The Dark Side of the Moon

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There is no one

To love me

But myself

Dark side

Of the moon

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2017

*photo by Beth Kirkhart, to see more of her work visit her on Twitter at @GilennLinn

Sometimes we come to a place in our lives and realize that something is dying. We might not always understand it especially when it happens within the deeper parts of ourselves.  I have recently been thankful for such an experience despite the pain that has risen to the surface. I have learned that I can embrace death and be glad for its coming. I have been on an unannounced hiatus from writing on this blog since the beginning of the year and I thank the patience of my readers. But it wasn’t until I stumbled upon the simple beauty of Beth’s photo that I found something in it calling to me…cracking me open to write again.

Beth Kirkhart provided me with some interesting history of her photo that she took in Santa Ana Refuge in Southern Texas. It is home to an abundance of wildlife, in addition; to many birds, it is also provides shelter to ocelots, jaguarundi, jaguar, and mountain lions. The refuge is right on the border between Mexico and the US, where Trump wants to build his wall. However, such a wall would surely disrupt the wildlife there.

While Beth was watching the wind blow the grasses and framing the moon, she heard a woman hush a child: a family group who had just crossed the river were hiding in a thorn bush thicket, waiting for her to finish her photo so they could be on their way by night.

Such is the wind at dusk there.

As a Mexican-American, when Beth shared this story with me I could only imagine how that mother must have been feeling. It reminded me of things I missed out on as a small child when my own mother wasn’t present in my life….like being in the shelter and sanctuary of loving arms. So many times we humans can put up walls…walls that disrupt the flow of life. Walls that may shut life out. So then we are faced with a sort of Life-Death-Life cycle. Clarissa Pinkola Estés wrote, “Sometimes the one who is running from the Life/Death/Life nature insists on thinking of love as a boon only. Yet love in its fullest form is a series of deaths and rebirths. We let go of one phase, one aspect of love, and enter another. Passion dies and is brought back. Pain is chased away and surfaces another time. To love means to embrace and at the same time to withstand many endings, and many many beginnings- all in the same relationship.” So perhaps we can still find love on the dark side of the moon.

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

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

It’s About Perspective

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The light, soft and warm

Coos of newness in essence

Continuation 

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2016

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“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are. “

~Brené Brown

Humanity Matters!

 

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Its all about connection…a touch, a look, a word, a sense of feeling human in a world that seems confused -a world lost in the process we know as life. Culture has boundaries attached to it as well as identity because of how it links together with our personal beliefs. Nevertheless, they give meaning and purpose to this maze of existence. But I am forced to ask the question, “Is that where the journey ends?” The resounding answer is NO! We just might discover through the people we meet along the way, the places we visit and the experiences we encounter that we are granted a unique privilege. The privilege to come together in a new way. The privilege to rewrite the story.

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No matter what color your skin is, what gender you are, what political views you hold, what your sexual orientation is, what language you speak, what country you come from, what religion you believe or don’t believe, or what culture you have the heritage we all share is feeling and being human in all the tragedy and comedy. Humanity Matters because the bottom line is that no matter how lost this world might be without each other we are nothing. May we all find our humanity. Starting TODAY!

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Maybe its time to shift our borders…our boundaries inside and out. Maybe we might just find a sense of familiarity through the current devastation and darkness. Maybe we might just find the strength and courage to whisper, “I remember you. We come together now with a new identity, but our dignity hasn’t been stripped from us, so I extend my hand to you. Yes, I remember that we are still brothers and sisters. I haven’t forgotten. Let that no longer be our fear for we know each other as we know ourselves… a new identity for the world to see on the outside, but we see each other from the inside. To think of this I shall not water your garden  with tears of sorrows past, but with tears of joy that we can still stand on common ground. Whether our inner demons have been exorcised from within us when we look at ourselves we are seeing each other. Let this be the tie that binds us again with our shifting borders. Let this be the healing for the sickness in our souls.”

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I would like to end with a few thoughts from Deng Ming-Dao, “This world and this society are competitive. Tao uses the metaphor of the warrior to meet that competition. Warriors never yield to their opponents. They may sidestep, but they do not give way. Whether you are a lawyer, police officer, fire fighter, doctor, businessperson, athlete, or any one of numerous professions, you compete against either other people or natural forces. But there is a right way and a wrong way to compete. Avoid anger and greed. Use concentration   and awareness. Coincidentally, concentration and awareness are also necessary for spirituality. That is why the follower of Tao incorporates the way of the warrior into training. The warrior and the sage both seek to transcend emotion and petty thinking, to perfect themselves, and to live lives of the deepest truth. But when outside the arena, do not forget to be kind. Leave behind competitive aggression. You must still have awareness concentration, and reflex, but the expression will be different. Your compassion must not falter. That is why the combination of the way of the warrior with the way of the sage is the ultimate symbol of versatility. Such a follower of Tao commands the extremes of the universe.”

Here is a song that captures the sign of the times:

The Same As It Ever Was

What Don’t Kill Ya

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Pulling up a heavy heart

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Produces crooked curves

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Hunching low

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For earthbound hugs.

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2016

“Spiritual yearning is the homesickness of the soul.” – Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati

What Don’t Kill Ya

Heartspace

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“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.

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“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. (http://www.whats-your-sign.com/animal-symbolism-deer.html) 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. (http://www.spiritanimal.info/deer-spirit-animal/) 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.

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“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. (http://www.ask.com/world-view/rain-symbolize-5892bd1c2cb7db83) 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.”

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“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.