[Probably my lengthiest blog-article-title to date…]
Maybe a good way to get through it all – muddy, craggy, parts: swamp-ish and thoroughly pleasant parts alike – is by thinking of the parts that constitute these lives of ours, in terms of ‘projects’.
I really like this word, and the meaning it holds. When I think of projects, I think of papers and marker-pens out, pencil-planning, brainstorming. Generating ideas, neatening them up into checklists and plans. Teamwork: consulting others, who can help. Attentions and energies focused, and we can plan and generate smart outlines, but ultimately there is such uncertainty in everything that happens
between idea-conception, and -execution/realisation, and everything that takes place afterwards.
Event-planning – for the ‘bigger’ ones, and the ‘smaller’ ones alike (weddings, Aqeeqahs, graduation parties, and also for picnics with friends, Eid parties, a kid’s birthday). Home renovations, garden-care and skincare, health and fitness.
Maybe, also, working, slowly-but-surely, on one’s time-management tendencies. Mental/spiritual wellbeing, recovery; healing from, and/or growing from, all the very things that these lives of ours are known to contain. Overcoming misplaced emotional dependencies: addictions. Adventures abroad. GCSEs, A-levels, a degree, a business. Friendships, cousin-ships, marriage.
These are all projects that we work on, if even only for a given short time.
Problem-solving, and established principles; due presence, and time, and effort. The seeds, and how we tend to their growing; how they bloom, and for how long. Seasonal: between Perfection, and where we find ourselves, there are always things to be done. Without them, things would not move — would be stagnant, would be all done, pointless.
Commitments to a certain club/society. Hamper-making. Babysitting. Making a meal.
[I still think about a particular meal that a friend of mine decided on, together, last year. Korean fried chicken. Inspiration from Pinterest, no less. We went to the local supermarket, picked up the ingredients, added some intuitive/experimental twists while making it. Unmatchable. Unforgettable. Masha Allah, Allahummabārik. Dear reader, what a project: what a process, and what an outcome!]
A self-administered haircut is a project, also. As is a new job, or a blog article; a book you are reading, Deen-related knowledge you are trying to accrue [I so love this word]. Or the thorough tidying of one’s living space; the welcoming of spatial clarity, maybe the introduction of a couple of much-welcome novelties. Trial, and error. The things that work, and the things that, in the end, do not, necessarily.
All these little – and the larger ones, composed of the little – things we work towards. One thing, or many. And then the next one(s). Wherever there is purpose, and passion, there is quite everything.
Projects. And, in the unexpected midsts of them: adventures! Spontaneous, unfore-tell-able, and energising: putting one’s trust into things over which, mostly, we have very little control. And to each, all of our own ones. At different times; on different days, caught between the time-stamps of different years.
In lockdown, things have been hard — for all of us, so it would seem. Some are struggling deeply with the demands of uni; others, more financially; others, with the messes of ‘overthinking’ that silences and stillnesses would seem to deeply, thoroughly facilitate. Stress, depressions. Struggling with the tasks we have, to get done. And with (metaphorical) walls, which find themselves peeling, and with (metaphorical) windows that will not let the fresh air in.
Maybe, your project(s) for right now do not sound particularly… glamorous. Maybe, they are more to do with survival, and to make sure you are eating enough, and allowing your being to catch up on the rest it deserves. I am very glad that you are alive, dear reader.
Also, there is a particular video that I came across recently, and its message really spoke to me. It was, I suppose, about becoming absorbed – lost, and found – in one’s own reality. Not necessarily in a selfish or solipsistic manner — for we are in utter, eternal, and undeniable need of the One who created us; we are in perpetual need, also, of fellow hearts to love, and hands to hold. But there is reality (what is ours, and what is here-and-now), and what we can make of it (in terms of, and towards, Truth and Beauty and Goodness)
and there are falsehoods and dead, unfruitful, weights to hopefully free ourselves of: [mere images of] other people, for instance, other lives and realities, to compare ours to; pasts to ruminate obsessively over, false and idealised ideas of ‘future’ to cling, with these inescapably passing lives of ours, to. The (sigh. Necessarily existent) ones who ‘nay-say’, in response to our personal choices within existence. But there is what is Khayr: what is Better and Best. And then, there is what is not.
Life. Purpose, and Passion, and our people. And our projects, and our (‘littler’ and ‘larger’) adventures. Bismillah!
“And seek help through Sabr and Salāh”
— Qur’an, (2:153)
With Salaam, Sadia, 2021.