Thursday, March 26, 2009

"Streams Are the Gathering of Drops:" How Are You Using Your Minutes and Hours?

Time is one of the greatest blessings that God has given to human beings. This is a blessing that most of us waste. I have been guilty of this as well.

In the Quran, God reprimands unbelievers for wasting their lives in a state of disbelief, despite the blessing of longevity that He bestowed upon them:

"And for those who disbelieve, for them is Fire of hell; it is not finished with them so that they should die, nor is chastisement thereof lightened to them. Thus We deal retribution on every ungrateful one.

And therein they cry for succour: Our Lord, take us out! we will do good deeds other than those which we used to do! Did We not give you a life long enough, for him to be mindful who would mind? And there came to you the warner. So taste; because for the iniquitous there is no helper."

Quran: 35:36-37.

What strikes me about this verse isn't so much the chastisement of disbelievers. It's God's disapproval of the wasting of time: "Did We not give you a life long enough . . . ?"

How many people meet death with regrets. "If only I could do it over again . . . If I had just a little bit longer . . ."

How many of us already have regrets over how we've spent large portions of our lives? Which is another form of loss because it poisons the blessings of the present moment that we've been granted.

In another chapter of the Quran, God vows by Time, and warns us that we will be in a state of loss if we don't use it properly:

"By the time!----
Surely man is in loss,
Except those who believe and do good, and exhort one another to Truth, and exhort one another to patience."

Quran: 103:1-3.

From the book, The Value of Time, by Shaykh Abd Al-Fattah Abu Ghuddah:

"There is nothing more true or beautiful than what Imam Bahauddin ibn an-Nahhas al-Halabi (Muhammad ibn Ibrahim), who died in 698 AH, may Allah have mercy on him, wrote, indicating that by doing a little regularly it adds up to an immense and amazingly great amount, as in the case of Abu'l-Wafa ibn Aquil. He wrote in the biography of al-Suyuti in Bughyat al-Wu'at:

'To do a thing today, and the same tomorrow
Gathering is the essence of knowledge
Thus one may achieve wisdom
For streams are but the gathering of drops'"

The Value of Time, pg. 31.

Streams are but the gathering of drops. The minutes and hours that you spend every day doing things that are not moving you toward your wildest dreams will gather into a stream called "years." A polluted stream. One filled with regrets. If you're not careful with how you spend your time, it will result in a lifetime of regrets.

"Did We not give you a life long enough . . . ?"

Truth be told, most African-American women are keeping themselves busy with activities that are NOT moving them closer to achieving their wildest dreams. Most of these activities revolve around doing things for non-reciprocating others.

"Did We not give you a life long enough . . . ?"

God gave us "lives long enough" to move closer to our goals. It's up to us to use these everyday minutes and hours wisely.

It's not enough to divest from people who are not making positive, reciprocal contributions to our lives. This, by itself, won't make our wildest dreams come true. This, by itself, won't be enough to save our own lives.

We must also be wise with how we spend the blessing of time. We must divest from activities that are not moving us toward the abundant lives that are our birthright.

Among other things, I've divested from bringing work home, unless it's an absolute emergency (and I do everything I can to make such emergencies rare).

What are you going to divest from?

20 comments:

Chi-Chi, The Original Wombman said...

Words to the wise!

When I get up in the morning to meditate and exercise, I have stopped turning on the computer. I get too easily sucked in to checking e-mail, reading blogs, checking forums, researching this and that and the time clicks away. Before I know it, I'm rushing through everything before my children wake up. So I don't. I make sure to use the precious alone moments I have to do what is really important. Everything else must wait. I also take a one day break from the computer altogether and I'm amazed at how much more I get out of those days.

I recently came to really understand and incorporate the concept of tapas (which basically means disciplined use of one's energy) into my life. It means really being aware of the energy and time you spend on things that are fruitless. Christ cursed fruitless trees. I know the story. Heard it all my life. But I'm finally "getting" why he did.

Khadija said...

Greetings, Chi-Chi!

