Living Fearlessly

Munira in CTV News Toronto's Lifetime segment, June 5, 2013
CTV Toronto “Lifetime”, June 5, 2013

One promise I made to myself, after I got ill, was that I was going to live fearlessly.  That I would live my life fully and with passion.  That I would take chances and explore the land beyond my comfort zone.  That I would show up and sit in the front row of my life.

Little did I know that one such opportunity would present itself so dramatically, not once but twice.

Living Fearlessly, Part I:

On March 21st of this year, we celebrated Navroz, the first full day of Spring.  Idd-e-Navroz is a festival that is celebrated in many communities throughout the Middle East, Central and South Asia.  As you know, in many cultures, spring is a sign of renewal.  And so it is in our culture.  Navroz “signifies a time of spiritual renewal and physical rejuvenation, as well as the spirit of gratitude for blessings and an outlook of hope and optimism towards the future.”

For Navroz this year, I took a chance and did something a little bit crazy, a little bit creative and a little bit out of my comfort zone.  I got my bald head painted with henna!  This is a service offered by a company called Henna Heals.  This organization offers custom-created henna body art for people experiencing complete hair loss. They paint bellies of mothers-to-be, and henna services for special events.  To read more about Henna Heals and their work with cancer patients, please click here.

I decided to do this on a whim because this is the last time (hopefully) I will have no hair.  My hair is expected to grow back now that the chemo treatments are complete.  The day started with Nagib shaving the little growth of hair off my head.  I have never seen him so cautious and careful as he could not bear the thought of hurting me!  Then, Tarquin Singh, a henna genius, came to my home and we collaborated on the design.  I had to sit very still while she worked her magic.  The whole process took just over 2 hours.  As you can imagine, I was exhausted after this and needed to take a long nap.  I guess for now I will live fearlessly — between naps!

The result was unbelievable.  Not only did I turn heads everywhere I went, I felt  beautiful.  I felt renewed and rejuvenated.  See a gallery of my pictures below.  The brilliant photographer is Frances Darwin, the founder of Henna Heals.  Thanks to Afsan, my hairdresser and make-up artist, for her encouragement and motivation.

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Living Fearlessly, Part II:

Then, this week, something very special happened.  Frances contacted me and asked if I would be willing to shave my head again and let Tarquin paint my head with henna.  You see, they were contacted by CTV Toronto for Pauline Chan’s regular segment on the 6 o’clock news called “Lifetime”.  Well, if you’re gonna put yourself out there, you may as well do it again, and put yourself way, way out there!

Click below for the result — a 2 minute segment that aired on CTV News on Wednesday, June 5th:

Lifetime: Henna crowns for chemo patients

I have learnt that since we don’t live forever, what we can do is make today count and show up in life.  Showing up takes courage.  It means putting ourselves “out there” and that can be a scary thought.  Get past scary and you will find the exhilaration of living fearlessly.

Love and light,

37 thoughts on “Living Fearlessly”

  1. Hi Muni,
    I have been away in US working and just got back and saw your Blog an inspiration to all.
    I always admired your finesse in poetry from a very young age and it seems to still be with you.
    Your picture says a thousand words but one that comes to me is your smile:)
    Wishing you a speedy recovery and happiness!

    Mehboob Merali

    1. Wow – – How great to hear from you! It is a welcome surprise. I am doing remarkably well under the circumstances. What are you doing in the US? How have you been? How are your boys – – what are they up to? Yes, I still enjoy poetry! Munira

  2. Munira….you’ve never looked so beautiful and radiant. Love and fearlessness burst through your pores and shower us too. A big hug to you from me. Helen

    1. Hi Helen! I so love your comment and how it makes me feel! It is incredible to me about how cancer has given me a new beginning… a strange kind of way. Big hug right back, Munira

  3. Munira,it was so nice to meet and talk to you today.
    I am sooo happy to see you in such wonderful sprits.

  4. Munira, it was fantastic to see you on the CTV show – you looked so beautiful and were so natural! Congratulations for “putting yourself out there”! Love, Patti.

    1. Hi Patti – – I so miss you! When can we get together again? Are you, by any chance, available on sunday morning – June 23 – for the Myeloma Walk? It would be great to spend time with you. Let me know and I will send you the details. Love, Munira

  5. Munira

    You look so beautiful with the heena. May Mowla bless you with good health and lots of barakat. You are an amazing woman I ever have come across. So proud of you.


