Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Fight? That’s All?


We fight, we exchange words, and we throw blame and its over.

What is it exactly that happens when two people fight? Is it really about who is wrong and who is right? Is it the result of trying to show the other our point of view? Or is it more about ego? Is it really about what we need to say or just wanting to have the final say? Is it about what really happened or what we would have liked to have happened? Is it about telling the other our true feelings, or just saying things that would exonerate us from our own guilt and self blame. With our anger raging, it is all about what we want to emerge with? Who gets the bigger chunk of the other?

In most cases it is more like a battle field were the final outcome depends on how much ground we have gained. But once the dust settles we sometimes notice that the grounds we gained are not grounds we would have liked to tread given time and clearer thinking. Even though we sometimes emerge as the winners we end up stuck with words we would rather not have said or heard and these are the words that remain to resonate in our heads. Tougher than injuries and what is even worse is how they develop their own voices to play themselves over and over again in or  own heads creating an ongoing battle that never stops, burning their own fires that can consume us and render us helpless to forgive. But then enough time passes, enough to make us wonder why we fought in the first place? I am always left with the same conclusion; it is simply not worth it.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Old Friendships Don’t Die


friendship_lgChinese symbol of friendship via luckyicons

Sorry to be the party pooper, but they do.

All the time.


Several of mine have passed away. Some of natural causes, some because of suicidal tendencies and some cases were homicides with the case closed since the murderer was unknown and not to be known.

You think it will never happen to you, but beware, it might. What is even worse is when you discuss this very issue with the same person (friend) that will one day be the murderer of one of your friendships. Does this give that person the upper hand? Does discussing such cases of relationship sudden death with a friend open a window to your soul that they can later use to enter the depths of your soul and wreak havoc? Does this make them stronger during your mourning period?

And what do we do? Never ever discuss death of a friendship with our friends? Do you go through life and relationships assuming that one day they will die, therefore remain secretive and refrain from talking about how you feel concerning this issue?

I don’t know. It so happens that I am mourning several relationships and not sure exactly how to approach this topic. A sane person would safely assume that having lost three friendships in a matter of a few years definitely makes me the bad person. Assume, that is the key word, but the point is they died. Regardless of the reasons and whom to blame they did and at the moment of death it is not really important whose fault it is. Looking at the film of memories left behind by the dead relationship, whose fault it is becomes background scenery and you are left alone in the morgue of dead relationships watching your good and bad moments on a huge screen and just feeling sad. The irony is that the older the relationship the longer the movie you have to watch.

But life goes on. We form new relationships and funny enough we forget that they also perhaps might die, or at least we hope they won’t and we do allow ourselves to love again.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Busy Ants

Some Fridays are great, or at least they have become great. I remember Fridays when I was a kid, they were depressing (for those who don’t know, in the Middle East Friday is the weekend, the Sunday of the Arab world so to speak). For some reason me and Fridays reached an agreement. Ok, perhaps it is not as sentimental as it sounds. It is just the plain old day off where now as a working person it is the only time I get to relax. Every few weeks I am blessed with a wonderful Friday, a serene day when things are quiet in a nice way.

This Friday I was having one of those increasingly rare moments of complete serenity sitting in the garden sipping my coffee when I saw a line of ants. They seemed so busy hurrying along, funny how “walking” could be such a chore that needs so much attention. Anyway, the busy ants were hurrying along in long, long lines, running, following one another tirelessly in seemingly endless lines. I wondered, does the first one in line know that it is leading such a long line behind it or it just happened to be the first by chance. Does it know that a tiny mistake on its behalf would make the whole line get lost? Does it realize that a minor shift in direction might eventually lead the whole line into a whole new territory? Does it feel the pressure that so many are following it? Who makes the choice of the first ant in line, is it elected by popular vote? Is it appointed by some high ant commission? Is it chosen by the elders after long and tedious leadership training? Did it take navigation courses? Does this ant report to anyone, or do they just lead by instinct and then go home regardless of the results.

