Evolution of red tomato - maturing process of the fruit – stages of development

Fresh Ingredients of Your Life

I like to cook my food with fresh ingredients… What ingredients do we usually “cook” our life with? Do we bring fresh ideas? Do we welcome fresh ideas or keep being stuck in our past? Do we surround ourselves with interesting people who have a fresh outlook on life? Do we stay active mentally, emotionally and physically to stay fresh in our mind, spirit, and body? The only way to avoid stagnation is to keep purging old and unnecessary ideas and information and to create space for newness, freshness, innovation, and progress.

Fresh means brand-new, mint, bold, assertive and progressive.

Fresh is exciting! Stay fresh in every area of your life!

With Love,

Woman applying mascara

Beauty and Stupidity

I rushed to my meeting, and while looking into my car mirror, I realized that I forgot to apply my mascara. I knew that whenever I applied mascara, my eyes looked more beautiful… I felt stupid that I rushed so much and forgot to apply it on my eyelashes. I looked in my bag and felt stupid again because I forgot to take my mascara with me.

I looked again in the mirror, and my reflection told me: “Your stupidity is not in forgetting to apply the mascara at home or in forgetting to take it with you. Your stupidity is in forgetting that your eyelashes are beautiful not because of what you apply on them, but simply because they are a part of YOU… You must remember that EVERYTHING about you is BEAUTIFUL, including all of your imperfections…absolutely EVERYTHING…”.  

With Love,

Tangerines on a wooden table.

Orange is Like Desire

You can think about the orange and the way it would taste in your mouth. You can enjoy its bright color; you can even smell its freshness from the surface of its skin… But you could never fully experience its delicious taste or enjoy the health benefit of vitamin C in the orange unless you take action: peel the skin off, divide the slices and eat it… 

The same process applies to your DESIRE – you can think about it, dream about it and visualize it, but unless you take action, nothing will happen… So the most critical part is TAKING ACTION…DO IT NOW…, or else your orange will go bad, and you will never feel its fresh taste and enjoy its nutritional value… TAKE YOUR ACTION NOW, before it’s too late.

With Love,

Professor helping a student in classroom

True Students Attract True Masters

True students are the ones who never stop seeking the best master in their field. True students want to learn from the masters who are experienced, passionate and suitable for their growth. 

 True masters are the ones who never stop learning from their most challenging students. True masters acquire valuable knowledge and experience from the students who, often times, unintentionally shed light onto a master’s areas of improvement. The right student might indirectly reveal master’s need for further development, expansion, exploration, and practicing a new outlook on things. 

The truly compatible parings of a master and a student happen when it represents the elements of rapport, manageable discomfort with growth, and commitment to continuous progress from both parties. 

With Love,

Woman looking at herself in the mirror

What I Focus on – Eventually Prevails

Today is the happiest day of my life…because I decided it to be so. Every day can be happy, even with the moments of sadness and broken hopes. I choose to focus on ‘HAPPY’. 

What I focus on – will eventually prevail. 

With Love,

To Stay Inspired, Spend Time with Inspiring People

If you want to stay inspired, make sure to spend as much time as possible with inspiring and driven people. Imagine them. Look for them. Find them. Attract them. These type of people are usually busy. Make yourself worthy of their time and attention. Get busy, find your own motivation, strive to become a knowledgeable and inspiring person for people around you.  

Like attracts like. If you continue to be inspired by exposing yourself to an uplifting and motivating information, you will eventually feel inspired and uplifted. You will be surprised how soon many motivated and progressive people will be drawn into your life. Your confident energy will attract them. It’s a process – commit yourself to it and watch amazing things unfold before your eyes. 

With Love,

True Friendships Make Us Grow

I dedicate this short poem to my best friend from the United Arab Emirates,

Noura Al Kheyali.

Noura was the first one who showed me the beauty of Arab culture and Arab women. I remember that I saw her in my dream a few years before my visit to the Arab world. In that dream, she was holding my hand and taking me to a huge black ocean that I was so scared to cross. I remember Noura telling me: “Don’t be afraid it not an ocean in front of you… It is a large group of Arab women in black gowns waiting for you.” Then she softly added: “We are waiting for you, we are calling for you… That was a truly divine dream that indicated that a girl with a name Noura will open a door to help others…

Three years later after my dream, I finally met Noura and recognized her right away. She was a girl from my dream. Noura was one of the first girls I have met in the UAE. She kindly opened the doors of her warm house and showed me the unparalleled hospitality of the Emirati Culture. Because of Noura, it becomes possible and doable for me to empower women of the Arab region to feel more confident, powerful, self-accepting and happy with who they are. Today, I consider Noura is my non-blood Arab sister. She is almost twenty years younger than me, but her wisdom and kindness go beyond her age.

