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.

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The Guest

“You’re late.”

“Woke up late, sorry.”

 

I sat down on my seat and looked up to see her leaning back into hers. I could tell from her expression that I was in for a yelling.

 

“Woke up late? You didn’t sleep at all, did you?”

“Sort of…”

“Seriously, I’m so tired of seeing you like this. Every day you grow thinner and thinner, your eyes are so deeply sunken into your head, they’re swollen from crying, red from rubbing… even your hair looks like a birds nest.”

 

There it was. Every time we met I would be bombarded with her negative observations of me. For a moment my mind drifted away…

 

“Are you even listening to me?”

“Oh, yes, I am.”

 

She sighed.

 

“Look, you and I both know that I know you better than anyone else, so I only say this out of concern. You’ve become pathetic.
Life knocked you down again and again and again, but it only happens because you fail to learn. Sometimes I wonder why I even bother. You never listen.
You’re constantly left broken hearted because you trust too deeply, and everyone finds a way to walk all over you – how can you not get annoyed at that?”

“I do. I do get annoyed. I’m just too tired now to bother feeling anymore. I’m sick of the pain, so cut me some slack and leave me alone, will you.”

 

Her eyes opened wider for a moment as she noticed my rebellion. I had definitely struck a chord with her. Good.

 

“I don’t even feel sorry for you anymore, you know that? Sometimes I feel like I’m all you’ve got though, that’s why I stick around.”

“I don’t need you to stick around if all you do is hate on me.”

“I’m just trying to get you to see what you’ve become, that’s all. The whole event left you feeling like you’ll never be good enough… for anything!!!”

 

I squirmed in my seat at the mention of ‘the’ event, but tried to keep myself composed.
It had indeed left me broken. Shattered. It wasn’t the first time either. I had become used to the sound of my own soul breaking, so much so that I sometimes prayed to become deaf to it.

 

“What am I going to do with you? No matter what you try to do, how pretty you try to make yourself look, how hard you study, how kind you try to be, how stupidly trusting you are, you’re always going to end up in the same mess. Want to know how I know that? Because I know you better than anyone else.”

 

Here she goes again, with the whole ‘I know you better’ rubbish. No, she doesn’t… does she?

She straightened up, as though trying to calm herself down before addressing the ‘problem’ in front of her. It made me move in my seat to straighten out my spine too. Ok, I was ready for the next bout.

 

“I’m only saying this for your own good, but maybe you should just leave this place. Think about it. Nothing seems to be working out for you. You have no one to really understand you, your career is practically non-existent because of your degrading health, no one realllly cares about you, you’re not getting any younger either, I won’t even mention relationships… why are you still even here?”

 

I had become robotic and numb over the last few years, all thanks to a rollercoaster of events and problems, but those words did cut me deeply. The worst part? I almost agreed with a lot of it too, until, that is, I mentally slapped myself back into reality and glared back at her.

 

“I know I’m not perfect, I know I don’t have much, I know I’m horribly scarred and I know things keep getting worse, but I have no choice but to get on with the show.
I don’t expect to wake up to a vivacious life, but even if I’m numb, I’ll keep going… because I do have some things to live for.”

 

The door creaked open and we both looked over to see Mum poking her head around the door. “Come down and have some lunch, love, it’s getting cold. Also, who were you talking to?” She looked at me with her usual concerned gaze before disappearing once again behind my bedroom door.

 

I looked back into the mirror and to the uninvited guest who never seemed to have anything better to do than to remind me of my ever growing flaws.

 

“I guess we’ll have to pick this up later as usual then! Don’t forget, I know you better than anyone else!”

 

“Shut up.”

 

With that, I slammed my hand against the cold reflective surface of my dressing table mirror, and then lifted a lipstick to draw a smiling face upon my reflection.

 

Uninvited guests are always the worst kind, no?

 

smile-on-grey

Ink

Dear…

The beautiful sentiment and thought put into writing a hand written letter is something that’s unfortunately been lost in this era of technology and virtual communication.
There was once a time, when the internet had just been born, that the idea of receiving an email was incredibly appealing since we would send and receive letters quite often.
However, times have now changed so that we glance over our emails during our busy and rushed days, yet seldom do we receive a heartfelt, ink scribed letter of affection from loved ones.
Maybe it’s just me, but there’s something rather romantic, and familiar, about lifting a pen and scribbling down our thoughts for someone in specific to read.
Be it a family member, a friend, a pen-pal or the person of your affections, there is a deep sense of appreciation between both people upon seeing the personally drawn words of the sender.

 

A letter holds a lot of emotional power – upon seeing the font of the author, we find ourselves reminiscing over our past encounters. In each letter of every word, there is an emotional fingerprint, a personal form of identification which has the ability to convey the strength of the writer’s feelings – from sadness and loneliness, to joy and hope.
A hand written letter is, in a sense, a form of poetic expression shared between two people. It is an untold story waiting to be read, and the painfully anticipated answers to our mutually shared hopes.

