Tuesday, November 10, 2015

What to do when we are "Festively Challenged"

Assalamualaikum and greetings dear Bits and Pieces readers,

It has been a little over two months since I posted anything here. I was consumed by my studies before an overwhelming sense of lethargic swallowed me whole. I thought this lifeless feeling is normal because it is a sign that I'm doing something of impact to the world. I'm sure this is the same case for all of us. There's always a point in everyone's life where we want to inspire others, mend a broken system, and make this world a better place.

But it soon dawn on me that doing too much or too little of almost anything is hazardous to the inner self. In my case, everything suddenly transforms into a burden. Washing dishes was tiring, dressing up became daunting, getting up from bed seems unnecessary; and when I did got up, I shifted my focus to watching movie after movie online, or constantly scroll down the world of Facebook.

Then like the blaring sound of a fire alarm, I was forced to consciousness. My conscience began to function as I stirred. I came to realize that I am slowly losing part of myself to the fire caused by non other than me. My love for reading had gone, my passion for writing and blogging disappeared, and most importantly, the root of optimism had been pulled out while hopelessness was budding inside of me. As a result, I was brimming with worry and fear, and it was projected on my illogical theoretical model.

Admitting that I have a problem was my first brave step. Realizing that it's affecting my potential was my second. Then I took these rites:

1. Reality check: It takes hard work, patience, and sufficient rest to have a high chance of success.
(To know why I write "high chance of success" instead of "definite chance of success", go directly to rites number 4 and 5)

My first attempt of designing my theoretical model was replied back with general comments. The second attempt was returned to me with countless red inks. I was at my wits end in figuring out my theoretical model. I was at it since morning. If you include the first and second attempt, then I was at it for months.

On top of that (and to my utter embarrassment), I've been trying to understand the research method that I'm applying since last year. As my background was Mathematics and Finance, it really took a lot of time, hard work, and patience to grasp the theories as well as the workings of both conventional economics and Islamic economics. So I felt furious at my inability to perfect my model despite numerous attempts and learning of theories within an expansive time span.

I glanced at the clock. It was only 9.30pm, a very early time for me to go to bed. But I forced myself to leave my study table, brushed my teeth, and went to bed. In bed though, the dysfunctional theoretical model still lingered on my mind.  

2. Call out for support from someone who is emphatic and non-judgmental.
All of a sudden, I felt the weight of past dark events piled atop that theoretical model. They proceeded by shattering me into pieces. I had no control of my tears nor my wailing. I quickly wrap myself and curl inside my fleece blanket to muffle out my crying. But somehow, my wailing escaped from the blanket.

"Why are you crying, honey?" my husband asked worriedly.
But I refused to leave the comforts of the blanket. My being declined to face my husband. My voice doesn't want to spell out my predicament.

Realizing that I was unwilling to talk, my husband hugged me from behind instead and lay down with me in silence until I stop crying. Soon after, I was able to face him and I spilled out my guts. We talked and the burden slowly lifted.

3. Take a moment and observe the natural world.
After the fajr prayer (a prayer offered to ALLAH before sunrise), I didn't sleep back like I use to. Instead I pushed the curtains from my window and watch rays of sun light slowly penetrate the remnants of night. It was an uplifting experience. After having breakfast, I tackled my theoretical model once again. While studying, I felt like a barrier was lifted and I can finally see what was wrong with the model.  As the night slowly beckons, I took a moment to myself and watched the sunset and discoloration of the sky from our high rise apartment.

4. Reality check: Life is not and will never be perfect.
After watching the sunset and praying, I checked my theoretical model for the last time. There's still some uncertainty but I know that I had given it my all. Thus without further ado, I printed and handed the theoretical model to my supervisor for his review.

There will be two possible reviews; good or bad. We have to accept that no matter how hardworking and patient we are, no matter how sufficient our rest is, those two possibilities still exist simply because this world is never meant to be perfect.

5.  Constantly repair our relationship with God.  
There is never really a definite success in this world. However, should we constantly repair our relationship with God, there's a 100% chance of inner peace despite ANYTHING. On top of that, we are guaranteed success in the next world. Hence, this is the most important rite that we must hold on tight to. And should we ever forget the rest, this fifth rite will remind us of them.