Do You Love God ?

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Whether you are Muslim, Christian, Jewish, or Buddhist, the only question that really matters is: “Do you love YOUR God?”, this must sound silly because the answer seems to be obvious, but look deeper and tell me. when you love, there is no doubt in your mind or heart, you are in an absolute state of euphoria. Because when we love completely and entirely, we let go of our fears, we have a sense that the whole universe is in our side, and most importantly we become the center of that universe. We don’t care who did what, said what, trusted in what, believed in what… everything else fails to exist! So here is my question again, DO YOU LOVE GOD?

 

Can you imagine if everyone loved their God, real love, pure love, the love worthy of God, would we ever look at other people and judge them for loving their own God? even if it wasn’t the same as ours! Would we ever blame someone, criticize and judge them because of who they love so deeply and profoundly?

 

Loving God is the most important thing in any religion, this is what keeps us from sinning and guides us to the right path. This love illuminates our minds and hearts and makes us always want to be better versions of ourselves, to please the one God we adore.

 

Because love is the enemy of fear and doubt, it makes us strong and powerful, and because we are strong and powerful, the need to be like everyone else evaporates. We no longer feel the need to belong somewhere, we no longer look at people and want them to be a carbon copy of us, we no longer insist that MY God is the God and that yours isn’t, we no longer think that we are going to heaven and someone else is going to hell because they don’t share the same beliefs as us. When you love God you wouldn’t care if your neighbours prayed with their hands up or down, you wouldn’t care if they wore a scarf or not, you wouldn’t care if they walked naked or fully covered, because your heart is sure of what you believe in, because your heart and mind are devoted to God, because they both are at peace, because you have nothing to prove to anyone, because all you have in your heart is pure, virtuous, and righteous love towards your God.

 

God trusted us with the most precious gift of all-LIFE- so how come human beings wouldn’t trust each other? God believed in me, He trusted me and loved me, so how come a fellow human being would judge me because of my religion!!!!

 

So ….Do we all Love Our God?

 

Ouiam

 

A Raw and Powerful Kind Of Love.. 

 

The last week was a busy one, a lovely kind of busy though. We had family around and that always makes me so happy.

 

It is amazing that no matter how long we stay abroad we never really get used to living without family. I have been in Bahrain for 10 years and I always crave those moments right after breakfast, with my family, when everyone is holding a cup of tea, not really drinking it because it probably got cold already, but no one can be bothered to heat it up. Talking about the silliest things. Reminiscing about the past, bringing up memories that we once thought dead, almost smelling the aromas of the past and getting lost in the details that we wish were to be back! We make fun of ourselves and each others like no one ever did, we cry and laugh at the same time, we hug and hold hands, we pray and hope together, we venture into red dangerous zones together and we share desserts together!

 

I had exactly that last week, and I prayed it never ends, yet and while I was making that silent prayer, my heart sank and I felt the buried pain from the past 10 years rising in my chest, like a volcano, with the cruelest revelation ever, this will end soon, it always does, we meet, we shine, our hearts expend and our souls rejuvenate, then we say goodbye and parts of our souls get lost with every one of these encounters just to be found again in the next one. Yet weeks later we forget all about it and we get back to our busy schedules and our crazy lives and life goes on.

 

Every time I think about my family, I have the urge to cry, because I only get to visit them once a year, and knowing that I am missing birthdays, graduations, bad and good days, makes me so sad, but this is life and who can argue with it? However, life isn’t that cruel, it rewarded me with a new family the day I got married. My new family embraced me as if I was theirs, and showed me that love can be shown in so many ways, not necessarily the ways I knew of, but bigger and very different ones. It taught me that being away is good because it is a chance to explore the love you have been offered, you get to stretch it and make of it whatever you want. It opened my eyes to the endless possibilities one can show compassion and receive it at the same time.

 

Sometimes we are very stubborn, we only want to be loved the way we need to be loved or the way we want to be loved yet families are different, each one has a unique charm and with it comes a wonderful sense of safety and security even if their love is different, you just have to be wise enough to take whatever you have been offered and just be grateful for it.

 

Family is the one thing that takes you in no matter who you are, they hold your hand in though times and guide you towards a safety zone. They are the force that nurses you back to life in those ugly moments of loneliness and suffering. Yet we don’t always love them the way we are supposed to, we don’t always listen to them the way we need to, we don’t always tell them all the things we should tell them. It is not necessarily a bad thing, we all need room to grow and see clearer and become better versions of ourselves, but sometimes with the change and the growing up, comes a glacial kind of unresponsiveness, and a rigid indifference and stiffness that occupies that soft part of our hearts that cries at every goodbye, and winces at every unpleasant news we hear, and expands at every meeting with our loved ones. I feel we always need a reminder of love, a reminder of the goodness in being surrounded with love, of how lucky we are every time we fall and there is a hand of a mother, a grandmother or a sister that is rushing to help. Those reminders allow us to never forget that the love of a family is bigger, brighter, and stronger than life itself.

