The month of Ramadan

I live in a Muslim community between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Beit Safafa was originally an independent town but it is now considered as a neighborhood of Jerusalem. Our house is right in between two mosques and we can also hear the call for prayer from the minaret on the other side of the town.

During the month of Ramadan most people around me are fasting during the day, or at least they pretend to do so. My family in law is not religious. Some of them do not fast. Others take the opportunity to be more spiritual during this month and they follow the fasting tradition.

Since a few years I use the month of Ramadan to break with some bad habits and to establish some new habits. I heard that if you do something for three weeks, it will become a new habit. I do not fast, but I have a Ramadan schedule. I wake up and start with a big glass of water to hydrate. Then I do twenty minutes morning yoga and meditation. After the morning coffee I drink a wholesome smoothie with lots of fruits.

During the day I try to go for a long walk and I listen to spiritual podcasts. At the moment I am enjoying the podcast “The Way Out is In” recorded in Plum Village in France. The podcast is all about the Buddhist Zen tradition of Thich Nhat Hahn. It gives a lot of practical tools for mindful living, being in the present moment and dealing with suffering.

My life in Palestine

During the moments of contemplation and silence I have time to reflect on my life and my decision to move to Palestine. It happened fifteen years ago that I first came to visit Palestine. I have had two spiritual experiences that showed me that this is my path and that there are no obstacles. The knowledge that I am here because I am supposed to be here, are helpful in moments when life is not so easy.

My husband and I got married in 2013 and since then a lot has happened. We opened Singer Cafe and Al Jisser bar. We had two children and we had to learn our role as parents. We have been through ups and downs in our relation just like most couples. And I had to adapt to a new culture and to different traditions and habits.

Last summer I gave up the house I was still renting in Holland and I got rid off all my personal belongings. I brought only a few things with me back to Palestine. It was the last big step. I have had many dreams in the past months about the move. Night after night I was packing my bags. I was back in that house where I spent so many good years of my life. I kept processing the big departure in my dreams.

I do not regret the step. But there is a lot to think about and to reflect on. And that’s what I did in this podcast episode that you can listen to in order to learn more about the cultural differences and the way I experience our life in Palestine. I hope you will enjoy it!