Saturday, October 6, 2007

Ordinary Night Turned Extraordinary

Last night Amira and I were watching Oprah, and her guest of the evening was a woman named Elizabeth Gilbert who wrote a book entitled Eat, Pray, Love. The entire show was devoted to this woman’s soul-searching journey. Of course, one cannot grasp such a journey in a one-hour episode filled with endless commercials, but there were key things in this segment that captured my attention. It goes without saying that I’ll be getting this book as my latest read as I found her very interesting.

There were so many things that captured my attention, but one of them that seemed so very profound were the three things she did everyday.

One, when she wakes up she writes in her journal the same question, “What do I really, really, really want?” Then she writes the answer that comes to her. She said after doing this for a period of time one truly finds out what it is they are seeking in this life and will help them to focus on gaining it. For me, I see this as an opportunity to deepen my faith with God. For me it’s not about financial gain, about worldly gains, or anything of that sort, but of a much deeper understanding and connection---for there is nothing more uplifting, more satisfying, more rewarding, or more everlasting than that connection with Allah.

Second, she meditates. Again, I looked at this as spending time in uninterrupted prayer---communion with God. Stilling our minds, our thoughts, our movements, and our hearts long enough to be connected, which certainly requires practice. We busy ourselves so much that even sometimes during praying it’s easy to let our mind drift if just for a second and then collect again to focus. Remaining still and silent for me is definitely something I must continually work on. For years, I was afraid to be still and silent because that meant I would be alone with just myself, and that frightened me. I didn’t like who I was. I didn’t like the things that had happened to me. I didn’t want to be reminded of those things and didn’t want to be reminded of who I was. At first, it seemed like force to do such things as sit and be silent. Then, it became easy to justify life was too busy, so avoided it, but the pining was always beckoning me to come back. It was/is during the wee hours of the early morning when the sun has not yet risen that I could/can allow myself to sit in silence….to allow myself not to rationalize the situation, to not talk myself out of the moment, to not be anywhere else but at that very moment. It has become the sweetest tenderest moments of my existence. There was no judgments, no criticism, no sarcasm……..just me, the stillness, the silence and God.

Elizabeth then shared the third thing she does, which was at the end of everyday she writes something that she was grateful for in her day. I loved the fact that she was genuine and admitted some days are just plain crappy, but she still looked for something good in it. Even if it was feeling the sun shine on her shoulder as she was getting her mail out of her mailbox…..for her it was everything because it meant she was alive. How often do we forget we are alive? How often do we walk around in either depressed state or state of unconsciousness? How often do we wish we were more than what we were or desired more than what we have, only to leave us feeling empty and despaired?

It is always the little things that get overlooked. Why? Maybe because we don’t see them as significant or maybe we just don’t see them because we are always focused on something that should be grander in form. I know I’ve definitely been guilty of this on a number of occasions in my life. I just wonder if seeing the little things would give us a greater since of being right here and right now, rather than the bigger things that are always somewhere out in the future. This certainly doesn’t mean not to have goals, set priorities or have dreams…, not at all, those things are necessary. I think it just reminds us to remember that the only thing we have is right NOW, so enjoy it completely.

This morning when I woke up with no intentions of really doing anything but hanging out with Amira, I decided to write for the first time, “What do I really, really, really want?” My answer was “That unexplainable soul connection with another human”, and then just went about my business.

Going through some email, I received an email along with a video clip that afforded me a glimpse of that answer to my earlier posed question….’the unexplainable soul connection to another human’.

Email read - This is amazing.........

This is a story about a guy, who, like most of us is probably an everyday sort of person, maybe questioning his existences, measuring himself to others, never believing in his abilities or his worth.

Then one day, his passion outgrew his fears as he stepped onto a stage, a stage that took him to a place beyond his self imposed prison.

Watch the faces of the judges as this guy walks out on the stage. You can
Almost see what they’re thinking as they pre-judge this guy based on his looks
And the fact that he’s a cell phone salesman.

It seems this guy stopped believing in what people told him for so many years
and ultimately started listening to his passion.

P.S. I know Brave Heart shared this with us over the summer, but for some reason it moved me even more now than then, and then it was very moving.


Benghazi Citizen said...

I have to say this:The way u put it was really touching...
Some times we lose connection with ourselves..
We lose connection with the people around us..
We lose the one we loved and cared about for no good reason but being afraid of grasping what we thought is the ultimate happiness just to find out how delusional our thoughts was..
I know people who spent their life times searching for them selves ,and when they found them,they didn't like what they found so they start searching again..
I know people who lost faith,because life was so cruel to them,,but if they looked harder,they would see that they were blessed beyond imaginations..
The journey to find our selves is endless...
It's part of the way God created us..
May God show us the way
and make what we really,really ,really want,what he sees the best for his worshipers
Thank u for the beutiful post
Benghazi Citizen

Mixed Up Me said...

I watched this show too, which is amazing because normally I don't allow myself time to sit and watch t.v. in the middle of the afternoon. Her story spoke to my heart too, though I am still processing that and much more. By the way, Angela writes in a journal each day . . . before she goes to bed she writes three things she is looking forward to for the next day and three things she is thankful for for the day ending . . . it was her aunt's idea for her as a way to help her process some of her feelings . . . seems to be working for her.

Bibi-Aisha said...

This was a thought-enlightening post. I love the time from tahajjud till dawn, which is filled with peace and serenity. Even in the Quran Allah mentions the purity of this time. You are so right-nothing matters more than our connection with Allah. Lovely blog,mashallah.

ibeebarbie said...

Salam Benghazi Citizen,
Thank you for stopping by this humble blog and leaving such a heartfelt message, and agree with your statement "The journey to find our selves is endless...
It's part of the way God created us..
May God show us the way
and make what we really,really ,really want,what he sees the best for his worshipers." Very well put, shukran.

ibeebarbie said...

Hi Mixed Up Me,
Well Angela probably got one of the best tools and pieces of advice from her Aunt. Moreover, what a blessing to get it so young rather than trying to figure it out when you're older.

Please lets get together soon - I miss you.

ibeebarbie said...

Salam Bibi-Aisha,
Thank you for taking the time to stop by this humble blog and post a comment. How exciting to find someone else that loves the early dawn hours as I do. :-) May Allah bless you always.