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Flowers can bloom where mountains have burned || resilience


It has been a while. I drove myself up to the mountains this morning because it felt like my soul was calling for a moment to slow down. I type this newsletter on a whim today because there is just so much emotion running within me. In January earlier this year, I had driven up to this exact same cabin in the mountains. I was sitting on this very same balcony facing an incredible view when I had received a news. A news that broke my heart. I remember bawling not even crying out loud. I remember feeling like I was having a heart attack. I remember that feeling of the panic attack with so much intensity that it made me dizzy. I remember driving back home with just endless tears. The body has a weird mechanism of never forgetting. But I read a quote weeks ago; “go laugh in the places where you cried.”


August, eight months later. I came to this very spot to laugh. I sit in the very same balcony typing out this newsletter and every bone in my body is at peace. It is like one of those epiphany moments where I have nothing but gratitude for Allah. I don’t seem to have enough words that can express my gratitude, but I know in my heart that Allah knows.


The truth is sometimes I have trouble recognizing this new unleashed version of me because I had to shed out so many layers to come to this point where I am today. Was it easy? No, growth is the most uncomfortable process that an individual can go through. If there was one piece of advice, I could give my younger self today – be grateful for all the things that broke you because they were your blessing in disguise. You found Allah that is priceless.


When I look back, I see that I was struggling with my imaan – my faith. That unexpected drowning that leashed my way was Allah’s way of bringing me back to Him. My body did go down in sujood but my soul was disconnected to the unseen. It was like I lost my khushu in prayer. Khushu – the calmness, the serenity, the dignity, and the humility to bow down in humbleness to Allah not just physically but mentally.


The lack of Khushu led to learning the hardest ego crushing truth the further I was from Allah, the further I was from being myself. Sometimes my nafs would convince me that the more in tune I was with the environment around me and less with inner spiritual connection, the more I was myself. Or more so called free. I learned it was my ego talking and it had such as strong power in making me believe that. The more I was letting myself spiritually loose the more I was morphing into the shapes of everyone around me. The truth was my body, and my conscious was constantly rejecting that because the spiritual moral compass was the closest thing, I had for myself. It was and still is the only path to the purest version of myself. Allah created us all with our our individual purposes, so all the rules and morals that we follow are our paths to get there; to guide us. It's the light. It's true happiness. It's true confidence. It's peace. If you're reading this, I pray that you experience light, peace, and find that definition of joy that Allah has written for you.


Allah says, “Call upon me and I will respond to you.” Despite my brokenness that is all I had to do because He promised. Allah's plan is solid it doesn’t come with any flaws and your belief in Him will take you places which are well beyond your imagination. For you to do that humble yourself. Humble yourself in front of yourself. Ask yourself the questions that only you can ask yourself. Break those questions down. Understand your emotions. Understand the reaction to them. This is going to be hard. It always is.


But if your biggest enemy is your own ego and your inability to accept the divine’s plan at play then it will be your toughest battle. I can tell you this that what lies on the other end of breaking down is you becoming the version Allah created you to be. It is you getting closer to the specific purpose you were created for. Maybe you reading this is your sign to go chase the strength you are meant to be. To open new doors, we sometimes must learn how to close old doors that requires a leap. Take that leap of faith.


I needed to go back to Allah because the will of Allah won’t take me where the grace of Allah can’t protect me. I learnt that if my heart feels dead then Allah is Al-Muhyi, The Giver of life. I learnt that if I needed someone to talk to then Allah is Al-Sami, The listener. I learnt in distress that Allah is Al-Salaam, The source of peace. I learnt in depression that Allah is Al-Rafi, The one who raises. I learnt in my distance to Allah that he is Al-Qarib, The close. I learnt in my bottomless pit of weakness that Allah is Al-Qawi, The strong. I learnt in the darkness of the night that Allah is Al-Wakil, The sufficient.


But you know sitting here right now staring at this mountain I realize that Allah was protecting me all along. He was breaking me further down to humble me more than ever. Allah humbled my mountain – my nafs. He was breaking me down to teach me conviction.


“If we had sent down this Quran upon a mountain, you would have seen it humbled and splitting from the fear of Allah. And these examples we present to the people that perhaps they will give thought.” (59:21)

I don’t know if this is a wisdom of turning more greyer or I am feeling terribly old today. But I leave you with two words that I relearned this year. Resilience: the ability to find yourself in a place more foreign than anything you’ve known and making it something familiar. Making it home. Hope: something you find both, at the highest peak you will climb and the lowest place you'll be. a stubborn, dogged trust your body puts into the situation before you can.


With that I pray you heal from the things you don’t talk about.


Until next time,

Shanzay.

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