Written by: Sara Salih
Who starves themselves for several hours on purpose for 30 days and genuinely loves it? I do! And over a billion other people do too.
Sometimes we can see the month of Ramadan as a time where we have a lack of food and water when of course instead, it is one of the most enriching experiences. My passion is to travel in order to grow, better myself, and work on all the things I want to change in my life. Travel is my self-care. I call it that, interchangeably with personal growth, introspection and self-awareness. To me they all result in the same thing – a better life.
I travel almost every month of the year to remote beaches, bustling cities and jungles all over the world for any challenging opportunity that would lead to personal growth. Yet Ramadan comes around gently once a year offering all that I search for in one beautiful reset button. It is an opportunity to fine-tune your life to fit who you are, what you want, and who you want to be. It challenges you to make a deep spiritual intention to commit to bettering yourself and to connecting to Allah SWT. Both of those things are a gift. Through them, your life becomes so much more meaningful, intentional, and truthful to you.
The magic is in catching yourself before you reach out for a bite; remembering that you’re fasting. It’s that second thought that stops you from saying something you might regret. It is both high level self-control on things that would normally be natural instinct like eating and the epitome of self-awareness in our thoughts, words, and actions. It is a minute by minute life check and keeps you perfectly in line with how you want and choose to live your life.
Self-care may be found in a free evening to paint your nails a beautiful colour but before that it’s in knowing that you needed that time at all – to take care of you, your body, your mind and your soul. You might learn that your heart needs gratitude, so you journal. You realize that the person you love who doesn’t respect you is not meant for you so you make the decision to let them go. Self-care is in knowing what has been good for you in the past year and what has been working against you. It’s in recognizing what things, habits, and people you need to shake off and which ones you want to keep and grow more in love with.
It’s also in being okay with calling yourself out on things you’ve been doing that haven’t helped you move forward, or thoughts that have pulled you back or feelings that have broken your heart to a million pieces. The real beauty of the month is knowing that all of that is okay. That it’s easy to get caught up in all that we do and just go with the flow that we don’t have much time to think about on a normal day.
This month is that friendly nudge that says – “hey, you’re human”. It’s forgivable. In fact, it’s welcomed and rewarded just for recognizing it.
It’s the hug that warms you and reminds you that not all is lost.
It’s the month that tells you there is One who can make all your hurt go away and all you have to do is ask.
It’s the month that gives you the legs to stand back up again. It’s the month that believes in lasting change and that if small bite-size actions is all you can handle then that’s more weighted than a grand gesture.
It’s the month to be honest about all that you want and wish for because it’s 30 days of Yes.
It’s accepting who you’ve been, who you are today and who you want to be.
It’s a free flow of blessings, gratitude, love, compassion, community, and a stronger connection to the One who gives it all.
So I can never think of Ramadan as a month of lack. It’s not a lack of food and water, nor a lack of fun or desires. It’s the abundance of all the things our lives and hearts have been lacking all year and it’s given to us in a rich and beautifully packaged month. Just like that.
I don’t know if any words could even do it justice but what I know for sure is it’s just about everything we need.