You said, "When I get up in the morning to meditate and exercise, I have stopped turning on the computer...I also take a one day break from the computer altogether and I'm amazed at how much more I get out of those days."

Good for you! I also periodically detach from the electronic gadgets of all sorts (computer, tv, radio, etc.).

I believe that we also need to divest in terms of how we use whatever amount of time that we spend online.

In this context, I'm calling on everyone to DIVEST from visiting, or God forbid, commenting on Internet Ike Turner and Ikette sites (including YouTube videos).

When you participate in that madness, you help perpetuate it. It's so much better to invest your online time into productive things that will actually enhance your life.


BW are the ones feeding oxygen and energy to those sites. Why in the world are you doing that? I would imagine that some of you believe that you're over there fighting the good fight. No. All you're doing is giving sustaining energy to lunatics.

Let the Ikes' and Ikettes' sites wither away from starvation. Let them slip away into COMPLETE obscurity. STOP feeding the trolls! (LOL!)

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

roslynholcomb said...

This is why I watch very little television. During the day I have my radio or CD player on, mostly to music that's 30+ years old. My son and I dance spontaneously when something comes on that we like. We have a few cartoons that we watch together. Other than that I have very little media in my home. I read magazines like Oprah, Martha Stewart, Real Simple and Prevention. I don't do 'fashion' magazines, especially not Essence.

To me, our home is a sanctuary, a place to revitalize our energy and feel secure. When you let the madness in you're literally defiling your temple.

When we first got married my husband refused to have a tv in our bedroom. At first I was bothered because at that time I was accustomed to watching tv before bed. He was so right. Now we read or talk, or just cuddle before falling asleep. It's absolutely stellar.

Years ago I remember getting into a major argument with someone on one of the interracial websites who insisted on going to an anti-bw site and then posting what was said there on our site. It used to drive me insane. What exactly was the point? Those are hate sites, reading that garbage serves no purpose other than to make you feel bad. I've always felt that people that fool of hate are demonically possessed and a demon seeks to pollute all it touches. Why then would I give them any opportunity to touch me? I refuse to give them that power.

Aisha said...

I too came to the realization a while back that the computer really can be a huge drain of time and energy. It's so easy to log on for a few minutes and end up spending hours. However, I don't consider the time I spend on sites such as this to be a waste-I feel like they are online classes, lol.

It definitely helps to do the most important things first. I suppose that goes for anything in life.

Regarding those ITT sites and videos, for the most part I forget they exist, unless they are mentioned or I happen to stumble upon them. I am so busy reading this blog, Reverend Lisa's etc. that I don't have time or the inclination to pay attention to those clowns.

ActsofFaithBlog said...

This is a great continuation of the divestment theme. Once we leave the leeches behind we do have to fill up those slots with something productive. It has to be small consistent steps though so it will become a permanent change. I have to say about the internet/computer time: had I not invested that time I would've missed out on finding the BW empowerment blogs and others who've gone against the grain of conformity.

blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com said...

Hello there Khadija!

It is SO important that black women get control of their time.

My father once said that the person who dictates your TIME ultimately defines who/what you will eventually become.

I've seen sistas whose lives revolve around their careers.

Oprah said that her obsessive overachieving was applauded by all but was actually based on deep-seated feelings of unworthiness.

We are often applauded for setting priorities that seem noble but are really based on UNMET NEEDS. Oprah helped to shed light on that by confessing her own issues.

One of my friends needed surgery and didn't schedule it for a year because of the demands of her prominent career. She works 18 hour days six days a week and makes a ton of money and has no time to even enjoy the money she has accumulated.

If you speak with her, her mind is always racing and her thoughts are just running together constantly. She thinks no one can detect it.

I sleep 60-70 hours a week and I am in prayer/worship/meditation at least three hours a day.

I have met sooo many women who think that lying in bed if you aren't sleeping is a waste of time! *shaking my head*

Quality rest is not a waste of my time. For some people, rest means being asleep. Sometimes, we need to just be still and rest our minds and remain awake.

