Sunday, April 8, 2012

Down the lizard hole.

More about the lizard in the Islam section. For now, an apology. I have been VERY remiss in my Health Tip of the Day posting, which I hadn't realized until about 12 seconds ago and I regret it considerably. I am sorry.

I love saying "Rats!" when I goof up. Also, letterpress is awesome.
Click for link to Etsy shop (not mine) for more of these sorry cards.

In an effort to make up for the lapse and so I won't get too worried about letting you down, I will add some extra tips today and make a 5-item de-stressing list for us all after the jump. 

This list actually helps me out in this category because all I did was some yoga poses and other stretching today but it was about 20 minutes. I need to work on my flexibility so it's all good, but there's not much to say about it. Here goes. I'm no expert by any means but these are things that have really been helping me, and I hope you will try one or two of them before you die of stress-related injuries.

5 Stress-Reducing Health Tips of the Week Since I Didn't Post Any Tips for Days:
  1. Take breaks from work. No, really.
    Now I am just as guilty as the last person of sitting hunched over at my desk trying to bang out one more e-mail before grabbing the now-cold food from the microwave after letting it sit there for 10 minutes because I just COULDN'T GET UP and away from my desk. But this is so unhealthy, you don't even know. I can't say how much better I feel when I actually walk away from the office and walk to the corner store, visit friends who work next-door or call my mom outside or whatever. It's a game-changer and will make you more productive. There are studies on this, I'm sure.
  1. Find some sunlight.
    This is ironic considering I just tweeted today that I wish the rain would last all day. But we all need the Vitamin D gleaned from the good ol' fireball in the sky, so let's soak it up when we get a chance. Open the blinds and read by the window. Take your coffee outside in the morning. Sit on a park bench and do Sudoku. Whatever.
  1. Sit up straight for crying out loud! 
    I just did it again. Forgot I was hunching forward to type and when I sat up, my shoulder joints actually popped a little bit when they went back in place. This is not good. My yoga videos have really emphasized opening up the chest to release stress and it certainly feels better when I sit up like a respectable person. You will feel like a weirdo at first when you try this but it's ok, no one is watching.
  1. Unplug 30 minutes before bed.
    No TV. No computer. No phone. No problem, mon! I know it's not that easy but trust me—all of these screens and sounds and thought-provoking facebook status updates (cough) keep blinking and buzzing in our brains and make sleep difficult to come by. I am a chronic insomniac and it's way worse when I don't take a half-hour to just chill out before trying to get some Zs.
  1. Try something new!
    If you are stressed out, tired, or generally feel basically the same day-to-day and don't like it, it's time to shake things up a bit. It could be as simple as driving a different way to work for some perspective. Or buy fresh flowers for your home and office each week. Maybe you could start a blog on exercise and personal growth in a particular subject, you know, anything that will get you moving in a different direction emotionally, spiritually, or physically. 
If you try any of these tips or have things to add to the list, please share. We can do it together!


Whenever I am feeling sort of de-motivated, I like to listen to Br. Nouman Ali Khan's tafseer (explanation of the Quran) lectures. He's a teacher of the linguistic analysis of the Arabic language as it relates to Quran and I have posted other videos of his here before. But when he talks about specific ayat (verses) in the Quran, I get such a renewed sense of wonder about this miraculous revelation from Allah and I have to actually make myself stop at some point because I could lose hours this way. They would be well-spent hours, but then I wouldn't sleep at all (see #4 above). 

Tonight I watched a portion of a lecture on the beginning of Surat al-Baqarah, which talks about the munafiqeen (hypocrites). He breaks the verses down to specifically identify the types of hypocrites (the worst being those who don't even know they are hypocrites, may Allah save me from that); how you can tell who these people are; and highlights two beautiful parables about them in clear, illustrative terms anyone can understand. 

One great point was when he talked about the root for munafiq, "nafaqa", which means "lizard hole". The lizard builds his home in a hole with two entrances/exits. If a predator comes to one end, he can just turn around and run out the other side. This shows us how the hypocrite acts—he pretends to be a Muslim when it suits him but when he's with his friends, he says "I was just joking when I said I believe". Classic two-faced behavior! The Arabic language is so rich and beautiful in the way it conveys things to make the religion clear to us.

The quality of the audio isn't great but it's still worth the watch. Also the person who uploaded these didn't number them so although I was able to piece them together chronologically, the first one isn't the beginning of the lecture. It's fine though, the main points are there. I realize I'm not selling it well but really, it's awesome. Here are the videos in the correct order:

If anyone has comments to add or other resources for good tafseer videos/sites/books in English, keep 'em coming!

1 comment:

  1. I need to read this in more depth. But the 5 tips are great. AbuS had a ton of tafseer eBooks on the 'puter but alas they were stolen with the laptop! But Tafsir Ibn Kathir (is there tongue twister potential in that?) is on my shelf in its volumous goodness for your reading pleasure!

    Chrome is telling me volumous is not a word.