Shining

You make me want to be vulnerable
To believe in wings made of hope
That will carry me aloft
At no risk

Though I know to dare could be
A threat for my safety never had any nets
And my spirit grew accustomed to fire
And to ash

But I too learned the mystery
Of the rise after the death
And that no end comes without a start
And perhaps

I might brave the break for the lift
Because I’ve seen enough of life after death
And to see the other side of all that
A worthy risk

This world knows of love too after all
There is no light without darkness enshrouded
May this light shine without burning and mend
All that is hurting

-Angel Marie Russell

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Those With Ears, Let Them Hear

lost-in-the-darkness

What I have learned of Spirit and what I think we intrinsically miss is that we do not need to idolize anyone, not teachers, not priests, not popes, nor any human being for we are all equal. Our place in space time is the only separation from “us” and “them.” To idolize another human is to miss the point that Spirit consistently makes. When we come into contact with someone who is awake to Spirit, we have used the terms, enlightened, “woke,” gifted, touched, Shaman, Rabbi, healer, etc, as names to define these categorically different folks. And what they all have in common is a deep willingness to meet Spirit, humbled to receive, and to be filled up by what we merely need to seek within ourselves. These people are, after all, human. This is my belief and one that Christianity has completely misunderstood. Jesus, in my understanding was merely an enlightened human, just as Buddha before him. And whether in one life time or many, these types of folks had the audacious willingness to go underworld deep and stand in the face of the black hole depths of suffering. They did not turn from suffering, but rather towards it in kindness and they found love there.

When you find love in the darkness you can meet it in another. You do not reject the other. You do not condemn, judge, withdraw, reject, repel, or attack the other because you see the yourself in the other. You have stood through the test of facing fear to meet all of who you are. You have looked at the self and found the light hidden amongst all that ails. And when a person has found that ember, that holy internal grail, the grain of sand that shines more than all the rest, the flame awakens. The awakening occurs. Our senses, mind, and bodies align in harmony. We see that all is one, and one is all, and we are the embodiment ourselves of love because it is within us all.

I know nothing of this world except that I have touched the spirits edges. I have held in hand, the intangible. I have met myself in the darkness and stood ready flame in hand, sword in heart, wings unfurled, ready and waiting. It was as if the wind came alive. The world was seen through clearer eyes than ever before and the intangible and the present coalesced for what felt like eons, but in reality could have been mere seconds. As time has gone on I have started to lose sense of that reality, but it awoke in me the knowledge that fear is not a liar, but a messenger full of information about healing and love. It is truly astounding when we meet fear with love. Love disarms those ready and waiting for cruelty. And in our world cruelty has become the prerequisite response. To not approach with rancor buried in civility with equal subcutis hostility and to instead extend an olive branch of love disarms fear. And in that moment the true nature of love is revealed and for but a moment we see that love is real and far greater than we ever could have imagined. I think because we lack authority over our senses, emotions, knowledge of self and the lack thereof, we return to the lack of belief and we judge what we perceive to be a mistruth in the other. We misinterpret compassion for control. We disbelieve that this singular truth of compassion is alive and living in the present moment between two hearts. Noble fear stands ready to attack the intruder disguised as love and we retreat or attack that which shines instead of adding our flame to the tower of light. And when we do believe that a person truly does contain this level of compassion, we idolize them. We put them on a pedestal believing they hold truths and secrets that we do not contain. They may have knowledge that we have not been taught yet, true. They may have journeyed down paths we have yet to embark upon. They may be in a different place than we in the present moment, but it is this exact multifaceted reality that we live in and it does not mean that we cannot also awaken to the compassion stored and alive within us.

