First Times…

Do you remember the first time you traveled on an airplane? The first time you went to the movies? The first time you rode a bicycle, the first time you went on a date, the first time you pushed yourself beyond what you thought were your boundaries? Do you remember?

They say the first time of anything is the best time ever! The first time you rode that bicycle is engraved in your heart and brain and is definitely the best time you ever rode a bicycle ever! Mine was a green one and it was the best bicycle I ever had!!!! What is so special about first times?  Well because you have never done that one thing before, so the first time is filled with excitement, thrill, rush of adrenaline, anxiety, doubt… etc. That’s what gives the experience a whole new meaning!

 

Think about it, we always reminisce about the past, about how we wish for the old days to come back, how things are never the same, after that very first time! If you go now for a hike for the first time, it will be the best hike you will ever go for. So my philosophy is to always do things for the first time, even things that I do everyday, just do something about them for the first time. First times are magical, exceptional, and really incredible! Like shiny stars in the darkest of nights! They embellish the past, and make your heart smile every time they cross your path again.

 

I remember the first time I met my husband, and I remember how my heart jumped and my eyes refused to obey me and look away! the first time I knew he was special, I still feel the same way every time I remember it.

 

The first time I held my son in my arms, so tiny and so soft, my heart was full and my tears were abundant and it was the best first time in my life.

 

The first time I went to New York, is so dear to my heart! That trip was probably…. Wait for it…. Yes The best trip to New York ever!

 

So many first times that make me smile, make me long for more first times. Make me want to try everything and dive into the unknown everyday. And it is really funny, the more you do, the more you want to do! It never stops! That hunger for new things is insatiable! Yet fear is always there, trying to hold you back, to convince you that you are just fine where you are, trying to make you believe that it is safer to stay just here, where you are now, where you were yesterday, the last week, the last month! But that’s not a bad thing! Fear is that friend that never leaves your side, and that is playing the role of an overprotective mother that won’t let you go anywhere near “first times”, and you do want this friend near you, just to let you know when you cross the red line. You can talk to this friend and told him that you will be fine, even if you get rejected, even if you fail, even if fall and break your neck….You will still be fine! And instead of your fear convincing you, let us reverse the roles and instead, you convince your fear to let you go, convince your fear to be there but silent! Yes that’s exactly it, make it your SILENT friend!

 

First times are what we will remember when we are 80 years old, first times are what will make us think peacefully about death. First times are our tickets to a great past, an enticing present, and a magical future. You can take control of your life, you can design your past by shaping your present. You can dream for your future and make it a reality NOW, don’t procrastinate, start today and do something new for the first time! I once told my master that I will try to come and train that day and she said something that I will never forget, she said “Don’t TRY, just MAKE it!!” and since that day, I never try anymore, I just go for it! And life has never been the same!

 

I made a pact with my silent friend (aka fear), we will stay together forever, but I get to decide, I get to say the last word. Even when this friend decides to rebel against me, I pat it on the shoulder, and remind it of our pact!  And since then, we made peace with this whole “first time” business and I have been thriving on first times ever since!

Ouiam

2015….. You Have Been Good To Me…!!!!

  
When I try to think of 2015, nothing big really comes to my mind. It was a peaceful quiet year. The best part about it was that it was all about myself and my loved ones! It is so hard to convey the feeling I get when I look around a room full of my family, friends, and loved ones,  all smiling and happy and healthy, all together in one place. I feel blessed and so lucky! I know one of life’s greatest mysteries is that nothing stays the same, but I don’t want to think of that! Now is all what matters! 

2015 surrounded me with wonderful people, that I am so lucky and thankful they are in my life! People who with every passing day add some glitters to my life to make it more joyful. People who lift me up, encourage and support me, and are genuinely happy to see me happy!  People I love, care for and accept just the way they are. 

 

In 2015 I learnt to drop the resistance and fly free in the endless skies! We sometimes fall in the trap of worrying too much about things. We worry about tomorrow, about our plans, and about if our wishes will come true! And in the midst of it all we tend to forget that the universe will work it out!  

The universe only brings what works for you, but if you resist it, and refuse to allow whatever was coming to just be, you lose in so many ways! I learnt to leave my door open, and welcome everything coming my way, with flowers and wide open arms! I learnt to cherish the present, because this is all I have control over. And this is what will make my yesterdays. So when I look back I am certain that I lived every minute of my then “NOW”! 

