In the Eye of the Storm

Rain lashes, wind whips,

Trees uproot, rivers burst their banks,

A torrent of chaos floods our world,

Roads closed, electrics down, homes battered.

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                                                            Source: Mimadeo                                                   

 

I batten down our hatches,

Light the fire in the hearth,

Drink tea, play games with heart aglow,

In appreciation of the refuge of home.

 

In tandem, a deadly virus swarms the globe,

Spreading fear, panic and terror.

A surge of turmoil assaults the senses,

Jobs lost, isolation forced, mortality faced.

 

Within this havoc, I have a choice,

Of where I place my attention.

In the tumult of the tempest,

The everchanging mayhem of the outer.

 

Or in the eye of the storm,

Where fear, apathy, and misplaced loyalties,

Dissolve. All must be let go,

For the sanctity of His refuge within.

.

 

The urgency to support friends, neighbours,

The dread of risking lives, the noise of media,

All rise in a frenzy, an intense inner storm,

Until I soften and open in to Love.

 

The deeper this surrender,

The greater the fire of His Love.

Until it eclipses all,

And my candle becomes His flame.

 

And this mountain of Love within,

Becomes the axis of my being.

All thoughts, words, actions,

A divine co-creation.

 

In the storm’s wake, a trail of blessings unfolds.

Debris shifts, new channels open.

Seeds spread by high winds sprout,

Flood plains become verdant pastures.

 

In the aftermath of the Now,

Exquisite blessings emerge.

For I choose surrender,

The rest is divine alchemy.

 

The sun rises.

Clouds part to reveal a rainbow.

A veil lifts for the whole of humanity,

A new light on an evolving world.

The Master Puzzler

Life is a giant jigsaw,

Thousands of motley shaped pieces;

 Work, family, home, hobbies, relationships,

I try to fit neatly together.

two hands connect the puzzle details, against the sky of the sun.

Image: stock photos

Constantly, I search for the next piece,

A new job, home, dress, diet,

To create a better picture,

Of what life should look like.

 

As I strive harder to find the right one,

To wedge that perfect looking job,

 Into other ever moving parts,

A growing sense of unease arises.

 

For I see that the picture guide,

My mind has been trained to create,

Through parents, school, generations of society,

Is fundamentally flawed.

 

The focus on the piece,

Choosing bright harmonic colours,

Instilled with significant content,

Yet shaped to be compatible,

 

Engenders a striving,

To find perfection in the fragment,

A resistance to viewing the bigger picture,

Where shadows compliment the light.

 

Each branch of the puzzle unending,

The pieces multiply with my attention.

The more I strive, the further and hazier,

The goal seems to be.

 

My attention stays stuck on the outer,

A perpetual desire to change the effect.

What if I change the image?

 Shift my focus to my inner Beloved?

 

Trust that He’s handed me,

 The perfect piece.

And ask for His Love,

 To help me place it.

 

 The one He hands me,

 Is not the easiest to place,

Or the prettiest to look at.

Not what I would have chosen.

 

A dark shadowy fragment.

Sharp edged and oddly angled,

Awkward to handle,

Ugly to the eye.

 

An irksome blast from my past,

 For so long avoided.

A relationship severed,

An attitude entrenched.

 

Through Love’s guiding hand,

These difficult parts of the puzzle,

Transform into the magnificence,

Of realisations hard won.

 

It’s not about the puzzle,

Or the picture it creates,

But seeing that in each conundrum given,

Lies the potential for Grace.

 

For each fragment of karma gifted,

 Becomes sacred when alchemised

By the well of Love within.

Bringing me closer….

 

To mastering the art,

 Of the Master puzzler,

Of becoming the force of Love,

 That guides the way.

 

 To stepping out of the never-ending

Enigma of life,

 And into the ultimate destiny,

Of my own divinity.

The Divine Illuminator

Some days I feel engulfed,

Smothered by the tenacious fetor,

Of past misdeeds, untrue words or harsh thoughts,

That weaken me so I curl up and hide.

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Under a warm duvet of pretence,

False comforts of rich food and wine,

I find paltry balm. Until I awaken,

To the debris I’ve buried myself in.

 

I curse myself for dwelling,

In these dark dingey parts of me.

Yet my attention is stuck here,

Entrenched in dank sticky mud.

 

It’s like a flashlight is exposing all,

This ugly dross I’ve hidden from myself.

The anger that I’d stashed under the carpet,

The grief that I’d placed out of sight.

 

“It’s a gift”, He whispers gently,

Lifting the veil I’d placed over my eyes.

And I see the illuminator of this pain,

The bearer of the torch, is my Beloved.

