“Something inside knew this was real.”
Sabira is no stranger to walking the spiritual path. As a friend of Bill W. she explored many paths including the 12 Step Program which worked for several years. “Around seven years into my sobriety I hit a point where the ‘act as if’ in the Big Book wasn’t working for me. I could ‘act as if’ but nothing would change on the inside. There was still rust on my heart that I couldn’t get clean.” Her daily meditation time brought moments of peace but twenty minutes after stopping she felt the same as she did before.
At a low point, when nothing seemed to be working anymore, she attended a Sufi University “Friends and Family” weekend. As she listened to the teachings, “Something inside my being knew this was real. This stuff is true. This is going to help me.” Right then and there, with only $11 dollars in the bank she signed up to attend the University.
Learning How to be More Loving
The teachings on human imperfection helped her to be gentler with herself. “School helped me to be okay with not being ‘perfect.’ As a human I make mistakes and but now, instead of judging myself so harshly, I know how to return to the love of Allah.”
Katie graduated from the University with what she calls a “channel” dug out in her inner being. “No matter how busy I get,” she says, “if I just stop and sit with Allah for five minutes, I find that channel again. My heart connects deeply with Allah.” However…..
If you’re a stand-up comic who delivers R-rated material, how do you integrate your material with the Sufi teachings?
“With great difficulty!” she confesses. Before Sufism her theatrical persona was to be the “bad girl” who exposed the darkness of our humanity through shocking dialogue and gestures. “I could easily do anything in front of the audience. I was safe behind my defenses and anger.”
Initially the Sufi work created more softness, sensitivity, confusion and fear. “I felt much more vulnerable. I was afraid that going into the darkness of my character would pull me out of my relationship with God. No more talk about anything sexual. No more “bad words.” No more “bad girl.”
“I want to help people move through the darkness.”
“It was a really difficult transition.” Now when she does her Sufi practices before a performance, she notices that her softness and connection with Allah actually gives her more safety and strength. She’s able to touch on the darkness as a way to bring through the teaching that we’re all human. “I want to help people move through the darkness. As I personally feel more of the mercy of Allah within myself, I believe my audience does too. This is real healing.”
Those practices have also shifted how her fellow actors see and relate to her. “Before Sufism I always needed my ‘tough girl’ for protection. Now when I bring the Love into the dressing room, it really works!” Her colleagues say to her, “You’re really different; what have you done? You seem so strong now.” To which Katie will tell you, “I don’t feel strong. I feel vulnerable.” Such is the power of love.
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