The Footsteps That Paved My Path – Footstep 29

Terminating my series of ‘The footsteps that paved my path’ it took me a while to figure out the last footstep I’ll share.It was my father again, not like a surgeon this time nor like a community member yet like a parent. Though being extremely busy with his patients, his publications and his lectures, he made sure to take summer vacations on yearly basis that would last for months. During those long breaks we used to travel abroad as a family, visiting several countries and getting exposed to different cultures. These travels weren’t entertaining trips, they were educational trips, which I comprehended years later. Visiting a country for him wasn’t about hitting the capital and the touristic places, it was about exploring the country with its different cities, observing its citizens, appreciating its arts and getting truly in touch with its culture. I still remember how we, my sisters and me, used to complain from visiting museums, preferring beaches or shopping boutiques, while he remained focused and persistent in nurturing our minds and brining us up to respect other nations, to appreciate and celebrate differences and to understand that the world is truly large, way larger than our homeland.

Read the intro to this series at:

https://imanrefaat.com/2016/10/02/the-footsteps-that-paved-my-path-prologue/

  

The Footsteps That Paved My Path – Footstep 28

Sometimes It takes people one incident to touch your life. Whether they rescue you from danger, stand by your side kindly on a tough day or grant you a real service on a super busy period of life. The examples are actually limitless. But what if a person touches your life constantly, and seizes every single chance to put deposits of love, to help you, to stand by your side and to encourage you? And what if this same person does this not only with you but with any other person no matter their degree of relation? Would this person be considered a human being or he would be considered like a phenomena which needs to be studied?

This time the footstep didn’t leave a mark on my path cause it has many and it still inspires me. My eldest sister, Gihane, whom I consider my second mum, is not a normal person, she’s just a piece from heaven.

Though she had inspired me in several ways, I will share the best lesson I learned from her; celebrating other people’s successes. My dear sister would sacrifice her life to support people till they rise and excel, I’m not talking about relatives or friends, I’m talking about all people even strangers. No matter how tired, busy or down she is, she helps others genuinely and celebrates their successes as if it was hers. She finds her joy in lifting others up high using her shoulders as escalators for their achievements. Seeing others fulfilling their dreams fuels her to give more, to help more and to shine more.

From my sister I learned that I’m in no competition with anyone but myself. The only person I must compete with is me to keep developing and progressing. Yet when it comes to others, their success is mine cause we’re all partners on this planet and we all belong to the same family called humanity. 
Read the intro to this series at:

https://imanrefaat.com/2016/10/02/the-footsteps-that-paved-my-path-prologue/

  

The Footsteps That Paved My Path – Footstep 27

Did you ever take a plane without knowing your destination ahead? How would you feel if you were a passenger on a flight and the pilot just kept roaming around without having a clear idea about where he would land? This idea from Stephen R. Covey’s book was one of the most remarkable footsteps on my path. Reading the ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective Families’ I got so inspired with the importance of having an end mind for the family. I was fascinated with the examples the author shared for couples who created together a mission statement for the family they wanted to found. The terms of common values, needs, nature and contributions echoed in my mind and I kept dreaming of having a mission statement for my family that would be our compass as explained in Covey’s book.

Thinking of the footsteps that marked my path I feel grateful to Covey, lucky that I had read his book and most of all I feel blessed that my partner guided our children and me till we designed our mission statement together. These few lines we had crafted together many years ago had helped us live according to our principles, to understand and appreciate our differences and needs and most of all to have clarity about why this family exists and its role towards the community and the globe. 
Read the intro to this series at:

https://imanrefaat.com/2016/10/02/the-footsteps-that-paved-my-path-prologue/

  

The Footsteps That Paved My Path – Footstep 26

When I was a little girl I used to watch Tom and Jerry and enjoyed the tricks they did to one another. When I grew up and turned into a teenager I started to enjoy Disney movies with the songs and the romantic stories of princes and princesses. Watching ‘Beauty and the Beast’ it became my favourite that no matter what Disney produced since then, this one remained my favourable. Though it’s just a cartoon movie yet it had influenced me deeply and left a print on my path.

