Saturday, April 17, 2010

Islam: Week One

My first week anyway.  Actually, I reverted last Sunday night, so this is a bit early.

Most of my actions this week, regarding learning how to be a Muslim, has been the five daily prayers.  Actually, I averaged four, but I'm getting better, as yesterday I managed all five.  Getting up before dawn for the first prayer, I think I only managed that once or maybe twice.  I just need to work on falling asleep earlier so I can more easily awaken earlier.  There are health issues to consider, but I also want to be able to do this.

I didn't make it to mosque on Friday, which is kind of a big deal in Muslim practice.  I don't know what my block is...I mean, I have "reasons"...a gay person in the midst of gender segregation is actually a complicated thing...but there is a deeper emotional something that is making it a very anxiety-producing thing.

But overall I made the right decision.  I keep getting advice to take it easy on myself (though almost everyone said I should just go to mosque and experience it...maybe next week).

What I have learned: transition to new religious practices is not as easy as I thought.  I also learned that social anxiety for me extends beyond just gay groups.  I've also learned that I'm very, very weird.

This week's goals: get up to five prayers a day at least three times, with the intention of doing it every day.  Stop talking about myself so much (though I'll continue blogging and asking questions).  Stop focusing on anxiety and remember something that worked for me one day: sitting silently, closing my eyes, taking deep breaths.  Saying "Allah" in my mind like a chant.  This helped me the same way saying the Jesus Prayer did in Orthodoxy.

On a totally different note, a friend turned me on to this great band, Drink Up Buttercup:

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