Discovering Your Life’s Purpose

‘If you’re alive, there’s a purpose for your life” Rick Warren

Have you ever sat and wondered what your life’s purpose is? A question I believe that everyone has asked themselves at some point in their lives. A question that tends to pop up whenever one is feeling a bit deflated, unmotivated or uninspired.

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I have found that one’s purpose is not lost, so we cannot “find” it. Instead, we search for it, but not on the outside. It’s within us, but we need to pull back layer after layer until it reveals itself to us. Our passions and purpose work hand in hand, and it takes one to discover the other. However, sometimes we’re aware of what our passions are, we’re just not sure how that can become or be part of our life’s purpose.

Get Uncomfortable

Just knowing that you have to become uncomfortable, makes the task ahead seem daunting. We’re wired to associate with comfort and familiarity. We struggle to cope when we’re put into situations that are foreign to us. The first step to discovering our passions is to burst the bubble that we live in.

Our bubbles are our safety nets. It’s where everything is about “me”. It’s about “my” pleasures, “my” time, “my” comfort. It’s where we procrastinate because of our fear of failing. It’s where we avoid certain people because you cannot let them see that you still haven’t upgraded your car in 10 years. It’s where you never have time to invite friends over because your home is not quite as big as their’s. We’re so busy protecting ourselves from the way we’re perceived by others, that we forget that there is a whole world out there, that is perfectly capable of existing even if you were not in it.

Do What Makes You Happy

Love painting? Reading? Cooking?

Make time for the things you love to do. Somethings are easier to make time for than others. If its surfing you love and have a family to take care off, wake up earlier on the weekends to make time for it. Better still, get your family involved. When we do what we love, we automatically become more inspired. It is that inspiration that is needed to help discover what our purposes are. You might meet like minded people who will inspire you in doing more, getting better, or encourage you to use your talents to give back.

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Giving back

I have discovered that giving back is one of our biggest purposes in life. And when that’s themed with your passion, life automatically becomes more meaningful. Love to read, but can’t afford to make a living of it? Volunteer at an organisation where you can give some of your time teaching kids to read. Your dreary job will become more tolerable when you know that you’re giving back even if it’s in the smallest ways. Two such organisations is Help 2 Read and Shine Literacy

Life is a whole lot sweeter when you feel you have a purpose. It’s the journey that might seem long, but its worth every step of the way.

 

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#3 It’s Okay To Be Vulnerable #LessonsLearned on Klimanjaro

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At Kibo Hut prior to Summit Night

We live in a time where asking for help is almost not acceptable in society. It is frowned upon and is seen as a sign of weakness. No matter how we might be struggling inside or just trying to keep up with daily demands, we need to face the world as if we have everything under control and we’re coping with all of life’s pressures.

 

The guides and fellow trekkers has played such a huge role in the success of my climb, and looking back, I know that I would not have reached my goals had it not been for them.

We were allowed to be vulnerable, weak and dependant, and we were there to assist each other. Our guides became our teachers, they monitored us and in some cases even fed us to ensure that we don’t burn out and that we’re able to continue our trek.

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One of the guides, Heaven, who carried my backpack for me

What I’ve learned on the mountain, through this experience is, that it’s okay to be vulnerable, it’s okay to ask for help. We’re not superheroes. In order for us to be the best versions of ourselves, we need the help of others. We can only give the best of ourselves if we’re in our best state of mind, body and spirit.

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Heaven eased my load by carrying my backpack
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Allan with my friend Fawzia

#2 It’s Really Not What You Have That Matters #LessonsLearned on Kilimanjaro

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Our trek started on 4 August. The morning before setting off was the last hot shower we would have, and the last buffet breakfast we could pick from until we returned on the 9 August, coinciding with Womens Day, a public holiday in South Africa.

By the first night, reality set in for me when I had to go to bed without my usual bath, cleaning myself as best I could with just wet wipes. After supper I retired to our bunk beds, crept into my sleeping bag and prayed for sleep to come. I knew that waking up to use the loo was inevitable after drinking about 2 liters of water for the day. The only problem with that is the loo is outside the hut, about 40m away….
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Every comfort that is known to me, is no longer there. I don’t have my comfortable bed with loads of cushions. There no bathrooms to just stroll into and do your thing. My fridge to open up whenever I feel like and scan it’s contents is very far from where I am. Lengthy meal plan discussions are none existent. Selecting the days clothes from a closet full has been scaled down to a 15 kg duffel bag. Viewing posts on social media is such a thing of the past.

I realise that if I don’t wrap my head around all of this real quick, I am just going to be giving myself a difficult time. I already know that none of this is permanent, so all I have to now do is be grateful for what I do have. I might not have what I want, but I have everything that I need.
We have enough drinking water. Nutritional meals. A place to lay our heads. And not to mention loads of tea!
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But what really stood out for me was that I was surrounded constantly with people and nature . Now I don’t normally do well with large groups of people, but I think I did pretty well with what has now become new family, from all walks of life, different journeys, all coming together for the same cause.
As for the nature part? I was able to take in as much as I could. There were no other commitments to rush off to….Just taking in all of what God has blessed us with.

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It wasn’t until we got off the mountain when it all became clear to me…It really isn’t what you have in life. It’s who you have in your life and what you surround yourself with. I was privileged to have spent my once in a lifetime journey with amazing human beings. Had it not been so, the entire trip could have turned out to be a complete disaster. I now have new appreciation for the people closest to me…after all, it is them who makes our lives a little more beautiful.

#1 Everything is Temporary #LessonsLearned on Kilimanjaro

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Rough roads, pain, laughter, heartache, cold, discomfort…..Like everything in life, and life itself, it is just temporary. Nothing lasts forever. I have adopted this as my mantra when I arrived at the base of the mountain. Why? Because I knew that it’s not going to be smooth sailing. I knew that I was going to be removed from every comfort known to me for the next six days. By remembering and constantly reminding myself that whatever I feel or what I’m experiencing is just temporary, I was able to keep going, and able to push myself through what is now officially known as the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.

