Viewing entries tagged
blogger

Friends to Partners: Day 7 of 365 Days of Love

1 Comment

Friends to Partners: Day 7 of 365 Days of Love

Welcome to 365 days of love! If you’ve been following the daily stories, welcome back! If this is your first time reading, amazing to have you and welcome! Here is the brief introduction to what we are doing here, but essentially I (and hopefully you by sharing your stories) are sharing one story a day for the next year (365 to be exact) to show incredible ways we could meet the love of our life as well as share insights on the thing we all crave the most as humans - Love. Why? Because we want to be the people who invest in possibilities rather than impossibilities (as well as increase the amount of love in our lives).

Every story would fall in one of the following categories (the category in bold is the one that we will discuss today):

  1. Fictional story of where we could have met someone today (fostering the mindset of possibility)

  2. Factual story of a love story (inspiring us from real life stories)

  3. Insights/thoughts about love


LETS SEE WHAT LOVE HAS IN STORE FOR US TODAY - DAY 7 OF 365 DAYS. LETS KICK THIS OFF!

-Aida


Earlier this year in Lebanon I attended an inspiring event that brought youth together to inspire them to create social impact. There had to be over 300 people each buzzing with excitement from a combination of their natural youth, the fancy pink lights and the $250k ticket prize about to be awarded.

maxresdefault.jpg

Being a person who is sensitive to energy I quickly gravitated to two individuals who were glowing (for this article I will call them Hiba and Khalid as they asked to be anonymous). In this event filled with brilliant people I spent a significant amount of time with them and found myself not wanting to leave their company. I could not tell at the time whether it was their energetic young energy, their love for social impact or love for each other but I knew there was something special about them two. Today I finally know why.

This week during my call for stories for 365 Days of Love, I heard from Hiba*. She shared her story with me about how that night when we met in the hills of beautiful Lebanon, Khalid* confessed his love for her.

They have been friends for years and on that buzzing night he took the plunge and leaped to risk their friendship to tell her how he felt.

He has loved her secretly for two years and she had no idea. She did too.

It’s all in his eyes. Where I find the hue of the most magical things in life and all my reasons why. They are kind you could lost in …and I guess I did.
— Anonymous woman (Hiba*)

In looking back I could see the mutual respect and love they had for each other. The details in how attentive he was to her, not being afraid to have her lead a conversation, making sure she had something to drink and just seeming in awe when she spoke. She very much mirrored that exact love, respect and attentiveness.

lebanon-beirut-sunset.jpg

Hiba* in her story to me says in poetic speech:

It’s the way he carries his heart in his eyes and I swear I saw my name there more than once. Like a deep ocean they immerse my soul entirely and I am not afraid of drowning.

In his eyes, I knew I might burn but I just had to inch a little closer. I took the plunge.

In his eyes, my worlds have been stolen away making me happily lost inside his, my new world. My me home.

In his eyes, all time stops, mirrored by the clocks that stop ticking the moment I stared into them.

In his eyes, my soul pointed at him and whispered to my heart “him”.

My heart showed me in light form that “everything will be ok” in a sky with a million people that went unnoticed. 

With my eyes locked to his, I knew he is all I want.

With my eyes locked to his, time had a different and new profound meaning.

Today I ask for time to be kind to us, for me to fulfill my wish of graduating with him, growing with him, succeeding with him, and never loosing him.

With our eyes locked to each other, I ask God to keep him for me today and every day.


This beautiful and sweet story is just a reminder that love could be standing right next to you and you would never have guessed it. It reminds me how your longest friends can actually become the best partners, the partners you dreamt of who were standing right beside you all those years.

It also taught me that details matter. The way he introduces you, the way he looks at you, the small attentive things (or lack of) matter. So as you embark on your journey of love take a moment to be aware of those precious and very telling details.

Thank you to the beautiful couple (names anonymous) for sharing that special night with me and more importantly for sharing a glimpse of your love story to inspire more people to invest in love. I deeply look forward to celebrating love at your future wedding and every single day.

Thankful for knowing you both, may God bless every moment in your life.

With Lots of Love,

Aida


A big thank you for reading this and taking the time to care for yourself, your heart and your life. If you enjoyed this and have a story or thoughts on love that you would like to share please get in touch (button above). We have 358 more articles to share and we hope to hear from you!

SUBSCRIBE TO THE STORIES HERE.

1 Comment

Trust: Day 6 of 365 Days of Love

Comment

Trust: Day 6 of 365 Days of Love

Welcome to 365 days of love! If you’ve been following the daily stories, welcome back! If this is your first time reading, amazing to have you and welcome! Here is the brief introduction to what we are doing here, but essentially I (and hopefully you by sharing your stories) are sharing one story a day for the next year (365 to be exact) to show incredible ways we could meet the love of our life as well as share insights on the thing we all crave the most as humans - Love. Why? Because we want to be the people who invest in possibilities rather than impossibilities (as well as increase the amount of love in our lives).

Every story would fall in one of the following categories (the category in bold is the one that we will discuss today):

  1. Fictional story of where we could have met someone today (fostering the mindset of possibility)

  2. Factual story of a love story (inspiring us from real life stories)

  3. Insights/thoughts about love


LETS SEE WHAT LOVE HAS IN STORE FOR US TODAY - DAY 6 OF 365 DAYS. LETS KICK THIS OFF!

-Aida


Indecision

.

Self-Doubt

.

Poor Judgement

.

What do these three words have in common?

.

Iyanla Vanzant says it is trust. Or rather lack of it.

