Thanksgiving Challenge: Grateful for Nature and Trees

Hello and welcome to my blog! It’s been a hectic day today, and although I wrote the following gratitude entry this morning, I’m just getting around to posting it in the evening. I’ve been in a terrible mood today, but spending the day at my parents really helped. Also, thinking about nature was pretty cathartic.

Gratitude challenge: Trees and Nature

I’m so grateful for nature because it teaches me patience and mindfulness.
I’m grateful for the trees and all the oxygen they produce.
I’m grateful for the fruits they bear, for the beauty they show, for the leaves they wear, for the shade they give.
I’m grateful for the seas and oceans and rivers and all the sea life they contain.
I’m grateful for the sunshine and the rain.
I’m grateful for the seasons as they change.
I’m grateful for the mountains standing tall.
I’m grateful for the snow as it falls.
I’m grateful for the peace that washes over me when I walk into nature and I stroll amongst the trees.

Poetry Friday: Waves

There’s a place that I go

When I feel like I can’t breathe

When anxiety rides high

I wash it away

With the waves of the sea

There’s a magic in the tide

When it goes from high to low

I breathe in deep

And breathe out slow

As the water touches the shore

When everything seems

So out of control

And everyone makes me

Irritable

I dream of the sea

It calls out to me

Gives me inner peace

Lebanon is going through tough times, and yet today, when I got to spend 5 minutes by the sea, there were so many people there, laughing, playing, swimming. It’s good to see that many people are still able to enjoy life and have a good time despite the heat, the power outages, the economic crisis, the fuel crisis, etc.

I’m trying to enjoy myself and make myself happy through reading and writing and being mindful of little things like my morning coffee. I’m also watching The Good Doctor. I wish I could go out more but it is what it is. I can’t go out unless someone takes me out. Anyway, I’m glad I got to go today, even if for just 5 minutes, even if my son was pouting and nagging the whole time, and my husband wouldn’t leave the car and come see the waves with us, and there was garbage everywhere. I was determined to be mindful of the sunset and the waves and enjoy my time. My husband probably won’t take me for another year but I’m hoping my dad would take me soon. He took us on Eid and we had a blast.

How to protect your energy

If it costs you your peace, then it’s expensive.

With everything becoming more and more expensive in Lebanon, I’m doing a different kind of saving. I’m saving my energy, and I’m avoiding spending my time and energy on things and people that drain me or kill my vibe.

I’m also avoiding talking to people when my vibe is low so that I don’t affect anyone negatively. I’m trying not to vent or complain.

I’m working on being mindful. My diet and sleeping habits are a work in progress, and exercise is so so at the moment, but I’m trying. I’m avoiding the news, but not completely. I’m learning to listen more and talk less.

My patience still needs some calibration but using my energy on things like monopoly with my son and eating ice cream and reading and writing.

I’m not naive. I know the situation in Lebanon is really bad, and I am affected by it, but what use is it to panic or mope? The body reacts to stress in fight or flight, but it’s possible to protect your energy and not let the stress of your environment get to you as much.

How to protect your energy:

Inspo from Pinterest by The Elevated Life

1. Cut down on social media use:

Facebook and Instagram can be addicting. You can go on for a minute and end up scrolling for hours. That’s a lot of time wasted when you could be doing something productive or spending time with your family. What’s worse is seeing other people doing things you wish you could do but can’t, like when I see other people traveling and hiking and going out without kids, I feel a pang in my chest sometimes. To protect yourself, don’t go on social media when you are feeling discontent or vulnerable.

2. Set healthy boundaries:

Our loved ones are the most people who push our boundaries. They invade our space, offer unsolicited advice, and feel entitled to control our decisions, all in the name of love. It’s tricky dealing with people who operate under “if you love me, you’ll do as I say”. It’s important to set boundaries without cutting ties with your loved ones. I can’t exactly tell you how to do that because I’m still working on it, but being assertive, kind and persistent are key. If you let a loved one cross a boundary once, they will do it all the time.

3. Practice self-care:

I have multiple blog posts on this topic. There are so many ways in which you can practice self-care. Some examples are taking a nap when you need it, going out for a walk, and talking to a loved one.

4. Meditate:

This is something I have tried but have not managed to master. For the time being, I’m not meditating, but given my elevated stress levels and my resting heart rate being 86 to 92, a meditation session may be overdue. I have recently downloaded an app that mimics nature sounds for a scheduled time to help me sleep. It helps and is one form of meditation. Other forms of meditation include but are not limited to focused breathing, body scanning, and yoga.

