March 2017. That was when I wrote my first journal entry. I don’t remember where the idea of keeping a journal came from, but if I hadn’t done that, not only would I not be the blogger I am today, I would also not be the Sikh I am today. But it was exciting to think of the prospect of it being filled over time with all sorts of things. What exactly? There were no limits.
In it, I could write my dreams. My dream to one day be a granthi and to help run a Sikh learning center here in North America (particularly for Sikh converts). My dream to have a mini-jhatka farm one day, where Sikhs (vegetarian or not) could purchase ethically raised or grown food. My dream to have a graduate from UT and have a career somehow revolving around Sikhi. I personally believe that one day, these dreams will become reality, but that’s not the only stuff I include in my journal. In my journal, you can find poetry, pictures, rants, newspaper clips, important events, and random stuff printed from the internet. You can say, it’s sort of like a scrapbook (except better). Who knew that this would eventually end up saving my Sikhi.
Let’s rewind back to earlier this year. Maybe even to as far back as last fall. I was tired of Sikhs looking down on each other (inwardly, outwardly, or both). I was tired of Sikhs looking down on each other because some Sikhs do this, while others do that. Because some Sikhs practice this while others practice that. Because some Sikhs eat this while others don’t eat that. Because some Sikhs end their Mool Mantar at Gur Prasad, while others end it at Nanak Hosee Bhi Sach. Sadh Sangat ji, where is the Ek, the Oneness, in all of this? I have Sikh friends from all up and down the spectrum. And though I might disagree with them on some issues or concepts, they are still my brother/sister at the end of the day. As far as I’m concerned, as long as you are following YOUR interpretation of Gurbani to the best of your ability, you are a Gursikh.
This all became overwhelming for me. I wanted to walk away from being Amritdhari, walk away from being a Singhni, and walk away from being Sikh altogether. Many do. That’s when I decided to take refuge in my journal. I had just finished my initial journal and was about to start in the new journal that my friend Manjit had given me for my birthday. While I wrote, my clarity of thought became better and I began to establish my own identity/idea of what being a Sikh meant and more. Writing gave me an outlet to talk about my frustrations. Whether it was about religion and my family, religion and university life, religion and my race, my Sangat, the online Sangat, etc., I could tell my journal(s) without being judged.
Eventually, with the help of 2-3 people, my journal, and the Guru, I bounced back. I decided that what I believed in is what I believed in. And if anyone had a problem with it, they could walk themselves out of my life. No longer would I be feeding into the divisions within the Sikh community, but keeping focused on the seva that I was meant to do.
In conclusion, I say this. Writing can be healing. For people like me, we write better than we speak. And like I stated earlier, a journal can’t judge you or even tell your secrets. So are you frustrated? Write! Are you happy? Write! Are you sad? Write! Are you unmotivated? Write! Do you feel like someone might have licked the bucket of ice cream that you had just purchased from the store? First, report this to the proper authorities. But then, write! You just don’t know what might come out of it as a result.
Authors Note: Yes, that is my dog. Yes, that is a Pug. And no, she was not supposed to be in the picture 😂. Also, check out our latest project www.embracingSikhism.com. Sevadars are welcome.