I am, we are.

I am standing here In the dark. It is raining and the ground feebly trembles beneath me as a gentle storm appears to brew. The rain catches the edges of my hair, dampening it and darkening the tips in colour. My toes are slowly numbing and I wiggle them in anticipation of  being amongst the warmth of the tram that was due to arrive. The roads are wet and deserted and civilisation represents a scene from a 4am winters morning. I watch nervously as the time ticks past 8:45pm and my intention to reach home in good time gradually becomes threatened. There is no sign of the tram and I gaze towards the lady stood next to me, for reassurance. Knowing that there is a human body of warmth, one that carries emotions and sensations just like my own, provides me with an immediate sensation of connection and familiarity – the wonderfully strange reassurance of the company from a stranger.
It was at this moment that something became evident to me – if I was alone, my thoughts would be pacing, restless. Yet the obvious fact of having another human next to me was proudly comforting. We are social begins who were made to love and explore, thus when we come into contact with others, albeit briefly, their energy force field can penetrate our own, leaving a mark. Every day that we travel from one place to another, we are encapsulated by an energy force field, projecting our subconscious emotions onto those who we pass.
Keeping your soul open, allows you to pick up the sensations of another, even when they are painstakingly attempting to create a particular projection to display to the world. Occasionally the raw, uncut, uncensored, often dark emotions can prevail, painfully communicating this to the person who is staring deeply into your eyes. Most of the time, these darkened, more brutal, perhaps even less attractive emotions, are ignored and layered under a phoney facade.

Every so often you may encounter another soul that touches yours, softly yet intensely connecting with yourself- like two interlaced hands. Suddenly you don’t feel so deserted, you don’t feel betrayed by your mind and any old, reoccurring hurt may gently soften. Your souls reverberate off of one another and in that moment, the notion of time is obsolete and you are reminded, we are one.

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10 mantras to help you on your journey

I’ve made it my life long quest to understand what it is to be happy and content. This may sound incredibly simplistic to some, but to other individuals who have experienced suffering, pain, tortuous thoughts or behaviours and a general disequilibrium of self, happiness being their only goal, is a tough one. I also understand that happiness is not a permanent emotional state that we can camp out in, feeling no more or less than eternal bliss. It is a wonderful emotion that reminds us that the dark, sometimes suffocating days will subside for the warmth eventually – we just have to be open enough to allow it. 

I came across these beautiful mantras through The Mind Unleashed Org and wanted to share. 

1) Even when I am alone I will remember that I am connected to all

2) I will find my path by helping others with theirs

3) I will not compound negative thoughts with shame

4) I will accept everybody wherever they are

5) I will look for and see beauty around me

6) I will allow abundance and good to happen to me

7) I will treat my mind and body as they deserve to be treated

8) I will dwell only on thoughts and emotions that help me grow

9) I will seek truth and knowledge

10) I will laugh and contribute positive energy to the universe

The disease of settlement

It is incredibly powerful. It carefully infiltrates every cell in your body and your mind. When you finally realise and acknowledge its presence, it spreads even quicker. Now you search those dense forests far and wide for the antidote – anything to cure this demobilising disease. This demobilising disease of settlement. The same disease that cripples your mind from curiosity and wanderlust, from encouraging you to pull back the curtains on life, allowing you to expose what is really out there, because in the world of settlement, the curtains are constantly drawn. 

Those dense forests that you struggled through, tried to rob your desire for more, whilst presenting you with a barrier to your own true self that you believe you in fact created. 

This desire is not a cheap dream sold to us as a scam, it’s a true state of being that only we ourselves hold the key to. But this version of ourselves is rarely accessed without a disruption to our equilibrium. We must suffer occasionally in order to allow ourselves to understand our true selves. Polarity. 

It must be a challenge to avoid the disease of settlement of course, otherwise, without it, it would be completely contradictory, it would simply involve settling. 

