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

Unearthing Bones

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Unearthing bones 

That were buried

In silence

By the ignorance

Of cold, distant minds

Through darkness

The wind rattles

Between  gaps

Of light

Where the heart

Begins to beat

Flesh to life

The sacred dance

Of true love.

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2016

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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

It Is Nothing

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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

 

Reality Dreaming

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“Give your soul the silence it needs to make itself heard. Because the voice of your soul is silent. It’s power can flourish only in the silences. Then your soul will fill you with life. You will be like you really are.”      

~Hainz Körmer

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

Letting go of Demands

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“There is a very Simple Secret to being happy. Just let go of your ‘demand’ on this moment. Any time you have a demand on the moment to give you something or remove something, there is suffering. You’re Arguing with ‘What Is’ – Your demands keep you chained to the ‘dream-state’ of the conditioned mind. The desire to ‘control’… is, ultimately, our unwillingness to just be awake.”

~Adyashanti

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“Spiritual awakening happens when you stop bullshitting yourself into continual non-awakening. It’s very easy to use disciplines to avoid reality rather than to encounter it. A true spirituality will have you continually facing your illusions and all the ways you avoid reality. Spiritual practice may be an important means of confronting yourself, or it may be a means of avoiding yourself; it all depends on your attitude and intention.”

~Adyashanti

Petals on the wind

Rising and falling away

The gift of  presence

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2016

 

Heart Breathing

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         Illustration by Cinzia Bardelli

 

Heart flutterings

Of butterfly girl

Old soul eyes

As big as

The moon

A spirit

Dancing tenderly

With the Earth

To music

Born

From silence

An inner laughter

 Of firefly stars

Breathing

In rivers

and

Breathing

Out oceans

She lives

In the

Gift of

 Presence.

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2016

*more art of Cinzia Bardelli can be found at:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/ufficiosognismarriti

Allow Healing

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Rosehip tears

Mourning

A closed heart

The color of red

Bleeding 

In winter

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2016

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“Embrace yourself, in these times, and acknowledge yourself for the extraordinary progress you are making, as a soul, in every waking moment.

“The very fact that you are drawn to reading these words attests to an openness on your part to aligning with the momentum of this multidimensional journey. Know that what you have done so reflects great courage on your part. And that to continue to do so, despite the resistance of consensus thinking, puts you in the forefront of those destined to emerge…”

“The opportunity to circumvent some of the mountains that most will manifest and choose to scale lies in the ability, in the moment at hand, to release the need to control the result of the dynamics of any circumstance in which one finds oneself.

“By consciously shifting one’s intent to one of conscious allowance of the manifestation of the highest good of the collective, one enhances the opportunity to manifest the brightest possible outcome for oneself.

“In so doing, one is able to secure a state of beingness that is unencumbered by eons of trial and error and is free to explore the joys of manifestaion of the Divine Will in alignment with one’ own.”

Rasha from Oneness,

*from MysticMama: http://www.mysticmamma.com/embrace-yourself/

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“The very center of your heart is where life begins, the most beautiful place on Earth.” ~Rumi

Healing Heart Meditation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDw1iYUjFAk

 

 

 

 

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.