Featured Inspiration: Lina the Dreamer (#beboldforchange)
This is the third in a series of articles from Dear Chereen’s contributors in honor of International Women’s Day. With the hashtag #beboldforchange, we are highlighting bold women, embracing the power of femininity, and celebrating women all over the world.
Written by: Chereen
I believe in surprising people. So much is predictable and expected, but surprises lift the heart. They give you this sense of excitement that you are not anticipating, and the effect of the surprise leaves your heart smiling for a while. In honor of International Women’s Day, I wanted to pay tribute to someone who speaks to my heart. Lina the Dreamer, this is for you.
Lina the Dreamer. A name like that immediately caught every drop of my attention. This is simply because I, too, am a dreamer. I was expecting to find an account filled with random dreams, but instead, I discovered a journey that touched my heart and left me thinking of what it truly means to be appreciative. I wanted to know more about Lina. Her story resonated within me and I could not get it out of my mind. What I knew of Lina was from what she shared, but what I learned was that her posts only represented a hint of the phenomenal soul that she is. Lina might be a dreamer, but she knows what it takes to turn her dreams into reality.
Back in 2014, Lina and her family were involved in a car crash on their way to Mecca. This crash left Lina and her mother paralyzed with spinal cord injuries. A year was spent in the hospital recuperating, but it did not demotivate Lina. She soon began the journey to walk again. As Lina puts it, “The term ‘walk’ goes far beyond the physical movement of bending and extending the lower extremities. It’s the walk of my affected fingers. It’s a walk of the mind too. It’s the walk of building and improving my personality and character. For me, my recovery embodies all those types of walks.”
When Lina was first admitted into the hospital, she had a moment that left her grateful. While being quickly wheeled on the bed, Lina was put between two doors, the mortuary and the MRI. When in such a critical situation, it is easy to not know whether or not you have made it. Luckily, Lina ended up going to the MRI. That moment, though, left Lina appreciative and ready to take on life amidst her new fight.
These days, Lina finds inspiration around her to keep her going. Her motivation to walk is a goal, not just a dream. I asked Lina who inspires her amidst her adversities, and her response was nothing short of touching. This quest is not just about Lina herself, it is about those around her and those who see her go through this test that God has chosen for her. Lina’s mother was also paralyzed with a spinal cord injury, and it is easy to see where Lina gets her strength and perseverance from. Her dream is a selfless ambition; her motivation, to show others that anything is possible if you work hard for it.
“If I had to narrow it down, my inspiration would first and foremost come down to the people I love and the people who love me back. If I freeze or halt, then they will in some way freeze or halt. I have a tribe (literally) as an immediate family and they need me as much as I need them. I’ve learnt that every single thing you do effects the ones around you, whether you see it or not. Me telling my 9 year old brother that I beat a personal best at the gym earlier on that day makes him run to my other brother to tell him with such delight that ‘Lina’s working towards getting herself better.'”
Often times, it is easy to forget that everyone has an inner child within them. However, Lina remembers this and allows for her inner child to motivate her to keep going. Lina’s younger inspirations are still around, and this has allowed her to stay strong.
While others might have looked at such an injury as a punishment from God, Lina took it as a sign to live life differently than before. Since it is a daily test that takes effort and patience, I asked Lina what inspired her to share her story.
“That was quite a tricky decision to make. My head was in two places and it kept going back and forth. What made it for me is that I thought to myself one day, ‘Everything happens for a beautiful reason beyond our reasoning.’ The fact that I was chosen to not be sitting in a uni lecture hall amongst 500 students studying international law but instead being revived by an army of doctors at an intensive care unit on the other side of the world meant something. It meant something.”
Clearly, it meant a lot, since Lina has motivated others to follow their dreams. Recognizing that God has tested you for a reason is important. It prevents you from feeling sorry for yourself, and allows you to look forward and keep persevering. Young but already wise, Lina has realized this. She so beautifully said, “With this experience, I am supposed to be doing something different than before. Otherwise, what was the point of this whole crazy ride? To keep me exactly how I was before? I don’t think so. I also feel that if I could benefit someone through sharing my journey, then it’s worth it.”
