June 24, 2020

In the three very long months since my last article when I wondered what our future would hold on the other side of the pandemic, hopeful that we might emerge on a different path from where we were before, I could not have imagined that that ‘different path’ would so quickly lead us to a global uprising against systemic dehumanisation – and all while we are still in the midst of the pandemic. I have wondered at the speed and… Read more

May 23, 2020

“That floss is going to give you a fit,” Miss Lou-Ann clucked as she watched me make another attempt to thread my needle. I took up three strands of the gold embroidery floss and tried to roll them into a knot between my thumb and forefinger as she had shown me — only to have the strands fall apart yet again. It was a cool morning in late April. Rain clouds were gathering outside the window where her two cats… Read more

May 13, 2020

“You are cutting this apple with such presence,” a dear friend once observed as I was preparing breakfast in our kitchen. “You can see this?” I asked. “Yes, it’s obvious to me,” he replied. I smiled and felt gratitude in my heart for this witnessing of my journey with food. Many years ago, I was blessed to have been taught by my teachers to regard all food as living entities that are in service to our nourishment and well-being. I… Read more

May 5, 2020

A week and a half before Ramadan, I was awake in the early hours of the morning, consumed by a feeling of vulnerability. I’d just finished recording my debut song and part of me felt afraid to share it, afraid of how it might be received. The fear of rejection gripped my body. 

As I tried to comfort this anxiousness with zikr, I looked out the window and saw the moon, in bright yellow, peek up over the eastern horizon…. Read more

April 28, 2020

Your inner being is a sanctuary, cleanse it with the light of compassionate awareness. [Threshold Society monthly theme] During this sacred month we fast between dawn and sunset from food and drink, from daytime sex, from gossip, and even from expressions of anger. We have an opportunity to experience a new lightness, emptiness, and what some have called transparency. We discover that with this fasting we have a different experience of our inner being. This month’s theme reminds us that… Read more

March 24, 2020

Spring has arrived and the world is in lockdown. A tiny organism that looks (at microscopic level) like it escaped out of Willy Wonka’s candy factory has brought mighty nations to a standstill. Here in the UK we have gone from laughing at the absurdity of toilet paper shortages in supermarkets to installing video conferencing software on family computers so we can keep in touch during our ‘isolation’ – all in the space of less than a week. Humour is… Read more

March 3, 2020

A few years ago I wrote a series of love letters to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). And they were real letters, not just a literary form. My intention was to connect with Muhammad in the most intimate fashion I could. Writing love letters was a means to disclose myself to him with all of my struggles and imperfections as a woman, while also learning more about him as someone whom I felt that I truly loved,… Read more

February 10, 2020

Whirling is a seven-centuries old form of full-body worship emblematic of the Mevlevi tradition of Jalaluddin Rumi — and a practice I’ve woven into my spiritual routine over the past couple of years. Each time I begin whirling, there are a few moments my mind’s eye lingers in the image of a flower sprouting from the soil and slowly growing, budding and opening into full bloom. Also known as turning, it begins by tilting the head toward the heart and… Read more

January 28, 2020

Memories of Murshid Suleyman Dede: My first encounter with a Sufi Murshid forever changed my idea of what a spiritual master could be. Until that time I had met a number of highly developed human beings from Western and Eastern traditions. I imagined that enlightenment was a state of super awareness, desirelessness,  a continual “high”. Not that anyone I met actually embodied that state; but there was the assumption that with enough spiritual practice, which meant sitting still and quiet… Read more

January 7, 2020

The movement into a new year naturally makes us reflect on the passage of time. For me, it all began over Christmas as I watched the 2016 adaption of Tolstoy’s War and Peace on Netflix. I confess that long ago I once started reading the novel but never got round to finishing it – I wish I had now. The adaptation is one of the best things I have seen on the big or small screen in a long time…. Read more

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