2015 also taught me to be easy on myself, to treat myself like a little fragile and precious baby. Because I am worth it! Because I need myself to be nurtured and well taken care of so I can do it for others! I learnt to make the habit of waking up about 2 hours before my son, so I can enjoy a good walk, filling my lungs with the cool fresh air, the air that is going to fuel my whole day! I cherish this time I have for myself and it is the highlight of my days!

I made time for me to enjoy the things I love, like cooking, baking, listening to podcasts, reading, writing and studying! Because these activities motivate me and make me happy! And when I am happy I tend to work, and live better! And so does everyone else around me! Because happiness is contagious….

2015 taught me to be mindful! On one of the TedTalks I listen to this year, I heard something that really changed my life! It was something like: ” How many times you found yourself thinking about a million thing while cooking, doing the laundry, working….etc? That’s the reason of our unhappiness!! If you keep your thoughts limited to what you are doing at that specific moment and that only, you will be aware of yourself, of your being, and you will be happy!” 

This hit me like an ice cold bucket of water! I DO THAT! My brain never shuts down! I am constantly thinking and thinking and thinking and thinking…. And it never ends! So I stopped! I pressed the stop button! I enjoy what I do now, even if it wasn’t fun, but I still feel it, touch it, live it! And not allow reckless thoughts to destroy it-whatever that can be. This had brought peace to my soul! It was like doing everything I was doing my whole life, BUT for the first time! And everything around me suddenly tasted better! 

In 2015 I also learnt to simplify my life! My priorities were made and nothing else mattered! I figured out what was important to me and worked according to that. I eliminated all the unwanted bagage that was blocking me. This goes for people too! I surrounded myself with only positive people, who add meaning to my life! No gossip, no jealousy, no hating, nothing of that, just pure, clean, beautiful feelings that brighten my days!

I learnt that the more I do, the more energetic and motivated I become! Giving back to the community as a way to say THANK YOU! Making my loved ones happy by treating them a little more special everytime! Reading more and learning a new skill every day! 

2015 was the year this wonderful space was created! And I am forever grateful! This blog has beautified my life in so many levels! It is my little corner, where I let go of tension, stress, rules and guidelines! My thoughts flow like a river and are transported to these pages to document my life! It makes me happy to write, it makes me happy to think and it makes me happy to share both my writing and my thoughts! 

May be 2015 hasn’t been marked by a big huge event, but these little things I have learnt changed so many things! They pushed me to be a better me! They made me happy! 

…… So Thank you 2015……!! You have been good to me….! 

Ouiam 

Ramadan Kareem!

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Today is the seventh day of Ramadan, the Holiest month in the Islamic calendar. Ramadan is the month in which the Holy Quran was revealed. It is a month when all Muslims around the world fast from sunrise to sunset. Yes, no food no water until we hear the Adhan of Al Maghrib prayer (The call for the evening prayer, which is right at sunset). Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam, so you can imagine how big of a deal it is. For me, Ramadan would mean fasting a little more than 15hours, in this weakening  heat, with a toddler running around the house, demanding to have his daily routine undisturbed, and needs to be kept entertained at all times and of course safe and whole. This is not my first time fasting with Adam, last year he was 5months old, he wasn’t walking or even crawling yet, he wasn’t eating solids or talking! This year the fasting experience took a completely new meaning -since Adam is now 15 months- and it is not a joke people! This is torture! Imagine you wake up in the morning, still very sleepy but can’t have that cup of coffee, then you feel your energy level dropping down while your little rascal is just getting started! These were some of my thoughts this morning, they kept on floating in my mind until I STOPPED myself, disgusted by my own thoughts, and I redirected my thinking to the million other people who do this every day -not just a month every year- Who don’t do it by choice! I sure know that at 6:32pm, I will have a table full of treats and good stuff waiting for me to dig in, but they don’t, of course they wish they could, but here is the thing: THEY CAN’T! Here I am, complaining about how tired, hungry, thirsty I am (because I am fasting), while millions of other people, have to go through this every day of their lives! Ramadan is sure the holiest arabic month, and the month when the Quoran was revealed, but most importantly, it is the month where everyone is supposed to feel for others, to know what it is to be starving or thirsty yet can’t do a thing about it! Since I became a mother, my perspective of life completely changed, I became not only Adam’s mom, but somehow, the mother of all children in this world! No one chooses their parents or their children, so yes God gave me Adam, but any of those unfortunate kids could have been mine, and the thought of having one of my kids feel what i have been feeling every day since Ramadan started, kills me, it breaks my heart, it tears me up! No kid should ever starve! So at exactly 6:32pm, when i would take a date and say a prayer -because God said that anybody who fasts and says a prayer while breaking his fast, his prayer shall be answered- So yeah I say a prayer, I pray that every kid in this world have something in their plate. Something to fill their tiny stomachs! Something to keep them from feeling what I felt today and every day of Ramadan!

