#Fabulous Veils#The Secrets behind the Scenes#Secret 26

And what do you do after reaching the top and making your dream come true? Would you consider it the end and go back to your normal life and your comfort zone? Dreamers keep dreaming. No matter what was the reaction of people towards your first dream, keep moving. Never settle. Here you are the five steps I offer you to follow right after realising your dream:

1- Take a short rest.

Not to become lazy. Just take a few days or a week to rest your body and recharge your energy.

2- Evaluate the experience.

Try doing this from a meta state. As if you’re watching a movie where you were the main character. What happened along this movie? How did you change from the beginning till the end. How did you look? How often did you look happy and why? And how did you act with the different events that took place? Who appeared in your movie and which roles did they play? What are the life lessons you learned from this movie and how do you rate it as an experience?

3- Identify your next dream.

Would it be connected to your first dream? Or did you decide on a different journey after evaluating your experience?

4- Identify the purpose from your dream.

Think of the reasons behind having this dream. Consider the value your new dream would add to you, to your community and to the world. Imagine your life if you realise this dream, do you like it? Would it let people remember you after your death? Will realising this new dream make you immortal?

5- Take action.

Start right after your short break. Keep your passion firing you up, don’t settle to your old life. Keep yourself motivated. Hit the iron while it’s hot and hunt your new dream.

You were created for a higher purpose. Your life is meant to matter in the lives of others. You were created to contribute. Live a meaningful life. The life of the consistent dreams.

Are You a Prisoner or a Jailer?

A transforming butterfly. Extremely different from her ancestors; the Pharaohs. While they were concerned with the future and the afterlife, consuming most of their time on planet Earth to prepare for the next, which was a lot more significant for them, Gameela didn’t. Neither was she able to use the present moment.

Locked up in the past by Sherif, her husband, she practiced submission till she transformed; losing her identity and forgetting who she was. She expected from him to express his love to her the same way as he did when they were still lovers. Despite the decades which passed, she awaited from him to whisper words of love, to bring her gifts on monthly basis and to bring her audio cassettes for Abdel Halim Hafez. And though audio cassettes became obsolete, Gameela still wished for them, unwilling to unlock herself from the chains of past.

Gameela, in her jail, wasn’t alone. She had a company; her thoughts. They were locked up in the past too. They made countless journeys to the debut of her love story, to Gameela’s intimate time with her lover, focusing only on Sherif and how he used to nurture her with love. Absorbed by what used to be, she neglected her mind and her own development. She became the prisoner and the jailer altogether.

“Thoughts have power; thoughts are energy. And you can make your world or break it by your own thinking,” Susan Taylor, American editor, writer, and journalist, advocated. A woman whom the American Libraries referred to as “the most influential black woman in journalism”. Had Gameela worked on her thoughts, had she paid attention to unlock her chains, to liberate herself from the past, to accept the change and evolve, to nurture her mind and grow, the butterfly would have been blooming and flying. The butterfly would have been still alive.

Watch your thoughts. Unlock your chains. Start making less visits to the past and live more in the present. The present is the present. Your thoughts, your destiny.

“Your thoughts are the architects of your destiny,” David O. McKay.

#Fabulous Veils#The Secrets behind the Scenes#Secret 25

Persist till the end. Be from the few who proceed with their dreams till they reach the summit. It’s normal to feel worried and tired. It’s expected to feel scared and worn out. You’re a human being and human beings experience these feelings. In order to pull yourself till the summit of your dream try these four strategies:

1- Acknowledge your feelings. 

Expect to feel worried or scared while getting ready to face the world with your dream. Overcome your worry and fear. Remind yourself with your exams period. Though feeling worried sometimes from the results you pushed yourself to take the exam and deal with the results. Same as for your dream. Above all it’s a learning experience. Overcome your worry, face the world with your final product whether it’s a painting, a symphony or a new recipe book. Go through the experience and learn from the results.

2- Push yourself hard and do your very best.

Despite the tiresome or the fatigue do your best. Same as the marathon runner who, despite feeling terribly exhausted, increases his speed while approaching the end. Insist and persist to do your best and increase your perseverance.

3- Work on your psychological state.

Motivate yourself to persist. Have your own mantras or quotes that put you on fire even on the hardest times. “Leaders lead on their knees” for Robin Sharma and “Watch the seasons” for Lisa Nichols were my fuel in my toughest periods. I understood it was the planting season and hence I didn’t expect to harvest. I reminded myself that no matter what the seasons will change and the hard period won’t last forever.

4- Work on your physical state.

Care for your body. Connect to it and nurture well. Even if you’re deprived from sleep to work hard on your dream by the end of your journey, find alternatives. Be selective with your food or drink more water, eat nuts or honey to keep your brain sharp. Let your body be your loyal servant by catering for its needs.

Never quit. Don’t allow perfectionism, challenges or worry steal your success. You have a success story to be shared with the word. Scribble it with passion, nurture it with persistence and share it with the world with love and sense of purpose.

Liberate Yourself

His name is Sherif. The husband of one of my main characters in Fabulous Veils. A butterfly, she believed she was till they met. She was out going, happy, social, elegant and attractive. Veiled with love, she practiced submission gradually till she transformed. Pleasing her lover was her intention. And it was her curse.

