If there is one thing that I learned from the deepest level of my heart and from my recent trip to Morocco, it is this ancient Arabic phrase Hasal Khair. It reminded me of the stories my grandmother used to tell us, about lighting one little candle to spread light in the dark.

A few weeks back, I was in a beautiful resort near the charming city of Casablanca in Morocco, enjoying an authentic Moroccan meal. Just a few hundred kilometres away, in Marrakesh, an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.8 on the Richter scale struck and we felt the dreaded tremors. Instantly, the entire 500-room hotel, which was in full occupancy, was evacuated as a precaution. Hundreds of us sat quietly on the open lawns, calling our loved ones and informing them that we’re safe. As time went by, we heard about the devastation. Naturally, we were shaken to the core. And then, a wise man seated nearby said, “We Arabs use the phrase hasal khair meaning that though something terrible has happened around us, we haven’t been harmed, so we must focus on the blessing.”

It is only when we shift our focus on the ‘good’ of a seemingly rough situation, can we actually do something useful.

This reminds me of a quote from noted clinical psychologist and author Jordan Peterson, “Be the strongest person at your father’s funeral.” Being strong does not mean false bravado or compressing all your emotions within. It means facing your feelings head on, dealing with them, finding the ‘heart’ to handle the pain, finding solidarity and then helping others do the same.

A dear friend had been overwhelmed with the illness and loneliness of her ageing parents. Living far from them, her anxiety drove her to the point of illness. She was doing all that she possibly could, except one thing — finding joy, faith and hope within her life. When she slowly accepted the situation, she found strength in the loving hugs of her daughter, and she was able to become a happier, more productive and stronger influence for her parents.

The role of resilience in difficult times is invaluable. And yes, many will think this is easier said than done; it is not easy to stay strong until the storm passes. But something that needs to be done.

“Light that one candle and it will brighten the whole room,” my grandmother used to say. Try to find one thing which is a blessing; let that strengthen your heart and spread light to those around you. Hasal Khair.

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