The story of my scars

Scars are usually perceived as ugly unsightly things, a disfigurement that mars beauty. However, recently I watched an inspiring video of an amazing lady that made me realise that we often undermine the transforming power of these physical and emotional scars. Muniba Mazari has certainly become my hero and has propelled to the top of my list of inspiring women of the world. I will not delve into her story but will urge all of you to watch this amazing talk and learn about her first hand.

I must admit I find physical scars difficult to deal with. To me, they represent the pain they must have inflicted on the bearer and are a constant reminder as well as a source of curiosity and concern for the observer. As a person who has a near physical  reaction every time I hear about someone’s hurt, I truly admire people who confidently embrace their physical scars and forge ahead. I am even more impressed when I see people bravely camouflaging the scars of their soul. We think we are good at hiding these but a person who wears these like a badge on their sleeves is is not too hard to discern. These are the scars I find fascinating; in fact even liberating. For me the cracks left by personal heartaches, once mended seem to have captured and assimilated some light from places within me I never thought existed.

I recently learnt about the Japanese practice of filling cracks of a broken object with gold. I think it’s a beautiful concept that pays tribute to the process of healing and acknowledges the transformation of a broken object to a more beautiful whole.

cracks filled with gold

Like many other women bound by duty, suffering in silence and learning to cope with challenges, I believe my emotional scars taught me to be stronger and wiser. I constantly find inspiration from strong people around me. I am fortunate to have met an amazing woman in Australia who shared her journey of being an author, artist and an entrepreneur once she moved from being a survivor of childhood abuse and neglect. Melanie Lee now has a permaculture business. In her own words, “ I broke this cycle and re-wrote my life story.”

It’s not easy to acknowledge that we have been scarred and talk about them. However, recognising these can be the first step to a transformation that you need. Every little punch hole in my heart and the deep cuts on my soul have a story behind them. I am not unhappy but grateful for the wisdom that these experiences have taught me. Using this learning I believe I can enrich the lives of others as I am more empathetic to their pain and understand their need for support and compassion.

So I urge you to take that first step to tell the story of your scars and let the healing begin so that you are a source of strength and wisdom for others.
                                                                ~Pause to Reflect~ 

If you are struggling with some emotional issues and aim to free yourself from the limiting thoughts, then contact us  for a FREE consultation.  Let us coach you and help you rediscover the sparkling you. Also follow this blog and our Facebook page for updates on upcoming events.

New Beginnings

 

How does it make you feel when you think of starting something new? It could be a new job, a new relationship or even starting a new life in a new country.

Beginnings are always exciting for me, the fact is that most often they are the end result of some previous efforts. My first job was for me a testament that I am qualified enough to get hired and be paid for my capabilities. As time passes, the excitement is replaced with challenges and new learnings. A new chapter of our life starts willing us to become a new person.  With every new career path comes period of ups and downs that can lead to promotion, redundancy and even termination.

Relationships are often the most challenging aspect of our lives. Facebook may have made the announcement of a new relationship status seem simple enough, but this is again a time of much trepidation mingled with a mountain of expectations. In every new relationship  we find a mixture of happiness and fear. The fear of the unknown and the intricacies involved in making it a success.

Travelling to a new place is another thing that takes many of us out of our comfort zone. Some people love the adventure and some shy away from it. Especially leaving your home and moving to settle in a new country is no small feat. Holidays and fun trips are pleasure driven while immigrating can be a very exhausting and emotionally draining experience.

All new beginnings herald change. Change is the only constant in our lives and we have no choice but to deal with it in the best way we know. Adapting to change is an art that demands a lot of energy.  Sometimes we find ourselves out of our depth and need support to think out of the box; to understand why we are unable to break free from a vicious cycle.

The three most important things that have helped me to survive and deal with change are;

  • Keeping a positive outlook

I try to find my ray of sunshine in the most bleak situations. Even the tiniest bit of positivity helps me to keep me going. I practice gratitude and have faith.

  • Keeping an eye on the goal

I do not lose sight of my goal. I take responsibility for where I am at that point in time. I know my own choices have a big role to play in my situation so I accept that and just focus on achieving my goal.

