February – simple beauty at home and around

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Ask yourself every day, “what is no longer serving me?”
Identify the thoughts, habits, routines, actions and people in your life that no longer encourage you to grow. Disengage from empty distractions and remove negativity from your life wherever possible in order to create space to move in the direction that you truly desire. …
You can change at any point in your life. You do not have to explain anything to anyone. If you know there’s areas that need improvement make it happen. Don’t allow anyone to hold you back from change. 

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Anchoring Wellbeing

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What have « Bob the Builder », Barack Obama and many celebrities from the sports-field in common?

They use(d) special gestures, words or phrases as a trigger to create positive feelings.

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NLP calls this repeated use of stimulants “anchoring”.
I am not into NLP – these techniques can surely be discussed critically and have to be treated with caution and mindfulness in regard to our religion – but I can see a benefit in consciously using special things as a positive anchor:
“Yes, we can!”; Allahu Akbar; alhamdulillah; …,
smells like that of porridge with cinnamon, that remind us of home, security and the bliss of childhood memories;
fist-bumps to evoke a feeling of strength and to express victory or success;
or the sight of a cup of coffee that immediately create a feeling of  pause and comfort…

Knowing these positive triggers an be very helpful in everyday life, to push the right buttons and to put ourselves in better states of (mental-)being.

For me it surely is the image of that cup of a warm beverage, that helps me calming down.
What triggers your optimism in an instant?

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interesting reads on the topic:

Shakti Gawain “Creative Visualization”

http://www.chopra.com/articles/from-chaos-to-calm-in-an-instant-how-to-create-a-positive-anchor 

 

 

 

entitled to be creative

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We have winter vacation. It is time to be home, time to read, to range and rearrange, to realize a few renovation-projects, and time to relax and to retreat.
For me, the holidays we spend home are always an invitation to make things which I cannot do during schooldays.
For me, vacation in general is not about long sleeps and lying around, it is much more a time to be active, to listen to inspiration, to do something around home, in the garden or for myself.

Time spent creatively always fulfills me.
I totally blossom when I can do and make things in my own rhythm and at my “gusto”.
I then feel just as pure life is running through my veins; I feel lively and full of joy and gratitude, alhamdulillah.
After a day spent with at least one creative endeavor, I feel blessed and satisfied.
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Being creative and making things does not necessarily mean to make “arts”. For me, the making of something and being creative can also be the cleaning of a long forgotten corner, redesigning an outworn skirt, capturing photos of everyday beauty, baking a fancy cake with a self-invented frosting out of fridge-leftovers, giving myself a new haircut, painting meaningful quotes in beautiful letters on old cardboard, restoring an old chair, planting flowers, …, and following  the flow of ideas by improving and beautyfying life in every possible way.

Being creative is like pouring out the beauty of our soul. It can be totally an act of worship and is often guided by divine inspiration. Maybe that’s why, beside the fact of having made something out of our time, it is so deeply enriching.

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Along with the vast inspiration that can be found online, but also in our own soul (through the listening to our inner voice and intuition), there are many books that inspire and evoke creativity.
I’ve recently read and liked those:

  • Elisabeth Gilbert “Big Magic: Creative living beyond fear”
  • Sark “Succulent wild Women”
  • Jane Alexander “Spirit of the Home”
  • Amanda Blake Soule, all books
  • Elaine St.James “Living the simple life”
  • Martina Goernemann “Zuhause ist ein Gefühl”
  • John Seymour „The self sufficient life“

“Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?”  asks one of them –
Yes I do, inchaallah.
What about you?

Wishing you a creative and fulfilled February! Peace and light, xoxo

 

Past Present Future 01’17

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The new (miladi)-year 2017 just began, and even though it is still “new”, it also is already nearly two weeks “old”:
the white, blank pages of my organizer fill consistently, my last post is long ago, and while I’m observing the passing of time, I feel the need to reflect on things that passed and things to come.

Last year was full of change and development, sometimes very demanding and exhausting, but also promising and full of joy and beauty, alhamdulillah.
If I would have to put the essence of the last year into a few words, I would call it “transistion”.

A lot of my private life is very much related to my work life – in fact our school and everything connected to it IS our life – it is a life-project, present in our heart and mind 24/24h and 7/7days, alhamdulillah, and last year we had the chance to develop and realize many incredible things, alhamdulillah.
So, a lot of my reflections concerning the last year are related to the events and development of campus vivant’e and can be read on our latest newsletter here: https://ecolevivante.wordpress.com/2017/01/13/news-from-the-campus

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If I fade out the project and look at my personal last year, I see that I learned a lot about myself, I met very interesting people and made important life choices and changes. But there is, beside the very many other things, one thing that stands out in 2016:

It was the medical result we got last February that scientifically confirmed that our smallest son (3 years old) also is hearing impaired, just like our daughter, mashallah.
First, this was a shock and very sad news, even though we had suspicions since several months and were kind of prepared to the fact that he also is deaf. But it hurt. Just as it did 5 years before with our girl, and from time to time again.

But thanks God, subhanallah, the things changed to better and better; the burden of having two children who have difficulties to hear turned more and more out to be a blessing.
We got the chance to learn a lot together as a family and even with society here.
Through a professional volunteer from Berlin, who came living in our valley for more than three months, we, and the whole school (teachers, some parents and pupils), learned sign language and communication with the deaf. It was a real gift to see so many people beginning to happily signing and understanding each other.

