states of the mind

I’m grateful when I feel hungry. That way, when I finally eat, the food tastes so much better. It’s the hope part that is as important as getting content. The actual pleasing moment itself is secondary. What truly has always given me peace is when I am self-aware – knowing and accepting where I’m at, rather than just chasing after temporary happy feelings. I really like when I am in that state of mind on my state of affairs. I’m not in that state all the time, though. If I’m hungry and hopeful for a meal, the meal is amazingly satisfying when I get it. But if I’m already full and content, eating doesn’t bring much extra pleasure at all. It’s not the happiness of being full that I ultimately cherish. It’s the hopeful hunger that allows me to genuinely appreciate and savor the next meal in a way the constantly satiated can’t. True lasting peace doesn’t come from achieving a happy state, then working to maintain it. It comes from staying presently mindful – observing whether I’m currently hungry or full, and staying optimistic either way. Self-awareness would ground us to authentically experience life’s simple pleasures, not just blindly pursue them. Contentment is found in the journey with hope, not in a needy obsession with the destination’s snapshot of happiness. That’s a little thing I’ve learned. Not sure how you’ve felt about it.

animated worlds of the unseen

When you look up at the night sky, what do you see? Just blackness peppered with tiny dots of light? To the naked eye, the cosmos can appear cold, vast, and seemingly motionless. But let me tell you – if we could perceive the invisible forces at play, the heavens would reveal themselves as a endlessly animated, roiling wonderland of motion and energy. You see, our limited senses capture only the smallest glimpses of all the activities unfolding out there in the darkness between stars and galaxies. Just because we can’t detect something with our human eyes doesn’t mean entire invisible worlds aren’t busily playing out their celestial dramas. Take interstellar dust clouds for instance – those wispy patches of cosmic fog drifting among the stars. What we visually perceive as faint, billowy smears are actually seething tsunamis of gas and microscopic particles engaging in an anarchic dance of gravitational tugs and molecular collisions. Though they appear frozen from our perspective, these clouds are ever-evolving, shape-shifting inkblots writing new astrological poetry through their unseen interactions. Deep within, stars are constantly sparking to life and explosive stellar winds blaze though the nebulae’s core. Or look at a seemingly calm, unmoving galaxy like our Milky Way spiraling lazily across the sky. What we recognize as a flatlens morphology is really a stupendously animated three-dimensional hurricane of hundreds of billions of individual stars whirling collectively through the depths of space. A silent cyclone of all-consuming gravity and dark matter mammathly churning within an unseen plane of existence. Then there are the greatest unseen performers of all – the mysterious, invisible goliaths of empty space known as black holes. These gravitational leviathans are nimbly ghostwriting the cosmological maps by which billions of stellar masses coordinate and orbit about them even as they steadily devour all matter that drifts too close. From our limited sunken perspective, we only glimpse the night sky’s statuesque still frames. Yet all around, charged ions, cosmic rays, rogue planets, and invisible forces beyond our perception animate realms of mesmerizing choreography right before our oblivious gaze. Next time you crane your neck skyward, don’t be fooled by the apparent stagnancy above. For just past the borders of our perception, staged across a canvas of perpetual darkness, invisible actors and dancers forever perform their grand cosmic ballas for audiences yet sightless.

leisure with a sense of openness and awe

In our achievement-obsessed society, the notion of leisure has become something of a taboo. We are conditioned from a young age to view productivity as the ultimate virtue, to equate our self-worth with our ability to constantly strive, achieve, and check off items from an ever-growing to-do list. Downtime is seen as a weakness, a indulgence reserved for the lazy or the unmotivated. Yet, this relentless pursuit of busyness comes at a profound cost. In our haste to accumulate accomplishments and accolades, we sacrifice the very things that nourish our souls and foster true well-being – rest, rejuvenation, and the freedom to simply exist without the pressure of constant striving. It’s time to reclaim the importance of leisure, to recognize it not as a luxury or a waste of time, but as a vital component of a life well-lived.

