Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Blogging about Hardship to Ease

Blogging about Hardship to Ease is a new path that I recently took in collaboration with hal786 on BloggersUnite. The path is new, but as happens so often a number of connections to other paths became apparent. My original intent was to try to write something that fit the theme of the day.

Every person's life matters. We should share their stories, to bring ease to their lives, or know about how they got from their tough life to ease.

Trouble is that my Myers-Briggs in INTJ and I am not personally that good at the pull-the-heartstrings stories. I am though impacted by them and seem to find others that are so gifted and incorporate them into what I am writing about. I recognize the importance of imbuing stories with feeling to create greater connections.

The path hal786 asks us to travel on is a personal one of individuals sharing stories with other individuals, but the commonality of those stories helps bind us together. These stories are like the cells of a living creature in that they have life on their own, but they are able to bring a greater and more complex entity to life. These stories are what some have called the "small pages" of the Internet.

I got the idea of uniting "Small Pages" discovered on the journey from Aira of the blog It'll be alright.

It seems a small thing, I know. But the net itself is made of small pages, like mine and like the web pages of the over 10 thousand bloggers part of the Bloggers Unite. Ten thousand stories and thoughts for giving voice to 40 million refugees, for making known an association that help people for real. And to put in practice an expression I read on the Refugees United’s page and – with its simplicity – seemed to me such fundamental: spread the world.

Another important aspect of this blog has been serendipity. Now I am using the word in a very broad sense, it seems though to best describe the aspect of not only finding connections, but having those connections flow towards me without calling. It is what helps me find new connections. The most recent example is that yesterday my niece sent my wife the YouTube video Children Full Of Life. The video tells of the importance of storytelling as a means of traveling a path from hardship to ease.

"In the award-winning documentary Children Full of Life, a fourth-grade class in a primary school in Kanazawa, northwest of Tokyo, learn lessons about compassion from their homeroom teacher, Toshiro Kanamori. He instructs each to write their true inner feelings in a letter, and read it aloud in front of the class. By sharing their lives, the children begin to realize the importance of caring for their classmates."

As in the video, the ability of one individual to tell their story of moving from hardship to ease allowed another to start their journey.

This is not my first journey along a path discovered through others demonstrating the impact that individual stories can have. SAUDADES SERENDIPITY from an Orkut friend in Brazil was another.

Ju teaches a very important lesson why people take up causes such as the Millennium Development Goals. It is not always to make massive political paradigm shifts, but finding personal ways to connect through countless small interactions for a better world. It is through the means of first defining ourselves as the path to redefining the world.

My interest is in how we move from the individual to groups and to society as a whole in expressing the story of hardship and more importantly the path to ease. I can see a similar aspect of hardship to ease in the efforts of people to overcome hardships in the world as is seen in the efforts of individuals in their own lives. We just have to be open to it.

Other Paths Showing the Way From Hardship to Ease

The web journey of this blog has taken many paths and a recent one was agreeing to participate with fellow blogger hal786, an English Muslim girl who writes After Hardship Will Always Come Ease, in her BloggersUnite's event HARDSHIP2EASE DAY which takes place today 23 September 2009.

According to hal786:

The goal is to help bring ease to people who've suffered hardships in life, by sharing their stories and writing stories of how someones life went from bad to good/hardship2ease.

Being ignorant of such matters, I did not realize that the words come from the Qur'an. As is my habit, I did some web-searching to learn more. The blog Far From Home provided greater insight. My sense as an outsider is that this is a very important part of the Muslim tradition of which our Western culture has very little idea. It also strikes me as a very personal idea of finding ease within ones self. The underlining of the quote below is mine.

"With every hardship, comes ease. Verily, with hardship comes ease." (Chapter 94; verses 5-6)

This refrain, echoed twice, stress upon the sometimes "hidden" blessings within a given burden or hardship. In the ordinary words of mortals, "In every dark cloud, there is a silver lining." Sometimes, we are too weary, too burnt out, too depressed to see that "ease", that silver lining. After all, when surrounded by darkness, it is not easy to "see." Usually, we understand the "ease" afterwards and therefore make the mistake that the ease comes after hardship. But note the stress in the refrain of the word "with" which indicates that the ease comes hand-in-hand with the hardship. (Once again, the duality that I was discussing in an earlier note kicks in.)
Another source was Islam.Online.Net Thinking Over the Verses of the Qur'an
Many people read the Qur'an, but the important thing is, just as Allah states in His verses, to ponder on each verse of the Qur'an, to draw a lesson from that verse, and to improve one's conducts in compliance with these lessons.

Those who read the verse [For truly with hardship comes ease; truly with hardship comes ease] (Al-Inshirah 94:5-6), for example, reflect upon it. They understand that Allah creates ease with each hardship, and therefore, the only thing they have to do when they meet a hardship is to put their trust in Allah and find the ease that is with it. Allah's promise being so, we see that giving up hope or being stricken with panic in moments of difficulty is a sign of a weakness in our faith. After reading this verse and reflecting upon it, our conduct will go in line with the verse throughout our lives.

I can't help but find it interesting that my last post on this blog dealt with perception and this blog post deals with concepts arguably beyond perception. When BeyondPerception writes of dunya it brings to my mind the Buddhist concept of samsara. Similarly Far From Home above speaks about duality. The concept of "With every hardship, comes ease", also extends to others. This seems to me to be a concept common across all the major religions. It is not merely a matter of how we see the world, but how we take what we see and the shared story we create to make our world.

Verily, With Hardship Comes Ease (Surah al-Sharh,94) posted by BeyondPerception

In the end, love means wanting the best for that other person. But I truly think love shouldn't end with our family and friends, it should spread to everyone, even a stranger. As result, if you have this type of love for everyone, you should genuinely only want the best for them.

The dunya is ephemeral. Change is inevitable and nothing, including this world is permanent. Relationships will always change, feelings will continue to change and it is all because it is God's will. "Allahu Alam" (God knows best). He knows what's best for you even though it may not be in your favor. All we can do is love one another and pray that Allah will bless all of us with goodness in this life and the hereafter.

I thank Allah for making me stronger in times of tribulation, for removing anger from my heart, and turning my negative emotions into peace.

Here is a wonderful youtube video passed along from another xanga member for those going through hardship. JazakAllah Kairun :)