Life update!

So it’s been long and I have to give you guys a life update. I haven’t been active on my blog but definitely enjoying the social media. Where have I been you ask? Well I went to Dubai for a much needed break, and enjoyed my time with the siblings. They hadn’t met baby Abbas so that was great. He was totally pampered and enjoyed his stay. It’s too bad that he won’t remember any of it, but I took LOADS of pics for memories!

                   

 

Since I have been back, I have been running around the court to sort out my daughters custody case. And by the grace of Allah and the many prayers of every justice loving person in the world I won in Sept! It’s only a matter of time that she’s reunited with her mother .

My holiday gave me a lot of perspective on things, got to spend some alone time and made note of how I want my life to be. We don’t realise how much we throw some things very dear to us at the back, just because we have become moms. Motherhood doesn’t have to takeover you or your life. If we loose our identities as individuals we will never be a fulfilled parent and role model four our children. Our kids need to learn how to be centered from us.

I have never looked forward to an end of an year before in my life. Right now all I can think of; is how to make 2018 and the following years the best years of my life. I guess with age and experience we learn to take certain things as they come, be patient in some scenarios and fight like a lion in others. I guess that’s what wisdom is all about. I am trying my best to keep motivated, and surround myself by people and media that helps me achieve my goals.

28 years of learning, thoughts, wisdom and life

Another year has passed and I am 28. And while some things have changed, some things just haven’t. Some of those make me happy some of them not so much. I wonder more than ever before, what life has become. And it leaves me filled with questions. Questions, I don’t have answers for, I will look for them, until I lose hope.

Fact is, at 28 I feel like an old soul. I am not suicidal, but I feel like I have lived my share of struggles. I guess the pessimist in me has more power over the optimist. At times I wonder where I lost her. Which phase of life made me loose connection with her. Some days are more colourful than others, but I guess I am looking for some level of settlement in life.

I am grateful though. As grateful as you can be in my circumstance, and I am happy that I still have the intellect to look at others and be thankful for my life. Some thoughts have been recurring in the past year. Mainly when looking at others, I am not a hypocrite. I know some people are destined for hell, their actions, words, and the fleet that supports them too will drown in the fury of hell fire. I am glad I am not them.

Coming closer to thirties scares me. I don’t know why. Maybe I had very high expectations from myself. Then again, I know I was very well capable of achieving them. But then life happens. I don’t know when I will get myself to accept the present, the reality, the truth. It’s like a mind block that’s become a road block.

I guess the lesson learned is to not plan beyond a year. Maybe that’s too much planning. As each day I realise that maybe it’s time for setting targets and focusing a decent amount of time on mental preparation. Being head strong is everything, with age I think we can become our own hurdle.

It’s rather odd that I have to console and tell myself that I have achieved a lot in my twenties. It’s difficult to accept them as achievements sometimes. I have so much in pending. One thing is for sure, It’s better to dream, than to not dream at all. Because it takes courage and planning and intellect to set goals for yourself. It requires insight, and passion. We don’t control circumstances, Allah does. At-least I will die struggling, and working toward a better tomorrow for myself.

Ethical education?

I have done my grad through distance education from University of Madras, and right now am enrolled in the masters prog at IGNOU. I hated the experience of the former and just am pushing myself through the masters at IGNOU.

The Indian system of distance education doesn’t satisfy the purpose nor is it as dynamic as it should be. There is no wonder that distance degrees do not hold much value, anyone and everyone can get an admission! I am specifically talking about the field of psychology. People who enter the field end up working to help other people and if their education is going to be sub-mediocre quality, we are going to have sub-mediocre quality people working in the field. Many students I know are pursuing a masters in Psychology with the plans to work with children. Every Tom, Dick and Harry wants to become a counselor, and sadly we have no quality control whatsoever by the government in this regard.

