In the last 5 days, I feel a strange surge, a desire to do more than I have during the last 25.
The race is not over yet.
A Ramadan Dream Came True
One of my duas came true.
I got a scholarship to be part of Cohort 10 of an online writing school called Write of Passage. David Perell, a prolific writer who actually makes money, teaches people how to organize their ideas systematically and how to write socially. I am literally delighted by his words, which come weekly, sometimes daily into my inbox. Even though I consider myself an essayist and fiction writer, I think good writing can only get better with intentional practice. I will find a tribe of creatives from all over the world.
The Day the Application was Due
There is really no explaination for how or why they would consider me. I asked for the scholarship application on the morning of Tuesday April 11. The day before, my son was feverish, running 102, between trips to the doctor’s office, sleepless nights as I listened to his vomiting and cleaned up (i.e. threw out) soiled sheets. In the daze of caregiving a sick child, I kept dreaming, what if there was more?
Tuesday morning I emailed them, and they said, application is due by EOD.
Well, I did what every gifted over-achiever does when they forget a deadline, I sat down to write the application. I dropped the little ones with family, and cranked out the application in less than an hour before I had to show up for a iftaar dinner party. I said my duas, and hit sent. I had been up since 4AM. In the application, I shared my website, and the fact that I am a Muslim woman. I don’t have $4000-$8000 just laying around. If they reject me, they reject me, but at least I am telling them who I am at the start.
I had doubts about the time commitment to the class, and the fact that it literally starts on the 26 night of Ramadan, coinciding with the MOST intense nights of the year for practicing Muslims.
All Nighters Like You Wouldn’t Believe
Each night, mostly the odd nights, I am in the masjid (arabic word for mosque) from 9PM to 4AM.
Yes, a full 7-8 hours in the masjid. Some days I stay home to do my worship, but most nights I go to the masjid with toddlers. (Thank God we have very child-friendly religious spaces near my house).
The days are for sleeping and rest, but the nights belong to a higher purpose.
The masjids are full of sweet recitation, the smells of breakfast as people eat together before starting their ritual prayer; there’s bright faces and smiles as people pray together and remember God.
And in the mix of these all-nighters at the masjid, I will be starting an online writing school.
Finding Meaning in the Midst of Chaos
There’s this perfect clarity that comes from being atuned to your purpose, and your role and place in the world. It’s being up at night with the intention of connecting with the Creator of the heavens and earth. There’s no stage of “englightenment” in my religion. It’s more like you keep doing the things God asks of you, and you might get lucky, or you might be stripped of all your luck. It really has nothing to do with your actions, so much as it does with your intention. That is a pretty radical idea. It’s not about results, necessarily, but rather process. This is a gross oversimplification, but go with it for a moment.
Like a runner I aspire to be, I know that races are all about the preparation. It’s all about the automation and getting the body and mind ready.
In the email I got from WoP, it says, “the thing about races is that they aren’t won on the day of the race; they are won the week before.”
Did you keep your muscles stretched and loose?
Did you drink enough water?
Did you get enough sleep?
Your success depends on your preparation.
Similarly, I prepare almost an entire year before Ramadan begins. I’m part of 3-4 groups of women who share my goals about developing a healthy, joyful heart through faithful practice to the deen,
Also, I feel like I have been preparing every day for this writing class. Possibly longer, if you count how I wrote every day for 30 days last year during this special month of Ramadan, while also homeschooling toddlers, and my partner was abroad.
I wrote about gratitude.
I wrote about sisterhood.
I wrote about all the senses.
This year, I am grateful to find a group of creatives on the internet.
I love the amazing women who encouraged me to keep writing, keep applying, keep moving forward especially my teacher Hajera and our group of Grounded Writers. She is an exceptional teacher.
I have been writing each day, doing the prompts, but just haven’t made the commitment to writing socially this time around.
The countdown has begun.
I’m fasting 14 hour days. And starting tomorrow, and Mondays and Wednesdays going forward, I’ll be breaking fast with a cohort of people I’ve never met from all over the world, taking 1.5 hour writing classes from my home.
I have 10 Live sessions plus 10 Deep Dives. That’s 20 sessions until May 26.
Two weeks of kids at home, and no school.
And, oh yeah, there’s a party of 100 people and little people to plan. Eid is on Friday, and there are 4-5 events between today Sunday April 16 and next Sunday.
God help me. There’s no one else who can.