When I wrote this poem, I also thought about other remarkable Emirati ladies that I was privileged to work with during my coaching practice in Dubai, Sharjah and other Emirates. I realized that they are one of the most beautiful hidden secrets of the world. The mind, the heart, and the beauty of Arab women never stop to amaze me since the first time I was introduced to them.

Thank you, my friend, Noura for showing me the uniqueness and warmth of your culture and traditions. This poem is dedicated to you and other Arab women who never settle for less and constantly strive for self-improvement and the enhancement of the communities around them.

 

To NOURA

When you feel weak – remember the moments when YOU were STRONG

When you feel unloved – remember that your LOVE IS INSIDE of you

When you feel empty – remember that ALLAH fills you with LIGHT constantly

When you feel lonely – remember that you have FRIENDSHIPS that have NO LIMITS or distance

When you feel pain – remember that YOU CAN OVERCOME anything, because you are powerful

When you feel like crying – just cry, then wipe your tears… say Halli – Whalli (which means I don’t care) and STAND UP TALL

When you feel uncertain – remember: all the answers are inside of YOU, just stay quiet, stay still, then ASK & LISTEN

When you feel guilty – ask yourself if it’s a voice of self-love or self-blame…and then FORGIVE YOURSELF

When it is hard for you to say ‘no’ – just tell yourself that setting boundaries is the ACT of SELF-RESPECT

When you feel that you can’t love yourself right now – remind yourself: SELF-ACCEPTANCE is the fastest way to happiness

Accept Yourself for who you are today and continue to grow… to become a BETTER-SELF and to create a BETTER LIFE …

With Love,

Mother playing with baby

Great Mothers

Good day my, Wonderful Friend!

 

Today I want to talk about great mothers!

  • Great mothers are not the ones who are perfect or who act in perfect ways in front of their kids.
  • Great mothers know their own imperfections, and yet they choose to focus on their strengths. They are approaching parenting from the standpoint of inner power and self-acceptance, not from self-judgment or self-doubt.
  • Great mothers know their children’s imperfections and flaws, and yet choose to focus on their children’s strengths and uniqueness.
  • Great mothers raise their children with a continuous commitment to growth and self-discovery. They understand that parenting is for the “long-run journey,” the journey where they will never retire from the title of a “MOTHER.”
  • Great mothers choose to take this journey as an opportunity to become a better daughter, a better friend, a better partner, and a better human being. She knows one thing very clearly: is that during her long-run journey, her children will learn from her mistakes, her commitment to improving herself and her commitment to the world. There is a very high chance that children will learn from her and her ever-growing thirst to live a meaningful life.
  • Great mothers know that one of the most important things she can offer to her children is her own example of living, learning, making mistakes, overcoming and winning.
  • Great mothers know that it’s not how big the wins are, but how consistent is her commitment to self-growth and self-acceptance of herself as a special human being with a unique gift on this planet. From that place, Great Mother can give to their children without completely depleting herself, because she lives in a constant flow of love.
  • Great mothers have the wisdom of knowing that when they accept themselves when they know that making mistakes is an integral part of growth, they give their children the most beautiful gift of confidence any child can receive from a parent.
  • Great mothers give their children a beautiful GIFT OF ACCEPTANCE of who they are and a GIFT OF ENCOURAGEMENT for trying new things!

Great Mothers are everywhere! Are you one of them?

If not yet, what steps can you take today toward becoming a Great Mother?

 

With Love,

Active senior woman

Hamda’s Success Story: Vibrant Energy and Weight Loss at Any Age

Hello, my Wonderful Friend!

Today, I want to share with you a story about my Star client who knows the secret of achieving any goal. We often like to talk about the achievements of young or middle-aged people, but forget to share inspiring stories about the elders. Yes, they have lived more years, and they have seen more and done more, but as they grow older, sometimes they lack the energy and the motivation to be more active or to improve their health. The good thing is that they are still with us and we can help them bring back their own inner power and feel more energy to stay healthier and prolong their lives. There is no doubt that a life of good quality and healthy habits will allow elderly people to better connect with family, to have more fun and joyful time, and to continue being active contributors to society.

Especially for you, I have prepared a story about an elderly woman who achieved her fitness goals (despite her age) and has become a great role model for others.  Get yourself a fresh cup of tea and allow yourself to relax for the next few minutes and enjoy your reading. It’s story time just for you to get inspired now, and to encourage others later on!

In 2015, I was coaching a lady by the name of Hamda: a 64-year-old widow with four grown-up children.  Hamda came to me for help with anxiety related to her health issues, as well as wanting to reduce her weight.  Usually, during the first session, I recommend a very effective technique that has worked with most of my clients in the past. I explained to her the concept of positive affirmations and that repeatedly seeing, reading and writing positive affirmations of how she wants to feel, act and look like in the future can affect the subconscious mind to such a degree that it slowly starts transforming the body to align itself with healthy thoughts. Some clients are skeptical at the beginning of coaching about the power and benefits of affirmations until they try them and see the results.

