bel esprit

وَإِذْ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُمْ لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ وَلَئِن كَفَرْتُمْ إِنَّ عَذَابِي لَشَدِيدٌ

{And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed: “If you give thanks I will give you more but if you are thankless verily! My Punishment is indeed severe.}

(Ibrahim 14:7)

Gratitude is love. Love is the space consciousness whence creativity sprouts; all of life is creative. So when we make room in our hearts for the things in life that feel beautiful, our focus draws in more of it. This is the gist of Allaah’s promise that for the grateful, they’ll be increased.

Ingratitude is described as ‘kufr’. Linguistically, kufr means covering, burying. The only way someone can deny the blessings of Allaah is by suppressing parts of himself. Because in truth, everything in existence is a fractal blessing.

And what is the torment guaranteed for the ingrate? Is it a punishment meted out specifically for the failure to do something? No. The ingrate is punished by his very being. His heart collapsing in on itself under the weight of the ego blocks the space consciousness, being confined to a place of decay. Having one’s heart blocked to Allaah’s love and light is the epitome of torment.

كَلَّا بَلْ رَانَ عَلىٰ قُلُوبِهِم مَّا كَانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ

{Nay! But their hearts were made impenetrable by the evil they used to do.}

كَلَّا إِنَّهُمْ عَن رَّبِّهِمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ لَّمَحْجُوبُونَ

{Nay! Surely they will be veiled from their Lord that Day}

ثُمَّ إِنَّهُمْ لَصَالُو الْجَحِيمِ

{ Then indeed, they will [enter and] burn in Hellfire.}

ثُمَّ يُقَالُ هَذَا الَّذِي كُنتُم بِهِ تُكَذِّبُونَ

{Then, it will be said to them: “This is what you used to deny!}

Denial of the divine truth is rejecting what one needs in order to thrive, holistically.

I pondered all this thinking about love in our hearts. Can someone who is a qabiliste be grateful? Fully? Can someone who erects boundaries along lineage lines or political affiliation be willing to acknowledge blessings that could trigger cognitive dissonance? Can women who have been supporting and perpetuating the tradition of female mutilation be able to hold loving spaces for the divine inspiration? Can we outgrow cage?

We don’t need a bigger military or more intricate policies, but more tolerance for the in-between spaces. Instead of denouncing, ask yourself what could cause something. Instead of berating somalis who you deem despicable, ask yourself what in your heart has been shamed and suppressed by you such that seeing it in others flares it up. Instead of contracting from what irks you about others, expand beyond your comfort zone to keep an open heart to the discomfort that arises.

I said this before, and I’ll say this again : our collective healing lies in finding our way back to the creativity that once defined us.

“Man is thrown into this world without his knowledge, consent or will, and he is removed from it again without his consent or will. In this respect he is not different from the animal, from the plants, or from inorganic matter. But being endowed with reason and imagination, he cannot be content with the passive role of the creature, with the role of dice cast out of a cup. He is driven by the urge to transcend the role of the creature, the accidentalness and passivity of his existence, by becoming a “creator.”

Man can create life. This is the miraculous quality which he indeed shares with all living beings, but with the difference that he alone is aware of being created and of being a creator. Man can create life, or rather, woman can create life, by giving birth to a child, and by caring for the child until it is sufficiently grown to take care of his own needs. Man— man and woman —can create by planting seeds, by producing material objects, by creating art, by creating ideas, by loving one another.

In the act of creation man transcends himself as a creature, raises himself beyond the passivity and accidentalness of his existence into the realm of purposefulness and freedom. In man’s need for transcendence lies one of the roots for love, as well as for art, religion and material production.

To create presupposes activity and care. It presupposes love for that which one creates. How then does man solve the problem of transcending himself, if he is not capable of creating, if he can not love?

There is another answer to this need for transcendence: if I cannot create life, I can destroy it. To destroy life makes one also transcend it. Indeed, that man can destroy life is just as miraculous a feat as that he can create it, for life is the miracle, the inexplicable. In the act of destruction, man sets himself above life; he transcends himself as a creature. Thus, the ultimate choice for man, inasmuch as he is driven to transcend himself, is to create or to destroy, to love or to hate. The enormous power of the will for destruction which we see in the history of man, and which we have witnessed so frightfully in our own time, is rooted in the nature of man, just as the drive to create is rooted in it.

To say that man is capable of developing his primary potentiality for love and reason does not imply the naive belief in man’s goodness. Destructiveness is a secondary potentiality, rooted in the very existence of man, and having the same intensity and power as any passion can have.

