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For those of you who do not know, we run a monthly book club meeting at Rumi’s Cave in London. The Book Club aims to connect like-minded people who are passionate about reading. At times, we have a special guest, either a book author or scholar who joins us and shares some thoughts and reflections on a book they have either written, launched or are in the middle of reading. All very exciting stuff! This month, we are delighted to have Novid Shaid, a friend and the author of the newly released book:’The Hidden Ones’ join us. So if you happen to be around London, please do come along! (Follow Rumi’s Cave on twitter or Facebook to find out about all future events- they do a whole variety of awesome stuff on a regular basis so worth checking them out.)
I’m like one of those Japanese bowls
That were made long ago
I have some cracks in me
They have been filled with gold
That’s what they used back then
When they had a bowl to mend
It did not hide the cracks
It made them shine instead
So now every old scar shows
from every time I broke
And anyone’s eyes can see
I’m not what I used to be
But in a collector’s mind
All of these jagged lines
Make me more beautiful
And worth a higher price
I’m like one of those Japanese bowls
I was made long ago
I have some cracks you can see
See how they shine of gold.
A video by filmmaker Andrea Dorfman, and poet/singer/songwriter, Tanya Davis.
Words to the poem by Tanya Davies
If you are at first lonely, be patient.
If you’ve not been alone much, or if when you were, you weren’t okay with it, then just wait. You’ll find it’s fine to be alone once you’re embracing it.
We can start with the acceptable places, the bathroom, the coffee shop, the library, where you can stall and read the paper, where you can get your caffeine fix and sit and stay there. Where you can browse the stacks and smell the books; you’re not supposed to talk much anyway so it’s safe there.
There is also the gym, if you’re shy, you can hang out with yourself and mirrors, you can put headphones in.
Then there’s public transportation, because we all gotta go places.
And there’s prayer and mediation, no one will think less if your hanging with your breath seeking peace and salvation.
Start simple. Things you may have previously avoided based on your avoid being alone principles.
The lunch counter, where you will be surrounded by “chow downers”, employees who only have an hour and their spouses work across town, and they, like you, will be alone.
Resist the urge to hang out with your cell phone.
When you are comfortable with “eat lunch and run”, take yourself out for dinner; a restaurant with linen and Silverware. You’re no less an intriguing a person when you are eating solo desert and cleaning the whip cream from the dish with your finger. In fact, some people at full tables will wish they were where you were.
Go to the movies. Where it’s dark and soothing, alone in your seat amidst a fleeting community.
And then take yourself out dancing, to a club where no one knows you, stand on the outside of the floor until the lights convince you more and more and the music shows you. Dance like no one’s watching because they’re probably not. And if they are, assume it is with best human intentions. The way bodies move genuinely to beats, is after-all, gorgeous and affecting. Dance until you’re sweating. And beads of perspiration remind you of life’s best things. Down your back, like a book of blessings.
Go to the woods alone, and the trees and squirrels will watch for you. Go to an unfamiliar city, roam the streets, they are always statues to talk to, and benches made for sitting gives strangers a shared existence if only for a minute, and these moments can be so uplifting and the conversation you get in by sitting alone on benches, might of never happened had you not been there by yourself.
Society is afraid of alone though. Like lonely hearts are wasting away in basements. Like people must have problems if after awhile nobody is dating them.
But lonely is a freedom that breathes easy and weightless, and lonely is healing if you make it.
You can stand swathed by groups and mobs or hands with your partner, look both further and farther in the endless quest for company.
But no one is in your head. And by the time you translate your thoughts an essence of them maybe lost or perhaps it is just kept. Perhaps in the interest of loving oneself, perhaps all those “sappy slogans” from pre-school over to high school groaning, we’re tokens for holding the lonely at bay.
Cause if you’re happy in your head, then solitude is blessed, and alone is okay.
It’s okay if no one believes like you, all experiences unique, no one has the same synapses, can’t think like you, for this be relived, keeps things interesting, life’s magic things in reach, and it doesn’t mean you aren’t connected, and the community is not present, just take the perspective you get from being one person in one head and feel the effects of it.
Take silence and respect it.
If you have an art that needs a practice, stop neglecting it, if your family doesn’t get you or a religious sect is not meant for you, don’t obsess about it.
You could be in an instant surrounded if you need it.
If your heart is bleeding, make the best of it.
There is heat in freezing, be a testament.
‘Al Kauthar’ are a group of artists’ who sing traditional songs from Arabic Andalusian and Turkish sources. I first came across their live performance during the ‘Imam al-Ghazali’ programme with Shaykh Abdul Hakim Murad and Shaykh Yahya Rhodus in Spain (2009). Ever since I heard them live, I always wanted to get hold of their album as I really liked their style and vocals.
I was really happy to finally discover them online and thought I’d share some of my favourite traditional songs here. They are good for the heart and soul…… Enjoy 🙂
“The greatest gift that you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance.”
~ Brian Tracy
A beautiful friend of mine Hosai Mojaddidi, has recently started a new website (in collaboration with her cousin Dr. Nafisa Sekandari) called Mental Health 4 Muslims. The site aims to highlight important mental health issues such as depression, stress, trauma, chemical dependency, eating disorders, shame, domestic violence, sexuality, marital discord, child development, etc. I highly recommend visiting their website, and feel that both Hosai and Dr. Nafisa are offering a great service to the Muslim community by tackling issues which most likely are swept under the carpet and ignored.
Please visit: Mental Health 4 Muslims
And remember to leave your comments as well!
Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups – porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite – telling them to help themselves to the coffee.
When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: ‘If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups… And then you began eyeing each other’s cups.
Now consider this: Life is the coffee; the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, and the type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of Life we live.
Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee God has provided us.’ God brews the coffee, not the cups…..Enjoy your coffee!
‘The happiest people don’t have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything.’
Leave the rest to God.
You are the miracle, my friend,
Your life either shines a light – or casts a shadow.
‘The purpose of life is to live life with purpose’
This story has made me think and reflect A LOT. Very often we are so caught up in what we don’t have in life, thus we easily forget what we actually have. Life is not supposed to be perfect, neither are people, therefore we must accept life, with all its challenges, hurdles, tests and tribulations; similarly, we must accept people with all the challenges they give us as well, especially those who have a special place and position in our lives and hearts. Of course this is something very difficult to internalize and implement, and its a constant struggle for us, however we have to keep trying and trying. Thinking too much about what is to come, and what we don’t have makes us lose sight of the bigger picture, and the bigger purpose in life we are all trying to achieve. My best friend always says to me “live in the moment”, and this is a strategy I have started to implement which is working quite well. It’s all about letting go of our fears, anxieties and worries about what’s to come tomorrow. At the end of the day, we are all successful in different ways; Allah gives us success in different ways and through different things. Sometimes, we might see ourselves as a failure just because we do not have XYZ in our lives, yet, we do not know how we are affecting and impacting others, and helping them by just being there in their lives. “Your life either shines a light, or casts a shadow”.
May Allah make us happy with what we have and with what we don’t have in life. Amin!