Layla’s Soul

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“Close your eyes”, he said.

“Why?” Layla asked.

“Don’t you want to find yourself?”

“Yes, I do, I don’t want to live like this any more”.

“Then close your eyes and trust me.”

Sufyan was fifteen years Layla’s senior but he may has well been fifty years.

“I want you to imagine that you are in a desert. You’ve been walking for a day and thirteen hours holding on to your camel skin of water which only has enough for one last mouthful. You think to yourself that you better drink it soon otherwise it will evaporate from the heat, now that would be a waste. So you open your compartment only to find your mind wasn’t fast enough, that damn heat has got your mind slower than usual. There’s no water left. Suddenly just that thought alone made you double as thirsty, your knees immediately buckle as your heart feels fifty kilograms heavier with the thought. You catch yourself from falling to the ground as you remember the scabs on your thighs from sun exposure will only burn more as the sand grazes upon them. There’s no use crying, the wind will burn dry the salt on your face in a few short seconds. Your feet also feel heavier as you struggle to continue on.

Before you left, there were at least ten guides waiting for their services to be hired.
You thought you were clever, that you’d never get lost. You thought you want to be in charge of your own adventure. Now, you’d take it all back. After a day and a half, you’ve lost your ego somewhere ten kilometres ago. It didn’t take long, faced with the fear of complete uncertainty, complete banishment and complete starvation. The heat may as well have been a bonfire you were thrown into yesterday, at least the cooking would have been quicker, the cooking of your ego.

Have you got all that in your mind? Can you taste the salt on your lips, no in the back of your throat, scratching it? Can you feel your toe skin peel off but the pain has been there for so long as you step into the hot sand that you’re numb to the actual pain but just feel the squishing of blood between your toes? Can you feel the acid in your thighs as you struggle to lift them out of the dry quicksand that seems intent on creating a grave for you with every step? Can you feel it all?”

Layla nodded her head.

“Ok then, open your eyes.”

Her mascara was streaming down her face. Sufyan was nowhere to be seen. She understood what was meant by his words. Sufyan was Khidr, the mystical figure that appears to the sincere, to the ones whom God loves and wants to bring closer to him.

We walk around with pride, arrogance, ignorance and ego. We want to take the path less trodden, we fantasise and romanticise, make excuses to justify our defiance and call it seeking the adventure but the adventure leaves a lot of souls stranded as they struggle to make it all work, to find their way.

The experience of the masters are there for the taking. You can be taken by the hand and guided through the desert storms of life. You can be shown the quicker routes to your fulfilment, to comprehension of yourself, Your SELF. But instead you squander and belittle your opportunities in naivety, assuming you are clever enough, and most people are but they suffer a lot for it for far too long.

What if you could short track all of that? Wouldn’t it make more sense to find yourself early and then come back and revisit whatever it is you want to, be as adventurous as you want with your life whilst having a base map of where and how to go about?

By fine tuning your compass and ensuring you always have a camel skin of water to quench your thirst.

Paranoid coward or Prepared braveheart?

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I am a barbarian

Always on my toes

Psychopathic perhaps

Paranoid prose

Always with my left fist clenched

Creating ‘what if’ scenarios

Whilst my right hand is open palmed

Ready to shake hands with foes

The choice is yours

I won’t make the first move

Be careful, you’ve been warned

Wisely choose

-W.E.

The fact is I question myself and my behaviour a lot. My wife thinks I am cute and adorable, only my mother shares the same sentiment. But they both say that to the outside world I am damn intimidating.

Am I grotesque? Hardly. Am I vulgar? Unless you’ve harmed me physically or any of my family or friends, you’ll never know what’s going to hit you. I have extremes that are so far fetched of so far fetched.

So what is it that makes me intimidating? My children plant kisses on me until I have to peel them off, they don’t seem phased.

For one, I am relentless. I will push the extremes of everything on to myself. I will flog the horse of my ego until it bleeds it’s last drop dry, then I’ll throw it aside like it never helped me at all and proceed to ride my next horse ego until it dies. I’ll always find a horse.

Maybe it’s too much to contain and people flee from it at it’s first signs of exposure, in a conversation where you’re trying to belittle someone, trying to judge someone, trying to stereotype someone or trying to lie. I’m a hound and will sniff your lie out before the mist spray of your breath exhales the consonants.

