From dust to tribe . . .

Dust and Tribe (D&T) is the experience of growth through adventure.

Our fall and spring signature excursions are annual opportunities for Muslim men and women to push through the boundaries of supposed mental and physical limits into a new awareness of what we can be when we support one another.

It is where we discover what we are (dust) and what we become together (tribe).

Spring 2016: D&T Grrrl!

On April 22nd, fifteen women left for three days and two nights camped out on an island two-hours off the California coast. This blog is their story!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

You Are Your Choices

This is it, sisters.

I'm sounding off for the last time before you head off into the wild blue yonder.

We'll soon be turning the narrative over to Sisters Tracie, Mariam, and Khadeeja, your Tale Weavers tasked with recording your adventures. We look forward to hearing how it all comes together, insha Allah.

In these last couple of nights on the mainland, let's try, one last time, to firm up our intention.

Back in December, you responded to an invitation. Here's how I opened that message to our community:
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that you have never done anything like what I’m about to suggest you try.

And if you’re that one woman who has, I’m going to bet that it wasn’t in the blessed and exclusive company of your sisters.

Because I’m talking about leaving you on an island for three days. You’ll have nothing but the clothes on your back and the food in your pack. And the company of fourteen other women without whom you would probably panic and die.
As might be imagined, I wasn't exactly inundated with responses.

But in time, you trickled in. You had your reasons. A break from the routine. A new experience. Some wanted to learn more about themselves. Others wanted quality time with friends they hadn't seen in awhile. Some of you have wilderness experience. Many of you do not.

The point is, you chose to do this.

Ah! But while we may enjoy the illusory thrill of initiation, we must know that all beginnings and all endings are with God alone. We do what we can, though. We "tie our camel," in the Islamic idiom, and we leave the rest to God.

But perhaps not all of you have tied your camel.

And if you didn't, that was your choice, too.

Maybe you know somebody that has trouble seeing this trip as a priority. We talked about that a little bit last month. Maybe you are that person. This is just a weekend with the girls, right? There are more important things in life.

Don't fool yourself. The arena doesn't matter. Our behaviors do.

Making then breaking commitments. Setting flimsy priorities that only get reset the next time something else more interesting comes along. Giving in to fear and anxiety. Living in our comfort zone. Procrastination. Setting oneself apart from the group. Losing track of the big picture. Dreaming without action.

These are the things that sabotage us whether we're talking about island adventure or our highest ambition.

There are some among you who have demonstrated clear enthusiasm, leadership, circumspection, humility, engagement, honor, and charity. This is the stuff we should all be made of. If these are qualities that we have, we thank and praise God for allowing us to manifest such beauty. And if these are qualities that we would like to have, then we praise and thank God for allowing us to keep the company of those from whom we might learn.

This is your chance to practice openness, receptivity, and resignation as God's Will unfolds. Whether you do or you don't, it's your choice. Choices over time lead to patterns. And patterns can be really hard to change.

I believe in all of you.

I believe that you will gain insights into yourself and into one another that will transform the way you operate on an individual and communal level. You are women, imbued with a maternal potential that has the capacity for healing and growth like no other force on the planet.

Your boat launches on Friday morning, insha Allah. We've got an eye on the weather. There could be some rain. A pretty decent swell. Gusty winds, perhaps. Or maybe none of those things. God knows best.

Unpredictable. Like life.

And like everything that comes up in life, we have a role to play. Bring the fullness of your intention into your decisions, sisters. And know that your choices are but gifts from your Creator, windows into your essential nature.

There is simply no escaping that.

Surrounded on all sides by the frothy abyss, an island is a beautiful, natural metaphor for those things that cannot be escaped.

What will you find when there is no place left to go?


  1. A very thoughtful summation about what we are about to experience. I'm looking forward to it! Kudos Ahmed!

  2. Jazakum Allahu khairan to all those who have made this possible. IA we have each other's back there and for all time to come.

  3. Tie your camels. And donkeys, and chickens, and any other animals. Have fun