Prosperity Consciousness – or how to set a positive mindframe

It’s the end of a long and moving school year. I feel exhausted and really look forward to the holidays and some weeks off – I need a break!
During this year, times changed from hard to great, and around – not very stable, very challenging with many ups and downs the whole way long.

The end of a school year always means to look back, to reflect and to do the accountability; to look at the numbers, the results, and the facts, to take stock and to draw conclusions.
This is one of these moments, when I realize the big mission we took and when I feel the burden of our responsibility, mashaallah:
We are a social business and only able to exist and to grow thanks to the financial donations of others.
Our schools are totally dependent on external financing and the goodwill of other people. Therefore the existence of our business is always based on vague hope – hope to find people who like to support our work, and hope to get the money we need in order to continue….

At the same time, as social entrepreneurs of this campus, we have to offer security and stability to many different people who are dependent on our existence and good performance: our many employees, many students, parents, volunteers and the society…

Sometimes, all these facts and the reality feel like a big package to carry. Especially when I am stressed, tired or overloaded by work… it then all looks so huge, so heavy, so unsure, sometimes even hopeless and impossible. Astaghfirullah, audhu billahi!

And then there are the times, subhanallah, happily most of the time, when God gives me strength and belief; when He fills me with a clear picture of our mission and with the certainty that we will succeed.
Then I feel full of hope, energy, positive vibes and ready to go further, to strive to succeed and to grow this place of light and chances for all. Alhamdulillah. Then I feel so clearly that there is no other way to go, that we have to continue and to work on this big project of our life.

Maybe all of this, the back and forth, these ups and downs, the fear and the hope, the worries and the strength is normal for a leader to feel:
Feeling like a tool of God, humble, knowing how absolutely dependent we are on Him. Knowing for sure that there is nothing really to fear or to count on, except Him. Following the inner call, feeling inner peace and freedom, because nothing bad can happen. God will never let us fall. Everything is possible through Him.

In order to attain the possible, one must attempt the impossible;
in order to attain the impossible, one must attempt the absurd. 

according to Miguel de Unamuno y Jugo and Hermann Hesse 

Over the years I’ve learned several methods, how to handle these ups and downs and the moments of despair.
When I began to realize the responsibility and the power of influence I have with my work and attitude, I needed to take control. Seeing how much my mood and mindset directly influence the others around, I know now how important it is to stay strong and hopeful:
If I am positive, everybody can be positive
– and with an “yes we can”-attitude we can really move mountains together!

I read a lot and learned different tools on how to stay positive, how to believe in Allah’s bounty and blessings, how to take the path of a visionary and a leader, and how to develop prosperity-consciousness despite all the critics of the confirmed pessimists.
And because I think we all are kind of a leader in certain fields of our life, I share the list with you:

  • Most important: Know what you really want and what you wish for. Have a vision. Know your aims and your values. Be very clear, specific and focussed about it.
  • Picture these aims and wishes inside your head. Clearly visualize them as if they were already real.
  • Create treasure maps for all these wishes
  • Very important: stop the little man inside your head, the little Mr.Doubt, the shaitaan.
  • Work on a positive mindset and work off old and inhibiting beliefs (this is very hard and never ending work on your inner thoughts!).
  • Get enough sleep; take care of your health, body, energy and soul.
  • Read, say aloud, write and repeat positive affirmations and quotes of encouragement.
  • Keep a journal of your feelings and your mood.
  • Remind yourself of what you’ve already achieved, alhamdulillah.
  • Open yourself to receive. Allow yourself to be successful. Be ready for all the good, the blessings and prosperity out there.
  • Be very careful with whom you share your thoughts and vision.
    Avoid doubtful or negative people (all these “if’s”, “but’s”…).
    Protect yourself against their pessimistic influence. Never let stop yourself by others who didn’t really achieve a lot.
  • Take very, very much care with whom you spend your precious time, know that your environment has lot of power on your feelings and thoughts.
  • Spend time alone to hear your real inner voice.
  • If everything seems hopeless and thoughts are just negative: take a walk in nature or go sleeping – tomorrow the sun shines anew.
  • Read powerful and encouraging literature on prosperity or biographies from great people:
    The holy Qur’an, The Bible, Napoleon Hill’s: ”Think and grow rich” (he even writes very respectful about the power of prophet Mohammed (sas)), Catherine Ponder’s different prosperity books (beautifully related to our Creator), Prentice Mulford, Orison Swett Marden, biographies of great people and achievers, …
  • Make dua’ (invocations), Istikhaara, read Qur’an and deeply be comforted by the faith that nothing and no one can hurt us except by Gods will – in and through God everything is possible and absolutely and eternally good.
  • Make wudu (ritual washing) and pray, pray, pray!

