Autumn Reflections


Deep in the mountains–

                                       falling into my heart

            autumn streams



More than last year

                                            it is lonely–

the autumn dusk




and then not sweeping

the fallen leaves




“Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.” ― Anaïs Nin

Lately, life has brought many changes, blessings, opportunities, and learning experiences, yet all the while it has been stretching and growing me. It has been easy to get caught up in the business of living. I took some time this weekend to slow down. Yesterday, I briefly saw the horror and devastation of what happened in Paris before I went to go spend a day of mindfulness in meditation and silence. A powerful message from life reminding us of the brevity and fragility of the breath within us. Let’s open our minds and hearts with compassion…to this devastation and to all those suffering at this moment…let’s heal one another while letting this darkness teach us something…whatever that may be…in each breath with ourselves and with one another.

This brings me back to the slowing down…taking a pause. It isn’t only about the realization of getting caught up in the business of daily life or even being mindful of what happened in Paris. It’s about letting life touch the heart….opening up to that touch of love. Allowing that touch to happen. Giving ourselves permission to open to our vulnerabilities. As we open and practice opening day after day, we begin to realize just how infinite heartspace is….and that there isn’t necessarily any resolution because it is a huge, vast and limitless space. Heartspace is where the very nature of love resides. There is a lot of darkness and light in that space, but also a sense that goes beyond all of that expanding into continuation of impermanence. It touches what we believe…and how those beliefs manifest into reality. It’s that very freedom of continuation that gives us power to realize the reality of our worst nightmares or the beauty of our dreams.


“I believe in everything until it’s disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it’s in your mind. Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares aren’t as real as the here and now?” ― John Lennon

I have spent a lot of time running from my dreams because of fear of failure or hiding in my dreams because of a lack of belief in myself. I’ve also experienced the reality of my nightmares. It has all served me in that it has brought me to the point where I have allowed life to open my heart and self-compassion to teach me day after day. It is like the forbearance of trees. “Theirs is the forbearance of being true to their inner natures. It is with this power that they withstand both the vicisstudes and adornment of life, for neither bad fortune nor good fortune will alter what they are.” (Deng Ming-Dao) Whatever happens during this lifetime, if we want to manifest the beauty of our dreams we have to find a way to patiently stand and bear our fortune. No matter what, being true to our inner selves. Self-compassion can teach us that.

This morning after my meditation, I looked out the window and saw a doe and a fawn in the rain. It hasn’t been the first time I’ve seen them. In fact, their whole family has been around since the beginning of the year. In animal symbolism, the deer (particularly the doe, females) has the capacity for infinite generosity. ( As we give our hearts permission to open in that infinite space of generosity, we will experience the limitless treasure within ourselves. We will learn to cultivate trust  in our own instincts as well as ourselves to move through life and obstacles with grace. Our heart will begin to beat with the gentleness of kindness and compassion as we find the grace to connect with the quiet simplicities of humility. The grace and gentleness characteristic of this spirit animal echo the qualities brought forth when living from the heart. ( Friedrich Schiller once wrote, “Grace is beauty of form under the influence of freedom.” The abundance of freedom exists within our heartspace. That is where we will experience the manifestation of our dreams as we open more and more to love ourselves and life.


“No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing, the dreams that you wish will come true.” 

―Walt Disney

The rain has been whispering today. Of cleansing and forgiveness. Thoughts and emotions can become entangled in a chaos of judgement whether we are looking inwardly at ourselves or outwardly towards the world. Because rain diminishes sunlight, it creates human emotions of darkness and depression. ( Pain and suffering can bear down so hard that we become lost to overwhelming forces that roll over us like tidal waves. Naturally, we need to  go into heartspace and allow a time for grieving. Rain can be life-giving as it gently waters the earth or potentially death dealing as torrid downpours lead to flooding. We have to allow our souls to experience the cycles of cleansing and forgiveness if we are to move past the darkness of fear and forward into the light. We can allow the rains to teach us the importance of cleansing and nourishing our hearts through the power of forgiveness and acceptance. Afterall, love resides in heartspace. Rumi wrote, “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”


“Walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground. Let their spirit ignite a fire within you to leave this world better than when you found it…” ― Wilferd Peterson

Walk what you talk. Don’t be afraid to follow the path where your heart leads. Allow the freedom of your heartspace to lead you into the beauty of your dreams. Let them manifest themselves into reality. Be courageous and let love open your heart and touch your vulnerability. In each breath, day after day, give yourself the gift of presence…the gift of love.

