Tuesday, July 29, 2008

To My Precious Daughters - Jazelia & Jelissa


If I could
I’d protect you from the sadness in your eyes
Give you courage in a world of compromise
Yes, I would

If I could
I would teach you all the things I’ve never learned
And I’d help you cross the bridges that I’ve burned
Yes, I would

If I could
I would try to shield your innocence from time
But the part of life I gave you isn’t mine
I’ll watch you grow, so I can let you go

If I could
I would help you make it through the hungry years
But I know that I can never cry your tears, babe
But I would If I could

If I could
In a time and place where you don’t wanna be
You don’t have to walk along this road with me
My yesterday won’t have to be your way

If I knew
I’d try to change the world I brought you to
Now there isn’t much more that I can do
But I would If I could

If I could
I would try to shield your innocence from time
But the part of life I gave you isn’t mine
I’ll watch you grow, so I can let you go

If I could
I’d help you make it through the hungry years
But I know that I can never cry your tears
But I would If I could

"Always remember that my love will follow you wherever you go, in whatever you do, praying for all the happiness and joy, peace and serenity, love and safety, success and abundance... even long after I can no longer be seen or heard. Be brave, my precious babies. You are the best of my achievements. Loving you more than you'll ever comprehend. - Mama."

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Love, The Great Adventure

Recently, I picked up an outdated but nevertheless precious issue of Oprah magazine. After reading several articles, I couldn't suppress the urge to blog a summary of them in order to share the valuable wisdom contained in them, namely the one that begins with the following paragraph:

"The fantasy: Love's a river of bliss. The reality: Love is missteps, silences, and how-could-yous. The two of you will not always swing blissfully on the same vine. Contrary to popular opinion, this is okay... and we've got the latest research, and real-life stories, to prove it. Mark Epstein starts things off with a fight and a major realization..."

"What's wrong with being angry?"
"Here is a new model of successful marriage, one in which a reliance on a state of attunement gives way to an appreciation of a cyclic process of rupture and repair. This is a model gaining traction in the therapy world, one based on a change in how the most successful intimate human relationships are now understood. The ability to take differences in stride, to return after disruption to an appreciation of connection, to laugh together about differences, was a reflection of this shift to a more process based model of success. The difficulty in allowing anger to be a natural emotion within marriage reflected the older model that values attunement above all else.

A woman abandons all self-respect in a futile attempt to preserve her rapport with her husband. A man weathers his wife's anxious and angry tirades but never quite forgives her. He is waiting for her to change, to take responsibility for the pain she is causing him, to grow. He punitively withholds kindness during the times they are not fighting, avoiding her when they could be getting along. In these marriages, nobody is surviving destruction. Rupture is never repaired. Failures multiply and partners drift apart.

Attunement is not the problem, nor is it a myth. It is an incredible thing, as invaluable between parents and children as it is in adult intimate relationships. But an over-reliance on attunement leads to disappointment and depression and division. Attunement should not have to be constant. Disruption, failure, and disagreement are healthy and normal. Learning to transition between connection and separateness without losing faith is a great challenge.

In meditation, which has been essential in helping me be more accepting of the entire range of my emotional responses, I have learned to keep bring the mind back to the central object - the breath, a prayer or a visualization - when I get distracted. But it is considered a sign of maturity in meditation when the distractions are no longer viewed as problems but can instead become objects of meditative interest in themselves.

In similar way, in intimate relationships, it is easy to view a rupture as a problem to be eliminated, to see attunement as the only thing that matters: the central object, as it were. To shift one's perspective so that failures become part of the process, so that survival of destruction becomes something to celebrate, is as incredible, in its own way, as attunement.

Attunement is capricious; the insistence on 100% understanding leads only to resentment of one's partner. Marriages, like mothers, can be "good enough" while still being miracles worthy of celebration"

- Summarized from February 2008 issue of Oprah Magazine.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Intellectual Idiots.

Its been a while since my last blog. My silence has been caused by a very hectic work schedule. Among all the activities that I had to be involved in, the one that lingers on my mind is the Asian Psychological Association's 2nd convention held in Malaya University at the end of June.

I had the pleasure of learning a lot from the many research findings presented by established peers in the psychological field. I even had the pleasure of catching up with some old colleagues and meeting with fellow psychologists from Canada, America and Australia. However, a few papers that were presented during the two day event made me fume with rage.

Consider this: One so called Ph.D holder in Psychology from a local university actually concluded that if muslim mothers were to educate their daughters to the muslim way of life, discipline them to never miss their daily prayers and cover themselves modestly, the daughters will never fall victim of rape!! How absurd is that?!!

I'm not going to go into detail as to the other ridiculous conclusions this so called expert has arrived at. Its just garbage disguised as intellectual findings. I suspect this researcher has lots of issues of her own that she's projecting into her research projects.

Dr. William Glasser, the founder of Reality Therapy and Choice Theory had said that for as long as the parents are in the Quality World of the children, these youths will make the right choices in their lives and will not engage in any activities that may jeopardize what they hold as valuable and important to them.

My elder daughter, Jazelia, made her own decision to wear the hijab at the tender age of 12 because she felt shy whenever boys looked her way. However, as she matured and began to gain self-confidence and a sense of identity, she no longer felt sincere to continue donning the hijab. Her decision to do away with her hijab was more than acceptable to me because I have always emphasized the importance of sincerity in everything that is done in the name of Allah. I am confident that she behaves better than most other teenage girls her age who do wear the hijab out of conformity and societal expectations.

I regret to say that my naked eyes have bared witness to many teenage girls who wear the hijab necking away in the dark corners of shopping malls and public parks with their male friends. Its sad to see how many parents fail to instill integrity and authentic sense of self respect. They can't tell the difference between what is sinful and what is harmful for their well-being. In behaving in such manner, they tarnish the reputation of muslim girls as a whole.

I do realize that since Jazelia is just 16 and it may be premature of me to presume that she'll continue to be fine and turn out to be the respectful and respectable woman I hope she will become. For as long as my opinions and advice are of great importance and value to her, I am quite sure her conscience will continue to be her best ally in protecting her from the real dangers lurking in every corner of the future.

My unsolicited advice to that expert are as follows: If you are feeling guilty for not having enough authentic quality time with your family, do something about it. Put your children and family on top of your priority list. Don't lecture people to do something you are suffering guilt from. And please stay away from ever counseling anyone because you are judgmental, a social bigot and conservative in your way of thinking. I am sure you possess none of the qualities that make up an effective counselor. As Carl Rogers said: Counseling is not an act of doing. It is an art of being.

Now, judge this: