“We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate. We travel to bring what little we can, in our ignorance and knowledge, to those parts of the globe whose riches are differently dispersed. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again- to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.”
– Pico Iyer
Every three weeks or so , I try to take a day trip outside of my city. Whether it is half an hour away or two hours away. I do so to gain some perspective. Being a University student in a small city is sometimes very consuming. Leaving the city always gives me a bigger picture, allows me to see that which I cannot see when I am staring right at it.
My most recent trip was to Cambridge. I thought going to a place of such prestige and checking out the University would grant me some inspiration. Ironically enough, my favourite part of the day consisted of walking through the market. I saw fresh fruits, vegetables, little creative trinkets with inspirational quotes on them and then stumbled upon a second-hand book stall. Looking through the books, I searched for something inspiring, compassionate and spiritual – my genre for quite a bit now. Mind Body Soul. Searching for inspiration, motivation , I asked the owner if he had the Alchemist. He looked for it but didn’t find it and said that it wasn’t in the section he usually kept it in. I asked him to refer me to the section. Upon reaching there, my fingers walked through the books and I spotted Eckhart Tolle’s, ” A New Earth”. A book referred to me almost two years ago which I had tried to read. But sometimes books, they don’t flow in your being, don’t sync with your consciousness until you’re really ready for them.
I just started reading the book but its resonated with me quite beautifully. It speaks of this idea of “I” and becoming consumed with our own labels. Letting our own labels of ourselves not only restrict us but restrict our understanding of the world because we put everything into such distinct boxes and label them accordingly. As I sat at lunch and drank my cup of tea, I took a minute to stop my thinking, and looked around to look at the people who surrounded me in the room. They were all people but really , they were forces within each body. A force or an energy that I would not say is restricted by age but a living energy and that room was buzzing with everyone’s different energies. Whether it was the couple who sat next to me and hardly said anything to each other, to the two elderly beautifully-dressed talkative women who sat on my right. Then and there, I was hit with the thought that I, too was a force, an energy and had started to identify with the person I had become over the past few years. That which breaks this identification with the I is generally some kind of paradigm change brought about by a sudden change in one’s life however we could dis-identify from the I once we became aware of it… I’m only in the first chapter of the book but felt this idea to be somewhat of a revelation that I wanted to share. It’s worth taking a day out once in a while to gain some perspective.
Leaving that meal I felt like a different person but realized how much I identified with the me and how we look for assurance in other people’s view of who we are and try to fit into that category of who they think we are. But there’s a realization in the fact that people change, we change. Respect how you feel. Always.
Another year gone by. There is so much that happens in a year yet in a way it is all the same. The highs, the lows and the inbetweens. Our moments of triumphs, our moments of despair and our moments of indifference. Each moment adding up to seconds, minutes, hours, days, months and then our year.
It reminds me again of the mountain. Our goals being the mountain tops, yet in life there is not just one mountain top but many because every ceiling becomes a floor once it is reached. As we struggle day in and day out; we keep sight of our goals. We seek it out in the middle of the night under the moon. We wake up at dawn to take a glimpse before the fear and pain set in. Our guides up the mountain are our friends and family who pull us through when we are not strong enough. They can lighten the load but we are left to walk the path ourselves. We know where we want to go but we don’t know the paths we might need to take to get there. Despite the difficulties, at the end of the day there shall be triumph – either we will gain what we wanted or learn patience and gain something else.
There will be moments where we will be able to fly but we are not expected to fly all the time -otherwise we would have been born with wings. When the springboard appears – take your leap and when it’s not there – you are not weak- you are normal.
To all those who have followed me – through the last year and a half – and all those reading this – Thank You for following this journey,our journey. It started off as an external trip of travel and mystery but ended up with an inner change – a discovery from within.
I wish you all so much – I wish you the world and more.I hope you find the courage inside you to go for your dreams, to fight fear and stare it in the eye, and friends and family and love that will pull you through when it’s too hard to stand up.
Here’s to 2013 !Happy New Year Folks!
I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while. Yet, it’s hard to write about something so much greater than yourself. You fear that you may not do it justice. Why do I write this ? Because the man I will try and speak about is too great to keep to myself.
This year, I was lucky enough to go to Iraq in April. You may wonder, as many would, why I would want to go to Iraq at this point in time. Let me start with this: The largest peaceful gathering has been an estimated 21 million people in Iraq of January this year. It happened in the city of Karbala at the shrine of a man known as Hussein. The big question is who is Hussain and why would millions of people go and visit him ? A site has been created by a few youth in the UK to try and share this man and his message with the world http://www.whoishussain.org/.
