Welcome to Salam, Real life with Family, Faith, Fun and Following God.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Cheese anyone?

I saw this photo and thought; did you meet people like this cat? Always wanting to be on the other side of that door, no matter which side they are on? They always want whatever is there on the other side, out of reach, out of grasp or out of control. It must be better working in a different place, living in an another house, driving a different car, having a different family, etc…..Whatever is behind that door, I want and I will try and get

The culture of many choices doesn’t help either, as I do the shopping, I find that there are more than 60 different types of cheese! I later learn that there are actually 500 types of cheese recognized by the International Dairy Federation. Come on, it is just CHEESE!

So sometimes we approach life and relations in the same way as shopping for the best cheese, if it is not this one, it might be another and surely with all these different varieties, I must find the one I like!  If we look at relations as consumers rather than individuals, we then want the ‘best cut’, ‘the front of the shelf’, ‘the long expiry date’ and we may also ask to ‘speak to the manager’ if we are not satisfied with the product. However, I know that the heart that God gave us was to help, love, support and befriend, rather than to consume and just consume.

Friday, June 29, 2012

We are all equal ........ but some are more equal than others!

The General Medical Counsel (GMC) in the UK is addressing some issues around doctors training and the question of disability…..how to balance between equality and fitness to practice? Are we all equal? And can my medical history, mental status, circumstances affect my ability to do my job or is this discrimination?

 There are no easy answers – as usual –  and as I think about the issue, I think this affect not only medical education but all walks of life. To be a police officer I have to be certain weight and height, not discrimination against overweight people but practical requirement to be able to catch the cheeky mugger as he runs like the wind in a busy shopping centre. I can not role on a wheelchair expecting to be offered a job as an airhostess not because of disability but because it will not be safe for me or the passenger in my care if I am not mobile quick enough to evacuate in case of an emergency.

I don’t want to see a doctor who needs more help and support than all his patients! I equally don’t want to see people rejected from jobs just based on their skin colour or gender or because they simply ‘don’t fit in’.

In this seesaw, I feel that equality is becoming a huge issue and almost all other factors seems to be forgoten. I think there are few questions to consider with any job;

-        Can I still do the job?

-        Am I a danger to myself or others?

-        Will my ideas, beliefs, mental status, medication etc get in the way of my professional judgement?

Equality, yes sure, great and wonderful but let us keep the balance on this seesaw and make sure that fitness to do the job is considered too.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I love you just the way you are ...... hmmm

You know the advice 'just be yourself' and then someone adds; 'but not too much'!

What does it mean to be 'yourself'? What if being yourself is to be grumpy, angry and vindictive? What if in being yourself, you are losing people’s love, attention and care? What then?

I guess the idea is not to pretend to be someone you are not. There are so many catch phrases at the moment promoted by all the self-help books and they go like this:

-        Discover the inner you

-        Release your potential

-        Live life as your true self

-        Understanding ‘you’

…and so many others that keep going on and on about rediscovering and reinventing ourselves.

So the question is, what happen after you discover this ‘inner you’ or after ‘reinventing yourself’? Are people suffering around you? Are they paying the price for your new discovery?

In our journeys to self-discovery, releasing our potentials, self- examinations etc, we forget sometimes that there are people around us who love us and care for us. Our quest to rediscover ourselves engulfs us in a selfish journey to focus on the self and forget all others.

In our new found love to live life as ‘ourselves’, we still need to be mindful of people’s feelings and not to hurt or offend just simply by claiming that:

                        Hey….I am being myself !

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Reading between the….. lies!

Reading people’s CVs, personal ads, profiles and even obituaries is fascinating. They all read a happy, well balanced and amazing picture of harmony and maturity. From a ‘people person’ to ‘team player’ and from ‘outgoing, fun loving and loyal’ to ‘great parent and friend’. These are not lies and are not exaggerations, this is the way WE see ourselves, or the way we WANT to see ourselves.

I don’t think you will ever find a CV that says, ‘ I am a nightmare to work with’ or ‘I can only work when people listen to every word I say’. Personal ads is another one, no one will say that they are ‘indecisive, immature and got a lot of issues around commitments’! Instead, they like to see themselves as ‘easy going’, ‘a child at heart’ and ‘will only settle when I find my dream match’!