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And it was and still is very touching to see especially our own two children evolving great communication skills between them and with others. Even our smallest boy’s capability to make himself understood by signs and words unfolds now in beautiful ways.
I can see how sign language helps him developing his spoken language and learning skills in general and how his older sister benefits from having a mate and someone who shares the situation with her. They support each other, they help and encourage each other, they grow and have fun together and they fight for their rights as 2 deaf children in a family of 4 hearing people.

It’s incredible to see their strength and courage in life. Allahumma barik.
So everything developed for the better, subhanallah, tabarakallah, and I am looking forward to accompany and to see those two little souls flourishing and growing in their own very special and  beautiful ways, teaching us a lot by just being who they are, inchaallah.

“after burden comes ease” – it’s so true, I assure you, we can count on HIM –  Allahu akbar!

Wishing you light, love, peace for 2017
and a never ending trust in God’s wisdom and the divine ways!

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ISLAM AND WORK _ when faith meets productivity

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early morning-me-time in front of the fireplace – reading and preparing for the day 

On our school’s blog I’ve recently posted some thoughts about the relation of faith and work, which I would like to partly share here with you: 

“In all our work, in our daily life with the pupils at the campus vivant’e , we are deeply guided by the teachings and rules of our religion, which is the religion of Morocco, Islam.
We try to practice our faith as a whole way of life, imbedded in all our doing, in the deepest sense of its meaning:

”Islam = Peace”.

If I want to put together our values, our mission and our goals, to describe the culture and philosophy of the campus vivant’e, the description would be:  “we are here to serve”.
We see our mission very much in serving – serving the pupils, serving others, serving humanity, serving a bigger purpose:

  • encouraging a meaningful development of each and every one here
  • motivating students (and teachers as well) to show, to develop and to blossom towards the most positive version of their self
  • support students to learn the skills needed for a fulfilled and meaningful life – for their own good and for that of society in whole
  • striving to always give our best and allowing others to give their best
  • building bridges between people and being a committed example of peaceful dialogue, nonviolent communication and respect towards all
  • inviting people (students, parents, teachers, volunteers and visitors alike) to be the positive change we wanna see in the world
  • assuring that everybody feels welcomed and accepted here, no matter who they are or what they believe “

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The following manifesto summarizes very well how we understand our work and action in relation to our religion. I totally speaks to me from the heart and I am very thankful for the work that the people from productivemuslim.com have put in it – Jazak Allahu khairan!
I would like to share with you the essence of their manifesto and of how I and my Moroccan team understand productivity in an Islamic way:

  • Pursue everything in life with an active intention
  • Seek spiritual connectivity & barakah (God’s blessings) in every moment
  • Fill your heart with abundant positivity
  • Plan your day, week, month, life in detail!
  • Rise early and seize the barakah (God’s blessings)
  • Aim for physical vitality
  • Pursue holistic learning for a holistic life
  • Take time to have fun!
  • Always be of service
  • Have commitment and discipline

The detailed manifesto is to be found here on this source : http://cdn.productivemuslim.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/ProductiveMuslim-Manifesto.pdf

In French 

In Arabic 

I wish you all a lovely beginning of winter. I wish you warmth, inside and out.
Salam aleikoum and peace, love and light to you!

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Grounding Myself

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To be honest, I don’t feel entirely well these last weeks, mashaallah.
There were many decisions to make, many challenges to take and many visitors around at school, but also in our private life
– I feel exhausted and ready for a break. I feel ready for winter to come,  ready to draw back and to hibernate, just like an animal that crawls into his cave.
I observe myself sometimes arguing with reality,  wishing for things to be different, in fact just longing for some peace and quiet…
Here I’ve put down a little list of several things I try to do when I really feel at the edge to depression and need something to tear me out of the black hole:

  1. Drinking some freshly brewed yarrow/achillea-tea
  2. Making a treasure map of pictures cut from magazines to visualize positive goals
  3. Going outside! Alone or with the children, to breath fresh air and clean the head
  4. Making Istikhara and dua’ or reading Qur’an
  5. Reading self-help books
  6. Watching feel-good-movies (although it is very difficult to find hahal-ones)
  7. Making a gratitude-list
  8. Talking to a friend who can stand my tears, just listening, without trying to “save” me
  9. Investigating my belief system and affirming and auto-suggesting all things good
  10. Reminding myself that life is always for something good; that there is a reason behind everything and a learning opportunity for my highest good to be found in all.
    Alhamdulillah!

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favorite shoes from Gudrun Sjoeden 

late winter and quiet life

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what a contrast: the busy-ness of Marrakech and the quiet-ness here in our valley…

I inhale the silence and am thankful, thankful that Allah brought me here 11 years ago, thankful that we have the chance to live here, alhamdulillah, thankful to be part of a small tribal society, living close to nature and strongly influenced by the power of the seasons. Subhanallah.

To live so abroad and far away from modernity was a personal choice (guided by God).
Everytime I travel, everytime I realize the difference between here and there, between my old (european) life-style and the life I live here up in the mountains now, I feel very thankful for living here.
I am no city-person, not any more. The hectic of urban life fills me with inner stress. I feel as I have to protect my self with a shell of  indifference. The anonymity of being one in the middle of thousands makes me feel lost, detached from my soul and my real being.
In a city, I sometimes feel like an Indian in New York, trying to grasp a look towards the sky, searching for a piece of nature and listening to the little maggot in a lonely tree in the middle of concrete buildings and car noise…

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here, in the midst of high mountains and surrounded by pure nature, I feel at peace,
I feel home and close to my creator and my true self.
Subhanallah, I can hear my inner voice and I feel deep thankfulness for the fact of knowing the few people that cross my ways, greeting each other with “as salamu alaikoum”…

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