The next day after the session Hamda started reading and writing her statements in her language ten times a day. I also suggested writing down the affirmations with a bright marker on colorful paper and post it in places that she spends most of her time; These are some of the affirmations that she was reading daily: “At any age, I choose to feel younger, stronger and healthier!  When my energy is low, I know that it is temporary and I can continue to exercise to feel better! I can be happy, energetic and fit at any age! I have what it takes to renew my body and to achieve my ultimate health goals.  I take full responsibility for my health and for my happiness! My past failures, pain, and worry remain in the past because they belong in the past! I enjoy the process of creating my bright future! I understand and listen to my body, I exercise daily, I eat healthy food, I maintain healthy lifestyle habits. I have enough energy, will power, time and resources to achieve the results I want!”

Hamda started reading and writing the affirmations right after waking up and before going to bed.  She posted them in her bathroom and bedroom.  Even though Hamda had issues with her weight and worried a lot, she still had the energy to run a successful family business.  Hamda had a close relationship with her children. When her husband died from a heart attack, Hamda sold his business and opened a perfume boutique, something she had always wanted to do.

During one of our initial sessions, she told me: “My business was rapidly growing, while my body was growing at the same speed. I do not understand why my mind is still so clear and fast, but my body is so heavy and lazy. I am out of breath after climbing two flights of stairs. I feel like I’ve lost control over my body, my heart hurts sometimes, and I am scared to die early, like my husband. I have so much to do; my family and my business need me. I have gained seventeen kilograms in five years since I started my business. I have the energy and the willpower to run three branches of my business and zero willpower to take care of my body.”

Hamda had two main issues: she loved food, and she didn’t move much. Especially at the end of a long and tiring day, her willpower would be so weak, that she would eat late and a lot. We both agreed that she needed to commit by showing some actions toward a healthier life. Together, we developed a program for Hamda, where she chose the activities that she wanted to try out: it was yoga and evening walks outside. The research shows that empowering elders profoundly affects their motivation and that we need to involve seniors in planning, selecting, and evaluating their own physical activity program. It is important to let them make their own choices.

Hamda’s daughter, Sarah, hired a personal yoga trainer and started doing gentle yoga exercises with her mother two sessions per week. They were holding each other responsible and tried not to miss a single session.  Four times a week Hamda started walking with her two grandchildren for thirty minutes a day. Hamda’s older son, Saeed, bought his mom a fitness tracker Fitbit with a simple screen to show the number of steps she took each day. This gift certainly helped Saeed’s mom to stay focused on her goal. After three months, Hamda increased her walks to one hour per day. Later on, she met other women of her age, who were regular walkers, and continued walking with them routinely. After the first package of ten private sessions of yoga was completed, Hamda decided to do yoga two times a week and shared with me that she started feeling sensations in her own body and gaining a better sense of balance. She once called me and shared with excitement in her voice: “You know Gulnara, it looks like I was disconnected with my own body for so many years…We are taking it slow with my yoga trainer, but I feel alive again.  You know, I am so surprised… I have never thought that at my age I can do with my body what my trainer is pushing me to do.”

You are probably wondering what factors of motivation helped Hamda to stick to the program and achieve desired results? Firstly, she was open to my suggestions but actively participated in choosing her own favorite activities and the frequency of her sessions. Secondly, she had a clear goal to reduce her weight by 17 kilos. Thirdly, Hamda was prepared to invest her time, money and energy to her goal and was ready to pay the price for feeling and looking healthier. And the last and fundamental reason behind her success was support from her loving family!

At first, she started with food. Hamda impressed me with her discipline in choosing to eat higher quality food and reducing her portions. Hamda found a great and fun yoga trainer, who was passionate about helping people. With time, Hamda bonded with her trainer and was looking forward to every next session. By walking with her grandkids, Hamda had time to talk with them and to listen to their stories.  Later on, she connected with a support group of other walking ladies. Once Hamda said to me: “When I think of my childhood, growing up we didn’t have the opportunity to attend sports clubs, gyms or walking tracks. It was a land of the sandy desert surrounded by the ocean with extremely hot weather outside…and no facilities, but Allhamdullilah (which means ‘Thank God!’ in Arabic) people were very active and moving a lot back then. Nowadays, new generations, mashallah (which means ‘as God has willed’ in Arabic and is used to show appreciation for something) have everything.”

