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Lower your wings (DW#597)

Today’s verse is also from Sura Israa [The Night Journey] where Allah says:

Lower unto them the wing of humility out of compassion and say, "My Lord! Have mercy upon them, as they cherished me when I was little." [Quran 17:24]

As we said yesterday, Islam lays great emphasis on the courtesies towards parents, especially as they age. This verse also expresses the abundance of mercy, affection, and humility with which adult children should aspire to treat their parents.

Here, a beautiful image is evoked of a bird that lovingly spreads its wings over its offspring to shelter and protect them in the nest.

Scholars explain that this metaphor of a high-flying bird which lowers her wing out of tenderness to her offspring is apt because when the parent was strong and the child was helpless, parental affection was showered on the child and so when the child grows up and is strong, and the parent becomes increasingly helpless, the child must do the same for the parent. However, the child...

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Deal with Ehsaan towards your parents (DW#596)

This week we will explore some Quranic injunctions for dealing with our parents, a relationship which the Quran holds as the most sacred of human relationships with the highest expectations of virtuous behaviour from children towards their parents.

Today’s verse:
And your Lord has commanded . . . ehsaan (virtue, goodness, kindness, excellent courtesy) to your parents. If either or both of them reach old age with you, say not to them (so much as) "Uff" nor chide them, and speak to them a generous word.[Quran 17:23]

In the above verse from Sura Israa (the Night Journey) Allah pairs the command to worship only Him with the command to show ehsaan towards our parents.

The Arabic word ehsaan is a word with profound meanings including goodness, beauty, perfection, excellence, generosity.

This verse specifically counsels virtuous behaviour towards parents as they age. This time of life is where the roles of parent-child relationship are turned around. The parent, who has been the...

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Did you notice the ease? (DW#591)

In verses 5 and 6 of Sura Inshirah (Expansion), the Quran states:

For truly with hardship comes ease! Truly with hardship comes (more) ease!

The scholars tell us that the verses means that

1) Whatever difficulties or troubles are encountered by men, Allah always provides a solution, a way out, a relief, a way to lead to ease and happiness, if we only follow His Path and show our Faith by patience and right action. The solution or relief does not merely come after the difficulty: it is provided right along with it.
And that the

2) Emphasis and repetition may imply that there is more ease than difficulty.
It is so easy for our attention to zoom in on what is wrong, what is troubling us and what is not quite right. It takes consciousness and intention to direct our attention to the ease that may still be present in our lives. If our knee is hurting, for example, we tend to focus only on the knee. What about our feet, our hands, our head and our organs which are pain free and working...

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Examples of implantation intentions (DW#582)

For the rest of this week, let’s practice coming up implementation intentions for various areas of our lives. 

Here are some general examples to get us going: 

  • If I feel like hitting the snooze button, then I immediately jump out of bed as fast as I can.
  • If I feel tempted to eat a chocolate, then I put it away and go brush my teeth.
  • If I catch myself wasting time on Facebook, then I immediately close it and get back to what I was doing.
 

Simple, right? So now think of something you are struggling with and come up with an implementation intention. 

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The good news about inspiration (DW#570)

You have moments of inspiration, don’t you? Moments when you feel really really motivated and inspired to take action on your task or project. The good news about inspiration is that we all experience it from time to time.

It would be wise for you to capitalize on this inspiration. And start taking action immediately. Today. Not in the future. Now.

Experts in motivation tell us that the longer we wait between feeling inspired to do something and actually doing it, the more our own image of ourselves erodes. Along with our confidence in getting the job done.

So the moment you feel inspiration, please don’t delay, over analyze it or second guess it. Or try to do it perfectly.

Simply get up and get into motion.

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The bad news about the future (DW#569)

Have you ever told yourself that you don’t have time this week to do what matters but you will for sure next week? Next week you will be organized and have more time. Next week, things will magically work out and what distracts you today, will surely sort itself out next week.
 
It turns out that this is a very common human tendency. We tend to overestimate the time that we will have in the future.
 
The line from the musical Annie comes to mind: Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you tomorrow. You are always a day away . . .
 
As lovely and positive as that thought may be, the reality, it turns out, it quite different. We are no more organized the next day than we are today. Tomorrow is likely to be just like today. We will be busy and distracted and have a long list of urgent things that will crowd out the important.

So our future will be just like our present. Unless we do something different. And start taking action on what matters. Not tomorrow and not...

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You can take action despite your fears. (DW#568)

Can I tell you a little secret?

The most successful people in the world have the same fears that you and I do. Fears regarding failure, criticism and not meeting standards set by themselves and others. 

Really and truly. 

The only difference is that they take action despite their fears and their anxiety. 

The strength of their purpose is greater than the fears and the doubts that they experience. 

Really. 

You and I can also choose to act despite how we feel. 

Repeat after me: 
Feel the fear and take action anyway. 
Feel the fear and take action towards your goals. 
Feel the fear and take action towards your goals. 

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The anxiety of taking action (DW#567)

I really like how Neil Fiore explains our tendency to procrastinate in his book The Now Habit.

He says that procrastination is our way of coping with the anxiety that accompanies starting or completing any task or making any decision. 

According to him, we procrastinate to deal with feelings of low esteem, perfectionism, fear of failure (and of success), indecisiveness, an imbalance between work and play, ineffective goal-setting, and negative concepts about work and ourselves. 

It makes sense right? Think about something you are procrastinating about. And check in with yourself. What are the underlying feelings you are trying to deal with? 

Are you concerned that the task or project will not be done perfectly? Are you scared that once done, people can criticize your work (or worse, YOU)? Are you concerned that you will not measure up to your own (perhaps unreasonable?) standards of perfection?

Naming your fears and concerns is the first step to taming...

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Express affection (DW#556)

This week we are continuing with our series on hacking your marriage which simply means developing and implementing short but powerful rituals for a strong relationship.

Time investment for today’s hack is about 5 minutes a day or a total of 35 minutes per week.

Do you believe that in order to express affection you have to necessarily feel loving or affectionate? Do you wait for the feelingof affection before you engage in affectionate behaviour?

Research shows that happy couples actually develop habits of affectionate behaviour which in turn lead to feelings of affection.


In other words, expressing physical affection when you’re together is vital to feeling connected to each other. So for today’s marriage hack, make sure to take a few moments to cuddle each other before falling asleep and take a moment to kiss goodnight. 

These moments of affection are a great way to let go of the minor stressors and annoyances that have built up over the...

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How not to forget your intention (DW#537)

Despite our best intentions (pun intended :) ) life gets in the way and it can be challenging to keep self growth and living our best selves in the fore front on a daily basis. 

If we do not engage with our intention frequently, it can be so easy to forget it completely. 

A very effective way to keep your intention alive and up-front for the year is to share it with others who support our wellbeing and growth. Sometimes though, we find that those who are closest to us are not on the same wavelength. While this can be discouraging and challenging, please do not let it stop you from progressing on your own path. 

The great thing about social media (despite its many downsides) is that we can find virtual communities of like minded people. If we use social media in an intentional way, it can be a great way to connect with others on the journey. You may find that virtual communities are incredibly generous and supportive when you reach out, share and are authentic. ...

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