.بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
A ‘spiritual awakening’. Sometimes, these seem to happen: bit by bit, gradual. Step by step. And sometimes, the entire thing is catalysed: ‘happens so fast’. A ‘tumbling’ of sorts, in the moment. Sometimes, a spiritual awakening can be lent that misnomer of ‘breakdown‘.
[Maybe: only false selves are ‘breaking’, and while your true self is blooming, and being found.]
ش said something, I think, along the lines of: even now, at the age of forty, there is still more for her to learn. More to become undone: we can, in this sense, resemble snakes, shedding skins. Her calling is in spiritual mentoring/counselling. And Allah guided her through the means of a ‘breakdown’:
The stresses of life had built up, for her, at one point culminating in a five-day stay at a mental hospital. But she views that time in her life as a blessing: five days, alone. Just her, and the Word of Allah: the Qur’an. Sort of like when Prophet Yusuf (AS) had found himself at the bottom of that well.
Indeed, anything that brings us closer to our Creator: there is good in it. To be ‘alone’, with the Alone.
ش says that, prior to that entire ordeal, she had not known what she had ‘wanted to do’. Fascinating, Subhaan Allah:
The theorised origins of the word ‘vocation’:
Having its origin in Latin as vocatio, vocatiōnis, to raise the idea of a calling, based on the suffix vocāt-, for vocātus, as past participle of the verb vocāre, for ‘to call’, associated to vōx, that refers to the voice, from the Indo-European root *wekw-, for ‘to reveal’ or ‘to say’, accompanied by the suffix -tion, adopting the Latin components -io, ōnis, in order to set up the noun form. In this manner, the foundations of the current meaning that is attributed to it in our language are constructed, with relation to the feeling that is produced in an individual that leads them to undertake a path, commonly established from the professional, religious, or personal point of view.
When Allah says of a matter, “Be!”, it will be. And the human being: this most ennobled creature of His, learns through experience. How can one, for example, know how to be a good mother or father, without first having been a child at one point? Without making mistakes, falling short sometimes, and still trying? Or, a teacher, without first having been (and, indeed, always being, throughout) a student? Or, a mental health practitioner, without perhaps being able to truly identify with, and thereby connect with, those whom they work with?
ش has three children: ages sixteen, thirteen, and nine, Maa Shaa Allah. Her eldest child, a daughter, currently attends an Islamic girls’ school in East London, and is going to be sitting her GCSEs fairly soon In Shaa Allah.
At this very school, too: Miss ش works as a school counsellor. Following what she refers to as that ‘breakdown’, she had been called to undergo training in this regard.
She also works with the NHS, as a lab assistant (for the pathology unit, I think she had said), and as mental health support, on a voluntary basis, to some of its staff.
We had spoken today about such things as the importance of finding ‘the middle’. This is, after all, the way of the Muslim. Not too much of anything: not too much of exercise, or of food, or of rules. And: not too little. Good things are good, and they are good in moderation.
So, how does a Muslim know when he/she is on this blessed ‘middle’ path? Miss ش says something along the lines of:
“You just do,”
She says she thinks, along this journey of hers, that (at different points) she had veered towards either extreme (I assume: both that of excessive rigidity and ‘rules’, and that of excessive leniency and ‘liberalism’). But that, for example, when she came to this ‘middle’, she felt that she learned to judge less.
In the mornings and evenings, I think she had said, and in accordance with the Sunnah of Muhammad (SAW), ش likes to walk. A form of exercise that is not so arduous, perhaps, as running. And it is still a good, sustainable, way of being active. Brisk walking: arguably the best form of exercise, although I think she had mentioned also enjoying a weekly more-intense workout.
ش had been fortunate to have had what she had referred to as a really good support system around her, on the course of recovery from mental unwell-ness. She has learned to be courageous enough to talk about it more: why ought we be in denial about such things?
She much loves the company that the natural world offers us: those trees, for instance, are in constant Dhikr: remembrance of Allah. And greenery (or, in these autumnal/wintry periods, orangery: auburns) offers the natural empath in particular a welcome resort away from the stresses of the Dunya: places in which to become attuned to what is True, and Good, and Beautiful…
We are trying to be more like these devoutly obedient facets of creation (the robins, and the leaves, and the trees), after all.
So do look back at the gorgeous genius of your life story thus far. Each leaf falling; each rose blooming; each graceful, subtle, brilliant turn of each page.
Do we not find that we are designed by the Best of Creators?
“With Him are the keys of the Unseen. No one knows them but He. He knows what is in the land and the sea. No leaf ever falls but that He knows about it, and there is no grain in the dark layers of the earth, or anything fresh or dry that is not recorded in a manifest book.”
— Qur’an (6:59)