OK, so you’re probably expecting me to announce here that Joe Biden has been declared the successor to the White House. Whilst the world’s attention has been focused on a contest that has been played out on the world’s stage, I’m not here to discuss politics. My announcement about winning is of a much more personal nature and, therefore, also much more relevant to me.
It’s coincidental that the time in office and the ousting of Biden’s predecessor, is almost congruent to this latest phase of my life that I find myself in: four years, 2016 – 2020. I would say it’s been a watershed for me as well. I am poised to welcome in the New.
I know I have spoken many times about the emotional abyss I had stumbled into in recent years, and the subsequent climb out of it. But unless one has been in that desperate state, it is almost impossible to empathise with that situation. I knew I wanted to be unstuck from the quagmire but was not sure what the plan was. Before I could begin to devise a plan to realign my thoughts and my life, I had to first elevate my own self-esteem. I had to remind myself – not tell – that throughout my life, I had always existed in my own right. The only difference was that I was now stepping out of obscurity, away from someone else’s shadow.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I can’t reiterate enough the courage and stamina it takes to dust oneself down and say, “I can and I will.” It is no easy feat. It is like trying to ski down a slope but facing backwards. However, Alhamdulillah, it was only by the grace and mercy of Allah, that I never lost my footing on the climb up and out of that dark pit of despair. Can I even claim I have climbed out? I believe so, insha’Allah.
I make that bold self-assessment because I supplanted my former self and am no longer perturbed, as I was before, when I happen to hear about something connected to my past. The emotional and spiritual distance I have garnered with each day, week and month, surpasses my own expectations of what I could ever have anticipated four years ago.
All praise is to Allah. He put me in a competition unlike any other. The format was unlike any other. The contestants were unlike any other. The reality of it was that I was engaged in a battle with myself. There were no other players except my nafs (soul) and my ego. It was a wrestle between my higher aspirations and a hurt pride. The inner struggle was taking place within the constraints of time – for time, I have learnt, is one of the most precious things any person has been gifted to them in this life. My mission was to fast-track the skill of introspection and thus prevent any more valuable time from slipping through my fingers. I asked myself tough questions and sought answers, however unpalatable they may have been. The best counsel through this was my candid conversations with Allah. I came to know that He is never silent. He carries us through the torrents of turmoil and delivers us safely on the other side. He had given me the tools and it was my job to pick them up and use them.
Another valuable lesson I have come to know is that of ‘karma’. It is a common fallacy that when a person has been wronged, they expect karma to work it’s wonders in one or more of the following ways: their aggressor loses their job, becomes bankrupt, is stricken with a calamity or experiences some kind of colossal material loss. Firstly, I can confidently say that I have never wanted irreversible damage of any sort to be levied on anyone who has caused me pain. I have, however, called upon Allah, to express to Him, my distress and disappointment and to seek justice. It is the du’a (prayer) of the oppressed. Even if I could convince my tongue not to articulate words of exasperation out loud, my heart would not belie my emotions. I asked Allah to serve as the barrier between my spiritual self and the base-level existence that craves retribution in this world. I also pleaded to Him to suppress any human that threatened to create pandemonium in my life as an aggrevied heart is a dangerous entity to stir into action. In hindsight, I now see He did respond to my call. How? By giving me every form of independence from the person/people that transgressed their boundaries with me.
Alhamdulillah, the greatest victory is to be free of the need of other human beings to determine the trajectory of your life. Yes, people flit in and out and some are around for longer periods. But to know you are not in an absolute and permanent state of dependency of another person to bring you peace and contentment, is liberating. This is karma. It is not the karma that speaks of terrible happenings in another’s life. It is the karma that simply tells you that You are doing just fine. Your success in finding peace with your new life, being financially independent, determining your own future, learning how to laugh again from within the depths of your own being – this is the best reprisal anyone could ask for.
So, you see, the winner is me. Alhamdulillah, I have arrived at a place called Peace and done so without harming another person. I now know that karma means to simply move on peacefully and without casting a glance backwards.