Here We Start – Issue #54

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah, founder of Sail Publishing, a digital publishing house for online magazines and ebooks, and editor in chief of the Emirati Sail Magazine, an online magazine about community and culture written in English by Emirati columnists. Iman is a multi award winner in digital publishing, entrepreneurship, and literature. Iman has also completed the Leadership Strategies in Magazine Media Course in Yale University. Besides her work in publishing, she also lectures in Canadian University in Dubai.
Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)
Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

As we publish our September issue, schools and universities are staring a new academic year; most students and even employees in their corporate jobs are now returning after what I hope was a refreshing holiday. Did you make the most of it? Did you shake off all the stress and exhaustion of the entire academic year or the working year? Are you ready to come back fresh and productive? Well then, let’s get started!

I found that a recurring theme between this issue’s articles has to do in a way or another about gratitude, and even for myself, I’ve been realizing more and more how amazingly it reflects on our lives the moment we acknowledge all the good we already have and we become explicitly thankful for them. And this is something that was endorsed universally and on all levels by successful business people, celebrities, spiritual thought leaders, medical doctors, and most of all, almost all religions. So our readers, how about we all take the time to be more thankful and grateful for everything we have? And not just generally thankful, no, take the time to write down what you’re thankful for on a daily basis, and you will notice the change in your life to the better.

This month, Maitha AlMuhairi joins us as a new columnist in Sail Team. Maitha is an avid reader who has always dreamt of being a recognized novelist and poet. For the last decade she focused on HR as a career, which has taken her away from her dream, but it’s never too late. Her column Pocket full of Books focuses on book reviews and doesn’t necessarily focus on a specific genre. Putting pen to paper Maitha has started writing her first Young Adults Fantasy novel.

 And now to our 54th issue for the month of September 2014:

Hats off to our amazing editorial team: Aida AlBusaidy and Dhabya AlMuhairi. Enjoy our reads, and don’t forget to check out our inspired artworks by our creative team: Dana AlAttar, Hayat AlHassan, Marwa Fuad, led by Maryam Zainal.

To keep up with our monthly-published issues and to know about any of our coming events, make sure you register with us by clicking here

Help us spread the word about the magazine and share the articles with your friends!

Warm regards,
Iman Ben Chaibah
Editor in Chief

The Scientific Background of The Praying Mat: @Timez5

Budoor Al Yousuf (@BAlYousuf)

Budoor Al Yousuf (@BAlYousuf)

Budoor takes a unique look at the world around her. She applies a sense of the mystical to everyday happenstance and turns it on its head. The result is her column: “Mental Pondering”.
With a background in communications, her passion for writing is driven by the need to voice her thoughts. Budoor also hold an eMBA in innovation and Entrepreneurship, other than writing, her interests include reading and traveling.
Budoor Al Yousuf (@BAlYousuf)

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Sponsored Content

Article in brief: The Timez5 Praying mat positively affects the user by reducing pain, increasing energy and changing posture. This is due to the unique and scientific design of the mat.

The previous article featuring Timez5 discussed the health issues related to our current lifestyle, and how the way we live has affected the most intimate parts of our lives, Praying.

The Timez5 praying mat offers a solution to those who cant pray on the floor because of medical issues related to our lifestyle or injuries. In addition to allowing a person to comfortably pray, the mat also has a healing aspect to it.

The below chart shows the effect of the Timez5 mat on someone who uses it on a daily basis:

Screen Shot 2014-08-31 at 9.59.08 PM

The mat’s ability to positively affect a person’s energy, decrease pain and help in posture is credited to the scientific elements that went into designing the mat. The team of scientists who worked on the development of the mat took into consideration the long-term effect of the mat and how it can positively impact the lifestyle of the mat’s user.

To understand the technology and science behind the mat’s design and all the benefits to its users, it is important to see and understand the 5 layers it is made of.

