Meditation

Kristina Wirén

Each morning my heart

Embarks on a voyage

Of true understanding

In hope of reaching

The shore of awakening

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2017

*Photo by Kristina Wirén, Kristina Wirén

 

Embers to Ash

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Embers to ash

Fragrance

Of a mindful life

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2016

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Meaning
Being Your Own Voice of Reason

by Madisyn Taylor

How we attach meaning to events in our lives has a large influence on the quality of our life.

The meaning we assign to our experiences–whether pleasant or distressing, is a very powerful factor in determining the quality of our lives. What we imagine events to mean will color the way we feel about ourselves, about the people in our lives, and about the world at large. If we want to encourage a positive outlook, well-being, and a sense of self-confidence and even trust in the universe, we can begin by assigning more peaceful, loving meanings to what we experience.

Imagine, for example, that a friend fails to show up to a lunch date. You have choices as to what you will make this experience mean for you. You could allow being “stood up” to reinforce your feelings of unworthiness, you could begin to mentally attack your friend’s character, or you could assume that something big must have happened to cause them to miss the date–then, you might open yourself up to enjoying some relaxing time alone.

If you were recently laid off and are having difficulty finding a new job, consider that you might have hidden gifts or passions that were untapped in your regular career that you are now available to explore. The universe might simply be moving you in a more fulfilling direction. If you have recently lost a loved one, gained weight, lost money, or gotten in a fight with your partner, see if you can infuse the experience with meaning that feels loving and empowering and opens a door for you to embrace life and the world a bit more.

When we begin to bring consciousness to what we are making things mean, we may be shocked at the messages we have been feeding ourselves all these years. Try taking the reigns and begin assigning a kinder meaning to the events in your life and you will likely find yourself on a much more pleasant ride.

an excerpt taken from DailyOM  Meaning

a song by Akira Kosemura, Embers

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

 

Alignment

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Above and below

Spanning

Four directions 

Earth and Sky

I AM

Here, now

Home

Where I belong

My ancestors

Greet me

From the stars

Communing

With nature

I open

To the depths

Of inner knowing

With each

Breath.

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2016

“…mastery requires we stay the course, stay embodied and show up to do the work.”

~Mysticmama, Mastery

An Offering to Self

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“We have all faced moments in our lives when the pressure mounts beyond what we feel we can handle, and we find ourselves thinking that we do not have the strength to carry on. Sometimes we have just gotten through a major obstacle or illness only to find another one waiting for us the moment we finally catch our breath. Sometimes we endure one loss after another, wondering when we will get a break from life’s travails. It does not seem fair or right that life should demand more of us when we feel we have given all we can, but sometimes this is the way life works.

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When we look back on our lives, we see that we have survived many trials and surmounted many obstacles, often to our own amazement. In each of those instances, we had to break through our ideas about how much we can handle and go deeper into our hidden reserves. The thought that we do not have the strength to handle what is before us can be likened to the hard surface of a frozen lake. It appears to be an impenetrable fact, but when we break through it, we find that a deep well of energy and inspiration was trapped beneath that icy barrier the whole time. Sometimes we break through by cutting a hole into our resistance with our willpower, and sometimes we melt the ice with compassion for our predicament and ourselves. Either way, each time we break through, we reach a new understanding of the strength we store within ourselves.

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When we find ourselves up against that frozen barrier of thinking we cannot handle our situation, we may find that the kindest choice is to love ourselves and our resistance too. We can simply accept that we are overwhelmed, exhausted, and stretched, and we can offer ourselves loving kindness and compassion. If we can extend to ourselves the unconditional warmth of a mother’s love, before we know it, the ice will begin to break.”

By Madisyn Taylor, from Finding Deep Strength

First and last photos by Phillip Schumacher, Surreal Self-Portraits

Middle photo found on The Beauty of Ballet

Digging and Planting

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In-between

Hard places

Intuition

Fragilily

Comes

To light

The task is

To release

All fears

And struggles

Connected to

Power and control

Letting go

Of doubt

Once and for all

Trusting

the

Flowering

Heart.

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2016

“Don’t dig up in doubt what you planted in faith” – Elisabeth Elliot

Secret Places of the Heart

deer

In the quiet 

I stand

Open,

Allowing 

New moon

Currents

To take

Me 

To a new

Place

Facing the 

Shadows

With 

Gentleness, 

Patience,

And 

Understanding

Trusting the flow

Of Transformative

And Healing 

Energy

Shifting life from 

The inside out

© Salem Islas-Madlo 2016

* photo found on http://www.verycoolphotoblog.com/2013/06/22/24179/

 

In Faith

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“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

Right on Track

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Sometimes we have to repeat certain words to ourselves over and over again. Over days and even weeks just to help keep our focus. To help pick us up when we have fallen over a negative thought or feeling. It’s like that story that Pema Chödrön tells about the Buddha:

“On the night on which he was to attain enlightenment, the Buddha sat under a tree. While sitting there, he was attacked by the forces of Mara. The story goes that they shot swords and arrows at him, and that their weapons turned into flowers.

