on co-creation 🪴
& grounding into our spirits
I am here to share that I am writing a book about my time in Palestine. More like, declare that I am writing a book. I don't know how it will all come together or if it will ever get published. All I know is that I've made the decision somewhere deep in the marrow of my bones that this is something I need to do.
It’s been nearly one year since leaving Palestine and I’m not “over it.” Not even close. I am riddled with a feeling of unfinishedness that’s keeping me in an energetic holding pattern. It feels like that life chapter is a plant I’m carrying around that has long outgrown its pot. Everywhere I go, it’s tucked under my arm, its roots bursting out and begging to be planted into the earth. Writing feels like the only way I can give this plant what it needs. The only way I can let the experience of Palestine evolve into the next stage of what it’s meant to be in my life.
I am driven by a multifaceted motivation. One is a deeply rooted desire to offer reciprocity to the place and people who held me in true love. Affirming the radical, divine love that emanates from Palestine and its people is the only way I know how to say thank you. Another motivation is to offer testimony. It was a privilege to be in Palestine from the vantage point of an observer; to traverse borders that imprison so many, and to bear witness to abject injustice from so many angles. I need to transmute that privilege into a contribution to the Palestinian struggle for liberation.
We live in a world where trials are being held for war crimes in Ukraine, a war that is still unfolding. A year ago in Gaza, Israeli forces relentlessly bombed Al-Wehda Street, a densely populated urban center full of residences, businesses, and Gaza’s largest hospital. The massacre killed 45 people, the youngest of whom was 6 months old. No trial will be convened for this war crime, just like no trial has ever been called for the senseless loss of Palestinian life in the history of the 74-year-old occupation. Shirin Ebadi’s words come to mind: “If you cannot eliminate injustice, at least tell everyone about it.”
I am writing and sharing this essay as a means to give myself permission to feel worthy of this project. My inner critic tells me that I have no place to speak up. Or that I don’t have the stamina for the emotional labor of this project. That I write purely for my own processing veiled as service. Or that I’ll get it wrong and the shame of failure awaits me. Grounding into my motivations - ones that I know are rooted in my spirit - makes it easier to contend with the critics. Putting all this out there publicly feels like a cathartic and necessary step in the pre-writing process.
In Islam, it is said that God is closer to us than our jugular vein. I love the specificity of that particular vein, the one that connects head and heart. What I understand this to mean is that God resides within each of us, knowing us more deeply and intimately than we can ever imagine. There is no need to introduce ourselves or worry that we’ll be misinterpreted by the Spirit that is all knowing. So when we pray, we are not informing God of our deepest desires so that he may grant them like a genie. He already knows what we desire. We pray to give language to our dreams, so that we can come to know our truest desires. By articulating those desires in a state of prayer, we begin the process of co-creating with the universe.
I pray often for the courage, support, and energy to realize the dream of writing this book. A few weeks ago, I was offered a fully funded spot in The Unexpected Shape Writing Academy, a 3-month program to guide the development of a creative non-fiction project. I’ve been learning from Esmé Wang, a brilliant creative and author of The Collected Schizophrenias, who created this program as an alternative to an MFA. Esmé has paired me with a writing coach, a Palestinian-American writer who has graciously taken me and my project under her wing.
My beloved & brilliant friend Kate, who I met through my other beloved & brilliant friend (and former radio show co-host & college roommate) Lauren, shared this opportunity with me. A simple forwarded email accompanied by “Something you may be interested in.❤️” Had it not been for my loving connection with Lauren that spilled over into a friendship with Kate, I would not have found this program. One that I feel wholeheartedly aligned with; one that’s given me a gentle push onto a path where I feel true belonging. Tracing back the synchronicities that give way to life’s blessings reminds me that nothing happens in a vacuum, that we are one with the mycelial network. We are all holders of tiny miracles for one another.
Thus begins the co-creating. ✨