10/31/2005

Tranquility is attractive...

I don’t consider myself a religious groupie but I do find myself gravitating towards certain scholars, ideologies, and books. In order to better understand why I like listening to certain people over others I made the following observations:

1. I like soft, peaceful, and calming voices. I don’t enjoy screaming marathons nor am I moved much spiritually by a person who thinks the louder they scream (even if in Arabic) the better I’ll grasp the concept in question. Interestingly, I don’t have a soothing pitch myself, in fact, in moments of excitement im reminded by loved ones to control my volume. Does the pitch of our tone give an inkling of how we feel inside? Do I find calm voices soothing because I lack calmness within myself? Incidentally, I was listening to Mr. Winters (Abdul Hakim Murad) and I kid you not a bird started chirping in the background, as if it was enjoying listening to him. He’s one guy who has a serene and soothing voice. More power to him.

2. I like people who aren’t frustrated easily, who control their anger, and sort of have this aura about them that exudes contentment. You can say anything to them, yet they’ll smile, nod, and make you feel like you have every reason to be unreasonably whiny, and yet still find a way to gently push you into a positive direction. I don’t enjoy angry, argumentative, academics because they bring nothing but a feeling of frustration. There’s no feeling of excitement only boredom. There are some very learned experts out there but not all of them have the ability to impart the ‘energy-force,’ that makes us want to be better people.

10/27/2005

Transformation

"His wisdom was only in his head, it never penetrated his substance. A man might spend a lifetime reading spiritual book sand studying the writings of the great mystics. He may feel he'd penetrated the secrets of the heaven and earth, but unless his knowledge was incorporated into his very nature and transformed him, it was sterile" - Gai Eaton

10/21/2005

Faith and Belief



64:11 No Kind of clamity can occur, except by the leave of God: and if anyone believes in God, (God) guides his heart (aright): for God knows all things.

Truly amazing is the affair of the believer. His affair only contains good. That realization only occurs for the believer. If he is blessed with good he thanks God and in that there is good. And if he is afflicted with difficulty he patiently endures and in that there is good.
Sahih Muslim #7425

So much for Satan, eh?

interesting review and description of the words, Faith and Belief.
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"The word "belief" does not mean what it once meant, indeed it means something quite different. We still regard it as interchangeable with the word "faith" and equate it with religious conviction which, in its turn, relates to "certainty", at least on the subjective level. In modern usage, however, it implies uncertainty."

[...]

"In origin the word "belief" relates to love and commitment to the beloved rather than to the notion of holding certain particular opinions, as we can see from the dictionary definition of the word "lief" (which has only recently fallen out of use): "dear", "precious", "desired". It derives from the Old English leof or liof with which there was a cognate and more or less parallel form, lufu, meaning "affection" and suggesting passionate longing. ... The word "belief" has come to mean "the holding of certain ideas", ...

[...]

"He makes the important point that the Latin word which stands at the very centre of the Christian faith -Credo ("I believe") - indicates, not a hypothesis which some may accept and others reject, but the acknowledgement of a fact, it is virtually equivalent to the statement, "I see that ..." Credo indicates allegiance to a perceived truth."

[...]

"In its original meaning, then, "belief" is an act rather than a subjective state of mind but, in relation to modern usage, it seems reasonable to ask whether the distinction the author makes between "belief" and "faith" is valid. The blight of subjectivism has affected all the terms employed in religious discourse. Faith, belief, thought have all been cut loose from the notion of ascertainable objective truth; they have been reduced to a matter of current intellectual fashions and personal feelings. "I believe in God" has come perilously close to meaning, I feel there must be a God but, of course, I don't know"."

"The Muslim however might say that faith is an acknowledgement of the truth, belief adherence to the truth, and thought validated only in so far as it reflects the truth."

