Thursday, June 28, 2007

Elements of success

Alhamdulillah a week ago I had my Fitness Instructor Specialist pratical exam, and I passed it. The exam required me to train 4-6 participants, and present a 45 minute class to my instructor that had 4 components: warm-up, minimum of 15 min cardio, muscular conditioning and stretching/relaxing at the end. The exam had about 30 components that I was graded on. Passing the exam was truly a miracle since this exam requires a minimum of 3 months of training! Ihad all my friends stressed out about it. My music wasn't ready until the night before (because each phase of the class had a different BMP (beat per minute) and I had to add more songs the next day 2 minutes before the class).
But, behind the scenes, what helped me succeed was...

  1. Most importantly, Afroza's running shoes. I had no idea they were hers. I just saw they fit me, since I had forgotten mine, and wore them. Sorry Afroza, and thanks a million! :D
  2. My parents for letting me stay the extra days in Toronto to complete my certification
  3. Faiza's room booking access on campus- for 4 rehearsals we did
  4. My participants who volunteered their time, and came downtown from as far as Scarborough.. love you girls!
  5. The other non-participants who really wanted to be a part of my class but couldn't because of various reasons..
  6. Sawitri's sweatpants (and sometimes, shirt...) since I hadn't brought enough exercise clothes!
  7. Sana's access card for stuff on campus
  8. for their fitness music
  9. Athletic centre for all the drop-in recreation classes: AC has some of the best fitness instructors! Especially Martin who's the coolest, and who told me to count the number of beats in a 10 sec music clip- I counted 9, but he counted 20....
  10. Dor- My super instructor, who was my teacher through this whole course. I learnt so much from her, especially leadership, which I hope I never forget, inshallah.
  11. CANFITPRO for giving me the longest extension they've ever given on the practical exam! And Dor for helping me get that!
  12. And my friends- Hafsa, Sana, Sawitri, Fatima, Kahkashan for being the best supporters ever and trying their best to be resourceful... hehe
  13. I'm sure there's more that I'm not thinking of right now


"Allaah knows best, but maybe it was the continuous fear and shock throughout the 9 months or the fact that she was crushed to the ground on her stomach that day in the market that took its effects. Whatever it was, the baby had died during the labour or just before. After a very long ordeal for my mother, the baby, Muhammad (as had been the planned name) finally came out stillborn, but very beautiful. As relatives took him away for janaazah and burial, I remember catching sight of him wrapped in a white cloth with his jet black hair showing. To have a miscarriage is one thing, but to go through the full 9 months expecting a child, only to deliver him stillborn in a land torn apart by war is enough to drive any mother insane. But I doubt my mother had time for that, life had to go on. "

Taken from: War - A Collage of Jagged Memories
She's a beautiful writer.

Monday, June 25, 2007


I really have the best friends in the world, Alhamdulillah. I have so many stories to share about them, that I know I'll never forget!
For example, this one night... (after a long day...), a friend of mine was dropping me to aunty Farida's place. When I got there, the concierge rang her up, but there was no answer. I figured the girls must have gone to the garden on the 7th floor, so I decided to walk around Harbourfront. Sawitri, Afroza, her sister, Fatima and Sana were all hanging out @ aunty's. She's the best, mashallah!
After some time, Sana called and apologised, and said they're home... so I started walking back. I was quite far, I should have told her that, but my phone died. It was also just after midnight by then, which means I had been out for about 40 minutes!
At aunty Farida's place, the girls are all tucked-in the sofa bed, and they begin to panic. They call me non-stop, and there's no answer because my phone was turned off. Sana tells the girls not to worry because "Humairah had shown me some of her wendo moves, she'll be fine if something happens". They even call Hafsa to ask her if she had any idea where I was. Fatima and Afroza declared it's an emergency. Everyone was panicking left and right, and Sawitri says:
"Girls, I'm going to take a nap".

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Crazy days

Alhamdulillah I'm back now. Most days in Toronto were just crazy.

