Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Ramadan Action: Reflection

Asalamu Alaykom,

Is your Ramadan half over--- or half yet to be?

Reflect on that.

Is a good time to reflect on many lessons we've been learning.  There are many universal life lessons which we've been internalizing over the days and weeks.  Inshallah, I hope we're able to identify them so we can carry them with us throughout the year.

Everything is Finite

Everything is finite.  Everything has an end---except Allah.  We can see a Ramadan schedule and visualize the number of days we need to wake for suhour, pray and fast.  It's not going to last forever.  We can center ourselves on that truth and it calms us.  We'll be OK during these days because there's an end.

Our energy and endurance is finite as well.  We can't do it all!  There's a limit to our abilities.

There's limits to how much we can stuff our faces, our closets or our wallets.  Sharing feels better because we can't keep it all.  This is one reason why giving to charity at this time is so easy as we see better.

There's also a limit to our days on this earth.  Nothing lasts for forever but Allah.

Stay Balanced

Stay balanced.  We know we need to be balanced people; we need to be using moderation in everything.  During Ramadan we see that clearer.  We need rest and physical activity, spiritual connection and interaction with others, private time and public time; we can't only focus on one aspect of our lives.

We need to finely orchestrate our lives to create harmony within ourselves and within our families.

Quality not Quantity

It's about quality not quantity.  At the end of a Ramadan day, you look back and think over the best things you got done.  You think about the meaningful moments and feel contented.  Life isn't about being busy with your time but about being wise with how you use the time.

It's the same when we eat our food.  We can't eat junk to break a fast.  We need the most nutritious meals.  I would rather have a bowl of vegetable soup than a McDonald's.  Again, it's how we are able to feel afterwards in retrospect which is the clincher.  Honestly?  I could eat a whole bag of Doritos at one sitting and feel good in that moment but it wouldn't feel good when I was finished.  I would feel cheesed up and grossed out, bloated, and guilty.

We feel best when our lives are of a high quality.

Surround Yourself with Support

Surround yourself with support.  I remember days of waking up alone and scared that I'd upset my non-Muslim mother as I ate my suhour in her home.  I know that she couldn't understand my needs.  She was giving what she could but it was not what I needed.

These days, I'm in a house full of Muslims and I eat and pray together with them.  They understand me in ways my mother will never---unless she comes to Islam.  One of the reasons I didn't go to visit my mother this summer is that I couldn't imagine another Ramadan without my support here.

Don't keep knocking on the doors of those who can't really help you.  Go where you feel understood and helped.  This isn't just true for Ramadan; it's true for your life.

You Get Back What You Give

You get back what you give.  Each Ramadan shows us what we've been giving to the growing children around us.  If we have put effort into their lives, then they grow as strong Muslims who observe the month alongside us.

The lessons we gave them, the reminders, the admonishing when they were wrong were all our input.  The choice was theirs whether or not to follow.  When they find the way is one of life's biggest joys.

Subhanallah, that the same toddler who once climbed on your back as you made sujud can now stand beside you on the prayer mat.  It's a life we've been building---not just our own but that of our children.

Keep at it.  Keep believing you can make a positive difference.

Run the Marathon, Not the Sprint

Run the marathon, not the sprint.  You have to see yourself making it through a long challenge and not give up half way there.  Ramadan shows us how pacing ourselves makes the most sense.

For instance, you can read the whole Quran in a month if you read four pages every time you pray.  In order to do that, you've got to identify that as a goal ahead of time and take the steps to turn it into a reality.

Is there a goal you made for yourself this Ramadan?

Visualize what you wanted to accomplish this month and see yourself taking the steps to complete the task.  Just remember that the bigger the goal, the more steps you'll have.  If you don't make it as far as you'd like, then don't take it as a failure.  You were in training for the next time and the next time will be easier inshahallah.

These next two weeks will go by very quickly inshahallah.

May Allah make it easy on you.

May Allah accept your fasting and prayers.

And at the end of Ramadan may you be able to carry with you some lessons you learned along the way.

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