Tag Archives: loveisrealhere

The End to a New Beginning

2020 has been a seriously tough year, hasn’t it?
I mean, a couple of years ago, if someone had done a movie about a petrifying worldwide pandemic with multiple waves and prison-like lockdowns, we would’ve probably called it ‘tasteless science fiction’. And yet here we are, watching our loved ones fall victims to this stupid virus, and praying we’re not its next target.
Could this be the worst nightmare Planet Earth has seen yet?
And if it is, can someone wake us up please?

P For Pause

It’s kind of like someone pulled the emergency brakes on our fast-paced lives and we’re still stunned from the sudden halt. My heart goes out to those who’ve lost loved ones along the way, and those who’ve taken a medical, financial or mental fall. I swear my heart hurts as I write this; trying to grasp each and every one of your stories. I myself have suffered from severe Discus protrusion, so not only am I locked up at home, I’m locked up inside my body, with only my eyes going back and forth, like a cartoon character in the dark. It’s like a double pause. But you know what, it’s okay. I’ve had a lot of time to think, to learn and contemplate (with the help of lots of (legal) drugs). I’m basically listening to audio books, lectures, watching Turkish Series, dipping stuff in chocolate sauce (remind me to give you the recipe, it’s beyond heavenly!) and trying to manage the pain. All the while thinking: when will this end? How can we possibly recover from this year’s traumatizing wounds?

And then it happened…
I came across the following hadith and it’s analysis by one of my favorite Islamic preachers


‘Uqbah bin ‘Amir (May Allah be pleased with him) said:
I asked the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), “How can salvation be achieved?” He replied,

“Control your tongue,
Let your house be enough for you, and 
Weep for your sins
[At-Tirmidhi].

The Power of Words

At first glance, ‘controlling your tongue’ seems to fall under the gossip/anger category, but looking more closely, I believe there’s another hidden meaning…
It’s not just what we say, it’s how we say it and who we say it to. With so much new, conflicting information going around about COVID, it’s hard to tell which is true and which isn’t. The easiest thing to do is ‘forward’ the news on our ‘WhatsApp’ groups and Facebook pages, not realizing the impact they’ll have, and how while one person will shove it aside and go about their day, another will live in even more panic and fear. People have different tolerance levels, so if it’s not a message of reassurance and hope, let’s try to filter out the negatives and control our ‘send button’ urges. Don’t pass over the panic; for some people will literally fall apart.

Save The Best For Inside

‘Let your house be enough for you’ could not hold truer than now, since that’s where we’ll all be for the next couple of weeks. Many of us save the fun, the nice outfits and the high spirits for social gatherings, then go into zombie mode at home and I know that’s only natural. A special someone once told me that being bored with loved ones is actually a sign of comfort. Given my fairytale background, this was a hard pill for me to swallow! I mean, how nice would it be to turn the spark on for those we actually care about the most? I admit it’s kinda easy (and sometimes satisfying) to piss off our family members, since we know them inside out and have the insider tracks to their quirks, but I still believe they’re the ones we create the most beautiful memories with. Out of the whole world, they’ve seen us at our worst and at times like these, they’ve definitely earned our best. So bring out the board games, cuddle in front of the fire place drinking chocolate bombs and laugh till your lungs are about to burst. Dust off your DVD players and watch those old wedding tapes and childhood movies. Try new recipes together, Facetime your friends and relatives. Smile and be creative with your conversations. There’s so much joy hidden inside our households and we’re so oblivious to it coz we’re focused on what’s happening outside. The quality of your life is the quality of your relationships, so bring some love, tenderness, beauty and playfulness home, for in those lie the rightful remedy for all your fears and pain… 


Weep, Love and Pray

They say ‘those who do not weep, do not see’. Do you think that’s true?
I know it might not be particularly fun to be sad, and it totally steps on the point I was trying to make above about finding joy at home, but how else are we supposed to relieve the excruciating stress?
Crying is therapeutic; it’s a sign that pent up emotions are being released, and don’t kid yourself, I know you have A LOT of those inside, especially in these trying times. I don’t mean it in a ‘throw-a-tantrum-every-time-you’re-upset’ kind of way. I think ‘weep for your sins’ is an invitation to look closely at your life journey and feel it to the fullest. We’ve blocked out and taken so much for granted. (I know I did). From the mask-less freedom we had, the sense of security, the hugs and handshakes to the stocked-up aisles at the grocery store. But now we can literally taste the fear of the unknown. Right now, a simple nearby sneeze can send us running for our lives. It does make sense to weep for all the time we wasted on meaningless trivialities. To weep for every hour we spent without dhikr, every day we passed on doing a good deed, and every harsh word we said that might have left a scar in people’s hearts.

Why? Because when you weep for your sins, you’ll take the next step towards self-awareness; recognizing how much you’re in dire need of giving and receiving love. Your sharp edges will melt into soft, tender words, and the practical logician inside of you will see new, dreamy colors. Like right now, my daughter is in the kitchen making snack trays for movie night and my heart is filled with love just staring at her. When was the last time you made eye contact with someone till you quenched their thirst for your attention? Smiled and told them you love them just out of the blues?

