Spirituality & Balance

Connect with your Roots

Let me begin by apologizing for being MIA the past week but we have all experienced that unexpected curveball that life throws at you. That situation which occurs within seconds and your thought out plans have to be readjusted (also within seconds – just kidding. No stress here but you get the gist).

I had just landed in Dubai for a 10 day breather; which in my books involved reconnecting with old friends, attending a wedding, networking with some like-minded Health and Wellness Coaches, attending a workshop and just relaxing on the beach (in Dee’s self care definition that involves 5 hours of volleyball and palette).

As soon as I landed and got online, I received the dreaded messages of ‘God bless her soul.’ My heart sunk… My grandmother, my teta, the gem of our family had bid goodbye to this world. It was so ironic because before I travelled I felt a strong urge to pray and the one thing I repeatedly asked for was to ensure she drifts away suffering no pain. The good news is she went away in her sleep.

Fast forward to landing back in Beirut and driving the 2 hour journey to Hariss, our beautiful village in southern Lebanon. That drive bought back so many beautiful memories of my teta.

My teta was a strong, proud woman who never agreed to leave the simple, happy life in Hariss. She had everything she needed just here. She would wake up early morning to pray and then start her day walking around her agricultural land. She cultivated and grew everything and anything you could think about and would cook using her very own produce (of course, she would also send all of us her yummy, fresh fruit, vegetables, and grains and trust me that is a mission in itself as I come from a rather large family). She would then sit in her beautiful garden filled with colorful flowers, breathe in fresh, non-polluted air and be surrounded by love from the people of the village. Her home had an open door policy, with people walking in and out and she would greet everyone and anyone with love, warmth, and care.

One of my fondest memories of her, was one morning we were sitting for coffee in her garden and a less fortunate lady came by asking for money. My grandmother aided her, offered her water and food, and then told me, ‘Teta always carry change with you and help others. If God blesses you, it is to have a greater heart towards others in need. Each week, I put a certain amount of money on one side of my wallet for the less fortunate. Don’t forget to always give.’

When her health was slowly disintegrating, she was too strong a woman to feel needy. I remember as she was getting older, she wouldn’t let any one of us help her walk. She would rather take slow steps alone and when she reached the stairs, she would hold on to this one tree by the entrance.

The last time I sat by her bedside I felt an overwhelming heartbreak as it hit me that our only true connection to Hariss is my teta. The unmoving rock that resisted to even let war move her from the walls she calls home. She is the only reason we always came back. It hit me that without her, the lights would dim and the door to the house would close for the first time in decades. But teta’s final words to me are the ones that I hope will hold that door open even after she has left. Her words are the reason we and generations to come have to keep the house lit. She looked at me with her kind blue eyes and wisely said, ‘Teta Hariss is beautiful. Go around and absorb its beauty. SEE WHERE YOU ARE FROM AND LOVE IT.’ Is she saying this for us to remember to love our roots? To always connect with where we are from? To not let life’s hustle and bustle pull us away from the simplicity that life has to offer?

Moral Lesson: We spend our whole lives in search of who we are when the answer is simply in front of us. Learn about your history, your language and your roots; because getting to know your roots helps you discover new things; you realize who you really are. Don’t forget where you come from because it is your true sense of identity. 

‘She’s in the sun, the wind, the rain, 

She’s in the air you breathe with every breathe you take, 

She sings a song of hope and cheer, there’s no more pain, no more fear. 

You’ll see her in the clouds above, hear her whisper words of love, 

You’ll be together before long, until then listen for her song.’

May your soul RIP teta. Love you always and forever ~ Al Fatiha ~  

Dan Buettner, a National Geographic author, highlighted the secrets of longevity and wellbeing in five places in the world (which he dubbed as ‘Blue Zones’). I must say, my teta ticked all of those boxes and was lucky enough to live to 90. Stay tuned as I will be sharing these tips in the coming weeks.

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