What is life? Is it just this noise of the daily rushing around? Completing the ‘things to do’ list? Meeting deadlines, going from one rushy hour to the next? Always, counting to see if one can make ends meet, or get that little bit of extra too? Loving food, dresses, make up, handbags, car, house and still shopping for more? Putting it all on Facebook, Instagram or Tweeting it all over the world.
Is this life?
Or is life something more?
What gives meaning to one’s life? What makes you feel that eureka moment, when you say,
‘yes, it is all worth it!’
How does one know if one’s life is meaningful?
For me, these moments give meaning to my life:
- The moment when you pay the fee for the underprivileged child you are sponsoring.
- When you go out in the heat, stand in the line for over two hours in the heat and then the moment when you cast your vote.
- When one succeeds in praying five times a day.
- When one gives charity.
- When one looks at one’s elderly parents’ loving faces and gives them tight hugs, and sees the smiles on their faces. Opening their bedroom door late at night to see them sleeping peacefully. (I remember, as a child when they would be doing the same for me.)
- To watch your children grow and get strong enough to stand on their own feet.
- To proudly watch your children’s accomplishments in life and feel happy and grateful to Allah.
- To become part of groups of people who are like-minded. To be among personalities who lead meaningful lives. To sit together and plan out better things to improve our environment. Positive, solution oriented talk.
- With the Art and Literature group of Shabnam Riaz, we all are planning to implement the planting of trees.
- I love to learn new things, and then to implement what one has learnt.
- The last stroke on one’s painting, when you can feel that now it is complete.That last word of my latest blog, when I feel ‘yes, this is it.’
- To arrange things in order to get on with my next book!
- Trying to find more ways to squeeze that bit more into my twenty four hours.Taking care of my body, which is my only tool to do all the things I want to do, to get that ‘meaning’ part going.
All the above, give meaning to my life. Yet, I feel it is nothing compared to all that my Allah has blessed me with. It is just a pittance.
I’ve got to find more meaning in my life.
While I’m at it, I find ways to keep my spirits high. What really boosts me up is to do up my home. To spruce it up and give it a fresh look with the same old stuff, but in a new way.
This is how I usually spruce up my home:
- Moving around furniture settings, and giving the room a fresh look- it maybe a lounge, drawing room, bedroom, or a wash room. This activity is a favorite of mine.
- Of course, going out and buying new stuff for the home, like a lamp, a chair or sofa can make lovely changes, but you can’t do that all the time.
- Getting new upholstery for one’s furniture can change the entire look of the room. So, this time, I finally used a fully embroidered shawl which my Mom had given me on my wedding. But now it had got holes in it, and spots of color too. So, I had kept it to make a blouse or small jacket for myself. That didn’t get materialized. So I put it on this Victorian chair (which I had got from that famous city of Chiniote which is known for its hand-made furniture.) This is how it looks now.
- Shifting paintings in the house also can do wonders.
- So, usually, the new painting, new upholstery combined with furniture settings can give the home a new look.
- Plants, flowers and lamps placed with thought also make it look great.
- When I buy something, usually, I keep flexibility in mind, so you don’t get stuck in one place. So, you can move the stuff, from room to room with time.
The art classes at my home have continued. This summer, I held classes daily for Madiha Taha: Monday to Friday. Sometimes my regular students would also pop in and sometimes there would just be us. Many times, we would get so engrossed in our chit chat, that we would forget to paint! Most of the time, we listened to music and painted our hearts out. It was great.
I also made sure that I must go to my own classes with my mentors Mansoor Rahi and Hajra Mansoor. They are such icons in the world of art and are living legends. I’m fulfilling my dream when I visit them. You can make your life more meaningful just by being with them for a couple of hours. To see the results of a disciplined and focused life. The satisfaction on their endearing faces are proof of their successful lives. They are probably the only legends who are conducting such regular art classes at their studios. So, they are sharing what they have learnt in life, with the new generations. The Generation Rahi is this group. These days, a plan is being worked out to hold our next exhibition in Karachi. In fact it is already scheduled in Artkaam Gallery, Karachi.
Naturally, most of us have become friends, we discuss other things bothering us these days. We help each other in any way we can. The best thing about such classes is the fact that you meet people of your own type.
‘How do you deal with friends that feel as if they are sapping you?’ A friend of mine asked me the other day.
‘I don’t have such friends!’
‘How do you manage that?’ She asked, amazed.
‘Simply, by not being with such people!’ I retorted.
I’ve been very lucky. I do have friends to die for. That is, because I’m extremely careful with whom I choose to spend my time. My time is very precious to me. So, I’ll only be with friends who are sincere, worthy and amazing personalities within their own skins. Persons I can look up to, or who make me feel great, just being with them. Persons who fill me up with energy and happiness.
Sometimes, total strangers can do that too. During yesterday’s PANA meeting in Serena, Stuart, a Chinese who has recently come to Islamabad, mentioned how the smaller ‘off-grid’ hydro electrical power systems (which are commonly used in Norway) are more conducive to producing electricity at a large scale – As has been done in KPK – successfully. He said, we can learn from Norway, and become self sufficient in electricity. Stuart also mentioned how appalling the western media’s coverage of Pakistan’s recent elections was. They were not focusing on the fact that it was going on so smoothly, in such a free and fair way. In fact, all foreigners who come here, feel the same way, how perverted is the Western media coverage of Pakistan!
(Perhaps, this is one of my motivations for writing, even when my behind is feeling like a hard board by now!) We need to get out there and be heard.
So, I suppose this is what life is really all about. Being busy in activities which do have meaning, as apposed to spending time on such activities which are frivolous with only momentary satisfaction.
When you are living a life which is meaningful, then you feel blessed. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure you are leading a very meaningful life too.
Its just that, time and again, we need to ask ourselves, ‘is my life meaningful?’
‘Yes, Alhamdolillah, it is.’ You answer.
‘Is it meaningful enough?’ I ask myself again. Well, I guess it would be meaningful enough when I’m able to benefit more people, than I do right now. That is the way to make life meaningful – to make a difference in other people’s lives.
‘No! I guess, it certainly isnt meaningful enough!’ I answer sheepishly.
Oh God, there I go again! Meanwhile, stay blessed, my handsome and lovely Readers. 🙂
What an inspiring post. Your amaltas trees painting is gorgeous.
The work of your student is amazing too. Looks like a charcoal and graphite work but what is she working on? Canvas??
Good thoughts. Time is never wasted reading your posts.
Good thoughts. Time is never wasted reading your posts. Keep them coming.
Thank you so much Sungho for your kind words. It means the world to me, the way you read my blog posts with so much attention. Take care and stay blessed.
What an amaazing post. I just loved it. But one feedback though. This post can literally be divided into 3-4 posts. The first post only with the points which were amazing. Then how to spruce up your home can be a ssaperate post. and so on. .. It does click in the end but way too long! Loved reading it though. Sorry for feedback. Love you forever.!
Thank you for writing this comment my Jan. Really love your input, and agree hundred percent with it. The problem is that by next week I’m brimming over with more topics to write. So, I literally squeeze in the points. Yes, way too long. I’m trying to make my blogs shorter. Hope I succeed. Love you more for reading it.
Salams mam! I’ve been wanting to comment here for so long. such a beautiful read i must say. u never cease to inspire us! A thorough guideline to leading a fulfilling life. Is it meaningful enough? The question seems quite synonymous to getting thru with the last stroke of your painting . I miss our painting sessions. You have described it so perfectly. It was amazing! Love u
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