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Never Give Up: Day 4 of 365 Days of Love

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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.

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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

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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. 

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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 

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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.

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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

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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

 

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