Layer 1: Microfiber

The 1st layer is made with a soft and cool layer to provide comfort to the person praying. It is also made of hygienic antimicrobial materials to avoid bacteria and to reduce the amount of dust accumulated in the mat, which reduces allergy reactions and insures the user always has a clean surface.

Screen Shot 2014-08-31 at 9.59.20 PM

Layer 2: Absorption

The 2nd layer is designed to absorb the body weight from its various points and in the different praying positions to help relief pressure and pain.

Screen Shot 2014-08-31 at 9.59.33 PM

Layer 3: Transfer

The 3rd layer is the weight transfer grid; this layer optimizes the ratio of weight absorption, it distributes the weight properly amongst the body to reduce pressure in the four pressure points in the body. While doing that, the mat also increases the flow of blood, which in its turn increases the levels of energy.

Screen Shot 2014-08-31 at 10.02.31 PM

Screen Shot 2014-08-31 at 10.06.03 PM

Layer 4: Bearing

The 4th layer is responsible for weight & motion counter resistance. Weight bearing is a medical term used to describe the amount of weight a person puts on one leg. The layer uses the force and weight of the users body to create grounding buffer while praying. In other words, it uses the weight of the body and distributes it evenly between both legs.

Layer 5: Micro-grip

The 5th layer is made of an anti-slip material to insure the mat does not move while praying.

Screen Shot 2014-08-31 at 10.06.13 PM

The Timez5 praying mat is designed not only to help the people who are affected by their lifestyles to pray comfortably again, but also has long-term positive benefits on the user of the mat.

To get a mat for yourself or your loved ones, visit www.Timez5.com


This article is part 2 of 3 from Timez5 Series, to read the rest:

  1. “Timez5: The Medical Praying Mat”, click here.
  2. “Timez5: The Scientific Praying Mat”, click here.
  3. “Timez5: The Life Changing Praying Mat”, click here.

The Risks of Diabetes

Dr. Mariam Ketait (@ebbbndflow)

Dr. Mariam Ketait (@ebbbndflow)

Dr. Mariam Ketait is a general practitioner specializing in family medicine, with masters in quality in healthcare and various alternative healing certifications including Theta Healing, Spiritual response therapy, Pranic healing and Access consciousness.
Mariam looks at health from a holistic perspective and believes that our bodies respond to our thought patterns and emotional behaviors. She also believes that health is attainable and that a happy life is a healthy one. Mariam created the concept of "ebb and flow" to reflect how we can deal with the various tides of life by flowing in harmony with our inner wellbeing to achieve health. The column will cover common health topics with an approach to conditions in a mind body spirit framework.
Dr. Mariam Ketait (@ebbbndflow)

Latest posts by Dr. Mariam Ketait (@ebbbndflow) (see all)

Article in brief: An overview of the medical condition that’s affecting the lives of many.

Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

Diabetes is one of the greatest challenges in healthcare today, with numbers on the rise and the age of onset getting younger by the day. It is one of my most passionate causes of perusing alternative modalities, because I’ve seen enough diabetic feet amputated when they could have been saved simply by being aware and empowered.

A recent study showed that people leading “stressful” lives or have stressful work environments have a 45% increased risk of Diabetes. As stress hormones increase in the body, glucose levels rise even amongst the slim.

Body:

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder where your body is unable to store or use glucose properly. I will not be getting into the different causes of diabetes, but there are two types: type 1 where the pancreas fails to produce insulin and type 2 where the body fails to absorb insulin. Insulin regulates our blood glucose levels. When there too much of glucose in your blood, that is when diabetes happens.

Diabetes leads to various systems failing such as the kidney function, cardiovascular disease, and nerve damages. Like any disease there is a genetic part that is triggered when the lifestyle of the patient (eating habits, exercise and stress levels) is not balanced.

Mind:

Whether anxiety and depression are a precursor to diabetes or a result of it hasn’t been identified by research yet, however, anxiety has been shown to lower the blood glucose control and lead to fluctuations in diabetic readings.

