Category Archives: Teachings

Reversed bucket list – celebrating your time on earth

A few months ago I came across a tweet about Bucket-lists and realized I never really had one !

I knew there were things I wanted to do for the future, but I hadn’t written them down. The more I thought about it the more I realized there were things I had forgotten about, lost dreams or lost desires, whatever they were they were forgotten.

I decided then and there to create an online bucket list (because lets face it I will lose a piece of paper in seconds), I was looking for a website that gave me the option publicly view some parts of the list and hide others. While I was doing my research I found a few posts about “Reversed Bucket-Lists”.

The idea of a Reversed Bucket-List is to list all your achievements, success stories or things you are happy you’ve done to date, they may not have been on your bucket-list or you may not have thought about them previously, but the fact of the matter is you did  them and they are part of your story so why not celebrate them. I started my Reversed Bucket-List almost immediately as I knew I had done so much and I wanted a place where I can see them all together.

I decided my Reversed Bucket-List would be made of pictures with captions in the bottom, I wanted to do a pictorial list for a couple of reasons:

  1. I had these amazing pictures of magnificent things stuck in either my phone or my laptop, they deserved to be shared !
  2. It is always nicer to see pictures than to read text, specially when you are celebrating something !

The importance of a Reversed Bucket-List was again brought to my attention yesterday while we were recording a podcast with the Sail Team. Our discussion got us talking about my September article which is about Depression, at some point Abdullah (@Aabo0) said that sometimes people feel they haven’t achieved or done anything significant all day which makes them feel bad and probably add to their depression. Although how much you have achieved is based on your perception of things, however remembering the wonderful things you have done makes a big difference.

Having a Reversed Bucket-List will help you see how much you have done in the years you have been on this planet, planned or not planned, serious or silly they are worth celebrating, and believe it or not, the minute you start celebrating these things you will feel like you own the world.

To view my very weird Reversed Bucket-List click here : Yippee

 

Enjoy !!


Rice and Chicken from my kitchen !

Eating rice for dinner isn’t very healthy, but I hadn’t had rice for a while and was craving it like no tomorrow..

Now I have to confess, I’m not an expert in cooking (duh), I do cook but nothing major, and rice was never on the menu, but when you crave something, you crave it ! Luckily I wasn’t craving a Biryani or a Maqloba but simple white rice and chicken stew (aka salona).. The rice was the easy part !

When I got the chicken on the stove and started digging into my fridge to find the tomato paste, I found I had none and hence I was in trouble … but instead of giving up, I improvised by using ketchup as a substitute for tomato paste !

Now again many of you are probably still wondering what the catch is .. (if this is the 1st post you read then please note that my stories always have a catch, if this isn’t the 1st post you read and you did not know that, now you do!)

The catch is ladies and gentlemen, my chicken stew represents life, my plan to cook this dish represents the plans we have in life and the tomato paste and ketchup represent some elements that effect our plans in life ..

Life is always so unpredictable, perhaps thats what makes it great, if we knew from the day we were born how we would live our lives (even if we couldn’t change anything) it would be so boring we would probably kill ourselves !

No matter how unpredictable life is, human nature requires us to have a plan in life, first our parents plan our lives and then as we grow up we slowly start to take matters in our own hands, but not knowing whats going to happen keeps us on our feet, and honestly messes up our plans more than helps them come together !

However, it is not the plan that we should be worried about, its how we live the plan and react to it when it doesn’t go our way, like using ketchup instead of tomato paste. The dish might not be what I planned for, and it might not taste exactly like it should have, but it worked ! I had a lovely meal, my craving was fulfilled and so was my tummy, and the food didn’t taste bad at all !

Just like that stew, we need to understand that when our plans don’t go the way we want them to, we have to adapt and move on … If I gave up on my chicken stew when I saw I had no tomato paste or if I kept saying “this is going to taste horrible” when I used the ketchup, I would have had Cheerios for dinner, and as a result I would have had a not so good dinner, my craving wouldn’t be fulfilled, my tummy wouldn’t really be full, and my dinner would taste like breakfast !

I understand that life isn’t that easy, and the decisions we take today will effect the rest of our lives, and that plans are put for a reason, but we need to understand that not everything goes as planned..

No matter how difficult it might be, we need to learn how to improvise, how to accept things as and when they hit us, how to substitute some things for others and how to live being 100% convinced and happy with what we have.

Always remember, life is what you make of it and nothing else.

Enjoy !

P.S. This story is dedicated to my little sister Reem (because she picked the title for this post)


taking positivity for granted ..

so there are a lot of people who don’t believe in “being positive”, and i understand where it comes from as I was one of those people for a long time..

