Supporting a Family Member Trough a Mental Illness

Mental illness affects the whole family and yet many family members are completely unprepared for dealing with the effects on the family and often do not know how to best support their loved ones through this challenge.

In this session, we offer basic guidance on recognizing mental illness, what to do and how to recognize the limits of your abilities. 

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Habits of Highly Effective Communicators

Sometimes despite our best efforts what we want to say does not transfer to the listener. The impact of our communication is very different from what we intended.

What does good communication look like?

How do we develop good communication skills? 

We discuss these and many other questions in this live session.

Recording of a live session in Orlando for Doctors and Medical Students on Communication Skills 

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Parenting to Raising Happy Kids

Parents today are more concerned than ever about raising children who are happy and well adjusted. Yet the stats show that mental and emotional wellbeing amongst youth is at an all time low, at least in North America.

So what are we doing wrong? Why are our well-meaning strategies having the opposite effect of what we intend for our children?

We answer these and other questions in this recording from a live presentation.

Here is the link to download the slide deck that goes with the audio file:

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Spiritual Prime Time

As we are in the midst of “Spiritual Prime Time”, with Ramadan just around the corner, many of us are beginning to turn our attention towards self growth and character development. In this quick post, I am just sharing some reflections on various aspects of self development, from lectures over the last few years. You may want to listen to all or some of them to get some tips and suggestions on how to start working on a particular aspect of self development.

Controlling our anger
Do you find that your temper gets in the way of maintaining good family relationships? Do you find yourself focusing on the challenging aspects of other’s personalities? Here are some suggestions to manage anger so that it does not get in the way of great family relationships.

Self Control
This episode talks about what is self control, why is it important and discusses how we can strengthen our self control muscles

This episode explores Imam Ghazzali’s explanations of ‪#gratitude‬. What is gratitude exactly? Is it enough to feel thankful because you got what you wanted?

Self Knowledge
Leading up to Ramadaan, I will inshallah try and upload some sessions on self development. Here is one from a live session in 2009. It introduces the concept of self knowledge and briefly covers the steps to getting to know ourselves

Part 6 in the series on Dua Kumayl talks about contentment, why it is so challenging to be contented in modern times, and how to cultivate contentment. We also cover the steps to self-transformation in this lecture.

In this lecture in the series on Dua Kumayl, we explore the concept of humility before Allah swt and humility with people. The Dua itself is an excellent example of how an abd of Allah is to adopt a position of humility and yet have an intimate relationship with His Lord. We then examine what humility looks like and explore practical strategies to cultivate humility within our hearts.

A letter to my daughter on her graduation day

My Dearest Daughter

As I see you standing tall in your hat and gown, my heart is bursting with pride. I watch you confident in your step and radiant in your smile. As you step onto the threshold of life outside “the bubble” (as you call it), I silently pray that you have many many reasons to flash that beautiful smile. You have worked hard and your achievements are well deserved. The pride I feel today, however, is the result of who you are as a person and not simply at what you have achieved. I am humbled and inspired by the poised young woman I see before me, wanting to contribute to making this world better, with a heart that is motivated by love and a sense of justice that leads her to take action towards the establishment of a better future for this planet.

The degree that will hang on the wall will open many doors for you, I hope. It will, I pray, be the start of much success and achievement. People will likely commend you for the work that you have done and the successes that you have achieved. I pray that at times like that, your feet will remain firmly planted on the ground and that you will remember that the only person you need to impress is the woman looking back at you in the mirror. If you continue to live life according to your principles and values, you will be pleased with what stares back at you, you will feel worthy and you will sleep well. If you are tempted to prioritize image over substance, if you are seduced by praise and accolades I pray that the empty feeling inside you quickly reminds you that external successes cannot raise self esteem. That doing something for praise or to look good can never bring true fulfillment or sense of purpose. I pray that you can remind yourself that if you continue to pursue substance and value rather than image, it will be a fulfilling life, whether or not external successes or accolades accompany your work.

I pray that you continue to enjoy strong relationships but that you remember to keep Him at the centre of your world and your life and make your relationship with Him the most important one in your life. That you make it a priority to please Him rather than anyone else. If you do that, I promise that all your other relationships will eventually fall into place.

I pray that you remember the challenges that you faced as well as the successes that you have achieved. That you remind yourself that challenges (or ‘failures’ as you sometimes insist on calling them!) have perhaps more to teach you than easy victories. That the value of the B, C or D that you receive in life that brings you humility is more valuable to your personal growth than the A that makes you proud or leads to attachment to image or praise.

I pray that your success goes not to your head but to your heart, for if success goes to your head, it will make you arrogant, but if it goes to your heart, you will be full of gratitude to Him and you will remember to thank those who have helped and supported you to get to where you are today. I pray that you continue to remember that any success that you achieve in life is not yours alone. That many have contributed to it in different ways. I pray that you remember to thank Him and those that He has placed in your life to make it easy.

I pray that you keep your idealism and your passion for making this planet a better place. You will doubtless encounter many obstacles along the way. You will meet people who will test your faith in yourself and your cause. I pray that while you stay the course and persevere, you can continue to treat these people with kindness and to maintain your love for humanity.

I pray that you find meaning in your work so that you never feel that you are overworked, that you are driven by passion, rather than obligation.
I pray that in whatever career you choose, you are guided more by a sense of contribution and service rather than power and money. If you hold values such as these as priorities, money and power will court you. If you chase money and power, however, you may find that even if you attain what you desire, it will be empty and meaningless in the end.

I pray that you continue to let your conscience be your guide. If you listen to it, it will be your friend and it will continue to guide you towards ultimate success but if you ignore it too long, it may fall silent.

I pray that even when things appear to be going wrong and not as you planned, you can expand your awareness to take in everything that IS going right. I pray that at times like this, you can still find gratitude in your heart and faith in your soul that Someone bigger than you is in charge and that everything will work out in the end according to His plan.

I remind you that if you are living consciously, you will most likely be in the minority and not necessarily part of the crowd. I pray that when this gets challenging, your own company is enough for you and that you remember it is better to be alone than in bad company. I pray that you can sit in silence and let your own wisdom guide you. However, I also pray that you remember that mostly all happiness and success in this world is a result of great relationships and that you find time to invest in these relationships daily.

As you step outside the bubble of college (as you call it), I pray that you take the gift of time and of life seriously but that you take yourself lightly and can have compassion and humour for your own shortcomings as well as of those around you.

I pray that He continues to shower you with His blessings and guidance and that you continue to live your best self. I pray that this world treats you gently, my love.

Love you with all my heart