, the shock is not painful.

i sit and i question my purpose on this planet and wonder what is god's wisdom when he decides to show me the conclusion of the story before it starts. how will it help me write the story? will knowing my end result change my approach to the situation. i don't know, but what i'm sure is that knowing the conclusion too soon is a mixed blessing, it may soften the impact of the outcome, but it never leaves you in a state of anxiety. sometimes, that anxious feeling is an effect driving force for good.

i feel, in my heart, and see in my mind the signs of god informing me of a good or bad situation ahead. a feeling feels distant, and a thought becomes rational when the situation is difficult. when the situation is good, i feel the signs of god warm up my heart and my thoughts become child-like.

i see in my dreams the life of a young 13 year old boy who begun to realize the consequences of inaction and the gains from attempt. i see, in my dreams a world that my heart pursues when my mind is unconscious in the long hours of the work day. could it be that i am witnessing the reality which defines this world? that life lack realism and purpose if you dont spend your hours amasing wisdom and knowledge. these 2 assets expose the truth:

days are short, good work should never be shyed away from, making others feel a sense of self-worth, and ensuring your hours were used wisely are the most important thing to never forget.