The problem with todays culture and lack of trust, is due to the fact that we do not know who we are. In continuation to Sumayya’s story yesterday (Day 5 of 365 Days of Love), I and many of us realized that we walk around the day carrying ourselves without really deeply knowing who we are.

The problem with not knowing who we are is that we do not trust ourselves,

we do not know where our internal compass is,

how to listen to our intuition and

how to differentiate between the right or poor choices for us.

What follows from lack of knowing and trusting ourselves is we lack the capacity to trust in others and unfortunately taking a series of bad decisions such as bad relationships that always lead to some degree of heart break.

There is no greater battle in life than the battle in the parts of u that want to be healed and the parts of you are comfortable and content remaining broken.-2.png

But when thinking of heart break and working on trust I ask, how do we not let our past experiences and heart breaks scar us? How do we let go of the resentment to the people who broke our hearts and the fear of being hurt again? Iyanala’s advice goes back to trust but working on trusting yourself first. She says how the issue is not in trusting people but in trusting yourself to find the right type of people, to hear that inner voice that is guiding us and trust yourself that when people leave you you will be ok.

We all know how to suffer. But when it comes to being open, vulnerable, following our intuition and facing the unknown, can we do that?
— Iyanla

She shares how after being heart broken from every possible person in her life from experiencing rape, being abused, burying her daughter, getting a divorce and sadly more, she concludes that the only way to heal and find contentment in this life is through love. The path to love is trust in the following order:

  1. Trust in yourself

  2. Trust in God

  3. Trust in others

  4. Trust in Life

Iyanla reminds us that an experience you had does not define who you are today and who you will be tomorrow. If you trusted yourself more, you would not have those feelings of indecision, self-doubt and poor judgement because you would know the common truth in our hearts, that all will be ok.

When you live with trust, everything else becomes irrelevant.

That means you should be willing to

stand alone sometimes,

to piss some people off,

to look different,

sound different,

be different.

and those are risks many of us are not willing to do.

Are you?


A big thank you for reading this and taking the time to care for yourself, your heart and your life. If you enjoyed Iyanlas thoughts then listen to her full podcast interview with Oprah here.

If you have a story or thoughts on love that you would like to share please get in touch. We have 359 more articles to share and we hope to hear from you!

Share you story here.

Follow the stories here.

With lots of love,

Aida

Comment

I met the man of my dreams. Twice: Day 5 of 365 Days of Love

1 Comment

I met the man of my dreams. Twice: Day 5 of 365 Days of Love

Welcome to 365 days of love! If you’ve been following the daily stories, welcome back! If this is your first time reading, amazing to have you and welcome! Here is the brief introduction to what we are doing here, but essentially I (and hopefully you by sharing your stories) are sharing one story a day for the next year(365 to be exact) to show incredible ways we could meet the love of our life as well as share insights on the thing we all crave the most as humans - Love. Why? Because we want to be the people who invest in possibilities rather than impossibilities (as well as increase the amount of love in our lives).

Every story would fall in one of the following categories (the category in bold is the one that we will discuss today):

  1. Fictional story of where we could have met someone today (fostering the mindset of possibility)

  2. Factual story of a love story (inspiring us from real life stories)

  3. Insights/thoughts about love

LETS SEE WHAT LOVE HAS IN STORE FOR US TODAY - DAY 5 OF 365 DAYS. LETS KICK THIS OFF!

-Aida


Contributed by: Sumayya Tobah, Freelance journalist

Get to know her on Twitter/instagram: @thisissumayya


I met my dream man. Twice.


The first time I met the man I would go on to marry, I was 22 years old, about to go on to a post-graduate degree and living a sham of a life. We met on a sunny October afternoon (4 years ago to be exact), and I think I knew right away that he was the man I wanted to marry, but our engagement would last only a few months before ending the following summer.  

We didn’t know it at the time, but two years later, we would be officially celebrating our engagement.

IMG_5436.jpg

This story is not about my engagement per se. It’s about what happened after that failed first attempt, and what I had to go through before we found our way back to each other again. Because while it may sound incredibly dramatic, during the two years we were apart, my life literally flipped upside down. The life of Sumayya Tobah was altered or reversed in every aspect, in one way or another.  

You see, when we called off our engagement the first time, I was incredibly unhappy. I knew, I knew in my heart that this was the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. And yet, due to so many factors beyond my control, we fell apart. But as time ticked on -- one day later, one week later, one month later -- and I was still unhappy, I decided I needed a change.

Not a change. I needed a revolution.


First thing I did, I changed my setting. Literally.

I left the small Canadian town that had been my home for about eight years, and moved to Washington D.C. to work full time as a journalist covering the 2016 election. I left with two suitcases of sweaters, a couple of hijabs and a serious chip on my shoulder. I was fully prepared to embrace this new chapter of my life and become the person I had been dreaming of. And in doing that, I was trying to accept that my future might not include a significant other.

Journalists are notorious for having no personal lives. Going into my career I was so sure I would be in it alone. I was working 14 hour days, obsessed with the DC scene and desperately trying to break into the world here. But I was ecstatic. For the first time in my life, I had chosen my own home.

IMG_5435.jpg

The next thing I did was clear my life of any and all toxic relationships.

Some of this happened naturally but most was completely conscious. As soon as I moved out to DC on my own, I stopped having a lot in common with my friends back in Canada. Why would I care about small town gossip? I didn’t want to hear about so-and-so engagement or whats-her-name’s breakdown. I was worried about paying rent. I was overwhelmed with the news cycle. I did not fit into the mold that these girls were used to. And I was sick of the bullshit.