"Believing", says the author, has come to mean that "an opinion is held about which the person who holds it.... leaves theoretically unresolved the question of its objective intellectual validity". Such a notion is, he points out, entirely foreign to the Muslim's perception of the Qur'an, and he adds that the idea that religious people are expected to "believe" this or that is "a modern aberration". The very notion of "belief" as it is now understood is, he says, entirely absent from the Qur'an, whereas words for knowing are 'frequent and emphatic". A mu'min is not a "believer", but someone who makes an act of faith, and faith "is something that people do more than something that people have". His definition of kufr is certainly to the point; it is not - he says - "unbelief" but, rather, "refusal", even "a spitting in Allah's face when He speaks out of His infinite authority and vast compassion... It is man's negative response to this spectacular divine initiative". When the Muslim makes the Shahada, he is not making an affirmation of belief. He is bearing witness, "corroborating an observable objective fact". The response of the "Yes-sayer" to the truth is not "belief" but "recognition".

[...]
Excerpts taken from: Book Review: Faith And Belief
by Hasan Gai Eaton

10/19/2005

Random Babble


I love love love looking at the sky. Couple of years back, I was discussing some student with the assistant principal, who happens to be an established writer. as i was walking away he asked me to look up. i did. he then said, "The sky is so much bigger than you and me."

i thought that was a bit weird at the moment (because it had nothing to do with our discussion) and i called him on it (because i thought he was telling me i was arrogant), (which he wasnt!), (he said so!), in any case, from that forward i cant help but think about his simple statement, everytime i look up at the sky.

The Universe indeed is so much bigger than you and me.
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Heard this today: why do we call it the 'mad cow disease' when in actuality it is the 'mad cowboy disease?' Cows are herbivores, then why in the world are they being fed dead animals. further, i was told that the local muslim butcher buys sick animals because theyre cheaper! what the??

i will never look at biryani the same way again. what do i do? how do i know im not eating an omnivore (which are like kind of erm forbidden)? worse how do i know im not eating the entrails of some poor sick animal whose been fed his dead mommy because her dead bodys cheaper than cow feed. barf.

do i raise my own cow? right. i think ill just have to eat more veggies and fish. fish is safe? yey.

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Whatever we perceive in the world around us tends to reflect who we are and what we care about most deeply, as in the old saying, "When a thief sees a saint, all he sees are his pockets."Ragip Robert Frager

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You can burn books but you cant burn imagination

The broken bond between heaven and earth can only mend by a prayer from a broken heart.

Your teeth hold your words, your brain remembers them.

(Have to look up her name)
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Lead such a life, that, when you die, the people may mourn you, and while you are alive they long for your company.

He who trusts the world, the world betrays him
Ali (Ra)
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10/16/2005

Does the universe appear to follow mathematical laws?


The Greek mathematician Pythagoras declared that numbers were the basic elements of the universe. Ever since, most scientists have embraced a kind of mathematical creationism though some contend that mathematics is not an ethereal essence but comes from people who invented, not discovered it.
"Albert Einstein, taking a different view of whole numbers, wrote that "the series of integers is obviously an invention of the human mind, a self-created tool which simplifies the ordering of certain sensory experiences."
Even if the human mind is born with an innate-wired –in-aptitude for mathematics that still doesn’t prove that it is just an abstraction of the human mind. We are part of nature -supposedly evolved from the same material that makes up the universe-a mathematical mind cannot evolve in an un-mathematical universe? or can it?

What is your view? Does the universe appear to follow mathematical laws? (finding similar patterns in nature, fibonacci numbers in flower petals, repeat of spherical shapes, etc..) What are the origins of numbers and the relationships they obey? did treating mathematics as a sacred science led to the boom in islamic architecture? Has anyone done any research on this subject? i sucked at math as a student but am willing to learn now!


Philosophy of mathematics

Bibliography of Mathematics in Medieval Islamic Civilization

Arabic mathematics : forgotten brilliance?

Multidimensional Math

10/12/2005

11:114 ...Be that the word of remembrance to those who remember (their Lord)...