And now, off into the vacations! Wishing you a wonderful summer friends!

Nothing is too good to be true; nothing is too wonderful to happen, nothing is too great to last.

The Prophet (sas) said,
“Allah the Most High said, ‘I am as My servant thinks (expects) I am. I am with him when he mentions Me. If he mentions Me to himself, I mention him to Myself; and if he mentions Me in an assembly, I mention him in an assembly greater than it. If he draws near to Me a hand’s length, I draw near to him an arm’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.’”
[Sahih Al-Bukhari]

… this means He will forgive his servant if he seeks such, will accept his repentance if he repents, will answer him if he supplicates, and will suffice him if he asks for something …
(Imam Nawawi, al-Qadi ‘Iyad, Sharh Sahih Muslim) 

 

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Positive Birth Thoughts

Since yesterday I retired myself into maternity leave. My body needs calm and rest now, more than ever before.
I feel the birth is close, sometimes so close that I think it will happen the same day, knowing that these urges still are Braxton-Hicks-contractions and due-date ist still a few weeks away…

I think a lot about the birth and am once again very impressed about how different each pregnancy feels, how each baby change my sensations and inner feelings in his own unique way and how it all remains so unpredictable.

I remember the other four births and especially the beauty, strenght and peace during labour with our last two children, alhamdulillah – I think those were the most powerful and blessed moments in my life:

https://ittosjournal.wordpress.com/2009/06/28/an-almost-unassisted-childbirth/  

…and I plan and prepare everything for a smoothe homebirth inchaallah. 
This requires work on my inner beliefs and hidden fears.
I visualize positive, I read Sura Meryam (Qur’an 19), eat dates and pray, but I also organize the necessary material and space (especially to keep warm during labour and after birth), I prepare clothes, diapers, a hospital bag in case of emergencies, I inform our children about details of birth and look for people I feel comfortable with, to instruct them as care-providers for the kids and when I am in labour and childbed…
and I try to put all my tust in Allah, that He will give me the strength and the chance to experience once again one of those wonderful unassisted childbirths, full of magic, bliss and joy, inchaallah.

“If you have had a positive birth and you are feeling good about it, then you will often feel completely energised and brilliant in the days after you have had your baby. – Women need to hear this message too as well as getting information about what might be unpleasant or what might go wrong.”
Milli Hill

some inspiration and support:

Laura Shanley’s “Unassisted Childbirth”-book

Ina May Gaskin’s Book “Spiritual Midwifery”

Sarah Buckley’s book: Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering

an this one from Sarah Haydock 

this book from Milli Hill 

and this from Anita Evensen 

and these stories collected by Shannon Brown

http://www.positivebirthmovement.org

http://www.lifetouchyou.com/practical-tips-for-a-fear-free-positive-labour-experience

 

Autumn on the doorstep…

  1. Happy about the cooler days, finally a bit of much needed rain and the smell of autumn in the air.
  2. Entering the second half of my pregnancy and noticing much more movements of baby.
  3. Struggling with too small waistbands of trousers and sewing (and online-ordering) some maternity wear.
  4. Beginning to wash winter-clothes and feeling close to make fire in the chimney.
  5. Updated the book list.
  6. Participating in politics and important world-actualities by actively voting at Avaaz.org.
  7. A heavy LOT to do in our school with the beginning of the new school-year.
  8. Allowing (sometimes even forcing) myself in this busy crazyness to take some time for me: just reading, relaxing and enjoying the moment.
  9. Enjoying autumn’s fruits: blackberries, pomegranate, plums, walnuts and apples…
  10. Wishing all Muslims a happy new year 1439 after Hijrah!

  

Summer Reading

August – time of vacation, of nothingness, of days spent without timetables and social obligations…
time to read without real purpose, just to the pure pleasure of it.