  • I am curious and open to new thoughts

A big part of accepting change is being open to new ideas. I absorb my new surroundings and learn by observing people and how they behave.

I would love to know how you deal with change.

If you wish to talk about the challenges you may be facing because of any particular change you are dealing with now then please  contact us. Read Shaista’s story for a glimpse of her journey.

“Mirror mirror on the wall, do I have what it takes to be…..”~an exercise on self-reflection

 

Are you a pussy cat who sees themselves as a lion? or a lion who appears to be a pussy cat? How realistic are your perceptions of yourself?

Are you in the midst of repositioning yourself in life. Looking for a more challenging and fulfilling career? Or at a crossroads deciding on which path to take? Often when we are faced with an important decision we start to contemplate and think about who we are, are we strong enough to take that jump or do we prefer to stay within our comfort zones.
Change can be very exciting as well as nerve racking, all depends on your state of mind. However, no matter at what stage in our life there is usually a vision in our minds. Successful people train their minds to visualise success. The law of attraction is simply about attracting things in our lives that we focus on.
This post will introduce you to a simple exercise that I find very effective at un-decisive times. Through self-reflection we are able to clarify our thoughts and focus on our real goals.
Start with a vision board of the ideal place you see yourself in, visualize the tiniest detail. What are you doing? Where are you living? What does your work area look like? How are you behaving? What are you wearing ? Who are your friends? What are you doing on a holiday etc., you can either draw this, make notes or even create a collage of pictures cut out of a magazine.
Once you have your vision in place, you know where you are headed. Now its time to find out if you have what it takes to be that person you wish to be. Whether you want to be the Chief Executive of a large corporation, a successful writer or a great father, you have to start acting like the person you wish become.
Its time to have a good look at yourself in the mirror.
What do you see? Who is this person in front of you? Do you identify with him/ her? Do you like this person? or you feel hopeless ?What is this person saying with his eyes, his look, the slight curve of his mouth.
Note the things you see, what you like and what you wish to change. Seems simple right? but it’s really not that simple.
How you perceive your physical reflection has to do a lot with how you perceive yourselves. Are there any nagging thoughts? What is your mind saying to you?
“I am the best and I deserve all success” or “I can never be the person I want to be”. “I don’t have the brains, or the confidence”, “I am not smart enough”, “I can’t do this because I don’t have time”, “I can’t do this because my husband won’t allow me”… 
Are you the blamer, the procrastinator or the risk-taker?
Keep going back to the mirror and quizzing yourself. Make a note of the voices you hear in your head. This mind chatter is not senseless, its your sub-conscious manifesting itself and making you take decisions. Look for repetitive patterns. These voices are your guide for the future.
Note down everything you hear your mind say.
Then sit down and rate each statement. How close to reality is each statement. Rate yourself on a scale of 0-10 with 10 being the highest score which represents your reality. Start working on the gaps you find. Depending on what your personal scoring is, you will be able to take an informed decision. Listen to your heart and if you really want an objective assessment discuss your analysis with a friend.
Your friend can be a good coach. In the darkest and most challenging phases of my life my friends have been my mentors and coaches I feel really blessed to have them.
To help you on your path practice the following:
1. Write positive affirmations about yourself start with at least 10 affirmations. These should reflect what you want to be or what you wish to do with your life. Always use the word ‘I’ and use the present tense.  eg. “I am always good at my job”. Read them aloud, this will help you get the negative thoughts out of your mind.
2. Look within yourself. Ask questions about yourself and understand your behaviours and your thoughts. Your subconscious makes you the person you believe you are. Meditate, reflect , start a journal.
3. Keep visualising, be creative, DREAM BIG!… YOU are UNSTOPPABLE
If you like contact me for an informal discussion. Coaching can help you to not only take an informed decision but also challenge you to be the best version of yourself and reach the heights of success you were born for…

