The world has been going through some very harsh times. Not only the earth but also its people. People are being slaughtered and shot in games of war. Lives are being treated like currency. Exchanging this life for that. All without the say of the people involved. When the news at home has stories of all this fighting and hurt and all of our social media pages reaffirm what’s going on, what are we to do? What’s missing?

On a minimal scale, we are missing empathy. That powerful ability to understand someone else. To be able to put ourself in their shoes and feel what they feel as though it’s our own pain, our own hurt. Empathy should be in our hearts. It should drive us to feel the pain of others’ losses. It should drive us to donate out of the comfort of our homes to those who live and eat cardboard boxes. It should drive us to use our resources to reach out. It should drive us to be able to recognize someone’s difference and still accept them as our fellow humans. We are the inheritors of the earth, if we don’t take care of its people, then what are we even doing?

There’s a need in our world today to disconnect. Disconnect from the screens. The internet. The tv. The iPad. The phone. The news. The gossip. The trends. The status updates. But what do you do when you disconnect? Something that we have forgotten is the rest of our five senses due to our staying so connected to technology in the age of information.
Sometimes it helps to remember things we used to do before we became so dependent on our phones and screens. We used to talk to people one on one without looking down at our phones. We used to play and engage with children and be present. We used to be mindful when we ate and actually enjoyed majority of our meals. We used to go to the park and actually look around and feel the breeze and notice the green trees and grass and hear the children’s laughter. We used to walk and feel the ache in our feet and the feel the distance in our muscles. We may still be doing many of these things but we sometimes lose mindfulness of the smallest activities. We just add a screen to the mix and we aren’t fully there anymore. This Ramadan I noticed myself letting go of screens and actually connecting to the world around me. The world that existed before and the world that will be there long after. But the world that is ever changing and I’m missing it because of my screen.

May Allah help us all to create healthy habits with our electronic devices. May we engage and connect to all the blessings around us. Ameen.

This Ramadan I came across an article (or a few), by Sadaf Farooqi.

The Nuances of Sincerity.

This specific article actually tackles not only a person’s own struggle to be sincere in their lives, but also helpful advice about toxic people. And who hasn’t dealt with toxic people? Sometimes we don’t have to interact with them daily but other times as we grow up we see that maybe in our past some people were toxic in our lives or currently we have been dealing with them and not realizing it. This isn’t to draw attention to them but rather to ourselves in how to stay sincere in spite of those people. And it occurred to me that there’s a link between toxic people in our lives and productivity. Toxic people in our lives drag us down. And usually that dragging down comes at a price. We feel down or pulled into negativity for a bit and it takes effort to really pull out of it. If we keep doing this day in and day out, that daily struggle actually drains our energy which could be better used for more productive things like living life the way we want and the way we hope by pleasing Allah and doing good. When these toxic people come in the way it takes time and energy and struggle to push it back out and when you look back you realize you could have finished many projects if you hadn’t been so caught up in unnecessary baggage that wasn’t even yours. To understand more I hope you read the article and as a mental health resolution, try to focus on what matters to you and less on those toxic people or thoughts.

May Allah make us sincere people who are productive in doing good in our lives. May we be protected from toxic people and thoughts. May we always be able to see reality as it really is. Ameen.

Sometimes we plan big plans in Ramadan. Sometimes we jump right in and start without a thought. Whatever our case, when we come out of Ramadan, something is different. I’ve tried to plan and think of things I want to accomplish in ramadan. Having kids has made that a bit more difficult. I know easier times lie ahead but this year I didn’t write down my plans. I just wanted to notice what was before making a bunch of plans I might not follow through on. I wanted to see what clutter was in my life and let Ramadan help me sort it out. I noticed some emotions I didn’t like so I worked on those. Knowing for the whole month that I own these feelings. They are my own. I also noticed habits that were my own and noticed no one is pushing my buttons. I am responsible for me. I also looked at things I was doing that I liked. I did more of those. And through the month I persisted in just these small things. I felt they were small because I had not planned them out. At the end I noticed that they were big things. They left me truly changed. And that is the best feeling. To know that change is possible in this month and to know how easy it is made for us is a true blessing. This change I hope to carry and I hope to continue to do even better. To strive to better myself and accept the changes as they come. Accept them as easily as I accepted the coming of Ramadan.
May Allah change us all for the better. May we all be guided to the straight path through our changes. May we please Allah with all of our soul. Ameen.

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