Dirir

When a new age calls,

let yesterday be the kerosene

for your lamp, today

 

No longer must the wind carry you,

you’ve proven to know your way 

 

I never could trust what I could not see

but I borrowed heaven’s eyes 

and found relief

 

I saw rain clouds in the congregation

and I saw one that stood out

 

You did not invoke fear with a show of lightning 

or boast of your worth with thunder

you were in the sky and grounded, 

praiseworthy yet shy in your wonders

 

Through heaven’s eyes, 

I watched the nomads honor your return 

 

With every rainy season, you were generous… 

but the dry season always followed

 

I wandered after you, hoping to observe

how you spent your time alone preparing for tomorrow

 

But they cut my time short, heaven’s eyes were due…

so I gave them back and lost sight of you

 

When a new age calls,

bury hope in the lobes of your heart 

and carve your confusion into stone…

toss them to the sea

and let the waves stir

 

With your maker’s will,

clarity will come to shore 

Peace & blessings,
Karima O.

Summer’s Interlude

Capable of producing wise words, but incapable of following them.

We become philosophers in someone else’s difficulty

but pity ourselves when guests leave the dinner party.

Too lonely for love.

Too busy for despair that could transform us.

“Do Not Rob Yourself of Your History”

It is 3:26 am, the birds are already in my backyard, and my fatigue headache is starting to kick in. I don’t want to get too into my emotions, people find that cringe innit. Ruts come and go, that is nothing new. But nowadays, the space between the ruts feels shorter. I’m not alone in these bouts of melancholy that have no traceable source. Many have shared that they feel the same. The intensified uncertainty of these times does not help, perhaps it is the shovel, creating the furrow for our indifference and anxious thoughts to lay.

I graduate this coming weekend. I’ve accomplished some things, but I know that these are not my doings. Reaching this point was by way of my facilitating circumstance. Did I work hard and make personal sacrifices? Yes of course, but still, I in no way feel like this was my doing. Hard work never felt like a choice, rather a compulsion. Forgoing events or parties never felt like a sacrifice, just natural, for my desires have always steered me in other directions. I did not have things handed to me, but in my mind, the difficulties and pleasures of the past four years have all felt so perfectly positioned in my journey, allowing me a circumstance to grow and realize parts of myself at a young age.

This is not how I imagined the occasion. My dad tried convincing me to partake in the virtual ceremony, he said, “do not rob yourself of your history”.  Although I decided not to participate, I penned his lesson in my journal.

Peace & Blessings,

Karima O.

 

My Practical Approach to Ramadan

“To distribute material possessions is to divide them. To distribute spiritual possessions is to multiply them.” -Josef Albers

My goals this Ramadan are few but optimal. There are just two.

1). To be mindful as I perform ablution 

  • Rationale: Holistic cleanliness is highly regarded in Islam. Establishing the right mindset in bodily purification will transcend into spiritual purification as I ready myself to stand before God in prayer.

2). To use a Miswak before each prayer

  • Rationale: The use of a Miswak before the prayer has been narrated to multiply the reward by 70 times (Abu Nu’aim in Kitabus Siwak; Targheeb vol.1 pg.168).

As you can see, these goals are not overly ambitious, but they are strategic. Consistency is key. In Sunan Ibn Mājah 4240 (It is deemed Sahih, an authentic source), Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace & blessings be upon him, said, “Take up good deeds only as much as you are able, for the best deeds are those done regularly even if they are few.”

I’m innately a dreamer, the overtly ambitious type. In ways, this temperament has done me some good, but in my spiritual endeavors, it has been stifling. My spiritual development processes are already vulnerable to many distractions. I know best concerning my environment and to what degree it is conducive to my spiritual aims. Lofty goals leave me with a lot of shortcomings. Prioritizing perceptible tactics will allow me to feel accomplished and thereby encouraged to do even more! So in actuality, I am not limiting myself, but instead, creating a healthy and approachable means of reaping the blessings of Ramadan. 

I pray that all those observing the month of Ramadan become more generous, grateful, empathetic, and disciplined. May kindness be our disposition and may our plights diminish. 

Peace and Blessings,

Karima O.

 

 

Beneficence?

Beneficence does not always follow beneficent intentions. The difference to me between a subpar human and an exceptional one is that the later will not consider the decisions of another as a factor in their self-image, they are not so insecure. Their advice to you will not be on the terms that serve them. 

