2017.

  2016 was an eventful, tragic, and stressful year for the world. It was the year where the world lost many beautiful souls, Muhammad Ali, Abdul Sattar Edhi, Alan Rickman (Professor Snape), Prince, Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), and Debbie Reynolds to name a few. It was a  year of on going war and the increase of refugees finding sanctuary. A time where the world needs to be reconnected with love,compassion,and understanding. The year for the world to wake up from our states. Despite all of the things that are out of a human being’s control, what can we do to make the world a better place?

  It is from the Islamic tradition that in order to bring change, one must bring change with in oneself. This starts from self reflection, awareness, and honesty. In order to speak with yourself and reflect you must be present in  the moment. For one to be present in the moment, you must breathe and listen to your inner and outer surroundings. You must listen to what the world outside and inside is saying. Being present in time is a gift. It is very challenging to do during this day and age. It takes practice to constantly bring oneself back to what is really important. This is a spiritual struggle.  But once you take on this journey you are able to truly live and travel on the path to betterment.As I think about how I can create this change within me, I started with asking myself the following questions.

Who  am I and what do I stand for? (Is there something in your answer that you want to improve or change?)

How do I do this? 

What is preventing me from becoming the person that I want to become? ( Is there a habit or lack of something that is preventing you from becoming a better soul?)

Once you write all of these realities down and absorb them, treat yourself  with self love and care. Do not pity yourself nor put yourself down. Talk to your yourself as you would to another that you hold dear. Be brave and honest. Once you have accepted that there are changes that need to be made,  start and do not stop. Be genuine to yourself and stay on your spiritual path of struggling for betterment. Once you work on changing the world inside yourself, reflecting on how to take control on your materialistic lusts and whims, then you can change the world outside.

When you are  self reflective and start to clean the mirror of your heart, then a lot of things become clear.The human being becomes a better soul. A softer heart. A person that feels another souls pain. A person that wants good for others as much as she or he wants for oneself. A person that helps someone who may never be able to repay him or her back. Humans are like lanterns, but what is a lantern without any light shining through? In order for your light to shine through you must polish your inner mirror.

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Have a blessed 2017 that consists of spiritual growth and a world illuminated with lanterns.

Peace , Love, and Light.

Girl in the Headscarf

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Fall

September 13,2016

 Hello lovely world! It has been quite some time, and I finally got back to blogging.  Life just gets busier as time goes by. Often times I need to have my own self space to think and just breathe. As your lives get busier, I pray that your lives are filled with enriching moments ,times of growth,inspiration,and self – reflection. Now that it is September (yes finally!), the sweaters and cardigans that were bought during 100 degree weather (yes I buy cardigans in the summer, I know I am not the only one) can finally be worn. Well, at least soon, because on my side of the world it is still a bit warm The pumpkin spice lattes (along with my chai) are more than welcome to flow freely down my throat as I sit in a library for hours doing homework. And bring on the baked goods (sometimes its a bad thing when you love baking). Just kidding. 😉
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    This picture here kind of had me thinking about life. The colors of the leaves have begun to change. After some time these colors will fade and become brown to prepare for the arrival of new leaves. Nature is changing. It is adjusting to its own self. These leaves of vulnerability are enamored with beauty,grace,and voice. It is in the nature of the world that when autumn comes, leaves change color, and by the time winter arrives, the leaves have fallen.  When the time comes for them to fall, they will fall quietly, they will fall forcefully from winds of change, they will fall in their own nature, because they are meant to. But just because these leaves fall, does not mean that they are not prepared for something new,great,or beautiful. Leaves are meant to fall so new ones can grow, spring will come again. Falling does not mean anything negative. It in fact means quite the opposite. A time to rise again. A phase of life has ended. Times of growth are coming. Each leaf is unique, as each is new. Bare branched, trees stand firm and rooted, despite all the winds that will pass, and all of the unexpected blizzards that may or may not come, the trees are still tall and strong preparing to grow new leaves.
   Just like these leaves, we go through our own changes. Memories and experiences. Good or bad. Though I personally feel that nothing is really “bad” when it comes to change. Each experience is meant to bring something for us to learn from.  It is the pain,discomfort,and sorrow that we are afraid of. We are our own trees, and as long as we are strong and firm in our roots, we can go through ups and downs and come through. Leaves of hope,joy,love,experiences of life will come and go. As long as your trunk stands strong and you don’t let anything overpower you, rather you have the power and capability to make all the change you want, then life is essentially “all good”. You are defined by how you go through and handle situations, not what happens to you.  So as you go through your own season of change, of life, embrace each experience – happiness,gifts, whatever or whomever comes your way. Know that each leaf sent has a hidden blessing, we just have to look for it. You will be amazed at how much power one’s thinking has over a person. If you are positive, if you pull yourself though, if you truly believe to believe in yourself, eventually you will truly believe in yourself and be your greatest friend. You have the potential to do anything you put your mind to. Never aim or settle for something that your heart is not agreeing upon. Always believe and aim for the highest. You can do it. Nature is a great teacher, and we can learn a lot from just observation. By just being present in the moment, hearing one’s own heartbeat, and listening to what is not only around you,but inside you, one can learn a lot and get many answers by just reflection.
I pray that when your leaves start changing and you continue to experience the moments that life brings your way, that you are a more enriched and firm rooted individual. As this is what gets one through times of ease and through times of joy.  Happy fall and happy life!
Good is that which there is no evil in, it is thankfulness with relief, and patience with problems, how many are those who have a blessing and are not thankful? And how many are those who are faced with problems and are not patient?
 Hasan al-Basri

Trains.