IMG_5430.jpg

There is absolutely nothing wrong with cutting out people in your life who are fake, who do not understand your purpose, who make you unhappy. While my friendships lasted since high school, they were empty. For years I had been feeling restless and unsatisfied by empty conversations and shallow people. But looking around at fifteen, at nineteen, at twenty-one, I remember asking myself, who do I have to turn to? what choice to I have?

Well, I had a choice now.

I truly believe a person’s friends is a representation of who they are. I was looking at the girls who were in my life at the time and I thought, is that how I want to speak? How I want to represent myself? How I want to be thought of?

Which is probably how I came to the realization that I didn’t really know myself.

So I re-centered myself.

IMG_5429.jpg

In a new city, without any of my former friends, I found myself facing silence. Literal silence. It was the uninvited guest waiting in my apartment every night when I returned from the bustling Newsroom. Growing up in a big family, I had never experienced silence like this. And with the exception of my family and a select few friendships, I was completely on my own. It was at this time, I began to rediscover who I was. In some ways, this was a spiritual experience; I found myself attending more faith-based events, taking more care during prayers, making sure my spiritual and mental health was taken care of.

In other ways, it was totally practical. I didn’t have anyone to go to movies with, go to dinner with, attending work functions with, so I had to learn to stand on my own. Believe me when I say this was the most terrifying and most cherished time in my life. I needed that time to travel, to work, to just breathe on my own before I was able to commit to someone else in my life.

IMG_5426.jpg

Looking back at that time on my own, not only did I learn who I was, I learned to diminish others’ opinions of me. Whether that was the town that never felt like home, the frienemies who were leaching off of me, or the passersby who judged as I enjoyed a meal alone. Every morning I wake up in this skin, with its scars, blemishes and imperfections. I wake up with this impossible mind and this resilient heart. I had to know it and love it inside and out before I could surrender it to another.

And so, when I met my dream man for the second time, a year later, he was exactly the same. But I was a completely changed woman.

IMG_5424.jpg

A big thank you to the beautiful human being, Sumayya for sharing her story and a few of the many lessons she has learnt. If you have a story or thoughts on love that you would like to share please get in touch. We have 300 more articles to share and we hope to hear from you!

Share you story here.

Follow the stories here.

With lots of love,

Aida

1 Comment

Never Give Up: Day 4 of 365 Days of Love

2 Comments

Never Give Up: Day 4 of 365 Days of Love

Welcome to 365 days of love! If you’ve been following the daily stories, welcome back! If this is your first time reading, amazing to have you and welcome! Here is the brief intro to what we are doing here, but essentially I (and hopefully you by sharing your stories) are sharing one story a day for the next year to show incredible ways we could meet the love of our life as well as share insights on the thing we all crave the most as humans - Love. Why? Because we want to be the people who invest in possibilities rather than impossibilities (as well as increase the amount of love in our lives).

Every story would fall in one of the following categories (the category in bold is the one that we will discuss today):

  1. Fictional story of where we could have met someone today (fostering the mindset of possibility)

  2. Factual story of a love story (inspiring us from real life stories

  3. Insights/thoughts about love

LETS SEE WHAT LOVE HAS IN STORE FOR US TODAY - DAY 4 OF 365 DAYS. LETS KICK THIS OFF!


In the past 4 days of launching 365 Days of Love I have received so many messages from both women and men telling me that they are about to give up on finding love. This was alarming to me on numerous levels as when you give up on something so major in life it becomes the start to giving up on many other things including yourself and what you my dear deserve. So the short answer to everyone who is thinking about giving up on love, don’t. Don’t do it.

IMG_2482.JPG

As in everything in life we will always be experiencing the ebbs and flows of life. As a practicing muslim I was taught that it is natural for our heart to contract and expand, where we experience days where our heart is so open and you feel so close to God. Then there are days where your heart is contracted and you wonder where did those feelings go. But the truth that i’ve been taught is that God is always with us, during our expansions and contractions and that no matter where we are in life, He is our constant.

This concept got me also thinking of Love. Where some times we are filled with it, feeling it from all angels from our family to friends to strangers, then on the other extreme we experience days where we feel no love and wonder if we are alone and if we will stay that way for a while or even forever.

My message to you is simple: Trust in life to give you what you deserve, trust in yourself that you are worth it and let it go knowing that something bigger than you will take care of you. It’s okay to have days where you are contracted and this is in fact if you see it with a different perspective a beautiful opportunity to take your attention inward. Take the days of contraction to identify what is it that is contracting your heart, to work on training yourself to be more centered, to work on loving yourself more and to push harder to see that love is truly all around us if only we see clearer.


My advice is when you feel your heart contracted, try the following (they have really helped me):

  1. Go into a room alone and take 10 deep breaths.

  2. Take another 10 more deep breaths where in every inhale you visualize breathing in love and fullness and when you exhale visualize breathing out any negative thoughts you have.

  3. Then imagine yourself as a child version of you. Remember how a child is filled naturally with love, how the natural self is meant to be curious, to fall a million times and get up typically without having scarred the inner self. Really feel that inner child and bring it back to life in your present day because children are truly a reminder of how we were meant to live life, without scars or negativity but rather with hope, light and love.

  4. Then with that child mindset go out and do something you’ve never done before. However small such as baking a new recipe or walking down a new road but go do something new. As you do it work hard on being present and try to train yourself not to think of other things (as adults do) but to be fully present in this one new thing (as a child does).

Wherever you are know that you are special, you are loved and that you are not alone. Never give up most importantly on yourself, love, and all the beautiful things that life has in store for you.



