By Stormy Peterson

A fresh, new year is finally upon us! 
  I know a lot of us have spent the dwindling days of the previous year ruminating on our lives and loves, or even love-lives (for some); we take stock of where we are, and look ahead with hopeful eyes.
  We remain hopeful that this year will be better than the last, hopeful that we’ve learned the lessons we were supposed to learn, and hopeful we’ll be strong enough to face whatever comes. It’s a time for intentions, and a time to let our day-dreaming hearts run wild across three hundred sixty-five empty spaces longing for the color of life to be splashed across them. 
  But more than organizing the year ahead, and making resolutions we’ll break by mid-January, it’s the perfect time to recognize that where we are at any given moment, isn’t actually a place where we are forced to stay.

 The truth about nature is that it’s much more fluid than we’re often conditioned to believe, and as disconnected as we may think we’ve become, we can’t ever truly be apart from it. Therefore, our lives, our understanding; how we relate to ourselves and one another, and all things human are also a lot less rigid than we have managed to convince ourselves. 
  And so it is, we’re never absolutely stuck anywhere. I don’t mean physically. . . of course, there can be circumstances beyond our control in the material world that limit the action some people would prefer to take, and it reeks of ableism to pretend otherwise. 
  No, I’m talking stuck in one attitude, stuck in unhealthy relationships, stuck at a soul-crushing job, stuck with a cramped perspective; that kind of stuck (the one that doesn’t necessarily depend on a person’s geography). A lot of these things can feel pretty permanent at one time or another, and frankly, we’re met with enough well-intended adages, and mixed messages that make it seem that way, but it doesn’t have to be so. 
  And, just like in nature, a little nudge can significantly improve your immediate circumstances. 
  Rainstorms are natural, but you don’t have to stand there getting drenched when nearby there’s a massive tree to duck under, or a welcoming cave to shelter you. Those options are both “natural” as well, but it takes a little bit of work (albeit, minimal effort) to connect the dots, consider the benefits, and act on it. 
  There is nothing enlightened about sitting around waiting for divine intervention to fix things that we are more than capable of handling on our own, yet we let ourselves get so insecure about the decisions we make, we allow ourselves to lose touch with our true essence.
  We can easily find ourselves trudging along in these unfulfilling, shallow existences so completely preoccupied with the wrong things that we are, oftentimes, clueless as to how we even got here in the first place.  What’s especially sad is that, even though it’s conceivably wholly temporary, this lack of depth pervades every aspect of our lives.
  Author Matt Kahn tells us, “Despite how open, peaceful, and loving you attempt to be, people can only meet you, as deeply as they’ve met themselves.”  That’s how folks are meeting you, that’s how you’re meeting them, and it’s how all of us are showing up and greeting the world.  It’s all a choice, however, we can decide at any moment if we’re splashing around in the paddling pool, to take a lesson, get stronger, and move to the deep end. 
  Perhaps you slide in as effortlessly glamorous as Esther Williams, but if you don’t, there’s no shame in needing a life vest, water wings, goggles, or a nose plug, and it’s not important if you arrive flailing, and sputtering, the point is that you’re willing to do the work. 
  You may, indeed, lose touch with those who prefer stomping aimlessly through mud puddles, but you’ll find yourself swimming toward the person you’re meant to be, engulfed in purpose, and creating ripples that affect everyone around you.

© 2019 Stormy Peterson

Stormy Peterson is a fine artist cultivated in the foothills of the Olympic Peninsula, believer of Bigfoot with a background in apparel and textiles merchandising, and design.  Visit The Longshoreman’s Daughter herself, at http://stormaculus.blogspot.com/

Love Above Fear

By Lisette Kiene

I feel deep grief about “humans”, including myself.
I feel loss, I miss the human race.
I know these words are deep…
but where do we stand as humans?
I always have one sentence on my mind,
‘do not leave anyone behind’
I still haven’t figured out what exactly
the meaning is of that sentence.

Humanity knows many different faces, along the line of history.
We slowly devalued ourselves.
I struggled with it quite a while,
the skeptical way we look at each other, other people’s
expectations and judgments.
We choose comfort over curiousness, to feel safe
in a group or way of life.
Humanity… We don’t feel oneness anymore.
Whatever the reason or problems people may have,
we set up a life we didn’t really want.
We define ourselves by our past instead of thinking
who we are now.
It makes me sad when people escape reality… at the end
we can’t escape what could have been.
Maybe we forgot to reach out,
to say, I love you…
Above the pain, what is the structure of love?

Love is increasingly becoming a commercial machine,
through fear, through war, through hatred and loneliness.
It is taken away and then used again,
to divide humans and to keep control.
Without love we cannot call ourselves “human”… Love
becomes a drug and we take it eagerly.
At the expense of what?
Our freedom to be human is classified, sold and
The concept of love is full of rules,
and we buy it… even literally. We believe it.
They say ‘it is for humanity’s own good’, to feel loved
again, worthy, to feel safe… to feel human.
Words are not innocent.
When are we free again?
If we want love in this world, we should give it away,
without obligation and regardless the situation our
fellow human beings are involved in.
We should learn to change, to trust ourselves,
to trust humanity…
and there lies my hope, instead of misery we could
also see the joy in each other.

They say ‘you have to love yourself first’
and that saddens me the most.
I know it’s maybe strange of me to say, to feel like that
but with the sentence ‘you have to love yourself first’,
we are divided to the core.
Maybe we must learn to love humanity first, by that
you will find love for yourself, essentially we are all
human beings.
I admit, I tried to ‘love myself first’ as well.
I ended up feeling lonely. It’s a lonely one way to meet
yourself as an individual.
Who are we as individuals?

Isn’t it true, at the core ”the individual” is a human being too?
There I found a thin line between self love and humanity.
We hardly know what it means to be human anymore,
by systematic oppression of races, societies, ideas,
religions and beliefs.
Pay attention to what’s going on in the world, your country,
what your government is doing, what is coming from
societies, businesses, companies, authorities.
How close are they to humanity?
We get confused by fear and pressure, fight to survive,
it’s a downward spiral.

What kind of perspective do we have as human beings?
I always have one sentence on my mind,
‘do not leave anyone behind.’
Maybe that sentence is the spark that we need… to find our way
back to humanity.
Look out into the world… give
’love above fear’
and perhaps we have more in common then we already know…
Someday humanity will find its place in the world,
without leaving anyone behind.
what would be our future reality?
Where do you stand?

© 2019 Lisette Kiene

Lisette Kiene lives in Gouda, The Netherlands,
is a graphic designer & owner of a Creative Soul.
She is a believer of an endless destination, naturally.
She transforms thoughts and whisperings into writing.
She follows her own melody.

cloud songs

                            Above us
                                     open spaces.


                                     Voices carry
                                                      so far
                                                      you wonder.

                  not always truthful,
                  not always clear.

   Desire for something greater.
          Unchecked expectations,

          how can you know
                             you are?

      Shadows simply
        shade the past.

What illuminates your future?

Little by little
          infinite increments
               your self,
              your soul

                              swallowed up in darkness,
                                  awaiting broad daylight.

© 2019 j.g. lewis