According to a famous Prophetic tradition, actions are according to intentions. Today is my last day at home before I fly back to Toronto insha’Allah, and I’m feeling sad at the thought of leaving my family several days before school starts. It’s not Vancouver I mind leaving so much (I know, it surprised me too) it’s more the little domestic things: preparing lunch all together, taking out teatime snacks in the late afternoon, deciding which film to watch in the evening, poring over books on rainy days, going for drives simply because I like the speaker system in the car.
But leave I must, and so, in the spirit of the wonderful beautiful holiday that I’ve just had, my intention for the Knowledge Retreat is to have a week of love.
Specifically, a week about the love of learning, the love of friendship, the love of prayer, and the love of sharing.
the love of learning
This one is quite obvious (it is called a Knowledge Retreat after all) but what I mean is that I know certain things about myself: if I don’t sit fairly close I get distracted, and I learn best when I’m relatively well rested and am eating well. It also means attending all the lessons, and not getting stressed out when I’m lost or confused (when a lesson is Arabic heavy for instance). Instead of stress, I’d like to insha’Allah try to savour what I do understand and ask someone about bits I missed afterwards.
I am I admit, a bit on the shy side. But when I manage to work past that, I’m been astonished in the past by the wonderful people I’ve met through conferences and lectures (Islamic or otherwise). This year I’d like to be more brave in sitting down with strangers, and in making sure to carve out time to catch up with old friends over a cup of tea at least, if not a proper meal.
practise what you preach
Our classes next week are about the Prophet for the most part, and so taking some time to focus on prayers, to read a bit of extra Quran, and to keep the salawat going, are all things that will make the whole week seem lovelier and help the lessons stay memorable.
sharing is caring
Of all the different things I love about conferences, from the wonderful speakers, to the like-minded people and the joy of recording precious gems on creamy Moleskine pages, the discussions afterwards are one of my favourite parts. In particular, they help me to expand my own perspective, to clarify my own thoughts about what I’ve heard, and to remember things afterwards.
I say this because I was looking at the Knowledge Retreat schedule a couple of days ago (if you haven’t seen it yet, you can find a copy here) and the schedule is six full days of classes from morning till night. That’s not a complaint, I’m glad for the opportunity to learn from all the wonderful Retreat teachers, but I also know that without creating a space to reflect, debrief and share thoughts with others, I might be a overwhelmed by the end of it, and not quite sure how to tie together everything we’ve covered.
Blogging is one way to share insha’Allah, but part of me also wants to post giant flip chart sheets on the back wall of the classroom so people can post their takeaways and questions of the different sessions as the week unfolds. In lieu of that suggestion however, perhaps somewhere in the gap between Fajr ending and class starting, there is an opportunity for a debrief session, or perhaps in one of the scheduled breaks or maybe it’ll just happen informally during meals. Either way, if you’re here next week, lets make some time to share during or after the KR k?
See you soon!