Lightness of Being


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.” –

*art from Graffitipaintbar

Godlike Qualities

handful o' magic

Worship by cultivating nine fields:

Diet. Herbs. Clothing. Recitation.

Movement. Meditation. Creativity. Teaching.

And most important: Compassion.

Worship is not a matter of making an obeisance to a god. It is a matter of achieving godlike qualities in yourself. This is done through the culitvation of nine areas:

Diet should be moderate, healthy, and of living foods. If you want to be sustained, eat things that themselves sustained life.

Learn to use herbs, for they heal and maintain health.

Be moderate in your clothing; wear natural fibers. What you wear is an expression of your state of mind.

Recitation includes prayer, song, chanting, and finally the practice of silence. What you say becomes reality.

Stretch, move, and exercise every day. The universe moves; so too should the energy within your body.

Meditate every day—once in the morning and once in the evening, if possible. Only then will you attain tranquility and triumph over your dilemmas.

Be creative. Thus we contribute, and thus we elevate our souls.

Acquire a good education. Treasure what you learn, and preserve it so that it may be passed on to others. Never be selfish with what you know.

Above all, be compassionate. This a stand against all evil, and it opens your spirit.

People ask, “How can I worship properly?” Cultivate these nine fields.

-Deng Ming-Dao

*photo found on

Missing Meraki


In my head

Words fall clumsily

Bruising the soul

Of expression


In my throat

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2015

*photo from

Recognizing the Need for Surrender


*photo by Mikael Sundberg

“There are times when we must accept and surrender, or our struggle consumes us. If something should be changed and you have the power to change it, go ahead. But learn to recognize the situations that cannot be changed. They are the times when we feel as if we are bailing against the tide, when we struggle and are afraid.

  • If you don’t feel at peace, it’s time to surrender.
  • If life doesn’t flow, it’s time to surrender.
  • If you feel that you’re responsible for everything , it’s time to surrender.

And when you opt for change, think carefully about exactly what needs to be different, and why. Letting things be instead of constantly struggling to make them happen is a wonderful gift we give to ourselves. If we look back on life, we will see that some of our best moments and greatest opportunities did not come out of the struggle to set things right. They seem like lucky coincidences, as if they occurred because we were in the right places at the right times. That is how surrender works, and that is how life works: subtly. So many people who want to change what they are come to the realization that a shoemaker makes shoes, remembering that we can bring incredible style, creativity, and worth to the way we make shoes, instead of trying to do something else.”

-David Kessler-

Infinite Distance Yet Side by Side

“Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see … Continue reading

The Ability to Receive Love


Patterns tightly bound to my inner demons have recently resurfaced into my awareness. Resurfacing because of the fine line between fear and love. Creating a portrait from the map of my soul. I was again at a place I knew well…this time I had taken a different route…but first I will share a road I had travelled before.

Looking at an old entry journal I made last year around May, it reads:

“Today a person from a virtual community I’m part of called Spiritual Unite, wrote to me, “What a sweet and beautiful heart you have.” That simple message triggers a waterfall of tears. Later I met with a colleague who said something similar, but I feel lost. I feel forgotten and alone. I feel gone. I feel like a no one. An anonymous. The other day I posted something on Facebook that went something like this: “At the end of the day, I only ask myself: Did I love enough? Did I laugh enough? Did I make a difference?”; but these questions only remind me of the weary monotonous. Today I feel like a failure. I feel like I’ve let myself down. What have I done that is enough for myself? I have been longing for the tenderness of love all my life. The love is in my heart and pours out to all of life, but why doesn’t it flow out to myself? Why is it so hard for me to love myself? Why doesn’t it seem that I don’t have enough for myself? Am I so unlovable?”

At this point in writing my journal entry, I had paused to listen to the song, “Burn it Blue,” performed by Caetano Veloso and Lila Downs.–XsU

Continuing I wrote, “I don’t have to do enough for myself because I am enough. I don’t have to seek love because I am love. I AM that I AM. It’s my mind that keeps telling me I need more time….to find, to sort out, do, achieve, acquire, become, or understand something before we can be free or complete. I think I won’t find salvation…that ‘state of freedom’ because I’m not ‘good enough.’

NOW is the only point from where I can get there because I’m already there. I find love the moment I realize I AM love. Now is the only access point, so it isn’t about being loveable because I already am. I am approachable. I am enough. It’s about focusing my attention into the now deeply. Concentrating mindfully. Being mindfulness.”

I was at a familiar place in the landscape of my soul, however this time I had chosen a different way to move forward. I had to pass through the townships of pain, suffering, and even devastation. I checked my compass, and it was the right direction. Wending my way through the shadowy forest of self-doubt and insecurity, I came to a glen touched by the mysterious beauty of love. I was home.

Inner portrait maps show us back to the treasure chest of worth. Guiding us back to our divine beauty. Along the way we learn not only the value of giving love, but of receiving love.

“Through our maps, we willingly become a part of their boundaries. If our home is included, we feel pride, perhaps familiarity, but always a sense that this is ours. If it is not, we accept our roles as outsiders, though we may be of the same mind and culture. In this way, maps can be dangerous and powerful tools.” ~Debbie Lee Wesselmann~

“A map does not just chart, it unlocks and formulates meaning; it forms bridges between here and there, between disparate ideas that we did not know were previously connected.” ~Reif Larson~

*Portrait by Ed Fairburn

More of his artwork can be found at:

Dinosauria Epitaph


A brontosaurus ghost

Rose up on high

From a great pearly-grey host

Out of the November sky

Through silver and gold

Did she unfold

To look at me

With her all-seeing eye

For a moment free

Before our goodbye

Breathing her last breath

Upon the horizon of death.

Image© Salem Islas-Madlo 2013