5. Spend time in nature:

I recently went to the beach and it is so relaxing, minus having to supervise my son and make sure he didn’t drown. There is something magical about waves and how they manage to wash my worries away. The horizon is so far away, it makes me feel like possibilities are infinite, that everything is possible and no problem is too big. Trees are another story. The rustling of leaves against the wind are music to my ears.

I tried to share the audio that I’m currently listening to but I wasn’t able to. It’s a mixture of birds chirping, leaves rustling, and a waterfall. Imagine that! How calm and serene.

Storytime: It’s nice and peaceful out here

Hello and welcome to my blog! How are you doing today? I wanted to post yesterday but I had a very busy day. My sister came over with her 2 hyperactive kids and it was overwhelming for me. I got a migraine. I love my sister, nephew, and niece, but kids can be loud and obnoxious. I couldn’t hear myself think and I ended up sleeping at 11 pm which was reasonable, but my brain shut down long before then.

Today is a new day, and I just watched the sunrise.

It’s nice and peaceful out here…

They have been turning off the generator more often lately. For months they were turning it off 4 hours a day, now it’s 8 hours. That’s because the government is giving us 1-hour of electricity every 24 hours, and the private generators we have to pay a lot for are working overtime to give us electricity. Thus the generators must be turned off for a few hours a day to avoid breaking down.

But instead of sulking because of the deteriorating conditions regarding the electricity, I decided to seize the opportunity and go on the balcony whenever the power is out. I didn’t use to go on the balcony, but I have come to enjoy the fresh air, the sunlight, the birds chirping, the peace in the early morning…and the sunrise.

The sun rose at 5:55 am. What time does the sun rise where you live?

There is a fuel shortage in Lebanon, and I have no idea what’s next for this country, but there doesn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel anytime soon. However, I’m finding peace in the things I know not to take for granted. You never know what tomorrow will bring.

I have a busy day ahead, and it should be fun, albeit a bit socially overwhelming (my introverted self would rather curl up and read a book but my “craving going out” self just wants to have fun, even if I must interact with other humans in the process). After my sister came over, I’m not in the mood for socializing, but I am in the mood for going out and experiencing nature. I’ll keep you posted, today or tomorrow, depending on how exhausted I’ll be.

For now, it’s nice and peaceful out here…

The sun is shining in my eyes, giving me a migraine, so I’m going inside, even though the power isn’t back yet.

Storytime: Oh how I wish I was more mindful

Hello everyone,

How are you doing?

It’s 1 am and I can’t sleep. Partly because I had a nap today and also because I’m anxious about the Friday outing. We are going to be out all day. This is exciting because, since the pandemic, my outings have become few and far in between, but also scary because I have social anxiety and I’m going with 44 other people, most of which I barely know. But also it’s nice because we are going to be amongst nature and I can’t wait to play with my son and with others (I’m a bit nervous about the latter).

I decided to find the pictures from the last and only time I went to this place 3 years ago. My in-laws went and I had to convince my husband to let me go with them because he didn’t want to go so naturally he didn’t see why I should go. Normally, my husband’s presence acts as a buffer with my mother in law but if I’m going to appease him, I’ll end up at home all day doing nothing but housework.

When we went in 2018, my sister-in-law said she had so much fun and wanted to make it a weekly outing. We never went again (my husband isn’t the only homebody in his family) and when I suggested it to my family, for some reason, they weren’t interested. None of my friends ever suggested going and so I never went again, but this Friday is my chance, and if I play my cards right, I’ll be invited to future outings as well and I’ll be able to bring my son before he becomes old enough to not want to go anywhere with me.

Looking back, I always wish I was more mindful whenever I went anywhere. I always end up yelling or getting irritated or acting neurotic, then when I look back, I wish I was more playful and in the moment. You can’t get these moments back. I mean, I can get some really good pictures from an outing, but do you know how much I complained during the trip? No, because it’s not on camera, but I remember. I will try to remember the good parts of every trip I’ve been on, especially since the pandemic began, my outings have diminished considerably.

Throwback to 2018. Hopefully, in the future, I’m more mindful.
P.s. my son doesn’t even remember going here, even after I showed him the pictures. The good news is he doesn’t remember that I was in such a mood that day because my husband refused to come with us (he’s a total homebody, which is something I wasn’t comfortable telling people before the pandemic but now apparently many people have come out as homebodies or become homebodies so it’s okay).

Storytime: Am I antisocial or just socially awkward?