 

Ouiam

 

 

 

 

 

How Did We Ever Get Here

 

  


 

 

 

Few days ago, I got in touch with a very dear and old friend of mine. Somebody I loved deeply and with whom I built incredibly precious memories. After reminiscing about the past, I asked her if she was happy wherever she is, and her answer was: “Some days I think I am, and some other days I ask myself how did I ever get here!”

 

Her answer was so real and filled with wisdom that I had to write about it. How did we all get here?! Let’s all go back in time, let’s say 10 years ago, where were you? Who were you? The dreams of then, did they become a reality now? The life you envisaged 10 years ago, is it the one you are living now? The person you were ten years ago, are they even familiar to you at all?

 

10 years ago, I was twenty…! And I thought I knew exactly who I was. Somehow I feel life was much simpler then, yet very shallow and superficial. The lack of responsibilities is almost a painful memory…! I had a head full of dreams, the biggest one, was to have a child… Apparently! Few months ago, when I went home for a visit and as usual I went to my room to dig in my cupboard for lost memories, I found one of my journals, and in the first page I wrote about how I dreamt of having a little boy, how life would be then, and what kind of mothers I wanted to be. Of course I had no recollection of such thing! No matter how hard I picked my brain, I couldn’t remember anything about what I have once written in that journal. I told myself then that I am actually living my dream, and that I am so very grateful and thankful for that! I am living one of my dreams, it might seem simple and very traditional, but it is still a dream that I am living now. Something that I once spent time thinking so hard about, now has become my reality and I am not even sure it came because I worked so hard for it, it is one of those things that you get as a gift!

 

Life sometimes seems like puzzle pieces; one phase completes the other. Some synchronized events lead to specific outcomes and you sit there in awe, wondering how did it happen. It feels like someone moved the dices and the weirdest things happened yet if you wait some time, you’ll see that whatever you thought was weird was the only possible and reasonable thing to happen. Do you know what I mean? You see… sometimes we go through things in life, and we think the choice is ours, we decide and we think we are the masters of our own destiny, then life comes to prove us wrong. To show us how weak and vulnerable we are. And some other times we dismiss certain things, and years later we change our minds just to find out that there was a reason that we dismissed these things before, and that now is the only PERFECT time for them. And we ask ourselves how did we ever get here? But does this question mean that we are unhappy, I doubt it. I think it is the time we all need to sit back and reflect. And we all should have these “Eurika” moments where we find that we are actually living a dream. When we sit and ask ourselves: “How did I ever get here”.

 

Sometimes we meet people and they completely change our lives , and we must wonder then, was that the plan from the beginning? But it seemed like a pure coincidence the way we met? Yes, life is weird like that!

 

Some other times, we go through very hard times, we cry, we feel our chest tightening and burning, we think we will never make it, we feel that we are alone and beaten. Just to find out days/months/and even years later, that whatever we thought was the worst thing that ever happened to us, was actually the best thing that could ever happen! Yes, Life is weird like that!

 

Yes, life is weird like that … and we wonder what it still has for us…! Smiles and laughter, tears and disappointments, but what really matters is those moments when we sit and ask ourselves: How did I ever get here!

 

Would you like to tell me how did you ever get here?

 

Ouiam

How We Montessori.

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While sitting in my kitchen, I decided as I promised in my last post, to write about how we homeschool.
First , I need to talk a little bit about the Montessori method  itself, before we get any deeper in this. The Montessori method is an educational approach developed by the Italian physician Maria Montessori. This approach takes the child out of the traditional teaching system and puts him in a completely different environment, where he is the master of his own destiny. He has all the freedom he needs to thrive and to become a responsible, creative human being, armed with highly developed problem solving skills. The method emphasizes in making everything accessible to the child so he doesn’t depend on anyone to get through his day. Everything should be put in miniature or at least put in a way that the child (toddler in my case) is able to help himself by himself.

 

For example, he needs to be able to access the kitchen, and this is done by giving him a specific area of your kitchen where you can display his plates, cups, spoons, forks…etc. in a way that he can get whatever he needs alone without having to ask you for help. Of course all this is done while respecting all the safety measures. You do the same thing in his bedroom with his clothes and toiletries, and pretty much every area of your house. The child is also given the freedom to explore and gets to make his own choices. So in a way it is more of a lifestyle than an educational method really.