With Lots of Love,

Aida

2 Comments

Letting Go: Day 3 of 365 Days of Love

Comment

Letting Go: Day 3 of 365 Days of Love

Welcome to 365 days of love! If you’ve been following the daily stories, welcome back! If this is your first time reading, amazing to have you and welcome! Here is the brief intro to what we are doing here, but essentially I (and hopefully you by sharing your stories) are sharing one story a day for the next year to show incredible ways we could meet the love of our life as well as share insights on the thing we all crave the most as humans - Love. Why? Because we want to be the people who invest in possibilities rather than impossibilities (as well as increase the amount of love in our lives).

Every story would fall in one of the following categories (the category in bold is the one that we will discuss today):

  1. Fictional story of where we could have met someone today (fostering the mindset of possibility)

  2. Factual story of a love story (inspiring us from real life stories

  3. Insights/thoughts about love

LETS SEE WHAT LOVE HAS IN STORE FOR US TODAY - DAY 3 OF 365 DAYS. LETS KICK THIS OFF!


Every one of has felt some degree of romantic love to someone (whether you called it a crush or deep love). This love has either led you to be single or in a relationship right now. If you are in the relationship club that’s awesome but this article is tailored to more for the singles (please do share your love story here for the next article).

For the ones who are single right now that obviously means that the romantic love with that person you are thinking of right now didn’t work out. The normal person would take some time to get over it and move on to be open to other potential loves, but unfortunately there are many, many and I mean many women (including myself) and men who get so hung up on their past that they can’t seem to live their present nor see their future.

I have done this to myself, where I made every excuse possible to why the man has disappeared (as if I was his lawyer or some sort). “He is going through stressful times at work, he needs some space”, “He just went through surgery, he is feeling vulnerable and needs to be alone”, “He has commitment issues so i’m sure he will take a break then realize I am the right person for him”.. and the list of excuses goes on and on and on.

But the reality is quite simple. If a man wants you, YOU will know. He’s just not that into you
(I know it sucks to hear that but it really is that simple). Men aren’t very complex people, in fact I sometimes find them simpler than women (even though these days I question their ethics sometimes, an article on ghosting is coming soon).

He's Just Not That Into You_Pack_Y24804 DVDW-zoom.png

Have you ever watched the movie he is just not that into you? If not then i’ve found your plans for the night. Get some popcorn, a cozy blanket and watch it. Then come back here and share your thoughts!


So why am I talking about the past? Because if you are hung up on the past then you are blinded from the present. Imagine that for today you have decided to go sit at a cafe to sip on your delicious latte right before you head off to work. We are creatures of habit so we go back to our habit of thinking of him, remembering that time he made us laugh, thinking if he is ok, then without meaning to you look at your phone hoping he will text you all of a sudden (maybe he felt you thinking of him?).

But while you were in your own world thinking of someone who is obviously not thinking of you (remember if a man is into you, you will be the first to know), there was a cute guy sitting across from you. He has been trying to find a way to catch your attention but you were so into your thoughts of the nonexistent man and the man who frankly doesn’t deserve your thoughts.

He may even say hi, but you couldn’t hear or notice him because you were so deep into your thoughts that you somehow drowned out all external noise. Stop to think about it, how many moments have you wasted thinking about a man (or woman) who hasn’t deserved it? how many imaginary situations have you created of hearing from him (or her)? then think about the many potentials of men (or women) that you have blocked from entering your life because your mind and heart was so obviously taken (to someone’s mind and heart was clearly single)?

For today lets take a moment to let go and make room for the future potentials who will clearly show us that they are into us and who will never leave us sitting at a cafe sipping latte wondering if they are into us. Here are a few things I would recommend you do (and I did myself):

  1. Give yourself one night to feel the emotions you need to feel. Remember every detail about him, your time together, all the dreams and hopes you had for both of you, reread messages etc. Do whatever you need to do get it out of your system and look at all this knowing this is your LAST time.

  2. Write a letter to him, write down everything you would have wanted to say then throw or burn it. You don’t want it around you since you are moving on but it feels amazing writing it all out.

  3. The day you do this, before you sleep thank God and thank the guy for having been in your life, the lessons you learnt and say you let him go.

  4. Imagine now that you have let him go there is a vacant space within you, imagine this space is now filled with new and better love. Love first for yourself (the most important love) then space for a new love.

  5. In this new healthy space of love, concentrate on the emotions you want to feel. Is it respect, silliness, happiness, fullness, warmth etc? Focus on it, feel it then become it.

  6. Then let it all go again. Give it to the universe to sent you what is meant to be knowing that you are doing your part of (1) Making space for new things by letting go of the past (2) Loving yourself (3) Knowing what you want to feel (4) Having faith the right kind of love with come.

And with that I thank you for taking the time to first take care of yourself in the love department because at the end of the day it is the most important one. Thank you for reading this and for your time.

If you have a story or thoughts to share please get in touch. Also if you know someone who would like to sponsor these posts let me know here! We all would love to hear from you. Until then have a beautiful day filled with love!

Lots of Love,

Aida

Comment

365 Days of Love & YOU

Comment

365 Days of Love & YOU

It’s been 5 hours since my launch of requesting contributors to join in the 365 Days of Love initiative and the number of people interested in sharing their stories and insights in love has been incredible!!!

SO happy to hear in this great interest to help people (and ourselves) celebrate, learn and grow in love. To help ease the process of becoming a contributor i’m sharing the steps below:

AdobeStock_83204292.jpeg


There are three categories to write an article under 365 Days of L o v e:

  1. Fictional stories (day to day possibilities of meeting the person you love)

  2. Factual stories of love you have experienced or have heard of

  3. Your personal insights and thoughts about love 


Please send the below information to my email aidamurad@gmail.com or through the contact page here:

  1. Your full name (as you would like it to appear on the guest blog post)

  2. Your title (job title or whatever it is you want (such as thinker, creative etc)!)

  3. The category you selected (categories listed above - either 1, 2 or 3)

  4. Your blog post title

  5. Your article 

  6. Your social media links if you want people to follow you or reach out directly to you :) 

  7. If you have a preference for a date to release your article


Can’t wait to read your beautiful stories and insights. Excited to have you be part of this. 



