“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

In 2008, I spent the holy month of Ramadan in coastal Tanzania, in a region saturated with Muslims.

Though it was not without its inconveniences, I quite enjoyed the experience.  As I became close with a handful of those who fasted to celebrate the holy month, I naturally developed an admiration for their dedication and their faith.

I said then that I too would celebrate Ramadan someday.  This year, with no real routine holding me down, I have decided to carpe mense, so to speak.

In truth, I think my fasting is more Lent-ish than Muslim, but I quite honestly don’t think God cares.  Muslims who fast simply do not consume anything at all, even water, from dawn until dusk, while dedicating a significant(er) amount of time to prayer.  I don’t see the whole ‘dawn-to-dusk’ bit as being particularly applicable to me at this time, but I do feel that I have been far too indulgent for far too long.  As such, I have decided to forgo most of my favorite treats (read: drugs and “drugs”) for 30 days, partly to throw a little extra respect towards God and partly to re-appreciate many of the things I take for granted.  Primarily though, I hope to re-establish some semblance of my formerly formidable self-control, which has become increasingly flaccid over the past few years.  Someday I will do Ramadan properly, but this seems a whole lot more applicable at the moment.

So yeah, the things I will not be consuming from August 12 to September 12 include, in order of expected difficulty:

1.  Marijuana

2.  Coffee

3.  Chocolate

4.  Coca-cola, Iced Tea, Etc.

5.  Alcohol

6.  Thoughts of a specific human being who, in the words of Emerson, is a “delicious torment”

7.  Meat … though this has less to do with fasting and more to do with a desire to stop killing living creatures unnecessarily, and I figured a month would be more reachable than a flat-out commitment to vegetarianism.

Really, the most difficult thing is the one I failed to mention, but we won’t get into that here.  😉

I’m three days in, and I’ve already tripped once, but felt sufficiently guilty for failing in my commitment to God that I figure I have that one licked.  I’m curious to learn which turns out to be the most difficult.  Regardless, so far I feel great!  🙂


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