I've met so many ladies who think it is sooo noble to put all of their time into their children. I hear women in church saying, "I live for my kids!" and they think that sounds so honorable. It doesn't. It sounds like a person who doesn't have BALANCE in fostering an identity.

Being a mother should not become the CORE identity that a woman has. Being a wife should not become the CORE identity that a woman has.

The issue of time also needs to be examined from the standpoint of our accessibility to others...

I do not permit my friends to call me any time of night and I do not accept personal phone calls EVERY day and all of my friends know it. They all know the days that I will take personal calls. This allows me to preserve my time and it demonstrates that I will not allow the need for others to speak with me control how my evenings are spent.

Ladies, how many people do you know who answer their cell EVERY time it rings? Just because someone wants to talk does not mean you have to drop everything to see what they want.

As for the time we spend online, Khadija, I give you high fives for mentioning that issue of feeding the trolls!

There are plenty of bloggers who create posts like "black women like felons" and "black women need to diet" and "black women are desperate" just to bring hysterical rants from black women.

The people who create these posts love to sit back and laugh at the comment section! They set out the bait and then watch the roaches scramble to their blog.

Why continue to give these blogs any attention? Some of these blogs that have these posts receive 100+ neck-snapping, hands-on-hips retorts from black women.

Please. Stop. The. Madness.

Some sistas feel that it is THEIR mission online to tell everyone off who needs it...but what is going on with a person emotionally that they feel obsessed with telling off everyone they don't agree with?

Truly, that is a waste of time!

Do you notice a baby will cry if just anything is upsetting to them? I think that some women do not realize that they are still operating with that mentality of emotional infancy. Any offense produces a loud outcry and stomping of feet.

Just because someone is sharing an opinion does not mean it is worth a second of our mental energy.

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!
Lisa

DeStouet said...

I have to mediate on your question and get back to you later. You asked "What are you going to divest from?" and in order for me to answer that question honestly, I am going to have to re-evalutate some things and then I'll be able to give a well thought out answer.

Great question!

Khadija said...

Greetings, Roslyn!

You said, "To me, our home is a sanctuary, a place to revitalize our energy and feel secure. When you let the madness in you're literally defiling your temple.

...I've always felt that people that fool of hate are demonically possessed and a demon seeks to pollute all it touches. Why then would I give them any opportunity to touch me? I refuse to give them that power."


Exactly!
_____________________

Greetings, Aisha!

You said, "I too came to the realization a while back that the computer really can be a huge drain of time and energy. It's so easy to log on for a few minutes and end up spending hours. However, I don't consider the time I spend on sites such as this to be a waste-I feel like they are online classes, lol.

It definitely helps to do the most important things first. I suppose that goes for anything in life."


Yes, the trick is to focus one's attention on things that are HELPING you enhance one's life.
_________________________

Greetings, Faith!

You said, "This is a great continuation of the divestment theme."

Yes, I'm following Rev. Lisa's lead and making a point of using the "D" word!

You said, "Once we leave the leeches behind we do have to fill up those slots with something productive. It has to be small consistent steps though so it will become a permanent change. I have to say about the internet/computer time: had I not invested that time I would've missed out on finding the BW empowerment blogs and others who've gone against the grain of conformity."

I agree. That's why I find it so difficult to understand why folks are feeding the trolls. Even if I had the interest (which I don't---yawn), I wouldn't have the time to follow that sort of madness.

There are so many sources of literally life-enhancing information to seek out and digest. In this context, who has time for that sort of mess? Correction: Who makes time for that sort of mess? And why?
________________

Greetings, Lisa!

You said, "It is SO important that black women get control of their time.

My father once said that the person who dictates your TIME ultimately defines who/what you will eventually become."


This is critical. BW need to understand that time is another LEVER OF CONTROL. The use and misuse of time indirectly controls all sorts of things in life. In fact, the use/misuse of time controls what, if any, possibilities are open to people.

Black folks see examples of this every day that we refuse to take heed of. It's not that Asians are particularly smart. It's that they encourage their children to spend HOURS studying everyday. How are Black teenagers spending HOURS of their time everyday?

