Our lives are incredibly busy. Maybe even chaotic. Between taking care of our children, schoolwork, working from home, even homeschooling, maintaining the household, connecting with family - and everything in between - the burnout is inevitable. Oftentimes, taking care of yourself is a distant afterthought. But how do we find the power in parenthood if our power reserve is running on empty? What can parents do to realize the importance of self care in our everyday life? How does Islam promote self care? Dr. Abdallah Rothman joined Noor Kids' 'Powerful Parenting Speaker Series' to discuss:
- What is self care?
- How has the idea of self care evolved in today’s world?
- What does Islam say about self care?
- Self care as ibadah and as self love
- How can parents begin to prioritize self care?
- 3 practical steps to self care
Throughout the month of Ramadan Dr. Abdallah is doing a weekly series of short talks as part of the "Midday Meditations" series for Cambridge Muslim College's Ramadan Live program. Each talk focuses on the Qur'anic themes of nature and agriculture and gives practical insight into how to deepen our psycho-spiritual development throughout the month to work toward maximizing our potential.
Subscribe to the youtube channel to be notified when these and other great daily talks are released live daily throughout Ramadan.
Dr. Abdallah talks about the importance of psycho-spiritual introspection in one's orientation to the practice of Islam and how religious obligations should be transformational rather than simply transactional. If we look to avoid difficulty or hardship and attempt to overlook our inner state, we can fall into 'spiritual bypassing', where we use belief and ritual as a replacement for doing the inner reflection and hard work of healing our hearts. Islam requires us to do both, and if we orient ourselves to the practice of the religion in this way, the obligatory acts of worship and remembrance can and should become transformational.
Dr. Abdallah Rothman joined Baraka Blue once again on his Path & Present podcast, this time to discuss the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on our mental health and wellbeing, and the challenges and opportunities that isolation affords. They discuss the notion of retreat in light of the month of Ramadan coinciding with many people's current status with stay at home orders, and how people can adapt to the situation, cope, and use this as an opportunity for growth.
The human being is body, mind, heart, and spirit. Often times, the self-help industry ignores this truism which brings about hidden, often unintentional misguidance that can lead to spiritual crisis, or worse, distance from our connection with God.
In this thought-provoking article, Dr. Abdallah Rothman shares powerful points including:
It is clear that there is a growing trend of mindfulness extending beyond spiritual communities and into mainstream culture. How do we understand mindfulness from within the Islamic tradition? Is there a place for it in Islam? Is there an Islamic version of mindfulness?
Listen to the audio or read the text below:
At first when you hear this term "mindful" you think 'full of mind'. The last thing we need is to be more in our minds. We're already so locked into this thinking consciousness where we define ourselves by our thoughts. You could think "well, I don't want to be 'full of mind' I'm already stuck in my thoughts." But really mindfulness is about being conscious. It's about slowing down. It's a contemplative way of being. It's not really about being more connected to thoughts in the sense of identifying with the mind. It's not necessarily about thinking, but meta-thinking: thinking about thinking. It's slowing down and being conscious of what you think and what you do. The core of mindfulness is about being present. And this concept of being present is absolutely an Islamic principle. It's something that we find in the Islamic tradition and is a key factor in everything from ibadah (worship) to akhlaq (manners). Presence is indeed a very islamic principle.
However, this term mindfulness can tend to shift our awareness from the reality of the self, which is a much more holistic picture than what we have come to conceive of as ourselves in contemporary times. To a certain extent the entire modern world has been influenced by the Cartesian assertion, "I think therefore I am". It's taken root in society where people over identify with their thoughts. So that people's entire notion of self is about what and how they think and everything related to the self is based in the mind. And this in particular is really not an Islamic concept.
If growth and mastery of self are your goals then you should occupy yourself with the business of discovering your faults and weaknesses of character. How else will you know what you need to work on in yourself if you are not aware of where specifically the focus of the work needs to be applied? You can’t fix something if you don’t first discover where the problems lie and what then needs to be fixed. Thus, it would not benefit you to avoid the ugly parts of yourself as these are the key signals pointing out areas where growth is needed.
As the old saying goes, “When you fall of your horse, dust yourself off and get back on”. This is something that we must do frequently. You’ll never fully master every aspect of your life. There is always something that we are struggling to come to terms with, perfecting, or just attempting to keep in line. You may know very well what you need to do or what your goal is in achieving a certain objective or state of mind, but maintaining that objective is challenging. We have days and even just moments when we’re on and things are working out. We recognize what we need to do and we feel like we’re making strides toward our goals. Sometimes if we’re lucky we experience long stretches of this. But it is inevitable that eventually we lose our ground and we fall back to old ways, old habits or behavior patterns from the past. When this happens, don’t let it consume you and make you feel like you’ve failed. Just dust yourself off and get back on.