Maybe it seeps out when you feel a little of my physicality as I wrestle your ego down swiftly with what I assume is a normal gaze but my wife thinks is a death stare?

Maybe it leaks when I feel the presence of evil in a room and I am the first to stand behind it ready to slit it’s throat to protect everyone around me.

I fucking hate this feeling but I cannot get rid of it. I don’t want to scare people. I don’t want to turn them away but paradoxically I don’t want them near me either. I am ok and confident in my solitude, I just don’t want others to feel intimidated in my presence.

My teacher once told me to quit fighting because you tend to walk around with your hands up. I should have listened to him. But it’s a part of me. I have never hurt a soul that didn’t deserve it, I can’t put my guard down for now. Maybe my arms will grow weary and my mind will be too punch drunk to be so paranoid but for now, I’ve got the wrong set of shoulders to bump into in the street but I do have the right set of hands to fix that, one’s a closed fist and the other is an open palm, you choose as I won’t make the first move.

Liar Liar Soul on fire.

soul for sale

 

I won’t lie

I’m like everyone else

My soul is for sale

The highest bidder hasn’t even reached half the reserve
-W.E.

 

Who are we kidding? The right person with the right words, with the right mind, with the right touch for all the wrong reasons and you could be sold for a few pennies.

Let’s be brutally honest and stop regurgitating this cliché. We all have that spot, somewhere or something inside of us that if it is found puts down all our defences.

I have experienced it with the most hostile of souls and the most gentle. Everyone has something about them.

The problem is, the navigators of the human soul have become few and far between.

I’m a rebel without a cause in most of my pursuits.

Authority? I stick a big proverbial in their face.
Law? What law?
Sensitivities of humans? Push me and I’ll tear you down in a heartbeat.
You want to get physical? I’ll hit you seven ways before your anger has fettered to your fists as I’m on my toes all the time.

It’s hard to tell my stubborn ego what to do.
But one look from my teachers and I melt.
They bought me and have me shackled, key thrown away rusted chains to my ankles, anchor me to humility in their presence.

They know how to spear my heart from all vain desires with a line of prose or an anecdote of a master sage.

What did they pay for my capture?

A smile.

I love you teachers.

May God sanctify your secrets.

In loving memory of her, who gave me the lantern niche illumed with oils and lit the flame for me to see the way to him.

Him, who carries the torch with love and forbearance, with patience to my folly until the day where my ego can finally be slain a mighty death on the alter of the masters before me.

Conversations

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What if we had those conversations

even if only in our imaginations

dissertations

between each other that might unite our nations?

Palpations

of societies trivialisations

touching probing, questioning,  discussing agreeing, disagreeing but opening up the discoursation

an invitation

to awakening from hibernation

to unhinge our inclinations

to egotism and trepidation

to one another

to humanisation

of the other.

We talk over, through and past one another, it’s time to talk TO each other.

-W.E.

Bully the bully

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Rust etched and squeaking gates, long before galvanisation became so available.
The same front gate my younger sister stood at throwing rocks at that snot nose piece of shit kid who’d been tormenting me.

Playground gravel so loose you could run and skid with your velcro laced Adidas shoes on.
That’s where I planted those shoes, dug my heels and swung for the fences.

The smell of hair sweat, children’s sun-composting lunch in bins and bottle brush natives.
But all I could smell is his fear as my arms helicoptered past his face.

Gum tree wooden castles enamoured around wise, white oak trees growing out of broken asphalt.
He couldn’t hide behind it for too long as he became the centre of attention of the whole lunch time arena.

Blonde streaked light brown hair with hardened brown eyes, thick pink lips that would turn to smiles as he beat on me.
This time, my fists were landing on them and all he could do was try and step back to save face in front of the crowd that had gathered to see him go down.

That was my first experience with bullying in my life. I was only eight years old, never dreamt of hurting people because I was raised with stories of the ancients, of love, of hardship of longing and despair.

My mother would recite to us stories of Prophets off by heart, magical Arabic folk tales of princes and princesses who found each other and engulfed us in poetic soothing prose until our eye lids were too heavy to hold any more beauty.