Gift giving traditions around the world

Gifts-Busy-Parents
Gifts are an important part of building relationships but did you know you could actually offend someone if you did not present the gift in a certain way. It is a good idea to do some research when giving gifts to people of other cultures.
Below is a compilation of some useful advice I gathered from the internet. Please do add to the list any particular traditions you may have come across. After all the intention is to spread love through gifts not cause offence. Right?
Experts say that “giving gifts is a surprisingly complex and important part of human interaction, helping to define relationships and strengthen bonds with family and friends.” It’s an evolutionary trait that even the earliest humans participated in. While the tradition of gift giving is universal, there are some specific cultural rituals. Here are some international, gift giving traditions that may surprise you:
  1. Know your colors. Most cultures have certain colors that they avoid in gift giving. In Brazil, it’s best to avoid giving purple items as a gift since this color represents mourning. In Morocco, the colors pink and yellow are associated with death.
  2. Luck in odd numbers. In India, it is back luck to give gifts wrapped in white or black paper. And if you give a monetary gift it’s best to give an odd number value like $101 for good luck.
  3. Polite rituals that bring good fortune. Like in India, it’s a Chinese customto add a monetary contribution if you give someone a wallet, even if it’s a penny. It’s a way of wishing them good fortune. Gifts associated with the number 8 are considered lucky. And in China, it’s also polite to refuse a gift before accepting it.
  4. Avoid a faux-pas. Japanese culture also dictates that one should refuse a gift a few times before finally accepting it. It is also important to receive a gift with both hands to show gratefulness. Lastly, giving a potted plant is considered taboo because it is thought to represent sickness.
  5. Remember to think twice. Think again before sending flowers. In Egypt, giving flowers is reserved for weddings or if someone is sick. It is also traditional for gifts to be wrapped twice with two different colors.
  6. Handle with caution. If you travel to Thailand remember to handle gifts gently. It’s considered rude to rip the wrapping paper when opening a present. It’s always best to unfold the paper.
So whether you’re at a business meeting in Seoul or visiting a friend’s home in a small village in Provence, there are destination-specific guidelines you can (and probably should) follow to offer and receive gifts without causing offense. Here are some traditions to be aware of on your travels.
Insist a little China, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan
In many countries in East Asia, when offering a gift, you should expect to be refused once, twice, or even three times. This is done to avoid seeming greedy or impatient. If you’re being offered a gift in one of these places and want to be polite, you’re well advised to do the same. Also, when the person finally accepts, you’re expected to thank them.
Hand it over with care India, Africa, the Middle East, and East Asia
In Asia and the Middle East, how you handle gifts is very important. In India and the Middle East, the left hand is considered unclean so use your right hand to give and receive gifts (unless they’re so heavy two hands are required). In East Asia (China, Thailand, Vietnam), always offer or accept a gift with both hands, palms up.
Give gifts as a thank-you Asia, Russia
Throughout Asia, gifts are given to show gratitude after receiving a gift and as a thank-you for hospitality. In Russia, thank-you cards are thought of as impractical; send a small gift to your hosts after a dinner or overnight stay instead.
Leave sharp objects at home East Asia, Brazil, Italy, Peru, and Switzerland
In more countries than you might imagine, scissors, knives, and basically anything pointy or sharp represents the severing of ties and relationships—a gesture you’d probably prefer to avoid if you’ve gone to the trouble of buying and wrapping a present.
Avoid taboo objects China, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan
In China, don’t give someone an umbrella—it means you want the relationship to end. Also avoid giving a green hat; in China and Hong Kong, they communicate the decidedly unfriendly message that your wife is cheating or your sister is a prostitute. Straw sandals, handkerchiefs, and clocks are also taboo in these two cultures because of their association with mortality. Skip brooches and handkerchiefs in Italy for the same reason, and in Japan, forget about handing over a potted plant as a hostess gift—it’s thought to encourage illness.
Pick a lucky number Asia, Europe
When you’re gifting multiples of flowers, money, or chocolates, always be sure to steer clear of unlucky numbers. In East Asia, even numbers are lucky. Number four, which has the unfortunate luck of sounding like the word for death in many Asian languages, is an exception. On the other hand, odd numbers, with the unsurprising exception of 13, are locals’ choice in Europe and India.
Wrap it up Everywhere
Etiquette experts from around the world agree that gifts should always be wrapped. That said, the symbolism of colors varies from country to country. Avoid white, black, and blue gift wrap throughout Asia, as they’re associated with mourning. And while yellow paper is cheerful and appropriate for celebratory gifts in India, in China it’s covered in black writing and used exclusively for gifts to the dead. In South America, black and purple are eschewed because of their association with death and religious ceremonies, and in Italy purple is simply considered unlucky. To avoid any of these faux pas, have gifts wrapped by a pro in your destination. Color, folds, and ribbons aren’t just an important element of presentation—in many cultures they’re symbolic and the wrong wrapping could send the wrong message.
No gifts, please Yemen, Saudi Arabia
In these countries, receiving a gift from anyone but the closest of friends is considered embarrassing. If you do happen to have a best buddy from this part of the world, expect to have any gift you give thoroughly examined—it’s a sign of appreciation and respect for the gift and giver, who’s expected to carefully select the best quality available. For men, don’t give anything made of silk or gold.
Source:
We live in a world full of countries and cultures that possess fascinating and downright bizarre gifting traditions. Did you know, for example, that Santa Claus originates from a small town in Turkey and not a grotto in Lapland? And were you aware that, in rural Soviet Russia, the most valuable gift you could give someone was a piece of firewood? Humans are a curious species, and our interactions and gestures of goodwill provide some good examples of that.

