I am back and I am Present

This week I got back to work from my month long break. 
A break I had taken to mourn the death of my loved ones who recently passed away. During the 30 days I reflected and cried a lot, prayed a lot and thanked a lot.  But more than anything I learnt a lot. Some of the major learnings are:
Photo credit: Pinterest (The pink mosque of Iran) 

#1 The world still moves when you stop
The first and biggest learning was that the world does not care if you are away taking a break and letting go, sad things still happen. Sabeen Mahmud was murdered in Karachi, Sheryl Sandberg's wonderful husband died suddenly, beautiful country of Nepal faced a terrible earthquake and pain prevailed. The only thing that I could do in all of this was to let myself process, invite in both pain and joy at the same time so by soul has a balance of both.

#2 We need to embrace pain 

I learnt that we as humans tend to try and escape from pain when there is no escaping from it. I, for one am guilty of this. I have been fighting pain from the day my friend was murdered many years ago but never let it in, fearing that it will destroy the strength I have built up to fight the dreadful crime of honor killings by making me weak. But all I needed to do was to embrace the pain. Rumi in a beautiful poem of his called Guest House says that both pain and joy are like guests that arrive at our door, so would we send one away and invite one in? 

#3 We can breath ourselves out of pain
I learnt that most of us have forgotten to breath. Literally forgotten to breath. We unconsciously hold our breath or breath abnormally when sending an email, when in a deep discussion, when our phone rings, when we open our inboxes, when we hear a news. Gasping has become a huge part of our society and we exhale to forget inhaling again. Arianna Huffington in her great book Thrive says that we have become accustomed to living in a fight or flight mode where we hardly breath correctly because we are ready for something drastic to happen. 

#4 After pain comes joy
I learnt that when you are not focusing on swimming, you can actually float. During my break, I finally got my swimming moves right, still not a good swimmer but don't drown in 3 foot water. Practicing on my bike, I became a pro in riding around in traffic, learnt to make intricate mogul art doodles and learnt to finish a book in a week! (Which is a huge gift) 

Above all of that, I learnt how extremely fortunate I am. To have my amazing husband beside me who at every moment has been with me, healed me and guided me out of sadness, to have my dearest soul sister Zehra Ali who have been reading me from the year we met knowing every inch of me no matter how far we are from each other for sending me those beautiful books about mindfulness and for my sidekick Hanna Hillman for picking up my crazy inbox on her shoulders and letting me rest and for everyone around me who understood me, sent their blessings and their love, and in the end for all of you who are reading this. I am forever thankful to you all~ 

To life and its beautiful challenges!