It’s amazing how this hadith is divinely crafted for this current pandemic. Resilience and salvation can only be achieved through creative mindfulness. (and a little bit of chocolate sauce* LOL)

I wish you ridiculous amounts of love, joy and laughter, enough to sweep away the dreadful pain of this past year….
I wish you happiness, forgiveness and strong bonds with your loved ones, enough to help you face any difficulty together
I wish you presence, warmth and fulfillment, enough to make you smile from the heart
And most of all, I wish you unwavering faith, serenity and the gift of appreciation…
Enough to let you see how much you’re blessed and how much you’re loved

Happy New Years…

Lilly S. Mohsen

Chocolate Sauce Recipe
(As promised)

Ingredients:

1 Nutella Jar (350 grams)
1 Condensed Milk can (small)
1 Galaxy Milk Chocolate bar (40 grams)
1 Chocolate Milk (200 ml)

Instructions
Mix all ingredients in a pot on low heat till there are no clumps
Turn heat off and voila! A sauce from heaven.
Enjoy 🙂

I’ve Got NEWS!

You guys! YOU GUYS!
I’m so excited!
My book ‘Live Your Story’ is finally out on Amazon and I wanted to share the great news with my blog-family.

Books

 

It’s been a long journey filled with heart aching and heart-warming stories. Throughout the years, I have watched my clients battle during their therapy sessions, struggling to face their feelings. I have received countless emails from readers, willing to split their hearts open, just so they can find that intangible source of pain. I’ve witnessed success stories, beautiful reconciliation and dreams coming true and I share them all in this book of essays; which was a faraway goal you have all helped me reach.

To my dearest, most amazing readers…
Thank you for always being there for me.
Thank you for your comments, encouragement and advice.
Thank you for taking time out of your lives to read my words and pass them on.

I hope I have made a difference in your lives the same way you’ve done with mine.

All my love,
Lilly S. Mohsen

 

Get it now on Amazon in USA, Canada and Europe
Live Your Story: The Art Of Loving, Living And Healing

https://www.amazon.com/Live-Your-Story-Loving-Healing/dp/099889110X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1493990001&sr=8-1&keywords=live+your+story

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final Episode: Inside The Therapist’s Office

Ted Talk

 

Inside The Therapist’s Office
Final Episode: Feel Your Life Purpose

 

A few years later…

February 3rd, 2016
San Diego, California
Ted Talk Conference: Ideas Worth Spreading

(Applause)

Zahra stood tall on the red-carpeted stage and said, “When I asked my sister-in-law about the upside of me being blind, she said “I can now roll my eyes at you anytime I want”’

The audience laughed.

“It’s strange really. My nickname had always been ‘Supa’ as in ‘Super girl’. My loved ones believed I’d accomplish something big one day and become an influencer. Only they didn’t know my journey to becoming an international motivational speaker and a best-selling author would start AFTER losing my eyesight. The night I got nominated to give a Ted Talk my husband, who is also my publisher, planned a secret celebration dinner and invited the whole town. I had no idea what was happening. Before introducing me to the curator, who was amongst the hundred invitees, my husband said “Honey, guess who this is!”

Zahra froze with a funny, puzzled look on her face.
I’m as blind as a bat. How would I know?”

The crowd cracked up laughing again, including her husband Ali, who was backstage watching her like a hawk. Ali laughed from the heart even though he had practically memorized his wife’s speech since he was the one helping her practice it for the past two weeks.

You’re probably thinking ‘wow, this blind girl is making jokes about her own disability, she must be really strong. Believe me, I wasn’t at first. A couple of years ago I lost my sight in a car accident and lost my faith along with it. I was angry at the world. I completely broke down. I broke things, broke up with my fiancé and then felt my heart break into a million pieces. I’ve been broken for a long time. I refused to learn how to deal with my disability. I steamed out on anyone who tried to help, and those who came to soothe me became my worst enemies. ‘What did they know about my struggle?’ I fumed. It was a constant nightmare I was sure I’d never wake up from. Try finding your way around the house blindfolded. Do you have any idea how difficult that is? Instead of leaving my room, I’d enter the closet. I’d spill drinks on the floor and slip on my own mess. I bumped into walls, broke glass bottles and used shaving cream on my toothbrush instead of toothpaste! Living in darkness became the reality of my life and I couldn’t accept it. I’m sure my therapist would have horror stories to tell you about my anger; she was practically my punching bag. It was a slow, tiring progress. And even though deep down I knew I wasn’t ready, I thought perhaps getting married would lessen my pain and speed up the process of moving on.”

 Sitting with the vast audience at the conference, I watched Zahra on stage and felt the tears of joy slowly roll down my face. I was very proud of her. She had come a long way in her therapy. Screaming, crying and talking about her feelings made them by time become less overwhelming and less upsetting. She owned her story. She realized losing her sight wasn’t her choice, but dealing with it was. And that was her first step to healing….

