Posted by: Naz Laila

WORD This blog post is part of a blog circle created by a few amazing creative souls. In this blog circle we are sharing our “Word of The Year” For 2013.

I have never been a fan of New Year resolution or setting up targets to achieve within a certain time frame. However last year has been a huge transformational year for me and as a family we have made quite a few changes in our lives.  Many of the changes were centred around practising “less stuff, more experience”, something I have wished to practice for a while now. This mantra has really helped us to make few important changes and set us on a path to enjoy simple treasures of life.

This experienced has inspired me to take a similar approach for 2013. Just before we started to think about this blog circle, few words kept popping in my head. To my surprise, they seem to be a perfect match for my 2013 word “ENGAGE, EMBRACE, ENJOY”. Each of these words has their own significance but together they form a powerful guiding post for me.

ENGAGE: Before my journey to become a gentle rebel I have been following all the usual rules to win the rat race, didn’t ask many questions. I now know that I was merely existing, I was not living my life. I wasn’t engaged with my life. I gave other people the authority to write my script and just acted accordingly. However, it was a whole different story last year. I questioned many things, changed few rules, faced some of my fears and for the first time I felt I was living my life. I want to take that engagement to a greater extent this year.

  • I plan to ask more questions
  • Face more of my fears
  • Stumble and rise
  • Follow more of my instincts
  • Extend my hand and open my heart more often

EMBRACE: I know living my life with more intention and engagement is going to bring some rewards as well as some challenges. I need to embrace those challenges and face the emotions (fear, uncertainty, self-doubt, vulnerability) they will bring along, rather than trying to avoid them. I have tried to avoid them many times before, only to find them coming back with more strength.

ENJOY: I want to enjoy every bit of my precious life. I believe engaging fully with life and embracing its ups and downs are the essential parts of enjoying this journey. I plan to try my best to make things happen. How at the same time I will also learn to accept that there are many things that will not be in my control.  I hope to slow down and enjoy many magical moments that are often disguised as ordinary things, because I believe in magic.

With love and best wishes for the New Year!


Please follow the link to the next post of this blog circle from the wonderful, energetic and super organized,  Becky Cavender , http://beckyinburma.blogspot.com

This post has  been also shared at another blog circle called Fly tribe http://fly-tribe.blogspot.com.au/p/fliers-blogswebsites.html

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10 Things You Must Quit Today to Have a Better Tomorrow

Posted by: Naz Laila

Top 10 things to quit today  for a better  tomorrow - A gentle rebellion

Top 10 things to quit today for a better tomorrow

  1. Quit paying too much attention to all the negative energy (overly critical boss, spiteful comments from friends, judgemental family members, series of grim events in the news) around you.  They drag you down, drain all your energy and time.  In the process you lose focus on the positive aspects of your life. You only have limited hours in a day, so be cautious to spend it on things that matter the most.
  2. Quit expenses on stuff and experience that don’t add any joy, meaning or purpose in your life. They only clutter your home and clog your mind.  Create more space for simplicity and joyful experience.
  3. Quit the tendency to continuously compare yourself with everybody around you. You will always find somebody smarter, shaper, faster than you at work, somebody with bigger house, better looks or brighter kids among your friends and neighbours. There will be no end to this race. Focus your energy to be the best of you, not better than someone else.
  4. Quit the habit of doing the urgent things first and pushing away the important (but difficult/uncomfortable) thing away till they become urgent
  5. Quit the urge to be in everyone’s good book. This is not only impossible to achieve but also the process of continuously performing to please will leave you feel exhausted, inauthentic and unhappy.  If you live a life of honesty, kindness and authenticity you will develop true connection with the people who really matter in your life.
  6. Quit the habit of prioritising everyone’s need and ignoring yours. You run the risk of accumulating resentment in the process that will manifest after some time and will affect your relationship.  Self care (which is different from self-indulgence) is one of the most important skills you need to master to be part of a healthy and happy relationship.
  7. Quit the “thinking, discussing, reading, planning” mode about your new ideas or projects. Start taking small steps today. All the rest will follow once you start.  You should not start ‘soon’; start ‘now’ to be somewhere different tomorrow.
  8. Quit the urge to be part of everything (all the big projects, exciting assignments, new book clubs, parents groups) and to be everywhere (in real life or in digital world) so that you don’t miss out. If you are part of too many things at one time you are only giving only part of yourself   (energy, focus, interest) to those and eventually you will lose interest in many of them.
  9.  Quit the plan to make multiple big changes at one time or set out for 5 different goals to achieve simultaneously. You will start with great enthusiasm to make all the changes but you are less likely to stick with them for a long period of time and will end up not achieving all of them. Start with one small change and build it up for a while and only then add another one. With this approach you will be slower to reach your goal but you are much more likely to master them and make them work for a long time.
  10. Quit the habit of repeating the same pattern of behaviour, attitude or actions to get different results. To achieve a different result learn from your mistake, analyse what didn’t work in the past and change your actions, approach and attitude.