Power does not like to be disarmed. Societal structures that exist in a prism of powerful control over people siphon energy from those under their power. They above all have the most to lose if hearts are disarmed and more people see the need to rise in love to meet the other. When we know love from this place, we see that power is a lie and no single human, animal, plant, or insect is above or more important than the other. When we see the world from this perspective we awaken to compassion as a weapon against power. And we see power retaliate with control. Through that control they teach us about love through the lens of manipulation. The nature of this paradigm is abusive, but it does seem to be the nature of the world as it has been for millennia. The Buddha said, “The world is afflicted by death and decay. But the wise do not grieve, having realized the nature of the world.” People who see the world as it is with an understanding of love realize that in order to help others truly heal, they must meet them where they are and not participate in perpetuating the abusive paradigm. To participate in abuse means to force, coerce, manipulate, or control the narrative of the other; to judge the other. When we act in this way we mistakenly see this as help. We think we are helping the other without seeing that our intent lies in coercing the other to see as we see in order to “save” them. Coercion is not love. Jesus said of those in power, claiming false knowledge of spirit and love, “…you are like a dog sleeping in a manger. The dog does not eat, nor does it let the cattle eat. You have stolen the keys to the temple and locked and barred the door. You have not entered yourselves, nor have you permitted others who wish to enter to do so. Instead you have become as dishonest merchants, selling that which does not belong to you and over which you have no power. Only from the truth I tell you that dishonest buyers and merchants will not attain the place of the Spirit.”

True healers, teachers, and wisdom keepers point us in the direction to ourselves. Their information should not mean that we see them as holy. Their information is coming from the same source. It is Source, Universe, God, Goddess, The Gods, that of many names, the nameless, that teaches through us and could be called Love. We seek compassion. We seek relief from suffering. We seek and do not find and a chasm opens within us. The chasm rifts a disconnection from body, heart, and spirit. The chasm blinds us to truth, and we see with eyes that do not see, and we hear with ears that do not hear. Jesus said, “those with ears, let them hear.” Those are the hearts that stand ready broken on the precipice of despair, on the edge of chasm and lift, they that have grown battle hardened but ready for love. It is they that are disarmed by compassion and they that add flame to tower of light. It is they that awaken and teach, lead, and heal. Their healing does not come from themselves. Our idol worship of them keeps us from ourselves and our truth and the wisdom that we too contain. I believe that Jesus told us that he was the way in the same way Buddha laid the path. They have found compassion to be the reason for all and love to be the answer to eternal life, because in that place fear is absent and love can take hold. Love is the answer to the heart that seeks and the answer is inside you.

When we seek from a place of desperation, fear, control, or pain, we open the chasm wider, but we also may not learn if we do not seek in this way. To seek in this way teaches us about not seeking in this way. To learn is to grow, and to grow is to lift above the chasm. Buddha said, “Be a lamp unto yourself. Work out your liberation with diligence.” To find love within the underworld is to find liberation. To find love through suffering is to find liberation of suffering. To find love past fear is to awaken to heaven and life eternal. There is no suffering past fear. Buddha said, “Have compassion for all beings, rich and poor alike; each has their suffering. Some suffer too much, others too little.” To not have suffered enough means that one does not understand the plight of the other. Their privilege is a blindness. They continue their abuse and control because they do not see that it is not possible for the other to rise so easily when held back by base needs not being met. Their privilege blinds them to the pain of those unlike them. They are suffering blindness and we can have compassion for their lack of sight. When we meet their ignorance with compassion it disarms them. When people are disarmed they can see with eyes that see. Love heals them and the world by awakening compassion. And drop by drop that compassion leads them to peace within themselves. We seek outside of ourselves to our own folly.

Once this place is found, that light within, one set upon a path to self discovery and will find that there is always more to discover about the nature of love. Those new to the journey will take the ecstasy of awakening to this love to mean they must seek to teach. They must help others still blinded by suffering. They do not sit with themselves for long enough to see that to teach too early. They are still desperate, yet this time to heal other hearts as their hearts have been healed. The desire can then again become a desperate attempt to seek to coerce, control, or manipulate the other into believing that their way is the only way. “No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.” – The Buddha. I believe that Jesus spoke to teach us that his path was the path to enlightenment, not that if we don’t follow the rules we go to hell, but rather that to not seek an end to suffering allows it to continue, within us and without us. I believe that those in power sought to control and retain power and manipulated his teachings. I believe that he came to show us the path leading to ourselves. We mistakenly turned him into the only son of God, when he himself said we are all children of God. We are all equal in spirit. There is no doctrine that is the only doctrine save for compassion is the key. Compassion includes boundaries and is not asking the other to sacrifice who they are to meet spirit because spirit is already there inside of us waiting to be rooted out and discovered.

