Enrolments are open for Round 3 of Opening The Eye of The Heart course!

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Image source: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1931854040170788&set=pcb.1931854113504114&type=3

The next offering of this transformative poetry course, “Opening The Eye of The Heart” is up – September 2nd to October 2nd 2018. Baraka Blue is a thoughtful, compassionate and generous poet and teacher. Be prepared to drown in the beauty of mystic poetry, and be rebirthed.

If you’re looking for a poetry course that will hack you to pieces with critique – this isn’t for you. If you’re looking for a poetry course that will celebrate the joy of mystic poems, love your work and help you grow, then this is for you. Clearly, I am super biased. lol.

You’ll get out of this workshop whatever you put in (and MORE because barakah is amazing like that), so make that intention and follow through. May your words flow from deep spaces and take you to wider places ❤

You can read the testimonials here!

Three of the greatest gifts of this course for me:

  1. Realising that I can write poetry DAILY even with the chaos of two little ones under 3.5. Alhamdulilah! No matter what happened during my day, I always had my poetry exercise to look forward to, during my precious night-time solitude.
  2. Reading such gorgeous poetry written by my classmates!
  3. Meeting and staying connected to a whole tribe of like-minded and like-hearted poets ❤

I miss my daily prompts 😦 But because I joined the alumni group – The Diwan – I have weekly prompts, woo!

***I’m typing this as fast as I can while my baby naps, and while my husband has taken my preschooler out to her 1 hour soccer class. TICK TOCK! I know that being calm and mindful actually helps my creative process, but I also feel so hungry for more uninterrupted time to write. Is this how it’s going to be, for the next few years until my girls grow a little older? Hm. This is another blog post to explore. #mamawriters #neverenoughtime #whattodo #thereisalwaystomorrow #breathe

Muslimah Writer’s Journey Summit is on!

“There is a story only you can tell because you are unique.” – Na’ima B. Robert,

I am SO EXCITED! The content is inspiring, the dashboard looks gorgeous, and the Facebook group is thrumming with supportive sister-writer love.

The Day One line up of wonderful speakers looks like this:

Na’ima B Robert – The Story You Were Born To Tell
LaYinka Sanni – The World of Your Mind, The World of Your Pen
Aishah Adams – Aishah Adams

There’s still time to sign up here! Bit.ly/MuslimahWritersSummit

Reflections

IMG_7728Here are some of my poetry notes during Baraka Blue’s poetry workshop during his first visit to Malaysia. I flipped back a few pages and noted the date – 21/5/2014. Pre-babies. A lifetime ago. These were nights where I performed my poetry on the same stage as Jamal Raslan, Malaysian spoken word guru. Baraka Blue sat in the audience, my teacher thoughtfully watching my word play. My nights are now spent communing with my daughters, or simply enjoying the solitude when they are asleep. I have moved from the performance stage, a public space, to a very, very private space. Expansion, contraction. The cycle of life.

We’re on Day 9/30 of Baraka Blue’s online poetry workshop, and it’s such a treat, writing and reading poetry every single day.  I struggle with the discipline of writing daily, and being part of a safe, spiritual writing space has been so, so helpful and so, so healing. It is so exciting for me to lean into the spiritual practice of poetry! I’m learning so much from my teacher and classmates. Interestingly, writing poetry has been unlocking my creative juices for my fiction and creative non-fiction works. Woo! Bonus.

On those inevitable bad days, even writing a word will do. And the words add up to lines, lines add up to stanzas, and stanzas add up to poems. Speaking of poems, please scroll down to my Day 8 poem, inspired by Rainer Maria Rilke’s gorgeous, gorgeous poem You Who Never Arrived.

Reading Rilke’s poem, so full of haunting longing, catapulted me almost a decade ago, when I was a young student of knowledge in Jordan, I remember being torn by so much longing. Longing for the Divine, for marriage, for children….now that I’m in my thirties, alhamdulilah, I have the marriage and the children I always wanted. They simultaneously give me so much joy and also stop me from jumping onto my next plane adventure lol. Ah well. Gotta wait til my girls are older, then we can adventure around the globe together ❤

 

Day 8 Poem – Wanderlust

A decade ago
I sat upon a mountain and
sang qasidas to You
my fractured heart
only comforted by this –

one day, I would be gone
and these giants would
remain

my brother hovered behind me
making sure that
I wouldn’t fall off said mountain
or injure myself
in other ways

the traveller inside me still
longs for deep forests
blue desert skies
vast oceans
for in motion, I see You

I am homebound now
growing two daughters
from scratch
like bread, they rise

It’s harder now to
catch glimpses of You
when my days are filled
with so much minutiae

Sometimes –
From the periphery
You surprise me
– my youngest’s gummy laugh
my eldest’s fearless dance
I forget myself
for a heartbeat

and then I remember
and fall back to earth

You are so close! and yet, always out of reach

My Day 1 Poem: Home

Alhamdulilah, I’m on Day 3/30 of Baraka Blue’s online poetry course. I am loving the daily encouragement to write a poem (30 poems in 30 days!), and to read the poems from my coursemates. So much to breathe in and chew on throughout the day. I literally wait the entire day, until my daughters are fast asleep.

