Letter to self : tell the stories.

That urge to tell stories of past moments, maybe, is a sign of getting over the painful feelings we had, a sign of “Lessons are learned. Done.”, a sign of readiness to welcome the upcoming fresh stories and to fully live them.

In any story I have told or will tell, I need to affirm that, generally, I don’t experience the feeling of regret. I only repent (and love to do so) when I realize that I did something that according to my beliefs doesn’t please my Lord. I don’t like to regret despite sometimes falling in its trap, because I believe that any event is more than just the ‘here and now’ feelings and reactions of it, therefor I accept what I did even if it apparently caused me some harm.

For a personality of a reflector and an introvert (Imagine the suffering!), I had a plenty of time to think and trace many tragic and painful events in my life and also to revisit and challenge my opinions and change them if new relevant input sounded better. A sound in my head wants to say:

“Whatever happened is good, you know this.

Raghda, I can see hope in you and in your ‘Pendulum-like’ thinking that takes you to extremes before landing on the truth. I know the ride to extremes wasn’t and won’t be easy, but the truth that keeps sprouting in your soul is worth it.

Raghda, fear no challenge and no change as long as your rope to the sky is strongly tied, it will bring you back as it always did. Fear no expectations nor breaking a seemingly well-fitting stereotype of you.

Raghda, tell the stories that live in you. Not because you’re a writer. Write them to braid moments and thoughts into a neat meaning that would help you in the coming adventures, and if destined to be, it could someday help someone else.”

mmmm, in fact I wanted to actually tell a story now. But since it’s very late, I’ll sleep now and share it in another night (because words flow better at night, same as water in our tap at home!)

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Posted in In English, Letters جوابات, Stories حكايات, Thoughts خواطر | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

(Photos) Calm ducks in the ancient English city..

One day, during my nearly one year stay in Oxford two years ago, I was active enough to wake up early and decide to walk inside Christ Church meadow before taking the bus to the department. I am glad that I did that, as I had the privilege to see these scenes, and add to this, the quietness and the fresh cold breeze, with the company of a very few yet way more active people than myself who came to run.

It was Winter time, when face of the Earth changes, and green meadows are replaced with large lakes of water, then cows go indoors, and ducks enjoy the swim alternately between the newly-made lake and the nearby Thames river.

The ducks seemed not in rush for anything, not confused, nor anxious. Maybe that’s why I needed to deeply look at them at that moment, as I was at the other side, really confused and anxious.

It’s like that every now and then we, humans, desperately need to watch God’s other creations, so we can be rest assured that the ONE who sends to them what they need will do the same for us, that there is no need to worry or be in hurry that much. I guess that most of our pains come from our overly dependence on ourselves as if we are our Lords, at least I know that was absolutely the case for myself.

I’ll leave you now with the calm ducks, hoping that their calmness will be transferred to you. 🙂

P.S. More photos to come inshaAllah, of : birds, flowers, squirrels, trees, mountains, and other things.


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لحديث الحق نور ساطع

  لم أقصد أن الشيخ له كرامات، عندما كنت أذكر فضله علي.

ًما قصدته هو أن لحديث الحق نور ساطع يضيء و يكشف ما أخفته النفوس قبلا،

يضيء و يكشف ما تجنبنا الحديث عنه طويلاً،

يضيء و يكشف فلا يبقي على ظلمة حيث يقع،

و بعد ذلك يكون السؤال (ماذا سأفعل بكل ما كشفه لي النور الساطع؟).

    لهذا السبب، لا تحتمل نفسي الكثير من حديث الحق في الجلسة الواحدة حتى أن أنفاسي تتسارع و يضطرب خفقان قلبي و يتبدد انتباهي!

فما النفع من إضاءة محيط دفعة واحدة و الغرق في تفاصيل كل هذا الهائل الذي رأيت؟!

ًلذا تعلمت أن أرفق بنفسي و ألا أزيد عليها جرعة الدواء أكثر مما تطيق، و إلا صار سما.

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Those who witnessed hope..

Those who have seen
lands that have been dry and in despair for years become colorful gardens that send joy in the hearts of whoever looks at them,

darkness that they couldn’t recall when it started to exist, is replaced by a soothing light that enlightens and guides,

volcanoes of anger and anxiety that never rested surprisingly change to calm beings,

those who have witnessed these miracles within themselves, experienced how hope can change souls, are able to see hope in every person no matter how bad the situation looks like on the outset. As hope for them became certain, while despair is still doubtful, and the wise man doesn’t leave what is certain for what is doubtful.