The most beautiful thing about Hamda was that she felt young at heart and was not afraid to try, to take a risk and push herself.  After four months of our coaching program, Hamda showed me the notebook where I was giving her the home assignments and the list of affirmations that she was reading out loud daily in her own language. I was impressed to see how neatly she wrote down her thoughts about her activities and her progress after our sessions. I did not understand a single word, because I cannot read the Arabic language, but I saw a sense of pride and self-confidence in Hamda’s eyes when she was showing me her notes. Hamda was disciplined, but not too hard on herself; she was committed and she celebrated small wins. She had to push herself, but she did not focus on the goal too much. She really enjoyed her activities and the whole process of doing something great for herself.  After our program, she reported that she had more energy to go on with daily tasks and felt much lighter, less worried and more energetic. Even though the metabolism of older people slows down and makes it harder to lose weight, by eating healthier and exercising Hamda fixed her metabolism rate and had become best friends with her own body. After the first few months, she lost five kilograms and planned to continue her journey to a stronger and healthier body (and more fun and active lifestyle). Today she is 15 kilos lighter and feels 15 years younger! Hamda is my Star-client, a great role model for others. I was privileged to be a part of her positive change.

We all have people in our lives who are growing older, and perhaps they wish to be more active and happier, but many of them have a hard time finding that energy because of their age.  How can we shift our focus from cure to prevention?  How can we help them to strengthen their health instead of focusing on curing the illnesses? How can we show our elders that they have the power to make that positive change by shifting their negative thinking and believing in themselves at any age? Initially, it may require a great deal of energy and effort from adult children, family members, and health care providers to empower the elderly. We can do so much for others when we ourselves have the power to support the generations before us with patience and to enter their vulnerable, yet the beautiful inner world, filled with joy, pain, past stories, and future hopes.

Do you have an aging person in your life whom you can help? Keep your energy reserve full and high so that you have what it takes to function effectively while still being able to be strong for someone you love.

With Love,

Mutter und erwachsener Sohn machen ein Selfie im Garten

As a Mother, I Take Full Responsibility

Good day, my Wonderful Friend!

We always find what we look for. If we look for exceptional qualities in our children, we will definitely see them. I did not notice these qualities in them before, but I see them now. The qualities that I observe in them now are maturity, honesty, reliability, dignity, and independence. My sons are no longer little boys – they are men.

When my younger son was little, he adored me so much that he wanted to be inseparable from me, and once asked me if he could marry me after growing up. My older son was always eager to hug me when I was picking him up from the kindergarten, and now the only times I get a hug are when I ask for it.

Time passes by, a lot of things change. When our children were little, they satisfied some of our needs to feel loved, needed and wanted. I lead a busy life as an independent woman who loves her career. The mother in me still feels at times the desire of being needed. I feel that I am no longer necessary to my sons and that they are rapidly moving into their own adult lives that I might no longer fully be a part of. It means that I need to create my own fulfilling and vibrant life in order to be a self-reliant and supportive parent and not a burden to my sons. In my heart, I know that no matter how rough, masculine and strict my boys look on the surface, deep inside they still need their mother’s encouragement, approval, and respect for who they are and what they do.

I miss those fun times when they were younger and we traveled together or went for short ski trips. We used to laugh and joke around more. Now that they are adults, I feel that our time together is less relaxed. We have serious and deep conversations, and sometimes heated discussions. I do admire their intelligence, curiosity, and love for learning. They have become my greatest teachers. The latest technology related items and knowledge I possess is because of my children. They constantly contribute to my progress, and I feel blessed.

I must confess: my sons’ honest feedback can be painful. Because they know me so well, they can offer me the best insight, the most accurate memory of my past, the harshest criticism and the sincere compliment that means more than praise received from any other person. I know their compliments are usually sincere and truthful.

When I was not as confident in myself as I am now, I could not take their feedback. I used to shut my children down when they tried to offer me advice or start an argument. I was so self-critical of myself that any additional even minor piece of criticism could literary break my spirit. I noticed my increased emotional strength from my improved ability to listen and to take in what my sons had to say, even if it is very uncomfortable or even hurtful. Someone said that truth hurts. I do agree.

I learned to manage my own perception of what I want my children to be or do, and just let them be. I am not perfect, and even though I give parenting training and counsel parents, I am guilty of still offering my sons unsolicited advice or a critical remark that perhaps did not have to be said. God knows I try very hard to be more mindful of what kind of impact I have on my children and how I can be more helpful rather than harmful to their self-esteem or state of mind.

We never retire from the parenting role, and I know I still have a lot of work to do to show my sons how much I believe in them and appreciate their efforts to grow at their own pace. They never complain, but I know they face and overcome their own challenges, just like every one of us in this life.

The stronger and confident we become as humans, the kinder and more accepting we show up as parents. The moment we stop growing spiritually, mentally and intellectually, the bigger the gap between us and our children will become. To be able to connect with our children, we must stay connected with our own selves. I noticed a strong correlation here: the more I appreciate and respect myself – the more appreciation and respect I can show to my sons. I am committed to being a better mother every day. It was my choice to become a mother, I take full responsibility to excel in this role: perhaps the most challenging and rewarding task of my life.

With Love,