Tag Archive - Happiness

Heavy possessions!

A much needed simple living movement has been growing. People living in rich Western societies starting to realize that having more things didn’t make them any happier. Not only it didn’t make them happier, it actually decreased the quality of our life. The more stuff we have, the more stress we feel. Shopping became a new form of a distraction drug. We buy stuff in a state of half awareness, and we wake up to find more things that clutter our life and we don’t know why we bought them in the first place.

One saying of Prophet Muhammad keeps coming back to my mind, brief and to the point of this human misery. It’s hard to render it in English and keep it’s original brief power, but he simply said that having less stuff that gives us what we need is better than having much stuff that ends up distracting us.
 
The truth is, we feel more fulfilled with less, clear things. Once things increase in number, we start to loose control and loose track. We start actually loosing them. A place in our heart will keep worrying about those rarely used items. Our heart knows better. May be it worries how our world is going wrong, when we have things that we don’t use, while other humans are in dire need of those same things. We fill our plate at this open buffet, but we never get to finish it all. The food goes to the trash. Trash full of food in one place; human stomachs empty of food in another. That’s an insane paradox, totally unhuman.
  
If we really want to enjoy things, we actually need to have less of them. That’s a proven fact. Some experiments found that children given too many toys to choose from lost interest and were lost and bored, while those given a fewer number were engaged and satisfied. I don’t mean we don’t have nice things. In fact, since we will buy less stuff, we can then invest in the ones that we really, really like and enjoy. We get less, higher quality stuff. Every piece will matter to us, and will have a place in our heart.

The sun is back!

I spent the majority of my time in America in the northern states. I grew up under sunny skies. A cloudy day in Egypt used to feel nice and different. But the Egyptian sun wasn’t always a good thing, especially in hot summer days, in dusty cities, where the gift of the green color wasn’t that generous.

Now 3 months into my second Chicago year, I’m again rethinking a new relocation. South. Did you notice: South and Sun interestingly share the same first letter!
 
Today we have a sunny day. The world looks different, alive, and beautiful. Hope is renewed, at least in my heart. My life isn’t going exactly wonderful. Something is missing. Sunshine helps me look for it, well, under better lighting! I might know what’s missing. But knowing is not finding.
 
I did live in Florida for about a year. I don’t pretend that being in Sunshine State fixed everything. But at least it could help eliminate one mood-related problem!
 
However moving isn’t that easy. You know why. Job, money, survival issues. I did make a difficult move to Chicago 15 months ago, and it made my life better in some aspects. But I always knew that I belong somewhere warm and sunny, somewhere outdoor friendly.
 
I should plan my next move. The question is: how to free myself from money, or from having to work for money. I will be thinking about just that!

Growing in peace!

“Rush will bring about remorse; patience will bring about safety”
Arabic proverb
 
Change doesn’t happen as quickly as we usually wish. I don’t think we have a chance of introducing any remarkable improvements before we make peace with this fact. In nature, our best teacher, change happens gradually and surely. Every particular plant grows at its prescribed pace. The only immediate forces that introduce massive, major and quick changes are phenomenons like hurricanes and tornados; destructive forces! Growth happens softly, gradually, slowly, and takes its time. Destruction can transform, in one hour, what needed decades to be built!
 
We feel this peace when we are surrounded by plants and nature. These beings are in no rush for anything! But humans were not even happy with the pace of plants and animals in growing, they invented growth hormones! The cost of this rush and impatience is becoming increasingly obvious, and even scary at times!
 
In our individual as well as collective endeavors for improvement, we have no chance of survival without fully accepting that change takes time, and growth happens slowly. Otherwise we will either not make any positive and real changes, or end up with monstres coming back against us!

How losing track of time kills our success

“God loves most those actions that are consistent, even if little”

 Prophet Muhammad

Last time I posted something in this blog was a little less than 2 months ago. That’s not, in any way, the longest time I didn’t blog! My blogs witnessed periods of much longer silence. However in my last post I talked about how I was going to change my life. I wanted to use blogging as a helping tool to keep me focused and making improvements.
 