For this hope is from an endless eternal spring, from the All Merciful the All Mighty, and despair is from the devil.

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Nubia, land of the kind people

In the far South of Egypt, lies Nubia, land of the kind people. These scenes were captured by my mobile while enjoying a boat trip in the Nile from Nubia to Aswan.

More photos to come inshaAllah in other posts.

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لماذا أحب الكتابة و أحتاج إليها؟

صارت الكتابة عصية جداً على نفسي، رغم الفيضانات المتتالية التي تجتاح عقلي و لا تمنعها السدود، فيضانات تأتي خاصةً وقت النوم ،أشعر معها بالغرق بداخلي ولا سبيل لإزاحة الزائد من مياهها لأتمكن من استعادة التركيز.

الكتابة تصنع الضفائر.

بهذه البساطة.

أحتاج إلى الكتابة رغم كل المقاومة التي بداخلي، لأنها تصنع الضفائر.

تأتي بخصلات الفكر من أقصى يمين الجبهة لتقابل صويحباتها من أقصى يسار الجبهة و يلتقون في نقطة و يتصافحون و يتعارفون كما لم يفعلوا من قبل، و تتقابل الخصلات التي منبتها الجبهة مع الخصلات التي من نهاية الرأس و أعلى الرقبة، ويلتقون كذلك مع الخصلات القادمة من خلف كلتا الأذنين.

يحضرني المشهد الآن و أبتسم لروعته!

أن تتضافر أفكاري وتترابط و تتشابك وتصنع -أخيراً- جديلة لها مغزى!

إذا كانت الكتابة بهذه الروعة، فما الذي منعني عنها طيلة الشهور السابقة التي توقفت عن عدِّها؟!

؟في مرة لاحقة أكتب عن (لماذا أخشى الكتابة)

——-

كتبت هذه الكلمات منذ ثلاثة أشهر.

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Lost in abstractions, and mistook his wife for a hat

Yesterday, I knew that Oliver Sacks died. It’s not that I knew that he’s a famous writer nor that I am a fan of neurology, but nearly 2 years ago I came across his book (The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat: And Other Clinical Tales) on sale in an English bookshop, and I bought it only because of the name.

Few months ago, I remember, I read the first short story in the book of one of his real patients, the story of the man who mistook his wife for a hat. I re-read it again yesterday, and still impressed by his approach with the case and his reflections on the findings.

Despite that Dr P (the patient) had a problem in identifying things/people visually because of a cortical problem, at some points when Dr Oliver described him I felt that I can relate to his words.

So, as a revival of Dr Oliver’s work, I’ll share some quotes from the story.
—————————
He also appeared to have decided that the examination was over, and started to look around for his hat. He reached out his hand, and took hold of his wife’s head, tried to lift it off, to put it on. He had apparently mistaken his wife for a hat! His wife looked as if she was used to such things.

—————
He saw nothing as familiar. Visually, he was lost in a world of lifeless abstractions. Indeed, he did not have a real visual world, as he did not have a real visual self. He could speak about things, but did not see them face-to-face.

————–
But the saddest difference between them was that Zazetsky, as Lauria said, ‘fought to regain his lost faculties with the indomitable tenacity of the damned’, whereas Dr P. was not fighting, did not know what was lost, did not indeed know that anything was lost.
But who was more tragic, or who was more damned — the man who knew it, or the man who did not?

————–
‘Well, Dr Sacks,’ he said to me, ‘You find me an interesting case, I perceive. Can you tell me what you find wrong, make recommendations?’

‘I can’t tell you what I find wrong,’ I replied, ‘but I’ll say what I find right. You are a wonderful musician, and music is your life. What I would prescribe, in a case such as yours, is a life which consists entirely of music. Music has been the centre, now make it the whole, of your life.’

—————
An animal, or a man, may get on very well without ‘abstract attitude’ but will speedily perish if deprived of judgment. Judgment must be the first faculty of higher life or mind – yet it ignored, or misinterpreted, by classical (computational) neurology.
…..
Of course, the brain is a machine and a computer – everything in classical neurology is correct. But our mental processes, which constitute our being and life, are not just abstract ad mechanical, but personal, as well – and, as such, involve not just classifying and categorising, but continual judging and feeling also. If this is missing, we become computer-like, as Dr P. was.