Lots of love,

Aida 

Comment

A Neighbor: Day 1 of 365 Days of Love

2 Comments

A Neighbor: Day 1 of 365 Days of Love

Welcome to 365 days of love! If you’ve been following the daily stories, welcome back! If this is your first time reading, amazing to have you and welcome! Here is the brief intro to what we are doing here, but essentially I (and hopefully you by sharing your stories) are sharing 1 story a day for the next year to show incredible ways we could meet the love of our life. Why? Because we want to be the people who invest in possibilities rather than impossibilities.

Lets see where we could meet our partner today - Day 1 of 365 days. Lets kick this off!

AdobeStock_116067292.jpeg

It’s Monday morning, the start of an incredible week. Before I dive into work, emails, messages (any external facing things) I take a moment and close my eyes seeing, feeling and believing what a beautiful week this will be.

I select a word or two that I hope symbolizes what the day would look like. Today I have selected flow, openness and productivity. I sit on the floor to meditate on these three words and feel the feelings I would have if my day just flowed, my heart was open and my work so incredibly productive. I automatically start smiling and feel what I want to happen.

And that’s when the magic happens, when you start feeling what you want that eventually you become it.

Now lets move on to the love part. Every day you will notice we will take some time to focus on something about our day (because love is only one part of our day) then we will focus on love.


To start off, we have one exercise to do. Love is a word full of so many meanings and associations. This is exactly why we will have a daily exercise to get a bit more clarity on where we stand with it:

  • Put pause and become aware of what word(s) do you associate Love with? Are they negative or positive associations?

  • When you get the clarity on what association you have with it start understanding the Why behind it.

  • If its negative then work on mentally and emotionally releasing it and replacing it with a new positive awesome association. People like to either visualize releasing it or actually releasing something physical. Up to you just as long as you release it and replace it with something positive.

  • Meditate on this positive association with the word Love and feel it. Believe that You (yes YOU) embody it and are it.

  • Push your meditation further after feeling it completely and envision attracting the same level of frequency (association and feeling) of people and events around you.

  • Let go and give it all to God. Put your faith in life and surrender. Breathe in and breathe out with complete freedom knowing that there is something greater than you that will take care of you.


Ok now lets put out a possibility out to the universe on how we could meet our Mr. (or Miss) Love. I’ll start with the basics. We all live somewhere, whether its in an apartment, a dorm room or a farm. We all have people around us whether they are wall to wall or farm to farm. We all pass by people whether its every hour or every few days. So lets open up ourselves to the possibility of meeting Mr. (or Miss) Love without going anywhere, by simply being home.

Today I have decided to take a small walk around my neighborhood area. I feel incredible after doing this meditation on Love and I feel full. I’m walking just smiling by myself. I haven’t changed anything in my routine and go out walking with my huge beats headphones (which I often wonder if it scares people off but I really do enjoy the beats that come out of it so i’ve stuck with it).

I start walking then I see the most beautiful husky infront of me. I don’t pay attention to the man walking the husky and just go straight to the husky. The husky seems happy to see me too (even though we just met) he licks my face and knocks off my beats headphones from my head.

This is perfect. It makes me realize I haven’t said hi to the person holding the husky (aka husky owner) and it made me realize the guy has been trying to say hi but I wasn’t hearing him.

With a bit of shyness, I stand up and introduce myself and complement his beautiful dog. He introduces himself and says he is new to the neighborhood and moved in yesterday. I’m the first person he has met and he says he is glad to have met someone from the neighborhood (aka me).

I smile with blushed cheeks and say i’m glad too (mostly because of his adorable husky). We exchange stories about huskies (I had two in Jordan) and we decide to walk around the neighborhood together with invisible tails that are both wagging (an inspired scene from Dalmatians, I think yes). Its not even 9 am and I have met someone new on my morning walk right next to my home.

The End.

So what’s happened here is that I just made space for the possibility of meeting someone who lives in my neighborhood. It could be a new neighbor, an old neighbor (not in age but time of living there), a friend visiting your neighbor, a stranger who just got lost there by mistake etc etc etc. Think about it have you been open to the possibility of meeting someone who lives around you?

Take a moment today to imagine the possibilities of how you could meet someone without having to leave your area. Just make space for that possibility. Don’t obsess or think every person who walks you by could be that but just make room for the amazing possibility and if its meant to be it will show itself.

End of Day 1 from 365 days of Love.

(If you have a story to share please do share here!!)

With Lots of Love,

Aida

2 Comments

365 Days of Love Introduction

Comment

365 Days of Love Introduction

Life is full of many options but if you really look at it, life is quite simple. Every decision you take is either taking you closer to what you want or do not want. The question is what leads us to make the decisions to manifest what we want?

My belief is that every decision you take is composed with your 3 biggest and most powerful (often misused) tools:

  1. Your thoughts (both conscious and subconscious)

  2. Your words

  3. Your actions.


Today, wherever you may be and however old you are, you and I are craving something. We all have a desire for this one or more thing that we have been trying to get but haven’t quite achieved it. But have you every thought to ask why have some people been able to achieve their desires so easily while others have faced obstacle after obstacle?

Have you ever heard of those stories of crazy “coincidences” of the person who wanted to open their dream restaurant but couldn’t afford it then all of a sudden meets a person while waiting in the restroom line who happens to be a hotel owner and who just happens to be looking to open a new restaurant.

