Quiet

Sometimes we need
to be solitary
and still
to be alone
with our own
toxicity
Sometimes we need
to not utter
naked phrases
to not fill in
gaps of silence
Sometimes we need
to live
in our own quiet shells
even if for just a while
to learn the magic
that we all have within

It is not I, it is You.

You think you can
put me in quotes
that seem so
oppressive
You think you can
label me
call me names
You think I’m less
less of a human
because I’m a woman
a woman of color
You think it is I
who needs freedom
well let me free
your noxious little brain
let me free you
from ignorance
that’s smothered you
with hatred
because it is not I
It is you
yes you
How could you
possibly free
a bird soaring high
in the sky?
How could you
possibly not know
pearls are found
hidden deep down
in the sea?
How could you
possibly expect
a rose
grown amidst weeds
change into a weed itself?
No, it is not me
It is you
and your poisoned mind
It is you
and your hate
It is you
and your hopelessness
that needs changing
It’s not me
It’s you

This heart of mine

Tonight
I broke the walls
I unwrapped
my heart
I heard it cry oceans
Ice and fire
It burned
It ached
like canines
against raw flesh
I rinsed it
with Your Love
and as if that was all
it needed
It gave up
in Your Garden
Of Peace
It gave up
all its dreams
all its most ardent desires
for a sole wish
a wish to be
by Your side
on the highest
mountain
in Your ever-lasting
Paradise
It traded
all of world’s fame
with its glory
and games
to be with You

~ I miss you ~

You were like a flower in a barren desert
You were my companion in sadness
and you were there during my moments of joy
You were like the rays of sun lighting up the sky
You had built a castle deep inside my heart
and now your memories seeping through my veins
are burning holes inside my soul
I left a part of me with you, buried in the dirt
as I laid you down, watching you with mournful eyes
If I could just pull you out, and hold you
and keep you warm
If I could just see you once again
If I could just..
Oh how deeply and sorely you’re missed.

Grief

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Grief hit me like a tornado. Grief that was too large to be contained within a small beating organ. Maybe I needed a jar as big as this earth to pour the contents of my heart into. I imagined losing feeling in that organ that insisted on aching with every beat. But the sadness was larger than me. I had two options: Grow numb or face it. I found strength in facing, even as it crushed me, even if the pain felt like a jagged shard of glass being dragged against my heart, even if my lungs felt as if they were on fire, desperately needing air. Even then. I chose to face it. And I grieved. Until the tornado passed and calm took over.

(This post is dedicated to my beautiful cat, Cotton who died couple nights ago. May we meet again in Jannah.)

“…Often through delay are gifts received..”

Should you not gain your wants, my soul, then be not grieved;
But hasten to that banquet which your Lord’s bequeathed.

And when a thing for which you ask is slow to come,
Then know that often through delay are gifts received.

Find solace in privation and respect its due,
For only by contentment is the heart relieved.

And know that when the trials of life have rendered you
Despairing of all hope, and of all joy bereaved,

Then shake yourself and rouse yourself from heedlessness,
And make pure hope a meadow that you never leave.

Your Maker’s gifts take subtle and uncounted forms.
How fine the fabric of the world His hands have weaved.

The journey done, they came to the water of life,
And all the caravan drank deep, their thirst relieved.

Far be it from the host to leave them thirsty there,
His spring pours forth all generosity received.

My Lord, my trust in all Your purposes is strong,
That trust is now my shield; I’m safe, and undeceived.

All those who hope for grace from You will feel Your rain;
Too generous are You to leave my branch unleaved.

May blessings rest upon the loved one, Muhammad,
Who’s been my means to high degrees since I believed.

He is my fortress and my handhold, so my soul,
Hold fast, and travel to a joy still unconceived.

 Shaykh Ali bin Husayn al-Habshi

Translated by Sh. AbdalHakim Murad

Even if it stings..