The desired change is not to happen quickly, what matters is consistency. The major problem of people not improving is lack of consistent effort. All of us want to make positive changes. But most of us work toward our goals for a day or two, then we stop. We forget. We get distracted by little, insignificant things. Then one day we accidentally find an old piece of paper listing some good and easy actions, we look at the date that our own hands had marked in there, only to be shocked that it has been a year, and we still didn’t do or change any of it!
 
When I wrote my last post about my intention to change my life, I “thought” that I was going to blog once a week. Today I looked at the date of this last post and “discovered” that it has been almost 7 weeks! See, “thinking” that I was going to do something was of little benefit, if any!
 
That’s not the only example that I can remember from my personal experience of how losing track of time hurts my goals and improvement. I wasted money because of it. I lost good opportunities because of it. My life unnecessarily stayed the same longer than it should, all because of it!
 
One way of fixing this habit of losing track of time, and therefore staying focused, is to actually keep track of what we do. In order to do that, I created logs for the tasks that I am working on, no matter how little they were. I made it a point to do it on paper in order for them to be accessible all the time. From experience, creating a Word file can’t work as a log, the time of turning on the computer will just burry them in digits as long as the machine is dormant!
 
I brought a few pieces of paper, the size of a notebook, and dedicated everyone for a type of task that I usually had trouble being consistent with. One for cleaning and organizing my room. One for friends’ requests that need to be done. A log for some little healthier changes that I need to do daily. Etc. So far, those logs didn’t make me a new person, and I didn’t suddenly become un overachiever! However, my productivity, since I started those paper logs, became slightly better. I finished things I wouldn’t have finished. Other things remain postponed. One way logging helps is brining the passing of time under light. Now I can look at the “Room Organizing Log” and, to my surprise, find out that it has been 2 or 3 weeks since I did any maintenance in my room. No wonder it looks messy then!
 
I believe that awareness increases our productivity. The lack of consistency is largely due to forgetting. Our to do lists that never wake up and come to life were just forgotten once we wrote them. And time passes away so easy when we are in this state of semi sleep. We literally spend much of our life sleepwalking! Those are the times we don’t move forward, the months and years that pass by and our life is still exactly the same.
I am logging my life to save myself from more time sleepwalking. Sleepwalkers usually wake up to the shock of hitting a wall or the horror of falling into an abyss. Walking awake is the only guarantee to reach a destination!

How I am changing my life

Time is one of the most disciplined of creations! You can’t stop it from steadily and surely running away, at the exact same pace. Time doesn’t care what we do or how we spend it, It will come punctually and leave punctually. Time doesn’t care about us, even though we have to care about time! Yes, it’s a one sided care, that’s just how it is. As every moment comes, we can take it or leave it, before it is forever gone. Sometimes we leave months and years. Some people even leave their whole time on earth! They take nothing; instead they’re taken by anything that comes their way!

Like all of us, I should start “taking it”. It’s a non-stop gift that I have been given over and again, up until this moment. I can’t control how long it will continue to come to me, but it’s a shame that I let it go as long as I continue to live!

I decided to use my blog, this one, as a helping tool in my journey of change. I will commit to share this journey with everyone who decides to stop by and visit, or accidentally passes by! I am to share the journey with it’s ups and downs. There is something about “going public” that could strengthen commitment. At least that’s what I am hoping for, insha’Allah!

The journey is not only about actions and how-to’s. Like anything of real value, it needs to start in the mind. Anything that doesn’t have its roots deep in our hearts and minds has little chance of survival! Change for the better, for how life should be, is both an internal and external journey. I need to clean up my physical space as much as I need to get rid of negative thoughts and emotions. I have to create order in my time, actions, belonging, as much as I have to create order in my beliefs. The anticipated change can’t really happen if we only focus on the superficial. If we leave love, care, truth, and most importantly God out of the picture we are doomed to failure!

May the journey to the Truth begin!

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