Born into Abundance

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Dear Mom,

I have been wanting to tell you so much lately. The world is crazy right now- with a virus that is making so many people sick everywhere- the Corona Virus. I don’t even know where it got its name. But people are in fear, people are sad, people have lost their jobs, people are isolating themselves to help make sure this virus doesn’t spread more than it has to, and there aren’t many peope at all on the streets. Everyone has been sent home, asked to stay home, and people are connecting more to what is important, I think.

During this time, when this first all started, I had received a message from a friend of mine – an invitation to join a 21 Days of Abundance group over Whatsapp. It’s based on Deepak Chopra’s teachings and his meditations. Yeah, I guess I meditate. Not very well, but it seems to creep more and more into my life. Anyway, I accepted,  thinking it would just be a series of inspiring exercises. Turns out that the exercises led to me forming my own group, as this was one of the tasks on day 5, and boy has that been quite a great lesson for me. To learn how to lead, to make some decisions that I might not otherwise put myself in charge of. And to connect with friends from all over who I haven’t been in touch with for awhile.

Some people dropped out of my group, some people enthusiastically joined and are really inspiring me.

And I am still in the group that is led by the friend who started me on this journey in the first place. Today is Day 11 for me in that group, and it is all about the Law of Least Effort. That we don’t need to work as hard or struggle as much as we were maybe programmed to believe in order to achieve our dreams. That abundance is more about getting aligned with the flow of things so that we can achieve our desires with ease.

I am not sure how it relates yet, but the assignment for this Day asks us to describe our mom. There are a few questions or guidelines, to follow. I thought instead of just writing this down on a piece of paper, I would write it to you here:

20200321_164747The positive aspects of my mom- everything about my mom was and is positive. She is kind, sweet, thoughtful, the most generous person I know. She is cute, soft, funny, has the smoothest skin, values simplicity and the little things, liked watching TV, especially her Hindi movies, and is the best mother I could have ever asked for.

She is nurturing, knows how to make everything better, is strong, a fighter, a giver, and so so loyal. She inspires me to never give up, she inspires me to always listen, to be generous, to be humble, to be grateful, to love unconditionally, to notice when people are feeling left out or sad, to not follow the crowd. She inspires me to be the best that I can, to make her proud, to support family, to be honest, to smile, to laugh, to let some things roll off of my shoulders. She inspires me to be strong and to fight for what I believe in. She inspires me to remember family values, to have faith, to enjoy silences, to take my time, to love myself, to not overcomplicate things, to nap, and give thanks. To bless God, to pray, to believe, to move mountains, and also stay in place without having to do something to be. She inspires me to just be. To not judge myself. To help others, and to let go of things that might otherwise bring me down, frighten me or cause me pain.

Her limitations- she honestly doesn’t and didn’t have any. Anything that my mother did or said that in that moment might not have made sense to me or confused me or frustrated me for awhile, I now get. I now understand why she reacted the way she did. She was right about everything. I am not saying this to be kind or to cover up her flaws. It just is what it is. She was right. She was hurting sometimes, and hadn’t let it out. So I might not have understood some of her behaviours that resulted from that. But they were not limitations. She was trying to be strong and not burden us with her pain or fear or sorrow. That takes courage, and will power and so much strength. It is not a limitation. But I wish my mother cut herself more slack. I wish she was as kind and generous and giving and unconditionally loving to herself as she was to us. I wish I had been that way to her. She didn’t have limitations. But she gave to everyone more than herself. I feel like I was the one who was displaying limitations in my inability to to give to her the way I feel I should have. I guess I wish she had practising receiving more. But maybe she just wasn’t given to enough to do that. Maybe I also wish she had made more use of the things given to her instead of keeping them aside for another day.

IMG_20200321_183950_975What did I learn from her?- Everything. Compassion, courage, humility, the beauty of simplicity, how to give and give and give. I learned strength, loyalty, nurturing and the power of a mother’s touch from her. I learned how short life is from my mother. And I learned the power of grief from her passing. I also am learning the power love to cross any boundaries, including death.

