Tag Archives: quitting smoking

RAMADAN WROTE ME A LETTER

Slide1Relationships. We have all had our difficult relationships. That odious bully at the playground. The teacher who seems to take delight in humiliating us. That colleague who just has a face that you want to give a tight slap for no good reason at all. We are built differently and it is thus not surprising that relationships can go south pretty quickly. But sometimes, amazingly, we can turn from mutual dislike into abiding affection. It can happen. It DOES happen. It happened to me recently.

A 70 stick zombie. You see, I have always had a love-hate relationship with the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. I love it because even in my severe state of sin, I am aware of a lightness in the air, and a gentle calm at night. But for a 70 sticks of cigarette regular, fasting does put a cramp in my style – as in I become a complete zombie. A hypersensitive ill-tempered ogre from sunrise to sunset.

An intervention. Anyways, by the grace of Allah (swt), He intervened last year and took away my addiction, and I have been ‘clean’ for more than 18 months. So I found even last year’s Ramadan to be a breeze. I was a little light headed perhaps, but more-or-less fully operational and fit for human consumption.

229752_1879889790685_5877716_nRamadan Projects. This year however, Ramadan was welcomed with a little extra. For one, I started my project to turn my late brother’s room into a cosy little prayer nook. This, together with a commitment to perform some of the supererogatory devotions meant that we have been quite busy, especially at night. You know… getting to know Ramadan… to explore what it offers and just how far we may endeavour towards attaining the gifts and blessings contained within. Always, moving slowly but surely along the path treaded by our betters and above all, by the Master of the Prophets, the Beloved of God and Arch-Intercessor, Sayyidina Muhammad (saws).

Oh, please don’t get me wrong, sunshine. I didn’t exerted myself that much. I did a little, but I did it regularly and without fail. I read somewhere that God appreciates this approach, which conveniently suits a sinner as unambitious as me.

He he he.

Well, anyways, I guess you can read this as my reply to Ramadan Karim. And insha Allah (Godwilling) I hope to meet this blessed month next year to and share our experiences once again. Until next time then, may God Almighty bless you always, sunshine, as how He knows best for you.

Camera 360wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

DRAMA! – the ego, me, my smoking and odontophobia… Oh, and something about repeatedly falling off a high horse.

800px-r-staines-malvolio-shakespeare-twelfth-nightDramatic!
My soul is a poem
Staged as a drama,
Where I play the roles of the damsel,
The hero and villain…
……

I can do with less drama in my life. The less the better. But my ego will not let me. He insists on me being the hero when things become heroic, and the misunderstood villain when things become mischievous! Oh woe!

I am quitting smoking (last nicotine laced smoke to grace my lungs was in end January 2015), and I have become a most-loyal customer of our friendly neighbourhood dentist (overcoming my yellow-bellied fear of the dentist chair), seeing him 4 times over the past 3 months. So my ego (and me) would like to take credit for that. That and the woebegone ‘damsel’ that is my conscience, forever at the mercy of her capricious bipolar host.

A high horse. But when I ponder over the circumstances of my two ‘conversions’, much like Paul on the road to Damascus, with all humility, I think I just fell off my high horse. I just ended my procrastination and endless (and I mean ENDLESS) rationalising over my smoking habit and my odontophobia (fear of dentists) and simply just did it (like Nike said I should) – I stumbled off the horse, quit the cancer stick and made that dental appointment.

But the how, when and why I found the courage to do either? Truly, only God knows.

Oh, and one more thing. About that high horse I was on. It must have been a very, very, very  high horse indeed. Because, gosh, I am still falling…. or… am just I hitting the ground and  inevitably climbing back up on my high horse – only to fall again? And again. And again. Oh no.

Pray for me, sunshine. This ride ain’t over yet!

wa min Allah at-taufiq

HATE HAS NO PLACE IN ISLAM
LOVE WILL SHOW THE WAY

Conscience is a Muscle

20150326_072745_resizedConscience is a Muscle
Do not let your conscience waste away,
For like your organs and muscles,
It needs constant exercise.
………..

Smoke Free. Yesterday I visited the doctor (I have a phlegmatic cough and flu), and she asked me, “Do you smoke?” And for the first time in 2 decades, I replied in the negative. It felt real good being able to say that, coming into my 4th month smoke free.

20150328_084624_resizedAmbling. As part of my new health regiment, I am also doing a lot of ambling. It is like walking, but with little sense of purpose, almost uncaring where the journey will end. Dog-walkers and my elderly neighbours regularly overtake this ambler with ease. Initially, I was a little disturbed, but really, as I looked at their receding backs, who cares? Godspeed to them, I say. He he he.

Thank God for Pain. As a result of my diabetes, I have been feeling numb at my feet for years. So I am also taking some medication to reconstitute my nerve endings. It’s funny isn’t it? People normally run away from pain. But here I am, trying to feel pain again. So now as I lie in bed trying to sleep, pain does come. I can feel it coursing through the blood vessel of my feet, popping and trembling, as if being massaged by some unseen hands. So thank God for pain!

Threadmill. Which leads me (in my normal runabout way) back to my conscience. Because, like my physical body, I am afraid I have failed to diligently exercise my conscience, that spiritual compass that God has implanted in the core of all of us. So you may see me ambling in my neighbourhood, but morally speaking I am on a treadmill of my conscience, and I fear I am losing my breath, losing my mind, staggering like a drunkard at the cusp of collapsing. Pray for me.

20150512_065734_resizedMad Assurance. I cannot tell you how strange it feels not to smoke. Not to have a roll of burning leaf in my hand. For almost 20 years I have been cultivating a habit which to its last day earlier this year, meant that I puffed almost 4 boxes daily. Really, the only time I didn’t smoke was when I was asleep. I guess I was mad, but that madness filed my waking hours and like it or not, I found the nicotine sticks reassuring. Now that they are gone, what am I?…

Chemical Crutches
What am I now without my chemical crutches?
Am I spiritual? Or do I cling to some vain piety
That mortal men often clutches?

Nothing? I read once that you are what you habitually hold in your hand. So when I was smoking, I used to think I was, literally, a cigarette. But now, what am I holding? Nothing? No, not nothing unfortunately… For in my hand, though you may not see it, I hold a short temper, desire, jealousy, envy, bitterness and grudges. Alas, I am not Rumi. Far from it, I guess. But I do get to spend more time with my son, just walking and taking in our neighbourhood. One day at a time, one step at a time. Alhamdulillah

20150322_152524_resizedwa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way