1. Britain

Lottery tickets are bought and exchanged here more than they are anywhere else in the world, and often make a suitable birthday gift. Though diamonds originally symbolised 75 years of married life In the UK, they are now associated with 60, as Victoria’s 60 years on the throne marked her Jubilee.

2. China

Again, Chinese gifting is a bit of a numbers game. As an example, anything to do with the number four is a bad omen, as in Chinese it sounds similar to the word ‘death’. After receiving a red envelope, children will customarily touch their envelopes under their pillows for seven nights as a wish for good luck. Birthdays, however, aren’t formally celebrated until one turns 60.

3. India

As left hands are considered unclean in Indian culture, gestures such as touching, passing money, or giving gifts are to be done with the right hand. Contrary to some other cultures, an odd number of objects or currency denotes good luck. For example, £11 should be given as opposed to £10.

4. Israel

Despite the kind gesture, thank you cards and notes are not a common part of the gifting custom in Israel. Contrary to the way American Jews exchange gifts during Hanukkah, those from or residing in Israel won’t typically receive gifts from one another.

5. Italy

Italian kids are certainty a bit spoilt. In addition to a visit from Santa, children have their stockings filled by a fallacious witch at the end of Epiphany on January 6. Interestingly, gifts are not exchanged between or within companies, as the act is deemed a little tacky.

6. Japan

There are staunch traditions when it comes to gifting etiquette in Japan. One of these guidelines stipulates that presents should be refused up to three times before their acceptance. Also, every year on March 14, men are expected to return the value of their received gifts threefold.

7. Native America

Native American gifting etiquette is exactly the opposite to that of any other culture. Traditionally during weddings and powwow celebrations (birthdays aren’t always recognised), guests are the receivers of gifts rather than whomever the host may be.

8. Russia

Due to the way Russia was governed during the Soviet era, Russians celebrate New Year with more gusto than they do at Christmas. While Vodka might seem the most suitable gift for a Russian, a lot of them would see it as an unimaginative gesture. Many even perceive the notion as insulting.

9. South America

The majority of people from South American countries will see the offering of sharp objects as a sign that you want the relationship with them severed, so scissors and cooking knives are best avoided. On the eve of January 6 at the end of the Christmas period, Argentinian children will customarily leave their shoes by their beds to be filled with small gifts. Meanwhile in Brazil, seaside settlements will send gifts of flowers, fruits or jewellery out to sea to honour the Goddess of Water.

10. Zimbabwe

In Zimbabwe, it is not uncommon to be directly asked for a gift. When one has been bought even without requesting it, the worst you can do is to refuse the offering, even if the family giving is starving. Also, gestures of thanks are preferred over verbal reciprocation. These may include jumping up and down, dancing, or whistling.

