Each year a dear friend invites me to observe Ramadan with her family. What is Ramadan? Ramadan is the 9th month of the Muslim lunar calendar. Practicing Muslims fast during this month as a way to reflect on their spiritual lives and renew their devotion to God. It is a time to change habits and improve yourself. Feeling hunger throughout the day reminds you to stay spiritually present and aware.
Like Muslims around the world, this morning I arose at 3:50 AM to eat breakfast and drink water. Fasting starts at dawn with Fajr, the first prayer. Muslims pray five times a day, and fast during Ramadan between the dawn prayer and the sunset prayer, Maghrib. Today, that means no food or water between 4:12 am and 8:27 pm.
But it’s more than a physical fast. Muslims often abstain from smoking, sexual relations, bad-mouthing and swearing while they fast. Observing Ramadan reminds me to be conscious of my thoughts and words and mindful of my mental and spiritual health. As I pray five times I remember my friend’s sick mother, my family, and another friend’s financial challenges.
I’ve fasted for 1 day of Ramadan for 4 years now. Every year I get nervous! I think, how will I get through the day without water? Will I get anything done at work? Will I be shaky from low blood sugar? (And to think I only fast for 1 day, not a month!)
Every year it’s easier than I anticipate. I don’t mean it’s easy, but every year I’m surprised to realize that I don’t need to eat and drink to feel like myself. However, it makes me realize that food is important to me. Every other day of the year I structure my schedule around food – getting breakfast, taking a lunch break, and making dinner. Food is social, too! How often do you meet up with friends for a coffee, lunch, a picnic or dessert?
I love working for MOM’s. Not only do I have access to loads of beautiful, fresh, organic food, but I have the chance to learn about and appreciate how food gets to MOM’s and to my table. I’m so grateful that I have quality organic produce close by! I’m grateful to the farmers and many people who make it easy for me to eat. Every Ramadan, abstaining from food for a day reminds me that food is meaningful. It also reminds me of other important things: being kind, speaking and thinking well of others, working hard, and spiritual wellness. It reminds me of the bounty I have.
Have a blessed Ramadan!