In the IGNOU masters we have to hand write assignments that will be a min of 50 sheets per subject. The assignments are nothing but a set of questions. I can not understand how that is practical for anyone who is opting for a distance course. Many applicants are not in the flow of writing so much, let’s face it we hardly write with our hands 1000s of words on a daily basis for anything!. They do not accept assignments that are typed. There’s something sad here. India isn’t the only country in the world providing a distance course, universities all over the world are. And they have assignments that are typed, well researched and intellectually igniting. Needless to say, many and I mean many students end up copying their assignments, or paying others to do them. I in-fact even received an sms from someone saying that they have the solved assignments and guides for IGNOU students. Now if that’s going to be the masters holder in the field of Psychology, I would be scared at the level of knowledge of the person.

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We have so many things that need development in our country, but if the education doesn’t improve the future never will. Therapists with such qualifications open their own counseling centers, and once you have a center no one really cares how qualified you truly are!. And this is the truth.

University of Madras has still not issued my degree, provisional certificate etc. I have the TC/Course completion certificate and original marksheets, but that’s about it. I have to constantly write LETTERS to the university, to do what should be in their protocol. Not being in the same city as the university causes great communication disadvantages. Which is why I opted for IGNOU this time around. A full time education, even though was mouth watering for me, didn’t seem like it would be practical, I am at a point in my life where I do not trust Indian education nor the teachers to do a decent job. Going back to college surrounded by youngsters high on life, wouldn’t serve the purpose for me. Intellectually stimulating environment is difficult to find here, even in an intellectual field like psychology.

My assignments are due this month, and so far I only got around to making one answer. And am not interested in submitting assignments that are stupid to begin with.I want to indulge in education, not do it so that I can add it to my name later. I see myself as someone who is so well versed with the subject that I can converse about every aspect of the field; particularly history. May not write exams this year either.Want to be sure of everything.

The sad truth is, there are students out there, eager to learn, but the country isn’t giving them the attention and practical approach needed for them to flourish. And then we complain about brain drain!

What have been your experiences with education in your respective countries/fields?

 

 

Essentials of success

There are quotes that inspire me, every-time I read or even think of them, one such quote is from former president of India Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam;

The beauty about this quote is, that it is a criteria for you to know what you’re passionate about. You won’t lose sleep over a gig or idea that you’re not interested in. It’s the things that you fantasize about, what you truly want to achieve that you can pass away your time dwelling in it.

To achieve dreams, and be successful there are several things that come into play. For me personally, it has been 1. time management and 2. facing the challenging situations/ restrictions you are in. We are living in a world where a lot of our work can be managed online and work never sleeps. People who have inspired me have been those who know when to do what. There are no timings to emails, do them early in the morning, or later at night. Make the most of the hour that is going on. That’s the major time management lesson. That’s how I understood the ‘Time is money’ idiom. Truly there’s so much that can be achieved, while people look at you and think “how you did it!”, it’s not super-power just practical thinking.

Restrictions and challenges, this is one that required me to change a bit of my personality and thought process, hence it was rather difficult. It’s a phenomenon I still struggle with, because while you will always have 24 hours in a day, you will have different issues to face each day. Unpredictable ones! As a woman, restrictions can be health, pregnancies, children etc. some of these are exclusive to us. I never had a healthy smooth sailing pregnancy so maybe that’s the reason why it was such a challenge for me, also the daughter was 28 weeks preemie! If you work from home, to get the support and understanding from the people around you s very difficult at-least initially. You will notice a lot of now accomplished YouTubers and bloggers talk about what they faced in their initial days, but as they pick momentum people around them started to understand.

I came across this video some time back, and well that’s what inspired this post really. I thought to myself, there are plenty things I want to achieve, in terms of goals. But there are some I have already achieved and am successful in, the thoughts made me ponder over what got me the success with my Sunday school, and in other things in life. And came this post, with my two findings of true success.

Criteria for me will always be to be able to sacrifice everything except your morals and family for your dream. If you’re at that level, where you can give up sleep, a meal or two, a splurge purchase, just so that you get a teeny tiny step closer to your dream, then you’re going good, and you’re going strong. What are your secrets to success?

