Recent Posts







« | Main | »

“You Will Be Challenged but Not Like Before”

By Billy | September 2, 2008

Before I came down to start my junior year in college and my first year at James Madison University, my mentor and good friend, Lisa told me that I was going to be challenged down here in Harrisonburg.  She spoke on behalf of my angels when she told me that I have been preparing for this life for many lives before and that I shouldn’t hesitate to fill the shoes like my spirit has been planning for me to do for centuries.  This sort of encouragement fills me with all sorts of ridiculous mixed emotions.  If I am to do great things in this life, I’d better go nuts learning as much as I can to better prepare for that, right?

I guess not.  Today is the beginning of Ramadan for countless people around the world.  Today was the beginning of my time to start Ramadan as well.  I had been guided to participate in the festivities like any other participant, by not eating or drinking while the sun is up, or unwholesomely enjoying myself for the rest of the month.  As I began the festivities, i.e. skipping breakfast, I had already spent a while feeling that the entire practice doesn’t resonate with my spirit as much as I had hoped it would, or as much as it did a week ago.

What’s the deal, spirit?  Why is my intuition so shaky?  Why do I feel inspired for one thing, then drop it the second I start?  Am I that weak-hearted?   No.  I just spent a full day fasting and a good 22 hours saying virtually nothing.  I have strength and I know it’s there.  What’s the deal?

So I text my lovely friend Adella last night.  I need help understanding the way to make a religious sacrifice without doing so grudgingly.  When I participated in Lent, I always felt the reasons arbitrary, and the effect was that I became more resentful than humbled.  Adella and I met for lunch to discuss how to observe these things with the right frame of mind.

“It’s a change of heart, not something external.  You need to look at why you’re doing this and get your answer from yourself.  I’m sure you can do that…”  Thanks Adella, that was a nice compliment but I KNEW THAT ALREADY!  I just want you to make my opinion change for me so I don’t have to do all the work.

Then she said something that made me think.  “Look at it day by day,” she said.  “If you don’t want to do Ramadan one day, then don’t do it.  That will make the month seem less like a giant looming and make each day more manageable.”  Good point.  On top of that, I thought to myself, I wonder if I’ve been stretching myself too thin.  I have just finished a day of silence and fasting, I intend on doing that more often, and I will be spending a day completely blind very soon.  Is all this too much?  Am I extending beyond my means?

So I took a bite of an apple.  It was perhaps the best apple (well, the best red one… ) that I have ever eaten.  Thank you, universe, for providing such lovely apples today — or was it only tasty now that I appreciate food more due to all this darn fasting?

We went back to Adella’s room to hang out for a bit and I had a moment, so I consulted with my spirit and came to the realization that I was, in fact, guided to practice Ramadan specifically so that I would learn how necessary it is for me to be balanced at this point in my life.  Yes, I have some big work to do in this life, but no, I can’t just push the pedal to the metal or I’ll rip my engine out of the chassis!

I suppose my Ramadan obsession in conjunction with my 4 Apple 1 Orange lunch with Adella was designed to reinforce Lao Tzu’s idea that a good traveler makes no plans and is not intent on arriving.  I have been making far too many plans and looking forward to arriving at an unknown destination.  It’s time for me to sit back and let the Tao come and sweep me off my feet.  I vaguely remember receiving some guidance that balancing my activities and emotional self / not stretching myself too thin would be a major challenge for me at this stage of my life.  I guess it’s time to reflect on that.  I love how the universe put that lesson in my brain on the same day as the Club Fair happens on campus — when all the clubs show their appealing selves to me and try to get me to join!

Take care guys.  😀

Topics: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

One Response to ““You Will Be Challenged but Not Like Before””

  1. Brannon Says:
    September 3rd, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    Hi Billy,
    I guess I will come through and make a comment.
    I think what you are going through in this post is fairly normal and I would imagine pretty universal for anyone who are trying to observe and participate in a certain idea/belief, such as what you are doing with Ramadan. As you know you must be disciplined if you challenge yourself with participating in Lent, Ramadan, etc. I believe that the feelings you are experiencing is what make these practices so rewarding in the end, such as when Ramadan ends. It is because you did not give up and you saw it through even when you are challenged with not seeing it through for whatever reason that will make you and your angels proud when successfully reach the end. Be Well +