And, by the same token, if we delete feeling and judging, the personal, from the cognitive sciences, we reduce them to something as defective as Dr P. – and we reduce our apprehension of the concrete and real.

————-
A final, humorous point. Where Dr P. might mistake his wife for a hat, Macrae’s patient, also unable to recognise his wife, needed her to identify herself by a visual marker, by ‘…. a conspicuous article of clothing, such as a large hat.’

===========

End of the quotes.

Written on 31st of August 2015.

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Lost in memory, yet found in spirituality

After quoting some lines from the story of (The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat: And Other Clinical Tales) by Oliver Sacks, I started reading the next short story/case in the section (Losses), and it’s called (The Lost Mariner).

I should say that I felt emotionally overwhelmed by the story, feeling like every line I read is transformed to a heavy burden in my chest, not a chest tightness, but an intense state of empathy (or maybe sympathy) with the patient. It was so intense that I had to divide the reading over extended time to restore my calm self.

In brief, it’s a story of a man who had amnesia (memory loss), Jimmie, he had his memory erased back to 1945, and also can’t remember anything that happens in the present, Dr Oliver met him in 1975. At the beginning, I felt really sorry for him, then towards the end of the story when Dr Oliver speculated over the case in more depth, I felt sorry for myself that I felt so much sorry for him.

After finishing the story, I can say that what I experienced through the story is exactly what we usually feel when we hear of a tribulation/disaster occurring to someone, especially if it’s very unfamiliar to one’s own experience in life. What usually happens, I think, is that we reduce the person to just “his disaster”, we even define him/her with it, same with patients in clinical practice. Some of the coming quotes from the story will help to clarify the point.

——————–

‘And you, Jimmie, how old would you be?’

Oddly, uncertainly, he hesitated a moment, as if engaged in a calculation.

‘Why, I guess, I’m nineteen, Doc. I’ll be twenty next birthday.’

Looking at the grey-haired man before me, I had an impulse for which I have never forgiven myself — it was, or would have been, the height of cruelty had there been any possibility of Jimmie’s remembering it.

‘Here,’ I said, and thrust a mirror toward him. ‘Look in the mirror and tell me what you see. Is that a nineteen-year-old looking out from the mirror?’

He suddenly turned ashen and gripped the sides of the chair. ‘Jesus Christ,’ he whispered. ‘Christ, what’s going on? What’s happened to me? Is this a nightmare? Am I crazy? Is this a joke?’ — and he became frantic, panicked.

‘It’s okay, Jimmie,’ I said soothingly. ‘It’s just a mistake. Nothing to worry about. Hey!’ I took him to the window. ‘Isn’t this a lovely spring day. See the kids there playing baseball?’ He regained his colour and started to smile, and I stole away, taking the hateful mirror with me.

———-

What could we do? What should we do? ‘There are no prescriptions,’ Luria wrote, ‘in a case like this. Do whatever your ingenuity and your heart suggest. There is little or no hope of any recovery in his memory. But a man does not consist of memory alone. He has feeling, will, sensibilities,moral being — matters of which neuropsychology cannot speak.

And it is here, beyond the realm of an impersonal psychology, that you may find ways to touch him, and change him. And the circumstances of your work especially allow this, for you work in a Home, which is like a little word, quite different from the clinics and institutions where I work. Neuropsychologically, there is little or nothing you can do; but in the realm of the individual, there may be much you can do.’

———-

Since he’s been at our Home — that is, since early 1975 — Jimmie has never been able to identify anyone in it consistently. The only person he truly recognizes is his brother, whenever he visits from Oregon. These meetings are deeply emotional and moving to observe — the only truly emotional meetings Jimmie has. He loves his brother, he recognises him, but he cannot understand why he looks so old: ‘Guess some people age fast’ he says.

———-

Jimmie both was and wasn’t aware of this deep, tragic loss in himself, loss of himself. (If a man has lost a leg or an eye, he knows he has lost a leg or an eye; but if he has lost a self — himself — he cannot know it, because he is no longer there to know it.)

———-

One tended to speak of him, instinctively, as a spiritual casualty — a ‘ lost soul’: was it possible that he had really been ‘de-souled’ by a disease? ‘Do you think he has a soul?’ I once asked the Sisters. They were outraged by my question, but could see why I asked it. ‘Watch Jimmie in chapel’, they said, ‘and judge for yourself.’

……..

Memory, mental activity, mind alone, could not hold him; but moral attention and action could hold him completely.

