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Gentle Reminders

February 11, 2010

photo credit: admiller

I have some very well-meant post ideas bumbling about in my head, but alas, school and work are calling, at least until the weekend, during which I shall make time for longer posts insha’Allah. In the meantime, because I am in relaxed pre-sleepytime mode and have been thinking about these subjects today, I would just like to post on two activities – ways of life, really – about which I hold quite strong convictions: naptime and playtime. (After prayertime, these are the most important times of the day.)

I have not, sadly, had time to indulge in naptime of late, so perhaps I am not the best person to be holding forth on the subject, but I am something of an expert. At the very least, if one cannot have a relaxing nap here or there, I must insist on the wonderfulness of pre-bedtime decaffeinated hot tea/cocoa (I am combining the best of both worlds and having chocolate tea at the moment) as well as relaxing baths, foot soaks, self-massages, etc. I am also a big proponent of comfy bedding. I mean, after all, we spend a scary amount of our whole lives in bed.

The other subject of which I think everyone needs a daily reminder is playtime. It will save your life (no, really). This is on my mind since earlier, even though I really didn’t feel like going back out in the snow and ice, I went to a watercolor painting class. I haven’t painted in awhile because, well, life gets in the way, and so does perfectionism (something at which I excel, ironically enough, being imperfect at everything and anxious by nature). But it reminded me how much we as human beings are meant to be creative. And have fun. My personal favorite playtime activities are swinging and coloring. (This is also on my mind because I got a new coloring book for the first time in a long time today.) I think, especially when we have kids of our own or are taking care of others’ or are just swamped in school and work, that we forget having fun is not just for people under the age of 12.

For those who are still taking baby steps on the playtime path, and feel the need to be accomplishing something/learning something useful whilst playing, I have found it helpful to start out with an educational coloring book. (My personal favorites are the Anatomy and Geography coloring books.)

And there’s just something magical about a brand new box of crayons. I mean, really.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 11, 2010 10:22 am

    Two thoughts:

    First, that actually reminds me of a medical student friend who has anatomy colouring books for the BRAIN and how she said it really helps, and then when you’re doing a practical, you kind of imagine the colours on the brain.

    I’m not sure if that has a symbolic meaning or not, but there you go XD

    Second, I’ve just started an Islamic Counselling course thing that someone was kind enough to donate me their place for, and the doctor mentioned something either Ibn Taymiyyah or Imam al-Ghazali said (okay, we’re going a bit wide with those guesses, I need to check my notes XD), that your time should be divided into three: 1) worship (‘ibadah), 2) working for your livelihood and 3) recreation. The doctor mentioned that recreation is the oft-forgotten one for Muslims. Which is interesting as a point, because it means that even your recreation can be transformed into a meritable act of worship, if you consider it as a part of your wellbeing and health.

    The key thing is balance – when any one of those three are out of balance, so begins a slide into ‘mental illness’ (not your diagnostic kind, but the life-out-of-balance/koyaanisqatsi kind). And that neglect of spirituality (the worship element), with the deficit made up by the other two, is the imbalance symptomatic of the secular world.

    Heavy thoughts for an early morning. XD

  2. February 12, 2010 2:08 am

    ooh, this is all so true. naps are pretty much unheard of in my life, except for the ones i help others get, but playtime is so powerful. i watch my kids play like it’s their job (it is!) and wonder how adults forget that play is fun and valuable and just awesome! playing with them is my ticket into another world, and they happily let me in.
    khadija, i like the three you mentioned very much. it’s a good way to picture things and not forget what’s important in the face of a long list of things to take care of.

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