Taking Risks

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I have taken many risks. I can’t remember when I became a risk-taker or for that matter when fear started to encroach upon my horizon and make me hesitant… I lost my sense-of self for a time… taking risks.  I became so bogged down in the consequences of my blind risk-taking, taking risks I didn’t even realise were such until retrospect as it characteristically does, stepped in with its hindsight-wisdom. I took risks and I paid the price of impulsivity and I lost my way for a time… I lost my way whilst being unaware of where it was I was going… I didn’t know the location, the destination was unknown and the purpose of the journey was hidden from me… veiled… unclear. I lost my way and became entrenched in the things one becomes entrenched in… and they broke me down… living ‘where they wild things are’. I finally learned to mistrust, after brightly claiming I wasn’t given to such, and became enmeshed in things that eroded my vitality… and left me crumbling… I tried to grasp that glowing ember; that fast extinguishing flame; that flickering pilot inside me, that recognised that I have a soul… that which responded to the right words… hidden within the mindy-riddle of his broken world. I ultimately crumbled and began to come apart, my tortured mind began to bear the brunt of my battered heart. I took a risk. I fled, I wandered, I tried to hold fast to who I’d been, I strove to go forward to who they said I should have been. I struck out into the unknown, casting off into the abyss…

I took the risk that He would catch me and… He did.

inna lillahi wa inna lilayhi raji’un

Stuff Might Come Up

cascade‘Stuff might come up’ she advised us with characteristic candour. I wondered fleetingly what could remain in me to rise to the surface; what coded secrets lay yet in the depths of my untapped unconscious. The thought checked me only momentarily… gave way to only momentary pause… before my burdened mind, struggling to keep pace with her insight-laden flow, broke free of that which it had snagged upon and resumed its headlong dash in pursuit of the underlying significance of her words, as they poured forth in ever-measured tone… fighting the previously-set limits of my comprehension in an attempt to process in real-time the complexity which she spoke… grasping at clues, implications and the edges of meaning that disappeared from the peripheral view of my consciousness… just as I thought I might catch hold… information overload.

I took her note of caution as a truth… curious only as to what it foretold… what I might stand to glean that hadn’t already been exposed, that might be unlocked and revealed to me, the magnitude of what it could potentially mean, to make the choice to lean, in, to the unknown, to the unforeseen… to inhale it and let it wash over me and go deeper than I’d ever previously been… anticipation and, somewhere lurking, anxiety… not unobserved by any means… tentatively ready, undeniably edgy, still somewhat on my guard… mentally preparing myself in that instant for the plunge… for going no-holds-barred… to go hard. Continue reading

Transient

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This morning I awoke acutely aware of my first-born’s imminent departure from the childish realm of single-digits and ‘childhood’ into double digits and everything that lies in store for him during the next decade of his life in this Dunya in sha Allah. I look forward, with trepidation, to the time… to entering a new era together… a sense of optimism that is tinged with fear, that I may not rise to the challenge and ever truly become the mother I thought I would be to him; and sadness and regret, at the ways and numerous times that I have undoubtedly failed him.

In many ways it feels like a fresh start and in others like the loss of the baby that I’ve loved so much and erroneously thought I’d always have to hold; the gift and blessing of whom I often took for granted… and now he’s half-way grown… and I feel like I’m watching sand running through an hourglass. I want the time back. I want to do every moment over. I want to cradle him in my arms again for the very first time, skin-to-skin; brand-new, warm, trusting and wise, and to gaze again for the very first time into his beautiful baby face and soulful, knowing eyes. I want to go back to when I had never wronged him or let him down and bask in the unspoiled beauty of that indescribable encounter once again, unblighted by my perpetual guilt and the pain of perceived loss, his and mine.

It is as though in his reaching this milestone I have caught my first real glimpse of the terrible truth I had previously been willfully blind to… that we must one day take leave of one another… and the stark reality is that I have foolishly wasted countless precious moments, locked in the depths of my own fears and frustrations, sombre moods and pensive mind… when instead I could have been rejoicing in his company. These realisations make my heart ache but equally fill me with determination not to waste another minute… not to allow those past  years to have been in vain but rather to learn from the irrevocable and this near anguish within me; to take it as a lesson, hard-learned, and to let it serve as a powerful reminder of the temporality of life and the finite nature of our time.