No matter how many years or decades passed, he requested her to stay the same. Locked up. Imprisoned in the past. Despite that change is a natural law, Sherif expected and ordered Gameela to remain the same; behaving and acting the same way. She was locked up under the name love.

How many people are locked up there, in the compartment called the ‘past’? How many of us are locked up under the fabulous veil of love? “You changed,” when said to you by someone close, do you consider it a compliment or an accusation?

Gail Sheehy, American author, journalist, and lecturer claimed that: “If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.” Which means by simple logic that being locked up in the past like Gameela is not living at all.

To live is to change, to grow, to evolve, to flourish and blossom. To become wiser, deeper and more profound. To become stronger, powerful and more significant. And the same goes the other way, to stay unchangeable is to diminish, to shrink, to fade, to become shallower and more superficial over time.

Is there anyone locking you up in the past? Requesting you to do the same things, act the same way or adopt the same thoughts? Be it a parent, a boss or a lover it doesn’t matter. What matters is you. Refuse to stay locked up. Liberate yourself. Unchain it and evolve. “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but building the new,” Socrates.


#FabulousVeilsNovel#Book Review

“Fabulous Veils is an astonishing book. The best thing about it is how it opens people’s minds about the lives in these categories of our society. I’m so proud that Iman Refaat had chosen to speak about the Egyptian woman as she is badly portrayed & strongly oppressed.
Her book has taught me that we need to acknowledge these issues especially all these old barbaric thoughts & rituals, also to stand up for our rights.
I really enjoyed reading the novel, it has such a profound message and it is delivered marvelously. Definitely one of my favorites. I recommended it to all of my friends. Can’t wait till her next work!”

#Fabulous Veils#The Secrets behind the Scenes#Secret 24

Dealing with stress effectively is a key factor in your pursuit to make your dream come true. In the crazy busy world we’re living in it became hard to live without stress and hence learning how to deal with it, how to manage it and how to catch it from contaminating your mental state and draining you from energy is an essential step. I offer you four tips to deal with stress:

1- Connect to your body and notice its signals.

To deal with stress you need to be aware of it at first. Your body sends you signals when feeling stressed. These signals vary from a person to another. After turning mute for weeks I understood that my body was sending me several signals and calls for rest through fading my voice. Back then I was still ignorant to this scientific fact. Now I pay attention to my body and decode it signals. Be attentive and connect to your body.

2- Identify the reasons behind the stress.

When feeling stress take a short pause and identify why are you feeling stressed. Is it due to internal or external factors. Is it because you didn’t have a good sleep the night before or because of your nagging child? Is it because you’re dehydrated or because of the traffic jam?

3- Compare the amount of stress with the reasons causing you stress.

Are you over stressing yourself? Ask yourself: “Is the amount of stress I’m experiencing relevant i to the reasons behind it? Did you ruin your day because your son missed the bus? Did you feel extremely stressed because you have a must-to-do task that you don’t like to handle? Even while allowing yourself to feel stressed don’t allow it to feel over stressed.

4- Identify your personalised ways to deal with stress.

Try out some strategies to distress. Breathing, exercising, meditating, colouring, listening to music and many other ways can help you distress. Try out different tactics and have a clear code of conduct to spend your day while managing your stress. Include in your code all the options that can work for you. When you feel stressed look at your code of conduct and select the most convenient tactic that would suit you in this moment. While exercising might not be possible at any given situation, breathing or mental breaks work almost at anytime.

Connect with yourself and your body and learn gradually how to distress. Reflect on your life during the past month or the past week. Check the amount of stress you felt and how did it affect you. Did it fuel and energise you or did it catch you from progressing and advancing in making your dream come true? Train yourself to rule your stress, don’t allow it to over rule your life.

Are You Locked Up?

Change is a law of nature, I’ve read. While writing my novel, I read a book on Dramatic Writing. One of the very useful insights it gave me was that characters must change, especially if the story was happening over many years. But some people don’t change, I thought. Yet the author went on sharing examples and advocating for this idea, insisting that characters must change over time. It’s a natural law, he advocated; change is everywhere, watch the seasons, the sky patterns, the moon vs crescent and many more aspects he pointed at.

Following the writer’s advice I did ensure that all my characters change with the flow of events, gradually sometimes and even if the change was minimal. But when it came to real life, I started to study people around me. Do they all truly change? Why do some people appear as if they are unchangeable. They adopt certain behaviours, act in a systematic way, have a set of routines and even reactions. The book was so convincing that I concluded that it was me who failed to notice the change because all people change as by the law of nature.

My observation skills failed me. The only change I was able to witness in many people was the increase of a trait, but not its change. The bitter became more bitter, the victim played the role with more proficiency, the selfish became a selfish pro, the forgiving was more forgiving, and the giving was more giving, maybe because people expected from him to give more. No matter what the reasons were, the only change I noticed was the ‘more’.

Attending a Mindfulness session one day a new perspective unfolded. My real unchangeable characters were locked up. They weren’t living in the present. They were locked up in a different tense. Whether it was the past or the future, they were occupying a zone out of the present tense. They adopted this ‘more’ per choice. It offered them security and saved them the hustle of changing themselves and the burden of dealing with the unexpected reactions of people in their circles towards the change. And because change is a natural law, the only change they allowed themselves was the ‘more’.

Are you locked up? In which tense do you spend most of your day? Are your changing or becoming a ‘more’ of your original version? “If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living,” Gail Sheehy.