*HOURS are spent watching tv every day. I'm sure we're all familiar with the studies that details the number of hours Blacks spend on average watching tv each day.

*HOURS are spent playing video games.

*HOURS are spent talking on the phone.

*HOURS are spent on basketball courts.

Black children AND adults spend HOURS every day doing things that don't lead anywhere productive. And we wonder why we don't get anywhere in life.

Lisa, as you pointed out, a more subtle problem is people investing time in things that appear productive, but don't lead to anything truly MEANINGFUL in life. Some of these things (being a workaholic, a gravedigger-mommy) etc. are socially acceptable and even praised.

There is NO balance in this behavior. There is certainly NO opportunity to even try to reach for the transcendent in this behavior. This is the life of deaf and dumb pack mule; a life unworthy of a human being created by God to seek the transcendent.

You said, "As for the time we spend online, Khadija, I give you high fives for mentioning that issue of feeding the trolls!"

Thanks, Lisa!

You said, "There are plenty of bloggers who create posts like "black women like felons" and "black women need to diet" and "black women are desperate" just to bring hysterical rants from black women.

The people who create these posts love to sit back and laugh at the comment section! They set out the bait and then watch the roaches scramble to their blog."


I'm sure the trolls find it deeply amusing to know that they can CONTROL so many BW through their emotions. Just like puppet masters. The trolls pull the strings with inflammatory statements, and many BW jerk about.

I join your call to:

"Please. Stop. The. Madness."


You said, "Just because someone is sharing an opinion does not mean it is worth a second of our mental energy."

True. And I believe that this also ties into many BW's self-image. It wouldn't occur to me to interact with, much less respond to, these trolls. They are irrelevant. What they think about anything is irrelevant.
_______________

Hello there, DeStouet!

I'm delighted to hear that you're meditating on the question. I believe that it's VITAL that we divest from activities that are not moving us closer to what's really important to us.

As the author of the book The 4-Hour Workweek" points out, true productivity comes from eliminating useless activities. NOT from trying to cram more "busyness" into one's schedule.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

DeStouet said...

When I first read this post I actually thought, at this moment, there is nothing else I need to get rid of.

I have taken inventory of the things in my life that were worth maintaining and I have cut off the necessary folks that were draining to me.

I'm in a really rich place -and quite frankly- I just want to marinate in this feeling.

For far too long, I have wrestled and fought to get away from people who were not positive and encouraging. As it turns out, it was mostly my family members.

Since I have completely cut them off, I have found so much time and energy to invest in myself. There is not a shadow of a doubt in my mind, if I were to start speaking with some of my family members again, I would immediately stop focusing on myself.

So at the moment, I am still taking stock and enjoying this freedom I have.

I have been having fun and been able to experiment with this new life style change (diet, strength training, and stretching). It's not as grueling as I'd imagine it would be if I was still in constant contact with a bunch of folks.

I am more aware of the needs of the people in my home. And the most beautiful thing about it all is that I have been so firm in my decision to remove those damaged people from my life, that when I do speak with the few positive family members I decided to remain in contact with, they don't even bring up any nonsense....none.

Everything I do in my waking hours, is getting me closer to "living my wildest dreams".

Without a doubt!

However, for the sake of this discussion if I had to pick one thing to be critical about, it would be the internet.

Although I no longer "surf" the internet or "window shop" online. In the future, I will probably narrow the amount of time I am on the internet though.

Khadija said...

Hello there, DeStouet!

Good for you! {raised fist salute} Please don't feel obligated to find something else to divest from! LOL! It IS possible to reach a point of equipoise; and if you're there right now, do continue to take the time to enjoy it.

I just know for myself that I'm not at that point. And I've got some more things that I need to divest my mental energy OUT of.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

JaliliMaster said...

Rev. Lisa hi the nail on the head concerning career, children, etc. I have noticed that alot of women use teir children as EXCUSES. They WOULD be able to make time out for themselves if they really wanted to, but they allow their lives to be taken over by other things/people. Any woman who 'lives' for someone else, be they her children, husband, career etc., need help!