Spirit:

The pancreas from a spiritual aspect is responsible for the sweetness in life, and when it fails then it is said that the person is unable to absorb the sweetness of life. Those people tend to have a certain bitterness that could be the result of accumulated stress.

1. Having a healthy lifestyle is important either in prevention of diabetes or treating it. Regular exercise and watching food habits in terms of sugar and calories can have significant benefits.

2. Having a positive mind frame and stepping out of the “chronic disease” fear is vital in achieving optimal results.

3. Tackle emotional issues that result in bitterness, start accepting things for what they are and live in gratitude day by day to be able to find the lost sweetness in life.

4. Take your meds! Having an active approach to the condition can take you miles ahead.

5. Finally, any condition is treatable, if you believe that it is. Breathing exercises and meditations have been scientifically proven to lower stress levels significantly. So take it one deep breath at a time!

The Benefits of Fashion Designer Collaborations

Reem Al Suwaidi (@LumeiRee)

Reem Al Suwaidi (@LumeiRee)

Column: Habillez-Moi (which means “dress me” in French)
Reem is a fashion fanatic. She used her talents of critiquing to start a blog called “We Voice Fashion” along with a partner that shares her views on the world of fashion and design. Through her column, she likes to explore fashion in a philosophical way at times.
http://wevoicefashion.com
Reem Al Suwaidi (@LumeiRee)

Article in brief: The writer states the benefits of collaboration for buyers and sellers.

Artwork by Maryam Zainal (@Maryam_Zainal)

Artwork by Maryam Zainal (@Maryam_Zainal)

One of the perks of modern fashion is collaboration. As the late American poet Mattie Stepanek said: “Unity is strength…when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.” Stepanek’s words had every bit of truth in them, as collaborations are mostly celebrated for their success.

Over the past decade, collaborations between high street stores and designer brands have been taking place in full force, often causing frenzy. The most fascinating part about collaborations though, is what results from them. These certain collaborations always benefit the sellers, and the buyers, which is why they receive much anticipation.

It is every woman’s dream come true when a high street store announces its collaboration with a high-end brand, one that is known for its astounding prices. When such announcements are made, shoppers would go to extensive degrees to get their hands on several pieces of that collection. Often, they would arrive on the day of the launch long before the store’s opening time, and in other cases, they would resort to camping out. Another way to guarantee they would get to tick off everything on their wish list.

For example, on the day of the Lanvin Hearts H&M launch in the UK, crowds were standing outside the store since 5:30 am, hoping to grab an applique shirt or a mesh blouse. Although buyers were already wearing wristbands (to maintain organization) and had an allotted time of fifteen minutes to shop, chaos erupted among the crowds. It was rumored that during this turmoil a fellow customer was fatally wounded, although no one can say for sure. Despite that, the limits that people will go to for these purchases are indeed dire. Clothes sell out immediately, in a mere hour.

One part of the collaborations that interest me the most, are the campaigns and teasers. During the time spanning between the announcement and the day of the launch, high street stores release campaign images to create more fuss among consumers. Before releasing an official statement, the two parties take on social media to post teasers. In the case of H&M’s upcoming collection with designer Alexander Wang, both posted a photo of two boxing gloves hanging by a chain, which got people reeling. Myself being a great admirer of Wang, I cannot wait until the collection is unveiled in November.

With other campaigns, like Altuzarra for Target, a behind-the-scenes video has been posted on Style.com, giving audiences a sneak peek of the collection. The designer spoke about the collection stating: “I think it has less to do with how old you are and more about the state of mind”. Like most campaigns, Altuzarra chose American model Eva Herzigova to front the campaign. This type of move increases audience interest, since seeing the clothes exhibited on a well-known model can keep consumers hooked.

