The 39th Lesson

Today (April 30) is my 39th Un-un-birthday, and as usual, the day is a good day to pause and reflect.

Last year I wrote 38 Life Lessons I’ve Learned in 38 Years, and people seemed to find some use in it.

This year, I thought I’d share an additional lesson I’ve learned:

You’re not missing out.

Our lives are often ruled by the Fear of Missing Out, or FOMO. (Never heard of FOMO? You’re missing out.)

Some ways we let the fear of missing out rule us:

  1. We check email, Facebook, Twitter and other social networks often, in case we’re missing something important.
  2. We try and do the most exciting things, and are constantly in search of exciting things, because we’re worried we might miss out on the fun that others are having.
  3. We constantly read about what other people are doing, and try to emulate them, because it sounds like they’re doing something great that we’re not.
  4. We often want to travel the world, because it seems that other people are living amazing lives by traveling all the time.
  5. We miss what we don’t have, miss places and people who we aren’t with.
  6. We work constantly, because we think if we don’t, we might miss out on opportunities other people will get.
  7. We feel like our own lives are poor in comparison with the great lives others are leading, and so feel bad about ourselves.

I could go on and on, but I have a birthday breakfast to eat (Eva and the kids are baking something delicious), so I’ll stop there.

We fear missing out, but why?

The truth is, we could run around trying to do everything exciting, and travel around the world, and always stay in touch with our iPhones and Crackberries, and work and party all day long without sleep … but we could never do it all. We will always be missing something.

And so, if we cannot help missing out, what is a saner alternative than letting this fear drive us? Let go of it, and realize you have everything right now.

The best in life isn’t somewhere else. It’s right where you are, at this moment. There is nothing better than exactly that.

Pause for just 10 seconds, and notice where you are, what you’re doing, who you are, at this very moment. Notice that you are breathing, and how lovely that is. Notice that you can smile, and feel the joy in that. Notice the good things around you. Give thanks for the people you’ve seen today. Celebrate the perhaps not altogether insignificant fact that you are alive.

This moment, and who you are, is absolutely perfect.

You are missing nothing, because there is nothing better.

You can breathe, and let go of all that fear of missing out, and be happy with what you have. Be grateful, and each moment think not about what you’re missing, but what you’ve been given.

This past year has been my best ever, because each day I have celebrated my Un-birthday with a smile and warmth in my heart. Today, I celebrate my non-un-birthday, and it is perfect. This moment I have spent talking to you is a gift. Thank you, my friends.

Original : Zen Habits

being OK with things as they are

We strive to improve our lives, often because we are dissatisfied with how things are. I know this, because I’ve lived it.

I don’t like the way I look, so I try to improve myself. I don’t like my house, so I work to get a better one. I want everyone around me to improve too, so I push them to change, and get frustrated when they won’t.

This striving never ends. When we are unsatisfied with how things are, including ourselves, we make changes, but then what? We are still unsatisfied, because the root cause of this problem isn’t the things around us (or how we look, etc.), but our expectations. We expect things to be different.

This means we are always unhappy in some way. Things don’t meet our expectations. We try to correct this problem by changing the world around us, trying to get others to change, trying to change ourselves. Our compulsion to spend, to consume, to buy more stuff … it’s rooted in this as well. And so minimalism is an attempt to fix the compulsion, but that can really only be done once we address the root problem: our expectations.

Sit for a minute and look at the things around you. Are you happy with them, or would you like things to change? Think about what you do each day, and ask if you’re happy with your daily life, or if you’d like change. Think about the people in your life, and ask if you’re happy with them, or if you’d like them to change. Think about yourself, and see if there are things you’re dissatisfied with, if you’d like to change yourself.

Now, for each thing you think needs change, try sitting for a minute and see if you can simply accept each one, as they are right now. See if you can accept each person in your life for who they are, exactly as they are. See if you can accept your body for what it is, without the need for change. It takes practice, so if you aren’t good at it at first (and I’m still not a master at it myself), practice. It’s an enlightening process, to be sure.

This doesn’t mean we’ll never change anything. We can develop healthy habits and make our bodies healthier over time, but we can do that while also being happy with who we already are. Change is inevitable, but it doesn’t necessarily require that we not accept things as they are, that we not be happy with things as they already are.

