Category Archives: Contemplation

It’s not about giving up

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For many years, I thought sitting still and letting things happen without stirring them in the direction I want is a form of passivity I would live to regret. This fear, like other kinds of fears referred to in online pedias, was more of a controlling drive for me to always instigate and cause a reaction as long as I don’t look back and admit the hideous ‘what if’ one day. I had to come to terms with so many ‘what ifs’ at a relatively advanced phase of my life that allowing one more of them represented another possibility of failure ….. and loss of opportunity, happiness …… or so I thought.

It's about going forward the best way you can ... until it stops raining

A rainy December day in KL - Malaysia 2009

Quite a few crisis, bumps and bruises down the road, I discovered lately that sometimes in life, you do your best in certain situations then you sit on the sidelines and watch. Some situations need to be allowed to run their natural courses without continuous interferences from our side. Because they simply need to settle on their own before they give back to us ……. or not. They at least need to be allowed this choice. This needs not be a time of mute confusion, anxiousness and stress but a time to let time do what it has to do. You keep going forward the best way you can while occasionally pausing, giving it a fresh glimpse in a light less tapered by emotions, getting ready for a new lesson. One of learning acceptance of what might and might not be and acceptance that progress -even when we don’t see it as one to our advantage- can sometimes come entirely from external influences rather than from anything we push.

PS: photo is only figuratively related to the post.

So what brings you here?

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Having spent almost two hours watching people from the last row of surprisingly ‘banquet’ chairs in this hot desert, avoiding eye contacts which could get me stuck in conversations with complete strangers, I had no intention whatsoever to answer this question hitting me suddenly from the side.

‘More or less the same reasons which seem to bring everybody else here I guess’ were the few words I uttered minutes before stepping for the first time in my life into a meditation hall, from there right into the noble silence period which would last ten days.

Little did I know at this time that this question would come back to my curious and wondering mind at different times during my Vipassana meditation bootcamp.

When I wasn’t swimming in my own sea of thoughts during lunch time, I watched them, their distracted many-times-tired faces, their thousand-miles-away gazes, wondering what would make these moms leave their children and husbands behind for ten days. And what about these working single and newly married women of many nationalities, dropping mentally and physically out of their worlds, giving away voluntarily their phones, blackberries, i-phones, books, note books i.e. all forms of distraction. This discipline is certainly not for everyone!

At times when I felt blank, frustrated at my inability to feel any sensation on my body during meditation hours, I opened my eyes, looked around and wondered again. What shook these people’s lives so violently and drove them to stick to such a rigorous schedule of meditations with days starting at 4 am and ending at 9 pm, feeling repeatedly the pain of the back and the thighs, sharing rooms and bathrooms with strangers, starving for food for long hours between the two meals a day, constantly watching for rodents and snakes in all places.

Even when I could hear clearly their sighs around me, appearing much like my own deep breaths each time I was exhausted at the thoughts which were emerging, I wondered again. What made them so desperate then so determined to transform their lives, digging deep into their minds, descending deeper day after day into this unknown -not necessarily pleasant but most of the time scary- territory. It’s overwhelming spending time with your skull!

I wondered for a couple of minutes each time but never tried to figure them out. Instead, I calmly understood that their reasons must have been as strong as mine and did not ask. None of us did. Conversations on day 10 revolved around how we knew about the Vipassana meditation, never about what made each one of us go for it. There are times in life when some things are better left untold … and that was one of those times.

The best thing I have ever read

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“On Marriage” by the Prophet Gibran Khalil Gibran -subtly and poetically telling it all about space and togetherness in relationships- whereby both are like an oak tree and a cypress tree, side by side feeding from the same source, yet having separate roots.

You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days
Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God

But let there be spaces in your togetherness
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you

Love one another but make not a bond of love
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls

Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf

Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts

And stand together, yet not too near together
For the pillars of the temple stand apart
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow

Nice meeting you too

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It’s quite cold and windy today. I can tell from the movement of the water in my lagoon. Yes, that’s right, it remains my lagoon until I check out. If there is one thing I cherish more than my lagoon though, it would be something I call ‘my comfort’. Thinking there is no way I’m taking my socks off, even less getting naked and dipping a toe into this cold water, I shift to plan B, prepare myself a cup of hot cappuccino, bring out my digestive bought at Spinneys Al Khalidiya, newspaper, book and wrap myself with the extra towel.

My morning sanctuary
... hmmm

Reading became the highlight of my morning and later my day when I reached a part in the book which I’m typing here and which made me burst into tears, then into a fit of laughter –the loud haha type, then tears then laughs again and got me confused as to which emotion I should hang onto .   

I am highlighting in bold the parts which hit the sensitive nerve and triggered the emotional reaction(s), the rest is there for you to understand the context. I took the liberty to take some lines out. I couldn’t have said it better myself about me, simply because I discovered me when I read about myself in her.