 

He shows me how each hidden gripe,

Each speck of vanity, fear or remorse,

When seen in the gaze of His compassion,

Is a precious lesson in what I am not.

 

We sweep them up together.

Dredging the channels of my consciousness,

Of these memories, gathered like driftwood,

That weigh me down and block my view.

 

With the eyes of a lioness,

Batting away her precocious cubs,

I throw these children of my creation,

Into the river of His abundant love.

 

And embrace the wisdom they bring.

Unexpected truths gained through harsh experience,

Hard fought attainments released in an instant’s clarity.

The purpose of all lifetimes revolutionised in a flash.

 

I watch the chaff being washed away,

 In a torrent of love that fills my being.

And see that the agony of this illumination,

Is just a calling to embody what I truly I am.

 

In this divine alchemy,

This dissolving of particles no longer needed,

The true me becomes clearer, lighter.

Ready to rise up to a greater radiance.

An Ode to Autumn

 

I am a Sycamore tree

Branches laden with leaves of woe

Painful memories of past misdeeds

Of grief, anger, fear and greed

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iStock

Broad leaves of undue attachment to mind’s desires

Illusory concepts of how marriage, motherhood, work, health, should be

Spiky leaves of criticism and self-reproach

Heavy leaves of negativity that drink my life force and stifle my being

 

You take my hand and show me their colours

This motley collection that is part of me

Their beautiful autumn hues of deep painful crimson

Burnt hopes of orange, hints of fading joyous green

Slivers of dying angry brown, undue highs of yellow

Tinged with golden reflections

 

And I see the magnificence of their purpose

The divine blessing their pain reveals

How the agony of their revelation

Is only a calling to go home

 

A calling for this yearning soul to open and soften in divine surrender

To let go of these burdens, allowing them to flutter away in the wake of your Grace

To be stripped bare of all that was, to rest in your arms and bask in your love

An empty vessel, yours to endow, with a love so deep to bid only your will

 

Baraka Bashad

P.S. If you enjoyed reading this post, I’d so love it if you left a comment to share what resonated with you (or didn’t) and/ or any experience of your own inspired by this poem. My intention is that this blog becomes an interactive experience. Thank you!

Emergence

The acorn, locked in its hard encasement,

Pushes down roots holding it fast,

To the dark dirt of the earth.

In blind effort it forges strong foundations.

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Image: Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH

The caterpillar, ensnared in its chrysalis,

Constrained, contained, yet of its own making.

The guise of outer stillness belies the inner metamorphosis,

A deep surrender to the unknown to come.

 

The chick, locked inside its hard eggshell,

Dark, safe, secure and warm,

Outgrows the comfort of its entrapment.

The strength to break free wells up from within.

 

Urged on by the warm glow of the sun,

A vibrant green shoot pushes up into daylight.

Through resistance it finds its strength,

A journey of becoming a magnificent oak.

 

Stretching its wings against the wet chrysalis,

A startling azure blue butterfly takes flight.

A new lightness and grace to its being,

As it glides and flutters across the spring sky.

 

The soft tap of the chick on its shell,

Becomes more forceful, more pointed,

Until it bursts out of its former refuge,

With the courage to face a brand-new world.

 

Ready to leave the blind comfort of the known,

I learn to spar more playfully with my limitations,

As I challenge the very fabric of my conceptions,

And surrender ever deeper to each resistance.

 

I step out of the carnage of my own making,

And dance and twirl in the fields of creation,

Unfolding inwards to the wisdom, power and love of my Beloved,

I grow my wings and begin to soar.

Jack the Puppet

I’m on my knees delving through the contents of our childhood toy cupboard when his cheeky face catches my eye. I lift him up gently, admiring his stripy leather shoes, cute denim dungarees and blue and white gingham shirt. Huge eyes glint naughtily at me underneath a baseball cap, while a mop of curly brown hair frames his grinning freckled face. I smile, remembering the hours of joy he brought me as a child.

Then I see his tangled strings.

“Oh it’s Jack” my sister pipes, glancing in my direction. We’re clearing out our old play room in preparation for our parents’ house move.

I had even forgotten his name.

Jack the puppet pic

I remember the elation I felt when my Godfather Charles gave me Jack the puppet. I must have been about nine years old. The prospect of my Godfather coming to stay always gave me a tingle of excitement, not least due to the wonderful presents he gave. A red diabolo juggling toy which I spent ages trying to master; an alluring set of nature books with stunning drawings I would pore over; a pair of huge white china cats whose bright blue eyes stared at me from their preeminent position on the mantelpiece in my bedroom.

