Mystery To Myself

artwork by Aykut Aydoğdu

i park
facing a tree
the sun has set
music all the way up
seat all the way back
there are no stars in this city sky

what am i thinking?
what am i feeling?

if silence and noise
could exist simultaneously
than that’s what’s happening
underneath the bones of my skull and ribs

i don’t know if i’m hurt or angry
or if this aching knot of ambiguity
stuck in my throat for days
is directed towards me
or someone else

i’m a mystery to myself —
i don’t bloody know anything!

i’ve climbed walls to ascend
towards self-awareness
and i’ve dived a thousand miles
into the cold and dark of my inner world
yet i still remain oblivious
to the universe that brims within

maybe my judgment
is clouded by pessimism
but all i’ve discovered
is that being human is an enigma
that can never be understood
nor has hope of being solved…

Transmutation

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How can one feel so lost, yet know that this is the state that they are meant to be in at the given moment? So confused, yet know that this veil is only obscuring clarity for a short while? So broken, yet know that every whole and enlightened soul had their pieces scattered and threads torn apart before they were rebuilt into the loving wise humans they became?

Tell me, am I as lost as I feel?
Am I as confused as I feel?
Am I, oh God, as broken as every inch of me feels?

On a Plane

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by Vincent Versluis

On a plane, I am nowhere and everywhere all at once.

I am not the person time and space dictate that I am. Instead, I am a combination of all the versions of myself that I have embodied in the 18 years of my human existence. It’s 2017 rather than 2019—my happiest year rather than my most challenging yet; it’s a long summer vacation rather than a fleeting spring break; I’m going to a new city and sleeping in a hotel room rather than home in my own bed; I’m content rather than floating in a sea of melancholy; and instead of completely lost, I am grounded in my trance of not being in one fixed spot on the planet. Instead of it being a few weeks before my 19th birthday, it’s a few weeks after my 30th; instead of anxiously standing at the beginning of my life, I’m in the middle with the satisfaction of having fulfilled significant accomplishments and lived some of my dreams; instead of being just a student struggling with her sense of self, I am the strong independent woman that knows, accepts, forgives and respects herself enough to cast away the shadow of darkness that had been weighing over her for way too long.

On a plane, I am no one and everyone all at once.

Note To Self

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by Todd Diemer

Focus on this precise moment. Every single instant. Just stay here. Ground yourself. You have nothing to worry about. As long as you stay in the given moment, you won’t feel that drowning feeling. Just stay here. You’re safe here. You don’t have to know everything. You don’t have to know everything about who you are; you don’t need to have your whole future figured out. It’s okay not to know; it’s fine not to feel strong and confident sometimes. There are periods in life that are for stillness, and there are periods for action in which doing things feels effortless because it’s the right time to set things in motion. Right now you’re in the stillness stage. Don’t worry about the rest. You’ll rise. Those ideas you’re receiving will materialize. You just observe. It’ll all come together perfectly.

Nineteen

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Pinterest

sometimes it’s hard. being on the threshold of your life, between innocent childhood and naive adulthood, feels so terrifying that you doubt you’ll ever become the person you aspire to be. you’re filled with ideas and lofty dreams, yet the ground you’re standing on is way too far from the sky you’re yearning to reach.

i’m at this point exactly. i’ve already passed my 18th year and grew so much that the more i learned the more naive and scared i felt. i’ll become 19 in a few days, and i don’t know what to expect. every new year of my life could be the best or the worst, and i’ve had my share of both, and now i’m not even sure of which one i’m more afraid. the bad years hurt, but they teach, and the good ones.. well they come with the fear of their end, the anticipation of the inevitable turn.

whatever these coming months will bring, i pray they’ll be accompanied by a wind of grace. i pray that along these days my darkness will be lifted and new light will permeate my life. i pray, and i pray, and i pray, and hope that my voice is not an empty echo in the air.

Dare to Own Your Talent

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by MILKOVÍ

The other day, I had a thought-provoking conversation with a classmate. We were talking about our academic weaknesses, and this sentence came out of my mouth: “What’s the point of being aware of your weaknesses if you weren’t working towards bettering yourself?”

I instantly realized that I was saying it to her as much as I was knocking the door of my own conscience. Academically speaking (since we were at uni), I’m good at writing and not so good at presenting out loud, and she’s the opposite. So while I’m advising her to open the door instead of shutting it by dooming herself as “bad at writing and it’s just the way it is,” I’m also nudging myself to open up my own personal potential and dare to get out there and present my ideas into people’s ears rather than writing it for their eyes to read.

Then we talked about our strengths. She complimented my writing and I followed my thanks by reminding her of her excellent skills at presenting, telling a story, and grasping the attention of the audience. I then found myself saying that as much as I criticize myself and hide allot of my writing never to see the light of day, I nevertheless must believe that I am good at writing.

I absolutely and undoubtedly ought to believe that I’m good at writing. I simply can’t afford not to. What would be the purpose of my life had I given in to such lousy self-limiting beliefs? I’m confident in my writing not because it’s the only thing I feel naturally and effortlessly good at, but because it’s the thing that gives meaning to all other aspects of my life. Writing helps me understand what I’m going through; it helps me feel truly grateful  for my pain and failure as I watch my turmoil turn into chains of words that gracefully narrate a story and invoke a movement of thought and emotion in the reader’s mind.