June 5,2016

Trains.

They pass you by

ready or not, it will come.

Can you get to your destination?

Are you waiting for the right moment?

What if it’s too soon? Will it come on time?

 How will I get there? And when?

 That’s the nature of trains. They pass you by.

 You have to prepare and jump on with a leap of faith.
Don’t worry, you will get there.
 Wherever it is you need to go.
The truth lies inside and time will only tell what is meant to be.
Look at the departure, and prepare for your arrival.
The exact moment is unknown, but if that is where you are headed, go,go,go.
Don’t stop. Continue. With sleep driven eyes and sore feet, don’t let go.
With a heavy heart and hopeful thoughts. Go.
When you are supposed to arrive, you will.
 Trains.
That is their nature. They pass you by and when you are supposed to depart,you do.
When you arrive at your destination, you know.
 Wherever you are meant to be headed, you will be taken there.

Reza’s #AdventuresinChicago

May 22,2016

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 Food is always worth it. Especially if it is middle eastern food. A little side note by the way, this piece of bread was delicious and we forgot to pack it for home. I guess that means we are going back ;).  Reza’s offers Mediterranean and Persian cuisine, hummus, lentil soup, shish kabobs and dill rice – just to name a few. All of my favorites. There are a few locations in the Chicago area, much to our disappointment, we found out that the childhood place for family dinners (Ontario Street) was in fact closed. It had a lovely interior-dark wood floors, stairs, and long mirrors, a wide open space. We were determined to eat Reza’s so we decided to travel 45 minutes total to the other location. Yes ladies and gentlemen, it was worth it.  This place was very cute. I definitely reached for the hummus first (because that is the best).

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HOME Part 2

March 15,2016

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Home can mean many things to different people. Here is what is NOT home for me.
– Anything or anyone that takes me away from my Creator
– Anything or anyone who creates negative energy around me
– Anything that causes me to lose track of  time
– Anything that does not uplift me as a person or motivates me toward positivity
– Emotionally draining ( you define what this is) , everyone has different circumstances and is on a different journey
– And my favorite, it “just doesn’t feel right”
  

Basically, anything that is or has become TOXIC for you as an individual needs to go BYE BYE. And to be honest some things can’t just be thrown out the window that easily, but they do need to be acknowledged that “something is wrong” and there is always a solution.  If we know what we value and thus what is our home, then we will know the importance of what needs to go and what needs to stay.

Home for me (just a few)- but you get the idea.

– feeling at peace

-motivated, uplifted, and inspired

– can be myself

– “just right” feeling

–  in accordance to my values and what I find significant

–   I smile or laugh 🙂

– it hit me- like whoa,”click”, “this is it”

Now, close your eyes and imagine your current spiritual home. What do you want to change? How does it look?

Image :http://www.citi.io/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/123-12.jpg

HOME Part 1

March 4,2016

  It is almost spring (hopefully) and usually a time where people “declutter” their homes. We get rid of old mail, dust out the house, and throw out a lot of junk. A house is a structure that is built for the purpose of living.What makes a house a home is defined by the values, traditions, and character of who resides in the house. Just like a physical house, there is also a spiritual house. As human beings, we all have some type of circle or attachment:what or who gives us company and how we spend our time. According to your own value and beliefs your spiritual house may differ. But, as human beings we all have similar traits of what we want in our circle. Peace, love, happiness, and meaning. And as hippy-ish as that sounds, we all know the truth behind this. I often question things about who and what is in my spiritual home.Where is my heart? What is it that I want in my home and what can I do to make that happen?
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   When we declutter our physical homes, we essentially are organizing, giving away unused or unwanted items, and creating a “fresh start”.  We sort out our uncecessary “junk”  that has piled up in our homes. If we have so much “stuff” in our physical homes imagine the amount of cleansing out our spiritual homes need. Both go hand in hand. If our physical home is filled with more than we need, then it could mean that we are consuming too much, wasting money, or becoming greedy. If our homes are dirty majority of the time, then we have gotten used to living in filth and are not doing anything about it. And the same goes for the environment of our homes. Are we always fighting, arguing, or on our electronic devices? Then – we must not be living with the care, attention, and heart that we need in order to live.
The Prophet Muhammad PBUH* has said that, ” A good friend and a bad friend are like a perfume-seller and a blacksmith: The perfume-seller might give you some perfume as a gift, or you might buy some from him, or at least you might smell its fragrance. As for the blacksmith, he might singe your clothes, and at the very least you will breathe in the fumes of the furnace.”
 [Bukhari, Muslim]
   A “friend” could also be considered a companion, or what or who gives you company. This could be who or how you spend your time with. Your phone would count as one. So would netflix.  Anything that is not healthy towards your being or is not leading you toward good would be like the example of the blacksmith. Don’t worry, I am not saying netflix is poison, but it could be. My spiritual home is everything to me.  I am aiming to make sure that I am very aware of what or who I let in. Which you will read about in part 2. 😉
*PBUH- Muslims say Peace and Blessings be Upon Him after saying the Prophet’s name as a form of respect and love.
 

That moment.

February 9,2016

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That moment,
it’s calling you,
when things come together,
it is as if you have known all along,
that the time is near,
 your soul is singing,
singing something familiar,
a tune I once knew,
and yet have to learn again,
I have been too far from home,
but,
I think I am just around the corner,
I can’t pinpoint the calling,
I know its coming from somewhere known,
home,
where souls gathered and were surrounded by light,*
Then we vowed to goodness.*
We promised to spread peace,
walk with humility,
and not forget- that moment.
     
 * Holy Qur’an,7.172 & 8.24