I caught myself in the middle of this one sided discussion and discovered that I was applying my worries, fears and uncertainties to the leading ant and I wished I could ask it if it had any of our worries and pressures or if leadership was an easy natural task in their world?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Find Yourself

“Sometime in your life you will go on a journey. It will be the longest journey you have ever taken. It is the journey to find yourself”   Katherine Sharp

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I Hate Hospitals


I hate hospitals, I just hate them. Who doesn’t you might  say. No, mine is a special case of hatred.

There should be a pill for that, especially for people who are chronically disturbed by them, a pill, if possible that contains medication, , and hopefully induces a voice that goes straight to your head and keeps repeating that things will be fine, you know a counseling voice not a crazy one. There should be something, anything, but it cannot be left untreated.

A while ago I was in the hospital with a friend who was in for a minor surgery. While waiting and dreading being there, I thought about the hatred I hold for these buildings, was it the normal hatred that people have for hospitals or was it my own special case having been there so many times with loved ones. Maybe I resented them for oddly feeling at home in them and really detesting that fact and deeply rebelling against it.

As all my friends know I watch people all the time and in an effort to entertain myself while waiting I used my God given gift. In the cafeteria I was looking at people’s faces. The deeply concerned face, the “on the verge of tears” face, the “not-so-concerned” face, ones that look totally spaced out and not really there, ones that are in deep contemplation and deeper prayers, and then the joyous (normally it is a man whose wife just gave birth or someone with an old dying childless aunt that has a sizeable inheritance). All sorts of faces each with a story, and I wondered where do I fit in? How do I look to these people? Which face is mine? Is someone doing the same to me and putting me in a face category? I don’t care I just want my friend to be well. I know he will, I will leave here soon and know that at one point in time I will be back, its life, but next time I will be back with a resolved agreement with myself to forgive these buildings for being what they are. Just like with people you dislike accept their existence and try to let go of your feelings towards them. Can I? Will I?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Same Box

“Once the game is over, the king and the pawn go back in the same box.” Italian proverb

If We only remember this everyday

Monday, September 7, 2009

Perfection on the 14th

moonImage Via  Anderswallin

Every day around Iftar (breaking fast during Ramadan the Muslim Holy month) there is this hour of pure and complete perfection. It starts the moment the Muazen calls for the sunset prayers and it is time for iftar. It is amazing when you watch what happens minutes before that, fasting people rushing to get home on time to break their almost 12 hours of fasting, non fasting people rushing to get to their destinations either to be with their fasting family and friends, or just to be home because their whole world is officially off for the next hour.

The silence during this hour is amazing. It is like the bustling city decides to take a break from its insanity, from its noisy movements and its bad breath. It’s amazing how the big city decides to take a nap, and if you happen to go outside during that hour you will hear that silence, you will hear that gentle breathing of the city taking it’s nap, and this can only happen once a year in Ramadan. You will only witness this sheer perfection for thirty days. But the other night I was double lucky. It was the 14th and if you happen to have any idea about lunar months it is the time when the moon is in its full glory. The moon of the 14th, the subject of poems and songs, the tool that lovers use to describe the face of their lovers.

So tonight perfection was double for me. I stood there looking at the beautiful shades of dark blue in the sky, the sun disappearing and the moon dressed in its monthly glory triumphantly ascending. The temperature was just right with the perfect amount of breeze to tell me that the hot day was gone. It is one of those magical moments that we get glimpses of, except mine was an hour long. I took it all in knowing that I only have 14 days left to witness my one hour of perfection, and then a whole year to wait for it again. I took it all in feeling that we can be whole and complete and happy for just witnessing the perfect moon.

A car honked, a guy walked by talking on his cell phone, my land line started ringing and I knew it was time to go back to “normal” living. The hour of perfection was over, but i felt so lucky that I had a whole hour, for most of the time, it is as short as a second.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Happy Birthday To Me


happy_birthday_to_me_shoes Image from

Happy birthday to me, etc….