My biggest takeaway of 2017….

I always thought I was a die-hard positive person and would be very conscious of using positive language in my communication but the past few months have made me realise our biggest motivator for change is PAIN!! Nothing makes one learn faster than the wisdom that comes from braving pain and coming out a victor.

 ” ‪Your deepest pain is your greatest gift if you learn how to use it”

~ Tony Robbins, #1 New York Times best-selling author, life and business strategist, philanthropist, entrepreneur

I went through a lot of personal emotional challenges at a young age. The greatest transformational point in my life was when my mother was diagnosed with cancer. I was in my final year at the university when doctors gave her a life sentence of a few more months to live. In a few months, we saw our mother lose her gruelling battle with cancer and at the young age of 24 when most girls are busy romanticizing the idea of a partner; I found myself being a mother to my five siblings; the youngest being only nine years old at that time. Not only that, the toughest part was acting as a partner to my father who now relied on me for all domestic matters. Personal challenges became even more difficult when my father also passed away within six years of my mother’s death. Now I had a checklist of things to do, get my sisters married and support my brothers so that they could stand on their feet. As a young single woman living in a conservative Pakistani society, I had to forge ahead very much on my own. I was very clear of what Allah had ascribed as my purpose of life. I had to be the nucleus for my siblings and carry out responsibilities that my parents’ early death had left me with. I wed off my sisters and supported my brothers in their academic pursuits.

As if God wanted to further hone my personality, the older one of my brother’s had a major emotional breakdown after my father’s death. At 28 years of age he was diagnosed with chronic schizophrenia. For the following nine years, I was main the carer of an adult mentally ill brother, the bread winner for my family and the ‘maika‘ for my married sisters making sure all cultural expectations of in-laws were appropriately met.

However, these life experiences made me a strong person, mainly because there was no other choice but to be strong. Hence, I feel our pains are actually a source of enrichment depending on how we deal with them.

As a coach, I learnt to help people gain clarity of their biggest pain that they wish to eliminate. By dealing with the core issue we can identify and address the underlying factors that hinder in the path of success. If you wish to tackle the pain in your life and move towards a more fulfilling and stress-free 2018, then contact me to set up time for an informal chat.

pain

How do you view pain in your life? What was your biggest takeaway in 2017?

Wishing you strength and prosperity in the New Year!

Happy Children’s Day

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The United Nations established Universal Children’s Day in 1954 in a bid to promote togetherness among children across the world, and improve children’s welfare.

It is celebrated on November 20 to mark the date that the Declaration of the Rights of the Child was adopted by the UN in 1959. This declaration was signed by all the countries of the world.

The theme for 2017 is #KidsTakeOver, with UNICEF inviting kids across the globe to take over grown-up roles such as in the media and politics to voice support for children in need.

To mark the occasion David Beckham is interviewing children for a short film, with fellow sports stars David Villa and Sachin Tendulkar also getting involved in the truly global effort.

Justin Forsyth, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director said: “From Auckland to Amman and from New York to N’Djamena, we want children to campaign in their schools and communities to help save children’s lives, fight for their rights and fulfil their potential.”

Children are a blessing, a joy. They teach us so much with their exuberance and the way they look at life. We have an obligation to keep children safe, to give them the freedom to enjoy their childhoods and to protect them. Children are the most valuable resources for our future.

Let children celebrate this day and make it their own. How about starting with the children in your life. What will you say to them today?……

How do you #TeachSDGs? And, how can you begin?

This blog is being shared from the Teach SDGs website. 

Though “Quality Education” (Goal 4) specifically is set forth to ensure inclusive and equitable education for all, we view each of the 17 goals as being under our umbrella of responsibility within education. For us, as stated in one of our meetings with U.N. Ambassador Dessima Williams, special adviser for implementation of the sustainable development goals, although there are great benefits in acting collaboratively, we are now in a time where we need to shift from concentrating on collaboration to focusing on solidarity. As a cohesive team of global educators, we believe education is the answer.

Click below to read the full article

https://sharemylesson.com/blog/responding-call-action-how-do-you-teachsdgs

 

 

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