Be still, Heart

Everything is fine in my life but there comes a quiet moment when my heart starts to ache and I have to stop what I’m doing and figure out why.  It’s only slight at first, but then more heavy, until I have to search out the source of its sadness.

A Rainy Day in Burgos, digital photograph, N. Nazir, 2019

Something lovelorn lies in me that I can’t put into words.  I thought I was done being lovelorn.  I’m over my last relationship, I practise forgiveness wherever I can but something else lies unresolved in my soul.  It uncoils and wriggles and awakens me in the early hours.  It urges me not to rest too long, to keep moving, keep pushing upward.  There are so many places yet to go, to search for it – that thing, whatever it aches for.  It’s pining for something, that’s for sure.  

View from my balcony, N. Nazir, digital photograph, 2020

My heart knows things my mind doesn’t.  It always has.  It’s so much more psychic than my mind.  Trouble is, it leaves my mind befuddled in trying to piece together the mystery.  My heart speaks in art and music and poetry and delicate essences of intangible notions and I find myself, at times, besieged by emotions I have to untangle and comprehend.  My mind is doing fine and then my heart unearths a sadness, like the ocean throwing up an old boat, empty of it’s captain, abandoned.  Silently, it moans.  What is it, Heart?  How do I fix you?  Where do you want me to go?  What should I do next?  I’ve done everything you’ve asked me to.  Why are you still crying?  Give me a clue as to what you’re searching for.  Mind will always help you but Heart, you must first open up.

Doggie in the window, N. Nazir, digital photograph, 2020

Art-making soothes the ache, just making big all-consuming art that swallows you whole.  Many, many multiples of me in art form born of my hands, my perception, swooning colour and glorious space.  This helps.  Heart still smarts but is calmed and reassured by the release.  It thanks my body for setting it free.

Afternoon shaft of sunlight and dust motes. Pre-thunder breeze but humid. Siesta.
N. Nazir, digital photograph, 2020

Another thing that heals the ache is performing on stage.  Even though I never get past the nerves, there’s something about that sharing that is the most freeing exorcism.  My heart is thumping a staccato but throughout it all my senses are in the moment and I feel alive. I’m left feeling so light.  Especially when people laugh, oh, especially when they share the journey with me, and howl.  My work here is done, I think.  Tonight I will sleep well.

Incidental heart shape I discovered inside some broccoli I was preparing to cook. Good omen, heart chakra is green, after all.
N. Nazir, digital photograph, 2020

One other thing that calms Heart is playing the guitar.  Simple shapes, and clumsy, as my fingers trip over the strings, but those quiet moments of spilled notes are solitary riches.  A late night summer evening a song may will me to play.  Sometimes, it could be first thing in the morning that I awake with the song that wills me.  Playing music is like gentle waves of water running through you.  It leads you to oneness, the bigger ocean.  Soothing, like stroking a frightened snake until it’s calm again.  I think that’s what Heart is asking for.  More types of oneness.  When Mind has taken over and led Soul all over the place and Heart has been ignored, it pipes up and steals Soul so Mind must obey because Heart knows best.  Like a mother, it always knows best.

Untitled, N. Nazir, digital photograph, 2020

© N Nazir 2020

Lockdown in Spain has been…

…actually a time of nourishment for me in many ways. The world has literally been toxic with a virus but quarantining has been a time to detoxify, psychically, from other’s auric energy fields. It’s a relief. Okay, so lesson planning every day and teaching online has still consumed my time but it has been more wholesome. And my job I’ve come to value and enjoy, not least because I’m good at it, because it means I come into contact with some hilarious humans I’m delighted to have as students, but because it’s my bread and butter and supports my everyday needs. So the rest of my time can be spent seeking refuge in all the other art forms I’m obsessed with, that I need in my life to quite simply be my healthiest liberated self. Like photography. Trying to capture a beatific glimpse of the eternal.

View from my terrace with last week’s full moon, Digital Photograph © N. Nazir, 2020

I rent a roomy attic flat above a bookshop on the main plaza in Aranda de Duero. It’s airy and spacious and open plan with lovely light to write, read, draw, sew. It’s big enough for two but perfect for one, I love having all this space to myself, I revel in it, it allows me to think and clear my thoughts. It allows me mental replenishment, a great place to self-isolate.