  6. You are an lovely family – May the light be with you. My wife Rocio, who is the most amazing woman in the world and who has been amazingly generous to me (she donated a kidney to me), was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year. She has had a double mastectomy and is now undergoing chemotherapy. All through this she has been strong and loving and caring. Like you, she is an amazing woman and looks even more beautiful now that she has revealed her full face and head. I love the henna and will share your blog with her. Thank you Munira for your inspiration. Your story is one of love and caring. Good luck – I know you will get better soon! The light is upon you and yours.

    1. Wow! What a story! Rocio seems like an amazing, amazing woman. I am so sorry for what you are both going through. And yet, I sense that you are in a good space; a place of gratitude. Henna Heals was a wonderful experience. I would certainly highly recommend it! Thank you so much for taking the time to write.

  7. no comments,

    if that what makes you happy , go for it!!! why not?

    every individual has unique ways to satisfy,motivate himself/herself, the main thing is to be able to move, on and thats what you are doing….keep it up!


  8. Munira, you beautiful, beautiful woman! you never cease to amaze and inspire. You look amazing by the way :-). Sending you a big hug…..


    1. Hi, Hi, Hi! Thanks! I am actually really enjoying the bald look. I remember how I used to hide behind scarves because I could not even look at myself when I was losing hair. I guess it was part of my healing process. Big hugs back!

  9. You are absolutely radiant… inside & out! You continue to inspire and teach us all with every new step that you take.

  10. Wow! Munira you are amazing!! yet again you inspire me!!!!!!!! you are so strong and so beautiful! I have no words to describe it! May you always be blessed!
    Saira Nasirdin

    1. Hi Saira!!! I really do look forward to your comments. I’m glad to have gone through the henna experience. But I think I’m done now I am going to let my hair grow – – don’t want to tempt fate too much!

  11. You looked amazing.What a great idea plus it must have been a lot of fun turning heads????

    1. Ya Ali Tasnim – – Thanks! It was a lot of fun. Pity it does not last more than a week!
      Can’t wait to have you over for a bar-be-que. I’ll propose a couple of dates soon!

  12. Wow – the henna is gorgeous and you look stunning. Thanks so much for sharing both the experience and the CTV piece. (I’m only sorry it wasn’t on CBC! ; ) Living fearlessly is working for you I think!

    1. It was such a cool experience shooting the piece! I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly they turned it around.
      They came home to film from 12 to 2 pm, and then aired it for the 6 pm show on the same day.
      Elizabeth, I just did a 45 minute documentary of my journey with cancer yesterday. It was a personal project for me.
      Hopefully it will be edited and done in the next month. I would love to show it you first – – to get your feedback. Are you game?!
      Love, Munira

      p.s. I like Living Fearlessly (although its getting me into all kinds of trouble!!!)

  13. Hi Munira,

    You are so courageous! so beautiful! so inspirational! Thank you for sharing your wonderful experiences. Dave and I appreciate the difficult emotions that you must be experiencing. We are learning from each other and try to support each other in every way. You have a fabulous ability to write and express your experiences. The Henna art design was amazing. CTV did a wonderful segment.

    We are going to participate in a few fundraising events for Multiple Myeloma this summer. Tonight Dave and I will walk in the Relay for Life. Hope to keep in touch. Stay well.

    We are so lucky to have you in our lives. You are always welcome to call or write. We send lots of love, Erika and Dave 905-648-5146

    1. Erica – – I am sorry I could not make the last Myeloma meeting. I so look forward to them as it gives me a chance to see you and David. I’m doing so well, I can hardly believe it! Will you be participating in the June 23 MM walk in Toronto? Munira’s Team will be the cheerleading team throughout the walk. Hope the Relay for Walk goes so well for both of you. Did you hear about the Myeloma conference in Ottawa? I was thinking of going. What about you? Lots of healing energy and love to you both! Munira

  14. Moonira, you look even more beautiful. I love reading your posts and always looking forward to reading the next one

  15. WOW.. you look amayzing! I have shared the vidéo with all HR…
    Spoke to joanne and learned the good news.. on the day of my birthday.Can you imagined!
    We need to catch up!! 🙂 Happy to see that you are doing much better!

    1. Isa – – I can’t believe I missed your birthday. My bad! I will make it up to you. So much to catch up on. I can’t wait to see you really soon. Pretty excited for the opportunity to do some work with you again…….Love, Munira

  16. Just Amazing. I’m so proud to know you. Instead of me/us praying for you, we should be asking you to pray for us. Love. lots of it. Saira

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