I admired how Belle loved reading and how the Beast loved her. How, out of love, he invited her to his library and how she saw beyond his appearance. How she loved him despite his outlook and how she focused on his qualities and actions. 

From this movie I comprehended how it’s important to see through people and how to be wise not trusting our eyes blindly, how life events can transform people from harsh to soft and how love is by far the greatest power to break people’s rudeness and aggression.

I learned from Belle how it’s important to nurture our minds by reading good books and how ignorant we can become when we neglect our brains and live only to chase temporarily pleasures. 
Read the intro to this series at:

https://imanrefaat.com/2016/10/02/the-footsteps-that-paved-my-path-prologue/

  

The Footsteps That Paved My Path – Footstep 25

Reflecting on the footsteps that shaped my life and guided my journey, some of them, unfortunately were bitter. Though I’ve read that time helps people forget, yet some memories for me are unforgettable. I was nine years old and a member of the school Ballet team. The instructor succeed to condition my mind. For me the pattern was clear, a ballet training meant being mocked in front of the other dancers, labelled, ridiculed and down looked. The famous sentence I still recall till now was:” Refaat, either you quit the team or I go to the madhouse.” Back then I was too weak to stand for myself, my communication skills were very poor that I never told my parents or objected what happened, I didn’t have the guts to complain to any of my teachers. I spent the year accepting to be bullied by this trainer every single class.

Remembering him I thought of this quote for Maya Angelou: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” For me, I still recall what he said and for sure how he made me feel. And how would I forget the first person who made constantly feel stupid, incapable, incompetent, ashamed, embarrassed and little? 

 It took me many years to change the way I looked at myself and to understand that the problem was his not mine. Though this footstep was a harsh one, it had taught me a lot. As an educator, I try my best to respect my students, to help them discover the best in them, to unleash their potentials, to cherish their differences and to let them understand that each one is special and unique in his own way and that the beauty of humanity lies in our uniqueness; which includes both our limitations and strengths. 

This coach made me comprehend by experience the feelings I never wish my pupils taste and I do believe he had helped me become more caring and compassionate human being.
Read the intro to this series at:

https://imanrefaat.com/2016/10/02/the-footsteps-that-paved-my-path-prologue/

  

The Footsteps That Paved My Path – Footstep 24

In my early twenties I was still a new bride. As soon as we came back from our honeymoon my husband invited me to join him in a learning group. He explained how his mentor leads a group to study the holy book and how he was hoping that when he gets married his wife joins it. I felt excited to accompany him and to become a member of his group. His spiritual mentor became my mentor as well, teaching me how to read my holy book correctly, how to read between its lines and how to decode the hidden messages and integrate them in my daily life. This mentor, to whom I owe a lot, taught me how to be thankful for the blessings I have by giving to the less fortunate, how to share, how to feel for others and how to stay connected to my conscious. 

Currently, after two decades, I still feel grateful to him for tying my heart to service. Every time I lead my students in a service project I remember his footstep on my path and try hard to be as contagious as he was; aiming to turn my students into compassionate and caring human beings. 

My mentor had taught me by example that only a life lived for others is worth living. 
 https://imanrefaat.com/2016/10/02/the-footsteps-that-paved-my-path-prologue/

  

The Footsteps That Paved My Path – Footstep 23

“If you think you know everything, you know nothing.” Two years ago I went through a personal experience that made me believe in this quote for Laozi. A couple from our friends invited my husband and me to a camp for couples. Shortly notified, we felt hesitant to join especially that our relation was very good so why would we join, we thought. However, not having other commitments we decided to go for a change. Spending the weekend with other couples, learning from their experiences and sharing ours was very inspiring. We felt closer than ever and we came back looking at our marriage from a different perspective, a deeper one.