So Ramadan is more about challenging yourself in being good, being better, because you have no excuse, Satan has been locked up, and it is just you, the good you, versus the bad you! From the minute you wake up, you have to work on yourself: be kind, be generous, be humble, be honest, be nice, be right… etc! No gossip, no cheating, no laziness and a whole list of NOs! Because remember, you will not be able to blame it on Satan, if you cannot do it, then you are the only sinner!

Ramadan is also about family, my memories of Ramadan as a kid, consist of family gatherings and friends visits; a thing that I miss so much, miles away from home! I remember going with my parents to visit relatives that we haven’t seen in a long time, because it is Ramadan! I remember my dad taking out the phone book, and call all his brothers, sisters, cousins and even distant relatives, because it is Ramadan. I remember my mom making sweets and taking them to her sister, because it is Ramadan!

It is amazing what this month can bring to us, how can it make us a better us, even if it is just once a year! Because it is far better being good at least once a year than never be! So Thank You Ramadan.

Ramadan Kareem.

Ouiam

How Old Are You?

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If you didn’t know how old you were, how old would you think you were??? I probably would think i was 32! (I am actually 29).If you asked me last year, or the year before it, I would have definitely said 18!! When people say age is just a number, I totally disagree and think it is plain nonsense! Age is experiences, tornadoes, springs and falls! Smiles and tears gathered to shape your life forever! It is ups and downs, failures-lots of them- It is moments when you think you’ve nailed it and others when you sink into your own misery! So how can all that be as simple as a number! Few weeks ago, I celebrated my 29th birthday! The same day my Taichi master, wisely commented that my face looked very young whereas my eyes screamed wisdom and old age! She saw it as the result of being a mom! Myself, i think in the last year i have grown in so many ways, that I no longer wanted to be 18, 22 or even 29! I wanted to be old and wise and have few more grey hairs! This came to my own surprise, because I have never wished to be older! I always wanted to be younger and even at 22 I felt already old! Too old to be the silly little girl I was and still is! The thing about growing up, is that although we look back with a faint smile and probably some shy tears, to the old us, the old memories, and always say: “Yup! those were the best days of my life”, we still somehow believe that the best is yet to come! With time, we get better at growing up, at being ourselves, at being in our own skin, even if that skin is getting wrinkly and old!

After retiring from being a teacher, my mother decided that she wanted to do more, and she did it! She pursued her PhD in Islamic Studies, a subject she was always fond of. She never complained that she was old or that she hated aging! To me she always appeared to be in her forties! She seems to get better with age. With every passing year, she seems to be a little closer to the woman she wants to be! That is how I want to do it! I am now closer to my thirties than I was last year! And just the thought of it, fills me with excitement and anticipation. What will this new decade bring into my life? More wisdom? More knowledge? More laughs and more tears? More grey hairs and maybe even more babies?! Who knows?

We open magazines and we see gorgeous, young, skinny, beautiful girls, in bikinis, a glowing skin and a perfect body shape, and we decide- or we let them decide for us- that that is the norm! Every woman should always look young, pretty, skinny. Basically, a woman should never age! So we fight our own bodies and minds and we get ourselves into a constant battle to reach to the norm! We get irritated at each birthday because it can only mean a step closer to being out of the norm! We are forced to believe that better is young! But somehow we all know –in the deepest parts of our beings- that better is actually NOW! Wherever we are, at any stage, we all know that we are NOW our finest selves!

So again, how old are you really? Forget about the aching knees and the grey hairs, forget about the young face and the beautiful skin. Isolate yourself from all these stuff, and tell me how old you really are??? How old you think you are?

