the waiting room

Yesterday while driving home from work, my thoughts were about shopping or no shopping. During the day my phone beeped endlessly with enticing messages; up to 50% on your favorite shoe brand. 30% off on all new clothes. come and be the first to benefit from the sales… as we were the 2nd of January, I knew my bank account was happy and that I could afford splashing myself with “up to 50%” items and find stuff for my kids who seemed to be busy growing 1 size per month!

As trivial as my thoughts were at that moment, something tragic happened few kilometers away. A bomb exploded in Beirut’s southern neighborhood, blinding everyone around with its terrible light, site, noise and then silence. I cannot imagine what goes through the people around at that moment. I cannot imagine what they are seeing, hearing or feeling. smoke? sharp smells? raging flames? for a moment or so, time stands still. then chaos reigns. people start screaming, shouting, running…I don’t want to imagine.

Same moment. Two different levels of reality.

That was the 7th car bomb in 6 months in Lebanon.

Thousands of innocent (aren’t they always?) people destroyed and for ever scared. Houses, cars, shops, buildings destroyed. Dreams and hopes vanished.

Today I am debating with myself if I should go out dancing tonight with my friends. It feels weird that my reality was about entertainment while few kilometers away I know people are crying their loss, sitting by the bed of the wounded praying, cleaning up broken glasses, cursing. How can our realities be so far and yet we are so close. It is so surreal.

A friend once asked me: how do you stay sane in a world like this? how do you keep on living, working, sending your kids to school, while someone out there is planning yet another bomb. How can you just sit and wait?

That is when i realized that we (the Lebanese)  are all living in a waiting room. A place where we know something bad might be told to us or happen to us, a place where the unknown prevails. We wait for the next bomb and pray that none of us are in that street that day. We wait for Iran and the US to make their deals and stop tormenting us. We wait for the Syrian war to stop slaughtering its people. We wait for the Palestinians to finally get their piece of land. We wait for our kids to grow so that we can send them abroad to a safer world. We wait for the morning to rise so that we can start all over. we wait for the night to arrive so that we can shut the brain off and forget the horrors. All we do is wait. and wait and wait.

Meanwhile, we go dancing. We go praying. We go visit our parents. Who knows, maybe tomorrow will never come.

Beirut in Arabic; carved in concrete
Beirut in Arabic; carved in concrete
Advertisements

la journee de la femme {women’s day}

[www.journee-de-la-femme.com}
without secularism there is no freedom {www.journee-de-la-femme.com}

Seeing, hearing and reading about women’s destiny around the world creates turmoil within my mind. I get sick in the stomach hearing about rape, abuse, circumcision, slavery, child prostitution. then i get proud in my guts reading about the woman who have taken their destiny into their hands and shaped it like they have planned to, forgetting conventions, rules, what one can do and can’t. they were strong in their guts and wanted something and went after it, not holding back because of her husband, father og other manly figure in her immediate family.

Today I see foreign women working 12 hours a day in our homes, cleaning and doing the dirty job, sending their entire wages to their husband in their home land, who uses it all up on other women or booze.

I see women tangled in 20 years long marriage, being mentally and physically abused by their husband and not knowing that they can break free.

I see women shaping history by believing that the universe has reserved a piece for them and they just need to wake up and grab it.

I see women not accepting to work because their husband is out of job and they don’t want to make him feel less valuable.

I see my danish grandmother going to Paris alone at the age of 18, to learn the profession of sewer with a famous french designer.

I see my daughter dreaming of becoming a singer and winning the competition of the Voice, and becoming a lawyer making lots of money so that she can help the poor become less poor.

I see my mother marrying into a complete different culture, language and religion and trying to fit it all in a world of contrasts.

I see myself juggling, making sense of it all and wishing to teach my daughter that life is here to grab, people are here to respect, money is here to make things happen, love is here to soften your heart and will is here to shape your life, and freedom of choice is here to seize.

I am sending this thaught to all women in my life first, who are all wonderful, inspiring and admirable, and to all women that are not as blessed as I am, that still need to be educated, protected, believed in, let free and respected.