The same can be said for Isabel Marant’s collection for H&M, who chose a variety of models and figures popular in the industry to model the clothes. Marant, who already has a loyal following, secured the deal with a launch party in Paris. Actresses dressed top-to-toe Isabel Marant for H&M caught the eye of photographers, which added more fuel to the fire. The result? A 21% increase in revenue for H&M- making it one of the most successful collaborations yet.

Truth be told, the secret of success behind these collaborations is simply giving consumers clothes from their favorite designer at a lower price. Instead of buying a blouse that costs AED 1000+ from the same designer, consumers have the chance to get their hands on a similar model that retails sell for AED 200. After all, clothes that come in four digits tend to sit in stores longer than clothes that cost a digit less.

Manipulated by Abusive Labels

Alia Al Hazami (@AliaAlHazami)

Alia Al Hazami (@AliaAlHazami)

Column: Hidden Promises
Alia is an AUS student double majoring in International Studies and English literature. She is also the author of Alatash fictional novel. Her main goal is to make a change and empower the youth. Her column is meant to help the younger generations deal with tough situations. It was given that title as hidden promises is what us teenagers often believe; false promises.
Alia Al Hazami (@AliaAlHazami)

Article in brief: The author expresses the need to put a worth on every word uttered by oneself.

Artwork by Hayat AlHassan (@HayatAlH)

Artwork by Hayat AlHassan (@HayatAlH)

We all grew up on a nursery rhyme that states, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” Personally, I find this statement to be full of lies.It’s true, sticks and stones may break bones but words have the power to kill us. They can break us emotionally and that damage is far worse than the physical one as the physical damage can be mended. People can easily get influenced, manipulated and even moved by words, so who’s to say they have no power to hurt others?

According to several dictionaries, the word “word” means “A single distinct meaningful element of speech or writing, used with others (or sometimes alone) to form a sentence.”

It’s clearly presented in reliable sources that words have meaning to them. There’s no such thing as plain words. They can be painful whether intended or not. For example; calling a person with Down syndrome retard, or an overweight person fat is not only rude, but also hurtful. To some it might look like stating facts, but in reality it’s just creating an internal hole of self-pity in someone and turning them vulnerable.

Labels aren’t okay either. Labels can lead to emptiness, depression and in some cases suicide. Suffering from a certain thing doesn’t make people any less human. No one has the right to even use negative words to describe a person, as it’s a form of abuse. In other words, labeling is just a fancy synonym for bullying.

People often take the words they say for granted. In most situations, people utter a set of words without acknowledging the trace they leave behind. Whether it’s realized or not, the aftermath is quite severe.

When those victims of bullying are left in solitude, all they think about is what they got called with on that certain day. At that point, they’re left alone with their inner demons to take their toll on them. We need to start watching the words that are spoken through our lips because they usually have a strong effect on others.

Looking at it from a scientific perspective, people tend to forget compliments easily but seem to remember harmful words for a lifetime. The brain does so because we’re basically made that way. Receiving compliments produces oxytocin; a hormone that makes us feel good where as receiving insults produces cortisol; a hormone that causes stress.

I have a friend who starved and cut herself which gradually developed into eating disorders as well as depression at a young age because people weren’t taking her feelings into consideration. They thought she was fat, ugly and unintelligent and they never missed a chance to express that to her. Their words could have caused her death if it wasn’t for some positive people around her.

Whoever said words contain emptiness is quite the delusional person. We need to step it up, and act positively. Simply don’t talk to people in a manner that you’d personally hate. It really wouldn’t harm anyone to use kinder versions of words. We all wish for a better world and in order to achieve that we have to start with ourselves.

