A Woman Defined

Art & Culture by Mahvash Mossaed

Life Itself: The Way I See It

December 17, 2017
“I am out with lanterns, looking for myself.” — Emily Dickinson

It is a fact that sometimes, just as we are standing by the ocean of life, unassumingly admiring its breathtaking view, a humongous wave unexpectedly runs towards us, kicks us on the head, and takes us with it to uncertain, unfamiliar territories, creating chaos and unrest inside and all around us.

Unfortunately, there is no manual, no instruction book as to how to deal with turmoil which has caused us to lose our balance and our sense of being centered and grounded. It is up to each one of us to put together our own tool box of what we can do to bring ourselves back to our calm sate.

These are the tools I keep in my tool box of “how to keep calm in the midst of chaos.” Before anything, I try to clear up my mind of all its unnecessary clutter to bring back order to it. It is sort of like cleaning up my desk of all the stacks of paperwork and all the other junk on it in order to find a small paper clip I have lost there. I know well that at these chaotic times, more than ever, I need clarity. I need to create space in my mind. I need to empty my mind rather than fill it up with worries and fears. I need to look at things from all different directions to get a realist perspective of it all. That is why I try to share my state of mind with my trusted friends and family. I try to listen to different points of view by different people examining the same problem.

During the chaotic times in my life, I try to especially love and pamper myself. I do this by going for quiet walks; drinking herbal tea; doing yoga stretches; listening to soothing music; trying to get plenty of sleep; reading pages of my favorite motivational books; doing my special deep breathing exercises; and becoming philosophical and spiritual by praying and giving thanks for all my blessings. I acknowledge that my problems, as huge as they seem to be in my eyes, are still trivial and quite insignificant compared to some other people’s problems around the world.

Finally, at some point, I can let go of whatever I cannot control. I forgive myself for not being perfect and super human. I praise myself for doing whatever I could have done to get a hold of the chaos inside of me the best way I could. All the while, I remind myself that we live in this material, physical world where everything changes. Sometimes, the unhappiness and the turmoil which we are experiencing in our lives are just part of our destiny and part of the path we have chosen to walk on. In fact, I think life is all about changes. So, I try to be as flexible as I can be and not resist change. I allow the process of going back to the place of calm in my life happen gradually, by giving it the time it needs, knowing all along that after all, tomorrow the sun will come up again, and it will be a brand new day.

Everything is possible: I am alive, healthy, happy, and I have hope on my side.

I think every day is a blank piece of a paper, white as a brand new canvas. I can draw just about anything on it for that day. I can decide to be overjoyed or miserable. I can be an optimist or a pessimist for that whole day. It’s all up to me. The whole day is my blank canvas on which to paint my masterpiece.

Once I wake up in the morning, the very first thing I do is thank God that I woke up. After all, every breath we take is a gift, a miracle. I see myself as a voyager searching for a new world. I affirm to myself, Today is a kind of day when anything is possible. Today is a clean, bright, beautiful day. I am alive, healthy, happy, and I have hope on my side. I visualize my whole day as I am dressing, like the captain of a ship studying the day’s weather report.

I believe in always being prepared. That is why the night before, I draft all my to-call, to-go, and to-do lists for the next day in my iPhone. I choreograph everything time wise and location wise in my head so I can get to do everything in my list without any of my time being wasted.

I start my day with a full glass of water with a squeeze of lemon or lime in it. Then I do some deep breathing. Sometimes, if time permits, I go for a short run or just do some simple yoga stretches or a few push ups or squats. I believe in having a big mighty breakfast, with good carbs, fiber, and lots of protein. My favorite is steel cut oatmeal with a bit of blueberry and a few slices of banana on top. I love eggs and greek yogurt, and I can never have enough of avocados. Sometimes, when I am in a hurry, I make myself a quick smoothie with things like spinach and kale in it. I believe in chia seeds, flax seeds, mixed nuts, green tea, and not to forget, layers and layers of almond butter on my toast. I believe in sunscreen, and I believe in hydrating and eating small snacks of fruit, vegetables, and protein all day long.

To make my mood stable during a long, busy, and stressful day, I keep taking deep breaths. That helps me to slow down and not to allow people, incidents, and things rush and frazzle me. I realize that if I am coming from a serene place in my mind, every moment is stretched and seems more roomy and spacious. When I am hurried and anxious, I notice that time shrinks, and evaporates, and is mostly and greatly wasted.

I try to do one thing at a time, do it well, and give it all of my effort and attention with complete focus all along the day. I periodically attempt to get rid of the weeds of my mind’s garden. That means getting rid of all the unnecessary worries, frets, fears, assumptions, and judgments. That means letting go of old topics, removing energy drains and not always giving into little issues which come up daily at work or in my personal life. I try to always be myself and not the illusion of what people want me to be. Do not have any self doubt. Stay open and flexible. Listen, reflect, and try to take everything that happens around me in that day lightly. Look at the bright and humorous side of life.

I walk around with a hint of a smile on my lips to confirm that I am the kind of a person who does not sweat the small stuff, believing deep in my heart that in the end, everything works for the best. All I am here to do today is to take a big bite of the apple of my life.

Our life is a constant struggle against time pulling us toward our mortality

My only prayer has always been that I want to be able to move around and be physically active until my last day on earth. Someone asked me the other day, “How do you make time to always stay so physically active?” I answered, “What kind of question is that? Do you ever ask anybody how they make time to bath, brush teeth, eat or sleep?” Long ago, I realized that exercise is the foundation of my health, and everything else is built on and absolutely depends on its stability. I have always had a very healthy relationship with my physical body. I understand what it wants from me, and in turn, my physical body understands my expectations from it, and it never disappoints me. Our relationship is based on a certain kind of mutual respect.

There are so many different reasons as to why exercise is vital in my life. It provides better general health, more energy, strength, stamina, and flexibility. It improves my mood, my memory, and my focus. It creates a balance between my body and my soul.

Being aware of its importance, I try to design a personal fitness program for myself. I make a list of all the possible activities I could do, like hiking, bicycling, walking, boating, playing tennis, swimming, going to the gym, and, at times, seasonal activities like skiing. Sometimes I just play the music loud and dance around the room. Sometimes, if I have an idle few minutes, I throw my yoga mat on the floor and do a few stretches. Sometimes, if I am missing a friend I have not seen for a while, I give her a call and suggest we could go for a walk and then have cup of coffee.

When I get up in the morning, crawl out of the bed, and say good morning my new day, in order to wake up my body as well, I start doing some stretches and some jogging in place. I follow this with a few minutes of meditation and some yoga breathing.

I always make sure to keep my gym bag and my running shoes in the trunk of my car, in case I get a few minutes to go to the gym or for a walk. I mostly do my own yard work and house work as much as I can. Some Sundays, I wash my own car. I am always running up and down the stairs of my house, and I always ditch the elevator in favor of taking the stairs at work. I park my car really far away from where I am going. I try not to sit in front of computer and try not to allow it to become my master and my means of entertainment. Instead, I take the time to go do some outdoor activities. When talking on the phone, brushing my teeth, or waiting in line, I do my calf or ab exercises. I also do my simple yoga poses in the shower while humming my favorite tune.

So here it is, some of my secrets on how I make time for myself to be physically active, fit, healthy, and wearing a big a smile on my face. What is your secret?

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Posted in LIfestyle, Miscellaneous & Opinion |

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