I also understand that many people find it very difficult to stay positive, and I dont blame them, i actually agree with them! It takes up a lot of energy and requires a lot of concentration to stay positive ..!

generally speaking it is easier to wake up in the morning and be gloomy rather than wake up and push yourself to be all hyper and positive !!

but .. did you ever think that you would just feel much better when you push yourself to be happy? did you ever think that you might actually have a perfect day, or live a better life by forcing a smile on your face? believe it or not it just takes one small smile..

having said that, i do know that it doesn’t stop right there.. drawing/pushing a smile on your face when you first wake up isn’t the hard part of being positive, the hard part is actually keeping the smile on your face for the rest of the day, but as the old saying says (and this is a saying i used to hate): “Practice makes perfect!” ..

and yes you have to PRACTICE being happy and positive for it to have a more permanent effect.. at first it is very difficult but the more you push yourself and as the days go on, you will realize that it is easier to wake up with a smile..

I know it sounds weird (and if you have read my previous posts you know my brain isn’t 100% there), but “I speak the truth !!” .. oh and “I come in peace”

so start slow, push yourself to extremes, find the joy in small things, and even if you face something that is not so good, well, still stay positive !  There is no harm in smiling when you are down or trying to see the light in not getting something you really want..

Last but not least, don’t take positivity for granted!

if you do find someone (who is as crazy as me) trying to push a ray of positiveness around, dont think of them (us.. ME) as idiots or people who have not shed a tear in their (our.. MY) life.. but someone who has seen and experienced both sides and made a choice to live on the bright side !

Tips to help you stay positive:

1) smile as much as you can

2) dress up and look pretty/handsome

3) think of all the good things that happen and try to let go of the bad things.. ON DAILY/HOURLY basis :

  • “yaaay breakfast was awesome (it was actually a regular home made cheese sandwich, but at least it didnt taste like dirt)
  • wohooo made it to work on time !! (and you do this everyday but no reason to not celebrate)
  • I need to go grocery shopping ! \o/ (lets face it we all dislike grocery shopping, but try and get yourself excited, maybe think of all the yummy things you’ll buy)
  • aaaand its time to wash the dishes *dancing* (I so dont like washing the dishes but you can always do a little dance while washing them!

4) dotn listen to those horrible sad songs that make you want to kill yourself

5) enjoy your own company !


The joy of washing my first bathroom

yes yes you read right, no mistakes, this post is called “the joy of washing my first bathroom”..!

now many people would probably want to throw a bottle of water at me or just call me names when they read the title, but lets hope they read this post before inuring me (physically and/or mentally).

most of you (at least I’m hoping) should know by now that I recently moved into an apartment in Abu Dhabi for my new job.. although when i first started talking about living on my own the idea was that someone would come once a week to clean the apartment for me, so someone would come for an hour a week to do all the ‘dirty work’ while i do the basic things like washing dishes and all the other mini things.

However, although i knew this would help me more than anyone else.. the stupid voices in my head started pushing their way in:

  • voice 1 (the angel): you don’t need help dear one, you are more than capable
  • voice 2 (the angry person): WTH ! are you an idiot !!! will you just go get your head examined !!!!!
  • voice 3 (the 3rd guy): guys, for the millionth time, shut up!! B, do whatever you think is right..

so from what you can see, the voices didn’t really help, but there was some truth in all of them..

i decided to get help the first time round, so i got some people in to clean the place while i ran around Abu Dhabi trying to get the curtains sorted out, when they left, i realized that generally speaking the place was fine, but it was just FINE, it wasn’t clean, it wasn’t right, it was just fine.

I had two choices then and there, either to bring the helpers back another day and supervise their work, or …… to clean the place alone.. since you have already read the title, you know that i ended up cleaning the apartment on my own, starting with the bathroom .. and .. it .. was .. AWESOME !

obviously washing a bathroom isn’t very interesting, but to think that i was washing my first own bathroom .. my bathroom in my own apartment .. that feeling was just awesome .. it was .. overwhelming !

to the people who understood the message i want to convey, well done!

to the people who didn’t understand .. well .. its not about washing your own bathroom, and its not about being stubborn, but its about learning how to be responsible for yourself and the desistions you make .. its about building your personality (and yes washing your own bathroom and cleaning your own apartment adds a lot to your personality, at least you won’t be a stuck up snob!) .. it is mainly about building character..

now if you agree then  i have nothing else to say except i wish you the same, and if you don’t agree and still don’t know what the heck i am talking about then good luck !


When your voice becomes a stranger

Think about the title of this post and what it means to you.. It can meet so many things to so many people.. it can be emotional, psychological or just a choice we make..

So think.. What does it mean to you..?

thought enough? Good !! let’s keep rolling !!!

So as always, let me start with the story behind the title..

A few days ago, and for unknown reasons, I was very quiet, so quiet that my only communication was either via bbm or saying “yeah, no, sure, ummmm, oki” in the lowest voice possible..

