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On acquiring wisdom

We will explore the wisdom of Imam Ali (as) in this series of Daily Wisdom.

This is how Reza Shah-Kazemi introduces Imam Ali in his fantastic book Justice and Remembrance: Introducing the Spirituality of Imam Ali:

"To speak of Ali – cousin and son in law of the Prophet Muhammad, fourth caliph of Islam and the first in line of Shi'i Imams - is to speak about the quintessential spirituality of the Islamic tradition. For in this seminal figure of nascent Islam, one finds an integral expression of the two fundamental sources of Islamic spirituality, the Quranic revelation and the inspired Sunna of the Prophet. By his Sunna, we do not mean simply the outward imitation of the Prophet's – a reductionism all too prevalent in our times – rather, we mean the spiritual substance of the prophetic perfection to which the Quran itself refers: "Verily, thou art of a tremendous nature (68:4)"

The Prophet Mohammad (saw) had advised his followers:
I am the city of knowledge and Ali...

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Wisdom from Louise Hay (Quotes to live by)

Those of you who know Louise Hay's work, may have heard that she passed away peacefully last week at the age of 90.

Louise Hay was one of the founders of the self help movement and her book, Heal Your Body, was first published in 1976, long before it was fashionable to discuss the connection between the mind and body. After the publication of You Can Heal Your Life in 1984 (which has more than 50 million copies in print worldwide), Louise started to inspire and uplift millions with her words of wisdom, now contained in over 30 books for adults and children.

You can read much more about her work and legacy here.

Although criticized by some for her "woo-woo" new age messaging and lack of scientific backing for her work, there is no doubt that Louise's words have supported millions of people through life's challenges. Even if we don't entirely buy into Louise's messaging (and I do have my reservations!), there is so much we can learn from her about helpful versus unhelpful thinking.

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Live fully (Quotes to live by)

Today's quote is a lovely poem from Khalil Gibran

Don't live a half life

Do not love half lovers
Do not entertain half friends
Do not indulge in works of the half talented
Do not live half a life and do not die a half death

If you choose silence, then be silent
When you speak, do so until you are finished
Do not silence yourself to say something
And do not speak to be silent
If you accept, then express it bluntly
Do not mask it
If you refuse then be clear about it
for an ambiguous refusal
is but a weak acceptance

Do not accept half a solution
Do not believe half truths
Do not dream half a dream
Do not fantasize about half hopes

Half a drink will not quench your thirst
Half a meal will not satiate your hunger
Half the way will get you no where
Half an idea will bear you no results

Half a life is a life you didn't live,
A word you have not said
A smile you postponed
A love you have not had
A friendship you did not know
To reach and not arrive
Work and not work
Attend only to be absent
What makes you a...

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On generosity (Quotes to live by)

Continuing with our exploration of the wisdom from Maya Angelou, today's quotes are about the value in being a giver.

I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.
Maya Angelou

Are we giving more than we are taking from life or do we have catcher's mitts on both our hands?

She recognized that it is more blessed to give than to receive

I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver. Maya Angelou

Along the same lines, here is the link to a podcast on the benefits of generosity from the #EssentialVirtues series.

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The freedom of speaking the truth (Quotes to live by)

If you tell the truth, it becomes a part of your past but if you tell a lie, it becomes part of your future.

Imam Ali (as)

Much later, Mark Twain said something very similar:
If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.

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Come out of the sidelines and into the arena (Quotes to live by)

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
Excerpt from the speech "Citizenship In A Republic" delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910

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The journey towards wisdom

The journey to writing the "Daily Wisdom" emails started when I was a child.

An avid reader from nursery school, I would mark up my books with writing that I enjoyed and which inspired me. I started curating a collection of quotes while I was still in elementary school. These handwritten quotes still dwell in an old yellowing notebook titled "Quotable Quotes". It is quite interesting to reflect on my personal journey of emotional and spiritual maturity through the quotes that I have gathered over the years.

The words of wisdom that I still gather (now in Evernote!) from books and people, in poetry and prose, inspire me to live up to my full potential, to do the right thing and to see the bigger picture. They validate my life experiences, encourage me to try harder when I feel discouraged and provide a healing balm to the heart on days when sadness and negativity overcome joy and positivity.

As we celebrate the now over 200 editions of Daily Wisdom (can you believe it? small steps do...

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Do you really want to ruin your relationship?

Over the past few weeks we have been sharing ways you can unknowingly ruin your relationship. Some of the posts were difficult to read and I really appreciate you hanging in there and continuing despite the discomfort you may have felt. The fact that you are still reading is a sign of your commitment not to ruin your relationship.

As you read the various posts, what did you notice?

I really hope that you sometimes caught yourself in the act of doing things that would ruin your relationship. (And we all do some of these things some of the time, by the way) I hope that you became more aware of your attitudes and behaviours that could damage your marriage if left unchecked. I pray that you paused for a moment at times, and asked yourself: Do I really want to ruin a perfectly good relationship?

If, on the other hand, while reading the emails you only reconfirmed how your spouse is ruining the relationship – you get absolutely no points for that! You actually did not need these...

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Be passive-aggressive (How to ruin a perfectly good relationship)

When something bothers or upsets you, under no circumstance tell your spouse what it is honestly or directly. Instead, express your anger indirectly in other ways, leaving them feeling like the two of you are in the middle of a fight but not quite sure what they did wrong to cause it.

Some great ways to show passive-aggression are:
- Go somewhere you don't want to go but drag your feet while going there, be late, make sure you are not pleasant company. Let everyone see that you are not happy to be there
- Say things like "I'm not mad", "Fine, whatever." "Yes dear" while seething on the inside
- Deliberately procrastinate. Rather than tell your spouse that you cannot agree to their request, delay completing their request until they get very frustrated, thereby punishing them for making the request.

Such behaviour will ensure that it is not possible to resolve the issue or reach closure. Make sure that your anger is always underneath the surface, simmering, causing resentment and leaking...

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Save your best self for the outside world (How to ruin a perfectly good relationship)

Be socially charming, attentive to others in public and even flirtatious. Put on your best clothes and your best attitude when you go out. Be the life of the party and use humour and wit to entertain everybody.

But turn into a completely different person as soon as you are alone with your spouse.

In private be silent, critical, mean or aggressive. Never get the joke. Don't bother with personal grooming or charm.

This will ensure the speedy demise of your relationship because your spouse will soon recognize that you are capable of being nice, attentive and charming – just not to them.

If you wanted to save your relationship on the other hand, try this instead:

Adopt the stranger standard.

Be AT LEAST as good to your spouse as you are to others.

AT LEAST as good. At least as good to your spouse as you are to others if you want to have a stable relationship.

To have a healthy and loving relationship, you need to give your best self to those that matter most.

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