But perhaps ‘moral’ was too narrow a word — for the aesthetic and dramatic were equally involved. Seeing Jim in the chapel opened my eyes to other realms where the soul is called on, and held, and stilled, in attention and communion. The same depth of absorption and attention was to be seen in relation to music and art: he had no difficulty, I noticed, ‘following’ music or simple dramas, for every moment in music and art refers to , contains, other moments.

He liked gardening, and had taken over some of the work in our garden. At first he greeted the garden each day as new, but for some reason this had become more familiar to him than the inside of the Home. He almost never got lost or disoriented in the garden now; he patterned it, I think, on loved and remembered gardens from his youth in Connecticut.

…….

If Jimmie was briefly ‘held’ by a task or puzzle or game or calculation, held in the purely mental challenge of these, he would fall apart as soon as they were done, into the abyss of his nothingness, his amnesia.

But if he were held in emotional and spiritual attention — in the contemplation of nature or art, in listening to music, in taking part in the Mass in chapel — the attention, its ‘mood’, its quietude, would persist for a while, and there would be in him a pensiveness and peace we rarely, if ever, saw during the rest of his life at the Home.

———

Empirical science told me there was not — but empirical science, empiricism, takes no account of the soul, no account of what constitutes and determines personal being.

Perhaps there is a philosophical as well as clinical lesson here: that in Korsakov’s, or dementia, or other such catastrophes, however great the organic damage and Humean dissolution, there remains the undiminished possibility of reintegration by art, by communion, by touching the human spirit: and this can be preserved in what seems at first a hopeless state of neurological devastation.

———-
End of quotes.
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جواب لنفسي: مبروك، خبزتِ!

عبرت كثيراً عن رغبتي في البدء في صنع المخبوزات و خاصة الخبز، أساس الحياة.

اليوم، بدون أي سابق تخطيط، خبزت!

رغم أني ساعدت في صنع الخبز مع عمتي مراراً و أنا صغيرة في قريتنا، و في العام السابق، شاهدت سيدة من أصل كشميري تعيش في مدينة إنجليزية  عتيقة و هي تصنع لأسرتها و لي خبز الـ(روتِّي) أو الـ(تشاباتي) لنتناوله على الإفطار في رمضان، كانت تصنعه مع أم زوجها…و هذا العام، عاونت سيدة نوبية في صنع الخبز الشمسي، و شاهدت رجل بدوي يصنع خبز اللِبَّة بالزعتر بداخل الرماد الساخن و آخر يصنع خبز الفَراشيح السيناوي على صاج مُقَبَّب.. إلا إنني لم أحاول عمل أي منهم!

و لأن الأمراليوم لم يكن مُعدَّاً له من قبل، بحثت عن طريقة لنصع الخبز السريع الذي لا يحتاج إلى خميرة.

هناك أمر أيضاً يستحق الإشارة إليه، أمي لم تسخر من رغبتي في حل مشكلة نقص الخبر و محاولة الخبز في منتصف الليل لتحضيره لوجبة السحور، بل ساعدتني في هدوء و ابتسام. صدقاً، لولاها لكانت احتمالية الفشل أكبر، و لاستغرقت وقتاً أطول، اقترحت أن أستخدم الزجاجة كمنشبة عندما اكتشفنا أن مطبخنا ليس به واحدة، و راقبتني و أعطتني إرشادات و أنا أعجن الدقيق بالماء.

شكراً. شكراً لأنك استجبتي لطلبي السابق، أنني أحتاج إلى التجربة للتعلم و أن بدونها لن أعرف ما أستطيعه و ما لا أستطيعه، هذه الاستجابة تبعث على الأمل.

الحمد لله.

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السير و طلب العون

قال لي البدوي الحكيم: أراك واقعة في حيرة، شعرت بها في كلامك منذ أول مرة قابلتك فيها من أشهر قليلة..و كأنك تخشين الإقدام على السير في الطريق..

قلت له أن الحياة تصير صعبة جداً عندما أسير وحدي، و أنا في هذا الطريق بمفردي منذ زمن، ربما أرهقني السير..

قال: نعم! الحياة ستكون صعبة جداً لا شك في هذا..و لكن سيري في طريقك و لا تخافي! كيف تخافين و معك القوي! فقط اطلبي منه العون، اطلبي و أنت مصدقة!

قلت: أصدق ماذا؟

قال: تطلبين منه العون، و تؤمنين أنه سيجيب و يرسله لك!

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