And this greeting is for my flesh and blood, my grandmother Ingrid, my mother Annette & my daughter Sara, whom each in her own way have shaped me and continuously is my source of inspiration <3.

leila moussa

happiness in LOVE {a post-valentine thought}

“Le secret du bonheur en amour, ce n’est pas d’être aveugle mais de savoir fermer les yeux quand il le faut.” – Simone Signoret

translation:

“the secret of happiness in Love, is not being blind, but knowing when to close your eyes.” – Simone Signoret

I posted this today on my personal facebook page, a post-valentine love quote, and got contradictory comments. Some agree and others disagree, which made me think again about the quote…

Indeed in LOVE we become blind, at first. We don’t see imperfections, flaws, stupid comments, bad behavior! all we see and hear are the sweet words, the endless messages and phone calls, the constant attraction and need of contact and interaction…until LOVE becomes a relationship and not a flirt anymore, and the repertoire of feelings change, deepens and broadens. You start acknowledging that the other person is still mr or ms X, but the aura is changing, becomes more human, less angelic, immortal and ideal… if you discover a total stranger, then I am afraid that LOVE is up. Meaning, time of happy LOVE is up… which then give you either the possibility of going away, or you start seeing the REAL person, his or hers qualities, actions (not only words), you see how he or she makes you feel when you are together, how you want to share time with that person, be with that person, how you need to have a future with him or her… Being blind is good, to begin with… but it doesn’t last. It evaporates, like a fog on a rainy day… then sunshine? or more fog?

In any case, closing your eyes at some moments in LOVE, might help LOVE continue its course, and blossom, and be stronger and why not, happy..

So i would agree with Simone Signoret (famous french actress who had to deal with competition with Marilyn Monroe!) in that happiness in LOVE would depend on the ability of closing your eyes from time to time, selectively, as long as shutting your eyes doesn’t mean that you become stupid and living in denial, but because shutting our eyes are a way of acknowledge that we are all human (yes we are!) and that we too might have done, said or acted in a way where we wished that the other person would close his or her eyes and let go, and chose to focus on what you do have in you life, cherish it, nurture it and make the best out of it…

My perception of LOVE might seem less naive today than 20 years ago, but doesn’t that mean that i am growing up and maturing? you tell me…

Hearts tree

{comfort zone}

I haven’t been posting lately, not sure why, but it happens sometimes that inspiration lacks and is nowhere to be found…Until this moment, where having prepared lunch for my children, made me realize that i haven’t been cooking interesting dishes either, nor reading books, nor doing anything at all for the matter.. A sort of hibernation, that should stop right now, as I am not a bear and need to get the groove going!

do you also experience this sense of inertia in your life, where nothing is making you going?

It is annoying, and yes non productive, nevertheless maybe quite challenging and fruitful at the end of the day. Sometimes a time of inertia leads to a burst of energy with tons of new ideas and motivation. Sometimes these moments make you aware of how you usually spend your time and makes you realize that you are not happy with the way things are and need to change one or two things.

Sometimes, like right now, my moment of inertia is making me realize that i have been cuddling within my comfort zone much too long and that I am afraid of peeping outside the zone to see whether life is still moving…and surprise! LIFE is buzzing outside my comfort zone… People are having babies (and thus sleepless nights and magical moments with their new-born), others are starting new projects, others are trying to find their way in the business world…Life is buzzing and wow i need to catch up…

comfort zone image magic

So, being in the kitchen today, cutting tomatoes , cucumbers and olives for my tuna salad, kind of woke me up and reminded me how i love working with food, inventing dishes, trying new ones and feeling creative.

I am happy it did…

so now let’s be creative….:)

outside-comfort-zone , myoneresolution

{pic from myoneresolution.com}

comfort zone

comfort zone image

TIME

I have previously written about our instant life (here).. and yes, with technology many things (nearly) becomes instant; news, comments, information, coffee, photos, blogging, sms’ing…

But let us not forget that life is a long-term project, including loads of other long-term projects. This is where we have to remember that TIME must take its course, and we need to let TIME work…It took me three years to get over my heartbreak…It took me years to re-learn the Arabic language, to speak it nearly fluently and to be able to read and understand an Arabic newspaper without asking the meaning of every other word. It took me many attempts to learn to drive and get my driving license at the age of 24. It is taking me a lifetime to learn to detach and let go from relationships that drain my energy (still working on that)…

…and it will take time to lose the weight that I have been wanting to lose for many years now.