Yes it is my birthday



When the hell did it happen? I close my eyes and can still relive my graduation day. Damn it, I can even still relive my high school days, not to mention much earlier days, and with such vivid details. Is it good memory? I don’t think so, until last night I thought those days were close enough to remember without much memory muscle. I really believed (Am I one of those in eternal denial maybe ?), that 20 something was only a few years ago.

Talking to my best friend brought things back into perspective and I allowed myself to admit that the past 15 years were a blip. Literally a blip. What major events happened? Not much, besides work, I can’t even remember my past 15 years outside of work or the “framework” of work. My daily routine, my daily meetings, my daily thinking, my daily worrying, my daily happiness, my trips, my weekends, my holidays, all revolved around work. Later that evening I lay in bed thinking and decided that what I said was not entirely true. The true part is that work has been taken 90% of my waking and even my sleeping time, but isn’t that my choice and my passion? And then it is not really 90%, a lot happened in the past 15 years. I received a beautiful gift of a nephew to add to the two beautiful ones I already had, I created a wonderful business, expanded it, traveled, for business, but they were fun trips non the less since I cannot seem to be happy without doing what I do, I lost a father, made great friends, lost great friends, thought I fell in love, had 3 breakups and then found the love of my life and lived happily and sometimes sadly but really lived the past 15 years, fully and completely, and mostly happily so I should not complain.

What is it about birthdays that gets us thinking that we have wasted our time and our lives? What is it that makes us feel as if we should be sorry for the time that passed? Why is our first impulse to be sorry, what is it that gives us the urge to feel as if we have been unsatisfied and we are still looking forward to “live” our lives?

I am rebelling today. I have had a great life so far, the ups were great and the downs were wonderful teachers (with a big stick sometimes). The ups were monumental and the downs, well, just downs. Part of living nothing more or less. So, this birthday, this year, I will carry the ups with me and discard the downs and look forward to continue happytizing my life.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A “Photographic” Memory

Memory-imageImage from msnbc

So, finally, we have a picture of how a memory is formed (The green particles on the right)

Isn’t that fantastic? To actually see the process of how your brain registers your memories. Looking at the almost black picture and then the one with green (post memory) pictures made me wonder wouldn’t it be really great if they could take a picture of the emotion that accompanies that memory too? Would they able to take a snapshot of how we felt when the memory was formed? Our memory of graduating from high school, the feeling we had when we were blessed with our first kiss, our feeling when we broke up with a loved one, the feeling of receiving our first paycheck, buying our first car, watching a child being born watching a sunset on a beech with the love of our life, watching……… I wonder.

I wonder what a feeling would look like if we could take a picture of it being formed. I wonder if taking a picture of a feeling will make it loose the “feeling” and transform it into a tangible physical thing that would stop feeling like a “feeling”.

I wonder…

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Congratulations MR. Dad we are in our 40's.


We went to school together even though he is one year older than me. It does not make a difference anymore, we are both early forties. He has a son graduating from a university in London next year!!! AND WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN?? I thought we were still in our twenties still looking forward to making choices in life, trying to decide on directions and build something that will eventually result in families and children and education and universities and marriages and grandchildren and… when the hell did this happen? How was I left out? Where is my son that will graduate from his university next year?

Apparently there is this whole period missing from my life. I have been working, working and working and forgot that there are other things in life that I could, maybe, perhaps also want. Ok, do I really want these other things? Do I really feel left out? Do I really miss having/creating a family? Actually no, really, I am not making this up to feel better. I think the problem is the shock of knowing that one of my childhood friends will maybe soon be attending the wedding of his son. Maybe, just maybe, it is the shock of realizing that we actually did grow up and mature and hit our forties, that this is no joke or someone with a bad sense of humor trying to pull a trick on us. Maybe it is the shock of realizing that some people are beyond living in the moment, living the single life to its fullest, responsibility” less” (to a certain degree). Maybe it is even realizing that I don’t belong to the majority anymore. I am the minority now. In my society I am the minority that went against norms, family pressures and general social behaviors back in the 80’s. Damn it, and I also just discovered that I am dated!!! Just like those tiles from the seventies (unfortunately back in fashion now) or those pink and white sofas from the eighties, I can be dated. Funny how in your twenties people question your wisdom when you say I am getting married, in your forties your wisdom is again questioned when you say I am NOT getting married. So when are we wise ? More importantly who has the answer ?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Farah, Michael And Endings


