Settling into a routine that guides our life on a regular basis can be a great thing, but sometimes the monotony or hustle of the daily grind can become draining—sometimes even spiritually draining!  There are times when we yearn to take a break from the daily routine and do something different that will be rejuvenating.

Introducing—the “Noor Jar.”

noor jar

This is something that came my way during the Health and Happiness Fair hosted by a student organization at my university.  It was a day's event on campus where they had arts and crafts, games, desserts, and other fun activities that students could participate in for free.  One of the booths was a “shine jar” booth, where you are given a plain jar to decorate and are meant to fill it with something.  Some of the ideas that were given were a “date night jar” with ideas for dates written on popsicle sticks or a gift to a graduating friend full of memories that you share with them written on slips of paper.

My idea was to create a “Noor Jar,” almost like a personal “date night jar,” but filled with activities that I could do to help keep myself spiritually renewed and happy.  Every month, I pick out a slip of paper and write it on my calendar to do for that month.

How to Make Your Own Noor Jar

1. Get a jar or any type of container.  This can be something you go out and buy or something you have lying around the house.  The only thing to keep in mind when you are making your Noor Jar is that you should be able to fill it with something that is easy to write on, like slips of paper or popsicle sticks.

2. Decorate your Noor Jar.  Have fun with this – you can go as simple as leaving your Noor Jar as is because it already looks great, or as complex as painting it and designing it in other ways.  Expend some energy in making your Noor Jar feel special, because the purpose it is meant to serve is special in and of itself. 2013-09-13 22.02.03

3. Fill your Noor Jar with activities.  Find some popsicle sticks, cut slips of paper, or find anything else that you can write on and get to stuffing your Noor Jar!  This one can be a little tough, but you'll think of great things to include in there!  The goal is to put anything that will bring your spirits up and make you happier.  Here are some examples of activities that I put in my own Noor Jar:

            Spiritual activities:   These can be activities that are generally considered good deeds or acts of worship.

i.       make du'a for a special friend

ii.      give a small donation to a worthy cause

iii.      visit a different masjid for a lecture

iv.      memorize a new du'a

           Social activities:  These can be activities that will help you spend time with the important people in your life.  One of the ways to grow as a believer is through good companionship and meaningful relationships!

i.      have a picnic at the park

ii.      bake with a friend

iii.      buy a gift for someone for no reason

          Personal growth activities:  These are activities you do for your own growth as a person or things you'd do to have some quality alone time.

i.      read a book you've been dying to read

ii.      spend a morning at the beach

iii.      turn off cell phone for a day

iv.      keep a character journal for a week

           Fun outings:  These are activities that you'd do every once in a while, fun day trips you would take or something that you would spend a little bit of money on.

i.      visit a museum

ii.      go on a hike in the mountains

iii.      take a day trip to the city

iv.      try out a new restaurant

            Chores or things you try to avoid doing:  These are meant to be those annoying chores or errands you have to run occasionally, but just hate doing!  If you ignore these for too long, they can end up being an unnecessary source of stress and frustration that can put a damper on your day-to-day happiness.

i.      get a car wash

ii.      clean out clothes from the closet and donate

iii.      delete old files from computer and update external hard drive

4. Use your Noor Jar!  Figure out how often you will use your Noor Jar—weekly, monthly, once every 3 months—whatever works best for you!  And then follow through and don't let your Noor Jar get sad by leaving it all alone collecting dust on a shelf.

Something I have come to learn is that we need to find our own happiness, and if it's not there, we need to create it for ourselves.  I thought this was a great way to bring some excitement in my life and to make sure that I don't drown in the hustle and bustle of the every day.  I have been using my Noor Jar for the past 4 months now. I love it and look forward to drawing a new activity from my Noor Jar every month!

You can customize your own “Noor Jar” for what you're looking for, and some spin-off ideas for different jars you could have could be things like:

  • new recipes you'd like to try
  • different daily duas/dhikr you would like to memorize and implement
  • friends you'd like to call and keep in touch with

I hope you enjoy your Noor Jar as much as I enjoy mine!

About The Author

Standing at just under 5’2,” Meena is still growing (figuratively, sadly no longer literally) into her place in the world. She is in her 3rd year of Comparative Literature studies at the University of California, Irvine, where she is active with the Muslim Student Union. She is a graduate of the Bayyinah Institute Dream Program 2012 and is also a student of the Al Maghrib Institute, having attended Ilm Summits 2010 & 2011. Meena has discovered the power and beauty that words can have, the highest example being the Words of Allah preserved in the Holy Quran. In her own capacity and with the help of Allah, she hopes to capture and communicate her reflections and thoughts as she continues on in this exciting time of her life. You can follow her on Twitter @imeanking & read more of her posts on her personal blog: http://imeanking.wordpress.com/

4 Responses

  1. Naima Asma Cherfaoui

    I love this idea. Thank you! I think I’m going to do this on a weekly basis insha’Allah. :)

    Some additional ideas:

    – try out a new café/restaurant
    – write a letter to a friend
    – bake cookies for your loved ones
    – experience the sun rise
    – go to the farmers’ market
    – cook a traditional meal
    – watch a movie in a different language
    – compliment someone
    – learn something about another country
    – go to the library
    – play a board game with your entire family
    – learn how to juggle
    – write a letter to your future children/grandchildren
    – take a long bath

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