nineteen days

day twelve

Posted in day twelve, the fast - 2014 by leila on March 13, 2014

“Holy, holy, the Lord our God, the Lord of the angels and the spirit.”

The Dawn Breakers

“O Man of Two Visions! Close one eye and open the other. Close one to the world and all that is therein, and open the other to the hallowed beauty of the Beloved.”


Zach_Sunrisephoto (26)Zach_Sunsetphoto (28)

zach miloff/left (ottawa, canada): The fast came this year, as usual, at the best possible time. I’m thankful for the space it has created, in my heart and in my mind. There is sweetness in these slow, wide open moments to which few experiences compare.

cortney gusick/right (palo alto, usa): I love imagining all of the humans—to the furthest reaches of the earth—responding to the impulse to arise and supplicate, as we exchange chase with the sun. A form of pure magic only the Fast can inspire.

day twelve

Posted in day twelve, the fast - 2013 by leila on March 13, 2013

I beseech Thee, O my God, by that Letter which, as soon as it proceeded out of the mouth of Thy will, hath caused the oceans to surge, and the winds to blow, and the fruits to be revealed, and the trees to spring forth, and all past traces to vanish, and all veils to be rent asunder, and them who are devoted to Thee to hasten unto the light of the countenance of their Lord, the Unconstrained, to make known unto me what lay hid in the treasuries of Thy knowledge and concealed within the repositories of Thy wisdom.”


Far be it from us to despair at any time of the incalculable favours of God, for if it were His wish He could cause a mere atom to be transformed into a sun and a single drop into an ocean. He unlocketh thousands of doors, while man is incapable of conceiving even a single one.


TowfighNineteenDays2013Dawn smallKSimons_Dawn_19Days_2013 smallTowfighNineteenDays2013Sunset smallKSimons_Dusk_19Days_2013 small

leili towfigh/left (boston, ma, usa): At dawn, the sun glimmered into my studio. At sunset, there was that cosmic, slate-gray, big-sky feeling. Recently, I heard an astronomer talking about how the iron that is to be found in our blood was once, billions of years ago, a star that exploded. Now, I’ve heard the expression “We are all stardust” before and, admittedly, it sounds like a concept straight out of 1970s glam rock, but it did capture my imagination, and I have been thinking about it throughout the Fast. I’m reflecting about chance and creation and tininess and power and creativity and perfection and knowledge and service and how we can improve, how we can influence and change ourselves and our environment, and why are we here and what is our relation to each other. Even some other things, too. It has been a very challenging Fast, physically. Also full of art, connection, gratitude.

kadria simons/right (toronto, on, canada): The bridge in my dawn photo is near our home and is one of our favourite places to walk in the mornings. It reminds me of a bridge in North Vancouver near the house where my mother grew up. My grandmother used to take my older brother and me for walks on that bridge. I am thinking of her today and wondering what life would be like if she were still alive. The dusk photo was taken at Bluffers Park near Toronto. My husband and I set out with a delicious picnic and some prayer books. After taking some shots, we ended up breaking the fast in the car as the temperature dropped as quickly as the sun!

day twelve

Posted in day twelve, the fast - 2008 by leila on March 14, 2008

Man is distinguished above the animals through his reason. The perceptions of man are of two kinds: tangible, or sensible, and reasonable, whereas the animal perceptions are limited to the senses, the tangible only. The tangible perceptions may be likened to this candle, the reasonable perceptions to the light. Calculations of mathematical problems and determining the spherical form of the earth are through the reasonable perceptions. The center of gravity is a hypothesis of reason. Reason itself is not tangible, perceptible to the senses. Reason is an intellectual verity or reality. All qualities are ideal realities, not tangible realities. For instance, we say this man is a scholarly man. Knowledge is an ideal attainment not perceptible to the senses. When you see this scholarly man, your eye does not see his knowledge, your ear cannot hear his science, nor can you sense it by taste. It is not a tangible verity. Science itself is an ideal verity. It is evident, therefore, that the perceptions of man are twofold: the reasonable and the tangible, or sensible.”


amy: more breathtaking sunlight this morning, as seen fromthe break room at the office, looking out over Central Park . the photo doesn’t do it justice. I find myself missing my family terribly during these special days. I think of my parents waking up at home, my sisters, one in India and one in Boston , with their families, and my brother, in London . and my grandmother, still waking up at dawn, even if she is no longer required to fast. We are all so far, and I really can’t figure out why we decide to live so far away from each other.

leila: today i am fasting from my own words.

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