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Friday, October 28, 2011

Lessons from Football - Some background!

Although I am just starting to understand the technicalities of the game of football,  I have the utmost respect and gratitude to the game for what it's done for my son. 
My thirteen year old Aly plays football for his school team. This is his third year playing. Although he attends Pinecrest School at the Boca Raton campus this year, he started playing in the 6th grade at University School.  We had to coerce him into joining the school team. Aly was not an athlete at that time. Rather, he was a bookworm. He devoured books and had an extensive and an impressive vocabulary since he was just a few years old.

At University School, Aly had the honor and privilege of playing under the AMAZING Coach Kahn. Coach Kahn is a dad himself whose children attend University School. His wife even teaches at the Lower School there. He is an incredibly decent, dedicated and inspiring role model to these young men. Coach Kahn graciously volunteered his time to coach these young boys and taught them not only how to play football but how to be a team. During the 6th grade football season, Aly was lucky to make it out on the field for 2-3 plays in the entire game.  And even then, we would find Aly "birdwatching" or taking a stroll at the far end of the field. He just simply didn't get the urgency of the game.  But Aly learned and got better.

The 7th grade season was not much better in terms of Aly getting play time.  He still stood on the sidelines for 95% of the season but instead of complaining, he realized that he was an important member of the team. He learned that there is no "I" in "TEAM".

The 8th grade season which just ended last week was INCREDIBLE!!! Aly was very sad and upset at leaving his friends behind when he started attending Pinecrest School this year. But football is where he shined.  This season, Aly was on the field 95% of the time. He was an important, contributing member of the team and took great pride in being on top of his game.

Aly is who he is because of football. I am hoping to share the many lessons my son and we as his family have learned from this time-honored and respected game of football! 

Love and Light,

From one Sufi to another,

Anita


Aly is #65 and one of the two "brown boys" on the field. We look for his brown legs in the sea of green and white. He is in the center of the picture on the right.

That's my boy in position.

Aly on the sidelines while he stretched out his calves.

Playtime!

As promised, here are a few more pictures of my two babies who happen to be bffs playing in the backyard.

Annie, our King Charles Cavalier has our Jackie, the cat, cornered.

Isn't she beautiful?
It was love at first sight with Jackie at the shelter. I just fell in love with her sweet face and her gorgeous markings. 
So whAnnie gets too annoying, Jackie simply finds a higher ground. In this case, the fence, while Annie looks up helplessly knowing her limitations. 
"Let's hop this fence!
And she's a free agent.  We've accepted the fact that although she was pampered and sheltered as a kitten, she is now a free soul who literally comes and goes at her heart's desires.
She could just as easily be a tiger prowling on the African plains.
"Just being cautious!"
Our babies always provide us with unconditional love, constant companionship and entertainment! They are indeed a blessing. I say a prayer of thanks for these gorgeous creatures who bless us with their presence and being! I have to admit, I am suspicious of anyone who does not like animals! :)

From one Sufi to another,
Love and Light,
Anita

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My Favorite Quotes/ Mantras!

We all have a few quotes/ mantras that we live our lives by. I would love to learn about your favorite quote or mantra and why?


Here are a few of mine and the reasons why...
"This too shall pass, it always does."
This quote speaks volumes to me because at first read, many of us assume that it is referring to just the negative times in our lives, but in actuality, this quote refers to ALL things passing. So be sure that good times as well as bad times in our lives, all end and are replaced by the opposite.
This reminds me to always be grateful and hopeful because no matter what I am in experiencing in the moment, this too shall pass, it always does.


"What goes around, comes around."
This is a very simple yet powerful statement that beautifully sums up the universal law of karma. The bible says, "Do unto others, as you want others to do to you." This quote takes it a step further and says that whether you want to or not, how you treat others, will come back to how you are treated.


"Service is the rent we pay for our lives."
I'm not sure who the author is for this profound statement but it's one that drives all that I do. I truly believe that we are all so blessed simply because we are granted life. And since we are able to live, we must "pay it forward." We must serve others in whatever capacity we can. It might be as a volunteer teaching children or helping the elderly. But service can also be just smiling to a stranger to help brighten their day.
These 3 are my top favorites! I'd love to know what your favorite quotes/ mantras are and why?  Please do share.


From one Sufi to another,
Love and Light,


Anita


Gorgeous rays of light!










Monday, October 24, 2011

Are you "normal"?

