Ep. 15: Spirituality in Fasting with Tanya Sheikh

Uncategorized May 19, 2023

In this episode

This week on Journey to June, I am joined by former journalist, freelancer, mom, and my extraordinary virtual assistant, Tanya Shaikh. On this episode Tanya, who is based in Pakistan, shares about her culture and the Islamic month of Ramadan. She walks us through a typical day in her life during this time of year and shares about the significance of the traditions that come with Ramadan. She tells me what she has learned over the years from the rituals and explains what we can all learn from them.


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This week, for Journey to June, I spoke to my virtual assistant, Tanya Sheikh, who is Muslim, and works out of Pakistan. Tanya and I spoke at length about how fasting during the month of Ramadan helps her connect to her spirituality and recentre...despite having a chaotic schedule.

1. We can have similar destinations, but our journeys are always unique. This is something I often talk about; how we all can be headed in the same direction, but the path we take is different and unique to us. This is why I talk about how Soulstigators pave their own way; they walk the harder path, and never back down from a challenge. And doing something for the first time is a challenge; it is scary and it is disruptive. That's where understanding your core values, and having a vision and life philosophy play a big role. And these things don't come to us easily. They require us to do the inner work. 

2. No matter how different people are... because of culture, language, race etc... there's always something we can learn from them. Tanya and I live very different lives, but I learned from our conversation that what she achieves from her month of fasting, is very similar to meditation and practising some self-reflection. In her religion, they connect to their spirituality by practising self control - from all kinds of temptations like food, water, sex, swearing - and doing charity. For me, it comes from listening to people's stories, traveling or meditation. But the end-game is the same...connecting to your core and making time to do some self-reflection.

3. Being kind to yourself does not absolve you from being accountable for yourself. This mindset is obviously a result of doing some inner work and self-reflection, because it comes from a place of self-awareness. A lot of times we forget the holding yourself accountable for your actions is different from self-blaming. You need to be kind to yourself and recognize yourself. But you also need to step back and reflect on what you could've done differently. Tanya talked about how fasting in Ramadan is very similar to holding yourself accountable. It's not easy to fast from dawn to dusk for 30 days, or to not swear when you're angry or upset. She can easily do those things when no one is watching, but she doesn't. Because she holds herself accountable for her actions. It doesn't mean that she's being unkind to herself. And it's some days are more challenging than others, but she does her best... and that's what matters.


4. Your best will be different from someone else's best. Your best is THE BEST. This is similar to my point about everyone having a unique journey, regardless of their destinations. It is important to remember that EVERYONE IS UNIQUE. Everyone's 100% produces different results. And while it is impossible not to compare, it is MOST important to acknowledge this as a fact. No one is exactly like you!


5. Reset, rethink and respond. Tanya talked about using Ramadan to reset a lot of things in her life. Taking a moment to pause on how you've been doing things helps you find some clarity, that is impossible to achieve when you're in a constant state of activity. That is why meditation has such a profound effect on our minds and bodies. Putting some things on pause helps us reflect on how we react to certain things. Another thing that came up quite frequently in our conversation was how we must make a conscious effort to respond and not react. Yes, being reactive is natural, but oftentimes the only thing standing between our ordinary and extraordinary is that one depends on doing things subconscious, while the other demands consciousness, intention and purpose.


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