Sister Seeking/Miriam/MaryAnn said...

Salam'Alaikum Khadija

: )

Another GREAT essay!

@Jalil Master

I used to be one of those women you're talking about. Of course not taking care of yourself, and managing your life is unacceptable--but some times your thinking may be distorted, and you may sincerely believe that caring for yourself beyond the basics would be neglecting your children. I also believe that conservative or traditional forms of all three major religions reinforce to a degree.

What I've learned, is that actually the complete opposite is true!

Having a peace of mind, having physical strength, feeling good about yourself, and looking the best you can given what ever resources you have actually prevents neglect IMHO.

I'm not going to live vicariously through my child or any one else for the matter.

Have a great weekend everybody.

Khadija said...

Wa Alaikum As Salaam, SisterSeeking/Miriam!

Thank you for your kind words about the post. I truly appreciate it.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

JaliliMaster said...

"Having a peace of mind, having physical strength, feeling good about yourself, and looking the best you can given what ever resources you have actually prevents neglect IMHO."




In my opinion, mothers who don't pay any attention to themselves are doing their children a disservce. Now when I say 'pay atteention to themselves', I'm not even talking about looks/appearance. What I mean is giving oneself some(sufficient) 'me time' to recuperate, rest, think and just be. If one doesn't do this, one isn't complete and whole, and can therefore not give 100% to those in their lives who might actually need it(i.e children, their marriage, etc.) The same applies to men. That's why I get VERY suspect when I see a man trying to blame his career for why he is always away from his family, acting as if he is doing it FOR his wife anf kids. Most times, it's for himself. It's usually so he can advance his career but saying that he's doing it so he can 'give his family a better life' sound more noble. That's why many don't take advantage of paternity leave even when the company makes an allowance and agrees to full pay. If they really cared, they would take advantage of it to bond with their newborn child, even if it was just for the first two weeks of their lives. Most don't. What does that tell you?
_______________________

"I'm not going to live vicariously through my child or any one else for the matter."



This is the main driving force behind most pushy parents. There is a big difference between supporting one's child, and being a pushy parent. I am not convinced that parents are unable to tell the difference, as most kids can. Hardly ever will you see a parent who was successful in their chosen field, fulfilled etc., trying to 'live' through their child. They have already done their own living, and continue to do so, and as a result, are ready to allow their children to live their own lives as well.

Foxycleopatra said...

In my opinion, when I'm asked who comes first in my relationships, I believe that I come first. A lot of people see this as selfish but I don't. I will first of all concentrate on my own emotional health and well being before I do others. Why? Well becasue if I am not emotionally healthy, how will I form emotionally healthy relationships?
I am not yet married nor do I have kids but when I do, I do not see how I can have a successful, happy, thriving, dependable and healthy marriage/reltionship with my husband/prospective partner If I myself am not emotionally sound. If I am in a mess, I will bring that into the relationsip. Also with kids, it is my opinion that when I am all over the place ( be it emotionally, psychologically etc), they could sense it and it could possibly affect them.

I know my post might seem to be drifting away a bit but it was in reference to having 'me time' and not living through or determining your happiness through the happiness of others.

Khadija said...

Greetings, Foxycleopatra!

Oh no, you didn't drift off subject. LOL! It's all connected.

Most Black folks drift through life like leaves in an ocean. They don't have plans. Life is just a series of things that happen to them. Because they're drifting, they see no need to get a grip on their usage of time.

Because they drift and live through others, they don't even think about "me" time, or what they would do with themselves during any "me" time. What was the saying I've heard? "When you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there."

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

tasha212 said...

Khadija,

I know it's been a while since I commented. Just getting back home from NYC.

When I was incollege I used to waste alot of time on what I realize now was nonsense and foolishness. After I joined my sorority, I spent alot of time partying. I also had the habit of getting into friendships that were draining of my resourses. I don't know if alot of people realize the energy and time that can be wasted on toxic friedships. How many of us have had friends who seem to keep getting in one disaster situation after another and we feel the need to bail them out everytime they get in a bad situation. This is time and energy wasted. I don't know if others have dealt with this but I know that this is something that I dealt with.

