Tag: love

Freedom – Autonomy – Independence

Lifestyle Blog July 11, 2018

This past week was a week from heaven. I know life is never perfect, but that entire week was just a series of moments I will cherish and hold close.

Canada Day weekend we drove out to Gros Morne National Park in western Newfoundland and met up with several of my friends. We hiked lots, ate a lot of junk food, explored the tiny towns and ate at some of the cutest restaurants. Every night, we slept like rocks because our eyes and bellies were saturated with so much goodness. It was nothing short of wonderful, until the very last evening when I received a very hurtful text. I cried, went to bed early, mauled it over in my head and wondered if I should continue to tolerate the verbal abuse I’ve been receiving for the last two years. It dawned on me that regardless of my intentions and I seem to always hurt people as I try to live my life with complete sincerity and honesty and to the fullest possible extent. It was just ironic.

 

When I was in grade 10, I wore hand-me-downs, had bushy eyebrows, a hint of a mustache, hijab and no friends. I blamed the cultural restrictions imposed on me had me trapped in an external body that I did not identify with. They wouldn’t let me be who I wanted to be. In a Civics and Careers class where we were asked to fill out one of those quizzes about what we valued most in our lives, most people got 1. Family, 2. Friends, 3. Careers. My scores were very different, I got: 1. Freedom, 2. Autonomy and 3. Independence! It was very telling of what I desperately wanted then and very true of what I value greatly now.

Those three things became the defining values that I strived for but they came with surprising virtues and life lessons.

The desire to live with complete freedom gave me the chance to set my own boundaries and my own rules. I learned the difference between being obedient to others versus being conscientious of life and decisions. My love for complete anonymity hit me in the face when I moved to Goose Bay, where everyone always knew everything about everyone. It taught me to check my internal compass whenever I did something that made me question if I would regret it later. I became completely honest with myself about my intentions and actions. My obsession for independence taught me my most treasured lesson in life, which was to ask for help when I needed it. I didn’t want others to control me but I learned that asking for help means you can also get many options and you can take the direction that accounts for a variety of solutions for different outcomes.

My relationship with myself has improved as a result of facing challenges on my own. I’ve learned to forgive myself for my shortcomings and to stop dwelling on the past and to instead to try and work toward a better future one tiny step at a time. I have so much more to learn and experience and I’m excited to see what the future holds.

Last week was the first time in a VERY long time I felt absolute bliss. We took an entire week off, made a massive spread every morning, packed our bags for the park and read our books in a hammock. Every evening we made supper and on the weekend we got together with friends. I couldn’t believe how I felt. The defining moment was when I brought out my praying rug and the abaya my mother made me for when I prayed and showed Ty how I pray. I was so happy that I felt so proud of my religious identity. It almost shocked me.

No matter what has happened in the last few years of my life that made me question everything, now is the first time in the entirety of it that I don’t feel ashamed of who I am. I own every part of my story and live and breath it because it’s where my strength and drive comes from.

Freedom – Autonomy – Independence

Let it all go

Lifestyle Blog August 7, 2017

What is the one memory you cherish most? It will tell you more about who you are and what drives your soul.

My most cherished memory of all time is waking up early for school, and walking down my street in my safe and familiar neighborhood. The crispness of the air, the brand new school supplies in my bag, the sheer excitement to go back to school. It wasn’t because I was excited to see my friends or teachers, it was the sheer glory and joy of being able to be go learn.

I constantly craved knowledge and  answers. It wasn’t to understand how things worked nor was it to fix things; it was a desire to understand how and why things went wrong. I didn’t want to be the hero who solved the problem with the bandage, I wanted to be the revolutionary that would help prevent the problem from ever happening. I wanted everyone to feel the feeling I felt when I could explain things and then fix them.

I’ve learned over the years, that answers are hard to come by. Sometimes answers are half truths, sometimes they distort reality and sometimes they depended on perspective and bias. There were short, and long answers, complex and complicated answers and sometimes there were silent answers. Ultimately, answers didn’t seem to be enough to understand things which became exhausting and they didn’t solve problems.

Difficult experiences often beg for answers and understanding, like why someone you love has gone to tremendous lengths to hurt you or belittle you, when in reality their role in your life was that of a primary care-giver, protector and guardian. Sometimes, we don’t have the chance to understand others actions, but we have every opportunity to understand our own actions, reactions and experiences. And to also make peace with them by learning to let them go. What we hold closest also has the potential to hurt us the most.

Meditation is an extremely challenging task when you’re feeling heavy with emotional baggage. But it’s also the most liberating experience when you learn to acknowledge those uneasy feelings, accept them and release them from your thoughts. How do you do this? Well, Headspace creator, Andy Puddicombe says to convince yourself that your thoughts are the clouds in the sky, and that when they are gloomy, they are dark, stormy clouds and that happy experiences are fluffy ones that we see on a warm sunny day. When negative thoughts come to the surface, you acknowledge them, you know they are there (so you don’t ignore them), but you simply allow them to pass by you as you are looking up at the sky.

I use Headspace every day after I workout at the gym and either sit in the sauna, do a headstand or in downward dog pose. I find that being in an active pose, helps my brain not to wander and to stay present. I usually leave the sauna feeling extremely grateful and happy.
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The Big Secret to Happiness

Lifestyle Blog August 1, 2017

I’ve decided to do a few things, here is my list:

  1. Devote my energy to what I love

This one bullet is a hundred bullets of what I love. I love yoga, meditation, painting, spending time with loved ones, eating, watching movies, research, science, medicine, hiking, running, sports, crochet and knitting, travelling and learning new languages. Instead, I’ve been dividing my energy to what I love with a constant worry of not achieving everything else I want in the meantime and constantly worrying about failing. I am constantly worrying about how much more there is that I want to do and the panic that sets in disrupts the harmony of my thoughts, actions and words. I want to achieve so much, but I am not investing in me the way I would like to. I want to invest in everything I love at 100%.  To soak up every ray of sunshine when it’s out, to dance in the rain, to love the chair I sit in when I study for my MCAT every day, to drink that cup of coffee with gratitude for it’s warmth and present the work I do in epidemiology with the passion I have for it. Instead of focusing on why I don’t feel happy about where I am, I’m going to redirect that energy back into fueling my inner drive and focusing on ME.

For months, I was excited every day to write my goals of the day in my calendar. I wrote down my supper plans, notes, to do lists, and finally my daily gratitude. This was the most exciting part of my morning. There was a sense of accomplishment when I could check off each item throughout the day. But, I also wrote what I was grateful for in that moment. Often times, I had to write more than one and not have enough space in that tiny box I was allotted.

I watched a TED talk by Shawn Achor several years ago and it changed the way I thought about happiness, productivity and life in general. He said the answer to happiness, productivity and life fulfillment was in gratitude; being thankful for the little things. But not passively grateful, physically writing down three things we were grateful every day. I heard this advice echoed again and again in other TED talks, self-help books and by my therapist. A month ago, I stopped writing in my calendar and I attributed my lack of productivity to that (as well as other personal turmoil)  but it was that I stopped writing down something I was grateful for each day.

Happiness

So how will I do everything? Simple. I am just going to do it because I can and because I want to do it for me and because it makes me happy. I’ll do it with every ounce of my being, with dedication, love, acceptance and awareness, and with purpose and on purpose. AND being grateful for all the wonderful surprises that come along the way.

Let’s start!