Some old summer-classics, beautiful Muslim fiction and a new field guide:

Anne Morrow Lindbergh “Gift from the Sea”
Naima B. Robert “She wore red trainers”
Rosamunde Pilcher “The Shell seekers”
Katie Daisy “How to be a Wildflower”

Happy summer days to you!

 

Preparing for this year’s Ramadan

The better I plan my Ramadan-days, the better I feel, making most out of this special month….
it is so easy to get distracted and lost by our own laziness, television, spending time in the kitchen, thinking about what to cook for Iftar, cleaning around and not making anything that really matters…
but there are so many thing that really do matter, things I want to do and accomplish during this sacred month.

I know, that the self-control we have to practice in not eating from dawn until the evening can help us in many ways to control also other parts of our lifes. This self-control can help us to improve and train the different “muscles of good habits”… giving up bad things and training ourselves in blessed ones…
and the hours we save by not eating can help us much in accomplishing things we normally would not being able to do during normal days, interrupted by coffee-, lunch- and tea-breaks.

In planning, defining and  organising my Ramadan, I find great help in the “productive Muslim” book from Mohamed Faris. I try to put the focus now on what really matters and making best use of the waking hours every day, inchaallah.
How and what d you plan for your Ramadan this year?


this year’s Ramadan calendar:
a bunch of paper-sticks, like flowers in a vase,… everyday with a little reminder of worship, blessing, beauty and love…

 

 

 

From Organic Gardening to Permaculture

Spring: being outside, digging in the earth, weekend-gardening and actually learning a lot about how to change our already organic way of living into a real harmonious and reciprocal co-existence with nature and animals, way beyond sustainability.
We’re deep into permaculture, at home and in the school, with family, professionals from around the world and with the community: https://ecolevivante.wordpress.com/category/permaculture-vivante/

Happy spring to you and yours!

The three ethical principles of Permaculture are as follows:

  • Care of the earth
  • Care of people
  • Return of surplus to earth, animals and people

The Permaculture ethics compel us to take personal responsibility for our actions. We can either “choose to be part of the problem or part of the solution”, the choice is ours!

Twelve Permaculture design principles articulated by David Holmgren in his Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability:[17] 

  1. Observe and interact: By taking time to engage with nature we can design solutions that suit our particular situation.
  2. Catch and store energy: By developing systems that collect resources at peak abundance, we can use them in times of need.
  3. Obtain a yield: Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the work that you are doing.
  4. Apply self-regulation and accept feedback: We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well.
  5. Use and value renewable resources and services: Make the best use of nature’s abundance to reduce our consumptive behavior and dependence on non-renewable resources.
  6. Produce no waste: By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.
  7. Design from patterns to details: By stepping back, we can observe patterns in nature and society. These can form the backbone of our designs, with the details filled in as we go.
  8. Integrate rather than segregate: By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between those things and they work together to support each other.
  9. Use small and slow solutions: Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and producing more sustainable outcomes.
  10. Use and value diversity: Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides.
  11. Use edges and value the marginal: The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system.
  12. Creatively use and respond to change: We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing, and then intervening at the right time.

Literature: Sepp Holzer, Masanobu Fukuoka, Bill Mollison

Information online:

http://permaculturenews.org/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permaculture

http://www.docspicepermaculture.com/

http://www.geofflawtononline.com/

and more detailed articles on change from organic gardening to Permaculture:  

http://www.permaculturevisions.com/difference-between-organic-gardening-and-permaculture/

and on Islam and Permaculture:

http://www.treehugger.com/sustainable-agriculture/are-islam-and-permaculture-match-made-heaven.html

http://www.treehugger.com/culture/humans-are-trustees-of-allahs-creation-islam-the-environment.html

https://www.greenprophet.com/2012/01/interview-nadia-lawton-talks-about-permaculture-in-the-middle-east/

https://aworldofgreenmuslims.wordpress.com/2012/01/20/green-farming-and-islam-permaculture-in-jordan/

http://www.greenmuslims.org/a-brief-introduction-to-permaculture-sustaining-our-future-and-why-it-matters-to-muslims/

https://www.greenprophet.com/2013/05/ask-geoff-how-to-grow-a-forest-garden-free-permaculture-videos/

http://www.theecomuslim.com/2014/01/salah-hammad-urban-gardener.html