Teachers, healers, wayshowers, they only point in a direction that we must be willing to walk on our own. We must take the steps, one by one to the mystery of ourselves and we must meet ourselves there in love. Once we discover how to love all that we are, we are no longer afraid of all the other carries. We are no longer afraid of love. We also see that the world is a dangerous place for those awake to spirit, but there is great strength in love. There is honor in fighting for love. There is the possibility that speaking up about the nature of love puts one in danger to the effects of the threat to the loss of power. And love disarms power, so those in power actively seek to destroy it’s voice. Look how far reaching, powerful, and lasting is the voice of those who spoke the truth of love. See how their lives were cut short, silenced, discredited, and murdered were they that spoke truth. And see the bravery it takes to stand in the face of all that power and pain, but do not idolize these people as wholly different than the self. We are all capable, maybe not in this lifetime, but the path is there laid out within us. Teachers are wayshowers, not Gods.

We must merely seek to understand love to end suffering.

Seek to reach past fear.

Strive to love all the places that ache within us.

See that our worth does not come from another.

Open our hearts, eyes, and ears.

Listen to understand.

Hold space without seeking to change.

Breathe, ground, and release.

Honor another person’s no. Honor your own.

Honor anger to lead you to act towards love.

Recognize when to say, “I’m sorry.”

Take steps to mend what needs mending.

Know when to move on.

Go easy on yourself.

Release.

Find safety in the present.

Allow fear to teach you, not guide you.

Breathe.

Seek to understand nature.

Learn your limits. Respect them in self and others.

Move.

Sit in silence.

Ask for help.

Accept help.

Love thyself. Forgive thyself.

Allow your pace.

Love.

-Angel Marie Russell

Forefooted

~Forefooted~

Do not put faith in the
Narratives of the past
Being the fortune tellers,
To your fate.

Do not believe the whispers
Of what ails you
And pulls you further away
From yourself.

Do not resign to the
Pitfalls and valleys
Of the past,
Marking the road
That is yet to be plowed.

You are not destined to follow
What lay in the rear view.
You are not fated upon what
Has been strewn before.

These are merely markings
On the path traversed.
They are temporary;
Way showers without maps.

They are stones on a hill
Valleys behind the ridge
Forks in roads and
Oghams carved in tree.

You dear heart are lead by
Well worn shoes
And feet that step
With ferocity,
And hopeful planted lands
From leaps.

Your past does not define you
Not the darkest of hours,
Nor the loneliest of sorrows.

Our landscape merely shows us
Points along the way,
Towards lessons,
Of birth, and decay,
Of burn and ash,
Of spark and flame,
Of wind and blaze, and you
Are all of these things.

Free to dream
Upon the grace of tomorrow,
The soothing balm
Upon the meadow’s breeze,
And the dawn on the horizon
Bringing hope of better things.
To live, to learn, to grow,
And to be.

-Angel Marie Russell
#poem #poet

Photo by Angel Marie Russell

Joy In The Underworld

It is so easy to forget
Surrounded by the chaos,
The noise,
The fleeting despondency
Of the blinded masses,
The knowing of joy.

How it slips so readily
From my heart
That goes cold
To stop the pain
From once again igniting.

Would that I could not feel
All that consumes me, as
Persephone.

Would that I could have no knowledge
Of the fear and of the aching.
In response, I turn off the fount.
I lock myself away;
A prisoner encased
In safety.

Oh Joy,
I see you out there
In the distance
With your army of mayhem
Dancing with folly and
Prancing haphazardly
In disarray.

I long to join the cavalcade.
But I’ve stolen my own heart
And locked it away.

Will you climb my ivory tower?
Will you break down the walls?
Will you pummel me senseless
With tears more of wonder
Than sorrow?
Can you even see me up here
Lamenting, grieving, and nursing wounds
For all that was stolen away?

Oh, my heart.
Can you trust in love again?
Can you ease the fortress
Into soliloquy and phosphorescence?
Can you slip into dream
And lay softly on the petals
Of the fragrant rose?

I beg you joy,
Defeat me.
Beat me into submission
Until laughter springs forth
From my frowns
And I am no longer wed
To Hades, to the darkness,
With no knowing of the Vale
Between the cavern and the
Song filled meadow,
Of suffering,
But take me to the temple
And wed me once again
To love.