Plaza Mayor, view from my terrace, Digital Photograph © N. Nazir, 2020

I’m lucky, I know. I enjoy solitude and the artistic life, it suits me fine. It’s freezing in winter and when the spring storms come a-blustering, the wind whistles through, the rain pelts a tattoo and leaks through in various parts of the flat, but now I know where so I always have strategically placed bowls here and there to catch it, and there they remain. The ceiling creaks and groans constantly, involuntarily, particularly in the dead of night, at times jolting me awake with the snapping sound of wood shrinking back to its former size. I find all these idiosyncrasies comforting. I’ll miss this place. It wormed its way into my heart. Sloping ceilings and wood, so much wood, huge terrace with a view of the plaza, just space everywhere. I’ve spent wonderful hours just lying on my bed and thinking, overthinking, realising, cogitating. It was perfect for the time it was mine. It nurtured my poetry and song and art. It’s still mine for a few more weeks.

Last week’s full Strawberry Moon, Digital Photograph, © N. Nazir, 2020

I’ll be leaving soon. I’ll be sad but glad to go. It’s been great but it’s time to move on. How many countless times have I been here in my life, another chapter finished. Part of me even enjoys leaving. The casting off, the removal of dead leaves, the pruning, the breath of new shoots, the excitement of it. The world suffers but brings fresh hope. I want to be part of its hopeful future.

Zoomed-in view of the back of Santa Maria Church from my kitchen window, Digital Photograph © N. Nazir, 2020
Santa Maria Church (a tiny stroll away), Digital Photograph © N. Nazir, 2020

© N Nazir 2020

Stream of Consciousness IV

Scribbling, scrawling, all the notions, write them down, all the ideas spilling, ink flowing, scribblicious, gestural, animation, intelligence, time spent feministing. I step forward and make it up as I go along because there is no time to waste planning, planning assumes forgone conclusions that may never be, merely projections, meaning nothing once imagined, just do, do, just do what needs doing, get it done, just do it….

…because there are good things, the sweet things, all the bright and brilliant things, things that demand a name, a huge feeling not contained, things from another realm not known here so what do we call them? they have a language we can’t speak until we have walked the world, and I kiss the mantle of the art I miss, that like a slinky shadow withdraws, draws me after it, not so dark that I can’t see but dark enough to be mystery, and I love the comfort of the women who surround and commune and just know what you mean without explaining, the beautiful women, the hugs-like-an-ocean women, the neon-haired women, the eyelashed women, the red-lipped soft-hearted divas of understanding and evenings like a warm intelligence and wine and time spent feministing…

Untitled, N. Nazir, digital photograph, 2019

© N Nazir, 2019

Underworld Blues

She-be-gone to the tide not willingly but as if summoned
out past the docks by the ocean sigh
that undulates toward her like a wooing lover
and compelled she begins to submerge herself
she feels them underneath, their currents send waves and they are thunderously large though they wallow slow and gentle,
their smallest movement monumental because of the currents, the currents, and it frightens her but thrills her too
and the whales want her down there in the underworld but she wants to stay up here in the overworld
still, they play and cavort and they tickle her feet,
teasing, come play with us, they say, we love you
and her heart swells and she wants to play and slips under
and they pull her down, they hypnotise her and call her and sing so sweetly
a deep sea serenade, and she is tortured by their grace and falls below the surface and watches their beautiful dance
but rises again gasping, she wants to stay, stay in the overworld, that’s where she’s from, that’s who she is
but they whisper and stroke her and tease her with their tender tongues until she can’t help but slowly sink and tumble and fall for their song
and be gulped by their vast titanic souls.

© N Nazir 2019
(Image © Flip Nicklin,

Stream of Consciousness III

I swarm into the undergrowth and hunt with stealth though I know not what I am, I’m crawling on underbelly and I can taste all the smells in the air. I’m a she-thing and I’m hungry, maybe I’m a swamp thing, in muddy shades of green, perfectly camouflaged, effortlessly predatory. Vibrations stir my shackles and I feel thrills at imminent kill and bodily relish.

I’m a thing that contains human emotions so giant I wonder how they are contained so well in this compact little frame, so many nerve endings tassellate this way and that, stirred by the wind of others impulse, inertia makes me wait for the right moment to act, calm for the right thoughts to guide. Wind soothing, wet earth smell so good and clean, like a hearty mud bath. Wilful design, elegant remains, pretty flowers growing out of my belly like a South American goddess in a shrine, beholden. She is inert but she sends the wind to do her bidding and sings a soft song like electricity to the mountains whose gulls send her message further on across the water and along sun rays, and there’s no need to move when all is one and everything stirs smiling with the same knowledge.

Bring me the I Ching and with great willing I’ll sing the song of the ancients, the elephants, elephant song, it’s been so long, a long song, a belong song, a strong gong song, not tired, just waiting, millennia in the blink of an eye, a full breath, excited gasp, lifetimes spinning, illuminated in the starscape that waits for another and another and another and another and another and another and another and another and another….until all are one constellation.

Super Blood Wolf Moon lunar eclipse, (c) N. Nazir, Digital Photograph, 2019

(c) N. Nazir 2019