Lina follows a routine for her success. She has already succeeded in having a kind and beautiful soul, but her ambitions require for her to be dedicated. From waking up at 7 AM to meditating often, Lina has visions and goals that must be reached. To stay inspired, meditating has become a part of Lina’s routine. She firmly believes in self-love and self-respect. In order to prevent stress and focus on having healthy mental and physical health, Lina clears her mind by connecting with her mind and senses through yoga. This form of meditation helps her have a clear mind, in order to process things clearly. Meditation was also something the Prophet (S) did.
Prophet Muhammad (S) used to stay for hours in the Cave Hira just simply meditating. Conversing between himself and his creator. (How peaceful that must have been!) That disconnection from the world is needed at certain moments to help refresh yourself, your beliefs, and your thoughts. The five daily prayers also provide us with that necessary disconnection.
True to her words, Lina made another dream of hers come true. She was motivated to drive, and she made it a reality. Not just that, but she was also able to find her own Cave Hira in the process.
“I always wished that I could have my own Cave Hira, so I kinda converted my car into one! Like sometimes I would just drive in the night, pull over to the where I could get a full view of the moon, and stay for like 30-40 mins just reflecting on life all whilst admiring the endless beauty that the moon holds.”
Having Ridhaa—contentment and calmness internally when you are are going through a tough moment–has become Lina’s method. She does not question why or what if, because she knows that God has it all planned out. This is something she is certain of, and it has allowed for Lina to always feel at peace and at ease. This has also taught me another thing about Lina: Her aura is full of sweetness and gratitude to the One.
I asked Lina if she had advice for anyone who is struggling to find their inner inspiration. Her response was one that offered permanent inspiration, because that kind of inspiration only comes from within.
“Be inspired by yourself first. Let yourself be the primary reason to rise up and be motivated to accomplish your goals. If you don’t have goals, then sit down away from everything and write them down. They’re good starting points.”
A large part of Lina’s life right now is rehabilitation. Her recovery ranges from training on a leg bike, to doing pilates, to the usual acupuncture, deep-tissue massage, cupping, reflexology, electric stim, dorn therapy and daily standing. Amidst all this hard physical work, she is also working on a super exciting project that will be launched within the upcoming months. It is a vision that she has had for a long time, and after hearing about it, I think it will be nothing short of amazing.
Having this kind of motivation takes a strong heart and soul. It also takes a lot of effort and self-appreciation. If you find it difficult to keep moving forward, Lina the Dreamer has a few words for you:
“Honey, breathe. Breathe several good deep breaths. That’s always the first step to move forward (in fact, to do anything!). Second, never ever fall in the trap of despair. It won’t always be smooth as good skin. Sometimes you have acne, rashes or dryness. (Sorry, that was such a bad analogy!) To overcome it primarily starts with your perception. No one is immune from difficulty.”
Amidst Lina’s challenges, her faith and wisdom continue to blossom. Allowing for her test to let her grow, Lina is true to the verse,”But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And God knows, while you know not.” 
Lina believes, “We shouldn’t necessarily view difficulties or any struggle as a bad thing. If dealt with properly, with positivity, hope and effort, then you come out of it a different person. Stronger, confident, wiser. So, if it makes you into these things, it would be unjust and invalid to label it as ‘harmful’ or ‘obstructive.’ Perceive it as a challenge, rather than a difficulty or an obstruction. Because ultimately, it is a test within a test.”
While the sky is the limit for many, for Lina it is a starting point. With God by her side and her dreams in her heart, Lina knows that there is no limit to success. This is why I am honored to have her our Featured Inspiration, and of course our International Women’s Day motivation.
 Surat Al-Baqarah, verse 16