Pregnancy, having a family and becoming a mother completes a person. It is easy to say but difficult to grasp. I knew becoming a mom will be a challenging task in terms of caring for the baby. Little I knew, it will be a challenge to managing myself first. I gave normal birth and I expected my life to be easier as compared to the conventional C section pregnancy experience in my family. But as it turned out, I felt I have reached the same low point of physical fitness as some time back and perhaps worse. There were and still each day new types of pains in my body and I do suffer poor concentration level, plus the extra weight I have put on and my wobbly legs and tummy. Horror!
After a long recovery from obesity in the past, I saw myself challenged once again. I knew that my little awareness of diet management through Sunnah is not helping me in any way. This is like an aggressive outburst of termites that have developed immunity to old tricks. I started off with trial and experimentation on my body, using ideas that had workwd for me. It ended up disastrous. I reached a lower point. I felt pathetic and decided to forget about myself entirely and started focusing on my child. While looking for a comfy pair of shoe for my swollen feet to reach out to her in hospital in time without pain and panic, I came across a lady who was relating how she got into shape and balance postnatal. She lost forty kilos through Pilates and I awed her aura. It was not her skinny body, but her persona that attracted me. I just knew she is sent as a guide, a teacher from Him. Although I immediately approached her but I failed at properly reaching out to her for rescue and guidance. Partly it was mere loss of vigour and partly it was my fear of failing the expectation of me, i.e. to put yourself behind your child’s need. Things were improving though. I was coping with my new born in hospital. I felt I am taking the baby step and I knew I have to do more, much more to really bring my child home.
Just when I had completely lost my vigour and physical strength to “live” the person I had struggled to made myself, my dear sister came all the way from Australia in just one call. I felt like the luckiest sister in the world. Her daughter, and my step son are two kids that have impressed me the most in terms of “nurturing” and learned “personality” traits. My husband was besides me, but in my little heart, through out my pregnancy, I wished my sister could guide me and be with me too. I never admitted this deep down desire to her, but my husband is still seriously jealous every time I mention my sister’s daughter Sameen and my sister. It was like a dream come true.
Well as the magic unfolded, she highlighted for me many things. She placed the mirror of my lifestyle and how I was living an unfulfilled life in front of me. I was focusing on organizing, playing safe, excusing out of work to stay in my comfort zone. There were things that I wanted to do but I had only saved them in my diary. The first thing she picked on was the significance of eating fresh vegetable and how easy it is to include them in not just my own diet but also my family diet. Substituting suplments with natural vegetables and fruits is not just important in terms of health benefits but it is primarily significant as it is advocated in Quran and thus forms part of my belief system. I realized I planned to take up this habit of eating natural but I was losing productivity while taking escape of a lame excuse of eating what all my family enjoys. She reminded me the “little” extra creativity that we cherish from our childhood in her every thing, be it dealing with conflict/trouble or mere cooking and decor. In our teenage years, I use to make an incomplete yet potentially extremely pretty Mehndi design and she would do the hardwork of adding the final touches and the strokes that made it beautiful for real. She always saw my potential and she knows how to get the best out of me. It was not just the Mehndi designs and brackets knots that we worked on together. In my high school summer breaks, it was entirely her effort that I was motivated to work hard to get an edge over my class fellows with mathematics. It is her “Sisterly” touch, her lively ambitious self and her vigour and persistence to accomplish any task in a way that is worthy of its true initial potential and intention.
Truely, passion makes a person dangerously obsessed and if it is persued with the right balance of resilience (thehrao) and experiemetation, it really makes a big difference.
This brings me to another important thought about cooking and the true chef skills. Where it is her passion, I take it as a serious form of worship. I was amazed as I observed her toss a really tasty and unimaginable combination of salads for me, her bafling proportion of spices in different recipes. Every time I asked her how do you do what you do? She would say, it is just like that. She reminded me of my slough times and Quranic ayat about cooking rules. How to defocus on fixed recipes, fixed proportions and then there is a chain of things that had worked for me then but I lost my persistence in the face of critique and changing dynamics around me.
Today I freed my inner genie from its prison. I tried that same wild technoque in cooking and I felt accomplished in my sacred worship. I intended at making Nandos style chicken and stir fry vegetables, my husband wanted to eat a good magical biryani and I ended up with the flavour and thought of both in one dish. It was easy, doable and yet consuming. The important part was to avoid taking unnecessary risk, to be flexible and to dare to experiment.
Thankfully, today was doubly productive. I manage to meet Amanda, the Pilates teacher as well. She did a free assessment for me. She highlighted the things that I was not able to pin point about my physical fitness. I felt “uneasy”, “out of proportion” and somewhat ill. There were no relatable symptoms except for occasional cramps or out of blue pains but deep down I just knew my body needs healing. She expounded on how there were many problematic things going on within me, water retention, loss of strength in my left arm, my improper posture, disproportionate thighs and shoulders, lapsed core and poor endurance. Amanda is lady to admire as a person too. I can so relate with her humbleness, flexibility, openness, her carefree attitude, her seriousness with her intended work and hardworking plus opinionated self. These are all the attributes that I advocate and try to struggle to maintain and develop within me as part of being a Muslim. And she was a non Muslim and so keen and accomplished as an ethical person.
Inspiration and knowledge always reach us from places least expected. May Allah help us see the worth of each opportunity of growth and learning that come our way effortlessly and may He give us strength to persue our intended piety, progress and accomplishment. Time is significant and it is the only thing that we are all short of and in limited supply. Do not get distracted and postpone your plans.
Do you remember being inspired by someone whom you were unable to persue? Are there stories of your childhood and family ties or friends that remind you of your once accomplished self? If it’s true do not hesitate and do not give a second thought. Just persue. Express your intention to be united back in old productive ties, to seek and to cherish. Just that should be enough as rest is just prayers and Allah’s will. Take out time for everyone as you may make a huge difference in someone’s life just like my sister. Just do what needs to be done. There are people that you come across seemingly unaooroachable but you should make an effort to meet them yourself. Get into habit of scheduling and reminders on calendar.
This is life worth living for, an extra effort to gather experiences and inspiration, to unite, to reconcile differences and coexist, to prepare oneself, to be in a company of someone – all this defines a key word in Quran, jeem- meem- ain. Quran says that if you want to increase your rizk then persue jeem-meem-ain. Rizk is collective whole of our various resources and it is what makes a person powerful, competitive and aggressively productive and progressive. Just think about Hazrat Sulaiman (R.A) zulqurnan (R.A) and their resourcefulness. Despite being fortunate and endowed incomparably with knowledge and wealth, they had an ever persistent yearning for more and they worked for it. Blessings and peace upon all the Messengers of Allah and their Aal. Special blessing and peace upon our dear prophet S.A.W. through whom we have live demonstration of Quran, the word and guidance of Allah, the one and only true God, the Magnificent, all Poweful. May He accept our little and big efforts. May He increase our knowledge and grant us jannah and a place among the Aal of Mohammad S.A.W.