"The Qur'an constantly urges mankind to "remember" - to become aware of their inner nature through this remembrance and to awaken that nature. These "pre-eternal" events are events that are perfectly real without taking place in historical time. If time is considered as a horizontal progression, these events take place along a vertical axis, one which stands hierarchically above all times and all places. Man's essence, because of his origin and nature, participates in this hierarchy. His actions, his movements (mental and physical) in this world, and the state of his nafs (essential self) that results from those actions has an impact on the full substance of his being - throughout its vertical axis. The Qur'an attempts to awaken us to this hidden aspect of ourselves - it is a reminder to a humanity that is "sleeping" and a call for us to awaken from our amnesia, our "forgetfulness" regarding the essential nature of our being. It is a reminder that beyond the horizontal aspect of our existence is a truly vast vertical dimension, an unseen ocean of possibilities and nascent potentials."
Irshaad Hussain

7:172 When thy Lord drew forth from the Children of Adam - from their loins - their descendants, and made them testify concerning themselves, (saying): "Am I not your Lord (who cherishes and sustains you)?"- They said: "Yea! We do testify!" (This), lest ye should say on the Day of Judgment: "Of this we were never mindful" (Remember?)

29:45 ... and remembrance of Allah is the greatest (thing in life) without doubt...

13:28 Those who believe, and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah: for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction.

18:28 And keep thy soul content with those who call on their Lord morning and evening, seeking His Face; and let not thine eyes pass beyond them, seeking the pomp and glitter of this Life; nor obey any whose heart We have permitted to neglect the remembrance of Us, one who follows his own desires, whose case has gone beyond all bounds.

43:36 If anyone withdraws himself from remembrance of (Allah) Most Gracious, We appoint for him an evil one, to be an intimate companion to him.

54:17 And We have indeed made the Qur'an easy to understand and remember: then is there any that will receive admonition?

Book 035, Number 6471: Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying that Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, thus stated: I am near to the thought of My servant as he thinks about Me, and I am with him as he remembers Me. And if he remembers Me in his heart, I also remember him in My Heart, and if he remembers Me in assembly I remember him in assembly, better than his (remembrance), and if he draws near Me by the span of a palm, I draw near him by the cubit, and if he draws near Me by the cubit I draw near him by the space (covered by) two hands. And if he walks towards Me, I rush towards him.

While they dreamt they knew not that it was a dream; but they knew it when they awoke. And there is the great awaking, after which we shall know that this life was a great dream. Lao Tzu

"Seyyed Hossein Nasr puts it in his foreword, "that the alpha and omega of life should be the remembrance of God through all the diverse experiences that together constitute our brief journey here below which we call life, but which actually is but the prelude to that veritable life everlasting..."

How do i know that the love of life is not a delusion? That the fear of death is not like losing one's way, and not knowing that one is really going home?
-The Book of Lao Tzu

"Remembrance is the mightiest rule of the religion...The law was not enjoined upon us, neither were the rites of worship ordained but for the sake of establishing the remembrance of God." - Shaikh Ahmad al-'Alawi

10/09/2005

Lectures

(In this age and time, coming into contact with a pure and sincere soul is like receiving a much needed spiritual CPR. i completely adore Shaykh Abdullahs, synergy, humanity, creative thoughts, and his ability to connect with everyone - kids, elders, men and especially women. At the end of the session, his comments about "women led prayer" are especially moving.)

42nd Annual ISNA Convention
Muslims in North America:
Accomplishments, Challenges and the Road Ahead

Between Home and the Mosque – Muslims and Culture
Many Muslims are confused about the role that culture should play in their lives.What is the relationship between religion and culture? What are the standards fordetermining which diverse cultural practices are acceptable and enriching andwhich practices are to be rejected? Should imagination and creativity be subjectto Islamic norms of propriety? Speakers: Abd al-Haqq Alan Godlas, Umar Faruq Abd-Allah

Believing Men and Women as Partners of Faith
Allah states in the Qur’an (9:71) “The believing men and the believing women areprotectors (awliya) of one another;they enjoin what is right and forbid what iswrong,they establish prayer and pay the Zakah and they obey Allah and HisMessenger;it is those upon whom God will show mercy….”How can Muslimmen and women better demonstrate these characteristics of believers? Whatinternal and external obstacles prevent us from achieving this noble ideal and des-perately needed model of behavior?Speakers: Ingrid Mattson, Maliha Chishti, Abdullah Adhami

10/07/2005

Human beings trying to be spiritual or spiritual beings trying to be human?

'Who Are We' really? How do we identify ourselves when bone and flesh disappears through the decay of time? It is as though an invisible breath resides in us whose magnitude is yet to be discovered. Shape, form, reliability, strength, power, existence become meaningless once one steps out of the transitory nature of human flesh.

