Tuesday, April 26, 2011

It's About Posture

I had been wallowing in the doldrums of my mind for the past few days. It happens to all of us. So when I woke up this morning in time for my morning prayers, I pleasantly surprised myself with the resolve I had to brush away all the cobwebs surrounding my heart and soul. Instead of slipping back into the cosiness of my warm bed and with it, the slumber of my mind, I was alert and ready for anything this day had to throw at me.

I stood in the kitchen, unaware of my slouch, making myself a cup of tea and gazing at my socks, at the floor and anything that was grounded. I took a deep breath in and instinctively, I found myself pulling my stomach muscles in then holding on to them for dear life as I exhaled. Eyes closed, my mind recalled the words of my pilates instructor, hammered into my psyche for years. Shoulders down. Focus on your core and for goodness sake, don't let go of your stomach muscles. I kept on inhaling and exhaling for a good few moments until the chugging sound of a kettle ready to take off brought me back to the here and now. But I kept on breathing and with every breath I took, I consciously felt my spine straighten up further until I felt taller than I had felt for the last few days. It seemed like a long time ago! I opened my eyes and felt this rush of happiness. My head had adjusted itself so that my gaze was level. I could see outwards, towards the garden the towards the world around me. I felt more centred.  It was like a whole new world had just opened up to me even though nothing in my physical surroundings had changed. It was now a view of hope, optimism and renewed determination. I could actually feel a smile forming within me and I breathed new life into my soul.

I poured the steaming water in my cup slightly excited at this change, grateful for this ever so subtle jump start to the day ahead. And all along I held on to my posture, that symbol of recovery. 

I thought about this for a moment.

If improving my physical posture instantly improved my attitude then what about all the other metaphorical postures in my life that I could instantly mend. It seemed to be a matter of straightening out all the kinks in my life that were preventing me from getting where I wanted to be. A simple mathematical concept says that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Clearly kinks, slouches and deviations had no place in this equation. And to get to my destination, whatever that may be, I needed to find that straight line. To realise my dreams, I needed to iron out the creases in my mind. You know, the ones that create mental blocks and obstacles. The ones in the form of negative vibes and show-shopping notions that prevent you from advancing and moving forward. I needed to improve the posture of my mind. I needed to improve the posture of my life.

So while I carried my cup of tea and walked through to the lounge, I carried with me not only poise and grace but I also carried with me a renewed positive attitude. I could already feel a million and one fresh ideas spring to mind. The realisation had just opened up the heavy door of creativity and unleashed forces within me that were ready to get to work and raring to go.

Mothers were right all along. It is about posture.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

To Err is to Learn

I watched this video yesterday about what it means to be wrong and it inspired me.

Today I found myself in that position. In the wrong. Perhaps the video subconsciously jump-started that sense of awareness in me but I realised that I had made an error in judgment. I kicked myself for quite a while, knowing that I should have known better. I should have thought things out and realised that impulses are not always a good thing. But then I stopped myself then and there and said that I am not one to use the words "should have". It is done. There is no use dwelling on it. I say this as the consequences stare me in the face. But I look back at them and acknowledge their presence despite the ill feeling that chases me. Come what may I will deal with it. And when it is over, I will learn a valuable lesson and it will make me a richer person.

Now don't get me wrong, this thing that I did is not serious enough to cause me ulcers or to lose sleep. Just a little mistake that can easily be rectified but which if I had chosen to continue with would probably have cost me more as I went along. Yet I still cannot let go of this nagging feeling in the gut of my stomach that makes me ill thinking of the consequences that I have yet to face. It stays with me, there, like dead weight at the back of my mind, like a shadow that just hangs over my head and does not go away. I know that I will be able to breathe easier once it is all over but despite this I tell myself to stop dwelling. Things could have been much worse and I caught it in time, like a disease that is caught in the early stages and now is time to administer a slightly painful remedy.  In retrospect it is a good thing that I did realise this now and choose to stop, think and decide. This had already given me a valuable lesson: the importance of self-evaluation in anything one does.

