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

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In Faith

softness

“A person who does not have anything to believe in is without energy. When you have the energy of faith in you, your steps become firmer, your look becomes brighter. You are ready to love, to understand, to help, and to work.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

In the softness and tenderness of my soul, I open to the generosity of my essence. With each in breath, I pull into myself the abundance of life. With each out breath, I release my need to control…to feel safe. I trust the process that is before me and though I feel fear of uncertainty and the pain of old familiar wounds I open and let go in the faith that love will sustain me. In gratitude, I dwell in the energy of Oneness.

*photo credits go to Steve Mackay

Wild Nights – Wild Nights!

expectancy

Wild nights – Wild nights!
Were I with thee
Wild nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile – the winds –
To a Heart in port –
Done with the Compass –
Done with the Chart!

Rowing in Eden –
Ah – the Sea!
Might I but moor – tonight –
In thee!

By Emily Dickinson

*painting: Expectancy by smoke paint

http://smokepaint.deviantart.com/art/expectancy-279889346

Come Home

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There has been a struggle in keeping to my meditation as of late. I feel like an empty shell. I feel chained to a land in which I don’t belong or want to live, and yet I have no where else to go. I feel weighed down by the burden of loneliness. I haven’t ever really found my peace about being here. In Austria. I feel frustrated because after 14 years of living in this place I still can’t make lasting connections, and yet am I alluding myself? An old friend, student called me today to see if I would like to join her for a visit to the theater. I had seen her just last week at a poetry reading where I was performing some of my pieces in support for Austrian women’s shelters. A few years had gone by since I had seen her last. I received some powerful feedback from others that night. A gentle reminder from the universe that I am still connected to my inner voice. She was part of that encouragement. So, I accepted her invitation. I accepted because this is the first invitation…personal invitation I’ve received from anyone to do something in a long time.

I am struggling today with self-sabatage. I should be doing something, and yet my pioneering spirit isn’t feeling very adventurous. It is almost like I have to force myself to do anything. I am suppose to be getting organized  and packing to move by the end of the month. I am not feeling motivated.

Maya Angelou died just a few days ago. She was for me a living example of how to be true to oneself. A spiritual mentor whose integrity rested over me like a veil upon the face of light. The brightness of her inner beauty hasn’t been extinguished, but her passing has momentarily caused me to pause.

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I feel the old wounds, but it isn’t my reality today. I am looking within to find the strength to take another step forward. All the critical voices swirling in my mind. The ache in my heart intense at the moment. I trust if I stay mindfully with it that the pain will subside.

A voice whispers,”Finish writing and then go to the theater…everything changes…move with what’s being done. Let go of the familiar and the comfort it brings. You are faithful and have always known this about yourself. Stay true to yourself…even if life seems bleak right now…even if the emptiness is overwhelming you.”

“You write words, and don’t feel like a writer. You judge yourself so often. This is self-sabatage. When will you accept yourself? You come home to yourself sometimes, but then make excuses that you can’t stay for long. You only come to visit. Don’t you ever get tired of wandering without protection? If you stayed home in the light of your soul long enough you might find an altogether new adventure.”

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“And yes, it is I, your own soul, whispering to you now even as you move this pen across the page. The protection you seek, the safe haven, is here within yourself. It is a home that has always been open to you, but you are a prodigal wandering aimlessly. There is a time coming very soon when you will hear your voice clearly…the voice of a stranger who will call you home.”

“Come home. You are wanted home. You are missed. Come home. Be at home. Home is your protection.”

“Each time you came for a visit you sensed this more and more.”

“Come home to the light of your soul, and be healed. Let healing begin in the safety of home. Let healing begin in the protection of your heart.”

“Open your heart to yourself. Open the door and come inside where you will greet the stranger who was yourself with open arms of love.”

An Ordinary Tendency

image“In the beginning you told each other, ‘I cannot live without you. My happiness depends on you.’ You made declarations like that. But when you are angry, you say the opposite: “I don’t need you! Don’t come near me! Don’t touch me!’ You prefer to go into your room and lock the door. You try your best to demonstrate that you don’t need the other person. This is a very human, very ordinary tendency. But this is not wisdom.”

-Thich Nhat Hanh-

Wild Nights

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Wild nights! Wild nights!

Were I with thee,

Wild nights should be

Our luxury!

 

Futile the winds

To a heart in port, —

Done with the compass,

Done with the chart.

 

Rowing in Eden!

Ah! the sea!

Might I but moor

Tonight in thee!

~Emily Dickinson~

*photo by Goncalo Martins

http://0ce4n-g0d.tumblr.com/post/64678001170/big-bang-by-goncalo-martins-on-500px