Wonder

I have to take a little time off. After a horrible sunday, feeling weak and overburdened, lots of tears, anger, aggression and heavy shoulders under the pressure of  many “have-to’s”, I decided to stay home yesterday and today, even in bed, while our “home-angel” (our wonderful nanny) looks for the kids and kitchen.

Alhamdulillah, i am very thankful to have her help, what a gift. And I am kind of proud that I allow myself a break. This is kind of freaky, I know. I have a hard time to accept when my energy is low. As a high energy person this is really something I need to learn: I cannot pour from an empty cup – I really need my cup to be filled again and again.

So I learn to be a patient patient. I learn not to feel guilty for taking a break. I learn kindness with myself. And while browsing the web, I find out how many mothers seem to feel the same… there are hundreds of other bloggers writing about this.

I wonder. And I don’t feel all alone with my thoughts alhamdulillah. So I lay here in my bed, pondering over the last weeks and life in general, half sleeping, half awaken. And sometimes I grab the book I got from a very good friend:

Wonder . From R.J. Palacio.

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I seldom read fiction. But this is a beautiful touching story. Makes me cry over the human truth inside this simple text. Lets arise questions about my mothering. And opens my eyes to the beauty of family love, the important work of a headmaster and how caring both can be… wonderful.

Selfoptimization … as I see it

“Self-Optimization” is one of these modern words, which I learn when I come in contact with the world behind our mountains.
The word itself and everything it contains and stands for, seems to be a trend.
Self-Improvement, spending time with one’s self, making the most out of one’s self, self-care and self-help… I think all of these things can be very good and healthy, but they also can become an obsession and lead to a very self-destructive or egotistic path.

Making the best out of ourselves is a virtue for Muslims – taking care of our body, our soul and mind, striving to better ourselves every day, to become the best version of our self and to make the most out of our God-given talents, skills and opportunities, should be a life-long mission for us.
But for what purpose and for which aim?

To serve God, for sure, to worship Him, to live according to His rules and law, to be a steward of His creation, to spread love, light and peace, to take care of what He gave us into custody and to improve the quality of life.

It’s not about perfection, about speed and an inhuman strive for efficiency;
nor is it about fighting for our highest good without taking into consideration the needs of others, hard and unyielding.
The ridge between healthy optimization and destructive perfectionist delusion is thin.

I think we should strive to optimize ourselves in a very forgiving but consistent way:

Not as a selfish one-man-show, nor as a self-punishing, overwhelming act that puts ourselves down, at constant war with parts of ourselves that are never happy with what is. But as a gentle path of development and growth. In healthy balance beween taking and giving, beween doing and leaving, between change and acceptance.

So, Itto, stop the running, sometimes just let five be straight… everything’s well as it is… and now, cuddle the kids and then feet up with a coffee and a good book… happy weekend! Alhamdulillah.

a perfect non-perfect cup of coffee, for a great day, to live the best version of my self, as good as I can today… inchaallah! cheers.

 

Getting back…coming home

Seventeen days away from home and family, out of my small world and my own realities, straight into other ways of living, thinking and being. I met family members, professionals of different areas, new people and old friends all across the three German speaking countries.

Since two years it was my first trip to my homelands and the first trip without my husband and kids. Just the little one and me. Subhanallah, what an opportunity to widen my horizons, to open my mind, to leave my own box and to re-adjust my self.

On the road back home, hour after hour through lonely hills and deserts, I had much time to reflect. After leaving Europe and the lively city of Marrakech, the quietness of the wide Atlas mountains gave me time for reflection and a first conclusion.

Now I am back home. I feel thankful, alhamdulillah, refilled, inspired and with a suitcase full of wonderful memories.

But also exhausted – honestly, I find it hard to get back to normal. There is all the laundry to wash, four children to listen and get connected to again, things to put in order and a whole lot of thoughts I would like to ponder on (“who am I? Who do I want to be? What values do I wand to transfer and what image do I want to give as a mum, a wife, a human being…?”)

Coming home with a fresh view, I see now mountains of work and things I would like to change around and inside myself. I know, I want too much at once and I have to be careful not to overload neither me nor my family.

“Give yourself time, Itto!” – maybe this should be my mantra for the next weeks…”ommm”- writing my diary, enjoying autumnal weather and putting first things first…. happy and blessed November inchaallah!