Along with the fact that one should just do it, grasp the moment or the opportunity and let your creativity loose, there is also the importance of stopping every now and then to evaluate the situation. To reflect and check whether one is indeed going down the right path. To look ahead and see whether there are any obstacles or potential hazards that one should try and avoid now. And to decide whether to continue down that path or not.

To err is truly to learn and it provides an opportunity to change ways and capitalise on alternatives. It also gives the opportunity to let go of those things that you might end up chasing for nothing and to save potentially wasted time and effort. Above all, for that I am grateful.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Before I start my posting on sanctuary, I wanted to share my piece that got published a few days ago: A Matter of Identity.  So have a read and your comments are welcome of course, either here or on the site!

Yesterday's writing prompt was entitled sanctuary. It made me think about what it means in various contexts. There was the traditional sense of the home or the people you love. But I also thought of it from the point of view of any living being. A child, an animal, a flower, a bird. There was also the sanctuary of thoughts. The sanctuary for professions. The sanctuary for writers and the sanctuary of a community. The word just gives a feel-good notion and a comforting feeling. And after what seemed like ages, I found myself writing this fictional piece:


Kenzy had been walking for days. It was the most alien and unwelcoming land she had ever seen. A combined terrain of desert and coarse rocks, she would be climbing on jagged ends one moment then sinking into soft pockets of deep and silky sand the next, without warning. It felt like she was experiencing an oxymoron to the mind and even though, the scientist within her wanted to stop to try and logically make sense of this strange place, she knew that stopping would be a means of surrender to exhaustion. One more mile and then she would reach her destination, or so the book said.

She had read of this pristine place where only a numbered few had set foot. It had seemed like a beguiling account of yet another lost Atlantis. Yet curiosity had surrounded her and dreams of this strange land invaded her sleep every night. As far as she was concerned, the decision had been made for her. Nothing this strong could be ignored despite the many rational explanations she had attempted to give herself to stop herself from embarking on such a crazy expedition. Alone and without telling anyone, even Jay, her partner in science and life. But she just had to find out for herself.

She brought herself back to her current surroundings and noticed how now there was less of a rock-desert terrain and instead, a growing vegetation around her. It only took her a few more steps to realise how she was slowly leaving the harshness of her journey behind. It felt like an explosion to the senses. There was colour. There was smell. And there was even touch as tiny flying creatures brushed past her shoulders and cheeks. Her eyes just did not know where to look. There was too much to take in. And then there was the sound of a soft trickle of water coming from afar. She found herself inadvertently walking towards it. It did not even feel like she was walking anymore, more like floating, just like she had been in those recurring dreams. She was drawn towards it and before she knew it, she found herself in the midst of a piece of paradise.

Captivated as her senses were by the happenings around her, she forced herself to dig up the book from her backpack, her motions inexplicably slow and unforced. She read the title of the book that she had analysed for a year, a dreamy look in her eyes, and in an instant its true meaning was revealed. It was a title that summed up what had she had tried to understand with the mind of cynic but which only now, perfectly explained everything. Sanctuary. She was standing in the midst of it and knew that her life would never be the same again.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Just Do It!

Nike got it right: Just Do It! I recall many a wasted moment thinking things over, contemplating an idea or dwelling over the pros and cons of an issue until valuable resources in the idea itself are completely exhausted. You end up with nothing more than a watered-down version of what you really wanted to do. And a run down version of the buzz you initially had. By then you just find yourself giving up on it and moving on. What a waste! So, yes, it truly is about just doing it. Grasping the moment, taking that leap of faith and just making it happen.

An idea takes you by storm. Get out there and make it happen. 

A muse enters your mind and captures your soul, develop it and bring it to life.

I will not just sit there and plot my novel. No, I am going to write it once and for all. Steadily and diligently. Refining it will come later.