For it is in these moments of stillness and repose that we can truly connect with ourselves, with others, and with the world around us. Think about a world where we embrace the restorative power of leisure, where we make space for activities that nourish our minds, bodies, and spirits. A world where we engage in hobbies not for the sake of productivity or achievement, but for the pure joy of creativity and self-expression. A world where we gather with loved ones, not to check off social obligations, but to savor the richness of human connection and the simple pleasure of shared experiences. In this world, we would recognise that true productivity is not born from constant motion, but from a balanced approach that values both activity and rest. We would understand that our minds and bodies require periods of respite, moments to recharge and rejuvenate, in order to operate at their full potential. By embracing leisure, we may find that the constant sense of urgency that plagues our lives dissipates, replaced by a newfound sense of calm and contentment. We may discover that the very things we once feared – boredom, stillness, quiet – are in fact gateways to deeper self-awareness, creativity, and inner peace. In our leisurely moments, we can cultivate a greater appreciation for the simple pleasures that so often elude us in our haste. We can revel in the beauty of nature, taking the time to notice the intricate details that escape our attention when we’re constantly on the move. We can lose ourselves in the pages of a beloved book, allowing our minds to wander and our imaginations to soar. We can savor the flavors of a lovingly prepared meal, savoring each bite and the rich tapestry of aromas and textures. By making space for leisure, we can forge deeper connections with ourselves and with those around us. We can engage in meaningful conversations, free from the distractions of devices and the constant pull of productivity. We can embrace the art of truly listening, allowing ourselves to be fully present and attentive to the stories and experiences of others. In these moments of leisure, we may rediscover the childlike wonder and curiosity that so often fade as we grow older and become consumed by the demands of adulthood.

We can approach the world with a sense of openness and awe, marveling at the beauty and complexity that surrounds us, unencumbered by the weight of expectations and obligations. Perhaps most importantly, by reclaiming the importance of leisure, we can cultivate a deeper sense of gratitude and appreciation for the present moment. Rather than constantly striving towards some future goal or achievement, we can learn to find joy and fulfillment in the simple act of being, of fully inhabiting each precious moment without the pressure of constant striving. In a world that constantly demands our attention and energy, embracing leisure is an act of rebellion, a defiant stand against the tyranny of busyness. It is a choice to live life on our own terms, to savor the journey rather than constantly chasing an ever-receding horizon. It is an invitation to awaken to the beauty and wonder that surrounds us, to embrace the present moment with open arms, and to find joy in the simple act of existing, free from the relentless demands of productivity and achievement. Let us reclaim the importance of leisure, not as a luxury or an indulgence, but as a conscious choice to prioritize balance, self-care, and the cultivation of a life rich in meaning and purpose beyond the narrow confines of work and accomplishment. For in doing so, we may discover that true richness lies not in the destinations we chase, but in the ability to fully inhabit each precious moment, savoring the simple joys that make life worth living.

story continues

somewhere in Jaddaf, Dubai. All I knew for certain was this fleeting moment beneath an open sky. As the sun began to sink below the horizon in a blaze of color, I felt smallness and greatness alike. A single speck in the grand scheme, yet part of a story beyond what any eyes could see. Photography: The Border of a Mind Studios

The salty sea air whipped against my face as I gazed out at the endless blue horizon. My mind wandered to the vast mysteries that lay beyond what my eyes could see. How small I felt standing on this beach, with only the barest understanding of what forces truly shaped my path. We all have moments where we question the boundaries of our own perception. I had come here seeking clarity, but found only more questions. As the waves rolled in with relentless power, carrying secrets from distant shores, I was reminded of how little is in our control. We navigate life through shifting tides, guided by influences far greater than our own will. Yet in accepting our lack of dominion, there is freedom. Releasing imagined control unleashed a sense of peace I had not known before. Whatever currents carried me, I would flow. My hopes and plans mattered little against the vast ordaining of existence. All I knew for certain was this fleeting moment beneath an open sky. As the sun began to sink below the horizon in a blaze of color, I felt smallness and greatness alike. A single speck in the grand scheme, yet part of a story beyond what any eyes could see. The borders of my understanding had widened, if not cleared. In surrendering my perceived powers, deeper meaning had emerged. I walked back along the shore with lighter steps, content to embark where the tides would take me next.

shelter from storms

Beyond the veil of uncertainty lies promise of new possibility. Though the path ahead is unclear, solace and courage reside within to see us through whatever may come.