How is one to go beyond the corporeal identification of a human body? We don’t stop loving someone just because we can't see their human form, anymore. What do we love when we say, “I LOVE YOU!” What do we see when we look at someone? Their eyes, their wallet, or perhaps their aura? How do hearts connect, or do they?

Do we love the human embodiment of our parents or is it their spirit-- the very same breath that keeps us alive this second. Do we marry the physical manifestation of a self-destructive body or do we marry an energy that reminds us of our Origin?

There are concepts that can’t be verbalized into human language, yet they swim quietly in our subconscious, a faint reminder that the breath within is me - yet not Me.

10/06/2005

René Guénon


René Guénon

We live in a very similar world (probably slightly more retarded), a world that shuns religion but loves to dabble in Yoga, Sufism, and Kabala! Perhaps, now more than ever, there is the need to rejuvenate a Rene Guenon like approach – a methodology that explores the esoteric dimension within various faiths (that are popular among the masses), in order to reconnect with the Absoulte?
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René Guénon (Shaykh `Abd Al Wahid Yahya)
by Martin Lings


The following is a transcript of a lecture given in the autumn of 1994 at the Prince of Wales Institute in London and sponsored by the Temenos Academy.

As regards the early part of the life of René Guénon our knowledge is very limited because of his extreme reticence. His objectivity, which is one aspect of his greatness, made him realize the evils of subjectivism and individualism in the modern world, and impelled him perhaps too far in the opposite direction; he shrank at any rate from speaking about himself. Since his death book after book has been written about him and the authors have no doubt felt often extremely frustrated at being unable to find out various things and as a result, book after book contains factual errors.

[...]

Now Guénon put himself the question: Since these people have rejected Christianity would they be able to accept the truth when expressed in the Islamic terms of Sufism, which are closely related to Christian terms in many respects? He decided that they would not, that they would say that this is another religion; we have had enough of religion. However Hinduism, the oldest living religion, is on the surface very different from both Christianity and Islam, and so he decided to confront the Western world with the truth on the basis of Hinduism. It was to this end that he wrote his general Introduction to the Study of Hindu Doctrines. The French was published in 1921 to be followed in 1925 by what is perhaps the greatest of all of Guénon's books, Man and His Becoming according to the Vedanta.

He could not have chosen a better setting for his message of truth to the West because Hinduism has a directness which results from its having been revealed to man in a remote age when there was not yet a need to make a distinction between esoterism and exoterism, and that directness means that the truth did not have to be veiled. Already in Classical Antiquity the Mysteries, that is esoterism, were for the few. In Hinduism however they were the norm and the highest truths could be spoken of directly. There was no question of 'Cast not your pearls before swine' and 'Give not holy things to dogs'. The sister religions of Hinduism, for example, the religions of Greece and Rome, have long since perished. But thanks to the caste system with the Brahmins as safeguarders of religion we have today a Hinduism which is still living and which down to this century has produced flowers of sanctity.

One of the points to be mentioned first is the question of the distinction which has to be made at the divine level and which is made in all esoterisms but cannot be made exoterically, that is, in religions as given to the masses today -- the distinction between the Absolute and the beginnings therein of relativity. The Absolute which is One, Infinite, Eternal, Immutable, Undetermined, Unconditioned, is represented in Hinduism by the sacred monosyllable Aum, and it is termed Atmâ, which means Self, and Brahma which is a neuter word that serves to emphasize that it is beyond all duality such as male and female. And it is also termed Tat (That), just as in Sufism, the Absolute is sometimes termed Huwa (He). Then we have what corresponds in other religions to the personal God, Ishvara, which is the beginning already of relativity, because it is concerned with manifestation, the term that Hindus use for creation, and creation is clearly the beginning of a duality -- Creator and created. Ishvara is at the divine level, yet it is the beginning of relativity.

