Trust the Timing of Your Life: A Journey Through New Zealand

Timing is everything. Anyone who tells you otherwise has not met a person who spoke to their heart or come across a book or film that touched the depths of their soul. A little dramatic, I know, but it's the truth. A person who doesn't see grace in the timing of pivotal moments in their life has probably never realised their prayers have been answered in the most subtle and serendipitous of ways. Life is far from a bed of roses and someone somewhere will always act selfishly and unjustly, but should that be the only focus in our lives? We have to see things as they are, not worse than they are. Why not consider the good that might come from an unpleasant or unfair situation and do something constructive about it?

As I prepare to leave for the Hajj pilgrimage tomorrow I feel somewhat nostalgic and compelled to dedicate a post to Aotearoa. It is said people who are preparing for Hajj are also preparing for death. While the literal meaning of death is a possibility when we go for Hajj due to the sheer number of pilgrims, I think it is also symbolic of the death of the ego and the old self. When one performs the Hajj the hope is that they will go through a spiritual rebirth. A few months ago I wasn't sure if I'd be performing Hajj anytime soon but I trust the timing of my life. Nothing is a coincidence.

If I were to write my absolute final post, I want it to be about New Zealand for it has taught me much about God, life and humanity. It is/was a place of spiritual rebirth for me. I'd like to honour the beautiful Māori culture by sharing whakataukī (Māori proverbs) as captions for photos taken from a recent trip there.

Here's your occasional reminder from me: the world is a beautiful place.

Whatungarongaro te tangata toitū te whenua.
  The land still remains when people have disappeared. (Huka Falls, Taupo)

Hurihia to aroaro ki te ra tukuna to atarangi kia taka ki muri i a koe.
Turn your face toward the sun and the shadows fall behind you.
(The Remarkables, Queenstown)

Mā te rongo, ka mōhio; Mā te mōhio, ka mārama; Mā te mārama, ka mātau; Mā te mātau, ka ora. 
Through resonance comes cognisance; through cognisance comes understanding; through understanding comes knowledge; through knowledge comes life and well-being. (MA Graduation, Wellington Waterfront) 

Ko te whaea te takere o te waka. 
Mothers are like the hull of a canoe, they are the heart of the family. (MA Graduation, Wellington)

Tuku aroha ki mua. Tuku aroha ki muri. Kia tu te aroha o naianei. 
 Send love to the past. Send love to the future. Be love today. (Signal Hill, Dunedin)

  Aroha mai, aroha atu.
May love come towards us, may love flow from us. 
(The Remarkables, Queenstown)

Ko te pae tawhiti, whaia kia tata. Ko te pae tata, whakamaua kia tina.
Endure until your distant goals are near. Once near, seize them and hold them close.  (Queenstown)

Whāia te iti kahurangi ki te tūohu koe me he maunga teitei. 
 Seek the treasure you value most dearly: if you bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain. 
(Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown) 

Ehara toku toa i te toa takitahi engari he toa takimano. 
Success is not the work of one, but the work of many. (Scenic view of Queenstown from The Remarkables)

Ki te kahore he whakakitenga ka ngaro the iwi. 
Without foresight or vision the people will be lost. (Queenstown)

Ko te ahurei o te tamaiti arahia o tatou mahi.
 Let the uniqueness of the child guide our work. (Millers Flat, Otago)

Kia kaha. Kia maia. Kia manawanui. 
 Be strong. Be brave. Be steadfast. (Al Noor Mosque, Christchurch)

Ko taku reo taku ohooho, ko taku reo taku mapihi mauria.
My language is my awakening, my language is the window to my soul. (Christchurch) 

Māu anō e rapu he oranga.
Your livelihood is in your own hands.  (Brighton, Dunedin)

Mauria te pono.
Believe in yourself. (Auckland)

Ka hua te whakaaro, ka hua te korero. 
Thought blooms, spoken words blossom. (Domain Winter Gardens, Auckland)

Me aro koe ki te ha o-Hine-ahu-One. 
Pay heed to the dignity of women. (Auckland Skyline, Orakei)

Aotearoa was and will always be a place of spiritual rebirth for me. It tested me. It gave me strength. But most of all, it gave me knowledge and taught me the importance of hard work, gratitude, foresight and perseverance.

Trusting the timing of your life doesn't mean you should wait for things to happen. It means you have to live intentionally, prepare for the things you want in life (take initiative!) and do the best you possibly can while having tawakkal (trust in God's plan). Trust is perhaps the most difficult part of our worship, but perhaps it's because we don't understand the nature of our Creator and why He created us. Sometimes we become so blinded by fear, sadness, hurt and anger that we don't realise that there is always an opportunity within a challenge. When you realise God is always trying to elevate you, every moment becomes a teachable moment and every challenge becomes empowering (if not initially then at least eventually).

I believe we can will what we want and need into our lives, not just through prayer, but through our thoughts, attitude and behaviour too. Although I have bad days and go through struggles like everyone else, I am a generally positive and strong person because I understand I am responsible for my own happiness, success and well-being. I am responsible for the energy I emit and allow in my life too.

Apart from strengthening our relationship with God, one of the best ways to will blessings and positivity into our lives is through our relationship with people and how we nurture and uplift them. I can't thank the people who have directly and indirectly loved and nurtured me throughout my lifetime enough. I can only hope to make them proud and repay their kindness by 'paying it forward'.  In the words of Frank Buchman, "You can plan a new world on paper, but you have got to build it out of people". I pray my writings contribute towards the building of a better world through the nurturing of people's hearts and minds. That is the dream.

Unuhia te rito o te harakeke, kei hea te kōmako e kō?
Ui mai ki ahau, ‘He aha te mea nui o te Ao?’
Māku e kī atu, ‘He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.’ 
If you remove the central shoot of the flaxbush, where will the bellbird find rest?
If you were to ask me, ‘What is the most important thing in the world?’
I would reply, ‘It is people, it is people, it is people.’ - Maori saying


Beautiful. May you have a mabrur hajj shahirah.