What is "normal" anyways? Who defines "normal" for us? As per Dictionary.com,  the definition of "normal" is: Conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural.  
Not being satisfied, I referred to Scholastic's edition of the Children's Dictionary which defined "normal" as: usual or regular; healthy; the usual condition.


Hmmm....ok so I guess that makes sense but I'm still left with my question....who definies what "normal" is? Well! Society does and given that people make up society...we make up society, therefore, the logical conclusion is that we define what "normal" is.


My definition of "normal" is following rules, norms and expectations of society. But the problem is that "we" who make up society, don't all agree on what "normal" is. My "normal" is not necessarily someone else's "normal". 


For example, it is normal for me to expect the space and freedom to live my life on my own terms. It is normal for me to indulge in creativity as an expression of my thoughts and emotions. It is normal for me to dare to dream big in spite of living with depression. It is normal for me to give to those around me. 
It is normal for me to have some of my beliefs, values and ethics be different than those of people around me. I know some things to be true which I know others around me may not necessarily agree with. But that's okay. God made us all unique in His image. We are all HIS children. We come from HIM and we return to HIM. He loves us unconditionally and does not judge us. We judge ourselves and usually we are our worst critics. But we have been granted the privilege of being born to "live" our lives along our individual paths. We are suppose to live our own truths. But to know our own truths, we must know ourselves. We must live authentically. 


But how do we live our own "normal" when we tend to worry soooo much about what others say about us? There is a saying in Hindi that goes, "Log kya kahenge..." which translates into, "What will people say.."  I have found that during the times of my life when I was troubled, it came down to me being concerned about what others were going to say about me, or were already saying about me. And not just that, but what others were going to think about me? And that brings us to our basic human need of wanting to be validated, to be seen, to be heard. All human beings, no matter how old we are, have the basic need to be acknowledged. Unfortunately, many times this translates into wanting and needing the APPROVAL of others. This need of wanting the approval of others limits us in truly living our heart's desires. I'd like to submit to you a different frame of reference. Instead of asking, "What will other's think of me?", we ask ourselves, "What will God think of me?" Just imagine what a different thought process that would be.


Now please know that I am absolutely guilty of "log kya kahenge..." and do get all worried and bothered when I don't have the approval and blessing of people around me. But I've also realized that I am not concerned much about EVERYONE'S opinion of me, but more importantly, I do care that I have the approval and blessing of those that I love and respect. For example, even thought I am a 38 year old grown woman, I still get upset with myself when my mom disapproves of something I might have done or said. It is important to me that I get her blessing. But I also realize that there is a difference between wanting her blessing and needing her approval. And figuring out the difference is the challenge.


Also, I have come to realize that it is important to me to be respected and liked by those whom I respect. But there have been plenty of times, when we disagree on certain things. There are also times when they might not understand or agree with my decision to make certain choices for myself. When put in this situation, I have learned the value of sticking  by my values and ethics. I will NOT compromise my values and my ethics for anyone. I have paid the price of doing that in the past and the cost is myself, my own self worth. Therefore, I absolutely refuse to compromise on my values and ethics. Now realize that I didn't include beliefs in this mix because my beliefs can be changed when I receive new information but my ethics and values make up who I am and what I am about. I like myself and respect myself and have worked very hard over the years to get to the place where I am and thus hold on dearly to that.  But if and when I am placed in a situation where we disagree, I tend to stick to my values and ethics but do surrender to the experience, surrender to life, and surrender to God with the trust that it will ALL work out and it always does. 


A wise friend shared with me something that really has stuck with me through all the years. It was at a time in my life where I felt betrayed by all, including God and couldn't understand why HE was not answering my prayers. My friend explained that it is our responsibility to pray but HIS to answer. He said, "God's answer is not always "yes" or "no", sometimes God's answers are "not now", "maybe later" or "I have a better plan for your life".  :) 


So in conclusion to the ramblings of my head....I know that I am NOT normal. I am unique! I am an individual with unique thoughts and life experiences, and on most days, I have the courage to make choices and face the consequences of my choices, be it positive or negative. And its something that I must remind myself in times when I resort to wanting to be "normal".
I pray that you not be normal :) but unique and beautiful as HE created you! 
I pray that you find the courage to make the sometimes difficult choices to walk your own path.
I pray that you let God work his plan for your life.
I pray that you live each day, seeking HIS approval and blessings, for isn't that the only one that truly matters?