“I ran out on my wedding.” Zahra confessed. “I couldn’t actually ‘run’ anywhere, I just hid under the bed for an hour before my best friend found me…”

And sitting in the front row with her husband, Salma was genuinely proud of ‘Supa’ too. Seeing her on stage inspiring thousands of people truly warmed her heart. Zahra wasn’t only her life long best friend; she was also her beloved sister-in-law. Salma smiled at her husband Omar, who smiled back warmly, patted her very pregnant belly and whispered the words ‘I love you’, before turning his attention back to his twin sister whose presence lit up the stage.

 

“I was scared of marriage. I didn’t think I was good enough because of my disability. You know we all think we have big problems until we compare them with bigger problems. When you face your biggest fear, your small fears kind of fade out. I remember when my biggest fear was leaving home and being responsible for a house and a family of my own. This fear dimmed completely when I lost my sight. It felt like a death sentence, I thought nothing worse could ever happen to me, until I learned my fiancé got into an accident and almost died. My blindness didn’t seem like that huge of a problem anymore when I thought of losing the love of my life, even if I couldn’t see him, I just couldn’t imagine living in a world where he didn’t exist. I suddenly reclaimed all my strength and willpower and sent him a letter begging him to push through. I asked my sister-in-law to write it for me because I trust her…….. Blindly!”

Aisha laughed out loud. She came to the conference with her husband and her friends Lola, Sara and Helen, who, like her, were all wearing the Hijab proudly now, too. Aisha was working on acquiring a degree in marriage counseling to help struggling couples the same way her marriage counselor helped her and Ibrahim fix their relationship before suggesting they go on a second a honeymoon and thanks to Allah her life with him had been happy and peaceful ever since.

There are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. In that hour of hiding under the bed on my wedding day, I realized I was only pretending to be in the acceptance phase, when in reality I was still swinging back and forth between denial and depression. I wasn’t ready to start a new page yet, and to my surprise, Ali, my fiancé was very understanding and promised to wait till I was. We called off the wedding, I went back to blind school and started therapy full time. And Ali waited for me for two years…. Because….” Zahra’s voice crackled and she couldn’t help her tears. “In his heart he believed only I could make him happy. He didn’t care about my disability. He said it made him love me even more.” Zahra smiled and wiped her tears as the crowed applauded her while ‘awwwwing’ and ‘ohhhhhing’’ sentimentally. “Yeah, he’s not always that romantic though. Just so you know, we got married last summer, and since then, whenever he wants to get back at me during an argument, he simply rearranges the furniture!”

 

(Audience laughter)

“You know, life is hard. This is an inevitable truth. It’s once you accept this truth that life ceases to be hard. And it’s when I accepted my destiny, that my blindness stopped being a ‘disability’. Everyone has problems, and God never burdens us with more than we can endure. There were probably seven thousand things I could do before losing my sight. And now maybe that number has gone down to three thousand! But I’m motivated to do more now than I ever was when my eyes were functioning. The only reason life throws horrific traumas our way is because there’s an area that needs to grow. God took away my ability to see, but gave me the will to achieve so much more with all my other senses. He gave me ‘insight instead of sight’ and it was a blessing in disguise. It was also the title of my first book. And I hear it sold over 15 million copies!” Zahra smiled while the audience applauded her again.

“In Islam we have six pillars of faith; belief in one God, His angels, His holy books, His prophets, belief in the Last Day and belief in destiny (Preordainment). We skim through them and say we believe, but do we? To trust God in the light of day is easy, we can all do it. But to trust Him in the pit of darkness… that is true faith. Even if bad things happen, you must believe it’s God’s will and it’s always for the best. You must believe He’s protecting you from something worse. Losing my sight is a blessing compared to being completely paralyzed. Being paralyzed is a blessing compared to losing your loved one in war. And you know what’s so much worse than any trial you can think of? Do you know what is the scariest calamity that can happen in this life? It’s losing one’s faith and dying a disbeliever…. I believe every other problem and hardship pales in comparison.

 

We are only as blind as we want to be.
Our Lord says: ‘Indeed
It is not the eyes that go blind, but it is the hearts, within the chests, that go blind”
(Surat Al Hajj, ayah 46, Holy Qur’an)

So many people still have their eyesight intact, but do they really see the truth? Do they really notice the miracles around them and look at life from different perspectives? Does sight count when there is no insight?” Zahra asked. “They say ‘love is blind’ but I disagree. Anger is blind. Hate is blind. Bitterness, envy and despair are blind. Hopelessness is blind. But love is what keeps us going. It’s what keeps us strong. My love for my Lord and my unwavering faith in His promise is what helps me get through the day, because even in the worst of times, I remind myself whatever He wills is good.” Zahra said.

 

“In one of my therapy sessions, I was asked about whom I would trade my life with. And after much contemplation I answered ‘no one’. I really wouldn’t want to trade with anyone. I’m where I’m supposed to be…and I’m finally happy. May the Lord give us the wisdom to accept the things we can’t change (which isn’t easy) and may He fill our hearts with love, faith and light…. Amen. Thank you….”

  

Lilly S. Mohsen