Just when I thought the dreams of Mecca and Mina were over, I had another one last night.

Me gathered with millions of others, sending my thoughts and prayers up to our Lord and Creator.

Yesterday I took one of my daughters and her children down to visit my parents. It was my first post Hajj visit, and my mom went all out, making my favourite chicken korma and pilau in my honour!

Oh it was heavenly! She really outdid herself, even though she gets tired so easily with her knee replacement.

And on the way down my daughter gave me her feedback on my Hajj posts. We have a unique relationship, my daughters and I. We are some of our most critical critics, and yet we seek each others’ opinions out because we know we’ll be honest and not spiteful.

They’re always asking me what I think of their artwork and especially when I was starting out, I’ve always asked them what they thought of my writing.

And according to two of my daughters and one of their husbands (the one who’s been reading the blog consistently) the impression that came across from my Hajj posts was a mostly negative experience.

It would be terrible if all people came away with from my detailed description was how hard it was and how silly I was on that night in Muzdalifa.

I felt I needed to really correct that impression, problem is, it involves getting into the nitty gritty of spirituality that I mostly avoid when writing about religion.

I mean how do you talk about how you felt when you’re pouring out your heart to your Creator without making it sound preachy and mushy and sentimental?

And it’s so intensely personal. And talking about it makes you sound so …oh I don’t know, righteous?

During one of his speeches Obama said that he didn’t believe in wearing his spirituality in public or something like that. I could understand that.

It’s like the feeling you get when you’d watch Tammy Faye’s mascara running down her cheeks during the height of her evangelical experience.

I couldn’t help thinking that how can she be experiencing that with all those cameras on her???

It looks fake.

That’s one of the reasons why, when talking about my Hajj experience I avoided getting too personal into the spiritual connection.

I still won’t go into it too much. Some things really are too personal, it would be like relating an intimate conversation.

But I will say this much. There is a difference between the conversations I have both internally and through prayer with God in the comfort of my home, and the conversations I had with God on those sacred sites.

Being in the state of ihram heightens your awareness of every single thing that you do. Maybe I talked so much about the little annoyances in my posts because while I was in ihram, I didn’t express them in any other way.

It also made me appreciate that the reason I felt the privations so keenly was because I am so accustomed to North American standards. I am spoiled in that regard. The standards there were more typical of global conditions.

It was also interesting that while I was on Hajj, I often dreamed of buying new homes or babysitting, and other silly things, but as soon as I left, even while spending those five days in Dubai with my nephew, I couldn’t stop dreaming of Hajj. Of Mecca, of Mina, of circling the Kaaba.

The first night I got home was uncanny.

I was exhausted of course, and sleeping in my bed was luxurious, but when I got up to go to the bathroom in the night, I had absolutely no idea of where I was.

I was sure I was still on Hajj.

Every night for ten days, I dreamed of Hajj.

And the weirdest thing was that the time I was there, in Mecca, in Mina, in Muzdalifa, I thought very little of my life back here. I didn’t think of my writing. In fact THAT felt like THE REALITY, and this life I lead here, in Canada, felt like the illusion.

I only really felt like I returned on Wednesday. That was the first day I had to go do school presentations. Three of them, in fact, at a school in Markham.

I got up, went to Tim Horton’s and bought a coffee, and the familiarity of the routine grounded me.

I thought I was the only one that couldn’t stop dreaming of Hajj, but when I went to see my Hajj sisters at that mosque across town, it seems all of them had the same experience.

It really is a journey of a lifetime, and all the minor inconveniences have faded into proper perspective.

It was a FABULOUS experience and I hope and I pray that I can go again one day.

Oh, and when I told my mom about that incident in Muzdalifa, she suggested I pay for a sheep to be sacrificed in a poor country where the meat will be distributed to the poor. I’ve chosen Somalia.

When you do a sin, cover it up with a good deed. It’ll help wipe it out.