Ouiam

How Bad Do You Wanna Be Successful?!

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Great, now that I’ve got your attention, let’s first look up the definition of Success:

Success: The achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted.

So from this definition, we can safely say that success is not given, and most definitely not the product of luck! It is achieved. The word “desired” also implies, that success is wished for, and wanted by the individual who is seeking it. Which makes me believe that it is then a choice. We choose, plan, want, wish for a specific thing, then start working on it, in order to get it! So far, I guess we all agree, right?

Okay! now let us move to the complicated stuff!

Since someone’s success is strongly linked to his choices, how come some of us are successful while some are not? And I don’t believe there is anyone in this planet who wouldn’t like to actually be successful! In addition, whenever we watch TV, browse on the net or social Media, we kind of get the impression that successful people, have to either be rich, famous or somehow important! Doesn’t that contradict the definition of success? Where it is clearly stated that success depends on one’s wishes! Which implies that anyone and everyone can be successful!??

Let’s take Vincent Van Gogh, for example, he was not famous, he was a struggling artist in his lifetime, yet who now doesn’t know him? Who on earth would think of him as “not successful”? This shows you in a very humble way, that to be successful, you shouldn’t be rich or famous! If anything, you should work hard and be passionate about what you do!

This time I will not go as far as the medieval ages to prove a point, I will stick to the twenty first century! And I will talk about myself. Currently I am jobless (as many would think), I am not famous at all, yet I am very important to my family! I wake up every morning, excited about what the day will bring and how we will make each second of it count, I take care of my lovely little bed head, from morning till night, without a break, I am exhausted by the end of each day, yet I am the happiest I have ever been! I love what I am doing and I love doing it every single day! So to me, I am very successful! Sure, to you I might be a stay-home mama, but remember success is a choice, you choose where you want to be successful and you work on it until it happens. I chose to be successful as a stay-home mama! And some days I do a wonderful job at being successful!

To me success will have to be related to what you are passionate about, because only then you can challenge yourself to give your best performance, now if what you are passionate about can get you a steady and decent income, then why not, but if it doesn’t it will not make you less successful!

In order to be successful, you need to believe that you can do it! You need to sink within yourself, get beneath the layers of your mind and dig deep, until you find out what it is that you are passionate about, only then you can fly to the great big success, that only you can define and determine. Never belittle yourself or what you do or what you are passionate about! The richest people of this era started very small, yet they believed in themselves and in their ideas. And their passion only gave them the drive to reach where they are now. If other people do not think of you as successful enough, rich enough or important enough, Well be it! However, you will always be successful in your own way!

Ouiam

Be Careful…… Or Not!

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Growing up, I was told to never walk barefoot, to never go to unfamiliar places without a family member, to never play with the mud or sand because my clothes will get dirty. And I have done just as I was told. While these rules seem perfectly logical and reasonable, now I wish I had rebelled against them, at least once in my childhood. I remember when I was about seven years old, my brother bought me a super cool bicycle, a green one. And he taught me how to ride it. However, I was told to only play with it in the backyard, so years after this, when I was about 15 years old, I met a new friend and while talking we discovered that we were once neighbors, so she said “Oh you are the little girl with the green bicycle who never left their backyard?” we laughed and laughed about it, but I secretly felt a little sad that it was so true, I actually never left our backyard with that cool bicycle! and I wished I had done the opposite, even once in all those years! My mom was a teacher and whoever was raised by a teacher, will understand what I am talking about. Discipline was vitally important in our household! And I thank god for that, because thanks to the way my mom raised me, I am who I am today, I know my limits and what is wrong and right! Yet I wish I could have got my hands and clothes dirty while playing in the mud, or felt the ground with my bare feet, while running and screaming like the rest of my friends did, I wish I took that green bicycle around the neighborhood, I wish I wasn’t careful at times, I wish I fell more and scratched my knees, I wish I broke a leg while climbing a tree. I know my wishes might sound absurd to some of you, but that is the truth! I do wish I didn’t hear too many “be careful”s!