-Angel Marie Russell

Undying

As I grow
I feel the transformation
In my face.
I feel the flesh recast
With being in this World,
Full of folly and disgrace,
Full of love and wonder,
And the knowledge of fear
And of pain.
And before my very eyes
The magic happens
Like it took eons of self discovery
And souls desire to choose
To keep jumping into the flames.
And once again the face reflects
All that I chose and all that rejects
And I ponder at the shame.
I almost laugh
This World that sees only flesh
And its decay,
Within is a road map of victory,
Of survival,
Of everytime conquer of every trial,
With the depth of a falcon staring into the abyss
Who would I be without a face such as this?
Would I truly allow you to quiet the life
From my face for your viewing pleasure only?
Would I really let this soul that shines
In each and every fineline be defined
By such that is fleeting?
My face is a cast of this heart
That is not only beating but soaring
Above all that hinders and harms,
Higher still beyond the flesh
And deep into blackened sky
Full of hope and love
And full of mystery
That I transform as the sun to carbon dust
And I am like the cosmos
That swirl and expand
And this my face tells the tale
Of all of that.
Would I truly allow shame to rest there?
In the temple wonder
Of star spark and black hole depths
Of these mine eyes
To reflect shame?
No my wondrous lifespark
You shine and weep
You glow and transmute this flesh
As the planets flux and expand
As the Earth Pulls at the tethers of my being.
And in this reflection
I see the perfection
Of the undying
Of love.

-Angel Marie Russell
#love #poet

I Believe In You

We forget that when we look back in time at heroes of civil rights movements, that they were people just like you and me. They were humans that just got fed up with the status quo, of turning their eyes to injustice.

It’s hard to see where they found the strength to rise above. It’s difficult to understand where they found the capacity to use their voice, actions, and perseverance to act when the odds were stacked against them.

When I look out at our society now I see all the injustice and all the pain. I realize that what we need now is that same spark. We too need to be FED UP. We too need to SPEAK OUT. We too need to find the discordant thread that weaves the tyranny throughout the system and we need to pull that sucker until it unravels.

We are the heroes we have been looking for. It is our doubt and fear that traps us. It is our reluctance to see courage in the mirror. It is our fear that keeps us imprisoned thinking, “Not me, but someone should speak up and out. Someone needs to do something.”

Why not you? Why not me? Why not us? Why are we any different? The answer could be in you, in me, and in us.

Do you believe in being the change? Do you believe in standing up and fighting for what is right? The time has come my beautiful friends.

We are at a crossroads. We look out and we see horror. We feel numb and are losing hope, but I want you to remember. . . I want you to see that there were people then, just like there are people now, who ROSE UP.

I call on you to remember your strength and your honor, to remember that your voice matters, that there is a hero in every single one of us. The only thing keeping us held back is belief.

I believe in you.
I believe in you to fight for what is right.
I believe in you to rise up and refuse to accept injustice as the status quo.
I believe in you to refuse to be distracted by misdirection.
I believe in you to see with eyes that see.
I believe in you to use your heart over your indifference.
I believe in you to be so affected by the pain of others that you rise up in unison to say NO MORE!!!
I believe in us.

Do you?

-Angel Marie Russell

#resist

Pleading For Spring

LMG100045
The return of Persephone, by Frederic Leighton (1891)

When we operate from our wounds,
We lose our center.
We forget the majesty of our own hearts.

When we feel, oh. so. much.
It sweeps us under; the pain.
It makes us forget who we are.
It takes us to places
We never thought ourselves
Capable of.
Hurting,
We lash out.
We cry out.
Please! Just make it stop!
Take the pain from me!
Or I will take me from all else!
And we downtrodden, dejected, wounded,
Forget
Love.

And then we seek from a lack.
We look to fill what aches,
We grab and we reach
For anything we can grasp,
And we vortex into syclone,
Into black hole syphon tail spin,
We lose ourselves in the abyss
Of this pain.

This world we live in that breathes
With agony, of the suffered,
The suffering ignored, repeatedly,
Invalidated, we plummet deeper still
Underworld
We each,
Persephone pleading for Spring.

Our hearts ache to remember that
Even in darkness
We can find the light.
Even in the shadowlands
There is a glow.
Right in our own hearts.
And the pain of this life
May have taken the flame
From your fiery heart.
But I see the embers,
Still smoldering, red hot,
Waiting to blaze once again.

And yes, it may feel as though the
World takes and takes,
Until there is nothing left.
But let me remind you,
Nothing and no one, can take you
Away from the truth,
That you are love.
And once remembered,
You too, even underworld deep,
With wings unfurled
Will burst aflame once again.

-Angel Marie Russell