I’d be hovering impatiently around the front door awaiting his sparkling clean, leather seated BMW to purr around the corner and draw to a halt. An altogether different beast to our mud splattered 1970’s style farm Land Rover, the once padded back seats long since removed to accommodate sheep and dogs as well as us children. Godfather Charles, an old family friend of my father, was a bachelor and lawyer who lived in London. His city life seemed as exotic  to me, growing up on a Northumbrian farm, as his car in our drive.

I had only visited London once. A whirlwind trip of bright lights and excitement. The long-awaited highlight of the visit, a theatre trip to see Annie, the musical. The words of the songs still alive in my head today. And the much anticipated first trip to McDonalds. An encounter we vowed as a family never to repeat. The processed burgers and soggy, tepid chips a marked disappointment after a diet of home-grown meat and vegetables.

When Jack the puppet was unveiled from the beautifully wrapped parcel Charles handed me, my heart could have burst with joy. Of all the wonderful gifts he’d given me, Jack was surely my favourite. I whiled away hours pulling his strings to help him walk, or wave, or dance. Best of all he was mine. A fabulous new toy just for me. A toy that my sisters yearned to play with, but they had to ask me first.

For years Jack had pride of place in the middle shelf of the toy cupboard, his hanger placed neatly beside him. His presence there would always lift my spirits. However, with time his strings got tangled. At first it was one or two and I would try and untangle them myself. Sometimes it would work, but they always seemed to get snarled up again. As my frustration mounted, Jack would no longer be laid gently back on his shelf in pride position as favourite toy. I’d put him away in the cupboard rather more carelessly, which of course caused the strings to cross and tangle all the more. With time Jack was relegated to the far back of the cupboard; smothered by other toys; abandoned.

I set him in my lap and try and loosen the knots, but the strings appear irrecoverably enjoined. I know my son would enjoy Jack, but I’m not sure I can untangle the strings. I try for a while. Perhaps I have made it worse? Yet surely if the strings became tangled, they can become untangled?

I wonder if this is a metaphor for life. Is it that, as children, we have clearer channels to our inner selves to move through our days more gracefully, to live our own truth more playfully, hearts bursting with joy? As we get older does this ability becomes less spontaneous, less clear? Perhaps as our karmas unfold, the strings that hold us true to ourselves gradually tangle. Maybe the expectations of family and society, even of our own minds, can twist our perspective.

We may try and untangle these strings of undue expectation, of misplaced greed, attachment or anger, these complex threads of relationships ourselves. But more often than not, do we not tangle ourselves up more? Is it not usual to bind ourselves to people, to houses, to jobs, to beliefs, societal expectations and perspectives that solidify and shackle us? Until if we’re not careful our true self is shoved further away into the depths of ourselves, as our minds take over running the show. And like Jack the puppet, our true selves, the beautiful souls that we all are, are shoved to the back of the cupboard, smothered by layers of illusion, crushed by our passions and desires. Perhaps, much like I had forgotten Jack’s name, we could even forget that they are there?

I look down at Jack with remorse. I was the girl who had tossed him aside.

I breathe in a breath of gratitude for my inner Beloved. I too have felt my life to be a tangled mess, been frustrated with each new attempt to untangle my karmic threads. How blessed I feel to recognise that I am not the puppeteer of my life. What a relief to know that my only role is to love and play with my inner Beloved as best I can, trusting that His grace will untangle my karmic knots and set me free.

It’s not as easy as I make it sound. It can be pretty uncomfortable, this untangling process. There’s a reason I’ve ignored these knots of pain, or shame or anger for so long. And hey, I’m pretty fond of some of these shackles I’ve created. There’s a security, an ease, of doing or being in the groove one is accustomed to. I feel my resistance continually. My mind wants to fight to take control. To be the one that sorts out my problems, no matter how large or trite. To take credit for being the organiser, the helper, the achiever, the good mother, wife, sister, friend, daughter, teacher. To reign supreme over my being and be the creator of my life. All this fight, this undignified bluster, despite the tangled mess it’s left me in time and again!

Yet when I do surrender to my inner Beloved, when I do let go of the strings of control, and sink deeper into his vast orbit of love, I’m infused with grace. And this is when miracles occur. Through letting go, I’m gifted a stronger connection to my inner self. A clearer perspective; a deeper insight; a simpler resolution; a glimpse into an easier, more joyful, more loving, more truthful way of being.

Much like Jack’s tangled strings, my karmic strings remain far from untwined. But, despite the fight in which my mind persists, I do realise that the only way to be untangled, to become truly free, is to reach deep inside, hand over the control and leave it be. And to do this, to fully let go, one must deeply trust in the inner Beloved and allow his Grace to be the divine orchestrator, the great untangler, the Master Puppeteer.

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