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Essential Life Skills; Learning to ask for help

Posted by: Naz Laila

I gave her a kiss and she waved me good-bye before walking into her new classroom. Feeling a little uncomfortable to leave her I walked to the side window and kept watching my little girl.  She put her bag on the table, took out her chair cover and tried to put it on a chair but it didn’t fit. So she went to the next chair without much luck with this one as well. She felt little bit puzzled, looked around and then went to her teacher who was busy to settle down one very distressed child. My girl said something very softly but her teacher probably didn’t hear it as the other girl was crying very loudly. Then she stepped aside, kept waiting till the other girl was settled and then I could hear her soft but clear voice “ Miss can you please help me to put this on my chair?”  At that point I felt comfortable to leave her because she had just demonstrated a very important skill to cope in a new or uncomfortable situation: the skill to ask for help.

This is a basic but an important skill that we should teach our children from an early age and encourage them to practise this skill in various situations; getting a toy from the top shelf, finishing a difficult school project, finding way home when lost, navigating through challenging time with friends, expressing hard emotions etc. The best way to do that is to lead by example. So the next question is how good are we as adults to practise this skill? Do we all feel comfortable to ask for help when we need it? Do we know when, where and how to ask for help well enough? The answer is, No we don’t.

When I started working as an intern one of the most important advice I got was to know my limit of comfort to deal with a very sick patient and ask for help from seniors early rather than waiting for things to get worse. I have seen many cases where the treatment outcome was better because the doctor asked for help early. I have also seen the opposite, which resulted in unnecessary sufferings for the patients. The same is true for any profession. When there is too much workload, tight project deadline, getting some extra resources can often save the project but we feel too reluctant to admit that for the fear of being seen as not “smart enough” or “efficient enough”. So we end up exhausting ourselves and often failing as well.

It is even more complicated on personal level.  Not long ago with two young children and both of us working full-time, I was struggling with household work. I was exhausted, often angry at my husband and children that they were making too much mess, frustrated at my self that the house wasn’t clean enough but still I wasn’t ready to admit that it was all too much to handle. I thought I should be a super mom, smart enough to handle work and home by myself (as shown on TV shows). If everybody else was coping well, why shouldn’t I? I finally realized that I was just trading my fear of being perceived as not strong enough or capable enough for the happiness and health of my family. Only then I changed my attitude and started getting help for the household work.

In general we are more likely to ask for help with things that don’t involve our self-worth such as how to set up our computer or fix the broken washing machine. However, we shrink with the idea of getting help to deal with difficult boss, work pressure, emotional hardship, demands of parenting, facing our fear and insecurities. In fact it is an act of courage to admit that we need help in a society where sharing our vulnerability is often regarded as weakness.  I have been trying to be more courageous as I have two young souls to mentor and I don’t know any better way. What about you?

With love and gratitude



Can we really experience magic?