In all esoterism one finds the same doctrine. Meister Eckhart came into difficulties with the Church because he insisted on making a distinction between God and Godhead -- Gott und Gottheit. He used the second term for the Absolute, that is for the Absolute Absolute, and he used God for the relative Absolute. It could have been the other way around, it was just that he needed to make some difference. In Sufism one speaks of the Divine Essence and the Essential Names of God such as The One, The Truth, the All-Holy, The Living, and the Infinitely Good, al-Rahmân, which contains the roots of all goodness and which is also a name of the Divine Essence. Below that there are the Names of Qualities, like Creator, the Merciful, in the sense of one who has Mercy on others, and that is clearly the beginning of a duality. In every esoterism this distinction is made even at the level of the Divinity. It cannot exist below esoterism because it would result in the idea of two Gods; a division in the Divinity would be exceedingly dangerous in the hands of the mass of believers. The Divine Unity has to be maintained at all costs.

Now Guénon, in this book, traces with all clarity the hierarchy of the universe from the Absolute, from the personal God, down to the created logos, that is buddhi, which is the word which means intellect and which has three aspects -- Brahmâ (this time the word is masculine), Vishnu and Shiva. Strictly speaking in the hierarchy of the universes these devas (this is the same word linguistically as the Latin deus), have the rank of what we would call archangels. Hinduism is so subtle however that though they are created they can be invoked as Names of the Absolute because they descend from the Absolute and they return to the Absolute. They can be invoked in the sense of the Absolute Brahmâ, in the sense of Atmâ, in the sense of Aum.

The Hindu doctrine, like Genesis, speaks of the two waters. The Quran speaks of the two seas, the upper waters and the lower waters. The upper waters represent the higher aspect of the created world, that is, of the manifested world, corresponding to the different heavens in which are the different paradises. It is all part of the next world from the point of view of this world. The lower waters represent the world of body and soul, and all is a manifestation of the Absolute.

In Man and His Becoming according to the Vedanta, Guénon, having traced the manifestation of man and having shown what is the nature of man in all its details, then proceeds to show how, according to Hindu doctrine, man can return to his absolute source. It ends with the supreme spiritual possibility of oneness with the Absolute, a oneness which is already there. A Brahmin boy at the age of eight is initiated by his father and the words are spoken into his ear, "Thou art That," meaning thou art the Absolute, tat vam asi. This shows how far we are from religion as understood in the modern world. But that truth which is called in Sufism the secret, al-sirr, is necessary in all esoterism in the present day, otherwise it would not deserve the name esoterism.

Another aspect of Hinduism which made it the perfect vehicle for Guénon's message is the breadth of its structure. In the later religions it is as if Providence had shepherded mankind into a narrower and narrower valley: the opening is still the same to heaven but the horizontal outlook is narrower and narrower because man is no longer capable of taking in more than a certain amount. The Hindu doctrine of the samsâra, that is, of the endless chain of innumerable worlds which have been manifested, and of which the universe consists, would lead to all sorts of distractions. Nonetheless, when one is speaking of an Absolute, Eternal Divinity, the idea that that Infinitude produced only one single world in manifesting itself does not satisfy the intelligence. The doctrine of the samsâra does, on the other hand, satisfy, but the worlds are innumerable that have been manifested.

Another point in this respect is that Hinduism has an amazing versatility. It depends first of all on Divine Revelation. The Vedas and the Upanishads are revealed; the Bhagavad Gita is generally considered as revealed but not the Mahâbhârata as a whole, this "inspired" epic to which the Gita belongs. In Hinduism this distinction between revelation, sruti, and inspiration, smriti, is very clearly made, as it also is in Judaism and in Islam: The Pentateuch, that is, the first rive books of the Old Testament, were revealed to Moses, the Psalms to David, the Qur'ân to Muhammad. That is something which Christians as a rule do not understand. They have difficulty in realizing, in the Old Testament for example, the difference between the Pentateuch and the Books of Kings and Chronicles which are simply sacred history, inspired no doubt, but in no sense revealed. For Christians the revelation is Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh; the concept of "the Word made book", which is a parallel revelation, does not enter into their perspective.

