In December I stopped drinking coffee. It was not a health decision. I did not suddenly hate coffee. I love it. Love holding a cup in my hands and just savouring the smell for a while, and then taking that first sip. Tasting the beautiful flavour. I love Sunday mornings where I could sit and nurse one for an hour if I wanted to. Or rather, I used to love it. Coffee had just become part of my life, a non-event; something to wake me up in the morning. The 10.00am break. The 2:00pm break. You see, the smell of coffee no longer lifted me emotionally, but the lack of coffee would put my entire day off. It was just routine and I wasn’t savouring it anymore.
It is with the same principle that I practice Ramadhan every year. A lot of people won’t agree with me. They will wonder why I willingly put myself in a position where things I enjoy are denied. They will argue about my metabolic rate slowing down, and whatever and whatnot. It is especially apparent in our society now where it is all about having more. Maybe it does affect my body in whatever way it does, but I go by the belief that there is more to us than our bodies, and sometimes, we feed our bodies too much but starve other parts of us.
Why fast? Why refrain? Do you remember what it feels like when you and your partner are apart for a while? Do you remember how it feels when you pick them up at the airport and they smile at you? And suddenly having so much to share, and how you just savour them? So you missed them while they were gone and that was not what we consider a “good” feeling, but doesn’t the reunion just make up for it? Doesn’t the “not good” feeling of being apart make the “good” feeling of being together completely amazing? It is the same with other things too. The act of drinking or eating are more than about feeding our bodies, it’s about feeding that inner part of us that needs to be honoured. The part that sometimes can get a bit emotionally undernourished. Refraining is like taking some time in silence to feed the parts that are often overwhelmed with too much.
I know it’s really cool to be jaded and be all nonchalant and flippant about everything, but being cool is no longer worth it when it comes to the story that is my life. As hard as it is to refrain from the things that I love, the feeling I get when I have it again makes up for it. Walking past a restaurant and being carried away on the smell of great food during Ramadhan, or just being able to drink a simple glass of water during the day after a month of not being able to just turns the simple into amazing.
Every religion practices some form of fasting, and perhaps they are not all wrong. When you refrain, your sensitivity to things in increased, which in turn makes the effect of the thing you’re refraining from so much stronger. Right now, when I smell coffee, it is am emotional reaction again. It makes me happy again. It’s beautiful again. And that’s just the smell. I can’t imagine what the first cup will be like. I know a lot of people fight against being sensitive to things, but man, what a life it is when you are sensitised again. And what a difference it makes when something as simple as a glass of water could be amazing. The truth is, the magazines are wrong. You don’t really need that car/supermodel/promotion to have a moment of “AMAZING!” You can have that “zing, wow life is amazing” moment from a glass of water… As the saying goes, “to be sensitive is to be alive.”