Any bright spark that I get will not be murdered before it has a chance to see the light of day just because of financial and feasible impossibilities. Just do it. And by embracing that attitude, things do start happening and you do find the people and resources to give you the push or help you along the way.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Diary of a First-time Auntie - 2

I found the courage to carry little Kayla longer than 2 seconds today. If my maternal instincts had not kicked in before, they certainly have now. It is just the fact that she is very tiny and fragile that makes me keep my distance. The fact that she cries and screams while being held is not conducive either. But I watched as her parents carried her close and rocked her quiet. That is when I decided that today would be the day I would  properly introduce her to her auntie.

It is amazingly unique holding a baby close to you. Their little heart beating against your chest. Their total surrender to a slumber, unaware of the world around them. And I will not even begin to talk about the cutest ever little sounds that come out of them. Rocking them to sleep was one thing but interacting with them while they're awake is even better. 

It seems that with little Kayla you really cannot go wrong either way. I was instantly hooked and attached to this little angel of a niece.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Winning poems

I recently took part in the Protag poetry competition and I was so excited when I came second place! Here are some of my winning poems:

Autumn is in the Leaves

A gushing wind charges,
Through my thoughts and leaves,
Caught by surprise, broken,
by seasonal peeves.

Once true to intense monotone,
Leaves start falling to show colour,
Yellow, amber, crimson and brown
Clutter my head like no other.

The sound of mellowness crunches
Beneath a changing gait
Until a scattered, playful blanket
gives way to autumn fate.

Autumn is in the leaves
No other season can relate
A periodical festivity captured
In leaves of colour so ornate.

The Manor of the Fall

There was once long ago,
a man of great wealth,
and accumulated powers,
he was caught up in stealth.

Let courage make way for a truth revealed,
A secret that can no longer be sealed.

Then one day a young girl,
of sharp mind and manner,
struck up a friendship,
and moved into his manor.

Let courage make way for a truth revealed,
A secret that can no longer be sealed.

She’d become the wife,
to a man she despised,
but her solace was revenge,
and her feelings disguised.

Let courage make way for a truth revealed,
A secret that can no longer be sealed.

This man concealed a history,
of corruption and theft,
and showed no mercy to allies,
whom he left quite bereft.

Let courage make way for a truth revealed,
A secret that can no longer be sealed.

Her scheme was in action,
to expose him from within,
and return all the money,
that he’d robbed off her kin.

Let courage make way for a truth revealed,
A secret that can no longer be sealed.

On a dark moonless night,
she carried out her plan,
with the help of the guards,
from the council she ran.

Let courage make way for a truth revealed,
A secret that can no longer be sealed.

The guards broke in to the manor,
seizing all the money and deeds,
which he’d stolen and deprived,
citizens of their land and needs.

Let courage make way for a truth revealed,
A secret that can no longer be sealed.

The man was soon sentenced,
to a long lifetime in a cell,
but his legend still stands,
as witness to the man who fell.

Let courage make way for a truth revealed,
A secret that can no longer be sealed.

His wife revealed her identity,
a young princess to the land,
whose father she’d seen murdered,
by the tyrant’s heavy hand.

Let courage make way for a truth revealed,
A secret that can no longer be sealed.

The manor still stands on its hill,
testament to see today,
that only with courage and wisdom
can justice make forth its way.

Diary of a First-time Auntie - 1

Today I discovered just what the word captivated means: to be completely and utterly overcome by a thing, notion or person such that everything else takes second place; even if just for a moment. I am referring to being captivated by my little niece.

My niece is one day old. Born yesterday afternoon she made a screaming entrance into this world then spent the better part of her first day being confused and disoriented. There was the power of breathing in oxygen but there was also the freedom of movement. No more confined space.

The bump had now become the baby and seeing her, tiny as she seemed, produce sounds made me stand in awe and reflect on the miracle of birth. A new life was brought into this world and I was speechless. I held her in my arms and instantly felt small in the face of this magnificence. God Almighty.

My little sister has now entered the world of mothers and I in turn have become a first-time auntie.