What brings us or brought us together?- an ambilical cord. Haha. Her mother. Tea. Definitely tea. Her granddaughters. My brother. Birds. Songs. Music. Simplicity. Food. Especially the sweet kind. Samosas. Chocolate. Kit Kat. Love. Lots and Lots of Love. Fear, sometimes. But then again, maybe fear kept me further from her on some days. Fear of losing her, fear of seeing her age. Fear of her worrying about me when I was not feeling well. Her stories about Khane brought us together. Faith brought us together. Our tenderness brought us together. Our earth element personalities brought us together. Clothes, especially tbe bright or silky ones, brought us together. Our femininity brought us together. Shopping, the mall and our petite size brought us together. Our hearts and soul connections brought us and keep us together. Pain and loss brought us together but also at first seemed to tear us apart.

What separates/separated or distances/distanced us? Misunderstandings, death, holding in emotions, fear, sadness, love, society, cultural expectations or pressures, prejudice, my not setting my priorities straight, my lack of physical strength, my lack of courage, my lack of self confidence, my fears of others, my fear of myself. My guilt, my shame, my sorrow, my regret, my anger (never towards her but towards situations and other people around our lives).

My mother taught me what a sense of home is. It is with her, and in her presence, in her energy that I feel at home. We are all being sent home during this time of the Corona Virus pandemic. So I am just trying to connect back to where and what my mom is.

Mom, I won’t believe that I have lost you. And if I have temporarily, I will find you. I know it can’t be the physical you. But I am being sent home to find the values and lessons and love that you taught me, and instilled in me. And I am going to reach them so deeply and embody them with all that I can. I was already blessed with the ultimate abundance in having you as a mom. I will just keep sitting in that more, and sharing it with others.

This is not truly my 11th day of abundance, nor have there only be or will there only be 21. There have been all those days since I had you as a mom. The day you first gave birth to me, or even nine months before then when I was first in your belly. Abundance started then. I was born into it, and by it, literally. And I am not going to waste it.

“I expect and accept abundance to flow easily to me.”

~ Deepak Chopra

Thanks for teaching me about Abundance, Mom, whether you knew it or not, right from Day 1 of my time here on earth.

Love Tas

 

 

 

 

Morning Prayer- 4 Years Now

 

prayerDear Mom,

I still have really bad nightmares about you. I had one just this morning. You weren’t happy, and I also now feel like you’re not happy with me. I don’t know why. I don’t know why I feel this way or dream these things. It really hurts my heart and makes the morning and getting up so confusing and heartbreaking.

I wish I had a sign that you were okay, and that you were also more than okay with me.

Sorry I am having these thoughts. It feels sad, like I am changing our relationship now somehow. I know we were very close. I know that you loved me so dearly and sweetly, like no one else could. And I loved and still love you with all my heart and soul. I just can’t figure out what this bad feeling is, where it is coming from, and how to shake it off or fix it.

I will try to concentrate on my morning prayers to you, which are still going, even now, four years later. The lines or questions have grown a little more. I realized I had more to ask of you and the universe. I hope you don’t mind. Here it goes:

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Hi Mom,

What are we going to do today?

Where are we going to go?

What are we going to do?

What are we going to say?

What are we going to believe?

What are we going to achieved?

What are we going to have the courage for?

Who are we going to help?

Who are we going to inspire?

What are we going to give away?

What are we going to hang on to?

What are we going to cherish?

What are we going to choose?

What are we going to stand up for?

What are we going to cry over?

What are we going to laugh through?

What are we going to create?

What are we going to paint?

What are we going to sing?

What are we going to dance?

What are we going to write about?

What are we going to dream?

What are we going to read?

What are we going to practise?

What are we going to play?

What are we going to perform?

Who are we going to date?

Who are we not going to date?

Who are we going to kiss?

Who are we not going to kiss?

Who are we going to love?

Who are we going to let love us?

What are we going to teach?

What are we going to learn?

And one I just made up: What are we going to pray for?

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I always start my morning prayer with you. Before all these questions, I ask God and the Universe to take care of you. It goes like this. I say these words as soon as I wake up and before I am even out of bed:

Thank you for waking me up for another day

Please take care of my mom, please take care of my mom, please take care of my mom. 

Then I name all the people in the family individually who I am, or we were, closest to. And I ask that they be taken cared of.

And then I end off with Please take care of my mom, please take care of my mom, please take care of my mom, again.

I’ll be saying this prayer until I am with you again, Mom.

God Bless You, as you would always say.

I miss you so much.

 

The Sufi Way

Dear Mom,

I haven’t made it to Khane much at all like I thought I would. I find it hard to get through even one Du’a (prayer) without just being in a bucket of tears. There are smells and words and sounds and textures- even holding a tasbih in my hand- that are so you. They remind me of you. And this should be a good thing. But they also remind me that you are not here to be the barer of them. And that weighs too heavy on my heart. So instead of solace, sometime being in our place of prayer makes me so overly emotional.

