Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Lessons from 2013

On leadership
At work I have started to coordinate a few projects  and I am struggling with the sentence in my head "I just wasn't born to be a leader". A long talk with a friend helped me realize that I  don't have to change my whole personality. I can still be an introvert and be delicate, understanding and sensitive. Nor do I have to negate my quiet nature or fearfulness. Leadership or management skills are something I can use if I need them . The lesson I want to  learn is how to make the best use of what I have: empathy, expecting the best of others, positive attitude to people. I also  have a good role model I can draw from. My own boss. He is someone I appreciate for being clear, visionary, and at the same time open to ideas and supportive.

On prayer  
In September I wanted to make it to a training retreat with my friends from my mediation course and a party of my dear friend to honour the birth of his little girl.  At some point problems with my travel started piling up I sat for hours biting my nails thinking I would not make it and let so many people down. I remember how I prayed to find solutions and I received all the help I needed. The experience of the ardour, the focus and the energy on  the intention with which I asked made me feel what prayer really can be. It is not just about asking and getting something, but prayer as something that fills your whole being.  A part of my prayer was gratitude. It was more about the attention, the energy with which I pray. Maybe those dark hours, praying and being heard will help me to really understand and transform the way I pray. 

On trusting my own conscience and intuition
You know that feeling deep inside "this is the right thing to do?" I had it in a very painful and unexpected situation  when it was about revealing something to a family member of a friend and I did not follow this feeling. Although I cannot blame myself for the situation itself or others for advising me wrongly, I take the responsibility for not trusting myself. I would like to be more honest with myself and remember that in the end what counts is the choice I make not what others tell me. 

On friendship and keeping in touch 
 With one of my closest friends going away for studies abroad  I thought that it meant the end of  spontaneous coffees during the week and long chats about everything and nothing. But we continue to have coffee talks on skype, to support one another in our life challenges. Regularly. This won't be possible with every friend leaving or changing their life. But he has shown me that it is possible  to stay in touch if it stays a priority for both people. And I am grateful to him that with us it has.  

On appreciating what I have learned and know  
Taking a second training course in mediation left me excited and anxious. I was not sure if I would be able to shift my perspective or if anything I learned before would be useful. It turned out that I knew many things and could even share them with other people. It does not mean I have less to learn during this course or about mediation, but appreciating the things I can already do and know helps me to feel more positive about myself and trust that all these efforts I have made to learn have not been in vain. 

On reading 
I learned that if I simply put a book in my bag (or a kindle- see below) in my bag and carry it with me I will read so much more, because I will use all these little moments in the metro, in the waiting rooms. I am happier when I read more and I do it regularly. My family thinks I am a devout reader, but the truth is I don't read that much if I don't discipline myself to get books.  Making sure I always have a book in my bag helps me to live a life according to my values, filled with intellectual stimulation and beauty.

On possessions and buying 
I am always weary about  desiring and buying new gadgets and the consumer culture-especially that I am reading more and more about minimalism. However, there are some things that do make my life better and easier.  I dreamed of a kindle and now that I have one I can say that I absolutely love it. It's so easy to read on the public transport, I don't have to print large PDFs, there is not problem with turning pages in gripping cold. And it's small and light and fit's perfectly into a purse. 
 So maybe it's OK to  want some things if they serve a good purpose and I really use them.


Sunday, December 8, 2013

All the families

As I waived goodbye to my uncle and aunt going back to their home in Montreal  today I thought about belonging to more than one family, or should I say, my family is bigger than I could ever imagine. Of course they are my blood relation anyway, but also our mutual history is interwoven in a unique way. They left me a box of  baklava sweets  they brought from Dubai.  Once the candies are finished I will put the box on my desk and keep letters and envelopes in it. Could I have ever imagined that a box engraved with Arabic letters will remind me of them and that part of me  which is still there in Canada with them?