A “Wasat Girl” embraces being in-between multiple cultures, because this transcultured space is globalism living out loud. It was where culture happens, the place of power, that middle space – “wasat” culture. The children of wasat girls are pretty amazing, as well. In honor of Mother’s Day, Deonna Kelli Sayed explores the challenging yet rewarding terrain of being a single, American-Muslim mother.
I told my son that his father and I were no longer together while eating at one of those snazzy serve-yourself yogurt bars.
“How would you feel if your pader and I weren’t married anymore?” I asked.
I had no idea his thoughts on the matter. His father was abroad and had been for several years. They saw one another for a few weeks every couple of months. I know that they both loved each other.
“Well, I guess I’d be a little sad, although I suppose not much would change,” he commented.
I inhaled and nervously told him that we had decided to end the marriage. He remained silent for a minute, took a spoonful from his bowl and said in his 10 year old way, “Well, you know, now that I’m eating yogurt, it doesn’t seem that bad.”
Thus, I entered the ranks of being a divorced, single Muslim mother.
Love, Inshallah reviews a beautiful collection of poetry from poet, mother and rabbi, Rachel Barenblat. In her fourth poetry collection, Waiting To Unfold (April 2013, Phoenicia Publishing), Rabbi Barenblat documents her pregnancy and the first year of her son’s life through her powerful voice, unfurling the jubilations and challenges of motherhood.
A perfect Mother’s Day gift – purchase your copy, here!
Love, Inshallah (LA): You are a writer, a poet, and a Velveteen Rabbi. Tell us a little bit about the link between creativity and a woman’s spirituality. Why is it important to write/speak/create art?
Rachel Barenblat (RB): For me, creativity is a tremendous spiritual gift. I’ve learned over the years that I am most spiritually healthy when I’m creating, which usually means writing poems. Having a regular writing practice gives me a creative outlet. And having a regular prayer practice gives me a spiritual outlet, too.
Some years ago, in my early 30s, I suffered from a few strokes, and the way I made it through that adventure (which was scary and unfamiliar) was through writing poems, and through working with my spiritual director on the spiritual qualities I needed most. For me, the two — writing and spiritual life — are deeply interconnected.
Jewish tradition says that God spoke the world into being, and that God continues to speak the world into being now. There’s a connection between words and creation, between words and life. When I write poems, I feel as though I’m connected with God — my words also create worlds, though on a much smaller scale! And when I became a mother, I felt a new kind of connection with God as the Parent of all creation.
Congratulations to 15-year-old Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai and the 34 other women who made the Time 100 list!
Our thoughts & prayers are with everyone in Boston, their families & loved ones.
Love, Inshallah is excited to debut our first podcast!
LoveinshAllah.com editor Deonna Kelli Sayed recently interviewed author Michael Muhammad Knight about his new book, Tripping with Allah: Islam, Drugs, and Writing, where he discussed his spiritual use of the hallucinogenic plant, ayahuasca, and the struggles between his writing voice and emerging academic persona. Deonna produced the following podcast, where Mr. Knight revealed his inspiration for the book and how the ayahuasca experience changed him.