Or

the person who has been dreaming of meeting the love of their life and just happens to start up a conversation with a stranger in the water section at Whole Foods discussing how awesome JUST Water is. They go on a date then many dates then boom its their wedding day!

There are many more stories like this where somehow the universe seems to be supporting these peoples dreams and things just flow. The question is how is that happening and what are they doing differently?

AdobeStock_116067292.jpeg

I believe the answer is quite simple. Lets start with the basic assumptions (aka my beliefs):

  1. The universe responds to your frequency. If you haven’t heard about the law of attraction I suggest you put pause, read about it then come back to this article. Essentially it says if your frequency (energy and quality of your thoughts, words and actions) are positive then you will see positivity back, same thing with negativity.

  2. Nothing is neutral. Every thought, word and action is either investing in the can do or cant do mindset. What are you thinking, saying and doing? Monitoring them is key and consciously adapting those 3 to match your desire.

  3. Our subconscious thoughts are key to understanding the why to our current situation and is often the most under looked and tackled source of blockage and opening. For example if you are consciously thinking that you want love but subconsciously think you do not deserve it then you are sending clashing messages and end up staying single.


These assumptions apply to every desire. After thinking of what is my deepest desire and talking to many of my friends I realized that the most common desire we had was - romantic love. I’ve talked to many single women and men who think they are alone and believe it is extremely difficult and rare to meet someone they could be serious with.

They have turned to inorganic ways to meet men or women such as online dating. This is not to say that online dating is wrong but many of these people including myself didn’t feel right meeting the love of our life over an app. Technology is great but I don’t really want to use it to meet my partner by swiping left or right, just call me old fashioned when it comes to love. Many of these people have turned reluctantly to the apps because they believe it’s almost impossible to meet men or women these days but I strongly disagree and say it all goes back to your 3 assets and how you are using them.

So I have decided for the next 365 articles (an article a day for the next year) i’ll be focusing on Love where every day I'll be giving an example of how I or you could have coincidently met the love of our life. Cheesy right? I think necessary (plus a little bit of cheesiness never hurt! ).

My  art  piece about Love titled Transformative Love.

My art piece about Love titled Transformative Love.

Follow me by subscribing to my blog posts for the next 365 days as we foster the mindset of possibilities in finding love rather than lack of them. I hope this will inspire you to slowly foster the mind set needed to get whatever it is your heart desires. Lets get to exploring!

P.S. If you have a story about love you want to share please do get in touch here. Would love to hear from you and share your stories

IMG_5174.jpg



With Lots of Love,

Aida





Comment

Comment

Women, Lets Build Our Self-Confidence

Today is Wednesday, September 26th 2018. Stop to take a moment to think when was the last time you looked at the mirror and said right now I look and feel so beautiful. Was it this morning as you were getting ready for your day? Was it yesterday? a week ago? or was it such a rare sentence you uttered to yourself that you don’t even remember?

I ask you because today I felt unbeautiful (ugly feels like too strong of a word to use). I hated that I cut my hair short, I looked at my body and found a million and one flaws in it. I even went to the bathroom’s mirror and looked at my face thinking: ugh why is my skin like this, why is my nose this big and the list goes on. I am sure countless women have done the same.

Imagine after a self-hate session (which is often mistaken as a self-improvement session) sitting down and looking at old photos of yourself when you were supposedly skinnier and younger. I found myself looking at pictures of only a year ago when I did a photoshoot for an online interview (read full interview here). I remembered that day feeling so self-conscious in those dresses and I remember telling my good friend and photographer, Megan to tell me if I looked fat and if my face looked ok. Point is I did not feel beautiful, but today when I look at the pictures (shown below) I say what an idiot I was for not feeling and seeing it, because damn it I am beautiful (and so are you beautiful reader).

Photo by Megan Won

Photo by Megan Won

All of a sudden it hit me, I have lost so many days not appreciating myself. I had no idea I was beautiful then, I didn’t see it or feel it. And today, with my short hair, my one year older self I still don’t know or feel beautiful. But that is not right and is definitely not sustainable.

Photo by Megan Won

Photo by Megan Won

Why do we put ourselves down so much? Wouldn’t life be much more beautiful if we enjoyed it while being comfortable in our own skin and feeling beautiful inside and out (without being egotistical about it)? I have seen too many incredible women, including myself standing up for other people and trying to show them that they are super women but most of us forget about the most important woman - our individual selves. Enough is enough.

We will always need to improve ourselves, always. But we need to start to learn how to better love ourselves in this beautiful, messy and rollercoaster of life. There is nothing wrong in seeing yourself as beautiful. God after all has created you. As the Prophet Muhammad in Islam says:

3e7e0b203c89c825498d3dc3a57b715a.gif

To end this blog post I leave you with some practical things you may do if you have the same problem as me. For any problem I face I analyze and solve it with the same 3 ingredients: Looking into my thoughts, words and actions. Nothing is neutral in life and every thought, word and action you have is either taking you closer to something positive or away from it. So in our topic of today of seeing yourself as beautiful and building your self-confidence, below are some things I will be personally working on and I truly hope it helps you too:

  • Early-morning: As soon as I wake up I am going to take a few minutes to express and feel gratitude for being alive, for having the basics I need, for having a body, being able to speak and get out of bed.

  • Morning: Take 5 minutes to stretch but this will be no ordinary stretching. This will be stretching with awareness, gratitude and love. As I stretch my legs I want to really feel them, feel their ability to move and look at them with love. I want to be aware of the tiny devilish thoughts of: Aida your thighs are so big, you need to run more. I want to turn the thought into: Aida your legs are beautiful and we will work on making the more beautiful through running and honoring this body.