When i suddenly came out of that phase and my first words came out, I suddenly felt like my voice was different.. It felt unfamiliar to some extent.. It felt like a stranger..

I was in a state of complete stillness, I was lost in my own world.. All I could think about is how do people get to this place? how does your own voice become a stranger to you?  how do you get to a point “when your voice becomes a stranger”..?

In my mind there were several answers, the most obvious one I thought would be was when a person doesn’t have a complete sound mind.. or if the person has a heavy psychological problem, but then I started to disagree with myself..

I found that there are two things that can get a person to a state where they don’t recognize their own voice..

1) When you literally forget what your voice sounds like..

This situation would kick in when you become so lonely and distant from people that you don’t talk (unless you are talking to yourself).. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the person isn’t of sound mind, it only means that a person is in that situation for the time being and is aware of it, aware of their own insanity..

2) When you stop standing up for what is right!

How  many times have we seen a person turn into a spineless jellyfish the minute they are needed? how many times have we seen something wrong happen and look the other way? Sometimes the situations aren’t in your control, and there really isn’t anything you can do about it, actually, letting it go would probably do more good than harm, but sometimes, in some cases, when you know you have the right and you know that what happened or is happening is wrong, you have to stand up for it..

I have seen so many people ‘allow’ wrong things to happen, and even when they are in a position of authority and can fix the situation, they tend to ignore it and push it under the rug.. The more they turn their heads away, the more distant they get from their voices and the more their voices become strangers to them..

Don’t get me wrong.. if everyone went around – making everyone hear their voice – about what they have to say  – about every single situation they see is wrong, the world would end in 5 minutes (if not less).. But what I am saying is, don’t let your voice go so far away that “your own voice becomes a stranger”..

So speak up people, but only when it is right to speak and not when you are interfering in other people’s business and need to be punched in the face.. !!

Enjoy !!


Flowers in a tissue

I have been wanting to write a post for some time now, I actually drafted a few but couldn’t get them to the level that made me happy, it was driving me crazy, I don’t like the feeling i get when I can’t write… And then I did something today that is never in my daily schedule, one thing led to another and I suddenly had this rush of thoughts in my mind…  Thoughts that were linked to Flowers in a tissue…

I can already see the different facial reactions on people’s faces to that last statement and the title of this post, so I will get straight to the story… however to understand the story well, there are a couple of facts that I need to state:

Fact 1) I love Jasmines (the flowers), so we have a small tree in front of our house and it has been there for years

Fact 2) for the past year or so, my parking spot in the house was hijacked so I park my car almost in front of the house’s entrance , right next to the Jasmine tree

and now for the story…

I was leaving the house this morning and noticed that my mom hadn’t picked the flowers for a few days so they were all dried up, so out of no where I decided to clean up as much as I could from the tree and take a few flowers with me to the office. To make sure the flowers wouldn’t get scattered, I put them in a tissue and gently placed them in the cup holder… and being the person that i am , I completely forgot about them…

6 hours later when i came back home from work I saw the tissue and remembered the flowers!!

I sighed and opened the tissue… but guess what happened??

I smelled the most beautiful scent I could ever imagine… and then the ideas came rushing…

I thought that how these flowers were in the car for so long but didn’t leave any aroma because the tissue was covering them, and once they were out, they filled the car with their beautiful scent… then I realized, how similar we as human beings are to these flowers…

Sometimes, we forget that we can spread these beautiful scents all over the world, by unleashing ourselves to the different things around us, we tend to either cover ourselves up in this “tissue” and/or sometimes get covered up weather we like it or not…

I remember when my friends and I were in college, we used to do a million different tasks, we used to challenge ourselves and constantly leave our comfort zones to try new things, to go on new adventures… It was useful, helpful and most of all we had fun doing it!

It didn’t only feel good, but it felt liberating ! 

And then I saw myself and my friends today, stuck at work with people trying to cover us up with “tissues” to stop us from showing our true talents, sticking to our comfort zones, not challenging ourselves anymore, doing much less than what we used to do, underestimating our own strength and knowledge…

Unfortunately i don’t only see this is happening to my friends and I, but I see it as an overall situation happening to everyone around me!

I wonder what happened and how we ended up this way…

The good news is… If we put your mind to it… This “tissue” will gradually start to open and we will be able to shine like never before… The only rule is, we have to want it enough to push our way through…

The other good news is I have seen this happen to people (thanks to something called Twitter), and its happening now more than ever…

These stories aren’t of legends, but are of  people who live among us now and decided that this “tissue” is not going to stop them any longer… I wish I could start naming some of them, but I won’t simply because i know I will miss out on some and I don’t want that…

So remember, this is our time to shine, our time to take up the challenges, our time to do the changes, our time to live… For the flowers in the tissue would have gone to waste if the tissue was never opened…


with lose comes gain ..

