Barbed Wire

Black knots and spears; silhouetted against a flame and orchid dusk; exquisite colour-palette sparking a longing to pour fourth but the words don’t come. Hemmed in by invisible tethers, inspired yet fettered, by a sense of my own words’ lack of worth… wanting to speak but afraid to say… to presume to contribute to the flow… to the discourse.

I am saturated with that which I have failed to express, that which I have suppressed; holding in the sentiments as I withhold my breath… suffocating but not dead yet. On my mark and preparing to step… into my voice… to sound it aloud, to call into the crowd, to echo in the void… slowly building inside the wherewithal to make my own noise and to convey my authentic self with my own poise.

Finally finding my own way, without need to pretend to have the answers, or to ‘fit’ … I am in myself ‘whole’; uniquely created by Him- to be just like this… to fail, to fall and rise, and to ‘make a hames of it’… to assert my imperfection… here I am… this is it.

I am sufficient; work in progress, in transition… evolving as I sit observing and absorbing… internalising all of it… hardly recalling who I was at the outset.

Cycles of content and restlessness… anchored by something imperceptible… something of fear and bliss.

Dreaming big… frustrated by wings become clipped… fluttering, stretching, straining… against the weight of it… against the limits of this barbed-wire cage… aching to soar and flit… to be free of this Dunya and to reconnect with the Source of it; with my Creator… to be where He is.

Longing to melt back into what I was created with, free of this restrictive life-form, which keeps me repeatedly ensnared… in this barbed-wire world… swept by the sway of each directional breeze; never truly at ease… struggling hard to find the courage just to be.

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This place that I know intimately remains mysterious.
Sea air and gull cries, stone and salt breeze, sunset and sunrise…
if not here then where can I be at ease?

This place I can’t disentangle my spirit from…
that I long to escape…
remains dear to me,
bound to it by my history, nostalgically.
Pebble beach and grey sand

A sense of bodilessness…
Anchorless and unmoored,
yearning for a place of rest… and for reprieve…
from my restive soul’s badgering,
from thinking and thoughts clamouring,
from the ‘making-sense-of’
and the constant heart’s-hammering
and the considering… which way to turn.

If not here, which place could possibly hold me;
subdue my restlessness;
quell my disquietude;
enfold me and console me?

My sanctuary,
a retreat,
and a reference point for my soul.
My shelter and my bolt-hole,
the perfect layover…
on my way home.

Open Road

The deserted road, like the weeks ahead, stretches out before us and the wind tosses our hair as shadows lengthen and evening approaches. Against the distant skyline stand the mountains… our destination and the unknown. We’ll reach our journey’s end under cover of darkness and watch the sun reappear from a new and unfamiliar vantage point in sha Allah. Life calls, adventure awaits and my two young companions are high on anticipation, alternating between the chatter of plans-in-the-making and the quietude of drinking it all in. I am filled with joyful contentment, and love… I could stay like this with them, in this moment, on this road, forever. My heart swells with gratitude to Allah… for these children, for this feeling, for bringing me to this through the years of pain, anguish and overwhelm… for supporting me even when I deserved His rebuke, for spurring me on when I had no more strength, for making me strong again through Him… for His guidance, His mercy… for stripping me of my attachment to this life, in order that I could learn to attach myself to Him and become whole, for this open road, for it all… my emotions rise as the sun starts to set and slip from view and I thank Him from my deepest core, from the depths of my bruised but happy heart.

19/08/2016

Homecoming

img_0088Homecoming; not as straightforward as I envisioned, no seamless re-entry to this place… to this existence, which I once fled. Fleeting glimpses of the person I was prior to setting out give me reassurance and hope…

The grey waves break on the grey shore and the skyline, shrouded by grey mist, makes this familiar place seem otherworldly…The journey itself seems surreal; dreamlike, and the people encountered seem remote; almost as remote as those to whom I now return… return, changed yet somewhere deep inside no different.

The sense of reawakening is strong, overwhelming at times… a reconnection to the innate self, lost sight of along the way… seeing myself in those friends of old, in long-buried memories that startle me out of the blue; unsure of how to reconcile that self I once was, transformed if not entirely altered… the need to reconnect with that youthful authenticity and to somehow merge with it without jeopardizing who I have become…

The simplicity of the past and the lessons of the journey and the metamorphosis have left me akin to two beings; one naïve, uncertain, optimistic and seeking something unknown, one a traveller wearied by the road yet restless still.

Return… the meeting of an old self and old friends… grown serious.

The struggle to reconnect with who I was, without slipping back into how it was… when I longed for adventure… the disquiet and the lurking fear of settling and mediocrity pushing me on… propelling me forwards inwardly, striving to amalgamate these disparate aspects of self… striving for wholeness and to be centered… to let go… to relinquish the heavy excess baggage and retain the truths I now know… not to be swept back into the tide of mindless, complacent conformity.

Risk

Back Then…

Back then I knew who I was without need to define,
I knew as a child
I knew who I was by the ‘sense’, which was innately mine.
It evades me sometimes
Now when I run on empty and I. Don’t. Have. Time.
Catching glimpses of self at the back. of. my. mind.
Grasping at last straws
Seeking to find
Some ‘sure’ thing to hold onto… to refine
Some life line.
Some way to get back to the peace
Some sign.
To allow me preserve who I knew that I was
once upon. a. time.

Who I am…

‘Who I am’ used to be fixed and delineated clearly; this was not just simply in my ‘mind’ but in my being and in my very certain sense-of-self. This ‘self’ was not a fluid entity, it did not ebb and flow and it was non-negotiable. I was centred and anchored, if always yearning for something out of sight and reach and comprehension. Life has tested what I thought I knew about myself; the complexity and the ‘black and white’, and has left me floundering to understand where I fit in this universal state of ‘being’; which parts are ‘genuinely’ me and how in fact to ‘be’. There are times my head swims; when it seems I have no ‘core’ no ‘central being’ and that I might be washed away or drown. This leaves me almost constantly uneasy and is torturous at times. The longing for clarity, stability and tranquility of ‘mind’ won’t be denied and often sends me spiraling into a vertigo-inducing state. Trying to be the person you think you ought to be can be counterproductive but hard to move away from. Just as you think you’re making progress a glimpse of ‘self’ will flit by the eye-of-your-mind derailing you, reminding you there’s somebody already there and that you are grasping at straws.  Continue reading