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The teaching is done through lessons (also called presentations), covering all subjects. Each presentation is done in a tray and explored on a rug (a normal small rug) or on a table. The tray is incredibly important; it teaches the child about boundaries. He can’t work outside that tray.  From my own experience, the tray has taught Adam to always work in a clean environment without making a mess. It also taught him to focus more because the space is narrowed to that tray now, and it is much easier to concentrate, plus it teaches him how to be disciplined and how to follow instructions.

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Lessons in general cover these subjects: Practical life (as the name indicates it is about the normal life, doing normal chores, like sweeping the floor, cutting vegetables and fruits, pouring, washing dishes, preparing the table… etc.). There is also Science, Math, History, Language, Botany, Geology, Zoology, Geography, Sensorial, and ecology.

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Currently I am doing a Montessori teaching course (almost done …Yaay to that!), So I have manuals to help me with the curriculum. We work 6 days a week (Friday is off), from 9:30am till 11:30am. Everyday we have a different subject. I prepare the lessons every Friday (for the whole week), and every night I just prepare the material needed for the next morning. During the session Adam gets two breaks, where we usually have dance parties (we just dance for few minutes), then we go back to our work. I lay the activities of the day in front of Adam and let him choose what he wants to do, I then explain to him what I need him to do, using very specific and clear instructions, and let him dig in. I do not interfere with his work, I do not try to rush him or push him to do what he is “supposed” to do, because there is no such thing in the Montessori method. It is all about observing the child and noticing all the little things that will tell you a lot about him. Even if I see that Adam is doing something wrong, I do not interfere (I must admit that this is very hard at times, because of course as a mother I have that absolute need to direct my child towards what is right and correct, but luckily most of the time I manage to stop myself). Once he says that he is done, we clean up, then move to a different activity. Cleaning up is vital! The kids have to learn that they can not have access to another activity unless they clean up. At times when Adam refuses to clean up, I put his picture (one that we always use) on the tray of the activity, and put it next to us, while we proceed to the next lesson, but we come back to it when he is in a better mood, and the picture is to remind him that he has some unfinished business over here.

 

Activities are simple and fun, because let’s face it, the aim is to have fun while learning, so if Adam isn’t enjoying himself, I stop and change activities immediately. They also need to be age appropriate, because while it is good to expose the child to new exciting things, if it is too hard they will lose interest and get bored very fast, which is exactly what we want to avoid at all costs.

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I started homeschooling Adam since he was 17months old, and honestly I love it! It has taught us both (Adam and I) so many things, plus I just love how independent Adam is (He makes his own breakfast, washes his own dishes after every meal, he also can dress and undress himself whenever needed without me even being in the same room, it also made potty training a piece of cake!).

 

On a totally different note, I think I love blogging from my kitchen, with the smell of freshly baked goods satisfying my senses and the tunes of Joe Dassin and french songs from the 20s taking me to cloud nine! So I guess this is something that I will be doing more often lol!

Thanks for reading and come back soon!

 

Ouiam

Don’t Let Your Hypo-Thyroid Win!!!

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Today I thought I would do something different, I will share with you my daily routine, which is something I don’t usually like to do, because I don’t feel that it is something worth posting and sharing with everyone, and I almost feel ridiculous now writing a whole post about it, but there is a story behind why I am doing it now and I will share it with you. Few days ago, I met a beautiful lady, in her early forties. She was smart, kind and very charming, yet there was something in her eyes that didn’t match with the bubbly person I had in front of me. She looked sad, tired, sleep deprived, but mostly sad. So I gathered my courage and asked her: “So, how are you doing? How are you doing REALLY?”, she then told me her story about the daily struggle with her health. She suffered from a Hypo-Thyroid, and adrenal fatigue –both manifest together most of the time- She felt tired all the time, she woke up more tired than when she went to bed, she couldn’t focus on her work, she couldn’t take care of her kids, and home the way she wanted to. She was stressed all the time. So when I told her that I, too, have a hypo-thyroid, she nearly fell off her chair, not believing what I have just told her, because she thought I couldn’t possibly have a hypo-thyroid and lead the life I led. Because I am always active and busy, no one ever thinks that I actually do have a hypo-thyroid, and that’s exactly why I decided to share my routine today! To tell every woman who reads this post: “YES YOU CAN DO IT TOO!”