But—and this is the essential point of my argument—it is only the alternative to creativeness. Creation and destruction, love and hate, are not two instincts which exist independently. They are both answers to the same need for transcendence, and the will to destroy must rise when the will to create cannot be satisfied.

However, the satisfaction of the need to create leads to happiness; destructiveness to suffering, most of all, for the destroyer himself.”

– Erich Fromm, The Sane Society

where the winds are headed

Validation is rizq

Love is rizq

Self-awareness is rizq

Courage is rizq

Success is rizq

Stability is rizq

Confidence is rizq

                                     ***

The key to receiving is to realize that everything in existence is His, and whatever He grants you no one can hold back. All the hearts are between His fingers, and He holds everyone by their foreheads. He can make your worst enemy subservient to you. Therefore, do not attribute that divine power to others or give yourself undue importance in that somehow you’re innately undeserving. What that would entail is that Allaah created you with a fixed burden and that’s simply not His M.O. Whatever shortcomings we have is only to act as catalyst for growth. Internalizing things based on how others mistreated you is to deface your soul. 

If anything, you experience unloving people to know that that’s wrong because it offends the soul. Allaah is showing you through contrast in order for you to learn. 
The channel to receiving all you need is to be grateful. Gratitude is an antidote to resentment, arrogance, entitlement, shame. It connotes an expectation of love and anticipation of good. It’s a recognition of the divine gifts you pine for. 
If you experience a lack, or mistreatment or emotional pain, it’s not because there’s something wrong with you. It’s not because you haven’t done enough to earn love because you had your rizq assigned before you were born. Your only purpose is to find and embody enlightenment, which is ibaadah of Allaah. He wants you to feel loved, to feel significant, to feel empowered, to feel free, to feel able because that’s what He created you for! He didn’t create you to be stagnant. He created you to discover and share your gifts, in gratitude for receiving them. The taxation for blessings is to share them. And He wishes ease for us, not hardship. 
Whatever we feel that constricts our hearts or burdens us is a sign that we’re not aligned with our truth. We’re living out the scripts of those who can’t give us what we need or deprive us. People just dole out credits on divine gifts, claiming that if you sign the dotted line you’d receive validation but it’s a scam. You know that. You know that people only want to control and overpower and that’s why they seduce you with validation and love. 

Whatever you experience on the outside is only meant to draw attention to the places within you that need remedying. It’s a call to purify your soul and remove the blocks. Don’t add fuel to the fire by internalizing that lesson as further proof of your doom of misery and unlovability. 

فَتَقَبَّلَهَا رَبُّهَا بِقَبُولٍ حَسَنٍ وَأَنْبَتَهَا نَبَاتًا حَسَنًا وَكَفَّلَهَا زَكَرِيَّا  كُلَّمَا دَخَلَ عَلَيْهَا زَكَرِيَّا الْمِحْرَابَ وَجَدَعِنْدَهَا رِزْقًا قَالَ يَا مَرْيَمُ أَنَّىٰ لَكِ هَٰذَا قَالَتْ هُوَ مِنْ عِنْدِ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَرْزُقُ مَنْ يَشَاءُ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ

So her Lord accepted her with goodly acceptance. He made her grow in a good manner and put her under the care of Zakariya. Every time he entered Al-Mihrab to (visit) her , he found her supplied with sustenance. He said: “O Maryam (Mary)! From where have you got this?” She said, “This is from Allaah.” Verily, Allaah Provides sustenance to whom He wills, without limit.” 

(Aali Imran 3:37) 

لِيَجْزِيَهُمُ اللَّهُ أَحْسَنَ مَا عَمِلُوا وَيَزِيدَهُمْ مِنْ فَضْلِهِ  وَاللَّهُ يَرْزُقُ مَنْ يَشَاءُ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ 



That Allaah may reward them according to the best of their deeds, and add even more for them out of His Grace. And Allaah Provides without measure to whom He wills.

(An-Nur 24:38) 

قُلْ إِنَّ رَبِّي يَبْسُطُ الرِّزْقَ لِمَن يَشَاءُ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ وَيَقْدِرُ لَهُ  وَمَا أَنفَقْتُم مِّن شَيْءٍ فَهُوَ يُخْلِفُهُ  وَهُوَ خَيْرُ الرَّازِقِينَ



Say: “Truly, my Lord enlarges the provision for whom He wills of His slaves, and (also) restricts (it) for him, and whatsoever you spend of anything (in Allaah’s Cause), He will replace it. And He is the Best of Providers.” 

