Munira Premji

Wasaga Beach, Ontario – December 27, 2022. One of my most favourite holiday traditions is to come together as a family and reflect on the past year, and talk about the new year. This year it started on Christmas Eve over tea and cinnamon rolls. I put 10 questions in a box and we each picked a question to ask everyone. The questions ranged from, “what is it that you like most about yourself”, to “what is a fear that is holding you back”, to “what causes you stress and how does that show up for you?”. And as we reflected on these questions, there were many surprises and the discussions became quite animated and engaging. It was a powerful way for us to understand each other better, which I think contributes to stronger relationships.

Treatment #2 went without a hitch, no major reactions, no side-effects so far. After the treatment, we headed to a friend’s cottage at Wasaga Beach for two days. At the cottage, Cherrelle introduced us to a Dutch Christmas tradition – the feast of Sinterklaas, which is celebrated on December 5 or 6. The story goes that Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas) carries a book where he reports on children’s behaviour throughout the year. He is feared and admired by the children of the Netherlands. If you are good, you get gifts. If you are bad, you are put in a sack and Sinterklaas’s helper, Piet, carries you away to Spain. So Cherrelle wrote a poem for everyone in the immediate family (signed by Saint Nicholas), that told something about the person and also highlighted gentle advice. The poems were written in a Dr. Seuss style, complete with rhyming. Each person read their poem aloud, amidst laughter and loud cheers. It was entirely too much fun and highlighted for me that I had better be careful what I do around Cherrelle, because she notices everything!

We also resurrected another tradition of Sabrina asking her grandmother, Nanima, to describe different aspects of her life. My mom is 92 years old and has lived a very long, very full life. She is the matriarch of our family and loved absolutely. She talked about a teacher she remembered when going to school in Mombasa, the most profound thing she learnt as a child, and her best birthday experience.

After the grandkids were put to bed, we watched a spectacular movie on Netflix, The Swimmers. It is an epic true story of two sisters – competitive swimmers – who were forced to leave Syria in the midst of the Arab Spring uprising. It is a story of hope and passion, adversity and resilience, sadness and triumph, opportunity and commitment, and above all, love. It made the refugee experience come alive for us in a powerful way and I think we were each impacted, in some way, by watching this gripping story. Please gather your family around and watch this movie together for a shared, human experience. Did you know that there are about 30 million refugees around the world, most of whom under the age of 18? This is a real and daunting challenge for society.

Tomorrow, we will talk about 2023 using the Wheel of Life, something we have done over the past several years. It is an effective way to evaluate and talk about our lives based on different categories. What I love about this activity is that it gives us insights on one or two priorities we want to focus on in 2023, why it is important to us and how we can support each other with these objectives. And we will end with 3 big questions, courtesy of the International Coaching Federation (ICF):

  • What brings you the most joy and how are you going to do more of that?
  • What would you try if you knew you could not fail?
  • What do you want to let go of that does not serve you?

Wishing you and your family happy holidays. Time to be present with each other, moments of laughter and merriment, hot chocolate, snow angels, tobogganing, hot tomato soup made from scratch with sourdough bread, peace and harmony and above all else, love. Cheers to a happy and healthy 2023!

– Munira

I wrote about the Wheel of Life in July 2012. Please click here to read the post:

The Wheel of Life was also the subject of a workshop I conducted during 2020. Below is an excerpt from the YouTube series Reignite Your Purpose: Conversations with Munira, a 6-part series hosted by The Ismaili Canada in 2020:

1 Comment

  • Shairose L. Lalani , January 9, 2023

    What an uplifting post, Munira! Loved reading it, loved getting a peek into your family traditions and LOVED seeing the pictures of nanimaa with her great grandchildren. Pricelessly beautiful – all of you! Which you much joy, peace and happiness in 2023, and sending you hugs and love.

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