The good thing is that when God created us, he saw it was GOOD….all of it. With every part that we may not like or people might find it difficult to cope with, HE still finds us GOOD and longs for a relationship that last with us, just as we are, no pretends and no lies.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012

True Love

2011 was full of much political news across the world, from the Arab spring to capturing Bin Laden, from the recession in Europe to the demonstrations in Greece. But as the whole world struggled to come to term with so much, Italy was facing a different scenario. Italy was facing a recession like the rest of Europe, facing the risk of being downgraded from the credit agencies and its prime minster, Mr Silvio Berlusconi himself was facing so many corruption allegations and accusations of misconducts etc. So in the middle of all of this and just one week before Mr Berlusconi's  time come to an end as Italy prime minster, he made a very important decision...................................

He released his album of love songs!!!!!

Yes, you read right…..it was not a decision to save the currency, to help the country out of recession, to clear his name or to save his reputations ….no he decided in his wisdom that it was time to release his album of love songs. He is clearly passionate about these love songs and he co- wrote 11 of the songs and - I presume - wanted to reach people with his softer side. All I thought about this was to think of the reaction of his advisers as he told him what he wanted to do,
'A love album prime minster? Yes sure, of course, that what the country needs, that what people really really want!'
But on a serious note, this was, may be –in his mind- what he wanted to be remembered by, may be this was his passion, his heart was really with these love songs and he wanted to spread the joy.
In the quest to make a difference and to be remembered, we strive to do our best and to reach high grounds, to do something unique to be remembered by, to stay in touch with our emotions and reach out for true love … just one important detail…make sure that the timing is right to fit within the big picture!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Resolutions? What resolutions

This year, I decided to make one promise which is...no more 'New Year Resolutions'.

The good news is...so far so good, I am doing what I said I will do.

Happy New Year everyone.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Step or A Stop?

‘Everything comes to an end’ this is a fact of life and as we were created, ‘endings’ are a reminder of our limitations and that as we had a beginning we will have an end. 

We are surrounded with ‘endings’ all the time, even the words we hear. You hear football managers talk about: ‘at the end of the day, the lads did their best’ or your teacher will say: ‘by the end of the class you need to understand this process really well’, or your friends tell you to ‘hang in there, the end is near’ when you are having a tough time.

Endings are hard, ending a relationship, a job, leaving an old house or loosing someone as their life ends. And as we move from one thing to another we struggle with how to deal with this simple fact of life and in our way to deal with endings we either glorify the person/the event/the job or make a villain out it. So after loosing a job, we only bring up the worst in the boss, how bad it all was, how nasty people were and almost making it an evil cartoon character. On the other hand, after loosing a loved one we glorify them and brush aside all the negatives and make a saint out of them. We all do that as this is the only way we can deal with difficult endings.

But there is another way; we can look at endings as a STEP and not as a STOP. We can stop forever after the end of a relationship and never move on or we can look at the experience and learn from it all (good and bad) and move on with what we leaned. We can see it as a STEP in our development and life experience and remember the good times and don't let everything stops.

How do you look at every ending surrounding you? Finishing school, ending a contract with work, finishing a charity event, ending a relationship, the end of a holiday, etc? How do you see it? A step or a stop….you decide.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Fancy working as a tooth brush?

Crocodiles have the largest number of teeth in the whole animal kingdom. A salt water crocodile will have some 64 teeth and they have their teeth replaced throughout their life.  For centuries this little bird - called Plovers - worked as a very dedicated dental hygienist cleaning crocodiles teeth.

This little bird does a great job and I believe through the ages, they always knew the rules of engagement with this fierce creature. In one little move, this sweet little bird could be just a snack to Mr. Crocodile. One wrong pick, or nasty nip at the gum, and this cute bird is gone. But the bird is benefiting too, and both creatures are a perfect image of a balanced creation by a mighty God.

But thinking about it, the bird is providing a great service but he is not the boss (and I am sure he knows it). I can't imagine the bird showing off to his mates or teasing the crocodiles, 'Guys, I am the best tooth brush in the whole jungle, you have to do what I say'. I can't see him bossing the crocodile round and giving him orders. But this is the not the order we see around us. I see people providing services forgetting that they are "serving" people. The doctor, the policeman, the teacher, the politician, etc , they are all providing a great service but they forget where does the power lie. The power is with those you are serving, the power is with the people, not the government, the rulers or the political system.

