In order to feel at home here and to understand what this Tea House is all about, please see my very first post at

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I haven't learned, I am learning


Tea for the post is Teavana's blend of Samurai Chai Mate with White Ayurvedic Chai. I hate its taste once it gets cold though as it is quite a spicy tea. What tea would you like to have?

Ever have the feeling that you know that you have so much of time and yet get so confused as to how the day ends so quickly that you haven't really done much? Well, that is the exact feeling I've been having these two weeks since classes started. I really love my schedule for this Fall semester. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, I start at 9:15am. On Mondays I have three classes back to back while Wednesdays and Thursdays are only two classes with either a 1 or 4 hour gap between the two. Now here's the best part of my schedule: I only have one class on Tuesdays and Fridays which starts at 1:35pm!

And yet I still wonder why I "don't seem to have the time to":
1) have teatime with you guys
2) dust my room
3) do my readings
4) go to gym
5) stay in touch with friends and family from back home in Dubai
6) sleep early!

I finally noticed that access to Internet is the culprit here. You see, once I am done for the day and get to my place, I drop my stuff, and have the intention of simply checking my email. But then as a person my age who doesn't feel like either a teenager or an adult, and also as a foreigner transitioning to the social life in the US which involves being in an abrupt explosion of many more diverse views than I'm used to, I do experience some temporary "on and off" phases of "identity moratorium", questioning my identity, what I identify with, values, and interests which I used to think will always be stable since I was so confident in them and strongly based my identity on them. (loool, I'm sure you can feel the stress from that very LONG sentence!!) Thus, I use Google and/or Wikipedia to look up my questions and to try to solve my internal struggles. Thus, link leads to link and question leads to question.

At times, I get too stressed from these internal struggles that keep getting resolved, and then coming back afresh!!! I wonder if I'm going insane!! I noticed that it is a cyclic process and it is only me who can actually control it (although the cycle may appear uncontrollable, and even inevitable, giving me illusions of hopelessness. And indeed, the plethora of information in the internet is just....speechlessly overwhelming!!).

Thank God though, that during the course of this Holy Month of Ramadan (when the struggles were at their peak), I feel like I have finally or at least partially taught myself how to handle such struggles. These struggles have also shown me how arrogant I was (and still am to some degree...after all my motto is: I haven't learned, I am learning).

Yet in a sense, I sometimes feel that these struggles leave me feeling so cold and hard-hearted. However, upon reflection, I noticed how reactive I can be to my emotions to the extent that it can impair my thoughts and judgement and continue the cycle of vain questions which I had already answered. I also noticed how such emotions made me too preoccupied with my questions that I feel like I've been impatient, absent, and cold toward people unintentionally.

To those of you who are undergoing something similar, one of my advices to you is that you make use of these struggles as part of a training for your soul. Embrace the challenge. Nothing is a distraction to your development unless you make it as so. And remember: you haven't learned, you are learning. I'd also like you to consider what I am going to share with you in the next paragraphs below.

In the end, identity moratorium is a natural component of development as I've been learning in my Psych classes, and psychologists like Erik Erikson encourage society to allow youth the freedom to explore different identities. This, (combined with the following Koranic verse (translation of its meanings): "It is He who has made the earth easy for you to walk on (and use) so walk in its paths thereof and eat of His provision, and to Him will be the Resurrection" (Surat Al Mulk, verse 15)) have made me made me feel better especially in terms of thinking about why I chose my major. I decided that now that I'm still young and have so much of opportunities (paths in which I can tread in this earth), I might as well find joy in exploring regardless of whether or not the subject has anything to do with my career plans.

Here's a related concept I found in The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho: "The world was huge and inexhaustible; he had only to allow his sheep to set the route for a while, and he would discover other interesting things. The problem is that they don't even realize that they're walking a new road every day. They don't see that the fields are new and the seasons change. All they think about is food and water. Maybe we're all that way, the boy mused."

Also, I read the following in the preface of The Alchemist: "During this time in spiritual exile, I learned many important things: that we only accept a truth after we have first wholeheartedly rejected it; that we mustn't run away from our own destiny; and that the hand of God is firm, but infinitely generous."

Finally, here's a long quote I really like from Rocky Balboa. I think that these words are really refreshing to keep us all moving forward in life in general: (click on the link to find more beautiful quotes from the movie):

"I'd hold you up to say to your mother, "this kid's gonna be the best kid in the world. This kid's gonna be somebody better than anybody I ever knew." And you grew up good and wonderful. It was great just watching you, every day was like a privilige. Then the time come for you to be your own man and take on the world, and you did. But somewhere along the line, you changed. You stopped being you. You let people stick a finger in your face and tell you you're no good. And when things got hard, you started looking for something to blame, like a big shadow. Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard ya hit. It's about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done! Now if you know what you're worth then go out and get what you're worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain't where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain't you! You're better than that! I'm always gonna love you no matter what. No matter what happens. You're my son and you're my blood. You're the best thing in my life. But until you start believing in yourself, ya ain't gonna have a life. Don't forget to visit your mother"

From your Tea Mate,
Reema B. :-)

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