“Do not be like the deceived fools who are joyous because each day their wealth increases while their life shortens.” – Imām al-Ghazālī
We are almost coming to the end of 2014 and it has been one of the most eventful year for me, Alhamdulillah. I always look forward to the end of the year because that is when I really carve time out for myself and go off the grid to just, be.
When I was younger, solitude scares me. Probably because I was quick to lump “loneliness” with “solitude”. I remember filling up my schedule to the brim, so that when I get home, I would be so exhausted beyond words that I would just plonk myself to bed. I won’t have time to think, to reflect, to mull over anything.
I was running away from confronting issues that I know I have to address and face.
It worked well for me until I could no longer, feel.
Now, I long for solitude. It rejuvenates my being, it gives me the ability to listen to myself. Because most of the time the things I do hear are just chatters of the world, and sometimes that could be overwhelming. It increases my productivity, it sharpens my senses, it inspires me and it pushes me to really prioritise the more important things in life.
I realise some of the people that I truly admire take breaks to completely disconnect and go for sabbaticals, and how that is a huge part of their creative process. My husband for one, craves for long walks by himself where he would just, think. With a notebook and pen in hand, he would go out to walk. In the beginning I find it such an odd thing to do, but now I get it. He needs his space, his solitude, to connect with himself and when he goes for his walks, I too have my own space. And that is not only amazing but equally necessary.
The other person whom I respect and admire highly that craves solitude and time for reflection is our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Whenever I read his seerah, I would never have given much thought about his frequent and long retreats in the cave of Hira, but now, again, I get it. Him being there, in quiet meditation, and engaging in long periods of reflection was one of the factors that helped shaped him to be a wise, composed, humble man, completely respected and highly regarded by many.
A huge part of being at peace and being one with ourselves demands our complete attention. Meaning we have to be present, we have to be conscious and to be extra selective over the things we allow to take space within our environment. Meaning no more negativity, removing toxic company, cutting out bad food, saying “no” to activities that doesn’t allow us to grow, and many other things in between – it’s a lot of work, but we are worth it. Our happiness is worth it.
I will be off the blog and social media till the beginning of 2015 and I am beyond excited. There are a few projects that are close to my heart that I will be working on and I am somewhat relieved that I will not have to fight distractions when I am working on them. I am also extremely blessed to have a small, close knit group of friends and family who will manage my personal and business accounts on various platforms and who have willingly and kindly agreed to assist me as I take this break.
I pray that all of you have a blessed remaining 2014 and I encourage all of you to set aside some time to enjoy the sweetness of being in solitude.
We all need it.