↠ Dispatch 005, February 2019 ↞
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do– from The Summer Day by Mary Oliver
with your one wild and precious life?”
Hello you, how’s 2019 been?
March is hurling towards us as you are reading this (unless you are reading this after March, in which case you would have already watched it pass you by). I hope you’ve made headway into what you’ve set out to do and that you’re surfing the waves of life alongside surfing the internet with grace and vigor.
My year began with a return to work in a pace that has been pretty manageable. It has been an intentional and opportunistic maturing and evolution of my studio as we head into our sixth birthday. There is a distinct shift in the air with exciting new types of project, new ways of doing things, and generally a commitment to the idea that it doesn’t have to be crazy at work and heal ourselves of the disease of being busy. I’ll leave all the details for a future edition of Shophouse & Co’s newsletter which you can sign up here if you are keen.
I’ve also recently returned from a 13-day mini-pilgrimage to the two holy cities of the Islamic faith – Medina and Mecca. The decision to go for the trip was decided rather abruptly on the last few days of 2018 and this was swiftly followed by a whirlwind of visa prep, scheduling arrangements, and lessons for the rites that we were going to do there. Then, it happened.
Everyone’s experience of such journeys would differ, and to compare one to the other would be missing the entire point of the practice. To me, religion is fundamentally a deep, intimate relationship with one’s faith and as such, mileage may vary. A week after returning from this trip, I’m still wrapping my head around it all but I’ll attempt to offer a glimpse of it for those who are curious.
As I wrote in a recent IG post, this was a trip that was as much spiritual, physical, as it was personal. I spent long hours in the mosque, both in prayers and in silence to contemplate my relationship with religion and with myself. In between rites and visits, I would be Googling the significance of each action and location and this enabled me to have a deeper appreciation of each step of the way. I discovered new dimensions, perspectives, and beauty of the religion to leave me with fresh foundations to live with.
During this journey, a range of moments and emotions surfaced from within and from unexpected places. There were bursts of clarity and gratitude at unexpected moments, there were potent cocktails of guilt and frustration mixed with hopelessness, there were stretches of quiet contemplation and tearful complete submission, there were perspective shifts in the midst of seeking strength and guidance. The core within me was moved, and in the afterglow of that experience, I am still trying to fully grasp, appreciate, and protect it in the unfolding of life. ~ P.S: You can see my journey on my IG highlights titled “Umrah”.
I’ve also had time to reflect on my personal projects for 2019 and I wanted to share with you what I’m thinking:
a) Writing this occasional newsletter has been a joy for me. It is a couple of hours that I carve out to reflect and write to you personally and this brings me much joy. However, I think I can do better in giving some structure to its form and content, and you can expect these Dispatches to undergo some experimentation in upcoming editions.
b) I am also hoping to put in some time in cleaning up my website. In today’s state of the World Wide Web, I think having control over one’s own voice and content on the Internet is becoming increasingly important and personal blogs and websites are key to that. It is up to us to keep the Internet open and interesting, and my own website is quite the embarrassment right now.
c) I have always wanted to attempt writing fiction and I’m thinking that 2019 might be the time that I try to experiment with this. Specifically, I am forming up my ideas for a speculative urban fiction which I hope to release on my website as a continued series.
The best way to keep track of all these would of course, be this newsletter, and I want to thank you for sticking around. That’s all I have for now and I hope my next Dispatch out will not have as long a gap as this. I have also just re-joined Twitter (@adibjalal) so @ or DM me if that’s your jam.
Till the next full moon, or the next one.