Friday 20 April 2018

Mistakes are a part of my 'human experience'

Welcome readers,

Frosty mornings are here, balmy days are few and will eventually go into hibernation, hopefully it will bring the onset of rainy days. We have just about a month to go before we start fasting, and as usual I start my preparation for this auspicious month. The month of spiritual renewal, self introspection and personal growth.

This year has already presented huge challenges and we're just past the first quarter, but I have realised that the more open I am to learning from them, the quicker I am able to deal with them and move on. At the same time I am also blessed with the most amazing opportunities. It's the cycle of life really, that challenges and trials usually bring about the growth and awareness to be open to new possibilities. 
It is the very embodiment of :
"Verily, after every difficulty there is relief" - Quran, Al-Shahr 

This is a concept I try and live with, and to instil the patience in my kids that whenever they're feel they've lost something, that it will bring about blessings. And even if it is just personal growth, and a life lesson, it is part of the journey of life. However, I do remember being  a teen/young adult, and feeling as if I had the ultimate say on how my life turned out. I planned, plotted and had all these dreams I wanted to realise; and whilst I achieved them, it didn't come easily. At the time I probably didn't link my trials with my blessings; at that time gratitude was something which popped into my head periodically. It wasn't a daily practice, and yet I was still extremely fortunate. As a young individual a big portion of my awareness was focused on some really big life trials, and yet, without them I would not have had the tenacity or drive to achieve. I would not have had the single minded focus to reach for my dreams and conquer those goals.

And while I think back to my youth, and the struggles I encountered- I am also acutely aware of the fact that as a result of those struggles, I made a decision to protect my kids from such hardships. I consciously decided that they would never be faced with the same trials; and of course, back then I believed I was in complete control of this. What I have come to realise, as wisdom sets in I suppose, is that I am not in control of what their life journey is like. I may try to protect them as far as I can, provide the best home I know how and make sure that they have a safe haven to retreat to when necessary; but fundamentally their journey has been decreed. Within the confines of this Divine decree, I can only offer support and be a guide along the way. I do still berate myself when I feel I have let them down, or they have experienced some kind of trauma; as a mother the instinct to protect is natural. And when I take a step back I see that whatever has transpired has strengthened my son in some way, and instead of focusing on the problem, together we look for the lesson (with great resistance at first- because it's always easier to concentrate on the drama). It's a difficult thing, to stay the course and live consciously; even harder when I'm trying to set an example for my kids. My humanness means I will make mistakes, in my own life and journey, I suppose it's the way I deal with my own errors along the way that they will learn from. Even acknowledging to them that I have made a mistake is tough, but part of the lesson for me, and them, is to know that it's ok to err. Our character determines what we do after, accepting the mistake for what it is and moving on. I am prone to beating myself up about a bad decision, or wrong turn; and in time I come to understand that my humanness means I am not perfect. As a parent I will make mistakes, in rearing my children I will err, in living life I will take wrong turns, but ultimately my character will determine how I deal with it. And even then, I may still make blunders... I am human after all...

Today's lookpost brings the velvet from last season, back for the cooler weather. I have paired a velvet maxi with an old sweat top and sneakers for an everyday look. I was gifted this lovely scarf by Scarfstop, the wooden tassels and waffle fabric making it perfect for a draped look. Everything else has been in my wardrobe for some time and has been recycled for a contemporary look.


Outfit details:

Mango sequin sweat top
Gadija Khan velvet skirt
Converse sneakers
Scarfstop scarf
French Connection bag purchased abroad
Giorgio Armani sunglasses

Ciao for now, 
RuBe xoxo

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Friday 13 April 2018

Makkah... Where my soul resides ♥️

Asalaamu Alyakum readers, 

After many Hajj posts, I am so happy to finally chat about the place where I left my soul... the Holy City of Makkah. From the moment we entered Makkah, I felt at home, like I was answering a call which only my soul could hear.

After our first Umrah, we were on an indescribable high. It was around 2am in the morning when we were done, after the exit from ihraam had been completed, and a refreshing shower to wash away the days travel from Madinah. There was hardly time to sleep before we'd need to be up for Tahajud, and since it was my first night in the Holy city, I was not about to miss anything! So we snoozed for an hour or so, and around 3:30am made our way down to the Haram for Tahajud. Since we were amongst the early arrivals, Makkah was not as crowded yet and we found a great spot (for women, the best we can hope for is an uninterrupted view and as as close as possible to the Ka'bah whilst performing salaah). I was more than happy to just be able to perform my prayers in the most sacred mosque in the world... And after the first prayer in the Haram, despite the exhaustion starting to set in, the wonder takes over...

I could not bear to tear my eyes away from the Ka'bah; I was transfixed, I was in awe that I was actually standing at the very spot to which I point my prayer mat to every single day. There was a tangible magnetism that drew me nearer and nearer to the Ka'bah with every passing moment. A pivotal moment, which sealed the bond with my soul, was during our Tawaaf on the eve of our first day, where were granted the opportunity of touching the Ka'bah. The smell of the brick was intoxicating and the tears flowed readily as my forehead touched the walls of the Holy Ka'bah. It was astounding how everything in my life paled in comparison to the enormity of that moment and just being an honoured guest at the house of the Almighty. I knew that this was indeed a moment I had been preparing for all my life. The realisation that I was born ready to perform my pilgrimage, and supplicate on these magnificent marble floors was prevalent in my mind. Every moment I spent in the Haram has been indelibly imprinted in my memory bank, every step along the sa-ee a tribute to the monumental role of women in our religion. 