We all face times when the mind threatens to become our own worst enemy. Plagued by worries and doubts, it aims to dampen our spirits and derail our progress. However, with conscious effort, we can cultivate an inner refuge where peace resides despite life’s turbulent seasons. It is in this shelter that we find strength to withstand challenges and rediscover our sense of purpose. During dark days, a pall of gloom hangs heavy, seeking to curb our confidence and stall our forward motion. But we must remember that for every storm, calm weather lies within reach if we know where to find it. In these moments, turning focus inward provides relief. Instead of wrestling with the rains themselves, quiet observation of how they affect us brings clarity. We start to see that we are not defined by difficulties, but rather by how we choose to rise in meeting them. It is a process of patience and presence – allowing dust to settle before moving on. Through this approach, self-doubts lose power, dissolving like morning mist beneath sunlight’s warmth. Hidden landscapes of unrealized potential are then revealed, awaiting exploration when waters recede, and debris is cleared away.

Troubles will come, as is their nature, but guiding starlight also arrives to show the way forward once more, step by step. True freedom does not mean an absence of struggles but maintaining equilibrium even in turmoil’s wake. The borders of the mind are infinite; we need only find faith in what lies outward, beyond each winding turn in the road less traveled. Though unclear, this path holds promise that brighter scenes emerge if we persevere. In darker moments, solace and bravery exist inside each of us, reserves to be tapped so we can face uncertainties with courage stitched into our spiritual armor. The road shows no end in sight from where we currently stand, gazing through fog’s veil at a blurred horizon. Still, purpose and determination reinforce our resilience to weather unpredictable seasons. A steadying inner refuge gives shelter from storms that buffet us externally and internally. This allows reclamation of hope that better days approach, even if not yet clear in our view. But progress happens quietly, one faithful stride at a time.

beyond the superficial

Life’s most precious moments often arise through simple acts of presence – enjoying good company, appreciating nature’s beauty, helping others in small ways. However, constant stimulation makes it challenging to slow down and be fully engaged with the present. Finding inner peace requires periodically disengaging from the noise and reflecting inward.

In today’s fast paced world, it can be easy to lose sight of what really matters. We are constantly bombarded with messages telling us what we need to buy, do, and achieve in order to find fulfillment and happiness. Social media especially amplifies this issue, encouraging us to curate highlight reels of our lives and compare ourselves to unrealistic standards. Behind closed doors, many struggle with feelings of inadequacy and anxiety about keeping up with it all. Rather than letting external influences dictate our sense of self-worth, it is crucial that we learn to listen to our inner voice. When our minds are clear and calm, we can better distinguish between true needs and manufactured wants.

Life’s most precious moments often arise through simple acts of presence – enjoying good company, appreciating nature’s beauty, helping others in small ways. However, constant stimulation makes it challenging to slow down and be fully engaged with the present. Finding inner peace requires periodically disengaging from the noise and reflecting inward. We might journal to gain clarity, practice mindfulness, or openly discuss feelings with trustworthy friends. Making time for renewal allows us to unpack unwanted baggage from the past and envision the future with healthy perspective. With a balanced approach, we can make informed choices aligned with our priorities and values rather than reacting to every flashy advertisement or trend. Ultimately, true happiness stems from appreciating each day as it comes, without demanding more than life can reasonably provide. While commercial forces try to fill alleged voids, the ability to live contentedly starts from within.

shattering the comparison mirror

Original principal photography: Time Warp by Amjad | Edited and Styled by theborderofamind studios