Hello and welcome to my blog! I have a lot to say today. I don’t do this often anymore (storytime). I used to. Whenever I had thoughts I’d just drop them down on the blog and that’s how I processed them but now I’m trying something new by processing them on my own (AKA sleeping on it) and then maybe if I still feel like it, I put them on the blog because I know that once it’s on the blog, the internet is forever.

So here’s the thing. Yesterday, I visited my parents and right before I went, I received a message. I don’t know if I mentioned it here but I have been volunteer teaching quraan somewhere for 4 years. Basically, I do my job, I teach, and then I leave. I don’t interact with the other teachers. I don’t socialise with anyone. It’s not that I hate them nor that I don’t have any interest in getting to know them. It’s just I feel they’re very different than I am and I’m afraid of making social mistakes that will make it impossible for me to volunteer over there anymore and this belief has been brought to me from experience of people wanting to get to know me because I’m so mysterious and my life is so interesting and then once they get to know me, they get bored of me and then they leave me and this happens over and over again and I used to think that it was only in my head but then yesterday my husband said this about me.

The woman in charge of the place where I teach quraan send me a message. She said that for years once a year the teachers go out together and socialize outside of work and they have been doing this for years and she has never invited me before. This is the first time I hear of this. I had no idea that they went once a year even though I’ve been volunteer teaching there for 4 years. When she invited me, I got so excited and then I asked for some more information like can I bring my 6-year old with me and who can drive me there.

I was thinking had she invited me in the years before, I may not have been able to go when my son was younger because he would have given me a hard time and he’s 6 now and I’m still afraid that he might give me a hard time but he’s old enough for me to tell him to be on his best behaviour. I don’t know if I’m going to have to use the bribing technique but I can’t use the punishing and threatening technique in front of them.

I feel like the last time I volunteered, I was a bit more social. Just something as simple as saying hi, how are you doing, where do you live, I love these designs, I love what you did to the place,… these kind of things and I felt like they made a big difference and my compliments are really genuine. I was really trying to connect with them.

Anyway, I was really excited about the outing and I asked if I could bring my son and she said no problem and then she continued to explain to me that I’d be the only one with a kid (there’d be only one other person who has kids because the rest of the people going all 60-year olds so they’re all Grandmas) but she said that they will relax and play racket ball and just chill.

The place that they’re going to is a picnic area 20 minutes away from my house by car and I have been dying to go there for 2 years and my husband doesn’t take me anywhere (he’s a homebody) and he only takes me to the seaside (5 minutes away from my house by car) every six months. He used to take me to Turkey once a year with his entire family but because of the economic situation we can’t go to Turkey anymore. I also suggested several times to go to this place with my family and they weren’t really interested so if I don’t go with these people that I volunteer with then I won’t go at all.

I used to socialise a lot more before I got married. It’s like marriage and motherhood kind of isolated me. It also happened to be that after I got married, my friends got jobs and got married too and I just got preoccupied with my son and when my son was younger, I would rather stay home then to go out in public with him and risk a tantrum which in hindsight was wrong. He should have gotten used to going out and learned how to conduct himself in public at a young age.

Back to the picnic. I’m afraid I might not have fun but I guess I’ll be fine. We’re going to be in nature, there’s a hammock (I don’t really like hammocks but I’m sure my son would enjoy them) and my son has been to this picnic area before when he was 3 but he doesn’t remember. I’m really excited for this experience because he really doesn’t go anywhere, it’s really sad, but the saddest part is that like I was just worried about my son giving me a hard time there and then my husband started to warn me yesterday. He said if you want to go then you have to be on your best behaviour and you can’t be butthurt by every word that someone says.

Also, he said that I don’t know how to socialise and I only like to go into deep friendships (this is true to some extent but I have learnt from experience that having acquaintances is very important but as an introvert I do tend to focus more on my close friendships rather than my acquaintances and the reason is because I don’t really have a job so I don’t socialize much, except for the volunteer work but I just do my job and leave),but it’s a two-way street, I mean nobody tried to reach out to me but this time they did and I reached out back. My husband also said I tend to talk about myself a lot and people are interested in me and then they get me to talk about myself but then once I open up and they find out the things about me that fill their curiosity, they just walk away.

So now I’m freaking out and now I need a list of questions to ask the people that I’m going with because the one that’s in charge of the volunteering is the one that’s going to be giving me a ride.