5 Easy Ways to Personalize Your Home

Sidiqa Sohail (@sid_90)

Sidiqa Sohail (@sid_90)

Column: Musings of An Entrepreneur

Sidiqa is 25 years old and is half-Emirati and half-Pakistani. She has a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the American University of Sharjah and a Master’s degree in Conflict Prevention, Sustainable Peace, and Security from the University of Durham in the UK. Sidiqa owns and manages the boutique-café concept store “Spontiphoria” in Wasl Square, Jumeirah.
Sidiqa Sohail (@sid_90)

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Artwork by Marwa Fuad (@Elmeem_artistry)

Artwork by Marwa Fuad (@Elmeem_artistry)

I’m sure we’ve all heard this so many times, a home should be made as welcoming a sanctuary as possible and be a reflection of who you are as a person. Le Corbusier said “The home should be the treasure chest of living.”
Coming home to a space filled with unique little quirks and familiar reminders of your life can be comforting after a long stressful day. Here are five easy ways to brighten up your home and make it a little more you.

1. Build a collection from your travels. 

Make it a habit to get something- no matter how small it is- from each of your travels and display them around your house. They don’t have to be the cliché souvenirs with the name of the city printed across it- actually it’s better if they’re not. Each piece in your home should be carefully curated with a story behind it- so whether it was a small hand-carved box that happened to catch your eye as you walked past a street market or an old book that was well-thumbed through and dog-eared- those are the pieces that will build a story around your living space. How wonderful would it be to look around your living room and frequently get random flashbacks of your travels? Over the years your home will tell a beautiful visual tale of your trips.

2. Frame lots of photos.

In this age where we are super-dependent on technology, we tend to neglect the value of print photos around us. Most homes I visit always have photos framed- and what a wonderful sight they are. But the pity is, and I myself am guilty of this, is that the pictures are outdated. Every year, make it a point to print photos from the most memorable occasions over the past twelve months and frame them on the walls of your entryway or keep them on your bedside tables.

3. Display your hobbies.

We all have something creative we like to dabble in. For some of us it’s sketching, for others it’s cross-stitching, or glass-painting. It doesn’t have to be the neatest, more professional work but it would make you proud to have a few pieces of your own creative efforts displayed around.

4. Get a couple of hand-me down pieces from older relatives. 

It’s beautiful to own things that were once very special to your grandmother or uncle when they were growing up. Why keep those pieces tucked away and hidden? Add them as accent pieces around your house.

5. Paint a wall- or part of one- with chalkboard paint. 

Having a wall handwritten with your long and short term goals or inspiring quotes can do wonders for your mood. There’s something so nostalgic and real about a chalkboard and some chalk. The best place to do this is ideally in the kitchen. The kitchen is always a hub of activity around the house and it’s a great place to reflect while you’re waiting for the kettle to boil or the pasta to cook.

 

Counting Your Blessings

Sarah Al Marashi (@Sarah888)

Sarah Al Marashi (@Sarah888)

Column: LOL – Living Out Loud
Sarah is an award-winning entrepreneur, business development specialist, life coach, writer, banking and investments professional with over 15 years of experience. She is the co-founder of the award-winning firm Infin8Ventures. Through her column, she hopes to re-ignite the dreamer in all of us and inspire us to make those dreams a reality.
Sarah Al Marashi (@Sarah888)

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Article in brief:  The writer explores the power of gratitude and the benefits associated with living life in a space of thankfulness. 

Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

In the age of self-help books and a time where many individuals have an increased awareness of the power of the mind and human spirit many writers, psychologists, life coaches, entrepreneurs and celebrities have become more vocal about the benefits of gratitude. Oprah Winfrey, Rhonda Byrne, Anthony Robbins, and Jack Canfield have attributed being thankful as a key towards attracting abundance and continued success. History is also filled with examples of famous figures who practiced gratitude such as Ghandi, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, Isaac Newton, Leonardo Da Vinci and Albert Einstein and many more whose achievements have put them amongst the greatest people that have ever lived.

There is deep wisdom in the old saying of “Count your Blessings” that stems from an understanding of the power of gratitude. The abundance gratitude brings has been mentioned in several verses of the Holy Quran and Bible as well as many ancient scriptures. In the Holy Quran chapter 14 verse 7 “And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed: ‘If you give thanks, I will give you more (of My Blessings); but if you are thankless, verily, My punishment is indeed severe”. In the Bible, Thessalonians 5:18 “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God”.