2011 showed us so far that people power is bigger and stronger than we ever thought. Protests all around the world this year proved that power is not just with those who are in high office, have money or arms.

It is a great job serving in a position of authority, but remember that Mr. crocodile could close his eyes, could nod off a bit, could even pretend not to care but it will always let the little bird knows if it is not happy with the service !

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Can we fix it?

So rarely I get my tool box out (yes, I do have a tool box), usually there is something needs fixing that I can not wait to get someone else to fix for me. So, I gather all my energy, get the tools out and I sit opposite whatever needs to be done.
I usually do my best bashing and hammering away and hope for the best. I usually get it done (in the end).
But in life, you find this great huge need to have 'I can fix it' attitude. So, you sit with a friend, chatting about the day and if you share a worry or a challenge, you always have few ideas, suggestions and solutions. This is good but I recently learned that not all of us are looking for quick answers or solutions to life's challenges. We simply want someone to listen, understand and move on. Just talking to a trusted person can make all the difference, not nesseserly to find an answer to a problem but to bring some order to the confusion.

So instead of adopting the moto of 'Can we fix it, Yes we can' I am choosing a different one:
Can we fix it, Yes we can but we are choosing to just listen for change!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Because you are worth it

Today came the news of the release of Giliad Shalit, the Istaeli soldier who was captured by Hamas back in 2006. His release came as part of a deal that involved releasing more than 1000 Palestinian.
As I heared the news, I wondered how he feels, apart from the obvious relief, sence of freedom and the longing to see his family. How do you feel if you know that your life is worth more than a 1000’s others? With a simple calculation, every small bone in Shalit’s body is worth 5 people. Most importantly, how do the other 1000 men feel about their worth and their value?
Where we live, how we live and who we live with give us our self-value whether we are aware of that or not. But it was never like that from the start. God created us equal, men and women, black or white. There was no difference. We were all made in his image. We then started to group ourselves based on our wealth, education, status, resources etc.
One prisoner is worth a 1000? Or 1000 prisoners are worth nothing? Politics decided that today. But on a day to day basis, we judge ourselves all the time in the same way.
How do we see ourselves? Because no matter how our governments, our friends, our families and our neighbours see us, we are still highly valued by the almighty creator. We are all still equal in his eyes, rich or poor, famous or unknown, men or women, able or incompetent.
I believe that I was wonderfully and fearfully made by almighty God that it is why I am worth it,

What about you?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Join us upstairs, down here!

This is a real photo on the London Underground station in East London. I couldn’t resist taking a photo. But thinking about it, so many things take place around us with some very contradicting messages.
Listen to the parent who tells the kids off to ‘encourage’ them, to those who hurt you because they love you. Look at the army that is supposed to protect you but aims at you and kill you for the sake of what is called ‘stability’. See the government that says ‘we are on the side of the poor’ but reduce their jobs, their education and their chance of a better life. Some who declare their hate to others under the umbrella of 'show compassion to those who are different from you'. The group of 'I want to kill you to show you what is the right way to go'.
Who are we deceiving? This photo is honest, if you go ‘downstairs’ you will get the overground trains. In life we need to call things by their own names otherwise we will never change anything. If we are running around looking for ‘excuses’ to certain actions, we will never move forward. That happens in relations, in societies and across the whole world.
The photo is confusing because the words don't follow what you expect. The same in every other situation, If I say I care about you, then I my actions needs to show that. If I want to show you how wonderful my way of life is, I need to show you lovingly and not by force. If I say that I want 'stability' then declaring war is not the right way to go about it. 
So, would you like to join me 'upstairs, down here' to correct the contradictions in our lives? 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Give me a sign

On my way to work, I wanted to try a short cut suggested to me by colleagues to cut my driving time. So, I tried and instead of reducing my journey, I got lost!

'Not a big deal' I told myself, as it is a lovely countryside and so I kept driving to the next sign post to get direction. I drove for about 6 min, but it felt like a life time, then I saw a SIGN. Old, dirty and battered sign, but a sign none the less. I was so pleased and relieved.