When the tiredness eventually took over, and hunger started setting in, we headed back to our hotel. By this time our sleeping patterns were already erratic, having undergone a shift during our stay in Madinah; so time was governed predominantly by the prayer times. Back at the hotel we decided to catch another hour or two of sleep before heading to the breakfast room. One thing I am eternally grateful for is the absolute luxury and comfort of our hotel room, as well as the proximity to the Haram. We literally stayed across the road, about 200m from the Haram entrance which was a convenience one cannot underestimate during the crowded Hajj season. (To walk 200m can take 20 mins with a massive crowd). The advantages of our hotel meant we could easily pop back to our room for a quick snooze in between waqts, without having to worry about being in time for the next waqt, or being able to find a good spot for prayer. The comfort of the hotel soothed our fatigue and the extensive breakfast spread each morning provided adequate sustenance for the day, especially since I do not easily eat the fast foods or food on offer around Makkah. 

From the stories we were told I expected a more authentic Saudi experience, however, Makkah is a bustling, modern city. With pilgrims walking about, sitting in contemplation, or praying everywhere. The high rise buildings and hotels surrounding the Haram is progressive with many more in the process of being built. The heat felt less intense than Madinah, and this could be attributed to the fact that we walked a shorter distance between our hotel and the Holy mosque. There are taxi drivers peddling at every corner and so many 'malls' and shopping centers to choose from! It could be an overwhelming experience to be in Makkah, especially after the tranquility of Madinah, but I felt completely at home. I had instantly fallen in love with the aura of the Holy city, with the captivating power this city had on me. My first day/s were spent in constantly vacillating between getting some rest, eating and wanting to be by the Ka'bah. It took a few days for us to find a new routine for the next 19 days. 19 Days & 3 Jumuahs!! We were really blessed to be able to spend the bigger portion of our trip so close to the Ka'bah, which ultimately made our ibadah easier, and afforded us the advantage of lots of hours in the Haram (without much difficulty) Algamdulilah!

I can talk about Makkah (in fact my whole trip!) for ages and have so much to share♥️

 But for now, I will try to keep it in bite sized tidbits, and highlight the moments which will hopefully inspire those waiting to venture on this life changing journey.

This very moment has been branded in my memory for always ♥️

All opulence and modernity on the Mataaf 
The area for women closest to the Ka'bah to perform salaah when the Haram is packed

Ladies areas are cordoned off 
The iconic clocktower, which houses several hotels, a mall and various souks
The area behind us is a built next to the clocktower and houses the Hilton hotel,
the fountain marks the site of the home of Abu Bakr RA

Ciao for now, 
RuBe xoxo

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Friday 6 April 2018

I fell off the balanced wagon

Hey lovely readers,

This past two weeks have really been food for the soul, this school holidays and time away from the rat race was much needed indeed. Since returning from Hajj a few months ago, I have dived into work and everything else head first, and haven't take a time out to breathe, except for one week during December holidays.  

Recently, I have become aware of how quickly things go off track when I'm not paying attention. I have been very focused on my introspective work, which is also time out in a way, I have been intensely absorbed on work, the blog and delivering motivational talks. In the background, my kids have also been so busy and I have just gone along with their crazy schedule feeling as if the hamster wheel was on fast forward.  This has kept me busy 24/7, 7 days a week and it felt like weekends just ran into each other. But lately, the introspection has prompted me to reconsider my prioritities, whilst meditation helped with momentary stillness.  I know that I constantly work under pressure and function on fast forward mode every single day. 
Then I took a step back, going away this Easter weekend presented the perfect opportunity to reflect, as I spent some well deserved time with my oldest and dearest friend and her family. We spent the 5 days doing very little apart from chat, drink tea, play games with the kids and just catch our breath. The kids (both young adults and teens) spent the time together and had the most terrific time without TV and video games. It was a complete reprieve from the crazy!

I've come back home rejuvenated and rested and fully aware of how I push myself to the limit each day. I realise how far I strayed from the path of balanced living. It should have been a warning sign when I climbed into bed each night completely exhausted. I suppose with the kids being more independent I thought I'd be able to do more; instead I did more but didn't really have the reserves to do more. My resources did not stretch to the extra loads I keep adding. And yet, at the same time I am very aware of how people and situations drain my energy, without the actual awareness of how I tap into every ounce of my own energy to get through each day. I have managed to create boundaries to keep those situations at bay, and I now further realise that losing focus on me, really means just not adhering to my needs first. These last few weeks have been concentrated on this and ensuring that I do not unneccesarily accelerate my pace. I wrote this post 2 years ago about how I cope with a hectic schedule, and even though all of these are still in place, I seem to have found extra things to add on! 
So after a wonderful time of complete relaxation and quality time with great friends and family, I am going to try and be mindful of those times I start feeling like the hamster wheel is speeding up. It will be a reminder to me to check myself, reorientate and move forward. 🙏🏼
Today's outfit is probably the last summer one, as the days start becoming chilly. It features a pretty gingham pants, block boxy leather top and bright espadrilles and scarf. 

Outfit details:

Laser cut top old
Gingham pants from Superbalist
Nine West (Saudi) suede espadrilles
Old Scarf
Louis Vuitton bag
Rebelfunk earrings

Ciao for now, 
RuBe xoxo

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