So what is the wisdom behind being grateful? Prophets, scientists, philosophers, celebrities and average individuals who have an attitude of gratitude have all shared the benefit of focusing on what we have versus what we don’t have as a key towards attracting abundance. Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) said that gratitude for the abundance you’ve received is the best insurance that the abundance will continue. Newton’s law says that every action has an equal and opposite reaction; the act of giving thanks has an equal and opposite reaction of receiving more of what you are thankful for. Those who practiced gratitude reaped its results, yet many are still ignorant to its power.

The first and most subtle difference is that it creates positive feelings within us. Being grateful for the smallest things creates a measurable shift in our energy and releases hormones such as endorphins, dopamine and adrenaline in our bodies which all promote feelings of happiness and energy.

Getting ourselves to feel good makes us open to receive the joy in life and that empowers us to have a more positive outlook and feel happier. We all know that feeling happy makes our daily interactions more enjoyable as well as creates more fulfilling experiences in our relationships. Extensive Medical and Scientific research has shown that negative feelings of unhappiness negatively impacts our immunity and over prolonged periods leads to stress which is known to be one of the factors behind hypertension, diabetes, insomnia, depression and even cancer.

Therefore one of the things that researchers have found very beneficial to invoking positive feelings is gratitude. Researchers found that people who said thank you and expressed gratitude were happier and those who wrote their blessings showed a measurable jump in the levels of happiness. A leading Japanese scientist, Dr. Masaro Emoto measured the effect of gratitude on water molecules and as the majority of the human body is made of water this research is an indication of the impact positive words of gratitude and love have on our bodies.

Having read all this research on the benefits of counting blessings and living life from a space of gratitude, I tested out a few of the suggested practices and found one that I have incorporated as a daily ritual. I started keeping a gratitude journal and every evening before I go to sleep I write 10 things I am grateful for. Some days when I am having a particularly difficult day and find it challenging to come up with 10 things I go back to the basics like being grateful for my health and the comfort of my home. Just reading my gratitude journal immediately uplifts my spirit and creates a positive feeling within me.

This year I added a new practice I read about that suggested creating a memory jar and writing one event or moment each day that you were grateful for and put that into a jar; and on any day that you don’t particularly feel very happy pull out the pieces of papers from the memory jar and you will immediately feel blessed and smile at the wonderful memories.

When we get ourselves into the space of gratitude all things seem possible and this allows us to operate at a higher frequency making us more creative, resourceful and capable of dealing with our day to day lives. When practiced regularly along with other positive habits it creates experiences at a more positive level and opens up many possibilities. Long before modern research, ancient wisdom and spiritual teachings have pointed this out to us and shown us that the door to abundance is through gratitude as mentioned in chapter 3 verse 144 of the Holy Quran: “Allah will give reward to those who are grateful”. The rewards and feelings I have experienced from counting my blessings make me a strong believer that we have so much to be grateful for and life lived in gratitude is so much more fulfilling. I am so grateful for the gifts of health and family and truly blessed to receive love and support from them.

At Peace With Reality

Alwid Lootah (@AlwidLootah)

Column: Lost in Reverie
Alwid is a young lady who aims to become the change she wants to see in this world by spreading positivity and leading youth towards the road of unlimited possibilities. She recently founded her own website hearmyeche.com through which she aims to become the voice of youth and share unrecognized talents. Her column “Lost in reverie” is a place where she allows her thoughts and emotions to flow and a place where she can hopefully create a change.

Latest posts by Alwid Lootah (@AlwidLootah) (see all)

Article in brief: The author speaks from experience about how one should accept the reality he or she lives in and become at peace with it. 

