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Untangling the Knots




It’s a funny thing, life. The more you think about it, the less it makes sense. But that’s just how it is. I’ve come to terms with the fact that not everything is a mystery waiting to be deciphered. Not everything is a challenge waiting to be taken on. Some things can just, be. And that’s a hard thing to accept. To reach a place where you aren’t constantly overwhelmed by the desire to dissect every single thing until the unknown becomes comfortable territory.

Because life really does make us want to keep pushing. It brings us down to the ground and makes us want to push back up with all our might, but we don’t always need to do this. We don’t always need to cause ourselves such deep suffering. It is okay to take the easy way out from time to time. In fact, if I remember correctly, it is of our Prophetic tradition to take the easy road when faced with two options (read more about that here). Now, I don’t think I remember the full logic behind it, but if I use my version of logic, it makes sense that we are probably better versions of ourselves when we’re not constantly burning out trying to fight the good fight.

But the Prophetic tradition is an important one. It tells us that there is something to be taken away from everything that life has to offer, and if we don’t pay enough attention, we’ll miss even the biggest life lessons. And so, in keeping with the traditions of our beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), I try to make every moment a learning experience because the truth is, we are all our own teachers. We are the ones who are paving the way for divine guidance to shape ourselves and though we might not always feel like a teacher in the most typical sense of the word, this is a better way to explain what I’m getting at:

The teacher isn’t really a teacher. The teacher is a mirror. With a good pure source of light, we are all teachers.

Isaaq Mohammed

Over the years, I’ve spoken to you about a variety of things I’ve learnt from life. From drastic changes to our banal realities, I’ve probably touched on them all, so forgive me for always repeating myself, but untangling the knots in some Eid decor was a truly profound learning curve that I didn’t anticipate. Let me give you some context. I have a whole bunch of moon and star hanging decorations which I absolutely adore, but unfortunately for someone like me who has shaky hands, they also come on a very very thin string and are prone to getting tangled.

On this particular occasion, the strings had gotten tangled to the point that they felt stuck and only a really strong tug would take them apart – the problem with this however was that the tug would most probably tear the string and I wanted to avoid this at all costs. So, I set off. Both adamant and determined that I would be able to untangle this knot if I was patient enough and tried hard enough. But, an hour went by like that. Sat with my legs folded under me and my back hunched over this colossal (not really, but it felt that way) mess, I was sure that persistence was key.

Often, my sister-in-law or mother came over and said “Ayesha, give up now, not everything needs to be fixed”, but I refused to listen. Like life, I knew if I kept giving it my all and trying to iron out the kinks then eventually it’ll all work out. Like life, if I just convinced myself it’s not time to throw in the towel then it’d all be fine. It would all work. Everything would fall into place.

But, I was wrong – as I so often am.

I remember my mother coming over and saying something I don’t think I’ll ever forget:

I know it hurts to give up, but you have to know when to cut the cord. That’s part of growing up.

I fought it at first. How could I just cut the string after putting in this much time and effort? But, it made sense. I hated it, but it made sense. The more I struggled to untangle these knots, the worse I was making them. The more I tugged, the deeper the knot settled in. With a heavy heart and a deep sigh, I took my scissors and cut straight through the string.

The relief that washed over me in the moment that followed was everything I needed to know that it does not always pay to be the one who stays, or the one who persists despite the odds. Sometimes life just is, and you have to roll with it. If cutting the cord is what needs to be done (despite how you feel about it), then it’s what needs to be done. If, despite the investments, moving forward with a clean break is what is needed, then that’s it. That’s the way forward. Do what you need to do.

May we all be guided towards that which is right for our hearts, minds, and souls. May we see the wisdom even in the worst of situations, but most importantly, may our hearts be soft enough in love for Him to be able to let go even when every fibre in our being is screaming not to.

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Ayesha Khanom

Sometimes a teacher, sometimes a student, but mostly caffeinated. This blog is a terrible attempt at writing out my thoughts - think of it as the 'comments, complaints, and suggestions' section of my brain. Nevertheless, I hope that some of these words will find a place in your heart and will stay with you even when I do not. If you'd like to get in touch, send me a message on Instagram or leave a comment on one of these posts and I'll get back to you at the best possible time.

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