Ayesha Hassim


Join me as I explore Life, Love and Learning with Passion and Purpose.

The best of both

Since the beginning of this year I have spent a good portion of my time at my family home in Limpopo. This is where I grew up and where I have spent most of my life. For the past 6 years though, I have been based in Johannesburg and I love it there.

Quite unexpectedly over the last month the comfort of home became too tempting to part with. The beginning of February heralded a reality check. I had the most fantastic month of January being busy with my brother’s wedding preparations for the first two weeks and then being what I can only describe as super relaxed over the last two weeks. This has been extremely therapeutic however I know from past experience that relaxation over a long period turns to procrastination which leads complacency and then downright laziness which is the enemy of confidence and goal achievement.

Tonight the 2nd of February as I am typing this post I am grateful that my enthusiasm and drive has returned. I am ready to return to Johannesburg, to reality or the “real world” as I call it.

I am blessed in that I get to enjoy the best of both worlds, the hub of the city and the quiet of the country. I can’t imagine my life without either. Johannesburg offers me opportunity and responsibility while my hometown offers me family, community, ease and comfort. This helps me ensure that I maintain a balanced and well rounded perspective on life.

When I am in the country I get to reflect and connect which keeps me humbled and when I am in the city I get to execute my plans, network and grow. The benefits of my situation weren’t always apparent to me. I always believed that it could only be either one or the other. If I enjoyed the city that meant I was rejecting my hometown. When I was happy at home I saw it as an indicator that I had repudiated city life.

Thankfully I was able to see beyond my shortsightedness and acknowledge the beautiful gift that is the dual nature of life. We always hear sayings about how you can’t have one without the other or what would the night be without the day. Nature and life are the very personification of duality.

Imagine how fantastic would it be if we could see, realise and acknowledge that very same distinct duality and individuality in ourselves and others. Gone would be the labels, slots, compartments and judgements. In its place would be a renewed appreciation for the unique, one of a kind creations that each of us are.

There are wonders and miracles all around us. We just have to be willing to see with an open heart.

The Gift of Uncertainty

At the end of 2016, I felt hopeful and optimistic. I had clear plans and goals for 2017.

I returned from my holiday in India on the 3rd of January and was busy with family commitments up until last weekend. Now it is time to execute my plans and achieve the goals I set out for myself. Instead of feeling positive and excited, I feel scared and uncertain. At the end of 2016, I could feel the fire inside me burn brightly. I felt a sense of purposeful drive. My aim was clear, my motivation tangible.

As I sit here, typing this post, I feel nervous and hesitant. Where have these feelings of self-doubt come from? I pray it is just a temporary phase and that it will pass.

Over the past few years, I have been trying to find my way in terms of building a career as well as making a positive contribution to society. I am willing to admit that I have come a REALLY long way. I have done many personal development courses over the last few years and I have learnt a lot. In the process of all this learning and growing, Grow in Love was born. I can acknowledge myself for these accomplishments however because all that I’ve done has not yet started generating an income I feel as if it has all been for nothing. I am guilty, as I am sure many of you can relate, to measuring my success against monetary outcomes.

When I ponder on this and allow myself to carefully evaluate my thought process, I realise that I am being overly harsh with myself. All the knowledge that I have gained over the years has benefited not only me but everyone around me. As I have shifted and grown so has my family. My parents without ever having read a book on personal development make the most surprisingly emotionally intelligent comments. I listen in awe and I am amazed how they’ve unintentionally grown. I wonder if these positive changes would have occurred had my journey of self awareness and discovery not taken place.

When a person sets about healing themselves and aiming for an inside out journey of self discovery, growth and development, it creates a ripple effect. As they release pent up negativity, grow, evolve and shift in a more positive direction, so do the people around them.

By aiming to be more positive, accepting and understanding of ourselves and others and by healing what is hurting within us, we contribute positively to all those around us. That is really amazing, isn’t it?

As is my nature, I accept that I will infrequently continue to have moments when I will in my own state of unawareness, judge myself. When this happens I will reread this post and remind myself to continue on this journey of growth and improvement. After all, I am a work in progress, just like everyone else.

My heart lies in Africa

Being of Indian descent and being third generation South African Indian I often wonder what my life would be like had my great grandfather not come to South Africa over a hundred years ago. I visited India for the first time in December 2016. India like South Africa is a country of contrasts. I really enjoyed visiting India and it was for all intents and purposes an amazing experience. However, when I look up at the clear blue skies and wide open spaces in South Africa I know God had a reason for bringing my forefathers to Africa. To be able to stand in clear open spaces in the middle of the bush not even two feet away from a pride of lions on a random game drive about twenty minutes from home, that is to be blessed. To stand in the African bush veld and breathe in the fresh air, feel the hot summer sun on your skin, appreciate the faint breeze that brings a welcome relief, that is to be blessed.

The beauty of Africa fills my heart. I brim over with emotion when I am faced with the natural beauty that surrounds me. To live in Africa means that seeing, experiencing and being confronted by untouched natural beauty is the norm.

Only after I returned from India did I realise how blessed I am to be able to look up at an amazingly blue sky almost every single day of my life and don’t even get me started on the sunsets. I could go on and continue to wax lyrical about the beauty of Africa and particularly South Africa, as tempted as I am to do so, I will not.

I know a lot of people that are emigrating to Australia, Dubai, Canada, etc. and I often wonder, if that were me, what would I do? Could I possibly be happy without the African sun and sky? What sort of challenge or test has God set out for me by allowing me to be born in this breathtakingly beautiful country which due to apartheid and group areas act we were able to maintain our community and our culture while at the same time being faced by own fair share of challenges? Will I succumb to the temptation of running away and moving towards what most people would refer to as “a better life” or will I be one of those that stays put and perseveres? I honestly cannot answer that question right now. I do however know that regardless of where life leads me, my heart will always belong to Africa.