At the picnic, there are going to be activities and if I feel socially awkward I can go play with my son. I feel like my son will be the buffer in this situation. He’s a little shy at first but then he gets really social, but he does act silly and I don’t know if they’ll like that or find it annoying. Anyway, I’ll just try to have fun and focus on the positives and be mindful and also socialise. I’m just worried about the ride there because like the woman that I’ve been volunteering for for 4 years doesn’t know anything about me and she’s not the type of person who I would talk to about my blog and my books. I don’t want to show her that side of me.

There are different sides of me so I just want her to know superficial information so I need to have other questions ready because she is going to ask me questions if not out of curiosity but to fill the silence during the car ride. I need to counteract her questions so that she doesn’t ask too many questions.

Does that make sense?

Am I antisocial or just socially awkward?

I believe I’m socially rusty but with practice I’ll get better. My husband believes that no matter how much practice I have, I’ll always be antisocial and socially awkward.

New month, New challenge: Day 5

Hello and welcome to my blog! Welcome to the new month, new challenge series where everyday I do a challenge and post it here so you can do it with me.

Honestly, I’m exhausted today. I slept well but this fasting is really draining my energy. As much as I enjoy the spirituality of Ramadan and the opportunity for more good deeds, this girl is tired and hungry. Don’t even get me started on the migraines.

Today’s challenge is:

Go for a walk and admire the world around you. Get some fresh air whenever you can!

Do this challenge with me: https://21dayschallengeapp.com/app/challenge

Anyway, it’s windy today so I didn’t leave the house. The cookies and atayef from yesterday were a hit. My in laws raved about them. Good thing I took a walk yesterday morning because it’s windy today and I just can’t bring myself to get up. The walk was nice. It was sunny and flowers were blooming everywhere. They’re weeds but they’re still pretty.

Jasmines smell so good!

The sun sets in 100 minutes and then I get to EAT! Fasting is making me hyperaware of the blessing of having food to eat and having choices to choose from. Many people don’t have that choice…

Did you, or are you going to, take a walk today?

Where to?

Let me know in the comments below!

Ramadan Series: To post or not to post, that is the question.

Hello and welcome to my blog! Welcome to the Ramadan series where I discuss universal concepts like kindness and inner peace from my experience and share my insight with you. Today I’m going to talk about posting on social media.

Why do you post on social media?

There are many reasons one would post on social media. My main reason is because I crave connection and I’m unable to get it or too socially anxious to get it in real life, so posting is my outlet. I am most myself, sadly, on the internet. I am talking about blogging and social media alike.

Sometimes I overshare, but I’m tending to do that less on instagram but still doing it on the blog to a certain extent. Other times I clam out and don’t want to share anything so as to not jinx myself if it’s something good or for fear of regret if I’m feeling angry with someone and I post about it and then when we reconcile, I feel guilty because it’s already out there. I’m working on my rants being more ambiguous but it’s hard because the number of people I deal with is limited.

Another reason why I have been sharing less on instagram is stupid. It bothers me when my post gets few likes. My lowest limit was 7 but now it’s 11, meaning basically if my post got less than 11 likes in 2 days, I delete it. I also noticed pictures of food and nature get more likes so I have been putting more of those. And when I do, I’m not sharing about my personal life so it’s a win win situation.

Recently, though, I did a social media detox challenge and it helped open up my eyes to the fact that nobody cares. I deleted the instagram app for a week and literally nobody cared. People aren’t sitting around waiting for me to post anything. Nevertheless, when I do post, I have been trying to be mindful of what I post. I ask myself : Is it helpful? Is it inspirational? Is it uplifting?

What to post on social media and what NOT to post:

I searched online for a table that would explain what and what not to post on social media, and I found nothing! There is a table in my head obviously but I’m short on time now.

Basically when I think of what to post and what not to post, quotes and nature pictures are definitely a go. My son’s arts and crafts a cute addition to my instagram feed, though sometimes I’m reluctant to post them for fear of the evil eye. I’m superstitious like that. I don’t post pictures of myself or my son for personal reasons. I used to take a lot of pictures of my food. I still do, but I just don’t post them that often anymore. I don’t post anything offensive or anything that contradicts with my values.

In conclusion, be mindful lf what you post and remember that the internet is forever, even if you delete the post later, somebody probably already screenshotted it and sent it to everyone they know (I may be a little paranoid but it’s happened to me before).

Obviously, if you have a business account, the rules differ because you’re posting content to promote your business and there is a whole algorithm about what to post and when. I found a few images on pinterest if you’re interested:

As for personal accounts, just be mindful not to reveal too much information about yourself. Creeps and jealous people exist so be careful.