Wisdom in Quiet Whispers



In the evergreen

Nestled in love

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2015


Meditating on symbolic meanings


“We too have the ability to stand strong in the midst of adverse conditions. Whether comparing them heart chakras, or Celtic wisdom, evergreen symbolic meanings deal with life-loving qualities such as:

• The capacity to love in the coldest of times.
• The inner resources to feel warmth (empathy) in spite of austerity.
• The ability to feel deep magic in a sterile, fact-finding world.

…a reminder of emerald potentials forever glistening within the strongholds of our souls.”

~excerpt from


“When you find feathers upon your path it could be taken to mean that you are on a higher spiritual path (whether you accept it or not), and it may be a sign of encouragement as you philosophically travel on this path.

Finding feathers on your path is also symbolic of having a lighter outlook on life or a particulary situation. When we see feathers in our midst it is considered a message that we need to lighten up, not take things too seriously, and try to find the joy in our situation.

Some common symbolic meaning of feathers are:

Heightened awareness
Light heartedness

~excerpt from

“For a start, feathers (and other items such as coins, and creatures such as birds, butterflies and dragonflies), can be signs from the angels, guides, or loved ones in that they are near – that they hear you, guide you and are supporting you. It can be an acknowledgement of you or your thoughts or it is their way of saying hello.

Finding a feather is often a magical moment…Feathers represent flight and freedom, soaring above, looking from a higher perspective, and moving beyond boundaries and limitations. Different colours and colour combinations can also add extra meaning. (see further below about various colour meanings).

Interpreting the Meaning of the Feather Sign
Whenever you observe a sign, take note of what you were thinking just before it happened, or what is going on in your life at that moment. What could the sign be telling you? Don’t stress yourself about finding a meaning. Even if you do not understand the meaning of the sign at the time, it could become clearer later, or you may be absorbing it in at a sub-conscious level. Just trust that it is a sign and let go of any doubts. Enjoy the way that Spirit works, and embrace the fact you are intermingling with it and paying attention…

It is just a matter of believing, letting go, and staying aware. Signs often remind us to be at peace and relax into the nature and flow of life. The meanings can at times be profound, and at other times quite simple. The best advice when signs happen is to not put any pressure on yourself to understand it. Take it as an opportunity to connect, take notice of and thank the ever-present Spirit. If your sign is an item such as a feather, you can keep it in a special place whether that be by your bedside, on your dresser, or added to your sacred space / spiritual altar. Or you can gently release it back to nature or where you found it.”

~excerpt from–colour-meanings.html

Photo Credits:

*(feather) first photo by sue.h

*(evergreen) second photo by Kathy Diemer, found on

Being Home


The smell of Earth

In my nose

Riches of home

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2015


The sound of water

In my ear

Whispers of home

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2015

Featured Image -- 6889

Marrying the land: how we broke the ancient bargain

Originally posted on Singing Over the Bones:

The native pre-Christian mythology of the Celtic nations which stretch along the Western Atlantic seaboard of Europe is highly woman-centred. In our oldest stories, the creative, generative essence of the universe was female, not male; women represented the spiritual and moral axis of the world, and the power of men was predominantly social. But the Celtic divine female was a long way from the remote, transcendent sky-deities we’ve grown used to in recent centuries here in the West: she had one foot in the Otherworld for sure, but she was firmly grounded and deeply rooted in place, indivisible from her distinctive, haunting landscapes. In Ireland in particular, the Dinnseanchas — the ancient stories and lore of place, the foundation-stones both of personal and communal identity, and of moral obligations to the land and the tribe — tell us how so many major features of the landscape came to be named…

View original 842 more words

All Hallows Day


“All of the places of our lives are sanctuaries; some of them just happen to have steeples. And all of the people in our lives are saints; it is just that some of them have day jobs and most will never have feast days named for them.”
— Robert Benson


“The challenge of the saints of the twenty-first century is to begin again to comprehend the sacred in the ten thousand things of our world; to reverence what we have come to view as ordinary and devoid of spirit.”
— Edward Hays


“The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it emotionally. A higher paradox confounds the emotion as well as reason and there are long periods in the lives of all of us, when the truth as revealed by faith is hideous, emotionally disturbing, downright repulsive. Witness the dark night of the soul in individual saints . . .”
― Flannery O’Connor


“What if the church should be less concerned with creating saints than creating a world where we do not need saints? A world where people like Mother Teresa and MLK would have nothing to do.”
― Peter Rollins


“Saints are sinners who kept on going.”
― Robert Louis Stevenson


“A saint is a person who is reborn from his grave where he was trapped by living in himself. The time has come for all mankind to become saints, to be complete human beings. A saint is one whose self has completely died to become the living Truth.”
― Woo Myung

Autumn Feathers


Seeds of feathers

Gracious and yielding

Whose yesterdays

Unknown to the eye

Tenderly brush across

 Hidden surfaces

Of Awareness



© Salem Islas-Madlo 2015