(Saba’ 34:39) 

Homebound

The root of gratitude to Allaah is radical self-acceptance of everything you are – flaws and all. This is because your soul is a unique creation bestowed to you by the Creator and it’s one of the most majestic of blessings. You contain miracles that defy imagination or comprehension, so taking yourself for granted is taking Allaah for granted. 
This self-acceptance can’t occur unless you’re completely vulnerable. Many a times, we approach God like a parent we have to impress to gain their approval. Our egos are tied to evading our weaknesses and flaws, but by doing so we put up a wall between us and the Divine, between us and our soul. 
So, self-acceptance can’t happen without humility. Being aware and cognizant of your human abilities and limitations. Changing from a goal oriented mindset to a process oriented mindset. From a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. From perfectionism to mindfulness. 
Amongst His names are ar-Ra’uoof , the Gentle and al-Ghafoor, the concealer of faults
He won’t use your weakness against you. He won’t punish you for it. It’s what makes you a marvel, how despite your flaws you are wholesome and transcendent. That makes you more noble than angels, you know that? Because angels have no free will in the sense that we do, faced with temptations and impulses. When we overcome our innate evil, we are more noble than had we not had that struggle to begin with. 
There are a lot of things in you that would amaze you, if you only were more forgiving of yourself, the way Allaah is. He knows who you are deep down, you can’t hide that. The pinnacle of gratitude would be to focus on living in a way where you’re more cognizant of your true nature even if it means others would deride you for it. 
Ihsaan. To worship Allaah as if you were seeing Him, for even if you don’t see Him, He sees you. 
Ibadah. Literally means yielding, surrendering. That’s what the essence of worship is; surrendering control and image. An act of worship devoid of surrender and vulnerability is void of substance because you have not been transformed. You’ve kept the unknown, the powerful energies at bay by operating on autopilot mode, a mindless facade. You’re not there until you’ve been through thick and thin with your connection to Him, preferring to die a thousand deaths before you let go of faith.

The point of worship isn’t to sing God’s praises because He’s absolutely not in need of that. But it’s to allow you to flourish and transcend your ego under Divine support. Self-actualization can be extremely distressful and threatening if we don’t tread carefully. Like opening an aircraft door mid-flight . 
Faith allows us to fall off cliffs, trusting His promise to give us wings. Faith allows us to face doubts about Allaah’s existence without caving under the weight of the opposites because faith without doubt is not faith. It’s dogma, certainty, arrogance. 

No, it’s to feel the doubt and trust anyway. It’s to know that your faith isn’t a way to escape life or difficulties. It’s the only way to immerse yourself fully in it because you go in blind in situations and face things that scare the living daylights out of you, all because you trust Allaah has your back. Like He did Musa before the sea was split and they were caught between the vast ocean and pharaoh’s army closing in on them. 
So, don’t fear going astray or being annihilated. If you seek the truth in yourself, you’ll always find your way back home. Find your true north beneath all those lies you’ve been telling yourself and disguises you’ve been hiding behind. Remove everything that would make you deviate from your true north.

when you desire what your soul needs

a thought-provoking article from Awakened Vibrations that I just had to share.


You know how sometimes you come across messages and you stop dead in your tracks and say to yourself “This is for me!”. Well that’s what happened when I stumbled across this quote on tumblr. And I am sharing it because I am for certain that it’s for someone else out there too.

“If you’re still unfulfilled after receiving what you’ve wanted, you’re not aware of what you need.”
So often what we want may not be aligned with what we need and unknowingly we set ourselves up for disappointment when we chase the wrong things.

We may find ourselves wanting things based on what we see others having, wanting people because we think that they will “make us complete”, we may find ourselves wanting new jobs because of more money but then even after receiving these things we still end up unhappy.

I want all of us to be self aware. Know yourself. Know what it is that you really need. Let go of what you think things should look like. Stop thinking about instagram likes. Stop thinking about your bank account. Start getting in tune with yourself.  Your true self. Get in touch with your spirit!

What is it that you are craving? What can help you grow? What is going to make you a better person? Trust me when I say this, the most painful way of learning what you need is by accumulating a whole bunch of things you think you want only to find yourself miserable. So if you can, stop now before you hurt yourself.

This is something I struggled with. I had to ask myself “Am I happy?”, “Is this really for me?” Because I felt unfulfilled and I knew there had to be more. And there is more but I didn’t find it until I turned away from all of those things I wanted and found what I needed inside of myself.

