Seeking the Spiritual During Ramadan

Monday, July 28, 2014

Eid Mubarak, all!

This year has been a time of seeking intentional spirituality in my life. Ramadan has been really varied for me; there was no consistency that I could find in it, other than a renewed sense of wanting to move towards spiritual wellness. I fasted; I didn't fast. I felt grounded; I snapped. I was with family; I was alone with the roaches (my new struggle on the home front). Overall, I am proud to say I was more conscious of my personal health and needs throughout the whole month.

Just about the only thing that has been consistent is that I've been writing -- more importantly, writing dangerously. I wrote a poem every single day with an amazing group on Facebook, and I felt an intimate connection with several of them by the end. Sharing writing -- especially in a form you don't use often for show -- is one of the most vulnerable things I have done recently. That space existed as a way for me to start the process of leaning on others' support, even if we did not directly talk about our hurts.

It made up, at least in part, for all the ways in which I've felt unsupported these past months. Going back to Seattle and San Diego was a healing wake up call. I got to spend the last few days of my cat's life with her. I got to read more full books than I have in the rest of this year. My family and friends cocooned me and made me feel less alone. Coming back to NYC, conversely, felt like I was the only person on the planet. The water closed over my head again.

There are things that have kept me sane -- a new job, an amazing conference -- but ultimately I have had to return to the principals of faith this Ramadan in a very concrete way. Fasting kept my mind clear, and when I chose not to fast, I chose it with the intention of healing my spirit from other sufferings. Fasting in hardship can also be a weapon used against yourself; when I found myself being too perfectionist about the practice of my faith, I decided enough was enough.

I have been thinking about what it really means to be nourished. As a healer, I need to trust my own instincts in that -- it is so incredibly hard for me to feel like I have given myself as much care as I do other people. This Ramadan, for a number of reasons, has given me the chance to reflect on that.

I don't have the answers of where things will take me next, but I am working to pare down my commitments and just be with me more often. Me and my writing. Me and my art. Me and my healing, before trying to reach out that hand to others. Until then, I'll share with y'all a poem written during this holy month:

When I sleep,
The visions,
The divine lodges,
In my throat.
And when I dream,
I see,
I am just one part of you --
The part,
That sings your praises.