I am a sponge. I automatically absorb traits, behaviors, even ways of thinking that I like. I absorb experiences. I absorb anything I deem absorbable.

 

Cairo in pictures: Real life in the vibrant city

One of the funnest projects I worked on. Truly an honor bringing Bahia Shehab’s work into life.

Stretch

I walk into the office each day, “Good morning!” I say smiling to whoever is there. One day, one of my colleagues scoffs at my ‘optimism’ and says “She’s too young, she hasn’t seen anything yet,” to another colleague.

Smiling out a good old fashioned “Good morning!” has become too optimistic for some people now. How dare I greet people? That’s not the smartest move. I was astonished. So I started to think about our views of optimism, pessimism and our attitudes towards life with all its tiny components.

It’s very easy for us to identify sadness, negativity, depression. We’re humbled by them, they’ve become our comfortable and safe zones. But happiness and positivity? The different keys to them and the various ways to sustain them? No. That’s a luxury. Too luxurious. Lavish. Extravagant. Almost wrong. We’d be too greedy to merely think about attempting to attain them. And if one way or another they do come our way, we’re confused. Ecstatic but unquestionably bewildered. Oh. It was brief. Short-lived. Now we’re back to our humble comfort zones.

We focus on negativity. Let’s slice it up and analyze it. Peel it. Open it up. Fix it. We must fix it. Let us fix it. Exterminate it. Make it vanish once and for all. A lot of us keep failing though. We keep looking at things from a certain perspective and our outcome rarely ever changes. Cue the quote from a famous philosopher making me sound smarter, like I’ve done my research.

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates.

Maybe that’s a perspective that could work for some. Others may have to fight the old first. The key is to actually take initiative. Let’s be honest, few of us seek and fight for happiness, satisfaction and contentment. Many of us, wait patiently for any of them to come knocking on our door. Alright. Then what?

“Don’t wait for the perfect moment. Take a moment and make it perfect.” – Unknown (at least to me)

You can create that moment or someone or something can bless you with it. A moment that almost has the potential to serve as a tipping point; drastically changing everything. One moment. A few moments. A car ride, a phone call, a holiday, an uneaten breakfast with a growling stomach filled with butterflies, impatiently waiting for a probable soon-to-come overwhelming occurrence.

You got the moment. What are you going to do with it? It has several effects on you. Most of which are superbly splendid creating a ripple effect of new perspectives on so many things in your life. You start to enjoy your morning tea more. Breakfast has never tasted better. Work offers a plethora of hours for you to think about that moment. Traffic isn’t so bad. Outings are more fun. You find yourself lacking time to think negatively. Physical exercise becomes easier, you’re enjoying life more. Life? Oh life isn’t so bad after all. Is it perfect? Surely not. There are wars, famines, droughts, discrimination, harassment and an unfortunate and heartbreaking on-going list. Oh and there’s your baggage as well.

Baggage so full that your reply to “She’s too young, she hasn’t seen anything yet,” would be a pitying smile. But back to that moment. That ripple effect. That glimpse of green light for a new beginning. Those delicious consequences.

You’re confused. You’re allowed to be. You dare to say that you’re afraid that this, like most happy experiences, will be short-lived. Will those moments feeding your thrilled soul run out? Could they be nourished and replenished? Now you get this thought. It’s a crazy one. One that’s going to make you sound too gluttonous.

Oh fine, you’ll say it. You would like to change your comfort zone. That submissive, modest zone you’ve become so accustomed to. I mean, after all, this is one thing that most of us could agree on? We want to be happy, right? You want to change your comfort zone to a positive one in which you’re generally satisfied. One that is not without flaws, negativity and bad or sad experiences, but one in which you can cope with those negative situations. One in which your default setting would be positive and pleased, looking at things from various multi-colored perspectives, learning from the littlest and biggest encounters in life. One in which you can work on sustaining your own pleasure and fulfillment.