So today, think about what would make you feel whole. You don’t have to settle for what you have right now. You don’t have to end up stuck with more things or people or feelings that you don’t really want. You don’t have to. You deserve to discover yourself and gain the things you really need. You deserve to be happy. You are too great to settle for anything that’s not adding value to your life, to your every day experiences, to your growth. Don’t be afraid to let it all go to chase what’s really meant for you.

Today’s Affirmation: Today I am choosing to feed my soul with what it needs and letting go of my ego filled with wants.

often °

›› Sometimes obstacles appear on your path not to stop your progress but to remind you to process all the previous progress you’ve made.

›› Your inability to digest difficult emotions becomes your inability to live your dreams.

›› You can’t enjoy a night’s sleep if you’re dreading the occasional nightmare.

›› Life doesn’t necessarily become better as you achieve and acquire more things. But your gratitude palate becomes richer the more thought you spend on things that are important to you. Gratitude is the imagination of the heart. You can do a lot with little material gains if you master the art of gratitude.

›› What would you do if in 2017 you did not achieve a single goal you had aimed for ? What would you do if everything you’re banking on to make you feel better passing the time, didn’t pan out? You’d come back to the emotions you’re trying to get away from. What if you didn’t have to get away from them? What if you desired and achieved from a place of creative expression and possibility instead of desiring from a place of discontentment with your status quo and a wish to be somewhere else?

self-improvement=perfectionism?

My main drive behind self-improvement used to be shame-eradication, but not in the way you might think. I felt that I was inherently flawed and awkward and I had to replace that with something less cringe-worthy. Having been bullied as a child, I’d often recall those horrible years as embarrassing, because apparently, in my head, I was bullied because I was weak and flawed. I’d often revisit the memories wondering how things would be different had I been less flawed. The thing about thoughts and mindsets is that once they take root, they become a part of you and you wouldn’t notice them unless you knew what to look for. So whenever I’d read something that unearthed a certain mindset, I’d be embarrassed and disgusted with myself for having espoused such thought patterns. I reflected on the amount of pain and hurt I became worthy of as a result of being so feeble-minded. Yes, it sounds horrid, spelling it out like this. But deep down in the world of thoughts and fears, horrible things often seem perfectly logical. Self-improvement became synonymous with self-destruction.

Essentially, what I was doing was aiming for perfectionism under the guise of improvement. You see, once you hide stuff under different labels, it gets very tricky to ferret them out. That is, unless you accept yourself with all your flaws and so-called cringe-worthy traits and realize that self-improvement has nothing to do with ;

(a) Changing the way people perceive you
(b) Changing who you are deep down
(c) Getting rid of shame by altering shame-inducing aspects of yourself

Using self-improvement as a tool for perfectionism sends one down an entirely different path than that of genuine self-acceptance. One operates under the assumption that the shame and fear that permeates one’s self-worth is accurate; and the other, that of self-acceptance, operates under the truth that one is enough.

But here comes a twist; if  I’m  enough, then why the self-improvement? And if perfectionism is aimed at improving myself, why is it denounced and made out to be something negative?

In fact, this gross misunderstanding has sent me down the wrong path one too many times and prevented me from reaching my true aim. I suspect I got it from the pop-psychology books I used to read as a teen; books that ubiquitously line the self-help sections in book stores, but are far from helpful. The authors might be different, but they all revolve around the belief of you’re not enough, you’re flawed and that’s unacceptable, here’s how you can change that.

Up until as recently as two weeks ago, my understanding of this was horribly skewed. I’d constantly look down on myself and berate myself for holding certain beliefs. I was constantly entrenched in shame and never for once felt ...ok. Until recent events made me revise my understanding of growth and improvement, that is.

I realized this; my task wasn’t to fix my broken self or rounding my jagged edges; it was to embrace the irregular parts of me that I had rejected because they didn’t fit in anywhere. It was, it is to accept myself and love myself regardless of how I feel or look. It’s to give myself the unconditional love that I missed out on all my life. All this time, I had perpetuated the damaging message of my bullies, within myself, thinking I was doing well.

My biggest fear has been, and still is, to integrate all my different sides within myself and dare look at my entire being without flinching with disgust over my imperfections.

I think Brene Brown’s work on embracing imperfections and wholehearted living is phenomenal and groundbreaking, at least for me. I ordered her book ‘The Gifts of Imperfection’ last week, and hope to receive it shortly.

ten guideposts for wholehearted living

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