Archive for the ‘health and sanity’ Category

Temple of Self(or the egocentric nature of blogging)

June 19, 2007

fingerprints2, originally uploaded by asiya2.

My personal observation is that creative people tend to be very egocentric. I don’t mean selfish. Often creativity goes hand in hand with a rich sensitivity that lends towards a kind and gentle nature. The flipside is that it also leads towards introspection and neurotic self-exploration. I have been wondering about the notion of the creative self within the framework of Islam. We are supposed to focus on subduing our egos, not cultivating them. Is there room then for creativity as an expression of self or should it always point to something Bigger?




the beginning of a painting

June 13, 2007

the beginning of a painting, originally uploaded by asiya2.

 My hands feel so clumsy at the moment, I’m so out of practice.  I can feel this drawing rapidly losing itself into a murky mass. The beginning was promising, but then I added too much blue and now it is too dark. I will try and rescue it, but I may just make the mess bigger, in which case, at least I will have a photo to prove to myself that I have begun the making process again!


Weight Loss Challenge

May 10, 2007

So Shaz is hosting a weight loss challenge and so far I have been totally useless and I’m feeling guilty! We have three teams so far, each consisting of five members. We started on May 7th (ehem) and we finish on July 7th. I am hoping to lose 15 kilos/30 pounds. I haven’t started properly yet, but before my team members kick me off the team, don’t worry, I am capable of losing weight, I am, I am, I’ve done it before! For some reason it just seems so hard this time, I guess I just feel generally weary and in need of chocolate. So I have to recondition myself inside and out! I really hate being fat, I’ve battled with it ever since I was a teenager. When I’m stressed I eat, so I have done a lot of eating in my life! I have managed to lose a lot of weight many times, but I battle to keep it off and pregnancy is a killer for me as far as weight gain is concerned. So the process begins again.*sigh*

So my plan is to cut out sugar and bad fats, eat well-balanced meals and if I have to snack, eat veggie sticks or dates if I need something sweet. And to have a limit each day and not exceed it, much like the Weight Watchers program. Exercise is tricky because of the kids. While my daughter is at kinder twice a week, I can walk and push the kids in the double pram. Every day I will try and do half an hours dancing and jumping up and down with the older kids, as long as the baby isn’t crying, perhaps I can break it up into ten minute segments. And finally, in order to shame myself into stopping eating crap, I’m going to keep an online diary of all my food intake! This will be very boring to read, but I’m hopeless at fibbing, so if I eat, I’ll have to post what I ate here and hopefully that will stop me eating!

Little son discovers grass….

May 8, 2007

Little son discovers grass…., originally uploaded by asiya2.

We have spent the morning in the garden. Little son was fascinated by the grass. My kids belong on a farm. They are always in the dirt, whenever opportunity strikes. This means as soon as I sit down to feed the baby. I think dirt is good for them. But we do live in the city and this is a hassle.

Where I grew up it was taken for granted that children would be dirty. Clothes were old and darned and we wore gumboots (wellies) all year long. It was the country, we were aware that water came from the sky, not taps, we understood that it is precious. Baths happened at night time and if we had to go to the shop covered in mud during the day, so be it.

Here, my kids play as though they are on the farm, but if I take them out they are expected to be spotlessly clean, hair brushed, sporting the latest “designer” fashions. I refuse to worry about this. Childhood is childhood. My concern for my childrens wellbeing is exactly that, concern for them, not the neighbours.

So bring on the mud!


May 3, 2007

The keyword when talking about life is always balance. To feel at peace we need to find an equilibrium between the different facets of our selves and our numerous roles and aspirations. This is something that I have always struggled with, never being an all-rounder. I have excelled in some areas and neglected others. Being a perfectionist, I have often only attempted things that I know I can do well. I don’t just have a fear of failure, I have a fear of being average and yet I can only be what I am, fairly competent and (hopefully!) kind and imaginative, but certainly not a genius!

Motherhood, when approached by such a personality is particularly challenging. I want everything to be fantastic and nurturing. I know that it is primarily myself who will guide these little beings and help them blossom to their full potential and sometimes I am daunted by the responsibility.  How do I manage everything, the basic drudgery of household life (yes, I do feel that way sometimes!) but at the same time creating a vibrant and inspirational space for my children to learn and grow? How do I maintain a sense of self in the process?

In Islamic spirituality known as tasawwuf, the ego (nafs, base self) is supposed to be subdued in order to foster a closeness with God, but there is also a saying that “H/she who knows him/herself knows God“. In other words, we must understand our self before we can conquer it. Sometimes, as mothers, we completely lose our selves in the process of looking after everyone else. I have recently passed through a phase of wanting to read and write a lot about “issues”, stimulate myself intellectually because this was an aspect of my life that had been sorely neglected. I wanted to rediscover who I am in that sense. And whilst I feel a little revived, I can honestly say that I don’t necessarily feel uplifted by it…energized perhaps but not motivated spiritually.

Nurturing my family, however, does motivate me spiritually. Responding to my children, thinking about how to encourage them to love learning, imagining creating a dense jungle for them in the backyard (yes, it’s still just in the imaginary stage!), all of this stirs something deep in my being. And so this is the deciding factor for me whilst I try to re-orient and keep hold of myself in the process of motherhood. Because, I’ve found that within the process itself, there is so much room for personal growth and it feeds my soul in a way that academic pursuits don’t. And so I know for myself that at times, although I may question my choice and wonder what I might have/could have been, I am fundamentally happy with what I am and I know that staying at home is the right choice for me (and hopefully, inshaAllah, my family also!).

Post Pregnancy Fat Blues!

April 19, 2007

Today, on the way home from dropping my daughter off at kinder, a friendly old Italian lady stopped me outside her house.

Sheoh two babies, beautiful.

Meyes, thank you

She – looking at my stomach, are you having another one?

MeNo! I just did!

Sheoh, I see *scuttles into house*

oh dear! I’m so fat now, I look pregnant! One year ago, I was a svelte young woman(!), now I’m fat and middle-aged…..and pregnant again, apparently! At least I’m not barefoot!

My metabolism is slow enough to make time stop still. Pregnancy sends millions of little messages to every fat cell I have saying, “horde and store, just in case you are catapulted from your comfortable existence to a land of plague and famine!” And so now, yet again, I must start the post-birth dieting, grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!