Meditation

Kristina Wirén

Each morning my heart

Embarks on a voyage

Of true understanding

In hope of reaching

The shore of awakening

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2017

*Photo by Kristina Wirén, Kristina Wirén

 

Walking Sacredly

Fire / European Salamander (Salamandra salamandra)

I AM all life

All life AM I

Fire walking 

With each step

Homewards.

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2016

“Let us move on, and step out boldly, though it be into the night, and we can scarcely see the way.”     ~Charles B Newcomb

“Move and the way will open.”     ~Zen Proverb

*photo by Alex Hyde, Alex Hyde Photography

For the Sake of True Love

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But for the sake

Of true love

I let go…

Of pride

Of fear

Of illusion

Misunderstandings

Like a wind

Blowing through 

The forest

In a sacred dance

Of leaves

I let go…

For the sake

Of true love

I let go…

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2016*

“Everyday we say or do things that might leave behind ‘internal formations’ in the person we love. Following that, then the suffering and pain grow, and the person we love turns into something like a bomb that might explode at any moment. A few words are all it takes to trigger anger in this person, who you are afraid to approach and who you are afraid to talk to because he or she has become a bomb loaded with too much suffering. When you try to get away from him or her, this person thinks you do so out of contempt and their suffering increases. You also have become a bomb, because you have lost the ability to speak the language of peace, of understanding. You have lost the ability to listen, and so all communication has become impossible.”  ~Thich Nhat Hahn, True Love

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Cultivating the energy of loving speech and deep listening is a daily practice that begins with ourselves. When we reach that point where we are no longer able to speak and listen with compassion either to ourselves or to another being then its time to pause and look deeply and to trust our heart to guide us. The practice of mindfulness can help us. Mindful breathing and walking. It can help us to come back to ourselves. Bringing our mind and body together in alignment. That happens because we take the time to be present with ourselves by connecting with our breath. Or if we are walking our concentration is on the step connecting with the Earth. This brings a sense of grounding to our being. A space of calm can open our hearts so that we can see ourselves again. Mindful breathing helps us to take care of our body, our painful emotions, and to become aware of our mind.  Sometimes we lose perspective and see ourselves as something apart…something separate. We become overloaded because we aren’t taking care of ourself. But, we don’t have to get caught up in the stories we tell ourselves. Instead, we can retrain ourselves to focus our attention. When looking at our views and perceptions we can find a way to let go of our conditioning, illusions and misunderstandings. We don’t have to do anything…we don’t have to try hard. Breathing happens naturally because we are alive. We just need to notice our breath. Coming back to our breath and reconnecting with our bodies and mind opens up a space for our heart to guide us back to safety…the island of mindfulness. Where we can reconnect to Life. To True Love.

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*this poem is dedicated to the monks and nuns, Wake Up staff from Plum Village and laypersons who guided us through the retreat “Happy Teachers Change the World” at EIAB during October 14th-23rd

Deeper into the Forest

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Pulling 

My sweater closer

I walk deeper 

Into the forest

Of ancestors.

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2016

“In gratitude, I bow to this land and all of the ancestors who made it available. I see that I am whole, protected, and nourished by this land and all of the living beings that have been here and made life easy and possible for me through all their efforts. I see all those known and unknown. I see all those who have made this country a refuge for people of so many origins and colors, by their talent, perseverence, and love–those who have worked hard to build schools, hospitals, bridges, and roads, to protect human rights, to develop science and technology, and to fight for freedom and social justice. I see myself touching my ancestors who have lived on this land for such a long time and known the ways to live in peace and harmony with nature, protecting the mountains, forests, animals, vegetation, and minerals of this land. I feel the energy of this land penetrating my body and soul, supporting and accepting me. I vow to cultivate and maintain this energy and transmit it to future generations. I vow to contribute my part in transforming the violence, hatred, and delusion that still lie deep in the collective consciousness of this society so that future generations will have more safety, joy, and peace. I ask this land for its protection and support.”  ~III Touching of the Earth, Thich Nhat Hanh, Plum Village

Lightness of Being

dragonfly

Aerial lightness

The last dragonfly ballet

Autumn rhapsody

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2016

“The dragonfly reminds us to embrace change…living life to its fullest. It leaves the underwater world it has called home for years to live at the whim of the winds in its brief time as a beautiful flying being.” – Author Unknown

“”The dragonfly spiritually embodies the stripping away of negativity that holds us back, helping us to achieve our dreams and goals. Dragonflies are the keepers of dreams, the energy within that sees all of our true potential and ability. Dragonflies inspire spirituality and creativity, they help us on the path of discovery and enlightenment. They reminder us that anything is possible.” – Beauty and the Green

“The dragonfly exhibits iridescence both on its wings as well as on its body. Iridescence is the property of an object to show itself in different colors depending on the angle and polarization of light falling on it.This property is seen and believed as the end of one’s self created illusions and a clear vision into the realities of life. The magical property of iridescence is also associated with the discovery of one’s own abilities by unmasking the real self and removing the doubts one casts on his/her own sense of identity. This again indirectly means self discovery and removal of inhibitions.” –Dragonfly-site.com

*art from Graffitipaintbar

Life Is Sacred

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Blessed we are
to dance on this ground,
The rhythm of saints to carry the sound.

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We hold a prayer for the earth,
for the ones yet to come,
‘May you walk in beauty and remember your song

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Remember why you came here,
Remember your life is sacred.

