Pursuit of Happiness

Pursuit of Happiness

Happiness is…
A single, blooming flower before the bouquet is made.

Happiness is…
The lush, green rainforests before the bustling metropolis.

Happiness is…
The free-roaming cub before the Fashion Week catwalks.

Happiness is…
The fresh, clean air before the polluted, fuel-filled streets.

Happiness is…
The long-anticipated letters before the short, last minute text messages.

Happiness is…
The small, cosy homes before the large, empty mansions.

Happiness is….
The warm, safe embraces before the painful deceptions.

Happiness is…
The taste of a home-cooked meal before the huge fast-food chains.

Happiness is…
Spending time with family before we become too busy to even call.

Happiness isn’t…
The real destination.

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Stand As One

There is so much pain and darkness in the World nowadays, and it’s easy to feel so incredibly low when we’re inundated with information about the tragedies around us.

More innocent teens were slaughtered in Gaza.
Innocent worshippers were shot down by a gunman in Pittsburgh.
An entire neighbourhood was demolished with the people in it in Syria.
More clashes between citizens and refugees have broken out in Germany.
Politicians brimming to the lid with hate, bigotry and oppressive views have taken presidential seats.
The list goes on and on and on…. Tirelessly… It’s tiring.

The worst part? There are countless oppressions taking place in ‘every’ place and we just never hear about them.

I had a friend approach me earlier in a very low state and she spoke of how hearing about certain tragedies has almost made her lose hope.
I understand, my lovely, I really do.

It’s ok to feel low and down, but it’s more-so important that we also look to the good in the World. Yes, it is important to know about what is happening in order to take appropriate actions, but also praise the good.
The media, which is where we get the majority of our information, has a habit of showing us the negative, sad news most of the time, with positive or inspiring articles only thrown in from time to time.
For many media outlets it’s very much about reporting only about ‘certain’ tragic events too and blanking others which are more numerous in number due to their own agendas. Whether we like to admit it or not, media bias IS a thing.
This also includes the power it has to influence people.

Just as we hear about the many painful tragedies, there’s also always great things happening too which we, as a human family, need to celebrate and bring awareness to too.

In light of the horrific murders in Gaza, more voices than ever are being shared in regard to bringing an end to the senseless oppression.
In light of the terrifying tragedy in Pittsburgh, the Muslim community there came together to raise money for the families of the deceased, and opened their arms to support them as their human siblings.
The atrocities taking place in Syria has opened the eyes of many across the globe and has urged many to dig deep inside of themselves to do what they can, regardless of the obstacles, to try to help those in need there.
The clashes in Germany during the refugee crisis has now given the chance for two groups or nations of people to try to stand together in solidarity. There will always be issues that arise that must be tackled, that is inevitable, but by standing together they can now change the outlook and misunderstandings they may have had of one another. To understand. To love. To learn.
The number of hateful people coming into seats of power is mind-boggling (to say the least) but let us also look at the positive steps being taken in political ways in other places that will bring a positive change to the people.

None of these good deeds are there to detract from the pains of the tragedies and nor do they undermine their severity, of course not. They stand instead as a symbol of hope for this human race to show that where ever we may find evil, there are still good people willing to stamp out that fire and plant new seeds to help bring life to the place once again.

It’s so painful and tiring and heart-breaking; it can really leave the soul feeling so broken.
However, if we give up on a hope that IS there but we just can’t see, one that needs our support, then those efforts of hope will begin to diminish.

We as the people are the majority in comparison to those who commit the heinous crimes and those who create the laws (which too can be morally wrong). Our voice combined is the loudest and most powerful, but that means sticking together as human brethren in solidarity against hate in all of its forms.

When we see a few individuals doing something horribly inexcusable, it is our duty to not allow our internal bias to get the best of us. It is our duty to not let ourselves doubt entire nations of people due to the unforgivable acts of a few from them because chances are that there will have been similar cases of people committing crimes from our own communities too. Does that make you and I bad people? No. It is our duty to also stand up for one another when we see injustice (be it by a whisper or a ground-breaking sound).