Today, I TRY I not to waste too much time, though I am a work in progress.

Peace and solidarity,

Tasha

Aphrodite said...

Hello All,

I also wanted to add for the mothers who talked about giving to themselves first so that they can have more to give to others- don't forget about the good example that you are setting for your children.

Children watch and emulate what you do and from what I have heard in healing circles- they can act out your suppressed issues.

So I am so happy that there are black children out there who get to see a good healthy model of balance and self esteem - seeing how wonderfully their mothers love and care for themselves - especially the girls.




For me I wish I had more minutes and hours. I have been told I am working all the time on something and if I am not working I am thinking/planning/worrying about what I need to be working on next.

I guess I am a taskmaster. All of this is for my benefit, but my biggest battle is consistently doing things that give me pleasure, bring me joy, or are fun - without any guilt.


So I guess I can work on divesting from feeling guilty whenever I do something that brings me joy, pleasure, and happiness. :)


I am also in the process of divesting from more people. I thought it was over. I thought it was a one time deal- but in coming to this blog my brain has developed the habit of thinking/analyzing motivations and intentions while interacting with people and Lord - I been seeing things in people that I thought were the best thing since sliced bread.

People I thought were GV are only SV or even LV because while they are ok on the surface - they have some character cracks that I never noticed before that makes them dealbreaker LV. When I met them bc they were better than the ones before - made me think I had found heaven on earth. I am sure that there are compromises in relationships and there are up and down days, but these are dealbreakers. At least this time I didn't have to get my head bust down to the white meat to see it.

So I thank you for that Khadija.


The other thing that I want to thank you for is introducing me to the art of the nuance.

Thanks to you- my burgeoning skills in this area have allowed me to shift quite a few situations to my advantage.

I am better able to establish ground rules and boundaries early on to my advantage in situations where I would have been intimidated and just gone with the flow. And because my brain is on during the whole interaction I am able to not just listen, but *quickly* discern what I am hearing and *quickly* adjust in the moment without revealing my emotional hand.

Whereas before I would reveal what I am feeling - and then do all the analyzing later- be upset and not know why- go over 10.2 million times trying to figure out why.

I have also been able to say no much more firmly and quickly - even in situations where I am afraid and intimidated.


So your blog is amazing and keep up the amazing work.

Khadija said...

Greetings, Tasha212!

You said, "When I was incollege I used to waste alot of time on what I realize now was nonsense and foolishness. After I joined my sorority, I spent alot of time partying."

That's pretty normal. It's a very unusual person who spends their time in college doing productive things. I know I didn't. LOL! Most of my time was spent drinking, partying, sketching, and reading materials OTHER than the assigned reading. The difference (between me and others who flunked out) is that I calibrated my time-wasting to match the bare minimum needed to maintain my grades.

You said, "I also had the habit of getting into friendships that were draining of my resourses. I don't know if alot of people realize the energy and time that can be wasted on toxic friedships."

In the past, I've had my share of "black hole" friendships where mental energy and other resources are sucked in; and nothing ever comes out. I praise God that I learned to move beyond investing in such situations.
____________________

Greetings, Aphrodite!

You're welcome! I'm so happy to hear that you've found something of value while visiting the blog! Alhamdulilah! [Praise God!]

{short intermission for a happy dance}

All that is of value is from God; only the mistakes are mine.

I also learn a LOT from listening to the readers who participate, such as yourself. For that, I thank you!

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

geekgrl said...

I’ve realized I divested from my best friend, which is so sad. I met him in 10th grade (a while ago) and we used to talk all the time. The divestment started nearly two years ago around the time I started visiting BWE sites, but I think that is a coincidence. The BWE sites have allowed me not to feel guilty about it.

My friend is a good guy, but he’s made and continues to make bad decisions that cause him to be LV in my eyes. Its draining and frustrating to watch, so I divest.