Artwork by Marwa Fuad (@Elmeem_artistry)

Artwork by Marwa Fuad (@Elmeem_artistry)

As I stare into the window of the plane, I watch the colors of the sky as they slowly change, a shade after another, like it’s automated to work this way. I watch the clouds as they smoothly drift by, like they’re traveling in a straight path, and everything seems right in order.

We came into this world with our entire future unfamiliar, yet somehow we believe that what will be our destiny is what is meant to be, and what will become of us is what’s best for us. You never know when you’ll have the best day of your life or your worst, which makes life one hell of a ride, yet the connection that links us to his mighty makes us at peace with whatever is coming our way.

I know for a fact that accepting reality is not an easy thing to do because I spent years of my life trying to change it. I had no doubt that God never lets us down, yet I believed that somehow I was meant to change this situation, that I was meant to fight. So I fought, day after another, I fought till I was breathless, till I was down on my knees feeling helpless. I never knew what the problem was, or why nothing was changing. I never knew if this is what is meant to be for me, if this is the best for me.

It was not until I inhaled enough beauty, enough hope from a walk I had in the woods uphill. That day was unlike any other because something inside of me changed. I was at peace, I let my guard down and I didn’t want to fight anymore. I wanted to be right where I was; I wanted to be how I am. It is until today that I do not know what was so special about that walk, but I assume it was because for the first time in so long I actually listened to myself. I listened to what my heart told me instead of what the outer forces did. I came at peace with myself because I accepted whom I am.

I accepted the reality I lived in because it made me who I am, because it gave me growth and wisdom, because it filled me up with love and hope. There were way too many things that I didn’t appreciate because I was busy trying to change everything; I was busy acting like a hero. Maybe I am one, not because I made it my mission to change but because I finally stopped. I stopped messing with the forces of nature and I let everything act its way.

Accepting reality doesn’t mean giving up, it means being at peace with what this world has to offer. It means having a heart that believes in the stronger power that it’ll never be disappointed with what comes it’s way.

Stop it, stop what you’re doing right now and think about it, think about the good rather than the bad. Think about all the little things that happened and pull out one good gift that came out of it. Trust me, you’ll find way too many to count.

The Luxury of Boredom & The Illusion of Time

Mustafa Abbas (@MustafaAbbas)

Mustafa Abbas (@MustafaAbbas)

Mustafa is an award-winning film-maker whose short films have screened in local festivals such as Dubai International Film Festival and the Gulf Film Festival, as well as international film festivals including the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. Currently he is working on numerous projects both within and outside of UAE. Through his bi-monthly column “Notes of The Night”, he ponders upon different matters of our daily lives.
Mustafa Abbas (@MustafaAbbas)

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Article in brief: explains in his opinion how boredom is not a negative feeling, but the result of many positive events.

Artwork by Maryam Zainal (@Maryam_Zainal)

Artwork by Maryam Zainal (@Maryam_Zainal)

A lot of phrases, terms or sentences and other pieces of wisdom have become common now. One of them is “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone” or “everything happens for a reason”. I find that a lot of people complain or simply discuss what’s missing in their lives. This does not make me an exception, but what I will never figure out is people’s ability to complain about being bored. Being bored means that one has a lot of spare time. How is that a bad thing? Being bored means the person has no health problems. How is that a bad thing? Being bored means the person is to an extent financially comfortable. How is that a bad thing? Being bored means the person isn’t feeling anxious. How is that a bad thing? Being bored means there is no loved one who is ill or in the hospital. Shall I go on?

No, the only bad thing here is the inability to see all the good things this person has in his or her life. Someone very dear to me who has had a challenging life to say the least, once told me “I miss being bored.” So much was on this person’s plate including tension, anxiety and family members in the hospital that there was no room for boredom. Yet we look around, and people forget to see that they live comfortably, in peace, with financial stability. Sure, the feeling of boredom is nothing to feel guilty for and is somewhat of a natural feeling, but the idea of complaining about it? I will never understand.