Oh, child! You’re too young to think this might actually work. You haven’t seen anything yet.

We’ve all heard the comparison of life to a rollercoaster before. Well, surely that sounds about right. Look around you. It’s filled with ups and downs, sideways and in-betweens. Look around you again. It’s filled with a cornucopia of events and experiences! Ups, downs, sideways, in-betweens, and all other possible directions. The tipping point to changing your attitude towards life can be in the tiniest thing you do or the simplest thing you accept from another. It doesn’t always start small though. Point is, it’s attainable. Dare you say this attitude, these new perspectives could be nourished and replenished? Dare away. Put some effort and they will be.

I’m not an expert. Not on anything actually. I’d rather know sufficient information about many things than too much about just a few things. That’s me though. You’re different and that’s okay. Not okay actually, it’s great. Each one of us is an exquisite concoction of different traits, backgrounds and uniqueness.

Here’s the little that I know about this topic though, that whole absurd notion of wanting to be happy (yuck!) and sustaining that happiness. You need to work for it. More importantly, you need to want to work for it, you need to challenge yourself and take risks. The outcome will surprise you. It’s not great though? You’re not happy with it? Try again. You eventually will be. You deserve to be. Change things around. Take on new adventures. Try different things. Try different ways. 5 ways maybe. Wear a skirt. Buy red socks. But keep wearing mismatched earrings and colorful clothes. Keep saying “Good morning!” with a big smile on your face. Do whatever it takes. And be grateful. Oh. You feel down today. But wait. This will be short-lived. You’ll feel better in a bit. You’ve changed your comfort zone. So breathe. Now Stretch. Repeat. Fight for your happiness. Get pinned to fighting for it. 

Interpret this as you may,

for there’s one truth here to stay,

I personally vow to make the effort

and for everlasting, I will pray.

My Tombstone

My dear colleague at work, Omar, asked me, “What is your life about? What do you want your tombstone to read?”

I completely froze at first. He caught me off guard and I felt cornered but he was persistant and wouldn’t let me go without an answer.

I thought about all the different things that I aspire to accomplish in life. Instead of asking myself why I want to accomplish them in order to prioritize my list, I asked myself how I want to do that. I came to a conclusion.

Perspective. Whatever message I want to get across to people, whatever story I want to tell, whichever initiative I want to start, I know that the way I can do it best is through presenting it with a different perspective. Changing perspective allows you to see a lot more, not necessarily in content, but in depth and terms of understanding as well.

I want my tombstone to read: “Ohoud Saad. The one who showed us perspective.”

What about yours?

You. Be selfish for a change.

Take Karma for example, poor thing has been called all kinds of names, most popularly ‘bitch’. For Karma believers out there, and for non-believers just bare with me for the point I’ll attempt to make, for the notion and not necessarily this specific cause; humans, hear me out.

Some people fear harming others or committing wrong deeds just so Karma wouldn’t come around to bite them in the ass. Right? Well, how about you try being selfish for a change? Selfish, you ask? Yes. It can be good for you. No, really.

Why doesn’t anyone ever try doing something good so that Karma would come back around and pat them on the back? Reward them, if you will. Or has Karma been irrevocably stigmatized as a bitch in your head, you don’t think she’s capable of doing that? What goes around comes around no? Initiate what goes around as something good, something positive and believe that what’ll come around is something of equal value and grace.

If you don’t want to do something positive for no reason, hey, I won’t blame or judge you, I’ll just ask you to do it for the reciprocation. Do it with the very intent to be rewarded. Do it as a seed you’re planting to eventually get to enjoy the fruits. Don’t fear Karma, reach out to her. After all, Karma will come around eventually to…

Well, you get to decide that. And the beautiful thing? Think about how often and where you can implement this concept. Countless times in countless occasions.

Perspective. It all comes down to perspective.