The day before I was flying out, I had to:
9:30am- pick up my CPR card from Imran
10-11:30am- Fitness Instructor Specialist practical exam and briefing
11:30-1am- @ home, making list of things to do, phone calls, mummy's shopping list, etc
1-1:30- Lunch with a friend
1:30-2- Dhuhr @ Masjid Toronto, ran into friends
2-3:30- Biked back home, forgot something, did some more work
3:30-4:15- Hanging out @ Lubna aunty's shop in Kensington (been doing that for years now!)
4:15-5:40- @ the Big Carrot on Danforth, shopping for mummy
5:40-6:40- Went to Hafsa's place and hung out with her (she had a wisdom tooth extraction)
7:30-8:30- Appointment downtown with a TCM

Now the fun begins...
9-10:45- Memona dropped by to visit, we prayed and had dinner together- Afroza made some great food
11-12:30- We stepped out for bubble tea (I must have gone there about 10 times since my arrival in Toronto)
1am- Mido drops off stuff he wants to send for his family
1:30-2am- Ahtisham, Sana and Faraz come to see me and we hang out across the Bellevue firestation
2:30- 3- Chatting with Sana, sorting out stuff
3-4:10- Packing
4:20-7- Slept..
7:20am- called and woke up Mido
7:45-8- Weighed my suitcases (lol, that was alarming!)
8:30- reached the airport, but it took us 10 minutes to get the trolley and get out of the parking..
and yea, I had to take out 5-6 books to settle the weight...
Alhamdulillah, flight took off @ 10:20am

I miss Toronto!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, June 15, 2007

A Miracle a Day

Today seemed much better, and I was eager to go sit by the rocks, and go over my thoughts as usual. And I wanted to know all about miracles.
"Haha, alright, I'll tell you what happened", I said, "I had too many things to do, and I didn't get to think much about the miracles. But when I went to bed, can you believe this, I opened up the book I was reading, and the page had the author's version of what he thought miracles are."
"Excellent. But, you didn't just copy that answer, did you?"
"No of course not. But it did guide me a bit. So, it's your turn to tell me."
Miracles happen around you every single day. Real miracles, not just "results of decisions" in your favour. And you have to be in the state of recognising what these are.
"How do you recognise them?", I asked.
"If I tell you that, do you think you would begin to recognise them, and appreciate them are miracles? The word still has a lot of magic associated with it, that shouldn't be lost, and discovered only by the real eye."
"Hmm... the real eye is the one that sees these miracles around it every single day. Okay, I don't know how to recognise these miracles, and I also don't know... how are they related to happiness?"
"They are related to contentment. The state of mind where you love every moment of life, and you feel that with every miracle you see, no matter how many times, over and over again, you've seen every might and power of God that there is'
"Wow...I wish I could see these miracles... And, is that all a person needs? Knowing these miracles?"
"No, it's one part of life. The other part of life is the continual hard work.. And these parts are connected- Because every appreciation is only worth it after real hard work, and so is the case with recognising miracles"
"Why isn't it an effortless job?"
"It soon does. A trained eye, is a trained mind, body and soul- harmonised with the nature in which it is"...
"Oh! nature... and you, Rock, see these miracles? every single day? And being a mere rock is the greatest thing to you?"
"Mere rock? Gee thanks... Yes, I see these miracles, and that's why I've been here on this shore... for a very long time. And a large part of my life is talking to you."
"I'm beginning to realise... that you see so much more in life, when you stop to notice, stop to talk, stop to care...I notice the elderly and I help them. But... when I reflect on it, I don't see a miracle, I feel sad- Sad about the realities of old age, I always put myself in that position and wonder how would it be for me, when I get old.. yet, I should be feeling happy because I helped someone, and they were grateful for what I did... Where is the miracle here?"
"Again, don't look at situations that happen to you. If you ponder more, and more, you'll see the miracles there too- But first, you need to realise that these miracles, need to be noticed."
"Like bird watching?"
"You're almost there. What would you call an animal being able to fly without support in air?"
"A miracle?"
"hmm.....Miracles in life are your gifts to the world. When you say subhanallah at a a bird flying in the air- you are praising Allah's Might, you are feeling overwhelmed by it, and small, you are appreciating nature, you have diverted your mind from your own thoughts and issues to take a moment to notice something special... you are creating a feeling within you that is good- You are content, because you have just recognised a part of the reality of this world.."
"Now you tell me", asked The Rock, "what else would be a miracle?"
"I know! Al Shifa honey!"
"Yeps. I was reading the label on the bottle a few days ago, and marvelled at the facts. Isn't it amazing that to produce 2 pounds of honey, bees travel a distance equal to 4 times around the earth, and that a single bee usually visits between 50-1000 flowers a day?"
"Yes, that truly is a miracle."
"Are you happy?"
"Yes! And thanks for your words. My distraction towards this new quest for miracles should really help ease my mind and bring me closer to Allah."
"Inshallah it will. See you soon!"