Once we become happy with things, people, and ourselves … as they are … we can become whole, without the need to spend money to fill a hole in our lives. Then minimalism becomes a possibility, because once we are OK with things as they are, we can simply strip away the unnecessary, and be content with little.

Credit : mnmlist

Create Space to Live and Love

Imagine you’ve just moved into a new one room space. Aside from a bathroom, you only have one room put your stuff and live your life. The size of the room doesn’t matter as much as what you will put in it, or what you won’t put in it. How will you live there?

You have a chance to create space that will impress your friends and family. You can create a space that requires lots of cleaning and up keep or a space that people are afraid to move in, or you can create space to…

  • dance
  • laugh
  • picnic
  • love
  • cuddle
  • breathe
  • stretch
  • think
  • feel
  • be

You can create a space that doesn’t need extra cleaning supplies, hefty insurance policies and needless worrying.

As I have started to empty rooms in our home, I think about how I felt when we first moved in 6 years ago. Once all of our boxes and furniture came in, then we had to go to Target, and Bed Bath and Beyond. We had to spend too much money at home depot. We “needed” a new dining room table that we bought at a very expensive Scandinavian furniture store. And eight even more expensive chairs to match.

We eat less than ten meals a year at that table. Maybe less than five. I walk by the table every day from my bedroom to the kitchen, and it’s a reminder of great change. I still love the table and think it’s beautiful, but laugh at the the thought that I “needed” a dining room table. Why wasn’t the kitchen table enough?

In a few years, or five, when it’s time for us to move, we won’t take the dining room table, or the chairs, or most of our furniture. We also won’t need to run to the store and fill our new space, wherever that may be.

As Mark and I approach our 7th wedding anniversary in May, we are deeper in love and better friends than ever before. It’s a direct result of breaking our attachment to stuff. We don’t spend our weekends at the mall. We don’t have to replace things that aren’t perfect. Our home doesn’t have to look like a spread from any magazine or catalog. We aren’t deep in debt and fighting or worried about money. We aren’t pressured to keep up with anyone. We have the time and space to pay attention to each other and the most important things, right now and in our future.

I didn’t know that would happen when I donated my first box of stuff. I didn’t have the expectation that my life would change so radically with each simple change. Every time I let go, I make room for something new and different. I change a little bit with each goodbye to something I thought I needed. It doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate beauty, art or even everyday things. It just means that I appreciate things like

  • time
  • space
  • attention
  • laughter
  • connection

… more than stuff and I understand that you have to intentionally create space for these very important things.

It’s fun to think about about moving into an empty space and starting fresh but you don’t have to wait until you move to create space. You can start right now, or next Monday with Tammy Strobel and I. Our first course Create Space begins on Monday, March 19th. For $21 you’ll receive 3 weeks of inspiring, educational material and homework assignments with direct feedback and assistance.

Tammy and I have both experienced the benefits and joy of creating space and are excited to share our lovely lessons with you.

What do you want to make room for in your new space?

Kredit : BeMoreWithLess

Nyawa [Repost]

Untukmu jiwa-jiwa kami

Untukmu darah kami

Untukmu jiwa dan darah kami

Wahai al Aqsa tercinta

Corrie membawa saya pada kata-kata W.S Rendra, perjuangan ialah perlaksanaan kata-kata. Corrie percaya bahawa Palestina-Israel bukan isu pertembungan agama, saya pula mengangguk tanda benar.

Kita tiada perlu ambil kesempatan untuk mengapi-apikan Yahudi dan Islam. Kita hanya perlu berpegang pada prinsip kebebasan dan keadilan. Tugas kita bebaskan umat dunia.

Hai pejuang, saff ini perlukan nyawamu. Kerana, kita ibarat bujur panah yang siap dilepaskan, oleh sesiapapun yang ikhlas dan yang benar.

Usrah

Sejak diperkenalkan pada tahun 1943 oleh Hasan alBanna melalui Ikhwan alMuslimin, Sistem Usrah telah makin kemas dan efektif. Ia juga sudah makin terkenal hingga menyebabkan sesetengah majlis ilmu diberi nama Usrah, tanpa merujuk kepada sifat asal Usrah seperti yang dimahukan oleh pereka Usrah itu sendiri. Sama ada itu memberi kesan buruk ataupun baik, saya serahkan kepada masing-masing.