Let’s talk about something that often sneaks into our lives, almost unnoticed – the habit of comparison. You know, that little voice that whispers, “Hey, look at them, why aren’t you more like that?” It’s a sneaky one, isn’t it? It creeps in and, before we know it, we’re feeling a bit down about ourselves or others. It’s like we take the amazing things in our lives and, just by comparing, turn them into sources of sadness. I remember looking at a friend’s social media feed, seeing their adventures and achievements, and suddenly, my cozy evening with a book seemed… well, less somehow. But as I age, I’m slowly gravitating towards two things to shatter this glass of comparison. I’m sharing it here.

First up, let’s talk about appreciating where you are. Think about it. Your life, my life, it’s a one-of-a-kind story. When I started focusing on my own narrative, rather than someone else’s highlight reel, things shifted. I began to cherish the small moments – like the aroma and right mix of Netta’s masala tea in an evening or the laughter in the stories of my toddler son. Those overlooked moments..

And then, there’s empathy over judgment. When I caught myself getting frustrated or judgy about someone else, I tried a new approach. I asked myself, “What might they be going through?” It’s like putting on a new pair of glasses and suddenly seeing the world in a different light. Understanding replaces judgment, and we find ourselves connecting rather than comparing. Now, why am I telling you all this? Because, I believe we can all find more joy and less heartache if we let go of comparisons. It’s like shedding a weight we didn’t even know we were carrying. Next time you catch yourself comparing, pause. Take a deep breath. Look around and find something in that very moment to appreciate. And when it comes to others, lend a little empathy. You might just be surprised at how your world changes. Keep these in mind as you navigate your day. Remember, your story is uniquely yours, and that’s what makes it so incredibly special : )

a little fragile

In the vast canvas of the horizon, little Ehan stands in wonder, his imagination as boundless as the ocean before him. Here, against the embrace of the sea and sky, his dreams set sail on the infinite blue.

Have you ever noticed how life can flip in the blink of an eye? Think about it: One day, you’re in your usual grind, and the next, you’re stepping through a door that just appeared out of nowhere, leading you to places you’ve never imagined.

It’s wild, right? Consider this: a regular day is unfolding, just another turn of the earth on its axis, and then—a call, a message, a glance. Suddenly, the ‘you’ that you’ve known is donning new colors, hues of a life you’re just getting to know.

And it’s not always the big headline stuff. It’s in the quiet moments, too. A conversation with a stranger on a bus, a line from a movie, or a random act of kindness from someone who doesn’t know your story. These things can hit you like a gentle wave, but the ripples they leave behind can change the course of your river. I’ve experienced fragility on an intense level within when I had a hospitalization episode a few years back.

We’re all a little fragile, and that’s okay. It’s what makes us capable of change. We’re these incredible beings made up of moments—moments that hold the power to redefine who we are and what we can become.

So here’s to the unexpected twists, to the surprises that life throws our way, and to the beauty of becoming. Because who knows what the next tick of the clock holds? It might just be the moment that turns your life into a story worth telling.

perseverance poise

As the day whispers its final encores, the sun drapes its golden shawl upon the tranquil sea, and the horizon becomes a canvas where the sky’s emotions are painted in a symphony of light and shadow. The beach, strewn with the day’s memories, rests in serene contemplation, awaiting the night’s embrace. A vivid memory from an early morning at Zanzibar. Original photography: The Border of a Mind Studios

Imagine, if you will, a seed buried in the depths of the earth, unaware of the light above yet striving to break through the soil. Is it not true that its very existence hinges on the relentless push towards the unknown, towards the possibility of bloom?

Consider, for instance, the story of a wandering artist, tirelessly searching for the perfect landscape to capture on canvas. Each stroke of the brush is a testament to their unwavering belief in the unseen masterpiece. Similarly, a young scholar, burning the midnight oil, fueled by dreams of discoveries yet unmade, embodies the spirit of never yielding to the shadows of doubt.