Don’t get me wrong. I think I have written this before, but what our faith and the culture you brought us in has taught me is invaluable. I feel so grateful to know that I could go to any country in the world, and if I walk into a Khane, I will be welcomed and be made a part of a community because of this commonality – a belief system- that we share or at least grew up in.

The problem is that I have so many questions. I have so many misunderstandings or “un-understandings” about the words and rituals and protocols we just follow. But I feel like I am following them blindly because I don’t have a good sense of what they mean or stand for. I do want to learn better. I want to learn not just for myself, but to teach others, especially my nieces, your granddaughters. I know they have questions too, and I want to help them find the answers, but also encourage them to find their own answers, and make their own choices. Faith should not be forced on anyone. It’s very meaning- belief- is about what we feel inside. And I want to feel a closer tie to this faith you so lovingly made a part of our lives. I want to do this also to feel a closer connection to you.

And sure, I haven’t been practising our usual Ismaili ways for years, in terms of customs or going to khane. But I think in my heart and the way I live and the way I treat people shows that I have those values in me.

And I found another way to delve deeper into Islam, through something that resonates more with me- Sufism.  Remember when I came back from that Sufism school that one day? I went to it somewhere on Lonsdale. And I told you about it that night or the next day. And you were so excited. I was excited too. But it was a little overwhelming for. But that and of course all those poems by Rumi, and my fascination with mysticism has just planted this seed in me that I think is my “ticket” into an Islam that connects with me.

Thank you for being so excited for me, Mom. I remember the way your face lit up when I told you about it. You didn’t know much about Sufism, as far as I could tell. But you were pretty charged up about finding me books or helping me learn more about it.

Well, guess what? I am now, Mom. I’ve been taking this online course called The Sufi Way of the Beloved.  It’s by Andrew Harvey, the author whose book I got sent in the mail. I think I have written to you about that recently. Well, he is a passionate speaker. And I was so drawn to his passion and the way he spoke about literature and spirituality and passion and … He had this one line in his description of the course. He said something about Sufism being transfused into your veins, and that just had me.

I have to admit, I have found a lot of the information quite overwhelming. It is a lot to take in and some of it, I don’t quite understand. Or maybe I have just never been a great listener to one voice speaking continuously for long periods of time. I need visuals. I need to read the words. I need to stop and think about them or discuss them. Otherwise, they all become a blur.

But each week, I took another line or another concept, or another piece of history or something that intrigued me with me. And it added up until last week where I just had goosebumps for the whole hour as Andrew spoke about Rumi. I think he is right. The other lessons and talks were leading me to Rumi. Rumi is my in to spirituality, to Islam, to getting back to my connection with my faith. And I am hoping it will help me find a connection to you.

I actually called in to the talk afterwards, and spoke to Andrew live over the internet. I told him about you. I told him about what I was struggling with, what my intentions with the course were. And he reminded me of something it sounds like Rumi taught him, or at least consolidated in him- that there is no death, really. That we are connected still. And that I can find that connection through honoring my name- Tasleem, which I know means surrender. And this is the reason I was so fascinated with Sufism in the first place, Mom. I never got a chance to tell you how after I learned what my name meant, I also found out that the Sufis believed that surrender was the highest attainment that someone to achieve.

And that has been my goal ever since- to live up to my name. To surrender to life, to love, to God.  I just never knew that I’d be doing this without you physically here. Or at least not this soon. But Andrew gave me some wise words of wisdom. He listened with so much compassion and gave me so much hope.

Thank you, Mom, for honouring our faith and being so full of faith. Thank you for being such a beautiful role model of spirituality. Thank you for bringing me up with this as my grounding. I am sorry that I may have never really showed much appreciation for it. But I was feeling lost in it. Not quite understanding it. But I am wanting to learn. It may be through a different route that most, or than you went through or that I expected. But I think this is more me- poetry, mysticism, dance, surrender, passion, and love. When I think of these qualities as being so embedded in Islam, that gets me excited.

And I am going to use this to get more in touch with you. I will try to update you with what I learn along the way.  The Sufi Way.  It is kind of intriguing, and magical, and gives me hope that something truly beautiful will come out of this not just for me, but also for you and me together.

Love you, Mom.

 

Awakening

Dear Mom,

It’s happening more. You know, the license plates and the 11:11’s and the serendipitous moments. Do you have a hand in this?

