What I learned during Ramadan

Eid Mubarak.ramadan.feast.food.saynotofoodwaste.happy.healthy.share.sustainable.arab.muslim.islam.love.2Dear Friend,

Today is Eid al-Fitr, a special holiday that marks the end of Ramadan and fasting for Muslims around the wold. For the next three days, Muslims will show unity, give food and money to people in need, and share meals with friends and family. Being born in Azerbaijan, a country located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and the Middle East, I was exposed to diversity from a young age. Starting with religion and ending with architecture, diversity is what makes my country and myself unique.

So this year, I decided that I will follow my countrymen and fast during Ramadan. Going without food and water seemed daunting and almost impossible. The first days were tough. I had to rearrange my daily schedule and hear my body protest the changes by growling and leaving me weak. These mental and physical adjustments also included significant decreases in exercise and increases in meditation. In some ways I felt that I was cheating, especially when I thought of all the individuals who worked in labor intensive environments and couldn’t adjust their jobs, (especially if they didn’t live in a Muslim country). I also thought of people living in northern countries where sunlight can last for more than 20 hours a day!

Not being able to eat throughout the day meant that I had an increased appreciation towards food, and knew what it felt like to be hungry. But, unlike the one billion people faced with hunger, I knew when my next meal would come and that eased my mind.  I also began to celebrate the work Say No To Food Waste does of redistributing food to those in need, realizing that whether big or small I was helping make a difference in the lives of people. And this thought helped rekindle my love and commitment to this weekend activity.

The month of Ramadan helps people develop their will power, patience and control over their needs/desires. It focuses on commitment, kindness and hard work, which are valuable skills in our daily lives. Especially the lives of entrepreneurs who must stay dedicated to their work, overcome hardships and face new challenges.

I am proud of myself for embarking on this journey. It pushed my limits, showed me my hidden strengths and encouraged me to continue working on the above mentioned abilities. What about you? When was the last time you tried something new, pushed your limits and dedicated yourself to a difficult challenge. If it’s been a while, why not change this? I leave you with this inspiring quote: “A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor.”

So how about it? Do you dare to push your limits?
Let me know if you do.

Much love and happy holiday!

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