A Series of Seasons

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by Nathan Dumlao

i’m starting to understand that life composes itself in the form of a series of seasons. you go through phases in which your personality portrays attributes and behaviors and beliefs and emotions which ultimately aim to expand your soul and fulfill its earthly purpose with the lessons you come out with. some seasons are harder and darker, while others are smoother and carry winds of serenity and peace — and only the wise of us can combine both, maintaining the innate and ceaseless peace of their spirit as they tackle the unpleasant circumstances in their outer world that are but reflections of their inner subconscious workings. i think that there’s no such thing as a mistake, no such thing as time wasted, and definitely no such thing as a bad person. we are made up of dualities and we have the innate ability to embody the exact opposite of what we are at the moment. by that i mean that one cannot value the magic of joyfulness without knowing the misery of sadness; that one cannot display genuine kindness and compassion without having witnessed or been an embodiment of anger and cruelty even in the smallest scale like a loss of temper or trip of the tongue; and that one cannot possibly have a presence of peace and serenity and an attitude of equanimity without having been through the kind of deep suffering that seals itself with immortal divine wisdom.

in essence, we play the role of a canvas; we are the sky whose blueness is exposed by the light of sun, and whose darkness is revealed by the absence of it. our bodies are the vehicle through which our soul manifests itself; and our lives are the screen on which the movie of our minds is constantly playing — all to fulfill the sole purpose of soul expansion through a human experience.

The Recovery Phase

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by Shadman Sakib

i am in the recovery phase.

i fell and shattered and took a turn to a decision that elicited more fear in me than peace, and that smelled more of wrongness than rightness, and that felt too early than in the best possible time. the decision was to drop out of university at the age of eighteen, before even finishing my first year, and with no guaranteed plan for my coming days, let alone my years.

at the exact middle of the week, i faced the reality that having no purpose in life and nothing to fill my mornings with was not the way i wanted to spend my days, so i put the gear on reverse and spurred back to the decision-making district. i accepted the fact that even if i struggled through the coming three years, it would be more peaceful than suffering through purposelessness and floating in the sickening skies of uncertainty. the path of university has a guaranteed end to it, while the latter is plagued with foggy nothingness and fear. lots of fear. so i took the decision to carry on with my studies.

now it’s the end of the week and my mind is up in the sky, testing the cloud of the state i would currently be in had i remained in the same state of mind as i’d been in during the start of the week, and feeling utter relief and gratitude for lounging in the fluffy cloud of having done the right thing. hence, i refer to this as the recovery stage; i’m here, in the better position, but i can’t stop thinking about the mistake i would have made and the position i would be in at the moment had i carried on with it.

Dwindling Potential

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by Eivind Hamran

i feel like i’m a bundle of dwindling potential

for i have all these ideas and all these dreams

without a single clue on how to go about

bringing them to life

i feel as though i am nothing but a shadow

of the life i could be creating for myself

Arabic

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i wish it was in my own language that i befriended words
i wish it was in my mother tongue that poetry flowed through me
i wish, with deep anguish and shame, that i didn’t lose myself and stray away from the greatest language of all that i so happened to be luckily born into


photos by the incredibly talented Noor Al Ali

Crossroads

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by Leo Berne

what if i dropped out of uni
and had all the time in the world
to do all the things i want to do?

what if i had all the means and connections
to bring to life all those amazing ideas i have?

what if i read from dawn to dusk
and wrote tens of poems throughout
and poured thousands of words into a novel
and had a great record of success under my name?

what if i had the freedom to travel the world
and stay as much as my heart desired,
created art out of my days
and eterneties out of my moments?

would i be happy then?
completely fulfilled?
not at all distressed?
without a speck of regret
for not earning a college degree?

is it really truly
one’s experienced wisdom
and inventive ideas
that lead them to legitimate success?

or is it a paper falsely valued as proof
of intelligence and expertise based off
memorized textbooks and daunting stress?

i just can’t reason with this world.
and i am ashamed and disheartened
and eaten up by self-pitying gloom
for not having the courage
to take a stand for myself
and do what i know is right for me to pursue.