Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Time to ‘Practice’ Letting Go

I have miniature ‘beings’ living in my emotional system seeking shelter and sustenance. In the 43 years that I have of my life, I still cannot seem to be able to get rid of them.

Little Anger specs float freely around in my bloodstream causing a blockage in my arteries from time to time. I am angry at the world for not being able to live together, find good solutions and have one rule of law for everyone… to “be human and exercise humanity”. I am angry at the world for not stopping its orbit to realize that we are all the same underneath the same blue sky. Little Anger will never go away, I suspect. I doubt this world will ever reach the level of humanity that I am hoping for in my life, and that makes me angry… disappointed… envious of the next generation. I wanted to witness that era myself… I wanted to taste it… to feel it… to know what it would be like living in such a world where everyone was happy … everyone loved one another… everyone accepted all the differences and extended a helping hand.

Little Anger is not only directed towards the world but also at myself. I am angry with myself for allowing others to get under my skin and for me to take that as an excuse to complain. I should not complain even if I disagree with something and when the majority of the voices are not heard. I should not complain if something displeases me for I have the power to change it. I should not complain for not receiving everything I had asked for... For I have a good life and I have been blessed many times over.

It is time that I start practicing to let go of all these Little Angers. I say ‘practicing’ because I might need several trials before I succeed. I know that it is for me to decide if I failed or not but it will also depend on how long I can go for without either kind of spec sneaking in.

I have read so many articles on how to improve one’s mindset. They explain in detail how to change thoughts metamorphosing them into something positive. Have I tried implementing the strategies or steps they suggested? Yup… sure thing… BUT it did not last long before the Littles invaded my space again… What can I say? They always miss me.

I believe it takes courage, determination and above all will to make a successful breakaway and establish total decontamination. Do I want to change a few things? Yes… Do I want to lead a healthier life in all its aspects? Defo…

Now, do I have the stamina to stick to it and not allow the stress flies to swarm me? Ahhh... That is a different story all together… You see… I have another spec that many times makes an appearance on stage… drum roll…  please welcome… Little Ms. Lazy!

Monday, September 14, 2015

I'm I Doing Too Much?

Am I doing too much?
Am I doing enough?
Am I a good person, daughter, wife and above all, mother?
What could I do to be a better (fill in the blank)?
Am I setting my priorities right?
Should I be listening to them?

         These are questions that faced me today like a hard rock wall that has been standing in my path for far too long. They have been stopping me from being content with myself and who I am. These questions have driven me to over exert myself and yet I'm never really satisfied with what I have accomplished. Believe me when I say that I have needed a mindful makeover since my adolescent years if not before that.

    This evening,  my daughter's words sunk in and pulled me out of this deep abyss that I have been entrapped in for what seems like eternity. Every mother reflects on herself, her performance and her roles in her society which pushes her to judge herself; many times critically. This harshness and self doubt did not grow out of nothing. Nothing this strong and so rooted could grow in a matter of months or years. This mind-eating, confidence-shattering plant has been sown and tended to for generations upon generations.

       Today, my sweet daughter taught me a lesson. One that I intend to honor since she proved wrong the belief that wisdom passes from the "aged" to the little sprouts. My little sprout is no longer so. She is a sunflower. She is wiser than her years. She has taught me to shake myself up sometimes and self reflect with a handful of forgiveness.

     Tonight, I thought I had failed my daughter as a mother to take care of her newly pierced ears. I had not remembered to attend to them after the first two months. But alas, we live in a tropical country and I should not have forgotten that.

     Any mother can imagine my sense pf panic when I saw some blood and could not find the butterfly bit at the back of both of her earlobes. For some reason, I jumped to the conclusion that there had been a terrible accident. I thought it was the butterfly ball that went through as I could feel a hard surface beneath her skin  Panic tentacles engulfed me and pulled my daughter along for the ride. That was when my internal conflicts began their daily scheduled fights.

     To cut a long story short, I have been doing so much since school started that I haven't had time to relax. My nerves were stressed and I could not contain my panic in a vault as one should do when talking to a little girl. I had to seek my husband's support. I needed his help to calm my daughter causing one of my many jury members and sometimes judge to say, "You need her father's help to calm your own daughter down? Shame on you."

     That was when a member of the court room stood up and objected, but that did not stop Good-Old-Guilt from lashing out,"How could you not have noticed that her ears were infected?"

