Fervent Prayers for a New Dawn, and a thankful heart for the love of friends and family
Edmond, Oklahoma – I fervently pray that 2022 ushers in a new dawn for the world, one in which forces of progress, freedom, and non-violent activism triumph!I hope good health, community and justice are restored.
The past few years have taught me to recognize the significance of raising consciousness. They have also taught me to preserve rituals and practices that we can cultivate to silence voices of negativity, and instead cultivate healthy mental and emotional habits.
I realized that the practices of faith, resilience, productivity, gratitude, and self-love could help me maintain calm in the face of adversity. The drastic changes in the world, particularly Kashmir, have made a significant impact on my consciousness, reality, and truth. Although whatever little news one receives about various parts of the world is not very hopeful, I realized that living from a place of self-worthiness would empower me to resist dehumanizing aspects of bigotry.
At Thanksgiving time 2021, I reflected on my personal losses, and on those facing all whom I love.
There is great strength in recognizing that life is never free of pain, and it is empowering to embrace that pain. For myself, there is great strength and abiding comfort in recognizing that I held up with dignity and resilience when adversity knocked on my doors. I found new meaning and deepened purpose in adversity. My mother has always displayed immense stoicism and fortitude. She has the enviable quality to look on the brighter side of life, even in dismal conditions. I have learned a lot from her ability to stand up to even the most adverse situations with dignity and quiet self-confidence. My daughter, Iman, reminds me that life is full of purpose and meaning. As I understand more and more about resilience, I grow by navigating new terrain. And my friends and I give one another the gift of seeing strength in one another’s narrative.
In my latest book, I wrote about displaying fortitude and stoicism in traumatic situations. I also wrote about how a sense of purpose gave a person who had suffered trauma a reason to go on. And then, with the loss of my beloved, I saw the theories that I wrote about playing out in my life.
A life in which the person can indulge her creative urges might be denied to her by external forces, but that is when a person finds meaning in suffering. Suffering is as inevitable as fate and death. A person has the potential to display fortitude, stoicism, and dignity in the face of suffering and adversity. The manner in which she chooses to bear her cross provides her ample opportunity— even under the most difficult circumstances – to explore the unplumbed depths of her life.
This is where the person makes the critical decision to either capitalize or renounce the opportunities of attaining the moral values that a difficult condition might offer. The crucial decision either to embrace her dignity or to sink into the depths of barbarity “decides whether” the person “is worthy” of her “sufferings or not” (Viktor Frankl). Life has taught me that we can remain empowered even in the worst situations, enabling us to effectively transform trauma instead of transmitting it.
I reflect on the pain of this November. And, as a New year begins, my faith has been strengthened by the forbearance, wisdom, and courage shown by my parents through politically stormy periods.I find myself now immersed in the love of friends — and, through the wonders of modern means of communication, unsolicited kindness from people around the world I may never meet in person, yet value in my heart. God Speed to my family and friends. I wish everyone a year filled with good health, courage, wisdom, and serenity.
NOTE: Dr. Nyla Ali Khan is the author of several books, many scholarly essays and dozens of stories in newspapers and on websites around the world. Her newest book is “Educational Strategies for Youth Empowerment in Conflict Zones: Transforming, not Transmitting, Trauma” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021). It is available both in hardcover and digital format. A native of Kashmir, Dr. Nyla became an American citizen in 2021. Her husband died in a hunting accident this fall. She lives in Edmond with her daughter.