Today and because of all the “be careful”s I heard, I am always careful, way too careful. I do not like to go to the beach because I don’t like the sand, I am scared of all kind of animals, I never climb anything, I never walk barefoot! And that is exactly why I do things differently with Adam. Because I lived the other side of the story and I did not like it! I want my child to decide for himself how he wants to be entertained. The other day, we went for a walk with a friend, her sons and her dog: Harvey! He looked like a very sweet dog! It was Adam’s first time to encounter a dog, he liked him first but when Harvey came closer, he panicked, well actually, we both did, so I had to fight my fear, and touch the dog because how else will my son learn that it is okay to play with dogs! I had to fight the urge to run, I had to keep calm and explore, myself, how it feels like to caress and play with a dog! Few minutes later Adam was indulging himself in some Harvey and Adam time! And I was in cloud nine! I did it!! And therefore he did it too!!

Few months ago, at a birthday party, Adam was still crawling commando style, and of course he was being the little active and energetic little boy he is. He was all over the place, crawling left, right and center. I overheard two lovely women, wondering why I left my child crawling the way he did, on a floor where germs were having a little party of their own, and one of them decided that i did it because I was too tired and had no one to help me with Adam. It was very funny because it was not the first time I hear these kind of comments, and surprisingly, they make me happy! I realize how different I am doing my job as a mama, and it makes me happy! I was right behind my son, making sure that he was safe, yet I didn’t stop him from getting dirty or exploring the surroundings. Actually, I always insist on taking him to the play in the grass, with the mud and sand, explore, and get those little fingers and toes dirty (nothing that a 5 minutes bath cannot fix), I teach him how to climb and how to get down, I let him walk barefoot in the supermarket, pushing the trolley around, while strangers shoot me with their angry looks, and that is totally fine!

Although being too careful allowed me to be more creative and innovative, it unleashed my imagination and spread my wings, yet I still wish I wasn’t careful all the time. And it is such a great blessing to be able to learn so much while teaching my son not to be careful! Parenting is letting go of your child a little more every day, it is growing together while growing apart. Parenting is tricky, but I know from my own experience that it is okay to let kids be kids, it is Okay not to control every moment and hold back because of our fears! So every day I try to teach my little one to fly on his own, little by little, until one day he can do it all by himself! Until we both can do it on our own!

Ouiam

Yes I am JUST a Mom….!

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Yes I am JUST a mom, doing mummy stuff all day long. I spend my days with a little baby, feeding and bathing him, reading and playing with him. We go out for walks when the weather permits, we sing and have dance parties, we jump and crawl together, we paint and color. You know just mummy stuff!! And yes when people tell me “Oh yeah you are JUST a mom” I smile, I feel proud, I give myself a pat on the shoulder and say: “Yes I am A MOM!!”. I do not get offended, it never bothers me, because to me, being a mom is the greatest job in the world and that is just enough for me. Because when my son looks me right in the eyes, and smiles, that is all the acknowledgment I need. Because when my husband says: “I am here now, go take a break, you’ve done a lot today”, that is the only form of appreciation I want! I think of my mom and my grandmother, and all the greatest women in my life, and yes some of them might be JUST moms to some people but they mean the whole world to me!

When I meet someone for the first time, and they ask me: “So what do you do? “ I proudly reply: “I am a full time mama!” I can see a glimpse of disappointment in their eyes, a little awkward smile follows, and most of them change the subject instantly! I, on the other hand, feel sorry for them, because they seem so embarrassed. I feel like telling them: it is Okay! I am who I am and I love it!

Yes I am who I am and I love it! I am a mama! Nevertheless, I am a woman too, a woman who spends her free time working so hard to make herself better every day! A woman, full of ambition and ideas! I am also a wife to a great man; a daughter to wonderful parents! a sister and a friend! I am a human being and that is enough for me. I do not need a job to define me, I might want a job to satisfy a tiniest part in me that is hidden for now, but it will never define who I am. This is how I see myself and with everyday/ week/ month/ year, this vision changes, converts, rotates and I am Okay with that too!

I most definitely congratulate every working mama! Because they simply are superheroes! They are powerful, strong and selfless women! And they are wonderfully respecting who they are and who they want to be! Nonetheless, this does not downgrade full time mamas in any possible way!

Being a mother empowers me in the most satisfying way! I teach a little human being bits and pieces about life, I take his little hand and walk with him, guide him and be there for him, I build and create his memories! I shape his childhood and toddlerhood! I am his Mama! And that is more than enough for me, for now!

If you feel the same way too, let me know, share your story too…!

Ouiam