Still recovering from the long trip, the core purpose of which was the Hajj, the Pilgrimage to Mecca and surroundings. It's good to be back home. I'm still off with my sleeping schedule, and when I do sleep I have half-baked dreams of the events of the past three weeks. I've come back with a sore throat and a cough. I accept it. Not a problem. It was a beautiful experience. We had a good group, excellent actually. Good leadership. Good company. I got to get back into the swing of things soon. I'll be teaching this coming Tuesday. I shaved my head. It feels good. I'm so glad I did it. Many in the group encouraged me to keep it this way. They say it makes me look younger and so forth. I'll let it grow some and then decide. To shave your head has a lot of meaning: shedding of the old; rebirth; renewal; and, as I learned, servitude to the Divine.
Makkah is a majestic city. If you knew nothing and merely opened up your heart, you'd sense that this is a sacred center, alive in more than one realm. It is kingly. You feel you're in the presence of the August, the Wise. And Madina is a light. It is friendly. You come with your flaws and feel welcomed nonetheless. Your humanity, no matter what degree it may be, is accepted. Just come with a willingness to climb. Greet the host of the house, convey your regards and prayers of peace, and he will respond. Walk up to him, and he will know. Sit anywhere and reflect or read or thumb your beads or raise your hand in sure supplication or simply relax -- it's all accepted. It's all good. It's a gracious place. The guests do not feel self-conscious. You are what you are.