 

 

 

A little inspiration

Gobble down some coffee after opening your fast and YouTube one of your favourite subscribers to chill. I have a tonne of work to do, I have two teacher training workshops coming up, the madrasa starts on 3rd July, my uni classes start on 2nd July and have a pending post of Himalaya, the product stares me everyday. Story telling sessions lined up for my internship, and while I contemplate the to-do list in my head, I went on to Fleurs YouTube channel after a very long time to just chill.

And after watching a couple of videos I stumbled upon this one. And even though she’s basically just talking about herself, and working as a full time YouTuber, I found some inspiration to focus on the tasks I have at hand (Which as I enlisted are MANY).

I admire people who are freelancers, or their own bosses. There’s something more demanding about a job like that, you have to be super organised and constantly prove to yourself that you are just as inspired as you were in the beginning.

In life we may find inspiration from and in people, places, a simple quote, an image just about anything, but the real challenge is always to maintain that level of passion. Especially if you do multiple things, and have multiple responsibilities, it gets rather difficult. Not because the to-do list is longer, but because you have to constantly prioritise everything on that to-do list.

Here’s where my struggle usually lies. Should I first finish work, or blog? should I cook now and then do laundry? Shall I take a nap or stay up and finish the reading work. Add to that parenting and well you’re set for a busy busy schedule.

I liked from this video that she decided to show the side of life of a YouTuber that isn’t all glam. That isn’t as materialistic, and makes you appreciate the efforts that go into any job. The  most successful and richest, people in the world struggle, it’s just that their struggles are not what are photographed and talked about. We only see the greener grass, or rather are shown the greener part of the grass.

What I have learned from expereince is that it is important for us to take time out and ask ourselves every few months if we really truly want the things that we are working toward?, are we really getting there or getting side-tracked? Because as we evolve we may not want the same things from life, and it’s better to know sooner rather than later. It is important for all of us to maintain a balance in personal and professional life, just what our goals in general are, and stick to our decisions. Being aimless is the most disastrous thing a human can do for himself.

It’s always good to hear, watch success stories. And it makes me genuinely happy that people are open to share about their experiences, and inspire others.

 

ENTJ and career planning

Back in Nov or December when my counseling course at HAP was coming to an end we did a personality assessment. The MBTI is well-known and reliable personality test. I already knew I was an ENTJ as I had already done the test online ages ago, and wasn’t surprised when the result was the same. The only thing was, this one gave clear scores, and I actually am equally an ENTP and I am and ENTJ. However I identify myself more as an ENTJ. I think over the course of the past few years I have become organised and like structure in my life, maybe I didn’t recognize how much I wanted it then, but now it’s definitely clear.

MBTI Results

Haphazard living is great during vacation or when you’re taking a break. I tend to work on an inhuman level till I exhaust myself and then crave a long break, to not just unwind, but get energized for another hectic few months or year. I like it this way; I don’t like slow pace anything. Maybe that has to do with the little bit of hyperactivity that I possess.

This is one of reasons why I do not like having a job. The In-time, Out-time life. I prefer freelancing at my own convenience, working hard on one project then taking a breather. Seldom is it only one project though. I have a couple of things that go on simultaneously, and to that I add the freelance ventures. Storytelling is added to my repertoire and it’s amazing to mingle with students and through a story connect with them, build a relationship, because the stories I tell are interactive in nature, both the listeners and I get to know each other through the process.

Coming back to being Extroverted, Intuitive, Thinking and Judging, I wasn’t surprised to see Psychologist in the list of careers. Definitely on the right track! I am currently half way through my 1st year of masters, and while I am thinking Counseling Psychology would be the ideal specialization for me, I can’t help revisiting the option of clinical psychology. The issue is just the commitment and work that needs to go into each. The second year is going to be one hectic year. And I am already finding it difficult to discipline myself for the TMAs of year 1. Well, there’s no excuse, everything has to get done. What I have realised though, is that I want to explore teaching. But not haphazard, pre-primary teacher type, but only in my field. Hence, I am going to attempt the UGC NET in July 2017, which is when I will be qualified to do so. The end goal is research in educational psychology. I have a weird relationship with counseling right now, while I have been told that I do possess certain skills to be a great therapist, I don’t believe I am quite there yet, or if I would ever be at that stage of satisfaction. One thing I know for sure is that counseling adults will never be my thing.