Below is an excerpt from a passage I read today.

“It is true that selfish people can be very attached to one or another person—e.g., a spouse or friend. But it seems that such a friendship could not be a friendship of the most morally excellent kind. The attachment or friendship would be too grounded in self-centered considerations. Thus, a selfish man could be very attached to his wife, dote on her, and in some ways do a lot for her. But this would not mean that he really cared for her, for her own sake. His behavior would be compatible with his caring for her, so to speak, for her willingness to serve him, to be at his command, to flatter his ego. His giving could be a minor concession for her serving him or even a further expression or assertion of his power over her and of her dependence on him. If he were truly selfish, then something like this would be the most likely explanation of his “beneficent” behavior. “

L.A. Blum, Friendship, Altruism, and Morality. ©1980 by Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Peace and Blessings,

Karima O.

Sabtida: Reflections

  • Most recognize the merit of humility, whether or not they possess it.
  • Admonishing the self is a means of growth, but an exhaustive approach; so, many will favor deluded enjoyment over the internal conflict. However, the conscientious prefers spiritual turmoil, through it, they known they are not yet numb.
  • To ask for guidance is most sincere when the requester has taken the time to pinpoint their shortcoming. A generalized request is void of effort.
  • All forms of reliance are not the same.

Faith

The feeling is seated in my heart, but I haven’t placed much of it in my mind, so it is a task to somehow communicate what the feeling is. I have not recently taken the time to rationalize it, it is not a coherent or accessible declaration ready for retrieval during a discussion. Why rationalize clarity rested in the heart if it doesn’t conflict with any fiber or flow?

This isn’t to say that I haven’t asked critical questions, or learned of evidence to give a foundation to this feeling. No, but for some reason, I don’t remember these verifications, the verses that have quenched my inquires, the proofs if you will. I can hardly remember any of them. I only hold on to the mystic flight I feel in faith, but such is a personal experience, and subjectivity is not transferrable or worth substance in a discussion about the validity of religion.

When I was younger, the fuel of my faith was of the mind. I enjoyed debating scripture, questions posed by inquisitive friends at lunchtime would lead me to an extensive search for evidence, my dinner would get cold on those evenings.

Over the years, however, other demands have led me to complacency and comfort, to spiritual numbness. The foundation of faith I’ve critically built earlier in life is not maintained by that same criticality, it now just exists without being expanded upon, or questioned to thereby prompt its growth. I don’t want my spirit and rationalization to be immiscible. I need to return to those inquisitive habits of my younger self to then link the clarity of the heart with that of the mind. The latter is what I now lack.

 

Peace & Blessings,

Karima O.

Sanadka Cusub

Waxaan gooste sanadka cusub inan af somaliga barto

I’ve decided that in the new year I will learn Somali

I’ve always had the desire to know the language of my people, but the inconvenience of asking my parents about grammatical nuances and struggling in pronunciation deterred me. Where and how would I even start? This isn’t a rhetorical question, starting with the basics would not work for me. I ‘d grow incredibly bored and consequently quit the whole effort.

So I’ve settled on a more sophisticated approach. Each morning, I jot down intriguing headlines from Somali BBC and translate it with one of my parents, whichever is awake at the time. I then think of my own phrase, one particularly relevant to my life, and I translate that as well. Google translate can be helpful but inaccurate, and it doesn’t convey the “woqooyi” dialect I prefer.

Below is a translation I did with Aabo this morning. The verse of this song personifies the new year. It is simply beautiful.

 

waan ku heybinaaye

ilaahey hakaa dhigo adna hogol

da’aysiyo habeen dhalad barwaaqiyo

 

I’ve been seeking you

May Allah make you a designated rain

That falls in the night bringing forth an abundance

 

Hogol is an enchanting word. It is not just describing any rain, rather hogol is like a sole cloud, releasing rain upon where it is most desired. It is rain that attends to the specific need of the chosen recipient.

…Perhaps it’s best that I only now begin to learn the language, for I can reflect upon and dissect the nuances that native speakers might undervalue in the mode of practicality.

P.s.  It is January 1st, so happy birthday to the many Somalis who were “fortuitously” born on this day.

Peace and Blessings,

Karima Osman

La Fin

As the year reaches la fin, I am satisfied with how I’ve grown. Notably, there are two points that I have consistently reflected upon throughout 2019 in efforts to enhance my candor and presence.

