Tag Archives: kindness

More Human

I am usually overly excited around this time of the year. Thanksgiving Turkey dinners, UAE National Day celebrations, Christmas in Beirut, Wham! on repeat, Micheal Buble overdose, a new year with Mr. Love, December is a mashup of all my favorite things combined, except this year, I am fearing it.

Stereotyping, hatred and atrocity have plagued our lives and our world this year. Hence, as excited as I intend to be this December, a part of me fears what is to happen to the world amidst all the Holiday cheers.

We owe our world more tolerance, more empathy, more compassion, more solidarity.

We owe our world more love. Please start today #WhatMakesUsHuman

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On Family

I’ve been having micro-nightmares, possibly implied by all things scary haunting the media on regular basis. Aging frightens me. Not my own aging, but my parents’. Having lived in a different country for the past 11 years, means that- in spite of all my efforts to be as present as I can- I am not by their side everyday. Surely technology is helping, but is not enough. Neither are the 30 days off I get per year (Thank God for the public sector).

- at the Soap House - #AFFOB

– at the Soap House – #AFFOB

As hard as I try to brush the thought of it off my mind, and as true and realistic as I am, aging still frightens me. I know it’s the drill, and the cycle of life (and all that jazz), but these parents made me, and my siblings. Their love created me, and then nurtured me into becoming the person I am today. And as I woke up this morning with these deliberations in my head, I thought of the struggle I’ve been witnessing in the media, of refugees sharing their stories (Humans of New York ‘s Brandon Stanton depicts it best). As difficult as getting misplaced and humiliated is, their biggest ache always comes from losing family, and their biggest relief and hope, despite it all, is having managed to keep their family close.

I am grateful today, for having had my family near (far, but near), and having had the blessing to be raised amongst them, and my hope for me and Mr. Love, for our generation and generations to follow is to be able to give life and love to our children amongst our families, in a kinder and safer world.


More Being

I love this video.

Women speaking from the heart, reminiscing about their youth, the to-DON’T-do lists they wish they had, the goodnight kisses and the dancing they wish they indulged in.

These wise women argue that the most important thing to us as human beings should be “being” instead of doing. I couldn’t agree more #LetGo


#RedNoseDay

Sam Smith was the biggest winner at the Grammys this year, taking home four awards earlier this month, and John Legend is, well, a living legend. While their music genres may slightly differ, their ultimate faith in one love- that of the world- is the same. And what I really like about these two is how they put it all in action, and collaborated (without breaking the internet) in an attempt to give back some of the goodness they’ve been blessed with this year.

- global citizens -

– global citizens –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By far, my favorite collaboration of the year for #RedNoseDay!

 

 


In Retrospect

They’re miraculous, the realizations you make once you detach and give your own self some space. I’ve just celebrated turning a year wiser, in a little piece of land in the heart of Sri Lanka, and being here reiterates what continues to matter and make sense to me most.

Self-worth hits you flat in the face the minute you lay foot on this ground. While we often tend to lose sight of equality when we hire “caregivers” for our households, (because yes they do serve us but no they are not our servants), they tend to treat their peers, their tourists, their family, the same on their land and in their own households; genuinely, generously, respectfully and kindly.

- in the heart of Galle -

– in the heart of Galle –

They’ve gifted me, a stranger to them, papayas from their gardens, curry leaves from their trees, king coconuts and avocados of their own. They’ve made me floral necklaces because I said a simple “thank you”.

I am quite frankly stunned with the goodness that is instilled in their hearts, despite of the poverty and lack of opportunities that surround them. And you know what? They are happy. They are content because they know what matters. They’re not smitten by the world of Glitz. Instead, they cling onto their legacy, their culture, their values- which are all founded on kindness and empathy.

I love being here. I love that Galle’s citizens have unintentionally injected so much love and gratitude into my heart, at a time when the entire world seems to be lacking both. Also I love being here with him. He makes me whole.


Snow Flakes

This is not a blog post. This is a revelation. I’ve been observing my contentment trends for a while, and I’ve realized they’ve somewhat “matured”, probably because this year revolved around grateful living for me, and acknowledging little pleasures that I had long overlooked: visiting with family, watching a genuinely good movie, finding an interesting read, writing on this blog, seeking inspiration in others, dancing till my feet hurt, swinging till my eyes roll, exploring new relationships, building on already existing ones- relatively small things, but with quite a big impact.

(picture courtesy of my mama - Alexa takes on Shtoura)

(photo courtesy of my awesome mama – Alexa in Shtoura)

With all this in mind, I’ve decided to make my one and only new year’s resolution this morning, because December’s clearly all about getting things done, and January resolutions clearly don’t do it for me. Somehow, my mind always gets  tricked into believing the year has just started afresh (automatically granting me at least another 11 months to make things happen)- #error

This December, I’m making things happen. I’m hopping on a bike the minute I land home in Shtoura (for the very first time), and I won’t fall off it.  I’m going to dive freely into my sacred valley of snow flakes, almond trees, and homemade rice pudding, all whilst recapping how life-changing 2013 really was. I rose up a notch this year, set my priorities straight, and formed new habits – of kindness- in a span of 3 weeks only (it’s not a myth), and right now, I am utterly grateful. I’m hopping on a bike and I am owning the world!

TED’s non- cheesy guide to gratefulness here: my favorite is David Steindtl- Rasl!  Stop, Look, and Go!


On Kindness

I just read in the Gulf News that the Dubai Creek, also known as Khor Dubai, is nominated for UNESCO’s List for World Heritage Sites, meaning a designated area of it could become protected by UNESCO and no construction would be allowed to take place in that area.

I am now brimming with excitement; it is true that the nature and architecture of Old Dubai have very well preserved a feel of realness over time, but what I am actually fond of, having visited that side of Dubai more than once, is the fact that its residents of all backgrounds and nationalities have clung onto candid kindness- which I found to be quite contagious.

photoui

My favored corner of Dubai Creek is Al Bastakiya. I discovered it over a year ago as I attempted to find my way to Sikka Art Fair in Bur Dubai. Traditional houses- turned museums and art galleries, it is where soul takes a breather, and mind comes to rest; a haven in the city but away from the city (no gigantic skyscrapers for you here).

The annual Sikka Art Fair includes English and Arabic poetry reading, music performances, local and international movie screenings, and a wealth of paintings and drawings. The next one’s coming up in March 2014 so stay tuned! Meanwhile, let’s keep our fingers crossed for Dubai Creek! Thank you UNESCO!