As I look back on the scattered events of my life, there seems to be a great deal of connection.
My journey is one of self-evolution. Every person, every event was sent my way as a guide. I just embraced, each one with open arms and became a good student. At 19, I remember the day I fulfilled my (late) father’s dream and got admitted into medical school. As I stood on the first day, raising my right hand to take the Hippocratic Oath, I recalled the famous words of Professor Abraham Verghese: “My desire to be a physician had a lot to do with that sense of medicine as a ministry of healing, not just a science, and not even just a science and an art, but also a calling.”
Following completion of my medical school, I moved to the U.K accompanying my husband. Four years in a foreign country exposed me with countless encounters that enriched me. 1990 marked the year of our return to Pakistan with our first child. This gave me the opportunity to finish my internship and part of the post-graduate training in Neurology. Unfortunately, due to family obligations I did not complete this training. This was the time, I decided to put my family first. It was not an easy decision but the one that has put me in the right path. I started looking at my life events/people as learning opportunities for me. My first lesson, happiness comes from within, not from things, places, or money.
Our second migration was to Omaha, Nebraska, U.S in 1995 where my husband was pursuing his residency/fellowship and once again I could not pursue my carrier for two reasons, one because we came with the intension that we will go back in two years, secondly, with three kids, could not think of working especially with your partner doing residency, it was like raising kids by yourself! For the next 8 years, we were traveling between US and Pakistan (I mean living in two different continents every two years). In 2003, we choose to move back to Pakistan to look after my mother-in-law as she was being diagnosed with breast cancer. This turned out to be our toughest one but the best decision, not in terms of my carrier but in terms of my spiritual growth and for my children. I must tell you here, for all my decisions, I always ask the source for guidance.
It was not easy being stay at home mom, so I decided to contribute to the community and volunteer for underprivileged children. My focus was to educate them on the dangers of addiction and to provide them with solutions to overcome it. These counseling sessions were directed towards both the children and families. In 2007, I joined CAS as teacher/counselor, not a planned decision. Here, I had the experience of counseling privileged children. These children were suffering from their own set of unique problems. I had a wonderful experience of introducing character education as part of Islamiat curriculum.
Learning about people’s behaviors has always intrigued me. I remember at the age of 14, the very first thing about relationships that I learned was that “egoism destroys relationships”. My interest led me to learn about MBTI (Myer Briggs Personality Types) and CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy). I took an online certification course from UK on CBT. I use CBT in my counseling sessions and I combine it with spiritual therapy.
From a personal standpoint, I have learned a lot about my strengths and weaknesses through reflection and experience. A strength that I have recognized about myself is the ability to perceive people in a different light. For instance, I have learned that overbearing personalities are the best teachers. These individuals have taught me to be proactive rather than reactive and foster my growth both professionally as well as personally.
In my personal therapy sessions, I use 80/20 business rule with a kink! That is, if I am having a problem in any part of my life than 80% responsibility lies within me and 20% is outside. This compels me to own my problems and subsequently look for solutions, rather than playing the blame game.
I like to understand and adapt to the world rather than organize it. I like to be open to new experiences and information. I keep myself calm in stressful situations. I have learned to easily embrace change. Moving to different continents and places made me acquire these traits. My biggest lessons are learned in the toughest times and taught by the most difficult people in my life. We moved to US in 2015, I decided to go back to college, just finished my masters in dietetics.
My short-term goals are to gain clinical experience working as a registered dietitian. My long-term goals are to start a private practice in holistic nutrition. Treating people holistically and empowering them to their immense inner powers to achieve perfect health is my guiding light. Our bodies are well equipped to self-heal keeping the inner balance.
I would like to end this with a quote from the renowned Persian poet Rumi “What You Seek is Seeking you.”
This was written back in 2017-2018, when I just finished my internship and here, I am now doing exactly what I dreamt of doing.
Take home message is to have a purpose, set clear goals and follow your dreams!