Apa yang pasti kita dapat lihat bahawa Sistem Usrah (dengan sifatnya yang asal) telah terbukti membawa manfaat besar melalui siri peristiwa penting dalam sejarah manusia. Sebagai contoh, peristiwa Kejatuhan Soeharto 1998 dan Kebangkitan Arab 2011. Dari sudut yang lebih membumi pula, Usrah telah banyak menukar cara hidup ramai orang.

Walaupun begitu, tidak cukup membuktikan keberhasilan Usrah melalui peristiwa di masa dan tempat lain. Kita sendiri perlu membuktikan keberhasilan Usrah di masa dan tempat kita sendiri.

Mengurus Usrah vs Mengurus Pertemuan Usrah

Kadang-kala, kita terkeliru antara menguruskan sebuah Usrah dan menguruskan sebuah pertemuan Usrah.

Untuk faham apakah beza keduanya, elok kita kembali kepada sifat asal Usrah. Hakikat yang mengikat sebuah Usrah ialah Ukhuwwah antara ahlinya dalam tiga tingkatan; kenal mendalam, sefahaman, dan bantu membantu. Jadilah mereka kawan sejati ibarat sebuah keluarga.

‘Friends are the family we choose for ourselves’

Ketika ahli usrah tidak bertemu sesama mereka, mereka tetap sedang berusrah kerana faktor masa dan geografi (sama ada jaraknya hanya dua bilik dalam rumah yang sama, ataupun dua negara antara benua) tidak menjadi penghalang.

Seorang anak yang belajar di luar negara masih seorang anak kepada ibunya. Seorang adik masih lagi seorang adik-beradik kepada abangnya yang belajar di sekolah asrama. Begitulah hakikat sebuah keluarga. Masa dan jarak tidak menyebabkan terputusnya nasab seorang anak kepada ibu bapa.

Usrah juga begitu. Tamatnya waktu pertemuan Usrah tidak memutuskan nasab seorang ahli Usrah dengan yang lain.

Usrah ada maknanya yang luas, dan pertemuan Usrah hanyalah temujanji dalam sela waktu yang terbatas. Usrah ada hubungannya yang berterusan, dan pertemuan Usrah hanyalah peluang untuk mengukuhkan hubungan tersebut.

Dinamik Usrah

Ada di antara kita yang berasa bosan dengan Usrah. Bila diteliti, wajiblah berasa bosan dengan Usrah kerana aktivitinya hanya pertemuan sekali minggu. Bayangkan sebuah keluarga yang aktivitinya hanyalah makan bersama sekali setiap minggu. Sudah tentu itu keluarga yang bosan.

Sebuah keluarga yang best mestilah pergi jalan-jalan, berkongsi masalah, bertanya pandangan, tengok tv bersama, solat jamaah bersama, sesekali bergaduh, dan sebagainya.

Mengapa Usrah tidak dinamik hingga kita berasa bosan? Sebab ahli Usrah hanya fokuskan pada pengurusan pertemuan Usrah dan meninggalkan pengurusan Usrah itu sendiri.

Usrah adalah tempat kita merancang apa projek bersama hingga boleh jadi satu team, tempat kita “curi” kelebihan skill ahli usrah yang lain, tempat kita baiki kelemahan kita, tempat kita belajar berkomunikasi dan kepimpinan, tempat kita kenal ilmu kemanusiaan, tempat kita belajar menganalisa data, tempat kita bincang mana mana nak selesaikan masalah zina dan anak yatim, tempat kita belajar cara analisa ekonomi dan politik, tempat kita belajar mengurus kepelbagaian, tempat kita bantu dia bila dia sedang down, tempat kita bantu bila belajar dia menurun, tempat kita tanyakan pandangan tentang perkahwinan dan rumahtangga kita, tempat kita mendaki gunung bersama, tempat kita tidur bersama, tempat kita membelanja dan dibelanja, dan sebagainya.

Kalau masih ada diantara kita yang bosan dengan Usrah, kembalilah pada persoalan ini : Kita ini mengurus sebuah Usrah atau hanya mengurus sebuah pertemuan Usrah?