During the months that followed our dear friends invited us to join a group of couples under their leadership. We met regularly and every time they exposed us to a new concept related to marriage. It was my first time there to learn about ‘The languages of love‘ and hear about ‘His needs and her needs‘. Meeting after the other we started to feel the change in our relationship and understood that no matter how good one might think, there will always be room for progress and improvement. 

From this experience my friends taught us how marriage is something sacred. And how life becomes a lot more meaningful and enjoyable when couples act as if they are one soul.

I so much appreciate and cherish the four feet of my friends on my path. They’ve done me a service that I will never be able to pay it back. 
Read the intro to this series at:

 https://imanrefaat.com/2016/10/02/the-footsteps-that-paved-my-path-prologue/

  

The Footsteps That Paved My Path – Footstep 22

“You can’t live a positive life with a negative mind.” Three years ago I was on the edge of a mental break down. Guilt was my constant companion, always whispering in my head. It became my inner voice. No matter how hard I tried, it kept blaming and accusing me of not being good enough. Asking for help from the counsellor of the school where I work she kindly and wisely taught me techniques to look at myself differently. She helped me see my life through different lens and in few weeks she succeeded to unplug the torturing voice that had accompanied me for three decades.Currently, people in my circles wonder how positive I am, some of them even criticise me for being ‘too positive’ and I, secretly, pray for this counsellor for rescuing me from myself and for teaching me how to accept myself, how to respect it, how to appreciate it and how to love it.
Read the intro to this series at:

 https://imanrefaat.com/2016/10/02/the-footsteps-that-paved-my-path-prologue/

  

The Footsteps That Paved My Path – Footstep 21

Why not dreaming big? This was a footstep on my path that pushed me to stretch my abilities and let the sky be the limits for my dreams. After practicing writing short stories for months I still felt a fire within; writing a novel was my dream. I decided to give it a try thinking that I have nothing to lose, and what would I lose by writing a novel and then keeping it in my drawer? This was how I started outlining my novel, intending to write it for myself just to pursue my dream. 

After outlining my novel it was about time to create my opening scene. I felt puzzled not knowing how to start. Reading about a workshop for fiction writing, I subscribed. On our first session the instructor investigated the reasons for which we applied for his course. On my turn he objected my intention of writing a novel for myself and encouraged me to dream big and publish it. Sharing his personal story in how the universe supported him with his first novel, he inspired me and I went back home filled with enthusiasm. 

Currently, while working on my final steps in publishing my novel, I feel grateful to my fiction instructor who taught me how to create my scenes, how to develop my writing skills by writing daily and most of all who urged me to dream big. 
Read the intro to this series at:

 https://imanrefaat.com/2016/10/02/the-footsteps-that-paved-my-path-prologue/

  

The Footsteps That Paved My Path – Footstep 20

Are you alive? Are you aware of your existence? Are you living life on the surface or you’re immersing and plunging in it, living your days with passion and making each day count? Attending a conference last year for passionate people, I was a hit by these questions. Am I alive? Do my days count, and what if they don’t? Would I still be considered alive?

During the conference, the motivational speaker and founder of Passion to Profit encouraged the audience to live their lives with passion and dared them to take the challenge of the hundred days of passion. He explained that even five minutes would be enough on our super busy days. The main point was to live with passion every single day for a hundred days in a row.

Today I’m on my three hundred and thirty seventh day of passion. I had relaxed days and busy days. I had days when I was fit and others when I was sick. Days when I was overwhelmed and others when I wasn’t. After living a hundred days of passion I became addicted to the life of passion. I didn’t want to let any day slip or pass without being counted. I wished I was able to restart my life all over again to live it from its beginning till its end with passion. 

I treasure this footstep on my path which taught me that living with passion is a mindset and lifestyle that has nothing to do with financial resources, time, skills, physical abilities or circumstances. Passion is king and only a life with passion is worth living. 
Read the intro to this series at:

 https://imanrefaat.com/2016/10/02/the-footsteps-that-paved-my-path-prologue/