Posted by: Naz Laila

Thousands little twinkles

It is so quiet that it feels a little weird. I don’t know why I am up so early, both of my girls are still in deep sleep.  I could hear their breathing from here.  I sit in silence for a while. It is still dark outside. There are few houses on the street twinkling with their beautiful Christmas lighting. They look magical with the backdrop of deep dark sky and this beautiful silence. I keep looking at the lights, as they change colours from blue to white I wonder back to my childhood.

There was a beautiful house at the end of our street decorated with thousands of small colourful lights, beautiful banners and flowers as some one in that house was getting married. To a little girl that looked magical. I believed that everyone living in that house was experiencing magic; they were the happiest people on earth.

I hear a small cough; it stops my wondering down the memory lane. I know its my eldest girl, I pray so that she doesn’t get sick again. I know the girls are counting days to Christmas. I want them to fully experience the spirit and wonder of this wonderful time of the year. I fear its not too far away  when they will start to judge things with more facts and logic and will try to find out “the truth”.

I can see them asking “ Mommy who is Santa ? Is there such a thing as magic?”

Do I  really  know the answers?

I look out into the darkness again.  The silence gets filled with the flashback of memories. A young girl looking at those beautiful houses and praying hard to experience the magic of thousands little twinkle lights when she meets her soul mate. But years later when that moment came she felt  too vulnerable to open her heart.  She knew from the very first minute that she was waiting her entire life for this love but surrendering herself to it felt too scary.

What if she doesn’t get any answers if she asks, what if the answer shatters her tender heart?

She didn’t know that by not taking the risk of being hurt, she was risking everything, she risked experiencing  the life. She was young and weak. She didn’t know how to face vulnerability.

Those enormous fears pulled her back into her shell and she closed her off from the world. She spent many nights crying while giving up her dream of experiencing the magic of thousands twinkle lights.

I startled back with the sound of the alarm clock. I walk back quickly to the bedroom where my husband is in deep sleep.  I look at him and pause there for a few moments. I turn off the alarm while tears roll over my cheek.

I know the answer. Yes there is magic and its true.

There are things that we can’t see, logic and facts can’t explain. We can feel it only if we believe in it.  When we experience the magic our lives are changed forever. Mine was changed in December 2001.

With love and gratitude


(This post is a part of a blog circle with some lovely creative souls and the theme for this month is “December reflection”. Ever since December 2001, this special month reminds me of the magic of love, joy and happiness).

The next post in the blog circle is from the wonderful Laly Mille




How to find out “ things that matter the most”

Posted by: Naz Laila

I had walked through these doors many times, often rushed to the room where the microscope was but it felt a whole lot different that day when I met the sonographer at the corridor to guide me to a dark cold room. I don’t remember her name but I can just recall that she was very kind and gentle and I was very nervous. While she was doing the procedure she attempted to have a simple conversation with me but I kept interrupting her by asking many questions about the images she was getting on her ultrasonography screen.

When she left the room to get the radiologist I sat still on the bed but my mind was racing about the possible out come of the result. Then I started to pray for this  test to be just a false alarm so that I get the chance to see my girls grow to adulthood, to bake many more late night cupcakes. I prayed for the opportunity to grow old with my beloved husband and to spend more time with my parents. The thought of my upcoming projects, next professional exam, our investment planning, the security of our jobs, the mortgage, and next holiday didn’t even cross my mind at that moment. It was only a couple of minute that I was alone but it felt like an eternity. I had a very brief discussion with the radiologist and left that room with an immense sense of gratitude not only because the test result turned out to be very good but also I had the knowledge of the “things that matter the most” to me.  After this experience I have made a commitment to let this knowledge guide me to change the way I live my life.

I would invite you to do a small exercise for two minutes. Just imagine yourself in a dark cold room, waiting to hear back from the doctor about an important test result and see what are the thoughts that come to you. I know many of you will skip this exercise because you just don’t have the time now; you have more important or urgent matter to attend to (I know this because I was the same for many years). I hope when you finally get the time to find out about the things that matter the most to you, its not too late and hopefully through a false alarm.

If you have done the exercise I would love to hear your thoughts.

With love and gratitude,