A Longing of My Soul

Religion is beautiful when it nourishes the human spirit and inspires the believer to help their community, to value their family, to engage with other humans in a just way.  Often people use religion to suit their own interest, manipulate the truth and exploit and oppress others.  But in fact, religion isn’t complicated at all. I have been very fortunate to have a circle of friends and acquaintances from many countries, cultures, and religions.  A few lessons that I learned during my spiritual journey:  We human beings no matter where we are from, no matter what religion we practice, we are very similar than we are different.  Our basics needs are the same.  The most important lesson that I learned during my spiritual journey is that love in itself is a prayer and our relationship with our creator is very sacred.  Only God knows what’s in your heart, what our intentions are. I believe every human being has a part of God within them.

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This past summer I went to Philly and while wandering around , I came across this beautiful church.  I went in and prayed.

I am constantly learning and evolving and reinventing myself, living in a Muslim country, I have realized that there is not one face of Islam, not one way that people worship.  Within every culture and every religion people live their lives in a multitude of ways.  Therefore, there is a diversity within Islam itself, that transcend the limits of race and ethnicity.  Some people will make you feel like you are not Muslim enough or Christian enough. Ignore them!  It only emanates from their lack of faith.   I also learned that prayer isn’t about asking for help, it’s a daily admission of one’s weakness, it is a longing of the soul.  The value of persistent prayer is: one day you will finally hear your creator.  Although one might label me as a Muslim, in reality, I believe in all religions.  I am much more than the labels people use to identify me.  So I leave you with a little prayer:

I pray that I have eyes that see the best in people and a heart that forgives the worst and a soul that never loses faith.  

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This  beautiful mosque is in Washington D.C. 

 

So Many People Use Your Name in Vain

We think about it, dream about it, lose sleep worrying about it, and when we don’t have it, we search for it and when we find it, we don’t know what to do with it. Love! Love can engulf you, imprison you, torment you. img_20150721_101150

“Love is an untamed force. When we try to control it, it destroys us. When we try to imprison it, it enslaves us. When we try to understand it, it leaves us feeling lost and confused.”-Paulo Coelho

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There are some of us who spend our whole life, seeking love, chasing it, often waiting for it. For some of us this lifelong quest to find that perfect love story is exhausting, and more often it is more tragic, but at other times gratifying. For months on end, I surrendered my heart to a potent type of love, the type of love that leaves you anxious, powerless, defenseless. Somewhat like an addict, addicted to what hurt me. If only I recognized the situation for what it was, or if only I was stronger at the time, I would have left with my dignity. But I was in love with him or maybe the idea of him as the man I wanted him to be, which kept me prisoner. I held on to his promises, I justified his excuses. It was like waiting for Godot, holding on to the hope. I tortured myself and he tormented me. In retrospect I always wondered why I held for so long, maybe it’s because I had faith in him. I gave him the benefit of the doubt ‘till his true colors came out. For so long I waited for his apology, for a sorry, for a thank you. I finally made peace with the fact that I may never get an apology and even if he did, his words are worthless now.

Looking back, I mistakenly thought that this vulnerable feeling meant that I was madly in love, but in fact, love isn’t meant to make you feel weak, it isn’t meant to cripple you, or make you feel helpless. It should make you feel stronger! It should make you feel secure! It should empower you! If you ever feel this constant unsettling feeling, don’t ignore it or mistake it for love. I know this might sound cliché but from my heartbreak experience, and I have learned the best lessons in the best and hardest way possible. I learned the hard way, after having my heart torched like a flame by a so-called ‘love’. What hurt me the most was that I thought I was losing a friend. I was disillusioned into thinking if ever I needed someone he would be there for me. But when you love someone, you just don’t treat them badly or hurt them. It pains me to say this, but the harsh reality and truth is he never loved me!

So, I pressed the restart button, and now I see myself through different eyes, I am in love again and now, more than ever, I know its different type of love.

It’s the type of love that makes me dance in my underwear, start a bonfire, take adventurous trips, and laugh about life. It’s the type of love that makes me feel like I am untouchable. See, this love, that I am feeling, no type of man is capable of providing it.

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My heart is free of him at last! My heart is at peace, at ease knowing that what was meant for me will never miss me. I don’t regret meeting him, my only regret was caring for someone who didn’t care about me.i-dont-love-you-anymore

For so long I was scared of accepting the emotions that I ever so often feared. The pain! I feared actually feeling the pain. Most human beings by nature are very afraid to feel pain. But often the thought of pain is actually worse than the pain itself.

