Great Minds are Young

Posts Tagged ‘Freedom

A calm yet strong personality, a sharp mind, and a great heart; that’s 15-year-old Egyptian Salma Ahmad, one of my special students who never ceased to exceed my expectations, leaving a big mark in my heart and mind!

Tonight, I would like to share with you one of Salma’s lovely creations; a poem she wrote this summer about “Human Nature”

Enjoy!

Human nature

I marvel how nature could ever find space

For so many strange contrasts in one human face

There’s thought and no thought, and there’s paleness and bloom

And bustle and sluggishness, pleasure and gloom.

There’s weakness, and strength both redundant and vain;

Such strength as, if ever affliction and pain

Could pierce through a temper that’s soft to disease,

Would be rational peace—a philosopher’s ease.

There’s indifference, alike when he fails or succeeds,

And full attention ten times as much as there are needs;

Pride where there’s no envy, there’s so much of joy;

And mildness, and spirit both forward and coy.

There’s freedom, and sometimes a diffident stare

Of shame scarcely seeming to know that she’s there,

There’s virtue, the title it surely may claim,

Yet wants heaven to know what is to be worthy the name.

This picture from nature may seem to depart,

Yet Man would at once run away with your heart;

And I for five centuries right gladly would be

Such an odd, such a kind happy creature as he.

There are times when I feel hurtfully in love with everything and everyone around me. Well, yes, despite being such a beautiful and peaceful feeling,  its intensity may break you into pieces. It becomes such a strong and overwhelming feeling that you start losing a good part of your freedom and spontaneity.

These painful but sweet strong emotions may be mixed blessings.

They give you unprecedented, somehow supernatural, powers when your beloved ones are in need or threatened. You may work like never before, fight and challenge the whole world, support and defend wholeheartedly and to the extreme. You love and give unconditionally, sacrifice and dedicate your life with ultimate compassion and devotion. You never give up, never get tired, never feel down. You’re always energetic and enthusiastic and in a lot of instances aggressively supportive despite all the exhaustion or challenges you may be experiencing but not consciously admitting…

Sweet…

However, those same strong emotions may weaken you to the extreme and strip you off your strong will and determination. Your fear soars and your adventurous soul drowns. A lot of times, you feel helpless and submissive, anxious and feeble. Loss and separation are your worst enemies; over-protection and emotional instability are your best friends.

Painful…

Despite their pain and because of their sweetness those deep and strong emotions are so beautiful and healthy should they be balanced and well celebrated. It’s so divine to fiercely protect, support and fight for your loved ones and be super strong for them but at the same time surrender to that beautiful feeling and allow yourself some sweet unharmful obsession over them.

At the end of every year I start reflecting on that year and assessing it in every way, writing resolutions, regretting some deeds, promising to change and become a better person, building high hopes and raising my expectations and challenges for the coming year. It’s basically all about changing, improving, becoming better in every way… Resolutions may be as simple as losing few pounds or as deep as a complete moral and human make over. Whatever it is, CHANGE would always be the star, which is a great thing at many different levels.

However, this year, I don’t feel like changing. It’s not because I have nothing to change, or I have reached a phase of self-satisfaction. Not at all. I’m way far from that… It’s just that I feel like taking all the spotlight away from the old me, where change would be the star, and try a completely new thing that would mark my new year and make it more special. I don’t want to change, I want to explore. I don’t want to just improve something old, I want to create something new.

I made up my mind! Yes, I did! This year my resolutions’ star won’t be CHANGE! It’s going to be innovation, creation, or simply trying something new. I’ll embrace novelty in all its aspects.

Well, to tell you the truth, I still don’t know what it is going to be about, but believe me the idea of it overwhelms me with a great feeling of freedom, positive energy and determination to have a great NEW year ahead!

Why don’t you give it a try!

Young Egyptian Nada Al Dash set another challenge for herself and created this beautiful colorful painting called “My Way”. Nada says this painting expresses her freedom of thought and action.

Enjoy!

Today while analyzing an excerpt of Nelson Mandela’s autobiography “Long Walk to Freedom”, and after discussing Mandela’s view of freedom, especially when he said that in jail he learned that his oppressors were not free, and they too needed to be liberated, I posed for a moment then asked my students, “Are you free?”. Of course by ‘free’ I did not have in mind any political context. The interesting thing was that, at the beginning, most of them spontaneously said yes. Well, their answer indicated two things. First, they feel comfortable and taken care of in their families and the country they live in (the UAE), which is a good sign. Second, they did not get my question! 😉
when I eliminated all external factors that may cause people to feel they lack freedom, and focused on behavioral conduct and desires, we all realized that no one of us was free!
We are all prisoners of our prejudgements, our greed, our jealousy, our desires, our envy, our selfishness, and a lot more!


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