Hussain was a man who lived 1400 years ago who stood for Justice, Truth and Valour. A man who believed in charity, love and standing against injustice. He is a man who shows us that there is hope in every situation and to stand by justice no matter what the cost. 1400 years ago seems like a long time ago yet to this day the love of this man is overwhelming for those who know his story. People like Mahatma Gandhi have said “I learned from Hussain how to achieve victory while being oppressed.” Dr. Radha Krishnan writes, “Though Imam Hussain (A) gave his life almost 1300 years ago, but his indestructible soul rules the hearts of people even today.” This video is a powerful intro into this man who brings lovers from across the world.
The 21 million people was recorded in January of 2012 during a period called Arbaeen which means the 40th. Arbaeen notes the 40th day after the day of Ashura, which was the date of his martyrdom 1400 years ago. 40 days is the usual mourning period in Islamic culture. Arbaeen has been known to bring record-breaking masses yearly. 2011 Arbaeen brought 15 million. 2012- 21 million and I can’t imagine what this year will bring but I have no doubt that the record will be broken for this man is not simply a religious figurehead but a man who stands for universal principles that every person admires. He is a man for every religion, culture and color. He is a man that ordinary people look up to everyday and his troubles and tests make ours look small. He ignites a fire in the heart that is difficult to extinguish. A fire that longs for justice and is willing to take a firm stand against injustice.
Despite the grand numbers Iraq brings, it suffers from great poverty. It is sad that so many people go to see Hussain but forget that he was a man who always gave charity and loved the orphans and would hate to see this country in such dire poverty. However, people are now starting to wake up, syncing their feelings for Hussain with actions that replicate his and attempting to try and help out.
People from all over the world are leaving this weekend for Iraq to commemorate Arbaeen once again. Many are also doing a walk from the city of Najaf in Iraq to the city of Karbala. It is a 3 day walk where they will walk in the day and sleep in tents at night. I have been told that it is a sight to see. Walkers are looking for sponsors so as to raise money for electricity in Iraq.
“The money you sponsor will bring light into 4000 homes in villages around Karbala who currently have no access to electricity. The lighting of their homes will enable the family to be safer in the dark, avoid inhalation of diesel fumes indoors, burns due to naked flames and allow children to study after dark. Through Lady Fatemah Trust (a UK based charity who take 0% commission) all your donations will go directly to funding this project” – Taken from http://www.justgiving.com/teams/n2k.
I am unfortunately not walking this walk but I’d like to help any person who is in helping them alleviate the little bit of poverty they can and bring as much light as possible. Here is the site for anyone interested in doing so http://www.justgiving.com/teams/n2k. We are responsible for the change we want to see in the world and every dollar/pound makes a difference.
“Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.”
– Nelson Mandela
This is an Awesome Post I came across. I Think a lot of people will relate to it ..
My senior year of high school, I had the genius idea of taking AP Physics, AP Calculus, and AP Statistics, all at the same time.
I pushed myself so hard that year all because I wanted to earn college credits and therefore graduate from college in less than four years.
I did that.
I started working a full-time job at the age of 19 and earned my bachelor’s degree in two and a half years.
I figured that if I got my degree early and had some experience under my belt, I’d be ahead of the game career-wise and would be taking steps towards my journey up the quote-on-quote career ladder. If I did this, I would be a few steps closer to becoming the VP of some great company where my work would consume all of my energy every day.
That’s what success looked like most of my life.
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When I first came back to Toronto, people asked me if I missed Africa and the truth was I didn’t yet. I still had the lasting effects of it. I still had the inner peace. Yet four months in , I can say that the Toronto lifestyle is getting under my skin. There’s this need to get into the race of things here. Yet, in some way it is exactly what keeps you away from “running your own race.” Routine is what makes you normal but routine is sometimes lethal. I have the travel bug too. I’m itching to take a flight somewhere – anywhere. I won’t go to Africa because I don’t think I’ll come back this time. So , why am I here? I’m here to educate myself , get some experience and then maybe I can take my flight out. It’s one thing to have lived here for four years but it’s another when you lived normally for four years then took a year to see the world and then to come back to the rat race. It’s an inner struggle every single day.
Yet, instead of fighting my circumstances,I will try and embrace them and move on , I do want to get involved in development projects here. As a matter of fact a friend of mine just went back to Tanzania and learned of an awesome project called the Kanga Project. It’s a Uk based initiative that strives to educate women in parts of Singida. Singida is one of the cities in Tanzania with the lowest levels of literacy among women. The project also focuses on teaching women the skills of agriculture and poultry. They are now also working towards creating a hostel for 32 young girls to provide a more wholesome environment for them to study in. We are trying to fund raise as much as possible so as to make these hostels as comfortable as possible. (On these cold nights in the Northern hemisphere, let’s not forget those with no homes). Since we are fund raising, we are selling these kangas for 20 dollars each. Below you will find pictures of what a Kanga looks like. It is basically a local dress that is used in many different ways and prove to be very comfortable pyjammas. Please do contact me if you would like to order one.