Here it is:

“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave. And thank God for it. Your problem is, you just can’t let this one go.  It’s over … David’s purpose was to shake you up, drive you out of that marriage that you needed to leave, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light could get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you had to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master and beat it. This was his job, and he did great, but now it’s over. Problem is, you can’t accept that this relationship had a real short shelf life. You’re like a dog at the dump, baby –you’re just lickin’ at an empty tin can, trying to get more nutrition out of it. And if you’re not careful, that can’s gonna get stuck on your snout forever, and make your life miserable. So drop it.

But I love him.

So love him.

But I miss him.

So miss him. Send him some love and light every time you think about him, and then drop it. You’re just afraid to let go of the last bits of David because then you’ll really be alone …. If you clear out all that space in your mind that you’re using right now to obsess about this guy, you’ll have a vacuum there , an open spot –a doorway. And guess what the universe will do with that doorway? It will rush in –God will rush in- and fill you with more love than you ever dreamed. So stop using David to block that door. Let it go.

But I wish me and David could –

He cuts me off. See, now that’s your problem. Your wishin’ too much, baby. You gotta stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone oughtta be.

This line gives me the first laugh of the day.

Then I ask … So how long will it be before all this grieving passes?

You want an exact date?

Yes.

Somethin’ you can circle on your calendar?

Yes.

Lemme tell you something … –you got some serious control issues.

My rage at this statement consumes me like fire. Control issues? ME? I actually consider slapping Richard for this insult. And then, from right down inside the intensity of my offended outrage comes the truth. The immediate, obvious, laughable truth.

He’s totally right.

The fire passes out of me, fast as it came.

You’re totally right, I say.

I know I’m right, baby. Listen, you’re a powerful woman and you’re used to getting what you want out of life and you didn’t get what you wanted in your last few relationships and it’s got you all jammed up. Your husband didn’t behave the way you wanted him to and David didn’t either. Life didn’t go your way for once. And nothing pisses off a control freak than life not goin’ her way.

Don’t call me a control freak, please.

You have control issues … Come on. Nobody ever told you this before?

So I buck up and admit it. Ok, I think you’re probably right. Maybe I do have a problem with control. It’s just weird that you noticed. Because I don’t think it’s that obvious on the surface. I mean –I bet most people can’t see my control issues when they first look at me.

Richard from Texas laughs so hard he almost loses his toothpick.

They can’t? Honey –Ray Charles could see your control issues!

Ok I’m done with this conversation now, thank you.”

On Honesty and Full Moons

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I don’t like full moons; they inflate your emotions the night itself and around it and make you do foolish things. When you figure out that something like being fucking honest has never done you any good and agree with yourself over and over again that it better be avoided, you’re not supposed to forget … full moon or not. I opened up in a chat on the 21st, got a grip of myself on the 22nd (the night itself), only to fall back in that silly trap on the 23rd and start beating myself up since for making the same old mistake. What’s bad is that I realize that I did it again from others’ reactions, when it’s too late to keep me from giving myself and my emotions away, even good innocent emotions, especially good innocent emotions simply because they get to be misunderstood. 

How do you cure friggin’ honesty? in the most emotional periods? I don’t care about the good which honesty does to the soul, I don’t want to hear about any of the fucking related clichés and preachings. I want a Sean McNamara and a Christian Troy who perform emotional surgery, don’t ask the ‘why’, only the ‘what you don’t like about yourself’ which I would firmly and seriously answer ‘HONESTY. EXTRACT THE BLOODY THING. FOR GOOD’. The End.

City or Crisis?

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I’ve been contemplating closing the old and deserted blog and starting anew for quite some time, but never really did get on it. It’s no surprise at all that I get started during the Eid holidays. I could see the threatening-double-faced quiet time coming since last week, since I resigned to the fact that I am not flying out -more to the point, running away- on a break anywhere near or far. Sinking into good-old denial again, I convinced myself I’d find something interesting to do in this city. Between Time Out Dubai, Time Out Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi Weekly, there had to be some hope.

Here I am, at the end of the holidays, officially announcing NOTHING INTERESTS ME IN THIS CITY -OR THE NEIGHBOURING ONE- ENOUGH TO KEEP ME BUSY AND FULFILLED FOR 3 DAYS.

I always blamed the city for this empty feeling and was about to go on whining about it again. After 3 days and long stretches of silence between the lunches and the late evening drinks, I had to sit still at one point, stop the bitching and listen honestly to the voices coming from within, the dreams and the fears, the realities and the illusions.

Yes, I’m bored with the repetition of the same in my life, privately, professionally and seasonally (last especially true to this country); I’m missing the feel of the adrenaline; I’m craving excitement and all that is unconventional; I’m hardly impressed, barely touched, in doubt and in review of values I was handed over; I feel stifled one time too many, sick of having to accept status quo’s for fear of no longer having the time nor the patience to get something and someone better. Yes, I’m considering charity work, a career change -more like a career addition at this stage- and possibly moving to another country.

No, I’m not planning to buy a flashy new car, hit it on with a younger man, become a gym addict or a slave to plastic surgery.

Is it the city or is it my thrisis? Would this feeling be the same here and everywhere else? Reflection can get quite confusing, eh? … it sure is better than racing through life avoiding looking inward though; that last bit is one thing I’m sure of.