You who are reading this right now are no different from me. We both have hopes and wants, and we both hurt inside when we feel pained. We both have beating hearts and blood that runs through our bodies.
Regardless of how our bodies are decorated, where we are born or what our way of life may be, as long as we are not hurting others you and I are one and the same.
It’s about time we recognise that and begin to act as a family.

So to my beautiful friend who found herself feeling so low from the tragic state of the Earth, take a look… Look, my darling, at all the wonder and compassion and love that too exists.
Use it as your driving force and always remember that the darkness will begin to diminish when our lights shine brighter.

Don’t let that fuse go out, lovely… You got this… We all do

#StandAsOne.

Acceptance of self.

Have you ever truly loved someone? A partner? A Friend? Family etc?

You acknowledge their flaws but love them regardless, why? It’s because you understand that the inevitable nature of mankind is not ‘perfection’, but continued growth and effort. You ‘believe’ that they are capable of being that caring person, of being successful, of being compassionate, righteous and so on… So why is it so hard to love yourself?

We strive so hard to knock ourselves down based on our shortcomings that we have no energy to work on them or to appreciate our good points. The world knocks us down enough, we don’t need to add to it.

Just like those we love, we too are prone to making mistakes, but as someone dear to me once said “you can’t love someone else fully until you learn to love yourself – or at least find a source of self-respect within yourself”. I.e. You can’t pour from an empty cup.

It sounds odd as first since “love yourself” sounds narcissistic to some, but it’s not. It means to have given ourselves some self-worth, to appreciate that you are flawed but to also appreciate that you can grow.

When we’re too busy hating ourselves, we have no mental energy to truly love another, because each time we taste that love we become too self-obsessed with “why I don’t deserve it”, “why I’m too messed up”, “why I’m not enough”, “why I….”

… Me, me, me….

Acceptance – the key to moving forward from anything. To accept the truth about a situation and then to apply two ingredients to the mix to begin the journey to growing is how we move forward. Discipline and consistency.

Learn to respect yourself, so that you may have enough room to begin sharing that love too.

Gas

~Gas~
 
 
People scatter and flee in fear
as sirens ring and buildings fall.
The whistling missiles, deafening screech
as limbs are scattered from wall to wall.
 
 
Laughter of children, now forgotten,
turned to screams from a panicked face,
for these are the sounds that surround our existence,
the unheard song of this hell-like place.
 
 
The demons, they near, with their acidic claws,
so we must flee to escape their grasp.
We’ll hide in here – so in we pile,
but then I sense it within my gasp.
 
 
I slam the door to this minuscule room
my crying baby within my embrace,
I look to my wife who is huddled in front,
my heart, it cracked, from the look on her face.
 
 
The phosphoric scent slips through the cracks,
I hold back the tears and take her hand.
Time is short as reality strikes,
an empty hourglass and its grains of sand.
 
 
My baby, now quiet, with shallow breathing,
stirs in discomfort and winces in pain.
Oh, how I would give my life, my child,
to never see you hurting again.
 
 
My eyes, now misty, look to my wife,
and I smile softly as our foreheads touch,
we had so much to do and so much to live,
“I want you to know that I love you so much.
 
 
Don’t cry, my beloved, for this is our fate,
in heaven I’ll meet you and get on one knee.
Your beauty, still blinding, will again take my heart,
and so I will pray that you’ll again marry me.
 
 
We’ve been abandoned, the World has grown silent,
our land, destroyed, and now left to burn,
but worry not, my beloved, because from God we came,
and now it is back to Him we return.
 
 
I love you.”
 
 
“I love … you… t…”
 
 
 
(By Naziyah Mahmood – a heartbroken last-encounter of a mother, father and their newborn child who were gassed to death a few days ago in Syria.)
 

Warning: Graphic Image.
A mother, father and their newborn. No where to run, no where to hide, they lay there on the cold floor while they took their last breath.
This is the story of the struggle for freedom.”

– Photograph from Wipe The Tears
 
Please click the first link to see the image.
 