Now hanging on my office wall.. (Taken with Instagram)

Now hanging on my office wall.. (Taken with Instagram)

No, You Are Not #3: You are not as good as you think you are.

No, you are not. Call them weaknesses, call them areas for improvement, there’s always room to grow and progress. You may believe that you’re better than others but remember that you have more in common with the person right next to you than you think you do. Perfection can be sought but rarely attained. Humbleness is a beautiful trait and it can only get you a few steps closer to true and exquisite goodness. Reward yourself for the good you do and reprimand yourself for the bad. No human is above everyone else, treat people the way you wish to be treated. Give back to people and give back to yourself. Forgive, give second chances, communicate and compete against yourself. Raise your own bar. Be better.

“We see things as we are. Not as they are.”

Change your perspective and may you find the balance you seek.

No, You Are Not #2: You are not as efficient as you think you are.

No, you are not. Waste is but a terrible thing. Know that most of what you throw away have several very practical uses. There are a lot of green cycles. There’s recycling, up-cycling, down-cycling, free-cycling and a lot more you can do instead of throwing away different forms of goods. Green talk aside, be efficient in what you do. The more effort you put into something, the stronger and more valuable the result will be. Quality trumps quantity so add some devotion and conscientiousness in what you do whether you’re cleaning up after yourself, volunteering, working, reading and living in general. Efficiency guarantees you better outcomes and will consequently provide you with great personal satisfaction. Remember that you are malleable, you’re not made of stone. Change the way you look at your errands, your chores, your work. “Love what you do to do what you love,” we often hear. So love what you do by doing it in the best way you possibly can.

“We see things as we are. Not as they are.”

Change your perspective and may you find the balance you seek.

No, You Are Not #1: You are not as flawed as you think you are.

No, you are not. The scale of perfection has been set by some people. People who are by no means better than you or me. Always keep that in mind. The grass isn’t that much greener on the other side, the human nature just suffers from an acquired major flaw: dissatisfaction. We’ve been programmed to find the flaws in anything and everything deeming the way we look, how we live, where we work unsatisfactory. Your “imperfections” are someone else’s desires. Embrace who you are and occupy your own body and mind. There’s a reason we’re different, why else did God create us so? Your actions are performed by you so choose them wisely. Change what you don’t like about you and keep reinventing yourself.

“We see things as we are. Not as they are.”

Change your perspective and may you find the balance you seek.

Finding the balance through “No, You Are Not”.

I seek balance. I find it. I fight for keeping it. I lose it at times and I repeat the process again. And again and again. I constantly attempt to find balance between my spiritual path and my earthly one. Balance between work, family and friends. Balance for my body. Balance in my traits. All in all, balance to become the person I want to be. One method I’ve found to work and has helped me in becoming who I want to be is to see who I don’t want to be. Negative connotations seemed to work as they scare me by showing me who I don’t want to become. Seeing someone who is arrogant, someone who is unfair or someone who is hateful, for example. On the other hand, seeing someone who is helpful, someone who is cheerful or fair will inspire me to become so.

Then one day, I Stumbled Upon the picture that follows. To me, it embodied something I thought was very strong, yet another method to help me with the balance I constantly seek. With an attempt to merge several techniques together, openly fight for balance, and perhaps help a few people along the way, I’ve decided to start a series called “No, You Are Not”. 

"We see things as we are. Not as they are."

Change your perspective and may you find the balance you seek.

appuyer asked
I'm just wondering, if you had a kid, and you told them they could be a doctor, and a kid at school told them they couldn't because your kid was a girl, and she told you this, what would you say?

Honestly, if I ever have kids, I’ll raise them with the notion that we’re all created equally. Acceptance, tolerance, compassion and understanding are pivotal concepts to live by. Having said that, I would hope that my girl would answer whoever told her that appropriately and instead of telling to me, she could amaze me by telling me how she answered back. Only then, I’d know I’ve done my job as a good parent. (fingers crossed :) )