Water and Other Blessings

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well!

This post might be a little bit all over the place but I just wanted to share some things that have been on my mind lately.

I know this might sound a little weird but lately I have been thinking a lot about water.  I think it all started when I heard that the beautiful city of Cape Town, South Africa is about to run out of water in as little as three months. I just found it so shocking that a large city of nearly four million people would run out of water so quickly. I cannot even imagine how much of a nightmare it would be for the people and government of Cape Town if Day Zero becomes a reality.

And then yesterday I was listening to NPR news on the radio and there was a story that UNICEF reported that the majority of the children that are dying in impoverished and war torn nations are not dying from bombs and bullets rather they are dying due to a lack of access to safe and clean water.

These two stories really made me realize that often we take the things that we have for granted. Whenever I get thirsty I go grab my cup and put it under the water filter in our kitchen and thank God in a matter of seconds I am able to drink a cup of safe and clean water but it breaks my heart that millions of innocent children do not have access to this most basic human necessity.

Also, the Cape Town story has really reminded me to be more mindful of how I use water and it has encouraged me to try to avoid wasting water. I think this is especially important for me and all others living in drought stricken areas to start implementing water saving strategies because some reports are suggesting that other large drought stricken cities, such as Los Angeles, should also be careful.

In the mornings, I usually like to listen to the news on the radio and recently I heard a story about the increasing number of homeless people here in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas. Once again, this story really pulled at my heart strings because it reminded me that there are people that are suffering right in my own backyard. To make matters worse the story added that the local authorities were basically trying to kick out the homeless people from the encampments they had created and in the process they were throwing away many of the basic possessions that these homeless people had with them. Its tragic that in one of the most affluent parts of the world there are still people that are suffering.

On another note, my heart goes out top my parents homeland, Afghanistan. More than 130 people have died in the past two weeks due to various terrorist attacks. Yes the story has been covered by the news media but unfortunately I haven’t seen an outpouring of support on social media. I think that, God forbid, if this were to happen to a Western nation then there would have been a larger outpouring of condolences and support.

To be completely honest I don’t blame anyone I just think that people have gotten so used to hearing about tragedies in war torn nations such as Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, etc. that they’ve become desensitized to it. We assume that these tragedies are just a common part of life in these nations but we often forget that these people are human beings just like us and they have similar dreams and aspirations and for them this unnecessary and inhumane death and destruction is just as painful.

I certainly hope that this post doesn’t make anyone too sad rather my goal is to remind myself first and then my dear readers that sometimes we are stuck in our own bubble as they say. We are often so focused on our own problems and we focus on what we lack rather than all that we have been blessed with.

With Love,

Yasmin

 

 

Gratitude

gratitude-2939972_640Hey Everyone!

Hope you are all doing well!

The Thanksgiving Holiday is coming up very soon here in the United States. In keeping with the Thanksgiving spirit, I wanted to write a little about gratitude.

Gratitude means different things to different people. Some people may be grateful to God while others may thank the Universe still others may be grateful to the people in their lives. Some people may express their gratitude by counting their blessings while others may take a more active approach. Some people may express their gratitude simply by savoring the special moments in their lives and not taking anything for granted.

For me personally, expressing gratitude helps put things into perspective. Whenever I am going through an especially difficult time I try to think about everything and everyone that I do have and everything that is going right in my life. As cliché as it sounds I also try to think of those that are less fortunate. Thinking about these things really helps me put my life into perspective and often I realize that my problem is not that big of a deal or it could be a lot worse.

There are countless ways of expressing gratitude. Here are a few suggestions:

If you enjoy journaling/writing feel free to dedicate a few minutes to think of (and write down) three to five things that you are thankful for. These things can be very simple things and they don’t have to be grand or extraordinary.

If you would like, you can dedicate a small journal specifically for gratitude. If you feel that this strategy might be helpful for you try to do this on a consistent basis but don’t do it so often that it becomes a chore. Studies have shown that doing this once a week is especially helpful however, feel free to do it more or less often.

Alternatively, instead of writing feel free to sit down and simply think about everything that you are grateful for. Try to set a fixed time to sit and think about everything that you’re grateful for. Or, you could think of one unhappy or ungrateful thought and replace it with a grateful thought.

As another option, choose a friend or family member as your gratitude partner. Share with each other what you’re grateful for and if one of you forgets to express gratitude the other can remind them.

Are you grateful to someone or a group of people in your life? Then, express your gratitude directly to them. This can be done through a wide variety of means. However, studies have shown that this can be particularly effective when done through phone, letter, or face to face. I personally think that in this day and age of quick emails and text messages there is something extra special and sincere about taking the time to write and send a letter of gratitude to someone.

Interestingly, studies have shown that if you write a letter but for any reason you choose not to send the letter, you will still reap the well-being benefits of gratitude.

On a final note, feel free to choose only one of the above strategies. Don’t ever force yourself to do any of these (or other) gratitude exercises. Because expressing gratitude in a fixed and consistent manner may not suit everyone. However, I truly feel that even occasionally expressing gratitude can be helpful in putting things into perspective.

Also, If you choose a strategy and after a while it feels like a chore feel free to spice it up and try another strategy instead of this one.

With Love,

Yasmin