Each one of us has something unique to personally experience and offer the world. Sometimes it takes years to find, but it’s there nonetheless. Just the fact that you will find your passion one day means that it already resides within you in this precise moment and that it has always been there. You just have to scrape away the layers surrounding it, disguising it, making you believe that you’re simply useless and will never be good at anything. Get rid of that self-critical talk. Remember, you are not this body and this mind only, you are the soul that’s shining the light of life into this marvelous human form. And a soul is naturally and instinctively creative. So who is your mind to tell you that you’re no good?

The Haze of Immersion

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by Steven Houston

I don’t know what it is that’s causing this discomfort in me. It’s mild, and can easily be distracted, but it’s still there, persisting in the background, waiting for me to sense it. And I do. I pause and give myself the chance to feel, to truly feel this wind of unnamable energies floating in the sky of my being. Yet there’s nothing. I wait for the storm to strike and pass, but it’s a torturously impending cloud of doom.  So I write to-do lists and take my time to tick off every task, very often adding the next day’s tasks and getting them done too. I’m frantic but efficient, and I get lost in this immersion, yet the second I’m back to my senses, to the present moment, to my concoction of Self, I feel it all over again. The emptiness merged with discomfort. I find myself wishing for the days to pass like fleeting winds, like clumps of clouds, moving from one town to the next. Me, from one semester to the next, one year to the next, one self to the next. I am losing my life in time; it’s like I’m already dead. I don’t feel the fountains of Life rushing through me. I don’t feel the rivers of inspiration flowing in with every breath. I don’t remember the last time I felt the astonishment of a child, or the gratitude of a mother, or the wholeness of a saint. It’s like I’m not a real person anymore. Degraded from my sweet humanness and spiritual being-ness to the ego-driven acts of ticking off tasks and collecting grades and seeking the approval of professors and friends. I must find a way to come to life or else I would be dead and withered before arriving at my grave — and that would be a shame to this Life I have been gifted and all the good I’ve made out of it so far.

Jealousy

jealousy in relationships. why? i don’t get it. loving someone is not owning them. loving someone is not stealing away their freedom. loving someone is not guarding them to the point of suffocation. from what i see around me, we have no idea what the true essence of love is. we think that loving is depending on someone entirely, when in reality, true love is independent. it does not weaken the lover to the point that his whole life is in the hand of his beloved. that’s an illusion. what that is is need, not love. unconditional love sees beyond all those things, and is so much simpler than we think. it desires no control; it lovingly yields freedom. it gives and keeps giving out of love, not out of expectation to receive. true love between two souls does not narrow their whole existence down to each other’s presence in each other’s lives. love is so much more spacious than that. you love another human, but you don’t die when they leave. you love them so preciously that you don’t put the weight of your whole life on their shoulders. that’s the filthiest form of “love”; so much so that i pity those relationships because their basis is fear cunningly disguising itself as love.

so, back to jealousy. love your person, don’t imprison them. they are a bird in the sky of their own lives, and you are the beholder with the admiring eyes. you are the music to their dance. you are meant to uplift them, not bring them down just because of your own fears. love your beloved like God loves you. He gave you freedom, choice, and individuality. just like that. don’t strip your beloved out of her freedom, her choices, her individuality. support her. cheer her on. and you too. support him. cheer him on. know your places in each other’s hearts, and don’t let insecurity steal away your peace. remember, this is a companionship of not just bodies and brains, but souls too. eternal souls. souls that see beyond judgment and love without attachment.

Expansion Through Language

by Himesh Kumar

a human being, with his or her brain that can store beyond its comprehension of how it does it, is not made to speak only one language. not even two. i think we dissected the way of expressing ourselves into hundreds of languages, each of which expresses our ideas in a way that another cannot do with the same intricate efficiency. for me, i was born into Arabic, placed in a sea in which the swimmers swam in English, and upon my taste and curiosity, i chose to dive into the seas of the Turkish language. what i noticed as my brain gained the capacity to think in three languages is that my consciousness expanded and felt like i have more space to think and more paths on which i can embark to reach different discoveries. what i write in English transpires in a different way than what i write in Turkish unfolds. what i say in Arabic can be put in two words while holding meaning as deep and novel as a whole book; but if i voice it in a language like English, its true essence would be anchored into more words and perhaps the meaning would be lost in length and translation. what i am trying to say is that in every language, i am different and i think differently; in every language, i am someone i cannot embody through another language.

Elif Shafak put it beautifully when she was asked why she wrote some of her novels in English first:
“I have come to understand that sometimes distance brings you closer, stepping out of something helps you to see that thing better. Writing in English does not pull me away from Turkey; just the opposite, it brings me closer.
Every new language is an additional zone of existence. This is the century of people who dream in more than one language. If we can dream in more than one language, if our brain is perfectly comfortable with this multiplicity, then that means we can write in more than one language too, if we so wish.”

Bereaved

by Noah Silliman

i’m happy and i’m sad
i’m in gratitude and in gloom

my best friends — words, poetry, creativity,
have flown this withering town of my reality
and made their homes far away in the land of my dreams

there’s no telepathy that could connect me to them

they command that i leave everything here
and flee just as they have

but i can’t
i’m too small
too sacred
too alone

to take such a long flight away from home
even if this home is too far from heaven
and dangerously close to hell