…it will also take time to write the book that is currently in my head, wanting desperately to be printed.

…and it will take time to educate my kids and make them independent, as each development requires a new area of expertise, thus needing new thinking and new decision-making.

Here are the source for my thoughts today:

The first one is this sweet reminder I read on Decathlon Lebanon’s facebook page :

smmer bodies

Yes, it takes time (and effort!!) to get into that gorgeous swimsuit body!

And the second is a quote from this lovely children’s book, called L’enfant des Cedres (The child and the cedars) written by Lebanese author Desiree Sadek, that my son brought with him this weekend from the school library;

l'enfant des cedres 2

“How long time will it take to see the cedars fully grown?” asked the little girl. Little boy Nabil answered: ” The time it needs” (in french: le temps qu’il faudra).

What a wonderful answer. I tend to forget that life and living take their own time, and at some point, when it is time, things will happen…The secret is to trust, live and see time do its work…

So, today when in a hurry or if being impatient, take a moment to remember what Nabil said, and let TIME take its due course. Let Time be your friend, not your enemy.

Have a wonderful week…

my two homes

Being a mix of nationalities and religions, I have always felt home in different places, and yet never 100% home. It’s an internal back and forth between two worlds, a sense of belonging and of being a complete stranger. Born in Beirut, few years before the war broke in 1975, I was raised in between bombs, electricity shortcuts, no telephone lines, and wonderful summer vacations spent in my grandmother’s country house in southern Denmark. A mix from the beginning of two completely opposite worlds.

pics by ruth mousharafieh & yen baet
pics by ruth mousharafieh & yen baet

And when i say opposite, i mean OPPOSITE! As in the weather, the mentality, the hospitality traditions, working ethic, children’s education, couples and marriage, independence of women and young girls, nature, respect of animals, architecture, human & social relations, beauty, transportation, environmental issues, time management, planning & spontaneity…

At the age of 14, war drove us away from Beirut. Fortunately for us, my brother and I had a Danish passport, thus making it quite easy to settle in Copenhagen, amongst our maternal family members. Becoming an adult in Europe had a tremendous effect on my values, views, opinions, behavior, ambitions and aspirations.

My point is, that despite the differences, living in the two countries have taught me valuable aspects of the human race. There is no right or wrong, better or worse. It reminds me of the most asked question when i was a kid; which country do like the most, Lebanon or Denmark? I find that question hilarious, because i love both my homes. Their opposite lifestyle are part of my upbringing. I miss them equally when i am not around.

Does happiness come in one form? are the Danes happier than the Lebanese? or can they both be happy in each their own way, but with different values? How to learn from both and create a better world?

That is my question…

More of that in a later post…

what are YOU doing to make things better?

what r u doing

I found this on Paint Up’s  facebook page,  a great group promoting street art activities in Beirut, where colours are the main focus. The latest trend is to colour stairs in all sorts of bold colours, which is spreading the good vibes on the Beiruti street scene.

This questions however was not found in Lebanon (but through the net), and made me think; what do I do to make things better… It is actually a very profound question, but can also be interpreted on a softer level, as what do i do TODAY to make things better…

Planning my day ahead of time is my top priority. I am usually a spontaneous person, that would go with the flow, which means my to do list gets longer and longer every day, as I don’t stick to it and don’t focus too much on the tasks! However, creating these lists makes me calmer and less stressed and gives me a feel of control.

Today is more or less going as planned, which suddenly gave me extra time to write this post! Deep inside I am scared that sticking religiously to a list and a plan will remove the fun bohemian part of the day, but I am finally discovering that planning WELL, can give you extra FREE time that could be enjoyed doing more creative things!!!

So; my question to you today is: what are YOU doing to make things better???