Thursday, March 3, 2011


Good Morning,

I am sitting on the floor of my apartment. All my roommates are asleep... It's 7:40am, but I've been awake for the last 3-4 hours, grading, studying, thinking, contemplating, drinking coffee, texting, paying bills and so forth. I have all these thoughts roaming around my head and I don't have a clue how to organize them. Take a look at my daily planner.... trust me... I can barely organize that!
Recently, someone asked me, 'Reem, how do you do it all?'

First, I don't know what the infamous 'all' is... and secondly, 'what do I do, in order to know how?'

We've been discussing in the last couple of weeks in my Islam and the Challenges of Modernity class the question of agency, the question of engagement vs. disengagement, the question of grafting and transplantation of ideologies onto people, the question of ontology (the state of being) 'of that which is'. All of this takes me back to the question that repeatedly gets asked to me... how do you do it all... and my conclusion is this.... it's all relative. I know, I know, I maybe somewhat post-modernist, but it is really all relative, both from the 'doer' as well as 'the observer'.

The other day, someone asked me 'why don't you ever do anything?' And at that moment I was shocked, floored really. I couldn't believe that someone thought that I did nothing. It made me realize, that you just need to be. Descartes said "I think, therefore I am", but for me it boils down to "I am, therefore I am" ... Who cares what I think? Who cares what you think? Who cares what is perceived? It comes down to doing something, recognized or not, accepted or not, witnessed or not.

The question should not be, what would Jesus do, or what would Muhammad do, or what would your mom or dad do, or none of the above. It's WHAT WOULD YOU DO? Because, it boils down to you. Your actions, your thoughts, your beliefs, YOU.

Who cares about how I do things? Does it really make a difference? What I do, works for me, because I know myself really well.

My post is about this.... Get to know yourself. I mean it. This sounds silly, but the reality is, most people don't know themselves. What would you do in any given situation? How would you react? How have you reacted in the past, that may set your personal precedent? What are your priorities? What are the principles that guide your personal perspective of life?

Who gives a flying hoot how old, how much, or why I may do something? Think about yourself. What can you do?

I realized that I have stumbled upon the best career a person can have. That is teaching. I LOVE hearing people's thoughts and perspectives. And I constantly get to listen to people discover themselves over and over again. I have been blessed with the opportunity to be a witness to those thoughts, and I will cherish them forever. If any of my students (former or current) read this, I'd like to say, you need to ask yourself the fundamental question 'what would you do?' because your actions boil down to you.

Anyway, I didn't mean to get all philosophical, maybe its sitting cross-legged on the floor, in a room with very little furniture. Maybe its something else.

So ,find yourself, be yourself, ask yourself, 'what would you do?'... Just be. "I am, therefore I am"


KenyanKid417 said...

I'm so glad you've found something fulfilling in life. I've observed that those who have a center/vocation/avocation accomplish more.Frost writes, in his famous poem "two tramps in mud time:"

My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.
Only where love and need are one,
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed ever really done
For Heaven and the future's sakes.

Thanks for the inspiration.

nocturnal_thoughts said...

Oh man Reem we need another 5hr plus road trip! I miss our discussions!


EmptyWords said...

I think once you get to know yourself... you stop trying to be like others. You just become yourself.