  • Mid-day: Go to the bathroom and just say I love you, you are beautiful. then repeat and said I love you, I am beautiful. I started with you because it feels awkward to say I am beautiful to myself immediately so I will work its way in slowly.

  • Night: As I clean my face from the day’s dust, I will clean it with the emotion of pride. Pride in the sense of being proud of my accomplishments of the day, proud of being brave enough to have gone out and put myself out there, and proud of working on loving myself more and more every single day. I aim to ending the day with committing to trying harder tomorrow which means loving myself a bit more and hopefully unconsciously giving women more permission to love themselves more every day.

With Love,

Aida

Comment

Comment

The Most Important Woman of the Week - My House Cleaner

These past few months have been the busiest of my life (hence the silence on this blog, please do forgive me). I've been essentially doing 3 jobs (1) My 9-5 of building partnerships at an international development firm (2) Organizing a refugees festival in Washington DC under the One Journey Festival (3) My art, motivational speaking and other side things. 

Long story short, i've been so busy leaving very little room for any waste of time and let alone self-care. This meant I really didn't have time to clean my house or do laundry. But to be productive one needs an environment that fosters the sustainability of being so busy, helping them be productive yet relaxed at the same time so as to avoid burn out. 

On Thursday I had one of the longest days of my life starting work at 5:30 am then rush off home at 5:30 pm to make dinner for 6 people who have graciously volunteered their time to help out with the One Journey Festival Communications plan. In my Uber ride I closed my eyes to get whatever sleep I could to re-energize myself. I get out, walk up to my apartment still not fully re-fueled, open the door to my apartment and find it spotless. Everything piled up perfectly, the floor mopped clean, the dishes put away and the windows clear. 

I stop and stood for a good minute and shed a tear. A tear of gratitude, to the incredible woman named Elizabeth who comes to my home and cleans it. I teared because she has created the exact environment I needed to be re-fueled, and to be productive with my 6 guests coming in the next hour. 

Think about it. Could you do your work if you had garbage piling up in your office? Could you have a peaceful walk if dirt was laid all over the sidewalks? Could you have a good nights sleep for several nights if your home stunk of something? The answer is no. So let's take a moment to give deep gratitude to the people serving us so deeply by creating the environment we need to function. Thank you to Elizabeth who brought me peace to my home during a very long and hard-working month. I know I will rely on her more and most importantly appreciate her more. 

There are many Elizabeths' out there, I hope today you take the time to thank them individually. 

With Love,

Aida

Comment

Comment

The Power of Showing Up

Showing up. Take a moment to think about these two words.

Think of the number of times you showed up to things, events, meetings.. today.

Think of the number of times you showed up when you were feeling great and it was easy.

Then think of the number of times when the thought of showing up was hard, let alone doing the action of showing up itself. 


On November 1st I showed up and I proudly did so. As you may know i've struggled with severe arthritis for a number of years. I have great days and bad days. The "bad" days seem to be increasing lately and for a while I let it be a barrier to having me show up to things. But yesterday I wanted to show up to support the Jordanian American Association of DC (as I am part of the Executive Committee) to hear from an inspiring speaker, Dr. Julia Nesheiwat.  But I knew I couldn't go in flats or heels because of the arthritis in my feet. 

I was nervous about showing up to the IMF (a large prestigious organization) in my tennis shoes when I knew everyone would be in their heels. I was nervous about looking odd and was trying hard to find something professional to wear with my tennis shoes. As my nerves started building up, my frustration toward my arthritis that attacked my feet increased. I started asking God, why is it in my feet? What is it so hard to do daily simple things such as walking?  

But then I had a sudden shift in mindset. I asked myself to list the things that I can do.
  1. I know I can walk for a couple of minutes in my tennis shoes so that means I can take an Uber to the IMF.
  2. I can sit for 2 hours so that means I can attend the talk.
  3. I can speak so that means I can participate in the meeting.
  4. Finally and most importantly, I can still smile so I can do all the above while still smiling. Listing out these things made me realize how much I CAN do and it felt awesome. 

 

I said so what if I had to go with my tennis shoes. What matters is I had the courage to show up and be there. To not let a challenge over take me but to make the most of it. I happily showed up and left yesterday's meeting feeling empowered by listening to Dr. Julia's talk about her life of reinventing herself in her career that took her in unexpected journeys, and about her commitment to enriching people's lives. But what I really walked away with from her was her unapologetic attitude of her being her and of her showing up during the highs and lows of her work. Of her being comfortable in her own skin even if she was the only woman or the youngest person in the room or whatever other characteristic. She owned it and used her time and skills for something larger than herself. 

jaadc julia.jpg

I hope to use her example as a reminder to myself to keep on serving others, living towards something bigger than myself and to keep on showing up. 

With Love,

Aida 

Comment

Comment

Resilience

Every person you know is going through a challenge, including yourself. Some of those people are leaders and others are not. The difference between these two categories i've noticed is the individuals response to their own life challenges which ultimately links back to their level of resilience.

Today I am a social entrepreneur, artist, motivational speaker and food critic not because I planned to be but because I needed them as a way to stay resilient. Many of you who have read my previous posts know I was diagnosed with arthritis in 2011. This diagnosis shook my world and broke me.. for a time period. But I quickly learnt that life is not waiting for me to get up, it will move on with or without me. Knowing this in a sense empowered me to get my act together and reinvent myself in a way I thought was impossible.