 

A Family Manifesto

a wonderful summer has passed by… autumn is in the air, first snow on the summits we just hiked last month, and a new school year lies ahead.
While pondering over the great moments we had together as a family, I feel the urge to make these memories last. Life will change this semptember (it always does, I know…), as our youngest son enters first grade and our oldest one the public high school…
lunchtimes will be different and the togetherness we lived so many years on our campus has now to stretch, to widen and to open outwards.
I think we are ready for this, but I also feel that we have to give new meaning and sense to our family and consciously realize what the word and the community of “family” means to each one of us.

When I prepared the teamwork and leadership-training for our teachers, I came across a wonderful idea in Stephen Covey’s book (“Principle centered leadership”), the idea of a family manifesto. And it felt the right moment to create one before busy school life takes all over again. It felt so right to deeply connect before we go apart.

so I searched the net for creative ideas and I reflected over the things that I really wanted us to share and to realize; I informed the other family members about the idea, I made preparations and created an atmosphere of joy, excitement and anticipation. And then fixed a date where all would be present, undisturbed, for about two ours, with good food, candles and crafting materials. We put “Bismillah” on the top of our manifesto and collected memories, values and things that define, connect and are important to us.

I won’t share the result here, it’s far too personal and kind of sacred for the seven of us… I really feel blessed and grateful that we did this, alhamdulillah, … but I wanted to inspire you, just as I was inspired by others…. and I wish you a connection of love and the feeling of togetherness for you and your beloved ones, carrying you especially though the hard times of life … feeling the importance and the value of “family” as the basic unity of society, no matter what.

And for those who do not have family to share such a connection with, the idea can likewise be done with your circle of friends, your team at work or in every other unity you build with others.

Wishing you peace and blessings for you and your relationships.

more ideas: https://liveablissfullife.com/home-rules-for-the-family/

and also in Amanda’s books

 

Know what you want!

A wish written down becomes a goal.
A goal broken down into steps with a date becomes a plan.
A plan packed with action and nourished by prayer becomes reality.

More on productive goal setting making a vision board here and here.

One thing I learned over the years and am still learning:
the better I know what I want and the more I express my needs and wishes in clear ways, the more precisely it will fullfill.
Actually making:
my visionboard for fullfilled summer holidays
and reading on clear and peaceful communication (Marshall Rosenberg: “Nonviolent communication –  a language for life”)

happy summer dear readers and friends!

Mothering and spiritual growth

I am willing to change. I am ready to re-educate myself –

as a mother of five children, subhanallah, with such big age differences, from eleven months to fifteen years old, I have to be very flexible in my thinking and acting.
Sometimes I sit there, eyes and mouth wide open, asking myself how to respond to all the different needs, thinking how can it be?
there is the little one growing her first teeth, and there is the oldest one growing a beard, mashaallah. And in between, there are so many different phases of development, so many different questions, moods, areas of interest from toddler to puberty age…
some of the things are kind of repeating and well known, others are very very new to me.

Especially with the oldest one I recognize that time for educating actually is over… now it is time to trust, to have confidence, to let go.
Time to stop myself, hold me back (in fears, advices and doubts), to observe, and finally to enjoy the fruit of previous years of mothering…

As Jesper Juul so beautifully writes in his books “It is time to become a sparrings-partner, a source of feedback, trust and encouragement, someone who clarifies the rules, limits and boundaries of life without hurting or commanding.”
That’s what I am actually learning.
Sometimes this is painful, sometimes full of joy, but in any case, it is never boring and full of possibilities of growth for myself, together at the side of our eldest, alhamdulillah.
Thank you my dear son, tbarakallah!


very good book from Jesper Juul for parents of teenagers 

“My spiritual growth often comes to me in strange ways. It can be an incident with a child, a chance meeting or an accident, a dis-ease or the loss of a loved one. Something inside urges me to follow, or I am forcefully prevented from living in the same old way. It is a little different for each person. I grow spiritually when I accept responsibility for my life. This gives me the inner power to make the changes in myself that I need to make.” (according to Louise Hay)

Spiritual growth is not about changing others.
Spiritual growth happens to the person who is ready to step out of the victim role,
into forgiveness, and into a new life.

None of this happens overnight. It is an unfolding process. Loving myself opens the door, and being willing to change really helps to be a better parent too. Inchaallah.
On to new adventures!