I have told myself one thing, that has totally changed my view on careers and motivates me everything I remind myself, that I am young and will be young till 70. After 70 is when thoughts of ‘I should chill and slow down’ should come into my mind. Till then, I need not create hurdles of “age” for myself. So what if I am not the ideal state in my life as I would want? As long as I still want it, things will happen.

The sheep in the herd

One amongst many, all doing their degrees and masters and just the same. While this first sentence may resonate with you on many levels, I am talking about the field of Psychology, mainly counseling.

India doesn’t have quality control in this regard, in Hyderabad alone there’s a school pooping up every month, all wanting a school counselor to complete the over all services of the school. It is mandatory for schools to have a counselor, it is important that the students get that kind of support, not just for remedial help, but for emotional health.

But where do we get ourselves registered? Who should a counselor go to for quality check? We do not have a counseling Association, that can license therapists in the field. Anyone who is interested in psychology is able to and allowed to pursue a full masters degree in the field, but no quality control. Passion, and inner wants drive people into the field, some come into it for money (just like in any other field). You will also find courses in counseling taught by people who may have been in the field but do not hold the qualification to be organising such courses. Who is to stop them? Who asks what their PhD is in? we are merely impressed by the ‘Dr.’ in front of their name and presume they may have attained it in counseling, or child psychology…

I have a belief. Just because you have been in a particular field for xyz years doesn’t make you a professional in it. Yes, it’s partly the fault of the country that we do not have a council to keep track and license our counselors, but it doesn’t stop the frustration.I wish to be recognized for my efforts, I wish to me known because I am valuable everywhere in the world not in one country or city. I believe it is important for us to try to reach that level of [proficiency if we want ourselves to be called a part of a field. Right now counselors have it easy in India, I can speak more about Hyderabad, it’s all about generating good clientele. What the client expects from the therapist, what he gets from the therapist is upto the client to decide, but the client has no clue how to pick a reliable one in the first place, they do not even know what to expect from a counseling session! This is even more dangerous when people deal with children and don’t even know the basic skills of counseling children. The intention may have been good, but many children get scarred for life by poor counseling, they lose hope, and trust in adults all together.

Point being? I rather not be in the field till the field decides to give importance to those who are not just passionate about helping people, but hold the qualification and skills needed for the job. I rather do something else in the field, or try to get recognition in another country. Universal recognition. Quality control, not money making.

 

 

Dr.Peter Kranz on Psychodrama at Roshni Counseling Center

Exposure, that’s what I think about every time there is a workshop in the city. Seminars and workshops held specifically for the people of psychology field help us in building network, sharing our knowledge and learning a tonne of new things along the way. I was super excited when Dr.Jayanti shared the invite of a session on psychodrama hosted by Roshni Counseling Center by Dr.Peter Kranz (professor at University of Texas Rio Grande Valley) who is visiting from USA.

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Having done storytelling, I was all the more interested, I want to explore how drama, and storytelling can help in healing. Psychodrama is mainly aimed at bringing about insight by enacting past behaviours. It is a spontaneous technique of psychotherapy, and can help people of all ages.

Psychodrama 1

For me the experience of being in a seminar like such helps in building insight. It’s not just for the purpose of learning, as psychologists or therapists/counselors it’s important to constantly be on a journey of developing insight about yourself. We are complex, ever evolving creatures, a mystery for us to resolve forever. Me being interested in research, I make a conscious effort to observe people around me, understand myself. Psychodrama helps in that, as a group therapy technique it’s interesting fun and has a seamless approach to addressing issues which otherwise would be difficult to deal with. Psychodrama was founded by Jacob L.Moreno.