Our Day 1 poem was Rumi’s To Take A Step Without Feet. It took some reflection, time, refining and late night solitude, and here’s my response:

Day 1: Home

sit beside me, little ones
unfurl your hands and let me
read the constellations on your palms
the dewdrops of your innocence, paid for by
the blood of those who came

before

you, two tiny souls
burrowed deep, heartbeat to
heartbeat – grew, thrived, birthed
upon the waves of my pain
ancient, knowing eyes

every day

I was born thirsty
into hunger, carried across generations
cut from my roots
grew in hostile soil
you are my home now

teach me

how to breathe
swallow light
let go
hope
love

come

walk Home with me
may we sip, gently
cool, deep waters from the
hands of our Beloved
and never thirst again

The Naming

Aaaaaaaah! This is the sound of my EXCITED KAKAK SQUEE! My adik’s poetry book is available at Wardah Books! Buy buy buy!

OK. More coherent words.

Taskeen, Husna (in utero) and I were lucky enough to make it to Aisyah’s chapbook reading in October last year. It was such a gorgeous, unifying event. It was wonderful to witness people from all walks of life come together for the sake of poetry. This is the beauty of art, and how it transcends so much.

Aisyah’s reading was so well-received, and I marvelled at how she had her first chapbook published in her early twenties. May this be the first of many more!

She very sweetly named (ha!) me as her nominated poetry reader, and I was so thrilled to be able to read some of my own work. I have a video of my reading, somewhere, and hope to upload it soon-ish. Here’s to my poetry being birthed one day soon and finding its way next to Aisyah’s at our favourite bookstore ever.

Once I re-read The Naming, I can post a proper review ❤ I remember loving how experimental, brave and lyrical it is. And I have a signed copy muahaha.

 

Selamat Hari Raya!

eyeoftheheart_An-Online-4-Week-Contemplative-Writing-Workshop_June_July+_1_*resurfaces for air*

Belated Selamat Hari Raya, Eid Mubarak, maaf zahir dan batin!

SO. I’m still alive. Thank you to everyone who took the time to congratulate me on the birth of my youngest girl. My newborn is now a 5 month old baby! My toddler will turn three soon and will transform into a preschooler! I have never been so time-starved in my life!

Inhala, exhala.

I’m enrolled in this incredible online poetry course by Baraka Blue – Opening The Eye of The Heart. If you resonate with poetry being a spiritual practice, want to deepen your craft and connect to other like-minded souls…this course is absolutely for you. (FYI I’m not sure if there are any spots left – just give it a shot!)

Working through this incredible course is how I nourish myself, after an entire day of nourishing my daughters. Writing 30 poems in 30 days sounds like a gift beyond measure for me, in this stage of my life. Alas, my daughters will not tell me, “Mama, go ahead and fill your self-care cup by tapping into your love for poetry.” Well, at least not for another TWO DECADES.

So, here’s to me and all mamas who need to carve out time to recharge. I matter. You matter. We matter. Nourished mamas have more to give their little ones. Rinse, repeat.

**I wrote a draft blog post before this, about finally realising that I’m a Creative Rainbow Mother, and not an Earth Mother. But then my life swallowed me up again. Ha. So I’ll get around to publishing that soon. Ish. Soon-ish.

On motherhood and writing

So….it’s been a while. Much has happened. In short, motherhood is decimating, on so many levels, especially with a spirited toddler.  Please don’t tell me, “Wait til she becomes a teenager!” I will strangle you with my mind.

My pre-motherhood writing practice: Daily, disciplined, at my desk, mug of tea, nature sounds playing in the background.

Current writing practice: WHAT PRACTICE!? WHAT DESK?

Haha. I kid you. I do have a desk. I’m just not there as much as I’d like to be. Right now, I take what I get. Much like a starving person and scraps of food. Motherhood has shown me how much of an introvert I really am, and how much writing helps me surface for much-needed air.

I loved these articles:

  1. Freelancing with a Family: How to Balance Your Work and Your Kids
  2. Yes, It Is Possible to Write a Novel With Small Children Hanging On You
  3. Making Time to Write When You Have Young Children: Mission Impossible?

This post really resonates with me: After Page One: Claiming Space. So beautiful and so real. There is no perfect writing room for me, either – but I make do what with I have.

My daughter spurs my creativity, as much as I need to work around her. I write this as my toddler woke up from sleep. My husband brought her down to have breakfast. She’s in a good mood this morning, so that buys me approximately 10-20 minutes, before she starts calling for me once my husband leaves for work. Go, Raidah, go!

If you’re a writing parent, especially a writing mum, I’d love to hear your thoughts. How do you find time and energy to write? What helps? What doesn’t help? How do you balance forgiving yourself for not writing as much as you’d like, alongside celebrating your small victories?

Some blog ideas I’m playing with, as I resurrect my blog from the abyss of mothering a toddler:

  • Book review on N.K. Jemisin’s incredible Broken Earth trilogy.
  • Book review on Zen Cho’s Sorcerer To the Crown.
  • Reflections on reading my poetry at my sister’s chapbook launch.
  • I finally submitted my poetry manuscript to the wonderful Ethos Books!

I’m open to suggestions. Leave a comment and share your thoughts 🙂