What does this story mean? My understanding of it is that what we habitually regard as obstacles are not really our enemies, but rather our friends. What we call obstacles are really the way the world and our entire experience teach us where we’re stuck. What may appear to be an arrow or a sword we can actually experience as a flower. Whether we experience what happens to us as an obstacle and enemy or as a teacher and friend depends entirely on our perception of reality. It depends on our relationship with ourselves.”

Well, that is why over the last couple of weeks I have needed to repeat some words over and over again to myself. Because I have been experiencing a lot of obstacles and unpleasant circumstances….particularly arising from within my own thoughts and emotions.

Here is what I’ve have personally had to write and say to myself over and over again to transform those arrows and swords into flowers:

“I am right on track, right on schedule. I trust that everything is unfolding perfectly. All is well. I am free to enjoy myself. I am right where I need to be, when I need to be, how I need to be. My life is enough. I am enough. Everything I say or do is enough. In chaos or order, it is enough. My life is natural and wholesome. I am natural and wholesome. I have the grace to recognize and accept that. I have the grace to be free. I go on and on past this moment, past boundaries, past time, past understanding.  I am an infinite being. I AM Infinity, itself. I AM Essence.”

*this post is dedicated to a dear Twitter friend, Ishani, @musicmoonlove “Be blessed, Soul Sister.” ❤

*photo by Alisdair Miller, New Day

The Life Balance of Happiness

We are well on our way into 2015, and well…interestingly enough life keeps slowing me down…causing me to pause, breathe, and smile. Here is something about happiness I’ve been reading lately that has poured a lot of insight into my day to day routine.

“Our minds, hearts and souls have been fully coded for happiness; all the wiring is built-in. Everyone is capable of finding happiness. all he or she has to to is look for it in the right places. While happiness is our natural state, we’ve been trained to feel more comfortable with unhappiness. In a strange way we are not used to happiness: at times it feels not only unnatural but undeserved. That’s why we often find ourselves thinking the worst about someone or some situation. It’s why we must work to feel good about being happy and why we must commit ourselves to happiness.

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Part of the work is accepting the belief that finding happiness is essentially our purpose of life. Many people recoil at such a thought, saying such an approach is self-centered and uncaring. Why do we resist the idea that the purpose of life is being happy? We feel guilty being happy, and we wonder how we can strive to be happy when so many people are less fortunate than we are.

You were meant to enjoy all the wonders around you. And remember that you have more to give to others, to the suffering, when you are happy. When you have enough and are content, you will not act from a place of need or lack. You will feel that have a little extra to give to those around you, that you can afford to share more of your time, yourself, your money, and your happiness. Happiness expands our capacity to give. True happiness is not the result of an event, it does not depend on circumstance. You, not what’s going on around you, determine your happiness.

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Happiness depends not on what happens, but on how we handle what happens. Our happiness is determined by how we interpret, perceive and integrate what happens into our state of mind. How we perceive things is determined by our commitment. This is where the balance comes in, learning our lessons and remembering the truth about each other. Are we committed to seeing the worst in people and situations or the best? What we commit to, what we turn our attention to, grows. So the best or worst grows within our interpretations, and within ourselves. If we see the past in a bad light, as lacking purpose or meaning, we plant seeds that will grow into similar futures. This is why we refer to the past as our baggage–it’s something heavy to carry around. It is the part of ourselves that continues to weigh us down and slows our progress toward happiness.

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Happiness is our natural state, but we’ve forgotten how to be happy because we’ve gotten lost in our notions of what things should look like. Making comparisons is probably the shortest route to unhappiness. With little effort, we can quickly compare ourselves into downright misery. We don’t even need others for these self-destructive comparisons; comparing ourselves to our past or future can do the same thing. Happiness comes from seeing ourselves as being okay, just as we are, today. without comparison to others, without reference to the way we were or the way we fear we will be.

Happiness is just as possible with this set of circumstances as it is with the next. Often, we don’t see a situation as it truly is. Instead, we focus on our image of what the situation ‘should’ look like, or how it should be. By projecting our ‘should’ onto circumstances, we deny the truth. We see illusions. To see truth is to know that no matter what may be happening, the universe is moving in the direction it is supposed to. The world is set up to work in a way that brings us to our lessons. It is designed to move us to joy, not away from it, even when we think things are going in the wrong direction.

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We want to live our lives in balance, but what we think of as balance is not balance at all. In fact, it’s very much out of balance. We are a mass of contradictions. Always trying to be more, yet trying to accept and love ourselves just as we are. Trying to accept the reality of the human experience while knowing that we are also spiritual beings. We suffer, yet we can rise above our suffering. We experience loss, yet we feel love forever. We take life for granted, yet we know it does not last. We live in a world filled with less and more, with cycles of scarcity and abundance, big and small. If we can recognize these oppositions, we will be happier. Our part of this universe is always in balance, it just may not seem so to us.

Part of dealing with this balance means understanding that life does not revolve around our big moments: the promotion, the wedding, the retirement, and the cure. Life also occurs between the big moments. Much of what we need to learn is found in the small moments of life.”

-Elisabeth Kübler-Ross