The most insightful moment for me was through a simple activity wherein we were to pick an age where we were the most happiest. Chairs were placed in a line, each representing an age  (10,20s,30s,40s etc). And for me the happiest and fun was 10 and most difficult was the 20s. Well I am still in my 20s so don’t have anywhere to go beyond that, but hearing the peoples reasons for choosing the age groups they did made me realise there’s a long life still for me to lead. The lovely women, so empowered who were present in the session were talking about how satisfied they are in their late 30s or 40s, and for most 20s has been a period of struggle. So I am not alone!. And now I look forward to growing older and experiencing my 30s and learning more, and achieving more in life. Don’t know why I had created this mental block that the 20s are the time to achieve everything, and that everything in life will go downhill from there. The beauty of it all is that this activity was not a true session, we were all strangers, and it was Dr.Kranz’s demonstration of initial activities, and but how it helped me, and many others is phenomenal. This shows that psychodrama in its essence has a lot to give to participants.

Will definitely be exploring psychodrama and also a person to mention here is Susan Perrow who is a storyteller and writer who helps parents, teachers, and psychologists in healing patients through stories. It was through Deepa Kiran that I came to know about her, and am going to learn more about her techniques of healing. Her website has plenty resources and information on what she does.

If you’re a therapist, there’s another session on the 3rd of June, hosted by Roshni Counseling Center at 9AM, led by Dr.P.Kranz on stress management. You can simply register yourself by calling the centers numbers: 040 66661117/1118.

Times running out!

That’s what I have been telling myself since I can remember. Since my marriage actually. 2008. All I could think of was how much I was missing out on what my peers were doing. Well they were studying, working hard on their education. And while I started my graduation in 2010 after Batool was born, I still felt bad that I was behind my peers.

It took me some time to realise that ‘better late than never’ is a good philosophy to adapt. Now while I pursue my masters, many of my friends have stopped at their graduation and are working. Working away, working hard. While many of them may have an ultimate direction, most of them are just caught up in the job circle. Where I wish to not be stuck for the rest of my life.

I have constantly found myself asking “what have you accomplished?” that question haunts me, while I do genuinely keep moving forward, there seems to always get lost, seem to always never be satisfied. I have realised that is because I do not want to do the ordinary. I keep myself busy and involved enough to be able to update my CV every month at-least with some professional development, I am constantly thinking about the next opportunity to do a course, or attend a workshop to broaden my horizon of possibilities. Few minutes ago I came across this article which talks about the true hard-work required during your twenties.

‘Once you become an Actual Rich Person, with a business drowning in opportunities but short on talent and you deal regularly in financial figures that contain more than one comma, you start to see how this works. It’s easy to have a successful business if you can find really smart people who are willing to do really hard work for you, in exchange for a high salary. But all these younger people seem to just want to sit around and network and have cocktails. All the hard workers already run their own company.’

Reading the above lines of the article made me realise that I have been wanting results way faster than it’s humanly possible. I have certain limitations and challenges that are exclusive to me. Life is difficult, and while I am still in my twenties it’s a safe enough zone to focus on hard-work and aim for results maybe in the 30s. I will turn 27 this July. The problem is to find that pause button, the ‘take a deep breath’ zone so that I am able to recharge and get back into the drift of things.

I think part of my understanding has to now be the fact that I can’t resist adding more and more responsibilities, and expectations on myself. It’s just how I am wired. I work very hard, exhaust myself and crave for a break, and then get back into the cycle of madness. But maybe this time the goals have to be clearer. Maybe now a timeline of achievement has to be marked. No matter what, Multi-tasking is a skill I have command over, the more I do, the more time I am able to make for more things, the more I become organised. The more stationery I have an excuse to buy 😉

Somewhere we all live under expectations from ourselves that are beyond our capacity. These could be related to our family responsibilities, work, education, everyday chores etc. The point is to master the art to edit out, be patient and be human in all of it. I guess this is something that will always be a part of my life, maybe I will never find a place in my life where I would be doing only one or two things without craving for more. At this point I believe accepting it as a positive thing is the only way to be happy about it.

Let there be sanity!!