     I did something unusual this evening. I yelled back and said, "I made breakfast, checked her hair (as I do every week) to see if there are lice, took her to two birthday parties in one day, helped her dress, helped her wash her hair, prepared dinner for the next day, made her snack and lunch for school tomorrow putting a special note for her. I have done well."

     "No,  you've failed to detect an infection that could have harmed your daughter," was his answer and that silenced me. It floored me and all went quiet in my head.  A second later, one voice kept repeating the accusation like an iTune song on repeat.

     At night all she wanted me to do was to sit next to her as she fell asleep. But before she did, she trusted me with her feelings. She told me how she is not as strong as her friend, that she is weak because she cried so much while we were checking her ears. She  told me that she did not want to go to school because she would be embarrassed; she feared that her friends in the apartments next to us might have heard her cry*. She then continued to question herself and her reaction.

     Her words captured me, forcing me to think. They pulled me out of the cave.

     Do we really start doubting ourselves at that age? What makes us doubt? Is this normal? Are we born with this damaging ability?

Or do others instill or trigger this habit? Is self doubt brought on by the reactions of people around us? Because if it is, I certainly do not want a hand in this crime. I do not want to look at my daughter when she is older and find that I had a hand in her lack of confidence... her self doubt.

Since as a mother, I am expected to show my daughter how to be proud of herself, her body and her mind, I must also help her be more forgiving towards herself.

I must model it first. I must learn the ways... and here my friends, my journey begins.

* (I assured her that they hadn't because I had closed the windows).

Monday, January 12, 2015


Just recently, three days ago to be exact, I started feeling very out of place here. Due to the recent horrific criminal act in France... but wait also in Gaza, Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, etc, the focus has been more on Islam.  The Arab countries,  Islamic scholars as well as many Muslim individuals have taken to the media in all its forms to condemn any act committed by insane extremists who, honestly do not represent me and many others. But no matter how many times they condemn it, the image of Islam and Muslim people is getting worse and not only at the hands of the Muslims. 

These three days have been draining to hear the news and more so reading the personal comments of many readers in the article commentaries. Wow! The wave of hatred that one receives from reading those comments hits one like a virtual stone wall. The hurt I feel that some people say, that ALL Muslims should be wiped off the map, is too deep. Even though this was not the only time that I read or heard anything like that. I had a student in Thailand chat to me about how his father believes that ALL Muslims should be taken to a different planet not knowing that I was one of those people who would board that spaceship. Come to think of it, the latter comment sounds way better than the first.

These three days I have been struggling to fit in.  I am an international teacher and one of the aspects of being International is that I must try and fit in, in order to enjoy the whole journey as well as make friends from different parts of the world. Being International to me means that one has to be open-minded and accepting of the different cultures we interact with. I thoroughly enjoy getting to know people from different regions of the globe. It is a warming feeling as it makes the world so much smaller and more connected. 

But I am struggling to fit in. I am Arab and I am a Muslim. Even though I am not visibly so, my last name, which I use at school, certainly gives it away. This does not mean that I do not mention where I come from every time someone asks me. "I am Iraqi- Palestinian brought up in Jordan!" I say. Whenever Jordan is mentioned in assembly announcements (some of our students go to Jordan for the AMMUN) I yell... WHOOHOO! Two months ago, my book club read The Lemon Tree suggested by a friend of mine. It is a book about my family and Ramleh. I hosted the gathering and made Palestinian dishes. So I do not hide that I am proud of where I come from and who I am but I also try very hard to fit in. Alas, I am failing. 

It is because I struggle. I struggle with continuing to be placed in the same tainted jar as the extremist. It is painful as my parents never raised me to be one. To be told something in a social circle without any sensitivity to whom it is directed to,  hurts. To be shown a drawing also in a social circle without any sensitivity to how it might make someone feel, hurts. Due to my own sensitivities, I would never do it to someone else. I would never say anything that would insult where they come from, their religion or their beliefs and if I ever did, I would be extremely apologetic. 

I respect Freedom of Speech and I believe in its power. I believe people have the right to say what they feel. BUT if one's freedom of speech hurts the feelings of a friend or a partner, then that, to me, is where it should stop. Everything has limits in this world no matter what one might tell you otherwise. When people say: "The sky is the limit," that is it... it is after all a limit.