But for the Love

“Unless you know how to love your neighbor, you cannot love God. Before placing an offering on the altar of God, you have to reconcile with your neighbor, because reconciling with your neighbor is to reconcile with God. You can only touch God through his creatures; you will not understand what is true love, the love of God, unless you practice the love of humanity.” ~Thich Nhat Hahn, Zen master, poet and peace activist, Taming the Tiger Within

Recently, I had the honor of becoming friends with Chase Gagnon through a poetry group we’re apart of on Facebook. To say it simply, his words move my soul. Today, I have the privilege to share the power of his poetry, photography and storytelling! Enjoy.

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“I was walking into Zeff’s on the corner of Russell and Winder for lunch when I saw him sitting against the wall. The same tattered old man who’s always roaming around Eastern Market through the snow and freezing rain asking strangers for money, the guy who you can see digging through dumpsters and trash cans looking for scraps of food.

I never have anything to give him, and he knows this by now. But it’s the day after Christmas, and I just hit it big off a dollar scratcher. Won thirty five bucks. He puts his head down as I approach, shielding his face from the wind. “Hey man, you want some lunch?” His eyes lit up “you serious fam? I’m hungry as a motherfucker!

I said “hell yeah!” motioning him with my head to get up off the cold ground. We walked into the filthy dive and sat at the bar, each ordered a couple coney dogs and some chilly fries with a hot cup of coffee.”

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“We sat and talked about basketball, how insane Andre Drummond played last night as highlights from the game flashed across the fuzzy TV screen above the counter. Laughed at how stupid our fellow Americans were for electing Donald Trump, and then talked a little bit about how goddamn cold it’s been this past week.

I saw his eyes ice over when he thought about the weather outside, gazing back out into the filthy streets where he sleeps while he sipped his piping hot coffee, both bare hands gripping the mug for warmth. “You know, I can’t remember the last time someone treated me like a human.”

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how bitter
its silence —
gently falling snow

~Chase Gagnon

*photos, poetry, and storytelling by Chase Gagnon

Masculine Energy

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Masculine energy

Within mySelf

Seeking healing

In warmth

Surrounded

By the frosty cold

Of uncertainty

Masculine energy

Within mySelf

Seeking love

In the secret garden

Where judgement

Pruned

What was left

Masculine energy

Within mySelf

Seeking acceptance

In barren

Sacred space

Where the wild

Awakens fragilely.

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2016

 

What Happens?

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Sometimes I wonder

What happens 

To the little girl

When she suddenly

Grows up.

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2016

*photo by Anka Zhuravleva

Light Upon Light

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Fire energy

Lavender flames

Trumpeting

 Inner truths

Healing fear

In the will to live

To thrive in the face

Of adversity

My heart

Pulsing

With faith

Light upon light

Joining ancestors

Brightly burning

In the midnight sky.

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2016

An Open Heart

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What happens if I open my heart? Will the sky come falling down?

poppy3Darkness grows dense enfolding me deeper into its bosom. Pulling me towards the bowels of the earth. If I can just be brave enough to keep exploring it with an open heart…

“Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” ― Brené Brownpoppy

I allow the wind of my emotions to blow through my soul…through every hidden cavern and crevice of my being. I allow all the gusts, gales and squalls to come. I allow myself to experience them fully and completely. That I might know and recognize each emotion that rises to the surface.

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By allowing the storm to come, I allow myself the power to detach. To return to the harbor of my soul. I arrive home…with each breath I take…I find my grounding, and I become anchored for awhile before I have to set sail again.

“What it means to be authentic:
– to be more concerned with truth than opinions
– to be sincere and not pretend
– to be free from hypocrisy: “walk your talk”
– to know who you are and to be that person
– to not fear others seeing your vulnerabilities
– being confident to walk away from situations where you can’t be yourself
– being awake to your own feelings
– being free from others’ opinions of you
– accepting and loving yourself”
― Sue Fitzmaurice

A Flow of Wealth and Abundance

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The way sunlight leans

Through oak shadows in summer

Trust in the moment

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2016

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Have you ever wondered what life would be like if you allowed the fullness that you are flow into the areas that feel restricted? Plugging into your power to receive. Well, everyone of us has access to that possibility. It’s about what you believe in regards to wealth and abundance.

It’s easy to get stuck in beliefs that life will never get better, that people never change,or that history always repeats itself.  The thought, “It will always end up the same no matter what I do,” repeating like a broken record. When you hold onto beliefs like that, you might start to wonder, ‘Why try anything at all?’ A belief pattern of apathy begins becoming a life habit that is extremely hard to break through. It becomes something familiar. A safe place. A snail shell way of being…living.

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Half a lifetime

Lost in thought

Unhappiness

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2016

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The truth is when you focus your attention on the here and now, you give yourself permission to trust the moment. You begin to connect with your heart. You give yourself the gift of presence. You get back in touch with your true beauty. You begin to realize that there is always more available to you. Because you become one with your natural state. You begin to realize that you are enough, you have always been enough, and you will always be enough. You get in touch with your own inner sense of wealth and abundance. You can allow yourself to explore the relationship you have to lack and plenty through the acceptance of your own inner beauty. You will find the courage to let go what no longer serves you. What is no longer relevant or appropriate. You will find the power of awareness to gently and lovingly release what is ready to go in the present moment.

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Give yourself the gift of faith. Faith in yourself. Faith that is more powerful than fear. Give yourself the freedom to believe. Find that space in your heart that allows you to be vulnerable to shine the light of your soul. To be your true self. Your authentic self. Cultivate a relationship with your true beauty and find your inner voice. When you allow yourself to receive the wealth and abundance of who you are then it becomes something you give back to the universe. A river of love flowing into the ocean.

 

I’ll Stay With My Heart

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Kisses from the sky

Every pale petal blushing 

Summer days deepen

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2016

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Shades of loneliness

Dreams of far away places

Caught in summer rain

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2016