An Exploration of Sacred Parenting and Education

Archive for the ‘Healing’ Category

In Loving Memory of My Father by Fatimah Ashrif

In Healing, Uncategorized on October 12, 2012 at 2:46 pm

“If for a short time

Fate does not accord with our wishes

Despair not, and remember that fortune’s wheel

Is always on the move.

Do not abandon hope if you cannot penetrate

The secret of what is to come

Behind the curtain of invisibility

Who knows what dramas occupy the stage?”

I love these words of Hafez. They remind me that, like the wise men in a dark room with an elephant, each only experiencing a part of the animal, my understanding of the truth and what lies beyond this apparent world of ours is by no means absolute.

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Theme of the month: ‘In Loving Memory…’

In Education, Healing on October 7, 2012 at 2:18 pm

We are all touched by death of some sort. Whether it be death of our ego or physical death of the body. Without death there can be no life.

The theme for this month hopes to explore how we do, and how we might engage with experiences of grief and loss in relation to the physical death of the body, our relationship with those who have passed to the Unseen realm: our memories of them, how the connection with them has nourished us, and what we may have learned through them…

We would love to have you share your experiences and reflections with us on this subject.

Talking to the Young: Honouring the Sacred Trust of Parenting By Jeremy Henzell-Thomas

In Healing, parenting on September 28, 2012 at 2:28 pm

In her eloquent editorial in the previous issue of emel, Sarah Joseph, referring to the recent survey by the soap manufacturer Dove, sounded some loud warning bells about the anxiety, stress and low self-esteem experienced by girls in a culture increasingly dominated by false images of “perfection”.

My last article addressed the equally alarming problem of the abuse and neglect of the old in our culture, but in this issue, following Sarah’s lead, I would like to explore the rising concern about the welfare of children and teenagers in our culture. Read the rest of this entry »

Listening to Shame

In Healing, Marriage, parenting, Uncategorized on June 28, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Water says to the dirty, “Come here.” The dirty one says, “I am so ashamed.” Water says, “How will your shame be washed away without me.” Rumi

A friend of mine phoned me a few days ago seeking some advice and to be consoled. He felt his son was wrongly accused of something by his teacher and was pressurised into confessing he was the culprit. Read the rest of this entry »

A Question about August Babies

In Healing, parenting on March 22, 2012 at 9:52 pm

Parenting issue bothering you? Would you like another perspective on things? Feel free to email Farah at If you would like to remain anonymous please let her know. For her bio please visit the ‘authors’ page.

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To Cry or not to Cry – That is the Question by Farah Benhalim

In Healing, parenting on March 10, 2012 at 4:29 am

I have a confession to make. The “agony aunt” is offering up an agony of her own. My ten year old son Read the rest of this entry »

“Happy Wife, Happy Life” by Tazeen Ahmad

In Healing, Marriage, parenting, Relationships on March 6, 2012 at 10:35 pm

“Happy Wife, Happy Life”
I once, heard this expression and laughed… It is only after raising 2 small kids, that I am understanding the full meaning of it…..

Increasingly, as I become aware of the mirrors our “mini-me’s” are; I realise that the tone, mood and peace of the home is predominantly, set by the mother/wife or lady of the house.

I guess as our external worlds are simply manifestations of the internal, it is any wonder that my own pleasant mood, attracts Read the rest of this entry »

Revive Your Childhood

In Healing, Spirit, heart & soul on February 29, 2012 at 1:13 am

“Many people live in emotional darkness because they have never fully enjoyed a child spirit in their overly serious lives. The child wanders homeless in the lives of many adults, who are captivated by psychologies of the “inner child” and books and films of childlike fantasy, such as the stories of Harry Potter and the Disney movies. Modern society, so adult and sophisticated, so busy at work and serious about knowing everything, has lost much of its childhood. Instead of playing actively and seriously, we let other people entertain us, and instead of enjoying a strong feeling of community, we are highly dependent on our electronic connections.

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Pity the Fool, Not the Child by Medina Tenour Whiteman

In Healing, Marriage, parenting on February 25, 2012 at 8:49 pm
There was a time, not so long ago, when I thought about my children and cried.
I remembered the harmonious idyllic world I had longed to create for them, in which they would while away their days in nature, playing with homemade toys and pine cones and things collected on one of our many sun-dappled forest walks, a rock-like stability underpinning their miniature cosmos, illuminated by a loving, calm, creative mother, protected by a strong, capable, dependable dad…

Love has the power to overcome the dark by Farah Benhalim

In Healing, Relationships, Spirit, heart & soul on February 17, 2012 at 9:18 pm

It seems that as humans we are almost constantly being bombarded with one form of negativity or another, be it from our own children, our spouses, ourselves, the media or complete strangers. Last night, I had an interaction with a complete stranger who was unexpectedly rude to me and I was left bewildered carrying rather small package of negativity and I was left wondering what to do with it. Should I toss the package back in her face and inform her that I didn’t like the way she treated me? But then, I started feeling sorry for the lady, thinking this woman must be carrying so much pain from whatever she has experienced in life that she no longer has the grace to treat people with respect. So, instead I made dua for her, that may Allah swt release her from whatever is burdening her heart and the negativity that had been passed to me was released. This reminded me of a story of a woman who put with years of verbal abuse from her husband and finally was able to transform the relationship with the sheer power of love. She realized that he was functioning from a place of pain and so every time he put her down and belittled her she would completely disregard the comment and say I love you. As you can imagine this was quite difficult to do, but it worked. Love has the power to overcame the dark. But I also realise that at times we have to take different approaches and set boundaries and let people know when their behavior won’t be tolerated and other times when we feel that people are so toxic that you actually have to remove them from your life.

