Finding Zen

Look up every now and then and enjoy what you have right now

Last week I decided against posting anything as, like many situations, I needed time out to reflect. I haven’t lost the zeal to express my thoughts as I always hope someone out there will find something, however small, that resonates with them. I hope that ‘something’ will go a long way in helping them find comfort or at least bring a smile to their face.

Today, I wanted to simply mention that lately I have had overwhelming feelings of contentment wash over me. They are moments of pure joy, knowing that right now, right here, I could not wish for anything more as I feel I have found inner peace, Alhamdulillah. The most significant inaminate material possession I have in this life is my car. For many people living in the developed world, on the cusp of their twilight years, that would hardly be an achievement. However, I know the nature of human appetite for everything is insatiable. In a famous hadith, a prophetic saying, we are told that if the son of Adan were given two valleys of gold, he would want a third. The desires are endless. I don’t deny I am one of those would have loved to have owned a house, to have my own garden and to make almost flippant decisions to go on holiday when my whims got the better of me. Yet, I am not vying for these things any more. I have been constantly engaged in a silent battle within and refuse to succumb to the inherently unsatisfied condition that many of us often fall into.

The pure joy moments I have felt lately have emerged from an esoteric understanding of what matters most in life. Seeing my children progress through life, the development of their academic and intellectual capabilities, and not least their spiritual engagement with their existence, has given me the greatest pleasure, Alhamdulillah. It is priceless.

I have gauged that progress mostly with the calmness exuded my youngest son who, at the tender age of 11, went from living in one continent to another and had to contend with the new family situation we had found ourselves in – that is, without his father. The confusion, anger and frustration he exhibited had consistently manifested themselves in his school environment. Only three years ago, I recall being rung by his school on four separate days within the same week with serious concerns about his behaviour and wellbeing. I was at the end of my tether. I was not without hope.

Alhamdulillah, three years later I have witnessed a gradual calm and maturity permeating within him. Being the youngest, the state of his mental wellbeing has always been my litmus test for progress of this family as a whole. I know a chain is as strong as its weakest link and he was very much that delicate link.

The weakest link in the chain needs to be fixed first

I know we all have a long way to go still but I would argue that is moreso as individuals rather than a single entity. Alhamdulillah, we have equally come a long way to securing our footing. It is these collective thoughts that caused me to have those waves of contentment come over me lately and insha’Allah I hope to relive those moments again and again.

I must add that, as important as my children’s own trajectories in life are, I will not forget my own aspirations. I have come to realise that aspirations are not the exclusive right of young people only. We all must live with ambitions to be better versions of ourselves, to keep moving in terms of acquiring all kinds of beneficial knowledge and to never become stagnant. Alhamdulillah, I have had made modest progress in those areas and my life is filled with purpose. I haven’t stopped existing. In fact, I think I have become a more complete person now rather than living in the forgotten shadow of another.

My message to other women out there, who now find themselves picking up the pieces at the end of a marriage, is that you need to believe your Present is not a fixed and static state. Even though it is difficult to believe, the wind will pick up again and you must let it fill your sails. With an unimaginable power to propel you forward, you will find there is an adventure awaiting ahead of you still. You simply need to keep hold of the helm – as well as your faith – at all times and plough ahead.

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