Ramadan as told by Usman 

 

the lovely Usman

 

In order to gain a better perspective, I asked my good friend Usman to write about what fasting and Ramadan truly means to him. Here it is, enjoy. 

 

When thinking of what to write about Ramadan, the following came to my mind;

Family, generosity, friends, selflessness, piety and determination. 

These are the values that are more or less enshrined by a Muslim during the month of Ramadan while fasting. It is a reminder of everything worldly as a blessing from God. It is appreciating life and the sustenance provided to us. It is a time of coming together as friends and peaceful human beings, to overlook differences and be generous, merciful and calm. Ramadan is just a window into the life of how a Muslim should lead his/her life, and a practice that they should follow to be more respectful, generous, and selfless. 

Fasting is not a unique concept in Islam, rather a common practice in the monotheistic religions and Hinduism. The underlying concept; to allow oneself to appreciate the value of food, the suffering of those less fortunate is similar among these religions with the difference lying in as to the duration and manners of observing them.


This is my second Ramadan away from home and is a time when there is no immediate family for meThere is a considerable difference from how fasting is done here and back home. Although this might be part of growing up and learning to live on my own, it is a reminder of how the things we take for granted should be valued. 


In Pakistan, the family; and by Asian family standards I mean extended families, and relatives you never knew existed until now, are an important aspect during Ramadan. Working hours are considerably short which means people get to spend time with their family more than usual. It is a time when people host more feasts, a real festivity. It is a celebration of the life we have, and including those near and far in our celebrations. One thing I do not miss is the heat, even though fasts are longer due to long days in the summer in the UK, they are made bearable by the weather.


Food has a rather important role to play in forming families and cultures at home and sacrificing something that forms bonds, can make us really understand the importance of it and each other.

However, those values of generosity, friendliness, selflessness are translated across borders where friends have replaced family at iftar. There has not been a single day when I have not been blessed to break my fast without friends, furthermore I have been able to inspire a close friend to try fasting as a means of improving her eating habits. 


While living in the UK, it is quite common to be with friends who aren’t fasting. It is definitely tempting to have the odd ice cream when it’s sweltering hot (like it recently was), grab a coffee while out in town, or go out for lunch with friends. It’s hard to describe how one feels when others are eating and you aren’t, but it’s something fasting teaches; to have a degree of self-control. Though my friends have been really accommodating and have asked permission in the past if they know that I am fasting, it makes it worthwhile to know that someone appreciates and respects your choice to fast.

 

The process of fasting is rather enlightening, humbling and more fulfilling than it might come across initially – with the thought of not having to eat or drink from dawn to dusk. Contrary to it, the body is instinctively capable to handle such prolonged periods of abstaining from food and water. It is completely eye opening and something worth experiencing yourself – just like my friend who believed it, tried it and hopefully benefited from it. If one can fast for a continuous period of time, one can be determined enough to do more than just fast.


I think having inspired one person to try to fast, even though for health reasons, is in my view an act of showing just how peaceful and beneficial the values of Islam are, and can have a positive effect on one’s outlook on life, and our purpose. 


  

‘you look so smart, let me take a picture with you’

  

‘if you stand there. Fab’

  

‘et voila’

 

our friendship is based around food!

 

food food food

  

breaking the fast with Usman

  

7 days of fasting reflection 

Written last week but due to no internet I’ve unfortunately experienced a delay in publishing. Enjoy! 

It’s officially been one week since I’ve begun fasting for eight hours throughout the day. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I became inspired to fast (for non religious reasons) after speaking to my Muslim friend Usman who was committing himself to Ramadan. Usman is originally from Pakistan, so whilst he is not at university, he would find himself to be fasting in much tougher, more testing conditions (just look at Pakistan’s weather forecast to understand exactly what I mean) – I found the whole idea to be incredible and Usman’s dedication to be amazing. Although Usman does not fast for dietary reasons, spirituality and an improved sense of character definitely comes into it for him and this is where I felt encouraged to try it out.