I recently read this beautiful piece by Mark Nepo called “The Spider and the Sage”. Btw, I’d recommend this book to anyone struggling in life, especially those battling cancer. Aside from some sufi-ish elements (he’s a kaafir afterall), its an excellent book with some amazing reminders on how to keep up the fight.
Anyway, here’s the piece. Enjoy:

“I would rather be fooled
than not believe.”

In India, there is a story about a kind, quiet man who would pray in the Ganges River every morning. One day after praying, he saw a poisonous spider struggling in the water and cupped his hands to carry it ashore. As he placed the spider on the ground, it stung him. Unknowingly, his prayers for the world diluted the poison.
The next day the same thing happened. On the third day, the kind man was knee deep in the river, and sure enough, there was the spider, legs frantic in the water. As the man went to lift the creature yet again, the spider said, “Why do you keep lifting me? Can’t you see I will sting you every timebecause that is what I do.” And the kind man cupped his hands about the spider, replying, “Because that is what I do.”
There are many reasons to be kind, but perhaps none is as compelling as the spiritual fact that it is what we do. It is how the inner organ of being keeps pumping. Spiders sting. Wolves howl. Ants build small hills that no one sees. And human beings lift each other, no matter the consequence. Even when other beings sting.
Some say this makes us a sorry lot that never learns, but to me it holds the same beauty as berries breaking through ice and snow every spring. It is what quietly feeds the world. After all, the berries do not have any sense of purpose or charity. They are not altruistic or self-sacrificing. They simply grow to be delicious because that is what they do.
As for us, if things fall, we will reach for them. If things break, we will try to put them together. If loved ones cry, we will try to soothe them — because that is what we do. I have often reached out, and sometimes it feels like a mistake. Sometimes, like the quiet man lifting the spider, I have been stung. But it doesn’t matter, because that is what I do. That is what we do. It is the reaching out that is more important than the sting. In truth, I’d rather be fooled than not believe.

“With Her”, For You & I..

This time is difficult. Wait for me. 

We will live it out vividly.

Give me your small hand:

we will rise and suffer,

we will feel, we will rejoice. 

We are once more the pair

who lived in bristling places,

in harsh nests in the rock. 

This time is difficult. Wait for me

with a basket, with a shovel,

with your shoes and your clothes.

 Now we need each other, 

not only for the carnations’ sake, 

not only to look for honey—

we need our hands

to wash with, to make fire.

So let our difficult time

stand up to infinity

with four hands and four eyes.

– Pablo Neruda

The Lesson is to never close.

“God breaks the heart again and again and again until it stays open.”

– Inayat Khan.

When young, it was my first fall from love. It broke me open the way lightning splits a tree. Then, years later, cancer broke me further. This time it broke me wider, the way a flood carves the banks of a narrow stream. Then, having to leave a twenty-year marriage. This broke me the way wind shatters glass. Then, in Africa, it was the anonymous face of a schoolboy beginning his life. This broke me yet again. But this was like hot water melting soap.

Each time I tried to close up what had been opened. It was a reflex, natural enough. But the lesson was, of course, the other way. The lesson was in never closing again.

– Mark Nepo

 

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

The Step to Others


All the promises we make
from the cradle to the grave,
when all I want is you.
– Bruce Springsteen

We imagine that so many conditions are prerequisite to finding love, when allt hat is required is that, like a man stepping from a boat to a dock, we step over the small gap that exists between us. Often there is nothing to prepare for, nothing to set up in advance – just to step over what separates us and to land in what is before us.

But, giving in to our fears, we widen the gap by creating conditions that must be filled before stepping toward another. This is how we invest in the building of credentials and lifestyles and bank accounts that are often distractions from the simple and essential need to be held. In this way, we move  up and down and around, but seldom straight into what will give us love.

To know love we must do more than understand, we must land and enter. Before we step, the gap to others seems like a canyon. But stepping anyway, the separations we move through look so much smaller once crossed. Often the thing feared, once crossed, turns out to be an unexpected bridge from which we can see who we were and who we are becoming.

– Mark Nepo