There is so much to do out there, a whole world to discover. There are enough things, places, events, for every kind of person to devote their time to. Speaking of time, it’s one of the things that never cease to fascinate me. I’ve noticed although time moves in one direction and is inevitable in its own way and every way, the feeling of time is heavily determined by one’s general mood. For instance, waking up early and waking up late. These two scenarios are destined to be two very different days. Or being an anxious person or being a relaxed person. Surely, the feeling of time for these two people will not be alike.

“Time is an illusion.” – Albert Einstein

Sometimes though, there are certain situations in life where everyone feels the same thing regarding the same week, month, or period. People who’ve not been in touch would get together and agree that a particular period went by too fast, that it was a quick summer, or that it was a terribly long week. This scenario is possibly a universal energy one, perhaps beyond our understanding. In every other situation, I agree with Mr. Einstein.

Naturally there are days that are less busy than others. But never will I complain of boredom. I will look up and say “Thank You” for all that I have, and perhaps smile and pray for some more.

“How did it get so late so soon?”
― Dr. Seuss

Book Review: Murakami’s 1Q84

Maitha Almuhairi (@Maithani)

Maitha Almuhairi (@Maithani)

Column: Pocket Full of Books
An avid reader, Maitha has always dreamt of being a recognized novelist and poet. For the last decade she focused on HR as a career, which has taken her away from her dream, but it’s never too late. Her column Pocket full of Books focuses on book reviews and doesn’t necessarily focus on a specific genre.
Maitha Almuhairi (@Maithani)

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Article in brief: A book review of Murakami’s 1Q84. A novel of an alternate history.

1Q84's Cover of the hardcover printed on 2011

1Q84’s Cover of the hardcover printed on 2011

“Life is not like water. Things in life don’t necessarily flow over the shortest possible route.”
― Haruki Murakami1Q84

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami was a bestselling (920 pages) novel for a reason. With a title like this (a play on words with George Orwell’s 1984) you can easily tell it’s not your typical boy meets girl and saves her life for a happily ever after kind of novel. It is an epic romance in a fictionalized 1984 in Tokyo, a parallel universe to one of the characters, which is hinted by the title 1Q84 and represented by a second moon in the sky on it’s book cover.

The novel is irresistible to the point that your day to day activities would seem insignificant, and you would be left with no goal other than reading it till the end. The novel is written in two books through three volumes. Each volume is seen through the eyes of a different character. It beings with Aomame, a thirty year old woman travelling by taxi to a hotel in the district of Shibuya to finish an assignment. We are then introduced to Tengo a math teacher who aspires to be a writer and agrees to enter a writing competition through rewriting a story by a high school student. His life goal is to find a girl he fell in love with twenty years ago. As the novel progresses, we are introduced to Ushikawa, a very ugly, yet intelligent man who is repelled by everyone who lays eyes on him.

The book starts off slow, but this should not be a letdown. It’s a very symbolic novel. An invitation to get lost in a new world, find out who we are and immerge as a newer version of ourselves. It’s very rich, very complex and it’s irrelevant to everything that is logical with a high level of ambiguity. However, this should not be a discouragement. Reading through 900+ pages, can be a bit difficult and the novel itself dances on the edge of complexity.

Murakami seems to bend all the rules when it comes to novel writing, where he blended different genres of writing in one book and he was not afraid of it. The outcome was a novel that has fantasy, where the events happen in parallel worlds. History, after all the events took place in 1984 (thirty years ago). Romance, the kind of impossible love you sympathise with because there is no hope for it to thrive (or maybe there is). Murakami didn’t stop here; adding fanatical cult followers to the mix was brilliant. He’s not only a gifted writer, but a very technical storyteller too and I must admit he’s not a conventional storyteller.

The novel is eerie yet there’s something very friendly and familiar about it. The characters will not only rub on you, but you will find yourself looking for that second moon in the sky promising you your own parallel universe.