#1 Everything is Temporary #LessonsLearned on Kilimanjaro

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Rough roads, pain, laughter, heartache, cold, discomfort…..Like everything in life, and life itself, it is just temporary. Nothing lasts forever. I have adopted this as my mantra when I arrived at the base of the mountain. Why? Because I knew that it’s not going to be smooth sailing. I knew that I was going to be removed from every comfort known to me for the next six days. By remembering and constantly reminding myself that whatever I feel or what I’m experiencing is just temporary, I was able to keep going, and able to push myself through what is now officially known as the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.

Let go of that which you have no control over

I’ve come across this profound advise by the great scholar Ibn Al Qayyim. So many times in life, we stress and depress ourselves over that which we have little or no control over. What seems like such a simple thing to do, is sometimes the hardest….Leaving it in the hands of the Almighty.

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❝A friend will not (literally) share your struggles, an a loved one cannot physically take away your pain, and a close one will not stay up the night on your behalf…So look after yourself, protect it, nurture it…and don’t give life’s events more than what they are really worth…Be certain that when you break no one will heal you except you, and when you are defeated no one will give you victory except your determination…your ability to stand up again and carry on is your responsibility…Do not look for your self worth in the eyes of people; look for your worth from within your conscious…if your conscious is at peace then you will ascend high…and if you truly know yourself then what is said about you won’t harm you.

Do not carry the worries of this life… because this is for Allah…and do not carry the worries of sustenance because it is from Allah…and do not carry the anxiety for the future because it is in the Hands of Allah…

Carry one thing: How to please Allah. Because if you please Him, He Pleases you, fulfills you and enriches you. Do not weep from a life that made your heart weep…just say “Oh Allah…compensate me with good in this life and the hereafter”.

Sadness departs with a sajdah…happiness comes with a sincere du’a…Allah does not forget the good you do…nor does He forget the good you did to others and the pain you relieved them from…Nor will He forget the eye which was about to cry but you made it laugh…

Live your life with this principle: Be good even if you don’t receive good…not because of other’s sake but because Allah loves the good doers.❞ Ibn Al Qayyim

The Story Behind My Decision to do the Kilimanjaro Charity Challenge

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It was a random day in August 2014 after a short trip to Cape Town,  when I sat at my desk and decided that I needed to do something out of the ordinary. It must have been my short love affair with Table Mountain that inspired me to do some research on Kilimanjaro, The Roof of Africa.

It was then that I wrote down my plan to trek Kilimanjaro in 2017.

At this point, I must have hiked about twice only in my life and really didn’t make any further effort. Let’s just say, the idea died almost as soon as it was born. Continue reading

Meeting New People

I’ve discovered so much about myself after moving to Cape Town, that it sometimes feels like I’ve been living someone else’s life all along. I’ve always believed myself to be an extrovert, but on my journey to self discovery, I realised that I truly am an introvert and quite happy to be one.

Making new friends or just meeting new people has always been a daunting task for me. I’ve spent a fair amount of value time wrapped up in my own insecurities and looking back now, I can almost see all the missed opportunities I’ve had, if I had just believed a little more in myself. Nevertheless, rather now than never right? Back to meeting new people….I have met some amazing people on my hikes and in our hiking group. I have been surprised as to how easy it is to get to know new people once you’re truly comfortable in your own skin. The greatest thing about getting to know people is that you rediscover so much about yourself. Happy Hiking

Asma al Husna (Beautiful Names Of Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) Al Afuww

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Asma – Names
Husna – Beautiful
Therefore the Asma al Husna is the Beautiful names of Allah SWT

Why is this topic important?
– It makes us know our creator  Allah SWT better.
– Increases our love towards Allah SWT
– Encourage us to worship Him more
– Makes us desperate to see Him
– Makes us ashamed to disobey Him
– To enter Jannah:
“Prophet Muhammad PBUH said: “God has ninety-nine Names…whoever
believes in their meanings and acts accordingly will enter Paradise.”

Allah has given Himself the most beautiful names in the Holy Quran. They are 99 in number, and the 100th is Allah itself.
Last year sometime, I attended a beautiful workshop on the Asma al Husna. We were guided to look for the names of Allah SWT in our daily lives. When asked how many of us sees Allah SWT, baffled of course, none of responded that we did. After going through a few of Allah SWT names, their virtues, meanings and benefits, it was then that one realises how Allah SWT is ever-present, all the time, if only we opened our eyes to witness this marvel.

I will be doing short series of posts on the Beautiful names of Allah SWT in the coming weeks, as a reminder to myself first, that God is ever-present in our lives, regardless of what situations we might be facing.

The name Al Afuww The Pardoner
I woke up this morning and found myself chanting Al Afuww Ya Allah, Al Afuww Ya Allah. I immediately felt connected to The Pardoner and felt the need to write about it.

What is the difference between Oft-Pardoning Al Afuuw & All-Forgiving Al
Gafoor?
Oft-Pardoning and All-Forgiving are two of God’s Beautiful Names, but pardon is greater than forgiveness, why? Forgiveness implies God conceals sins in life and on Judgement Day and He does not even punish one for his sins, though they are not erased or removed from one’s Deeds Record.
Pardoning sins implies one’s sins are totally erased from his Deeds Record as God has removed all of their traces.

Conclusion
Pardon others so that God may pardon you! Forgive and pardon others; it is that simple! Be tolerant and generous! If somebody oppresses you, be you a man or woman, pardon them for the pleasure of Allah SWT.

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.

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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…..