First Snowfall

dscf3531

Two tiny snowmen

dscf3528

In woodland garb

dscf3529

Enjoy a leafy picnic

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2016

“The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?”

~J. B. Priestley

Deeper into the Forest

img_3260

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

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.

greenfrog1_bob

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

Summer Reflections

IMG_3023

From the surface

Down into the depths

A friend to myself

Smiling, I make the universe 

Even more beautiful.

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2016

IMG_3024

“Summertime. It was a song. It was a season. I wondered if that season would ever live inside of me.”      ~ Benjamin Alire Sáenz

IMG_3032

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”  ~ John Lubbock

IMG_3031

“The island is ours. Here, in some way, we are young forever.”
~ E. Lockhart

It Is Nothing

IMG_3006

Enlighten your desires.

Meditate on who you are.

Quit imagining.

What you want is profoundly expensive,

and difficult to find,

yet close by.

Don’t search for it. It is nothing,

and a nothing within nothing.

~Lalla,  Naked Song

 

Light Upon Light

IMG_0079

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

A Flow of Wealth and Abundance

IMG_1037

The way sunlight leans

Through oak shadows in summer

Trust in the moment

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2016

IMG_2752

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.

IMG_1171

Half a lifetime

Lost in thought

Unhappiness

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2016

IMG_2766

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.

IMG_1539

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.

 

Revelation

 

each lily

opened

as a new understanding

Source: Revelation

Humanity Matters!

 

IMG_2821

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.

IMG_2819

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!

IMG_2818

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.”

IMG_2825

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