Hinduism also has the avatâras, and that a Christian can well understand, that is, the manifestations, the descents, of the Divinity. Of course a Christian would not recognize the descents of the Hindu avatâras because for the average Christian there has only ever been one descent and that is Christ Himself, but Hinduism recognizes the descent as an inexhaustible possibility and it names ten avatâras who have helped maintain the vitality of the religion down to the present day. The ninth avatâra which is called the foreign avatâra is the Buddha himself because, although he appeared in India, he was not for Hindus but clearly for the Eastern world. The breadth of Hinduism is seen also in its prefiguration of exoterism which is the recognition of the Three Ways. These are still Ways back to God -- the three margas -- the way of knowledge, the way of love, and the way of action -- three ways which correspond to the inclinations and affinities of different human beings.

Another point which makes the terms of Hinduism so right for giving Europeans the message is that they have as Aryans an affinity with Hinduism because they are rooted in the religions of Classical Antiquity which are sister religions to Hinduism; their structure was clearly the same as the structure of Hinduism. Of course they degenerated into complete decadence and have now disappeared. Nonetheless our heritage lies in them and Guénon gives us, one might say, the possibility of a mysterious renascence in a purely positive sense by his message of the truth in Hindu terms. This affinity must not be exaggerated however, and Guénon never advised anybody who was not a Hindu, as far as I know, to become a Hindu.

His message was always one of strict orthodoxy in one esoterism, but at the same time of equal recognition of all other orthodoxies, but his purpose was in no sense academic. His motto Was vincit omnia veritas, Truth conquers all, but implicitly his motto was 'Seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you'. Implicit in his writings is the certainty that they will come providentially to those who are qualified to receive his message and they will impel them to seek and therefore to find a way.

Guénon was conscious of having a function and he knew what belonged to this function and what did not belong to it. He knew that it was not his function to have disciples; he never had any. It was his function to teach in preparation for a way that people would find for themselves, and this preparation meant filling in gaps which are left by modern education. The first of these gaps is the failure to understand the meaning of the transcendent and the meaning of the word intellect in consequence, a word which always continues to be used, but the intellect in the traditional sense of the word, corresponding to the Sansrit buddhi, had simply been forgotten in the Western world. Guénon insisted in his writings on giving this word its true meaning which is perception of transcendent realities, the faculty which can perceive the things of the next world, and its prolongations in the soul are what might be called intellectual intuitions which are the preliminary glimmerings before intellection in the full sense takes place.

One has the impression that Guénon must have himself had an intellectual illumination at quite an early age. He must have perceived directly spiritual truths with the intellect in the true sense. He fills in gaps by explaining the meaning of rites, the meaning of symbols, the hierarchy of the worlds. In modern education the next world is left out altogether whereas in the Middle Ages students were taught about the hierarchy of the faculties and correspondingly the hierarchy of the universe.

Now I must for the moment speak on a rather personal level, but perhaps it may not be without interest. When I read the books of Guénon in the early thirties it was as if I had been struck by lightning and realized that this was the truth. I had never seen the truth before set down as in this message of Guénon's that there were many religions and that they must all be treated with reverence; they were different because they were for different people. It made sense and it also was at the same time to the glory of God because a person with even a reasonable intelligence when taught what we were taught at school would inevitably ask, well what about the rest of the world? Why were things managed in this way? Why was the truth given first of all to only the Jews, one people only? And then Christianity was ordered to spread over the world, but why so late? What about previous ages? These questions were never answered, but when I read Guénon I knew that what he said was the truth and I knew that I must do something about it.

[...]

10/05/2005

Ramadhan is here

Come, come, whoever you are.
Wonderer, worshipper, lover of leaving.
It doesn't matter.
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you have broken your vow
a thousand times
Come, yet again, come, come.

- Sir Rumi

This time, im not home. i dont have my mother waking me up with a hot plate of food. i dont have as many distractions. i dont have ny scholars. waa.

i like new beginnings, even as a child i loved do overs. one out of three was never enough. i guess, thats why this faith is so perfect for me. thank YOU.

so here are my resolutions:
1. try to follow the second pillar (prayer) as well. DO not get up to pray fajr when the imam tells you to before eid prayer (fard before nafl stupid), rather get in the habit of waking your lazy arse up!
2. be more organized, with life.
3. try to keep up with readings
4. dont forget the third (or is it fourth?) pillar and keep a charitable disposition toward the abused (namely husband).
5. change eating lifestyle.
6. make more resolutions because you know youre a cheater and will ask for a do-over.

ok im done talking to myself.