By Raghad Ebeid, Transformational Speaker, Writer, Life Coach, Education and Training Consultant
When you first think of a ‘new place’ – you might think of moving to a new home, which involves packing, selling, maybe saying good bye, and then of course unpacking everything you spent months packing. Essentially, it can entail building a new life.
My family and I recently had the experience of not only moving to a new home, but moving overseas, across the world, to a new community where we did not know anyone. Now, that is really a whole new place. Moving with two young children to someplace new was naturally concerning for our family and friends. But as crazy as it seemed, this was what we wanted to try at this stage in our lives, and was ultimately what God had chosen for us now. There were a number of reasons we decided to make the move and regardless of the reasons, there is so much that I have learned from the exercise of moving overseas and am still learning.
The first of which is the process of letting go. Moving internationally, and having limited space, means we will have to first let go of a lot of our ‘possessions’. Seeing every piece of furniture in your home, with all of the memories associated with it, being sold or given away was not a breeze. And I realized how we as human beings begin to form attachments to objects, perhaps because they may have ‘sentimental value’. But I realized at the end of the day, that they were objects, and that I wasn’t going to take any of them with me after I die, so why would I be upset about it now?
This led to the second lesson – live light. It can be surprising over the years how much unnecessary ‘stuff’ we accumulate. We can indeed be victims of a ‘consumer culture’ that keeps pushing us to buy and buy more, even when we don’t need it. I would encourage all of us to go through a very simple exercise today of going to our closet and counting the pieces of clothing that we haven’t worn in the last couple of months. You would probably be surprised that you haven’t worn up to 80% of your clothes which is consistent with the 80/20 rule – that 80% of the time, you wear 20% of your clothes. Try it and see. This is an excellent lesson because after going through the activity of selling, donating, and discarding of so many items, I buy a lot less because I have realized that weneed a lot less.
The third lesson is saying goodbye. When I was younger, saying goodbye was one of the hardest experiences I encountered. If a friend moved away, it was very difficult for me and I would spend weeks agonizing over it. Little did I know that soon after I finished university and married, I would first say goodbye to my hometown, family and friends to move to another city and then a few years later, say goodbye again to my community, family and friends to move halfway across the world. Saying goodbye is still not easy for me, but it has become easier to manage. It has made me stronger and also realize the importance of not becoming dependent on our relationships with anyone, other than God, because we know one day we will part with them. It is sad but true – as Angel Gabriel said to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): “Live as long you will for you will die, and love whom you will for you will part with them, and do as you will, for your will be held accountable for it…and know that the honour of the believer is in qiyamu’lail (the night prayer) and his pride comes from not needing anything from people” (Al-Tabarani). Saying goodbye repeatedly has taught me to remember that nothing is permanent in this world and that one day we will leave it altogether, so I should strive to ensure that the only thing that is permanent – my connection with God- is strong and my good deeds are plenty in order to be able to carry me to the ultimate abode God willing – heaven.
This also led to the fourth lesson. Saying good bye to everything familiar strengthens your ability to have tawakul (reliance) on God. We certainly did our research, weighed our options, prayed istikhara (Guidance prayer), and consulted with others; but ultimately, it was important to remember that in the end, it is all the Will of God and to trust that He, in His Infinite Wisdom and Mercy, will choose what’s best for us. I will be perfectly honest with you – moving overseas and leaving family, friends and community is not easy. Relocating somewhere new with young children and a lack of networks is even harder. Some days, I really had to muster up the courage to continue on this new adventure and remember that God has placed us here and now for a reason. And indeed I have found such comfort and truth in the verse that “You may hate something which is good for you and you may love something which is bad for you and Allah knows and you know not” (Quran 2:216). We can worry and lose sleep over a certain issue; however, it is so much easier to do our part, make duaa (supplication) , pray istikhara(Guidance prayer) and leave it to God, because ultimately He controls everything. And having that tawakul (reliance) can be met with such pleasant and humbling surprises to the good that God Has in store for us, especially when we least expect it.
The fifth lesson has been that in order to be someone different or accomplish something great, you have to try something different and something great, which may be so different and so great, that it scares you and worries everyone around you. There’s this quote I like: “If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough”. If you can’t physically move to a ‘whole new place’ to accomplish what you would like, what’s to say that you can’t move to a new ‘place’ by making small, consistent changes in your daily life now? We only live once and we only have this chance to make a true, profound and an everlasting difference. So what are we waiting for? Will we keep waiting until we graduate, or work, or save up, or marry, or have children, or have the children grow up, or retire? Will we keep waiting until we die? Now is the time to plan and move forward in sha Allah (God willing), while praying for the best.
There can be many more lessons to leaving behind everything and everyone familiar to go to a whole new place where everything and everyone is unfamiliar. One of the most important lessons to remember is that God, in His Infinite Knowledge and Wisdom, Has a plan for us and is With us, wherever we are, carrying us through it every step of the way. And that ultimately, we are all preparing to leave to a whole new place which we hope will be eternal bliss.
About Raghad Ebeid
Raghad Ebied is a transformational speaker; writer; life coach; education and training consultant. She has completed a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership from the U.K, preceded by a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and a Bachelors in Education in addition to certifications in leadership, life coaching, and relationship coaching, compassion cultivation and spiritual care from Canadian and American universities and institutions including Stanford. For more information please visit www.RaghadEbied.com.