I went through fire, agony, disappointment, to learn this: that your salvation will not come from the outside it will come from within.

Say this out loud with me: I AM ENOUGH, I AM WORTHY!!

You are enough! You are worthy! You don’t need another human being to validate your existence.

Let go of all the things that are holding you back in life! Let go of the self-judgment, the criticism, the control. Stop beating yourself up, pleasing others, comparing yourself to others. Be kind to yourself! Once you have forgiven yourself, you can forgive others. Peel off your layers and let go of the toxicity. Take time to heal from the past. Accept it, grieve it, and forgive. You can’t get over the heartbreak until you let yourself feel it. If you don’t go through the grieving process, and you bury the pain, you will eventually encounter the same people with different faces, the same exact situations reoccurring. The pain will keep on resurfacing.

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“If you’re brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello”.

A lot of people are scared of spending quality time with themselves, they are scared of being alone. How do you build a friendship or a relationship? It’s by spending quality time with that person. How do you expect another human being to enjoy your company when you can’t enjoy your own company? Know who you really are. Love yourself fully. Allow yourself to meditate, be in nature, write, relax, listen to music. Being alone will make you realize that you don’t need other human beings to validate your existence and when you are surrounded by the others you won’t seek their approval, you will find them gravitating towards you, you will become much more enjoyable, lovable. You will become the best you, that you can be! You will become powerful beyond measures! You will find people flocking towards you, wanting to know your secret.

I will leave you with this: The most generous and greatest of lovers is one who feels fulfilled.

The Ultimate Summer Playlist

Drop tops, long hot nights and summer love!

After a long hiatus, I have decided to revive my blog by starting of with my 2016 summer playlist.

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DJ Khaled ft Drake – For Free

Drake –One Dance

Calvin Harris ft Rihanna – This is What you came for

Lloyd-Tru

Craig David – One more time

Drake – Controlla

Alicia Keys – In common

Justin Timberlake- Can’t stop the feeling

Beyonce – Hold up

Sia ft sean paul- Cheap thrills

Partynextdoor – Come and see me

Jeremih –Oui

Bryson Tiller- Don’t

Mike Posner -I took a pill in Ibiza

Charlie Puth ft Selena – We Don’t Talk Anymore  ( I hear this song everyday at work….so it was bound to make it on the playlist)

Beyonce- Sorry

Major Lazer ft Justin Bieber & Mo – Cold Water

Fifth Harmony ft Fetty Wap  – All in my head

Adele – Send my love

Astrid S- Hurt So Good

Drop a comment below and let me know what you are listening to this summer.

When the Sun goes down, the stars come out

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Hola! Bonjour! Marhaba! Howdy! Hello! Halla! Ola! I know it’s been awhile since my last post. I’m sorry for my sporadic posts, I’m currently in a transitional phase in my life, so I truly appreciate your patience and support.

One evening, I heard my brother whisper a prayer: “I thank you for everything that I have, for the blessings that I am aware of and the blessings I am unaware of. I thank you for what is ahead and what the future holds”. Tears began to flood my face, like lava pouring out of a volcano that had just erupted. His words had struck a chord in my soul. I then realized a fundamental truth about life, only when you count your blessings and give thanks, only then will we start feeling fulfilled, and happy.

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My cousin used to always say: ”I would love to drink from that happy juice, you are drinking, can you please give me the recipe?” I wish I had a simple recipe that would instantly give you an adrenaline rush or make you instantly happy. Viola some magic! I am sorry to disappoint you, I don’t have that recipe, but what I do know is something simple, the secret to staying happy is gratitude.

Gratitude is the feeling of thankfulness, it means gearing your attention to the things you have, as opposed to the things you lack. Gratitude not only determines your attitude, it determines your latitude, and how far you get in life. When I wake up every morning my heart is overwhelmed with gratitude. I am thankful to be alive. I am thankful that I get to see another day. I am thankful for the roof on top of my head, for the bed I sleep in, for the food in my fridge, for my amazing family, for the eyes that I see with, for the air that I’m breathing, for everything that I believe in. I am thankful for every person that I have crossed path with, whether good or bad. In every experience in our lives  there is a lesson to learn from.