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Smiling in Love’s Universe

In Healing, Story telling on January 26, 2012 at 11:08 pm

Everyone knows that all but one chapter of the Qur’an starts with “Bism Allah al-Rahman al-Rahim”, in the name of God, Infinite Tenderness, Eternal Kindness. But what do we know about this? My students tell me that the terms “Merciful” and “Compassionate” don’t mean much to them. Maybe it’s helpful to look at them through the eye/heart of the friends of God. Ibn ‘Arabi says that Rahman and Rahim are connected to Rahem, the womb of an expecting mother. He says it’s “as if” the whole cosmos, all of us, each and every single being and all of the beings, are contained inside God’s womb. It’s “as if” we are being nurtured, protected, guided, loved, and provided for every instant from That Beloved. May God open our hearts and souls and mind to the beauties. Omid Safi

For the past week, Read the rest of this entry »

Rising From Failure

In Education, Healing, parenting on January 18, 2012 at 9:45 pm

Yesterday Mohammed Ali, the legendary boxer regarded as the greatest by many, celebrated his 70th birthday. I used to have a massive poster of him on my wall during my teen years. Hi motto of ‘fly like a butterfly and sting like a bee’ reflected a wisdom and intelligence which challenges the all or nothing approach taken by Rocky. What made him great in my eyes, wasn’t his amazing dancing skills in the ring which he seemed to have lost after being banned for five years due to his refusal to go to war in Vietnam or his success against opponents like Sunny Liston or George Foreman which experts had predicted as impossible, or even his wit outside the ring but the fact that he was able to Read the rest of this entry »

Little tigers: dealing with doubts and fears

In Healing, parenting, Story telling on January 12, 2012 at 2:44 pm

“Our doubts are traitors and we lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt” Shakespeare.

The above is my favorite line from Shakespeare. I’ve used it a number of times to put my doubts into perspective. Currently, I’m exploring children’s stories which contain wisdom, teachings for character building and spiritual principles. I realise everything I want to teach my children has to be lived through example for it to be meaningful for them.

Last night we read ‘Tiger-Tiger, Is it true?: Four questions that make you smile again’ by Byron Katie and and Hans Wilhelm. The four essential questions which are the basis of Katie’s work are explored from a child’s perspective on a bad day; ignored by parents at breakfast, no friends to play with at play time & not liked by anybody. The four questions and turn around show Tiger-Tiger that it was his thinking all along that gave him this perspective and in fact the opposite was true in reality– so they investigate: a paradigm shift is created.  The four questions Katie suggests we ask, are

1. Is it true?

2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?

3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?

4. Who would you be without that thought?

Followed by the turn around with examples.

These are not questions addressed to our intellectual minds (intellectual as in our rational minds and not in the higher sense of the word) – there is little point in asking the questions unless you can sit with them in honest inquiry and allow the answers to surface. In a reply to a question on why the person doesn’t feel a shift Katie wrote: “To simply turn thoughts around keeps the process intellectual and is of little value. The invitation is to go beyond the intellect. The questions are like probes that dive into the mind, bringing deeper knowledge to the surface. Ask the questions first, and then wait. Once the answers have risen, then do the turnarounds. The surface mind and the deeper mind (I call it the heart) meet, and the turnarounds feel like true discoveries.” They offer a sort of Socratic reasoning which cuts through our defensiveness and conditioning to penetrate to our essence.

Maybe children with their open minds and hearts find the work easier than adults (who often find it difficult to get out of their heads) ? Katie has done this work with children and teenagers.  Here is an example of the type of dialogue that can cut through layer of mind and allow us too see, with clarity, what IS as it IS.

I see a ‘spiritual’ education providing children the space to explore awareness (through breath for example), presence  and the development of their higher cognitive faculties through introspective work such as Katie’s.  In one school I know of, set up by a spiritual community, student would start the day with a minute of silence through the monitoring of their pulses by touching their wrists – counting 60 beats. How we can use of imagery and symbolism of wisdom stories our tradition is filled with, leading to introspective work, remains to be explored. – And it may mean parent and child working together with each other as mirrors for each other.

If your thoughts are a rose,
You are a Rose Garden;
If your thoughts are a thorn,
You are fuel for the fire.

Stillness heals

In Healing, parenting, Spirit, heart & soul on December 31, 2011 at 4:12 am
Today, I felt I had glimpse or taste of spiritual parenting, which I would like to share with you. My 1 year old son fell from the sofa, banged his head and started crying. I picked him up and embraced him. We sat as I rubbed his head comforting him with soothing words. I then remembered an amazing clip I had watched by Spiritual Literacy called “the bird who needs to be silent”
As I remembered that stillness within, I didnt feel the need to speak nor let him go on his way too early –
I was just with him, present in the heart space, unconditionally, until he was ready to get going again. To my surprise he fell asleep. It was an amazing experience and maybe one of the greatest gifts we can give to another- to be totally present, unconditionally, with all ones being and love.