 

I still remember writing letters to my dear friends who had moved away when I was a young child, and I recall waiting anxiously for their replies (which often came with a small gift depending on the occasion!) I also recall reading the letters that were exchanged between my grandparents and their families across the world, and it was one of those special moments in childhood where you feel transported to a different place, surrounded by different people, when you read about what their lives were like.
As time moves forward, everything really does become more about ‘faster, better, more convenient’. Just one century ago, we’d hear of stories of lovers who were separated by space and time, and yet their loyalty, hopes and love would never diminish – rather, the anticipation of that letter that would take months to arrive would only strengthen their bond.
Compare that to an age where if we don’t receive a reply text from our loved ones, we somehow feel as though they have betrayed us!
Although efficiency is important in this time, it’s also important to slow down sometimes so that we may absorb the true reality of feelings and emotion around us.

 

I’ve always had a love for writing letters, though I can honestly say that in recent years I haven’t been able to send as many as I would have liked.
As such, I’ve made it a resolution to try to write a heartfelt letter more often, and I’ll look forward to receiving them too!

Why not pick up that pen and start writing your “To’s” and “Dears” as well!?
Best wishes,

Naziyah!

 

1

Grass (New Short Story and New Page)

Excerpt:


‘Is it over?’

My ears ring with a deafening tone which slowly subsides to a gentle ringing sound. I can suddenly feel grit in my mouth, and the taste of a mix of blood and soil.
The smell of smoke, gunpowder and decaying flesh hits me hard and I slowly begin to feel some movement in my fingers as they slide over my torn flak jacket.

Then, I see. I pry my eyes open, tearing at the crusts of blood that had sewn my eyelashes together, to reveal a sequence of moving blurs.
Apart from a few scuffling sounds, and some distant rumbling, the scene had grown eerily quiet; the battle was over, but who had won?

Slowly, I pull myself up to a sitting position and cringe at the shooting pain I feel travelling through my right leg. I then carry out a mental examination of the damage I have taken and hope to God that I won’t be in need of any amputations.

‘Still in tact… sort of.’

I really don’t want to get up, but I have a feeling that if I don’t then I’ll be left behind for dead.”

FULL STORY HERE

The bus stop (new short story and a new page)

Excerpt:
“The tranquillity of a late night stroll can be appealing to those who seek peace of mind and internal-calm.
Crisp night air, mingling with the dull taste of a cool and gentle rain, can combine to create an atmosphere of reflective serenity and wakeful meditation.

With a black, leather briefcase safely tucked under his arm, he casually strolled along the quiet city street with absolutely no qualms in regards to his drenched jacket or soaking hair.

It felt invigorating. It was cleansing.

His shoes clapped against the pavement which acted as a welcome distraction in the silence of his empty path, and the silhouette of the vacant bus stop grew closer with every step.
It enticed him with the offer of a cold metal seat which could comfort his growing sense of lethargy which had only been heightened by the sleepy atmosphere of this late night promenade.

As he approached the stop, he noticed a soft muffled cough resonating from under the canopy… ”

Full story HERE.

Martial Arts – Article by Community Martial Arts News

Hello again!
I apologise for my long silence (for anyone who may visit my page from time to time), I just seem to have been caught up in more things that usual lately.

In September, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Gareth Davies for the online Welsh Martial Arts Magazine – Community Martial Arts News.
I consider myself a novice in the field of martial arts, but it was such an honour to have had this article published by Gareth, who had contacted me after finding one of my sword photos online (as mentioned in the article).

Article: Naziyah Mahmood – Community Martial Arts News

The passage speaks a bit about my martial arts history, a bit about my own life, and about Sensei too.
I realise that some parts are a little muddled, but the gist of it is there! (I just hope it doesn’t come across in an arrogant way, as I truly do see myself as a novice!)

Thanks to Charles Hamilton and Fiona Brims for allowing CMA to use their photos of me, and to Gareth for turning what should have been a twenty minute phone interview into a two hour bout of hilarious banter between us!

Purge of politics

game-of-politics

(Written as part of the Daily Post: Daily Prompt – Truth Serum: You’ve come into possession of one vial of truth serum. Who would you give it to (with the person’s consent, of course) — and what questions would you ask?)

 

Keeping this short but sweet – World Politicians.

Though I would never wish to force a truth from someone, as I’d hope that everyone would speak the truth themselves, there are some lies that have blinded nations worth of people all around the globe.

The emergence of truth from all of the world politicians would most likely shake the planet in ways that we couldn’t imagine; however, in time, I’d hope that we’d all learn to better ourselves and work by honesty.
If it just leads to extreme chaos, then we as humans would need to face that storm as a species due to the faults of some of our own. Hopefully, after the storm passes, we could learn to move on after having learned an important lesson.
There isn’t one governmental system on this planet that doesn’t have some form of corruption in it (no matter how small or big).

Pass out the serum, sit back and watch the unravelling of millennia worth of lies… then start again on a more ‘informed’ note.

Maybe I’m just having one of those “fed up” days when you get sick of the amount of false reporting, bias, misreporting and such on news channels, but this is what my mood would want right now.

 

 

(Image taken from livinginmyownworld.com )