Snow _ Bliss

Snow… 30cm over night… no street to see and that for today no school… everything is quiet outside, just as described in “Wonder”… a walk in the lonely forest up the hill… I can hear my breath and a little bird singing…

some snow falls down a tree and my feet make their way through the winter wonderland just as if they were the first ones walking there…

oh I love a white winter. It makes me feel so very much alive, subhanallah, the crispy air clears my head and my thoughts…

Back home, a cup of tea beside the fire place, a little moment alone, with a good book or something to knit while the kids play outside… BLISS!

Alhamdulillah. And what a blessing to live four seasons, to have a warm home, a peaceful place to be. Allahu akbar, may everyone be blessed out there with shelter, food and something warm.

the making of my winter vision board and something warm.

Knitting thoughts in late autumn / early winter sun

I sit in the sun and enjoy the unusual warm December weather. We had already some snow, the nights are already freezing cold and the mountains are covered in white.

But today is just beautiful. Alhamdulillah. I knit, plain right, simple rows – maybe a poncho for our little girl. She’s nearly two now, mashaallah, playing in the sandbox beside me; and the repeating rhythm of knitting reminds me of the repeating rhythm of motherhood…

they all played in sand, and I began knitting beside them nearly 16 years ago… since then, I changed a lot, my mothering style changed, many things changed… yet, I am still not a very good knitter and seldom finish a piece.

But in winter, I love the relaxing move of it; it helps me clearing my thoughts, calming down, sitting with the little ones while actively creating something… the right thing for someone who doesn’t like just to sit …

happy December dear readers and friends!

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.

 

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!

Reality

Alhamdulillah..at least 30 minutes in the morning, a little chunk of quiet time for me…before a new day starts with all the craziness of family life and else…

I miss Ramadan and its peaceful atmosphere…but i really enjoy my morning moments with hot lemony water and coffee when the first sunlight shines through the window, subhanallah… it’s these little blessings in the midst of busy reality that give me energy and power to continue.

Wishing a blessed early summer to all of you!

Blessings of the early hours

The very earliest hours of the day carry a lot of blessings… subhanallah.

In Ramadan I can feel this more than any other time during the year.
We rise up long before the first light on the eastern horizon appears…
actually after only 4-5 hours of sleep, at about 03.00 a.m.,
to take our breakfast, the Suhoor, before we then pray Fajr and begin to fast until the evening.

Many people go after eating and praying back to sleep until the sun shines…
but it was recommended by the Prophet (sas) to stay awake after the morning prayer, to read Qur’an and to take benefit of the blessings of these early hours.

And this is so good and so true!
Yes, it needs some self-discipline, but if you manage to fight your inner little bastard (your weakness/lower nafs’/Schweinehund), to resist the lure of your warm bed and begin to read Qur’an until the golden morning light appears, God blesses you with a very clear and fresh mind, with deeper understanding of His words and with vitality throughout the whole day, inchaallah.

I’ve tested it now several times:
I went back to sleep at 4.00 a.m. because I thought I have to catch up some sleep to avoid sleep-deprivation, thinking that my body would need this, because I normally sleep more than 7 hours to feel well.
But everytime I went back to bed in the early morning, I dreamed strange things, I woke then up with a very uncomfortable heavy feeling, like being smashed, mashaallah. And I always felt tired, irritable and quickly exhausted during the whole day, in the need of lots of sleep and with very low energy.

On the contrary to when I stay up after Suhoor, I lways feel very quiet and full of joy and light, being able to read Qur’an with a clear mind until nearly sunrise, ahamdulillah.
Then I often go into our garden to enjoy the work in the fresh air, accompanied by the singing of the birds, subhanallah. Or I sit in my studio, doing some office-work – much more productive than later in the day.
And the surprising thing is that I do not feel tired or exhausted, even later in the day… I barely need a sleep in the afternoon and feel quickly refreshed after just a little power-nap.

To me, it really feels as if Allah acknowledges and rewards our worship and positive intention with a boost of energy and improved efficiency during this sacred month, subhanallah… despite the common scientific opinion on how much sleep we normally need, He gives us strength and endurance.
Try it out, you won’t regret…

as people say: “The early bird catches the worm” (Morgenstund hat Gold im Mund)

as Allah says in the Qur’an:

“So be patient over what they say and exalt [ Allah ] with praise of your Lord before the rising of the sun and before its setting; and during periods of the night [exalt Him] and at the ends of the day, that you may be satisfied.” (20:130) 

“Establish prayer at the decline of the sun [from its meridian] until the darkness of the night and [also] the Qur’an of dawn. Indeed, the recitation of dawn is ever witnessed.” (17:78) 

great read on this: Khurram Murad “In the early hours”.

wishing you very peaceful and blessed last nights of this Ramadan!
salaam aleikoum.