Driving along this beautiful road without any signs to show me the way, was not comfortable at all. I enjoyed the beautiful autumn drive but I didn't like not knowing my exact location even for a short time. This is the same in every situation and in dealing with people around us. We have a need to know where we stand and where we are going. In the same way we are 'signs' to others whether we like it or not. When we see people we see 'Happy', 'Negative', 'Comlaining', 'Greatful' etc. Think of people you meet for the first time and after only 10 second you think to yourself "seem like a good person" or " she looked sad", "he is nasty", etc. Other people do the same about me and you as well. So, what sign are you giving out? and what do people see in you that is different?

So, when you hear of people praying "Give me a sign", you could be that sign....use the opportunity well.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A go on the slide anyone?

Some things could be so much fun but you need to see where
it all leads.
Could be all as innocent as going on the slide (just like this little boy) but sure it will end in tears (or shredded body parts).

Things can sometimes 'slide' out of control, we cant stop it. We say the wrong thing, we make the wrong turn or decision. We stay so determined that we are right and the other is wrong and we loose it all at the end. We let things "slide" out of control and out of our hands. Relationship deteriorate for not wanting to back down when we still can and then we suffer the consequences. We say an unkind thing, we make bad comments, we sneer at a friend, we enjoy some gossip, the list is endless.
 And yet, in every situation, there is always a window where we can go back and save the relationship, the job, the situation etc. There is always a point of "return" (comes before the point of "no return"), once we pass this, then it is too late to save the situation and we have to suffer the consequences.

So ...do you know when to stop?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Now you see it.....now you don't

Today, I had a big task at work, to clear my electronic data from my computer. I wrote about this last week and today was the day that I had to move all my electronic files, folders etc. Where do you start, I have endless number of documents, lots of drafts and final documents, some duplication and some just back up files. Some I worked on long time ago and some are as recent as last week. I had lots of things already organised in big folders (yes, I am not totally hopeless) but I still felt overwhelmed by the task at hand.

So, I decided to do this in a tidy and organised fashion (OK, OK, no need to laugh) I decided to do it the quick way. I created a new folder and called "work old PC" and then moved everything to it, just as they are. 'I will look into them later' I told myself. The files were so big and took a long time to be transferred to my external drive but it was done at the end. Then with one click I deleted the folder from the main computer after it was transferred. Just like that, one click, one button and it was all gone. More than 8 years of work, research and teaching just gone from the PC, as if I was never there. All you can see on the old PC was my log in name.

There is a book on Amazon called "Now you see it, now you don't: lessons in sleight of hand" by Bill Tarr. Shows you how to do magic tricks and when I deleted the files it felt like that, a magic wand that cleared everything. Then I thought, what if we can do that in real life. Just one click and the problem is gone, one button and 'done' pain deleted. But if we can do that, then we have to be able to run the risk of deleting the good things by mistake or accident. I don't really fancy backing up my relationship in 3 different ways like I do with my documents in case they get lost. I am confident in the love, support and friendships that I have and am sure they can not be lost by mistake, or with a click of a button. As much as I would like for the bad things to be taken away, I know that God in his wisdom is writing the story of my life, weaving it all, dark colours and bright ones, all together to make a wonderful complete picture.

Enjoy life with all its ups and down, no back up and no system crashes, invest in what matters as when it is all said and done only two things remain, your faith and your relationships.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Wish you were 'THERE'

You know the deal, you go on holiday, you are having a great time and you pick up few post cards and send them to a select group of people with the words “wish you were here”. But why do we do that? While running around on holiday enjoying yourself, you think of those who could have made it even better and more enjoyable. You imagine the good times that you could have with someone who is not actually there in this lovely holiday spot and wish they could be there to share this time with you.

So what do we miss? We miss the fun times, the laughs, the jokes, the silly faces and the kind words. We remember how late we stayed out or how much fun we had with someone. Although we remember the bad things, we do not miss it. I never heard someone says: ‘I miss going to get treatment for my teeth’, or ‘I miss the shouting I used to get from my nasty teacher’. We remember it all, but we do not miss the ugly things. As we pass through each other’s lives, we will leave lots of memories, good and bad, but for people to miss us, it will be the good things they have to miss. So, do not work hard to leave bitter taste in people’s mouths by leaving them with bad memories otherwise you will get a card that says

Wish you were ‘there’…away from me!