Photo by Megan Won 

Photo by Megan Won 

In every challenge life has thrown me I have reinvented myself and learnt how to fly rather than drown. Here are a few examples that I hope inspire you to fly higher when faced with your own life challenges:

Why I became a social entrepreneur?

Problem: Gender inequality is no new concept and is certainly far from over. When I first launched my full career as a 21 year old I unfortunately faced it intensely. I was fed up with this and said I need to do something.

Turning "bad" into beautiful: I co-founded a social enterprise in Jordan that provided women with an avenue to independent cash generation.

At one of the launch's of my start-up Yours & Mine in Jordan

At one of the launch's of my start-up Yours & Mine in Jordan

Why I became an artist?

Problem: I lost my ability to use my hands easily and currently have permanent damage due to bone erosion from arthritis in my left hand.

Turning "bad" into beautiful: Celebrated my semi-functioning hands with finger-painting. Since I started painting 2 years I ago I have had 2 art exhibits in Washington DC (one that is currently ongoing at Artomatic, come visit me in room 8414!). I've not only sold pieces but I've most importantly sent out the message that even if you have a disability you can create beautiful pieces of art.

hand pic painting.jpg

Why I became a motivational speaker?

Problem: Arthritis stripped me away from daily activities in my senior year, a year that is supposed to be the prime of youth. This caused me to face depression at such a young age and face strong internal battles.

Turning "bad" into beautiful: Recovering from these battles was not easy and it needed constant mental training and finding paths of inspiration. I decided to share my story as a way of healing and helping inspire others along the way. Today I have had over 14,000 views online and delivered speeches to over 2,500 people, a blessing I pray to never take for granted.

Why I became a food critic?

Problem: Having arthritis forced me to become gluten-free and as a pizza, pasta and bread loving girl this was hard.

Turning "bad" into beautiful: I became a writing contributor for the Hungry Lobbyist to review restaurants with a gluten-free perspective. This has allowed me to celebrate my love for food and dining to a whole new awesome level. I also help bring awareness to the need of gluten-free friendly restaurants for all my gluten-free friends who became gluten-free not out of pure fun!

Overall I’ve realized that life may or may not get easier but I know that one thing will remain the same – my resilience and reinvention. I am currently working on a few exciting projects that will be launched soon that will take my reinvention a step higher. I hope you join me in this process of reinvention – God knows an individual with a strong supporting community grows and heals much quicker!

Have a story you want to share on your resilence and reinvention? Then share it with me through my contact page on my website or email me at aidamurad@gmail.com

Comment

Comment

Maximim Impact, Minimum Effort

Moving to Washington DC was by far the best decision i've ever taken. Why? Because it provided me with the ecosystem for me to unleash myself personally and professionally. It gave me the opportunity to invest in the “Who are you not to do this?” rather than the typical “Who do you think you are to do this?” as I mentioned in my interview with Laura Lee Designs (more can be found here). 

Today I am so proud of myself to say that I am doing everything that I want. I am in a job that I deeply love with a boss that supports my growth in every aspect and challenges me to grow. I am in some aspects paid to do the things I love after my 9 - 5 job which is dining, eating, writing and shopping. I express myself creatively through my art and further writing. I connect with communities and help spark some form of inspiration through my motivational speaking. 

In summary i'm a social entrepreneur, artist, food critic, writer and motivational speaker. and more importantly I am a woman who has time for herself, for her loving family, friends, spirituality and ofcourse a very important factor - sleep. and I do all this while tackling a health condition - Arthritis. 

Photography by Megan Won

Many people have asked me but Aida there are 24 hours in a day how can you do all of these things? and to do them well?  My answer is 1+1=3. The meaning for this equation will have a separate blog post but for now here are a few rules I stick by to keep me going, expanding and achieving:

  1. Strong passion is essential. If I do not love or am passionate about what I am doing, it will be considered work and my goal is to live life without a single day of work. Passion somehow pumps a much needed energy into a person and attracts great opportunities. 
  2. Have clear intentions. knowing the reasons why you want to do what you are planning really makes the path much easier and fuels you with an energy that is unmeasurable. Life also works better with you when you have clear intentions. 
  3. Track your progress. I start every morning with my famous tracker- the tracker that has every aspect of my life where I list everything I am working on and write down the achievements/plans of the day. 
  4. Small progress is what keeps you motivated. Tracking is essential not only so you know where you are but also for rewarding yourself. We as humans need rewards and if I learnt anything in life, it is that the beautiful and miraculous things happen in the small things in life. So pay attention and celebrate the small achievements.
  5. Reflect often. Keep asking yourself what have you done and how can you do it better. Repeat and envision - Maximum impact, minimum effort. 
  6. Keep champions around you and let go of any extra weight. People who achieve great things will receive criticism whether it is good or bad intentioned from people around them. Keep the good intentioned ones but remove the bad ones immediately. As for the good intentioned ones you have to listen to your gut feeling because sometimes their doubt can get to you and slow you down, but sometimes their input can be helpful. So just pay attention and follow your gut feeling. 
  7. Try something new everyday. This is essential as it keeps you grounded and helps you go out of your comfort zone. Every day I list 3 things I did that pushed me out of my comfort zone and into the magic zone. What were yours for the day? Remember they can be extraordinary and ordinary things (small is indeed beautiful).
  8. Finally, Keep on envisioning and believing in your self and going for it. You will face failure in some aspects but that's one of the beautiful things of success so don't fear it. Go back to your intention, your dream and refuel yourself for another day in this beautiful journey. 

If you ever need some help in brainstorming about achieving your next goal or have some tips for others please reach out to me through my website on the contact page. Looking forward to hearing from you. Hope you have a magical and beautiful day!

With Love, 

Aida

 

Comment