Ramadan Reflections 2013 (day 10): alignment (ttg)

Greetings beloveds,

It’s been a very long day. I didn’t sleep at all last night in order to support a friend in a ceremony that marked something significant for her. Even though we go on the road at what is typically my bedtime, the energy of alignment carried me. Back in January I wrote about Divine Alignment, and my experience of seeking to surrender my whole being to Allah. I feel I am living in alignment right now. It is a blessing to really feel that where I am is where I am meant to be, that I am with the people I’m meant to be with–like this morning just after sunrise on a beach in Jersey. The last few days, actually the day of the night Ramadan arrived, has been an unexpected whirlwind, with previously unimagined opportunities popping up and bringing with them an unexpected move across state lines–and quickly. The amazing element for me has been the deep sense of peace and clarity that I have in the eye of this whirlwind. That is the best sign that, inshallah, I am saying YES to the leap of faith alignment requires at this time.

Something else I’m beginning to understand is that when I am in alignment, the pleasure of Allah (ridwan) is my greatest motivator. Serving Allah is beginning, middle and end. I can access myself and my gifts with a concentrated depth because I am motivated by love.

I know this may seem rather abstract. Still, I hope you’ll find some nugget to relate to.

I’m on the road again for a Jin Shin Jyutsu training. I bid you goodnight/good morning from the west side of PA!

I am so grateful it is Ramadan. There is such love and tenderness in this month. Alhamdulillah!

Fear in the night

New Moon, Hilal (Rumi)

Remember the story of the young guest

who came before certain King. “And how old are you,

my lad? Tell the truth now. Say it out.”

“18, well 17. 16.

Actually,  uh,15.”

“Keep going! You’ll end up

in your mother’s womb.”

Or the man who went to borrow a horse.

“Take the gray.”

“No, not that one.”

“Why?”

“It goes in reverse. It backs up.”

“Then turn its tail toward your home.”

The beast you ride is your various appetites.

Change your wantings. When you prune

weak branches, the remaining fruit

gets tastier. Lust can be redirected,

so that even when it takes you backward,

it goes toward shelter.

A strong intention can make “two oceans wide”

the size of a blanket, or “700 years”

the time it takes to walk to someone you love.

True seekers keep riding straight through,

whereas big, lazy, self-worshiping geese

unload their pack animals in a farmyard

and say, “this is far enough.”

Last week Wazina and I applied for a big award, big both in terms of money and folks who will be reviewing the application. Angela Davis is one of them! As we were creating the video submission, I could feel myself desire to kind of back away, to remain as “discreet” as possible. Basically I could feel the fear in me of potentially becoming even more visible. Most days I ignore that small voice of alarm in the back of my mind that screams at me every time I post here, every time there is a video or picture of us somewhere, every time our names are connected with this project. It’s the voice that tells me visibility is not safe.  I know, at this point, that that voice is quite illogical in the sense that we are already waaay out there. Not only that but that we made a conscious decision to step into this level of visibility. I really believe in what were doing and why were doing it– the conviction that every body is entitled to a safe, fully expressed life, and one in which faith, sexual orientation and gender identity are not at all at odds. I also believe and trust that Allah has this as part of my earthly purpose at this time, a piece of my divine alignment. From that place I can feel a peace in my heart, a calm. From that place I can breathe and be easy. Sometimes the fear does get me, and the voice won’t shut up. “Are we safe? Are we safe? Are we safe? Are we safe? Are we safe? Are we safe? Are we safe?… What happens when a friend in Nigeria googles my name? Or when someone actually goes to this website after I’ve given them my card?…”

Then I remember all of you who have loved and encouraged us so well through this project, some of you, strangers. To remember this is humbling. Actually it’s moving. Getting a bit teary just writing this now. Thank you. I don’t think you have any idea how powerful your support, your prayers, your silent wishes, your thoughts, your sharing with friends about us, and all the ways you’ve loved and encouraged us, have been for me. Left to my own devices I think I wouldn’t keep showing up in the way that Coming Out Muslim requires. I’d like to do my selectively visible thing and call it a day, but is not the life Allah has given me. That story has not been written for me. My fear would have me lament that. I know better than to believe the stories it tells me. Nonetheless, we need all the love and encouragement you can give! (I think I can speak for Waz on that:-)) Please keep it coming!

Divine Alignment

For the last 24 hours I’ve been celebrating my birthday my birthday. Happy New Year to me!  I enter a new chapter of my life with joy, enthusiasm, gratitude, and excitement.

About ten years ago I began giving a theme to each new year, birthday to birthday. There’s been the Year of Quickening, the Year of Reckoning, the Year of Transformation, and so on. A few weeks before my new year actually begins, I sit in stillness, take walks and listen for the name. It always comes.

This year the theme is Alignment. In the last year and a half, my life has changed significantly:

  • I started a new relationship
  • moved to a new city
  • went from full-time employment to unemployed/self-employed
  • came to some new understandings about myself, or more precisely, simply cycled back to remembering things I’ve known all along


From the time I can remember I’ve always had a strong sense of purpose, though I couldn’t quite say what exactly it was. The strength of that purpose compelled me and for much of my life – all of it really, until now – I made decisions about what to do or what not to do (become a teacher, get a PhD, etc.) according to intuitions that told me if I would end up closer to or further away from my purpose.

As 2012 came to a close, I realized that I’d spent the year getting comfortable with the new and first-time clarity about what I am here to do, getting comfortable with the possibility of answering yes or no to the question “am I doing what I’m here to do?” And 2012 I experienced what I call “divine alignment”. As I experienced the joy of feeling as if at any given moment I was in exactly the place I was meant to be a set of check and questions came to me,  guideposts by which to consider the day, the week, the month, the lifetime:

  • Am I in divine alignment?
  • If not, why not? What does my resistance look like?
  • If so, what does my surrender look like? What would the next level of surrender it look like?

In late 2011, I decided to move to Philly for love. I prayed about it and felt this decision was definitely in alignment. I was going to save money, move in the warm months – you know, do it prudently,  safely. In November I had a dream which showed me that my careful plan was nonsense, that by going in what I thought was a straight line I would actually be going in a circle. No, I needed to move by the end of December – in six weeks, not six months. By making the decision to move I had been in alignment but more was required. My resistance looked like “but…” And “I don’t…”  and waiting to get the ball in motion to actually move that quickly. Nonetheless, I leapt. I surrendered. Allah handled everything that could have been an obstacle. I was in Philly by December 28th.

Fear and bewilderment had me phasing in and out of alignment in 2012, or at least had me feeling as though I was phasing in and  out of it.  in 2013, I intend to be courageous. What’s the point if I’m not? I’ve been waiting my whole life to know what I now know about my particular purpose. So what does every day look like an alignment? Inshallah I’m looking forward to finding out.  Happy New Year indeed!

As the year gets rolling I invite you to consider these checking questions for yourself.

  • What does divine alignment look like in your own life? Are you in it?
  • If not why not? What does your resistance look like?
  • If you are in alignment, what does your surrender look like? What would the next level of surrender look like?


Wishing all of us courage as we each seek to fulfill our unique and divine purposes! Let’s love one another in the process. Ashe. Salaam. Shalom. Inshallah, inshallah, inshallah.