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About Guilt, Gratitude, & Eggs for Dinner

December 19, 2011

I don’t know about you, but I tend to be a bit of a snob when it comes to blog content. If it hasn’t been updated in a few months and offers no explanation, then frankly, I’m not impressed.

So this is what happened: I discovered two days ago that this blog has just been mentioned in Elle Arab World – and with a very postive write-up at that. The problem: Anyone who picked up the magazine over the weekend and might have been compelled to check this blog would see that the last post just before this one was published more than 3 months ago! AAaaaarrrghhh!

Click to zoom in

Elle Arab World December 2011

So what’s the deal, why haven’t I been writing? Sure, I’ve been insanely busy, busier perhaps than I’ve ever been in my life – but then I should have no lack of things to talk about. Let’s see.. I’m starting a new business in a totally new field, renovating a house, organizing a women’s’ retreat for the spring,  keeping up with my workouts, making time to spend with my little girls and hubby and to keep my household running in some semblance of order. Some….Semblance.  I’ve avoided becoming a social outcast by making an effort to see friends, support important events, and generally show up. And all this with about half my normal energy since I am about 5 months pregnant. But so what? There are women all over the world who are doing all this and more, and WITHOUT childcare, mind you – which is not my case, thank you, dear God.

So those are not the reasons why I haven’t been writing. Frankly, it’s the pressure of all of you out there actually reading what I have to say. When I started the blog, I was doing it just for me – as a personal challenge to show myself what I could come up with. If someone read it and liked it, yay! If not hey, no biggie. But then, people started reading. Acquaintances approached  me to tell say ‘I love your blog!’ (Thank you). I’ve been mentioned in a couple of magazines, front-paged on Freshly Pressed  (which brought in 5,000+ hits in 48 hours..) and I have a bunch of subscribers..(in plural, not just my mom).. and suddenly I feel this pressure to be… I don’t know…worthy!

So I’ve used ‘busy’ as my reason for not posting, but I think it’s time to admit that it’s a pretty lame excuse. It does feel great to be this engaged though. Exhausting, granted, but amazing to be creating, to see real momentum happening in my projects, to see my business starting to take shape, to see walls being torn down and rebuilt in our new apartment, to watch our kids discovering the world and to see my stomach getting bigger every day. There is growth all around me, and it’s addictive. About 18 months ago, I was trapped in a negative cycle of complaining that I didn’t have enough to do, and then feeling guilty for complaining, round and round and on and on ad nauseam. At one point, I also had a considerable amount of fear associated with taking all of this on. But in the last few months I’ve learned a really, really important lesson – several actually:

  1. Not only is it OK to want more – it’s a basic human need to want to grow, expand, and learn. We should never feel bad about that.
  2. Wanting more does NOT mean that we are not grateful for what we already have – ambition and gratitude are not mutually exclusive.
  3. There is no such thing as work/life balance. Truly, when you see these incredible multi-passionate super successful women and say “Wow, how do  they do it all?” Trust me, they’re not doing it all, at least not all on their own and not on the same day. It takes planning, asking for help when you need it, (this particular point has been a HUGE revelation to me) and the acceptance that it’s ok once in a while if the kids have scrambled eggs for dinner. They kinda like it actually.
  4. Gratitude is a powerful force. When you begin to make a regular habit of practicing gratitude on a daily basis, your perception shifts, and with it, your world.

So, since this is probably my last post for 2011, I leave you with a few thoughts.

  • Meaningful lives don’t happen by accident. Let’s find the time in the next couple of weeks to reflect on our past year, and make some big plans for the next one. For some of you, those big plans may actually involve slowing down, which is good too. Give yourself an annual review – there is a good guide here, and put a real plan in place for the next 12 months. Just the act of writing down your goals starts to put them in motion.
  • If you want to dig a little deeper into what makes you tick but find that a difficult thing to do, check this out this chapter by Danielle La Porte, she’s pretty awesome.
  • Let’s agree to catch ourselves when we get on a complaining carousel, it makes us fuzzy in the head and gets us nowhere. Step off and get some perspective. Again: ask for help.
  • And finally, practice gratitude. For little things, big things, things that haven’t even happened yet. I’ll go first: Thank you for reading. And Merry Christmas 🙂
12 Comments leave one →
  1. Natalie Honein permalink
    December 19, 2011 8:13 am

    Great to have you back Hana, and Alf Mabrouk for the pregnancy!

    • January 1, 2012 7:06 pm

      Thanks Natalie! Will be calling you for tips on how to manage a little tribe – you’re the master!:)

  2. Maria permalink
    December 19, 2011 9:51 am

    As always, Hana, great thoughts that are amazingly written!! Loved it, especially no. 2 (ambition & gratitude are not mutually exclusive :); have been in a similar cycle in the past year, so you wrapped it up real nice for me. Looking forward to more great posts in 2012 !!

    • January 1, 2012 7:07 pm

      Maria – that seems to be the line everyone liked best! I’m so glad it resonated. Happy New Year dear, and thanks for your faithful readership as always. x

  3. December 19, 2011 10:57 am

    Love your blog, Hannah!! Happy new year!!! Oooxx

  4. joumana jaamour permalink
    December 19, 2011 1:06 pm

    Hana, i wished more people would see the light too. Serving kids eggs for diner or even butter on toast for that matter will not make them malnutritious, asking for help is a way of sealing or starting friendships and wanting more is a form of self growth in any field. Love ur blog and thr fact that u open up about ur feelings of fear. That s growth in itself. Mabrouk on ur pregnancy. hope to see u soon. love j

    • January 1, 2012 7:08 pm

      Joumana – So true what you say about how asking for help is a way of sealing or starting friendships, I am seeing that more and more. Big love and Happy New Year! x

  5. Mohamed Al Edrisi permalink
    December 20, 2011 12:32 am

    Hurray ! Foiled the censors and read your prose for the end of year . Will try to hold myself back and not get to be sugary . Knew you could write , for sure , but this is really good . It takes me back to feelings I encountered when I first read Nora Ephron in the seventies .
    Will keep an eye out . You are funny , by the way .

  6. Maye F Ostowani permalink
    December 20, 2011 6:38 pm

    Read it, LOVED it, Want to read more!! Was wondering what happened; why you stopped writing … Happy to hear all’s well with you 🙂 Big kiss and Happy Holidays Sweetie xxxx

  7. January 1, 2012 7:09 pm

    Mo & Maye, Thanks so much — there will be more for sure in 2012!!

  8. January 5, 2012 7:40 am

    i miss you!!!! liked the part about gratitude!!! the universe always finds a way to squeeze that thought in when you complain a tad de trop!!!! i guess this was my wake up call!!! manyxxx and tons of love…zx

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