It is in our nature as humans to try and hold on to whatever we have .. loosing something we have is not easy for us to comprehend..

However, loses come in different shapes, sizes and colors … There are …

  • Materialistic loses (like when I lost my new 6th generation ipod nano 3 days after I bought it) 
  • Sentimental loses (like when I lost a piece of paper that had a special note from my friend written on it) 
  • Social loses (like when I lost touch with people who used to be very close) 
  • Humane loses (like when I forced myself to stop caring and be as harsh as ice) 
  • Heart-shattering loses … the worst of them all (like when I lost my cousin and grandfather)

Understanding these loses arent always easy.. over coming them is even worse..

The voices of my head (if you have no idea what I am talking about please refer to my 1st post), as always, try to confuse me like there is no tomorrow.. if it was up to them I would probably be in a mental hospital right now.. Fortunately enough I have enough sanity left in me to act and look normal to the outside world..

I guess this is the case with everyone .. don’t we all have voices in our heads? don’t we all have these inner fights? don’t we all have arguments with ourselves?

These voices are very much important.. they are our check points in life.. help us take decisions.. in my case they confuse me more than ever.. but.. thats the only way I can understand the full situation I am in..

When we lose something, the voices in our heads go haywire.. they drive us nuts.. put ideas in our minds.. the challenge in this case is to find the light instead of drowning in the dark.. although it may sound easy.. many have gone to the other side.. some come back but some never do..

The important thing to remember when put in this situation is that nothing is lost in vain.. Some way.. Some how.. There will be a bright light.. Although it may be difficult to see right then and there.. Although it may take years to realize the gain behind that lose.. and perhaps sometimes the lose is so great you may not see it.. But believing is all that matters..

With that note I will end this post.. In the hope that one day these words will help someone..

“with lose comes gain ..”

“with lose comes gain ..”

“with lose comes gain ..”

“with lose comes gain ..”


Inspiration..

People say that there are many ways to get inspired … personally, I STRONGLY disagree with them!

Finding inspiration is probably as difficult as finding a nice place to have dinner with your family on a weekend (when the whole world is out dinning) where every member of the family is in a good mood, find their favorite dish in the menu, and where the waiters/waitresses are angels from heaven carrying the most delicious food in this world!

Having said that, I think it is important to point out that I am not a negative person. I am an optimist by choice so I try to make the smallest things count and try to draw value out of things that many people will not…. Examples :

Exhibit A : My little niece messing up my room.

Exhibit B: Finding the potato chips I love in the snacks drawer at home (which I almost always find and almost never eat, but I make myself feel happy by just seeing it there)

Exhibit C: Driving to work on a Sunday morning and seeing my friend’s car in the parking

In other words, I try to draw happiness from things that would annoy or make no difference to many people. I was able to successfuly do that, however, finding inspiration wasnt that easy.

I felt that I was jammed, like my mind was stuck and I could not get it out, like I needed someone to jump start my brain again (specially the creative part of it). I guess I got to that state because of the way I lived my life. I try to live away from routine as possible and I thought I was doing that, until I realized that the not so routine life I was living was a routine life!

I was then given the chance to be in a class with a teacher whom I had never met, never really heard of, but was told is pretty good. To me, pretty good was nice, and I was looking forward to his 5 days intense class. What I didn’t know was that he would be the person who would perhaps jump start not only my brain, but my life.

Class started and immedielty my brain starting to work.. Although I was dead tired, and the class was long, it did not stop me from being inspired to not only change myself, but change things around me.

I will not say what was the result of the inspiration I got during class, perhaps with time this secret will be revealed, but it was a life changing experience, and it was a life changing moment to me.

I guess inspiration is something within, but it also needs a little push, once that little spark is found, it is the person’s job to keep it going within. Yes, there can be objects, people, places or sounds that can help, but if the spark in that person dies then nothing can keep the inspiration going and I realize that it will be me who will have to push myself to stay inspired and alert, it is I who will have to stop myself from going back to the state I was in, and it is my responsibility to make my dreams come true.

But, I am truly blessed… I am blessed because I have friends who push my buttons, make my brain think and keep me excited about what I am about to start. They are playing a big part in helping me stay inspired, I am not sure how will I return the favor or thank them, but I know for sure that I will never forget them.

——

I dedicate this post to the people who have directly contributed in this life changing experience I am going to start: Professor Tom Byers (the person who jump started my life), BQ (my lucky charm), Manar Al Marzouqi (my personal walking and talking pain in the neck whom I can not live without), Fatma Al Janahi (the most creative and artistic person I have ever met), Rym BA (my think tank), Dalal Al Hai & Alia Falaknaz (for not telling me I was insane when I first got the idea) and My family (for believing in me).