I know I used to believe in all of this before you passed away. I hate using those words, by the way.  But the shock of you falling and weakening and scared and in pain, and then just being gone, made me so angry at the world, at the Universe, and at God. I just felt like this is NOT the way it was supposed to happen. None of it made sense. Everything was going wrong in that month in terms of me being there for you. I felt like I was losing time with you, even then. But I had no idea there would not be any time left. It just kills my heart and soul to think about that. Most of the time, I don’t have to think about it though. It just kind of sits heavy in me constantly.

But this is the thing. There are some days, some moments, some magical kinds of happenings that have been taking place more and more  lately that make me think there has to be someone really taking care of you up there. Because something is taking care of me, in the most odd, but also unexpected and exciting ways. Is it you?  Are you making that Tas and Tea and now the Awaken license plates appear???

It’s not that I am even looking for them. I mean, that car yesterday- the second one in a few months where the license plate actually said Tea, it was parked, along a road I wasn’t evening walking. I was just driving, and turning a corner. And IT caught the corner of my eye. I thought I must have imagined it. So I kept driving. But then I thought, no no. I need to know. So I went all the way through some alleys to get back to that same spot. And there it was, sure enough, Tea. And not just TEA, but double 07 TEA. It’s like it was the James Bond of Tea- 007.  Mom, are you heightening your sense of humour up there? Because seriously, that was pretty clever.  Haha!

I don’t know if you even liked James Bond. I think you did, though, didn’t you?

And the funny thing is that tea license plate and car were in a completely different area of Vancouver than the other one I saw a few months ago. I’m not sure if they were the same car…

Oh my God. I just checked the other license plate that I took a picture of previously, that said TEA on it. And they are not even the same cars, or the same license plates.  Mom, this is so fascinating, spooky, and kind of freeing all at the same time.

But the clincher was AWAKEN. Yeah, you heard me, AWAKEN, on a friggin license plate. But here’s the thing. I was driving along Pacific Street later at night. So it was dark. You know there aren’t a lot of lights there. Maybe the roads are lit up a bit with the traffic lights if there are any. But not the parked areas near the sidewalks. And so I should really not have been able to see this license plate. It was not even from here. It was an Alberta plate, I think. So it was written in red, against the white background, rather than black. So it looked even darker than a normal license plate- less contrast.

I was driving, not even turning anywhere near the corner where that AWAKEN car was parked. But again, it was like my subconscious caught it, not my ‘waking’ mind. Haha! Oh, the irony.

But something IN me caught it. And I could have just kept driving on home. Not knowing for sure whether I imagined it. But once again, I went back. This time, I had to wind through those closed off and one way streets, typical of the west end, to get back to that car. But I did, and yup, AWAKEN it did say. I had to take a picture to prove it, more to myself than anyone else.

Does it mean I am going through an awakening? Or is it telling me I need to awaken to something I’m not seeing or understanding?

Because I have been feeling so many shifts more recently. Spiritually, emotionally, and ‘serendipitously’.  I still think I imagine them sometimes. But they are growing so much, sometimes a few happening in one day, or a matter of just a few hours, rather than a few in a couple of weeks or in a couple of months.

It’s stronger now, Mom. It all feels more powerful.  I almost am getting to the point where I expect them to happen, or maybe I am less surprised that they happen. It’s just becoming a part of my ‘norm’.

I’d like to think it’s not an angry force telling me I am on the wrong path. That I need to awaken, and get my head out of the thoughts or path I am currently on.  That instead, the license plate couldn’t have fit the word  AWAKENING on it. That’s too many letters. So it just fit in it what it could, hoping that I would get the message. That I am going through an opening, of heart and soul, and that I am being taken cared of, that YOU are being taken cared of most importantly. And that you and the Universe are just reminding me to continue with the path I am on. That mistakes have not been made. That there is a bigger purpose to this that will be revealed to me at a later date.

I don’t know. It’s hard to know what is reality, and what is make believe anymore.

Someone that came into my life recently shared a story with me yesterday. He said the Buddha was asked what is reality? And the Buddha, in response, just smiled.

It’s like that, isn’t it, Mom? It’s just like a not knowing. A creating of what we believe is real or not.  Well, I have to say that at first, thought I might be in shock when I see these very unexpected signs, I do smile after. Something in my heart smiles, hoping, wishing, that it is you. That they are messages from my mom.

Love you.
Tas