That was the last time he touched me. After that year, he wasn’t at that school any more. You never push the quiet ones, they’ll become the loudest ones when they erupt.

I was always reserved and quiet. A part of me enjoyed the inner life but a part of me also longed to be seen. Eventually the former took precedence and I was never the type to be psychologically challenged by it. It is what it is, my introversion has otherwise served me well in retrospect.

My next experience would be in first year high school. It was another area altogether and I was the odd one out. If it weren’t for my name, they wouldn’t have known as I’m odd even to my own cultural background. So I sit in this maybe he is, maybe he isn’t zone.

1990 and the cicadas burn the air with their choir. For some reason the Sex pistols and Dead Kennedys are logos on mustard canvas bags. The two metal buckle kind you took to with a black permanent marker to show what you were into. This kid took it one step further, all thirteen years of him. Razor shaved sides, and a mullet half way down his back with puffy short Led Zepplin top. His teeth were already nicotine stained and his heart already full of hate as he wore his walkman blaring Sepultura to show how dangerous he was.

No sooner had his racist taunts gotten in my face that I had him pinned up on the second story balconies ledge ready to throw him over. The kids all rushed, screaming grabbing me, grabbing him, but my hands were firmly around his Adams apple controlling his every movement, where the head goes the body goes as self preservation kicks in and your spinal cord sends messages back to your brain to go with the flow. I released him when I saw his soul leave him. No, he wasn’t dead, just coughing his ego on to the floor. You never push the quiet ones, they’ll become the loudest ones when they erupt.

I remained who I was, an introvert, quiet, happy in my own world, never wanting to hurt a fly but that was the last year I spent there. They didn’t even know I did anything to the boy but fuck that school, its stories I will tell another time.

Fast forward to 1992 and I have found my haven. A spiritual place to exorcise my demons through the physical. I had always loved martial arts. Mesmerised by the old Kung-Fu classics and the prowess of the philosopher come supreme martial artist, Bruce Lee. He wasn’t just and actor, he was a hope for people like me who saw beauty in words and violence, my choice, Muay Thai.

1995, I had been training for a few years, mostly quietly. Only two or three close friends knew.

Swaying and creaking basketball backboards. The thud, thud of kids trying to jump and hit the board as an attempt to increase their vertical leap, the squeaks of tearing soles on bitumen and smell of sweet gatorade breath of all things alpha.

My bag had gone missing. I was offended to say the least as I took my work seriously. Carefully margined books with four unit calculus and trigonometry equations laid out in perfect sequence. Lines of essays and speeches meticulously written out and reviewed over and over with my teachers to perfect them. Assignment notes on history’s greats and photo copies of information from books that I had spent hours trawling through in the library when there was no such thing as google.

There it was, tangled up into one of the basketball rings, carefully woven into the net holders ten feet above me. What’s worse is he taunted me, told me he did it with a tone of What ya gonna do about it? as he put his face in mine. I don’t know what got into this guy, peer pressure perhaps to pick on the quiet guy but he fell victim to my hands and feet. Two years my elder, I beat the pulp out of him, doing what other kids didn’t do. I kicked his legs until he buckled and punched his face so long as he kept coming. And he kept coming! He wanted to save face after instigating the fight and not being able to finish it.

The cheers were sickening me. A cocktail of testosterone so strong you could squeeze it out of the acne faced kids.

I humiliated him in front of everyone in a fair fight, mono e mono. I humiliated him further by making him untangle my bag as his friend held him on his shoulders with blood streaming down his face and legs too sore for his friend to hold on to as he tried to stabilise him. Never pick on the quiet ones, they’ll become the loudest ones when they erupt.

From that point on, a reputation followed me wherever I went. I don’t know how but people just knew not to fuck with me even years after I left high school. I didn’t feel comfortable with such a preceding reputation but it was what it was.

Perhaps it kept me safe from ever getting into trouble, so in that sense it was beneficial but the first feeling of being bullied has lasted with me thirty years later and I rise to defend people wherever I see them trodden on.

I filled out, grew bigger and stronger. Six foot two, broad shoulders, thick strong tree trunk legs and athleticism, I kept active but I chose sport. I fought professionally because I enjoyed the challenge against myself and against like minded people. People who had to destroy their ego whether they liked it on not to engage in such an arena. It’s impossible to fight with an ego, you get pulverised quick! I don’t know of a single fighter that is a bully.

