June Fasting Challenge: Evaluation

To be honest, I wasn’t tremendously excited about last month’s challenge. I thought it would be too difficult to fast the entire month of Ramadan and drain my (already low due to a not-so-great-sleeping toddler) energy levels. It would mean I have to get up another time at night to have my suhoor meal, the meal right before the fast starts. And how would I get my runs in? Go to places? Be a patient and loving mom to Maria? And wasn’t it more prudent to eat and drink regularly as a breastfeeding mom?

A colorful assortment of candies is for sale during the last week of Ramadan to prepare for Eid.

A colorful assortment of candies is for sale in Jeddah’s Old Town during the last week of Ramadan to prepare for Eid, the feast to celebrate the end of the Holy Month (August 2014)

I came up with a hundred excuses as to why it was not a good idea. And guess what? I ended up fasting not a single day. My June Fasting Challenge became my first complete failure of the year.

Despite all the excuses that crossed my mind, I know that the real issue was a lack of motivation. Muslims all over the world fast the entire period in much more difficult circumstances: longer days in the northern hemisphere, hotter days in other parts of the world. Some have to do tough physical work while fasting; others live in war zones. Had really wanted to, I would have made it happen.

Perhaps, I must admit, this June Fasting Challenge was just a last attempt to gain the motivation I was looking for. I had been thinking whether I was going to fast this year or not for a while, and I hoped writing it down here for the whole world to read would give me the accountability needed. I was wrong. Even before the month started on June 7 I realized it was not a realistic challenge. I did want to fast out of solidarity with Ahmed, but he made it clear I didn’t need to (and shouldn’t) do it for him.


Woman selling traditional Ramadan fare in Jeddah’s Old Town (July 2014)

So there it is. There is not much more to add, except that the motivation I lacked for this challenge, the more excited I am about this month’s challenge. To start off right, I did a little Loving-Kindness meditation on the first day, which I would like to repeat a few times this month. Plus I made an effort to avoid negative conversations. And lastly, I didn’t rebuke myself for devouring way too many pieces of  chocolate and half a jar of peanut butter while procrastinating writing this blog. Oops…

Featured image: Two waiters in traditional Hijazi (West Saudi Arabian) clothes serving belilah, a yummy snack of chickpeas, pickles, cumin, and vinegar.

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