Love and Light,
From one sufi to another
Anita
Another picture of the beautiful Hallandale Beach!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Dance Of The Birds!

Last weekend it was raining cats and dogs and reluctantly, I had left home to drop Aly off at the community gym. On my way back home driving in our community's subdivision, I noticed a pair of birds laying on their backs in a neighbor's driveway. My first thought was that the birds were injured and I should help. But as I stopped for a few seconds to look at them, I realized that they were just fine. So naturally, because I have my camera in my handbag at almost all times, I took it out and started snapping. Below are a series of photographs taken in less than 3 minutes. Although it looks like the birds are injured or fighting, you'll see how the birds are in fact, dancing with each other. I don't know enough about birds but I just felt soooo blessed to have witnessed it. And thanks to the amazing 36x optical zoom on my new Nikon camera, the birds didn't even know I was a witness to their dance.
Hope you enjoy the pictures....

This is how I saw them as I was driving by.



















A close up shot of them but I was still not sure what I was seeing.



They just laid there on their backs with their feet clutching on to each other.



So one got up and I thought, "Oh no, this bird is going to attack the other one."
 But it was almost like the bird on the left was helping the bird on the right get up on it's feet and dance for a few seconds.

The dance continues...

And almost as quickly as it started, the dance was over and the birds walked away in different directions  almost pretending to not recognize each other.


The one on the left headed for the grass while the other headed for the mulch.





Isn't that amazing!!!! Shukran Lillah Wal Hamdullilah!
Thank you God for allowing me to slow down enough to be a "witness" to YOUR beauty!

Love and Light
From one sufi to another
anita

Friday, October 21, 2011

Goodness! Gracious! Great Balls of Fire!!!

On our drive yesterday from Boca Raton to Miramar off Sawgrass Expressway, Aly took these beautiful images of the glorious sun setting for the night! Each image literally is a miracle captured on film considering we had to snap it at exactly that moment since the sky changes colors by the second.










MY FAVORITE PICTURE!!!!!!!!!  I didn't even realize Aly had snapped this one!!! 



Love and Light,
From one sufi to another

 anita

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Lesson 3 - Knowledge of self is power


It is the everyday moments that make life worth living. At the risk of sounding cliche, I'll say, that we tend to rush through life, all trying to get to some unknown destination, trying to achieve a list of goals be it another degree which we hope will lead to a better career and more money, a bigger house, flashier cars, fancier vacations and the latest fashions. But I ask myself this often and now I'm asking you to consider the following questions:
- What makes me happy?

- What brings me joy?

- What do I need to feel successful? What is my definition of success?

- Does my house define me? Does my wardrobe or my jewelry define my worth? 

- Who are my friends? Who are the people that love me and care about me? Do they judge me because of what I own or what I wear? 

- Do I judge others based on how they dress, where they live and what they drive?

Just a few questions to get us started....Hazrat Ali said, "He who knows himself, knows God."
So let's take a few steps to go within to discover what we are really made of?

I humbly request that you please take a few mins to post a comment or your thoughts. Would love to hear what you're thinking about.

Love and Light,

From one Sufi to another...
Anita


              Seagulls on the beach...Aly playing with the seagulls!



Annie and Jackie - BFF for Life...

So Jackie, our baby cat is a little over 2 years old. Annie is a little over a year and Chloe (not in these pictures) is the senior member in our family of animals. Chloe is our 15 year old cat. 

Nobody messes with Chloe. She is just one tough and mean cat. She demands respect any way she can. She used to be a strong little cat but age has taken a toll on her body and although she looks fluffy, she is just skin and bones. 

But the younger two, Annie and Jackie are the best of friends. Now normally, cats and dogs don't get along. But these two absolutely love and adore each other. They play together, eat together out of the same bowl, at the same time. And they even nap together on the same bed. The following are pictures of Annie in the cat condo. She jumps up in the little house area and sits with Jackie. On this day, she decided to go take a nap in there while Jackie was out getting a snack. Check out the pictures.

These two give me hope...if these two can get along, then none of us have an excuse not to! :)

Also, I'd love to hear from you...please do share your thoughts.




Check out that gorgeous face!!! 








I love her ears aka her pony tails...She has the most beautiful, natural waves. And her brown spots are placed perfectly on her eyebrows :)

She actually looks a little mean....she is sooo funny!


Love and Light,

From one sufi to another,

Anita

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

At the beach...

So a few pictures from last Sunday with a few friends at Hallandale Beach.