  1. “A bad day for the ego is a good day for the soul”
  2.  “Don’t greet people with your head but rather with your heart”

Understand that not everyone in your life will recognize your sincerity, some people are deluded by chronic skepticism and that is their prerogative. Don’t live to convince others of your goodness, if they can’t recognize it, they can miss out.  It is not your responsibility to prove anything about yourself to anyone. Just be.

In entering the new year, I want to work on solidifying my values such that I do not waver across my social circles. Overall, I’m consistently kind and respectful, but I’ve identified an area for growth.

It is embedded in most of us to please others to a certain extent. Such allows us to be more agreeable and socially accepted. In many cases, it is to our benefit, as the full truth can offend. For example, telling your colleague you like the color of their blouse is a safe part of the truth, and it’s perhaps best not to share that they should avoid wearing that material given the size of their sweat stains — you could if you were closer, but this is just your colleague and your upbringing has taught you discretion (i hope).

Anyhow, when sensitive topics arise in conversation…I don’t know, say of religion, politics, or anything personal, the answers I deliver depend on who I am speaking with. Are they liberal or conservative? Are they civil or offputting in their aggression? These factors influence how comfortable I feel in my expression… I  don’t quite like this.

In the new year, I am going to minimize the influence others have on the discourse of my expression. To do this, I will revisit all of my values and debate them with myself. I want to engage in the practice of formulating the opposition to some of my opinions,  not so that I can script a rebuttal, but rather that I may find knowledge gaps. I know some may argue that my approach is prone to confirmation bias, but it isn’t. I am not strictly seeking evidence to support my values, rather if I do reason to actually believe in something, that must not be the end, but rather an invitation to explore what I proclaim a stance on.

The productive conversation necessitates knowledge of what is being discussed. I’m a very emotional being and thus have PLENTY of emotional dialogues. This is primarily why I fall short. I’m all for the pathos, but ethos and logos need some attention too.  In 2020, I want more conversations infused with evidence.

Peace & Blessings,

Karima Osman

 

 

 

Take advantage of your disadvantages

“Take advantage of your disadvantages” that’s what someone said to me yesterday. What a stunning perspective!

I tend to give an overwhelming focus to my strengths in hopes of optimizing my performance in areas I already perform well in.

I do also pay mind to my shortcomings to grow, but never do I look at my deficits as areas that can already serve me as is.

What I’m trying to express is a bit confusing, but stay with me. I’ll give you an example.

So I have difficulties sleeping sometimes. A lot of the time. I never bothered with melatonin or other remedies because I still function well throughout the day, so there isn’t a pressing need for me to sleep soundly… I suppose from a biological perspective there are many needs so to speak, but I’m not going to get into that realm right now. I listen to my body, so if I feel good, I’m probably good.

Anyways, back to my point, I have trouble sleeping because my thoughts grow louder than the sound of the heater. For the longest, I dreaded this inconvenience, but I’ve had a recent change of perspective. My thoughts are quite incredible at nocturnal hours. I think of book plots, hit songs to ghostwrite, global sustainability solutions, & general ways to just dissolve subtle tensions in my life. It’s very much like a combination of cognitive and problem-solving dream theory, expect it happens while I’m bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (such an odd idiom, loolzz).

I’m going to now start paying more attention to these loud thoughts of mine. Better yet, I’ll keep a journal and lamp by my bedside so that I can jot down any novel idea that pays an unwarranted visit. I do somewhat worry that by putting the lamp on, my cortisol levels may spike, but why premeditate potential problems? I’ll address that later if need be.

I do acknowledge the evidence-based research to support recommendations of sleep, but at the same time, I want to explore my limits. Certain scholars and other brilliant minds are often known to have lower sleep quotas. Yeah sure, a slight wiring difference can account for needing less sleep, but more likely I think it has to do with the state of mind and quality of food we ingest. In feeding our bodies the right fuel and having a mentality less narrowed in on human limits, one could vastly expand their potential.

So while I can’t so easily suppress my consciousness in the hours designated for sleep, I can welcome these thoughts and make use of them, I can “take advantage of this disadvantage”. If I’m credited for some spectacular discovery in the next decade, I owe it to this shift in my perspective.

How will you seize the good in your inconveniences?