Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Moon, Clouds or Rooftop? - A Motivational Story for a Brand New Year

I would like to wish all my friends and readers a blessed, successful and awesome New Hijri Year 1429 and Gregorian Year 2008, inshaAllaah. A supplication for all of us, inshaAllaah...

The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) taught us to say: “Allaahumma inni as’aluka al-thabaat fi’l-amri, wa as’aluka ‘azeemat al-rushd, wa as’aluka shukra ni’matika wa husna ‘ibaadatika, wa as’aluka lisaanan saadiqan wa qalban saleeman, wa a’oodhu bika min sharri ma ta’lam wa as’aluka min khayri ma ta’lam, wa astaghfiruka mimma ta’lam, innaka anta ‘allaam ul-ghuyoob

(O Allaah, I ask you for steadfastness in this matter, and I ask You for the resolve to adhere to the path of guidance, and I ask You for gratitude for Your blessings and to worship You well, and I ask You for a truthful tongue and a sound heart, and I seek refuge with You from the evil of what You know, and I ask You for the good of what You know, and I ask You for forgiveness for what You know; You are the knower of the Unseen).” [Ahmad (17155), al-Tirmidhi (3407) and al-Nasaa’i (1304)]

Ameen...


Bismillaah

As Salaamu 'alaykum and peace to all,

Moon, Clouds or Rooftop? - A Motivational Story for a Brand New Year





I was at my usual girls-day-out with one of my tightest groups of girlfriends. That was when one of my girls announced the best news of the year that she is getting married! Yey! Alhamdulillaah…

To help cut down her wedding expenses, she happily pointed ‘guns’ to our hijabi heads, and declared that we are all assigned to the ‘best designation’ for any wedding ceremony- the wedding planner. And we nervously yet joyfully accepted with a fine-print-lettered disclaimer that says the decision made is irreversible and she should never regret making it.

With that understanding, we ‘spit on our palms and shake hands’, figuratively speaking of course!

As the official but unpaid wedding planners, our first task was to help her pick out the wedding date. Within seconds, out came diaries, planners and calendars making their way all around our table. Armed with red, blue, black and purple colored pens, we eagerly jotted down the dates we think are best.

Unfortunately, we moved from one date to another and another.

Wow, I never thought choosing a wedding date could be this difficult.

Then, we found the perfect date. 1st Muharram 1429. The first day of our new Hijri year.

A perfect date for the start of a brand new life… Alhamdulillaah.

Later that day, as I was marking my brand new planner, I started thinking.

Has it really been a year already from the last New Year? Goodness, how time flies…

Of course, as we all know, the number one tendency that most of us are guilty of doing just before new years is--- (drum-roll please) --- RESOLUTIONS!

Yup, our new year’s resolutions…

Ahah! I see some eyes rolling backwards now. I know… it is kind of one of the ‘almost’ wasteful things that I do in the beginning of every single year. And I have a reason for saying that. (and here it comes!)

Every end of the year, as I reached the end of my planner, I would flip back to the early pages to look for my ‘New Year’s Resolutions’.

And that’s when my cheeks would go all pink and red.




There are always two reasons for these glorious colors to appear on me- the first reason is the happiness glow that comes from the delight I feel of the achievements I have made, alhamdulillaah. And the second reason is from the embarrassment of the things I had said I wanted to do and achieve but I didn’t.

I keep asking myself, if I don’t bother to follow thru every single goal I have said I wanted to achieve at the beginning of every year, why do I bother setting any goals at all, right? I mean, if I know that I am not going to eat the sandwich that I am preparing, why bother making it? Or if I know I am not going to bake the cake, why bother jotting down its recipe?

Hmm…

Just then, I remembered a Japanese proverb that says

Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.


Ahh, apparently, sometimes I would rather be daydreaming than having nightmare?

Ouch and Double Ouch!

Is there another way to look at these unaccomplished goals?

I chuckled when I remembered a technique Jay Leno once gave his audience on how to twist things so that we would look as if we did achieve our New Year’s resolution. By using the example of one of the Top 10 resolutions people commonly make- losing weight and getting to their acceptable weight range- here was what he said,


Now there are more overweight people in America than average-weight people. So overweight people are now average… which means, you have met your New Year's resolution.


Bravo Jay. You are indeed a genius!

But who am I kidding, right? I don’t want to cheat myself out of the truth here.

Looking back at my personal goals, I realized something too. Even though there are goals I failed to achieve, I do have many goals that I actually did achieve.

I was reminded of what Allaah the Al Mighty said,

That man can have nothing but what he strives for; That (the fruit of) his striving will soon come in sight (An-Najm 53 : 39 – 40)


SubhanAllaah….

His Words has made me ‘pause and reflect’ as one of my close pal named her blog with. Yes, let us all pause and reflect for a while. What was the message behind this verse?