 

I was first diagnosed with a hypo-thyroid when I was about 12 years old, I was put on medication straight away (a low dose, but they still were synthetics that I was putting in my body, luckily I no longer take them!). I was always thin, never struggled with my weight, and never really showed any symptoms, it was a pure coincidence that we found out about it this early.

 

Suffering from a hypo-thyroid changes your whole life, it is a condition that will suck the life out of you, it will drain you and turn you into a potato couch (which can’t even be an option when you are a mother!). Luckily I found a way to live with it as peacefully as can be, without losing my energy, and without slowing down my productivity. So this is how my day goes by:

 

I wake up at 5am every single day, and go for my Taichi class which starts at 6am. Before leaving home I would eat a grapefruit (unless I am doing a liver cleanse), 1 date, and 3 walnuts. I then head to Juffair, where I train with my Chinese master “Shao”-a very inspiring lady, to whom I should dedicate a whole post just to talk about how amazing she is! We do our Taichi or Qi Gong forms, depending on how we feel that day. We take small breaks to have some of her exquisite teas, which is always something I look forward to! We wrap up the session at 7:30am, and then I head back home.

 

Adam usually wakes up at 8am, so just in time for me to get back home, take a quick shower and get ready for the day. We then have our breakfast together. Fruits are a must! Always 3 different fruits-carbs-  and some protein (eggs, oats, quinoa…), and some good fats (avocados, olives or olive oil, almond butter with coconut oil that I make myself, nuts…etc.). I usually avoid wheat and gluten, so I make my own bread, the old-fashioned way, like my mom and grandmother did (I use my hands, no machines). I only use whole grain flour (quinoa, rye, millet…etc.).

 

After breakfast, it is “work-time”, Adam and I head to our work area, and we start our lesson for the day. I usually prepare the lessons on weekends and every night I just lay the material to be used the next day on the table, so we don’t waste time. I will talk more about our homeschooling in another post. We are done by 11:30am and just have a chance to get Adam a snack before he takes his nap.

 

This is usually my lunch time, never later than 1pm, because I never want my body to stress about food, which in turn will stress my thyroid, so I always make sure that I eat every two hours or so. I am vegetarian, so my lunch always consists of an ancient grain like Quinoa, couscous, or Burghul, with some carbs (vegetables mostly), and always always some sort of good fats component. I then get the chance to finish any work I have (Blogging, writing, reading… etc.)

 

 

When Adam wakes up, it’s his lunch time, and then we head out, always to do something fun, with friends or just the two of us. I try to plan outings and meet-ups with other moms of toddlers so the kids can socialize and explore new things together, while we-moms- are enjoying ourselves too!

 

I always take some healthy snacks for Adam and I, wherever we go. Some fruits, vegetables, or nuts. This way we are both happy and satiated.

 

Dinner is at 6:30pm for Adam, while I will usually have the carbs of my dinner first (vegetables), and will get to part two of it after putting Adam to sleep. This way I will avoid that 6pm crash that happens because of the decrease in the amount of cortisol in your body, and still enjoy a peaceful dinner an hour later. Dinner is usually lentil soup (it has been the same for years now, don’t ask me why but it is one of life’s pleasures to me!). This is around 8pm and this is my last meal of the day.

 

Throughout the day I watch out for my blood glucose, I do not go anywhere near anything with a high glycemic index, because I do not want my insulin to be all over the place, which will actually disturb the making of the T3 and T4 hormones. I also stopped consuming caffeine, gluten, processed goods, and sugar years ago (except for the caffeine, I just stopped last year). I use fluoride-free toothpaste, I completely avoid soy and soy products -enemy number one to the Thyroid gland- I use cast iron cookware, I use lots of cinnamon and ginger in my diet, and I try to get an adequate amount of vitamin B, D, C and E in my diet.

 

I am in bed by 10pm, where I will usually read until I fall asleep.  Sleep is very important to me, so I always make sure I sleep 7 hours every night. I wake up every morning fresh and ready for the new adventures the new day is bringing and we do it all over again!

 

I sometimes feel that I am always on the go, and never get a chance to even feel tired. My forever goal is to get the optimum energy my body (and brain) can offer, and having a hypo-thyroid can temper with that same goal, so having a healthy diet is crucial to me. Exercising is the second thing I can never live without, because it is what keeps me sane and whole. It is also a way to distress and get into that relaxation zone that benefits the body enormously. Then comes sleep, which is vital!

 

I really hope the world takes Hypothyroidism more seriously as about one billion people (mostly women) are diagnosed with a hypo-thyroid. This is a disease that will take over your life and shows you just how frail and vulnerable you are in so many ways!

 

Ouiam