17.08.2016

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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.

Little girl

Baby child with eyes indescribable, how should I love you? I love you to the point of heartbreak, your impossibly sweet face, defiance and tight braid… or silky cascade… one moment loving arms and adventure; gurgling laugh belying the carefree innocence of your age… the next tornado-like and bristling with unchecked rage… flashing gaze… catching me unawares and leaving me afraid… How do I rear you? I who am fractured, perhaps beyond hope of effective repair… how can I nurture your wildflower soul and your fearsome bright spirit without curbing or caging you?

You are breathtakingly, utterly, painfully beautiful. From the very first day indomitable. I fought for you… terror struck at the thoughts of losing you, so tiny, so perfect, and so brand new… so vulnerable…my daughter. You resemble me… with an essence of him… yet you’re just all your own… unlike anyone I’ve ever known. I’m in awe of you, humbled beyond comprehension that Allah chose me for you… overwhelmed by the sense that I don’t know what to do… fiercely protective, convinced that I’m failing, unsure how to guard you from the world seeking to tame you.  Continue reading

I came to Islam after a lifetime of instability, uncertainty and ‘searching’… sometimes my searching was conscious, if not active or decided, and sometimes it was nothing more than a longing for connection; leading me in all but the desirable direction.

I wandered and strayed, had adventures and made mistakes. I experienced the exhilaration of reckless abandon; and the consequences of it. I tasted betrayal and abandonment, all manner of pain and confusion and resiliently ‘bounced back’ each time, seemingly no closer to the truth

As the flutters quickened within I became more certain in my being than I had ever been that there was an Originator… a Creator… this ‘happening’… this miracle unfolding… was too incredible to all have been by chance… all credit, as due, I attributed to One beyond my comprehension… suffice to say I was convinced of ‘something’, yet I didn’t truly seek to understand.

Continue reading

Black Swan

A black swan cuts a singular path through the blue air… I turn my eyes upward for just a moment, surveying the apparent dome of the summer sky. Unusual cloud formations, seemingly motionless despite the welcome breeze, give the scene a surreal sense of pause… turning back the swan has disappeared from sight. A lone gull crosses my field of vision, black-tipped wings rising and falling rhythmically and unhurried; sun glinting on its pure-white body.

A yacht moves out into the bay, so slowly it could be imagined to be drifting, or even shrinking. Departing at a diagonal from me, its sail has already risen above the horizon, where fifteen minutes ago it had looked close enough to touch… now its mast is barely perceptible where sea meets sky; cobalt touching pale-blue serenity. Continue reading

Haven

My feet have tread this shore so many times
Pebble crunch and damp sand
The scent of the sea
The ebb and flow creeps and retreats
And my soul keeps the rhythm of the waves
In the comfort of the dark that envelops me

My son is the light in the window
And it’s emanating glow
He’s the lighthouse beacon that cuts through the night
Now… and now… and now…
He is moonlight and moonlight on water
Illuminating my way back home
Seems he’s been here with me forever
His doe-eyes have seen more than he shows Continue reading

Seashell

They told us if we held it to our ear we would hear the sea and I did. I heard its familiar rush of ebb and flow across the pebble-beach, casting down and pulling back. It startled me and left me awestruck; not having thought such a claim could prove true. There, in that pearly shell daubed with peachy tones, sitting unassumingly on the nature-table, lay a whole ocean, invisible and mysterious.

I placed it against my ear and immersed myself in the waves of sound and the wonder of it. It soothed and captivated me. My small hands relished the unfamiliar texture of its surface; rough exterior and silky smooth within. My eyes drank in its exquisite colour palette and my young mind marveled at  its extraordinary form and nature; struggling to reconcile its other-worldliness with this place and time. It had a quality that set it in some other place I could not imagine, like a clue to some other world or existence. Within it lay the sea.