(I’m very sorry if this has upset or disturbed anyone as this was not my intent, but I’m posting this because it’s something that I believe the world does need more awareness about.
Unfortunately, I don’t think WordPress has the option for me to put a graphic warning on the image beforehand, however, I know that many might find this too much to bear. so I’ve added a link to it instead.
 
 
I understand that this is a very, very heavy topic, but the world needs to know.
I broke down in tears when I saw this image too, and I couldn’t believe that mankind is letting this senseless slaughter go on.
 
Most of all, my apology goes to my brothers and sisters who are suffering. I’m sorry that we haven’t been able to stop your suffering or do more… our hearts, tears and spirits cry for you.
I’m sorry…)

Seeds

It’s so very difficult… being a Sunflower.

Day by day, the World became more and more engulfed in the Corruption, which was made of darkness, cold and hateful intent. It had consumed a clear majority of this World and, in turn, had drenched the lands in crime, pain and helplessness.
The only thing keeping the World from being fully consumed was the presence of the Sunflowers, light warriors who made it their job to radiate as much compassion and hope into their surroundings as possible.
As one could imagine, this was a very, very tiresome role, and there remained only a small handful of Sunflowers in the World.
They had the power to brighten their surroundings and to bring life back into the soil around them, yet this came at a cost of them burning out too.

The Corruption lived to dispel these good efforts and worked to spread its manipulative and depraved ways wherever it could reach. It had among it most of the World’s biggest and most powerful players, and yet, the Sunflowers would not give in even when there stood only one last remaining warrior.

The sky became engulfed by the Corruption, masking out the Sun itself, so the lone warrior knew not where to turn. In one last-ditch attempt, the Sunflower scattered its seeds far and wide knowing that they might still be destroyed, but it also knew that ‘hope’ could never be abandoned.

The world became engulfed by the Corruption.

 

The world is corrupt.

 

However, there are still seeds growing, away from the watchful eye of the hateful… Grow my Sunflowers, and fight. It’s not easy being a Sunflower, but it’s the only chance that this World has left.

 

Sunflower by Matt Stangis(Photograph by Matt Stangis – Sunflower – Last Season – Seed Head)

A New Beginning – A Journey of the Sword (Video)

Naz Saber preview

“A New Beginning” 
(Video link to my Facebook Video Post)

A Lee Fletcher Films Production (Lee Fletcher Photography)
Starring Naziyah Mahmood
In Association with Part Time Hero Props and Sunday Studios

(Two short afternoons. Two People. Minus Temperatures. Improvised Choreography. New, untested, equipment. One Hand Warmer. A journey of the sword through time.
A huge thank you to Lee Fletcher for working with me on this little project in the freezing cold – I could barely feel my fingers – and to Part Time Hero Props for supplying the BiFrost! Enjoy!)
Remember to have audio on!

Breath

As I stood in front of the kitchen window, completely lost in a labyrinth of thoughts which spun and knotted like an Escher lithograph, my hazed eyes fell upon the thick green leaves of the tree outside and focused unknowingly on their movement as the breeze blew through them.
I was mesmerised.
The gentle sway and buoyant motion of each leaf, and of the tree top as a whole, softly stirred me awake from the worldly, crazed, speeding coma I’d been surviving through every day.
Surviving.

Somewhere, deep inside, I knew there was a desire to ‘live’ and not just survive.


That moment stripped me back to the bare essence of what I was – a part of the Earth. I was the leaves as they danced, I was the wind as it meandered around every curve of bark, I was the tree as it stood grounded against space and time.

For a moment so short, I was a human essence, a part of His wondrous creation, and every worldly worry spilled away from my being. “I’m here”.
I connected with the very breath that the Earth took in, and inhaled every breath it gave out.
This is what we are at our foundations, we are souls – boundless and timeless.

My phone vibrated on the table beside me and pulled me back into that worldly life, but did you know… sometimes it’s the short, simple but bounteous moments like those that help to reset our state of mind.
There is beauty in simplicity, and there is life.

I pray that all of your days be filled with such awakening and precious moments.