Tag Archive | journey

My Unplanned Sabbatical Year

2016 turned out to be, what I now call, my unplanned sabbatical year. A year that was by far one of my best years yet.

After relocating to Cape Town from Johannesburg at the end of 2015, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do with my life. The two things that I did know was, 1) I do not want to get back into the corporate world and 2) I want to be a housewife (very ambitious, I know). The housewifery wasn’t my long-term plan, but I figured what better way to start the new year in a new city.

So how did I spend my year?

Doing the things that I love.

The Kitchen
The one room in my home that makes me completely happy. I’ve spent day in and day out cooking up a storm and experimenting with new tastes and flavours. I must admit that it didn’t always work out, but at least I’ve tried it by putting it through the test. Over the years, I’ve developed a love for cooking and it to be the most therapeutic “chore”.

Spiritual Enhancement
2017-02-17_12-45-52For many people spirituality does not coexist with religion. I consider myself to be quite fortunate as I was able to explore my spirituality through religion. Last year, I’ve experienced the best Ramadaan ever. Even though we were nowhere close to family, the whole experience was moving. I looked forward mostly to Taraweeh (special evening prayers are conducted in Ramadaan, during which long portions of the Qur’aan are recited) and I longed for it most when Ramadaan bade farewell. The highlight for me however, was a ladies programme I attended, where I was in an audience of 4000 women! Let’s just say that once I’ve left the veils from my eyes were lifted!

Me, Myself and I
When you’ve been married for as long as I have been, you never really have reason to do things alone. Besides, I was never really comfortable with it anyway. With Mr. M at work, I didn’t have a choice but to do things alone. There was no one around to grab a coffee with or take up yoga classes. I’ve learnt to enjoy my own company. When I had weekends to myself, I would meander through markets by myself, as if it was the most normal thing for me to do.

Stop, Drop and Yoga
I’ve always had a keen interest in yoga practice. I’ve just never had the time to take it seriously. I’ve started under a yogi while in Johannesburg, but the enthusiasm soon fizzled out.

2017-02-17_12-52-05
With all the time I had on my hands, I decided to take up classes, which I’m pleased to say is still part of my life. In the beginning, yoga was just about the poses and trying to fold myself into pretzels. Until I realised that the goal is to create space where you were once stuck. To unveil the layers of protection you’ve built around your heart. To appreciate your body and become aware of the mind and the noise it creates. To make peace with who you are. But mostly, it was about going to my mat and feeling, not accomplishing.

A Book or Three
My deep love for books stems from when I was a child. The first book I’ve ever owned was “The Gingerbread Man”, which was gifted to me at my pre-school graduation. My favourite book would have to be the children’s classic “Heidi” by Johanna Spyri. I still sometimes dream about living in the Swiss Alps.
I’ve spent so much time reading last year, that at one point, I felt like the characters in my books were my friends. I’ve made a little reading nook in my bedroom, and winter afternoons became my most treasured moments when I was lost in a book.

Take me to Nature
There is a wealth of natural wonders to see and experience in this city. From hiking up mountains, chasing waterfalls, swimming in dams, long walks on the beach, Cape Town is definitely a city worth showing off its natural beauty. I’ve always been in touch with nature, but my first year in Cape Town really connected me to nature.2017-02-17_12-49-00

I’ve had to deal with many frustrations. Not knowing what I really wanted to do with my life. Doubting whether or not we made the right decision to move. In hindsight, I should have savored every minute of that time, as I now believe that I was exactly where I needed to be. My unplanned sabbatical year prepped me for my new journey, even though I had no idea at the time what that was…..

Advertisements

Journey to Hijab

After spending the past two years on my version of a “spiritual journey”, I have found comfort in a place I never imagined I would……my hijab.

 Earlier days

Being born a Muslim, dad was pretty strict but we were never forced to wear hijab. We were told that it’s something we should do as Muslim girls. But of course it was in the one ear out the other. Growing up in a pretty modern society, hijab was never a first choice of clothing that I would adorn. “I’m still young” was the average response to my dad when I was encouraged to adopt a more modest form of dress. I was also never a fashion follower or trend-setter. I’ve always been and still am a jeans, t-shirt and sneakers kinda girl.

From Miss to Mrs

Thank  goodness Mr M never forced me to change my dressing. I do however remember him asking me to at least wear a scarf on Fridays, but that too never happen. Being not young anymore, I couldn’t use the old excuse any longer, so it changed to, “I’ll change when I have children”. Then five years pass by and still no children……By this time I found myself spiritually dead. Not even knowing how I got to where I was. I’ve neglected my religious practices over the years and I was nothing but an empty shell….walking dead. Two years ago I rediscovered my path back to Islam and embracing hijab has been part of my spiritual journey. …..for the best……to be my best.

Oppression vs Liberation

I recall putting my head scarf on (about two years ago) for the first time and going into public, and that was the best feeling in the world. For the first time in my life I didn’t care to “fit in”. I didn’t need to be dressed according to the standards of society. The best part of it all was being able to walk down a street and not getting any unwanted stares or attention. I now know what liberation is….I understand it. I live the life of a liberated woman everyday I step out of my house in hijab.

All too often women in hijab are looked at as if they are not normal people. It’s as if they are not living full lives or missing out on something. I had a conversation with a much older woman and we spoke about hiking. I mentioned to her that I really enjoyed it and then she asked a question……”do you hike with the scarf on?” My response was yes. The response in my head however, was far from a simple yes…..

Wearing a scarf covers my hair, not my brain. I’m able to think and make decisions all by myself. I live a normal life like every other 30-something year old woman. There’s nothing an unscarfed woman can do that I’m incapable of doing. I go the the gym, I go to the beach, I practice yoga, I go out with friends….Everyday I live

Happiness Is Internal

“Happiness is a journey, not a destination; happiness is to be found along the way not at the end of the road, for then the journey is over and it’s too late. The time for happiness is today not tomorrow.” ~ Quoted by Paul H Dunn

This is a lesson I’ve learned quiet late in my life, but all too grateful that I did. I’ve been searching everywhere for something that was right inside of me. I just needed to have my windows cleaned, the windows to my soul, that looks internally, to where my own happiness lies. Nothing and no one is responsible for happiness but you, cliché I know, it’s so easy to say those words, but living it is another story all together….

Two months ago, I attended a workshop “Discover Yourself” and that’s when I experienced a true paradigm shift. I’m happier than I’ve ever been, I see the world differently, and finally I can give meaning to life, my life. Attending that workshop was the best gift I could have ever given to myself.

We sometimes put our happiness in things, or times. How many times have you not said to yourself “I will be happy when…….[fill in the blank]” or “I will be happy if I have……[fill in the blank]. I’ve done this over and over. I also know that when that time arrived or things materialised, I was not fulfilled, that void was still there. It’s sad,  how we wait all week for Friday, all year for summer, all our lives for happiness, when all the time it was right there, we just never looked inside.

I choose to free my mind of worry….
I choose to free my heart of hate….
I choose to live simply…..
I choose to be happy!