Allaah said that we can have nothing except for what we had worked hard for. This means that until and unless I move myself into action, and focus my attention on the center of the dartboard and release that dart I have been holding, I am not going to get my bull’s eyes, my goals, my aims.

It is as simple A-B-C, don’t you think so?

And at every end of the year, it comes to my sight… the fruits of my striving…the result, just like how Allaah has promised.

For the ones I have strived for, I have received beautiful sights and I loved every single bit of it, alhamdulillaah.

And for the ones I do nothing about, well, I have to admit that the sight is pretty ugly, nauzubillaah.

I have got to be honest here. Were the unachievable goals remained that way because they were set ridiculously high? I mean, did I plan to climb Mount Everest when I have never tried climbing even the hill behind my house?

Les Brown always said to,

Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.


But, Adolph Monod also said that,

Between the great things we cannot do and the small things we will not do, the danger is that we shall do nothing.


I guess, it doesn’t really matter if I have planned something great or small, right? The thing is that I must do something about it.

That leads me to one question. Having all these great and small things planned and laid out nicely, how do I start doing them? The smaller ones look easy, but the great goals that I have? Now, that is another story.

Then, I found this wonderful advice given by Lady Aishah (as) of what Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had once said,

A'isha reported Allah's Messenger as saying, "The acts most pleasing to Allah are those which are done continuously, even if they are small." And when A'isha did any act she did it continuously." (Muslim)

Aha… start small and then do it continuously. I can remember that, inshaAllaah. Can you?

That is the technique, then. Regardless of what we want to achieve, great, medium or small, we must start every single effort with small steps that are done continuously. Then, not only that we are able to achieve our goals, but more importantly, we are also doing it by following the steps that have made Allaah pleased with us, InshaAllaah.

Now, that’s what I called no-lose situation!

Let me share with you a joke I read about New Year’s Resolution of a person. He has two resolutions made that year. The first is to read books and the second is to lose weight (don’t we all have that? ). Well, here they are:

First Resolution: To read books
1999: I will read at least 20 good books a year.
2000: I will read at least 10 books a year.
2001: I will read 5 books a year.
2002: I will finish one book.
2003: I will read some articles in the newspaper this year.
2004: I will read at least one article this year.
2005: I will try and finish the comics section this year.

Second Resolution: To lose weight
1999: I will get my weight down below 180.
2000: I will watch my calories until I get below 190.
2001: I will follow my new diet religiously until I get below 200.
2002: I will try to develop a realistic attitude about my weight.
2003: I will work out 5 days a week.
2004: I will work out 3 days a week.
2005: I will try to drive past a gym at least once a week.

Yikes! Funny, right? It really should be the way around….

I asked myself this one question. Am I like this man? Have my own New Year’s resolutions gone from great to average then down to mediocre just because I cannot bring myself to achieving the big goals? Am I discounting myself in setting up my goals? Have I been setting unrealistic goals? Are my goals big enough to drive me forward, to inspire me, to improve myself, to trigger change? Or it is too small that has made me ordinary, weak, regular and maybe perhaps a little bit pathetic?




What about you my friends? What are your goals this new year? Have you set them up? What are the baby steps you plan taking to ensure that you are on your way to achieve those goals? Will the goals you set shoot you to the stars, possibly send you to the moon, or maybe take you just over the clouds; or at the very least let you reach your house rooftop?

Think about it…

No matter what size your goals are, always remember what the Malay proverb says,

Bit by bit, in the end it will become a hill.


Come on my brothers and sisters, let us start aiming and climbing!

Bit by bit...

One... Two... Three... Four... Five...

Allaahu ‘alaam…


Sis Zabrina
Now blogging at http://wisdomthruwords.blogspot.com




Copyright © Sis Zabrina 2007

Sis Zabrina, Author
Life is an Open Secret - 18 Inspirational Stories from Ordinary life experiences
~Your Source for Islamic Motivational and Inspirational Stories~

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4 comments:

darvish said...

A sweet and telling story :) I have a better resolution this year on the Darvish blog :)

Happy New Year to you and your family. May Allah bless you all with health, happiness, and ever increasing love and wisdom. Ameen.

Ya Haqq!

Sis Zabrina said...

Bismillaah

As Salaamu 'alaykum and peace to all,

JazakAllaah brother Irving. I wish you the same too, inshaAllaah.

And inshaAllaah, we shall all have the drive to achieve all the resolutions we make this year 1429/2008! Ameen :)

Salaam
Sis Zabrina

Adikbongsu said...

Assalamu'alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakahtu Sis Zabrina,

Wishing you and family a Happy and Peaceful Ma'al Hijrah 1429H :)

Sis Zabrina said...

Bismillaah

As Salaamu 'alaykum and peace to all,

Sis Adik Bongsu *hugs*

I wish you and your family the same too! May this New Year brings us closer to Him, make us better servants and may Allaah bless us all with His Abundance, Love, Mercy and Guidance, ameen...

Love and Salaam
Sis Zabrina