It is Friday. I had a wonderful evening with my best friend and cousins playing cards and laughing at everything and nothing. Slept at 4 in the morning and woke up still feeling happy from a great relaxed night where the only thing you have to do is be yourself, and of course pay attention to what card was played.

I woke up to the news of Michael Jackson’s death! How could he ? He was supposed to start a series of concerts next month. I was never really a big fan. I mean I liked him and more importantly respected his art and his passion, but was never one of those die hard religious followers. Still I was really sad. In a weird way, in moments of death, we always feel that we liked the deceased more than we actually did.

In the middle of watching the coverage a little, quick piece of news is presented that Farah Fawcett also died. Now that made me sadder, I was in love with the “angel”, and I wondered, is it just feeling sad for people we got used to seeing and liking and admiring or is it feeling sad for a period of our lives that has died with them? Is it the fact that people who were ever present in our lives while growing up and imprinted on our childhood memory screen have passed on, or is it fear of facing the fact that life is finite and really does end. Why are we always shocked when someone famous passes away? Does glamour blind us to the fact that even famous, glamorous celebrities have to face the same fate that awaits us all? Is it that in our deliriousness and intoxication on daily life we forget that there is an ending? What if we held that thought and lived with that notion that it really is short and needs to be fulfilling, and more importantly HAPPY. What if we believed that regardless of what you do in life and regardless of how many millions adore you, at the end it is a simple failure of the heart and the same ambulance, the same ER and the same morgue, the same knives for performing an autopsy and the same ground that will embrace our bodies.

I will think of my card game again. And, since it ends the same way for all of us, I might as well enjoy the moments I am given and the memories of the ones I was blessed with.

Michael, Farah may you both RIP

Monday, June 22, 2009

One Layer At A Time

Ok, I have been complaining a lot lately. No, A LOT. She called me today and specifically told me to chill. She repeated a few sentences I have been using a lot lately and the terminology sounded oddly familiar. “This is the worst time of my life”, “this is the worst month of my life”, “it is so bad I sometimes cannot breathe”. Hearing my own words was a literal slap. I almost felt the pain on my face. Is this what I have become? Is this who I am? Is this who I want to be?

For someone who used to be the beacon of happiness in any group (or so they say) it is tough to hear that you have become the grumpy one, that you have become one of the people YOU used to complain about and make fun of. Was I wrong? Was I miscalculating the future, unknowingly mocking my future self? What the hell happened? When did the shift take place?

As my friend said it could not have been all rosy, it could not have been all perfect. So if imperfections are always there do we deduct that the shift happens within us? Have the imperfections increased but I have not changed exponentially with them? Was I left behind when growth, maturity and wisdom grew and moved along? Am I making up my new circumstances? Am I making them worse than they are by breathing more life and health into them? Will it ever be perfect? Will it ever be the way we want it to be? Is it even perfect when it is the way we want it to be? The question that now presents itself is what do we really want it to be like? Do we know or do we make it up as we go? Is what I want today the same as what I want tomorrow? WOW, that left me breathless!

Yes, confusing. I know. I envy me 5 years ago, with all of my now 5 year old imperfections, they now seem so small and irrelevant. I thought we shed things and become lighter as we go, apparently I have at one point decided to maintain my layers of skins and become heavier. So today I take the decision to shed my layers one at a time. I know I will sometimes have to use a scalpel to do that but I will.

96641-main_FullSo, hello to my one less layer new self.

Photo from ehow