What transpires when we abandon our quests? The artist’s brush dries, the scholar’s books gather dust. The world remains oblivious to the potential masterpieces and groundbreaking theories that lie dormant. It is in the relentless pursuit, the undying flame of effort, where magic resides.

True, serendipity may occasionally grace our paths, bestowing unearned victories. But can we truly rely on the fickle whims of fortune for our triumphs? No, it is in the forge of persistence, the crucible of continuous effort, where the true alchemy of success lies.

By persisting, we not only stumble upon hidden opportunities but also sculpt ourselves into beings capable of seizing them. We evolve, learning to recognize the once invisible doors of possibility. Our once untrained eyes now perceive the opportunities that have always been there, patiently waiting for our realization.

Even if the ultimate goal eludes our grasp, the journey itself is a mosaic of lessons learned, skills honed, and inspiration sparked. Each step is a victory in its own right, a ripple that may set into motion waves of change in ourselves and others.

There are, admittedly, dreams that transcend the bounds of possibility, like a mortal’s quest to reach the stars with bare feet. And indeed, life’s great events—love, loss, joy, sorrow—reshape our priorities, guiding us to new paths, new dreams to chase.

Reflect on your own abandoned dreams. Were they truly beyond your grasp, or did they simply lose their luster in the ever-changing landscape of your life? Before you deem them lost, question their place in your heart. Do they still resonate with your current self?

For those dreams that linger, consider what has changed. Do you possess new resources, new skills, new passions? What barriers did you face then, and how can you dismantle them now?

As you stand at the crossroads of reflection and action, ask yourself: what is it that halts your stride? Identify it, confront it, and then, with a heart fortified by renewed purpose, step forward into the realm of possibilities.

contentment’s core.

Ehan’s fingertips brush against the texture of a starfish, a tender gesture that encapsulates the essence of gratitude and the innate joy that springs forth from appreciating the small wonders around.

At the heart of every shimmering moment of happiness lies a seed of appreciation, a fundamental truth often overlooked in our quest for joy. The commonly held belief is that joy births gratitude, but in reality, it is our sense of gratitude that blossoms into joy. This subtle but profound reversal of perspective suggests that our contentment and happiness do not stem from the comforts we receive but rather from the contentment within us that welcomes these comforts.

Gratitude for life’s blessings seems straightforward enough for many, but there are those who remain perpetually unsatisfied, immune to the warmth of appreciation. These individuals, forever chasing an elusive sense of fulfillment, remain outside the purview of this discussion. For the rest, cultivating gratitude is an exercise in mindfulness, a practice not inherent but learned with intention.

Mindfulness is less about the detective’s acute observation and more about noticing the simple beauties of life – the vibrant hues of flowers, the expansive canvas of the sky, the melodious laughter echoing in the distance. Acknowledging these wonders and expressing gratitude for the very privilege of experiencing them is a step towards joy. In a world where laughter is often stifled by the shadows of war, famine, and disaster, finding joy in it becomes a precious act of gratitude.

Consider the transformative power of gratitude even in adverse situations. Recall a childhood mischief leading to punishment, and how, over time, this experience fostered a deeper respect for others’ belongings. In that moment, joy was absent, and gratitude was far-fetched. Yet, in hindsight, those lessons shaped more responsible choices, quietly sowing seeds of joy in responsible actions.

Gratitude begins with the basics – appreciating life, friends, family, and even past relationships. It extends to finding beauty in the mundane or the broken – like an old, non-functional camera that serves as a vessel for cherished memories.

Even in the bleakest situations, like a hospital ward in a prison, there’s room for gratitude. It could be towards a compassionate caregiver, advanced medical technology, or simply the hope of recovery. Through this lens, gratitude is not just an emotion for the fortunate but a choice available to all, regardless of circumstance.

As this exploration concludes, ponder the intricate blend of joy and gratitude. Does joy follow gratitude, or is it the other way around? The journey of recognizing and nurturing gratitude in all facets of life might just unravel this mystery.