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It is easy to feel grateful when things are going smoothly in your life, but even in our darkest hours, we have to remember to be grateful because behind every lesson there is a blessing. Yes, I do have some really bad days but even on my worst day I know that after the storm the sun will shine. This might be the best piece of advice that I will probably ever give you. Last year I had one of my best years, simply because I kept a gratitude journal. I wrote three things every day that I was grateful for; I encourage you to do the same. I also wrote thank you cards to people who had impacted my life. I promise you this: giving thanks will make you happier, more resilient; it will also strengthen your relationships and improve your health. For all the men out there since I know you don’t like keeping journals, just use a voice recorder and record three things you feel grateful for everyday or maybe use snapchat as your outlet.

“If the only prayer you say in your life is ‘ thank you, ‘ that would suffice.” – Meister Eckhart.

La Liberté

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. – Pablo Picasso

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Close your eyes, clear your heart, find the courage, emancipate yourself and let go. Art work by Khaled Bahrami

Everything around us in life is art; we are surrounded by art everyday without even noticing it. The way you write, speak, dress, drink your coffee, decorate your home, these are all forms of art. The world is your canvas and you are the artist. Even your smile is art. Art lets you speak in ways where words cannot.

One of my favorite museum is the National art gallery in D.C.  Picture is taken by yours truly.
One of my favorite museums is the National art gallery in D.C.  This picture is taken by yours truly.

I’m always inspired, intrigued by a person’s passion. The way a person’s eyes lights up when they speak about something they love. They are a very few brave, authentic, souls out there, that actually pursue what they love. I have a particular friend of mine from high school that I dedicate this section to. My friend Khaled is currently in the UK pursuing his Master’s in Fine Arts & Humanities. I remember way back in high school talking to him about his artistic abilities and him winning most artistic in the yearbook. I’m delighted to be sharing his work with you and I’m very proud of him that he is finally pursuing his dream. He holds a very special place in my heart, his spirit is infectious, his work is inspiring and his personality will draw you to him like a magnet. Just remember his name because he might be the next Van Gogh or Picasso.

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They are a couple of reasons behind this post, the first is to express my love for art and to introduce you to an upcoming artist and maybe to inspire you to go out there and paint or draw, even if you don’t consider yourself to be an artist. Art can be therapeutic; it can help you with anxiety, stress, pain, grief, love, and heartbreak. The main reason behind this post is to always remember to chase your dreams, don’t let anyone or anything hold you back. Just free your mind, liberate yourself and let go of anything that is holding you back. Don’t conform to the norm; be rebellious, authentic and true to yourself.

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember that you have within you the strength, the patience & the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. ~Harriet Tubman

Since I’m not a connoisseur of the arts, but I have a couple of really good friends that are artist. They will take you on this journey of art. I will have a page especially dedicated to art. If you have any question or comments don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. 

Where do I go from here?

 

Do you have a friend that has been MIA for the past two days? It’s probably because they are celebrating the end of Ramadan (the holy month of fasting observed by Muslims). Their cell phone is mostly likely bombarded with text messages, and if their phone line is constantly busy, its because they are probably getting a handful of text messages and phone calls from family and friends.   So don’t worry, your friend will come back once the three days of festivities are over. Since I am also celebrating Eid I want to keep this post short and simple.  

Dubai

 

One of the most jubilant occasions, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan is Eid Al-Fitr. Most countries declared Friday, July 17th, as the first day of Eid, while others celebrated on Saturday, depending on the sighting of the new moon. The Eid celebration begins with a special prayer at a mosque, and after the prayers, the extravaganza of festivities kicks off. Most Muslims, celebrate by gathering with family and friends, eating and preparing sweet delicacies, wearing their finest, newest, outfits and giving each other gifts. Undeniably, the way people celebrate Eid across the world, differs from one culture to another. Within Islam we are a very diverse religion.

Prayer

The right term to use to congratulate your friend or co-worker on completing Ramadan is Eid Mubarak, which means, “ Have a blessed Eid”.

Eid picFor my Muslim friends reading this post, Eid Mubarak! May you and your family be showered with countless blessings, and may all those who are suffering from illness or oppression find ease. May the coming days bring with it,  prosperity and peace. Remember to cherish your loved ones and to maintain the patience and discipline you had this Ramadan throughout the year. Ramadan comes and goes, but good deeds go a long way.

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