Friday, September 22, 2006

My personal jihad

According to some Islamic scholars, Ramadan - the month long ritual of diurnal fasting - begins tomorrow. Yesterday, I went to lunch with some colleagues, one a Muslim, to enjoy the last time she can eat with us during the day for month.

It was a good lunch. I also announced that I would be giving up something at the start of Ramadan. My Muslim colleague seemed pleased, although I explained it's complete coincidence. I had agreed a quit date for smoking some time ago, the 23d of September.

Ramadan has elements of purification (keeping clean of not just food, but also bad thoughts and actions and daytime sex) and also of struggle - overcoming normal bodily urges to become closer to God. In some senses this is part of a personal, inner jihad - striving to become a better person.

Goodness knows that giving up smoking is a struggle. And I will be striving to overcome my addictive bodily urges in my effort to stop smoking. Having a philosophical approach to it, has helped me in the past (yes, I've given up before and stayed quit once for 2 and a half years). So perhaps I will use the month of Ramadan and the concept of struggle and personal jihad to my advantage.


The other philosophical concept I will use during my month of struggle (and after) is the Finnish idea of sisu. I think sisu can be best thought of as will, grit, fortitude, guts and stick-to-it-iveness all rolled into one.


Anonymous said...

Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah. Best wishes with the struggle, but I know you have the grit to do it.
Vol Mom

Nicole said...

good luck! I know it is a stuggle for me when I am out drinking and there are smokers everywhere in the pub. Good for you!

jen said...

good luck! if *I* can do it, really, anyone can.

from another former smoker...