This is the reason why I teach my sons fighting arts. Intimate grappling to all out punching and kicking, all taught in a balanced and gentlemanly manner. They have surprised me to say the least with their reservation in times of measure.

Their little hearts are empathetic, sensitive and caring and despite their abilities they have never hurt another child.

All children should learn how to fight. All children should be taught in a balanced manner how to inflict pain on another human being as it raises their awareness immediately that there is someone just like them who can inflict damage. Self knowledge is knowledge of others. There can be no understanding of other people and their temperaments if you do not understand yourself.

As mentioned, the feeling has never left me of what it feels like to be bullied, but the confidence to stand in the face of any man has grown and left me able to transfer the confidence into other areas of my life.
From business to family. From dealing with clients, customers, laypeople in the street or aggressors, I don’t fear anything or anyone. I won’t be intimidated by a government body, law enforcement or corporations and I have fought them all and beaten them. I don’t fight them for anything other than standing up for my rights as a human being. I’m nobody’s doormat and will never succumb to intimidation tactics.

Children need to learn how to fight because it is the first and easiest way to develop confidence. You can talk as much as you want, lecture, teach and prattle words until you’re blue in the face, it doesn’t work. Children don’t learn theory effectively until they are eight to ten years of age. You have ten years to prepare them otherwise. The only way is the physical. The only way is to pound their bodies with so much labour, training, exercise or sport until their spirits are alive with conviction that they can defend themselves.

-W.E.

The Narcissist

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She wanted him so dearly, at his request, she dived into his heart of sorrows.
Infatuated by his accomplishment to win her heart, he failed to realise she was drowning there.

He jumped into the darkness that engulfed her but being so narcissistic, he could not see her.
He marvelled at his own sorrows and killed them both.
-W.E.

Artists are not drunk enough

intoxicated art

For me, the ability to write only comes in the stillness of the night.
Thoughts, ideas, musings and pondering pass through me during the day.

A word from him, a look from her, a thought from that person expressed through mere presence, my guard is up and I’m on alert and I take notes but I only find the reaping at night when silence prevails, my belly is empty, life forms are otherwise dead and the stillness allows it all to manifest.

Like a bashful girl summoned from behind a veil, some things deserve their own stage.

You must find that place and realise the worlds most noble sages, scholars, writers, artists, musicians and poets all revelled in solitude.

Some may need alcohol to remove these filters and inhibitions, but it will always be a mask, a psychotropic drug that keeps the demons at bay long enough for you to function. But the best of your work will only come when the body is pure, detoxified of material and of ego and ripe with a fertile soil.
-ME

Cluttered mind

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They told me, go for a walk, get some shut eye, clear your mind.
FOOLS!
What would they know? Mindless drivel at it’s best because what they don’t realise is, I don’t want my mind cleared.

No, I’m quite happy lingering in these thoughts, sifting through the web of confusion, the echoes of pain that percuss off the valleys and mountains of my soul, haunting it with a northerly wind carrying the scent of uncertainty, through rocks, rustling restless leaves until they settle on the garden beds of meadows and compost into the soil of my heart.

I’ll sit right here in this corner, away enough for you to not be the piece of furniture in your way, quite content to have these thoughts punishing me, rummaging through my being enticing every cell of my body to engage in recreating memories or forging the future.

What you don’t realise is that clearing your mind is emptying your soul of substance.

Pain is there to help you grow.

Confusion is there to help you figure things out, to allow your brain to exercise.

Sadness is there so you may elate in the joy and know it’s value when it hits you in the front teeth, lest you remain an ingrate.

The voices are there not because you’re a schizophrenic, but because they’re meant to keep you company and offer you another perspective to the one you harbour in your heart, be it at the opposite end of the spectrum or merely a few inches away from where your thoughts currently reside, still you need something off course to correct your path and purify it.

Anger is there to keep you on your toes, alert so you never sway from clarity of purpose.

Whatever it is, don’t be a numb and mindless drone, subservient to the commands of the mundane. Ride the edge of your character and crack its whip until your fingers bleed or your mind annihilates.
-ME