So I’m seven days in to the fast, which involves me fasting after breakfast for about eight hours a day. For four of these days I have been in full time work, so to reduce a significant depletion in energy or risk of endangering myself whilst I burnt calories walking around all day, I would allow myself one coffee during the daily fast and nothing more. This proved a lot easier whilst I was able to keep myself busy as I was unable to examine the contents of my fridge on a regular basis – I’m guilty of doing this often.

The results have already been amazing. Although in terms of weight I still feel reasonably similar to how I was before, my self discipline and relationship with food has become a lot healthier. Previous to fasting, i would find myself consuming entire tubs of ice cream after snacking on chocolate, biscuits and a various assortment of carbs (some healthy and others unsurprisingly not). This behaviour made me feel sensations of depression and despair, so I was aware that this had to change before I damaged my mental and physical health. After a long term break up I was unfortunate enough to experience ‘comfort eating’ at its best and as a result, I would often find an excuse to eat unhealthily – ‘I deserve it, I’ve had a hard week’ and so forth. 

I found the first few days to be incredibly testing – as soon as your stomach begins to rumble you subconsciously tell yourself ‘I guess it’s time to eat again’. Pushing through this hunger was very difficult – revealing the first test of determination and control. 

After a week of refusing free samples at coffee shops, as well as offers of ice cream during the biggest heatwave Britain has had for a long time and watching my friends eat lovely lunches whilst I continued fasting, I feel as though I have made significant progress and it’s very rewarding. 

It suddenly occurred to me recently that I had not eaten sugary treats for the entire first week that I had begun fasting. This quickly allowed me to realise that the fasting process had already killed my detrimental sugar hunger pangs that had previously lead me to the kitchen cupboards at all hours of the day. Not only had my cravings calmed down, but my general hunger and capability to scoff down a big meal, had also begun to seize. On top of this, I couldn’t remember the last time I felt bloated or unattractively full. As someone who suffers with symptoms of food intolerances, this was a huge plus for me. 

My second week of fasting has commenced and so far I have only managed to experience one mishap – one day I broke the fast after six hours. Another element of this process that has presented itself, is the idea that healthy meals enable this process to be much more beneficial. Not only do you feel better, but your body thanks you for it. I will be in the States this week, so fingers crossed my diet doesn’t completely fall off of the wagon!  

Crystalised

As my life has become more spiritual, I’ve become infatuated with crystals and anything that is known to emit positive energies. Crystals have been used throughout history for their beauty and healing qualities. There are so many to choose from that can suit your positive journey. It has been said that wearing, carrying or taking crystals to bed can help to encourage the stone to release particular energies. I’m a big believer in the fact that the individual also has to be aware of their own energies and make attempts to increase their own positive emotions.

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My current crystals – Orange Calcite, Amethyst and Green Aventurine

At the moment my collection is quite small and this is because I want to create a gradual process in order to try and appreciate each crystal in it’s own way. I currently have Orange Calcite, Amethyst and Green Aventurine. Perhaps some of their qualities could interest you in starting your own collection.

Orange Calcite – Soft, tranquil, happy and healthy. This stone is also said to aid the acquisition of wisdom as well as stimulating sexual energy in the body. Energy center = Reproductive.

Amethyst – A powerful aid to creative thinking, spiritual awareness and healing. It is also believed to combat insomnia. The colour is associated with the Crown Energy Centre which is located at the top of the head. It is your connection to the universe, spirit, higher power and so forth. Energy center = Crown.

Green Aventurine – Helps to reinforce decisiveness and amplify leadership qualities. Also good for decreasing anxiety and fears as well as lifting  your limitation to prosperity and letting go of limiting beliefs. Energy center =  Heart.

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By creating tranquility with candles, I feel that I can reap the benefits of my crystals

I feel that when we experience stressful times, crystals can be a reminder to center yourself and locate your spirituality. By doing this, we can allow our bodies and minds to feel back to a place where they feel lighter and more powerful.