~Peia Luzzi, lyrics from Blessed We Are

Redefining She

wild-oneWild One,
I see you
Quivering beneath that old skin
Draped in shoulds and oughts,
Wearing that false smile,
The one that says
‘Yes of course I will..’
Before you set yourself aside
And conform to that safe, known, shape
Of appropriate ‘She’
Wild One
I hear you
Growling in the night,
When your passion wakes you,
Ready to rip his skin or yours
As the truth burning fires of awareness
Blaze their intensity into your mind
Laying bare your compromises
Stripping the lies you tell yourself
Refusing to stay that safe known shape
Of appropriate ‘She’
Wild One
I feel you,
As the dawn breaks
And the false floor and tight smile
Give way to grit, grief and remembering,
That deep, fluid, undulating pulse,
That nectar heart, that moist knowing,
That sweet longing and clarity so bright
They blind you to that safe known shape
And memory,
Of appropriate ‘She’
Wild One
I need you
Ready to shed your fear and thrive,
Ready to feel incandescently alive
Uncensored majesty of womankind
Embodying the grace of the sensually sublime
Receiver of nature’s subtle melodies
Vivid, ageless, honest and free
I stand for you, and you stand for me
The redefined expression
Of appropriate ‘She’

By Clare Dubois, a dear Tree Sister

This poem was generously given permission to be shared here by Clare Dubois who is the founder of TreeSisters. TreeSisters is an organization passionate about the reforestation of the earth’s forests and female empowerment through reclaiming the feminine Self. Tree Sisters just launched their new website on the autumn Equinox, September 22nd. Please be sure and visit this amazing venture at TreeSisters

They are also hosting a powerful series of deeply inspirational speakers that will reach into  the feminine consciousness to plant seeds of change while letting go into a trust of nature’s wisdom. Join them at Feminine Awakening Series

*photo by Anne Brigman, 1918

Song of Songs

angel-falls

A long time ago when much of the world was still a wild place there was once a waterfall with a beautiful voice. She could sing with the stars and moon. She would sing with the trees of the forest and all the creatures that came to her shores. In all the earth there was nothing like her divine voice. One day the waterfall told herself she was tired of singing and telling stores all the time, but she couldn’t stop her voice from flowing with the waters. As time passed the waterfall’s voice grew dull as it cascaded down over the rocks. It had lost its music of laughter. It only sounded cold and angry as it slapped down into the depths below. There were no more lullabies at night because the trees no longer listened. The creatures of the forest came to her shores only to quench their thirst. They no longer stayed to visit. Even the stars hide themselves from her behind the leaves of tree spirits and veils of clouds. The waterfall began to feel a deep sadness that she had never known. She had never been so alone. She didn’t know what to do.

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Until one day, a pokey little green frog jumped on a mossy stone at the foot of the waterfall. He began to croak out a song. And croaked and croaked into the night. The next morning, the waterfall called out to the frog and said, “Thank you little web-footed friend. I had forgotten what it feels like to sing out with all your might. For many years now, I have used my voice to say what others wanted to hear. But now I realize that I can only sing the song of songs when I give the gift of presence. You have been a true friend.” After that the frog and waterfall would sing many a new song with each dawning day.

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2016

*photo of waterfall by Nicolas A. Tonelli, Pennsylvanian Waterfalls

*photo of green frog found on Frogs Native to Pennsylvania

She Let Go

lettinggo

She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.
She let go of the fear.
She let go of the judgments.
She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.
She let go of the committee of indecision within her.
She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons.
Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.
She didn’t ask anyone for advice.
She didn’t read a book on how to let go.
She didn’t search the scriptures.
She just let go.
She let go of all of the memories that held her back.
She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward.
She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.
She didn’t promise to let go.
She didn’t journal about it.
She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer.
She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper.
She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope.
She just let go.
She didn’t analyze whether she should let go.
She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter.
She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment.
She didn’t call the prayer line.
She didn’t utter one word.
She just let go.
No one was around when it happened.
There was no applause or congratulations.
No one thanked her or praised her.
No one noticed a thing.
Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.
There was no effort.
There was no struggle.
It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad.
It was what it was, and it is just that.
In the space of letting go, she let it all be.
A small smile came over her face.
A light breeze blew through her. And the sun and the moon shone forevermore…

By Rev. Safire Rose

•photo found on Fall Notes

Dragonfly Songs

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Time

To read 

The signals

Traveling 

On the wind.

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2016

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At the edge

Of summer

And autumn

Light softens

Dragonfly song.

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2016

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“When the air is hot and humid, there is a feeing of dullness and stagnation. Everyone is oppressed by lassitude. As the seasons begin changing, fresh air comes from the arctic. Clouds that have been building up begin to dispense rain, and damp air is exchanged for fresh, cool breezes. At night, the heavens are changing so quickly that lightning flashes from colliding clouds, and thunder heralds the revolving of the skies.

The same is true of human life. If the heavens cannot endure stagnation for long, how can stagnation last with us? If we find ourselves blocked and frustrated in life, we must look for the inevitable outlet. Nothing is permanent, so how can our obstacles last? We need to look for the first opportunity to set things moving again.

On the other hand, sometimes stagnation comes from our own laziness or incompetence. In this case, then it is we who must show initiative and stimulate a breakthrough in dull circumstances. As soon as we see a chance, we must act. Unless we engage ourselves and events fully, we cannot expect to act sufficiently.”

~Deng Ming-Dao