Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Shantaram

Books are given to you at the right moment for you to grow from. One was given to me before my travels. This book is aiding me to fully grasp my adventures, assist me to release my restrictions, and embody the culture I have placed myself within.

Books from loved ones are given for you to learn from. Words encrypted into the book illuminate that this is “a book that paves the way of how a traveler must disconnect and adapt to fully appreciate where they are.”

When I first got here that was my goal and has been my mission since I landed.

One of the chapter’s advice is given to the main character that says, “Try to relax completely, and go with the experience. Just… let yourself go sometimes…you have to surrender before you win”.
I thought I surrounded until I realized I fully didn’t let go.

Here in Lebanon, over 85% of the country is participating in a religious holiday called Ramadan. The holiday has you fast from sun rise to sun set.


Ramadan is a holiday given to break the norms. For you to resist your temptations, your rituals, and what you feel is necessary for each day. You can place yourself in the shoes of those with less that do not have food, constant water or the luxuries you have everyday. We do not realize how fortunate we are with our daily cup of coffee, our morning cigarette, our sandwich for lunch, or constant flowing amount of water. We break free of our habits during the sun hours to feel how the less fortunate lives. At the end of the month you also donate money to those in need. A beautiful holiday for you to reset you mind and body. To spend time with your families to break your fast. To feel how other people feel and be more compassionate towards everyone around us. 


I resisted at first to participate. Eating lunch, drinking coffee, and just prancing around as most of the country is sleeping and restless waiting for the evening hours. Many stores close during the breaking of the fast, and many restaurants stay open until the wee hours before the sun rises.

Last week we went to watch the sunset and have dessert by the water. We sat on the second floor of a restaurant that is built into the side of the mountain overlooking the sea and the first floor. As the sun slowly started descending to sleep, I looked down at all the families patiently waiting to eat. They had their tables covered with soups, tabbouleh, hummus, bread and other appetizers to break their fast. They all looked toward the sun and awaited it to fully let the sky envelop all of its color. They waited for the navy of the evening to fully drown the orange. Then they began eating. Traditionally you break your fast with a date, then soup. I watched as these many tables synchronized in one swift movement to eat their dates and soup. It was a beautiful site that made me realize I had not tried to relax completely and go with the experience. That day I decided to fast.


To fully surrender to the culture I am in.

I am embracing and fully letting go.

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