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 a slip 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.

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.

The Novel-Writing Experience

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i have never experienced anything similar to the experience of writing a novel — the ceaseless trance of creating a world of people and events. as the writer, i am entirely consumed by this world that i’ve created. it occupies the majority of my thoughts. i imagine it’s very much like falling in love; it’s the beloved that you go to sleep and wake up thinking about. new ideas and ventures, new characters and more details about the existing ones and ways to rewrite the currently occurring events are constantly filling my mind. the process is exactly like a map being drawn, and it’s only colored and detailed when put into words. this manifestation came unexpectedly and took me by surprise. it was the art that came out of the pain i was feeling when i started it. it’s only been two weeks, but the wound is already mending and feels more inclined to healing than getting infected.

if this isn’t magic (it sure is), and if it isn’t the light at the end of this little tunnel of mine (i know it is), then i’d love to live longer and experience more magic and lights at the ends of tunnels if they come close or possibly even exceed the wonder of what i’m experiencing right now.

Split

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i want to cry. it feels like a mountain of pain is building up inside of me. my eyes well up with tears, but as soon as i blink they disappear. nothing falls. there’s no door to release this angst. i feel the muscles of my face tensing, i feel how my teeth are gritting, i feel the grief that’s all over my face — hell i even feel it in the way i’m walking. i’m listening to the same two songs on repeat. i feel a strong urge to talk to someone. but i have none. it’s only me, my pathetic words that no one will ever read, and nature. i just take myself on walks. i’ve been walking more than i’ve been sitting, and i’ve been alone more than i’ve been with company. i’m not okay. far from it.

there’s this strange thing that’s happening inside me though. a co-existence of opposite forces. pain and gratitude. anger and compassion. fear and love. burning rage and calming surrender. the pain speaks, it invades my body with its sensations, and then gratitude speaks and its light permeates my body. i sense both a blankness and a sparkle in my stare, both lifelessness and vibrance in my skin.

i’m both happy and sad. both angry and understanding. both lonely and whole. i don’t know what to do, and i don’t know who to share myself with. i just walk and then sit on a bench and write and then walk again and sit again. i keep going in circles, and my head doesn’t even get dizzy. i just keep going, keep experiencing opposites and extremes. i feel like i’m drowning and flying simultaneously.

i don’t know what to do. i don’t know what to do. i have no one but myself. no one but my goddamned self.


{this piece was written in july during summer vacation. i wish i can walk around in nature every time i feel sad.}

Collection: Unrequited Love

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1. ‘Because I Love You’
would it matter now
if i told you that i love you?

that i’ve loved you
for the past two years
and been too scared
of your rejection.

would you come to me
to mend your heart
after he breaks it?

because i’d take you.
i’d take you without a single thought
and i’d wrap my arms around you
even though i know you could never
love anyone like you loved him.

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2. ‘Independent Love’
i’d notice
how your eyes
don’t sparkle when you see me

i’d notice
how your lips
don’t smile at the mention of my name

i’d notice
how your skin
doesn’t fill with goosebumps when i touch you

and i’d still love you
because my love for you
is non of your business
unless you love me too

because unless love was
independent and unconditional
i don’t think it’s love at all

and because
i wouldn’t accept anything less or more
i wouldn’t give anything less or more

that’s why i’m leaving

i’ll live my life
and i’ll let my love for you
be the standard to which i will be loved

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3. ‘The Choice to Leave’
i respect you too much
to let you stay in a relationship
with someone you’re not madly in love with

and i respect myself enough
to save myself from this feeling
of unworthiness and unlovableness

photos from Book of Dreams

Mornings in Seefeld

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i’ve been waking up early; opening my eyes to a field of sleek grass, couples playing golf; showering in sweet cold water, putting my nikes on and slipping out the door to the freshest air my lungs have ever breathed; the joy of the present moment makes my feet feel giddy, and so i let them speed up to a jog; cold air, warm air, i can’t decide because i’m too occupied with how pure it feels; i find myself in roads between houses and hotels, the smell of breakfast toast and coffee invades my nose and stimulates my senses; i’m fueled by a craving for bread that sends me running faster, looking forward to breakfast; i go to the supermarket and let my hands pick up what my body craves without any judgment or apprehension — i choose to be a child that’s too alive and careless to think about labels and ingredients; i walk all the way back to the hotel, put my craving on a plate, sit in front of the huge balcony window, and enjoy myself just like i used to when i was seven; too invigorated to stay inside, i grab my novel and notebook and walk to my favorite café, order an americano, and start writing.

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Stuck

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by Alex Stoddard

there’s a cloud of sadness sailing in the sky of my heart, obscuring the sun of my soul. i’m lost in a sea of idle desires that mean nothing to me as me, not the me that’s in the world. my mind is infatuated with ideas that are too silly and destructive for the sake of my contentment. it clutched onto a desire and turned it into an obsession. i have completely lost myself in the yearning that i’ve never once allowed myself to actually look at my life and see that i had a good part of what i wanted. until i lost it. or didn’t. i don’t even know anymore. i’m so fucking stuck. it’s like my rationality cannot cooperate with what my eyes are telling me. i feel and think and see that i am both what i want and what i don’t have. it’s not a mixture — more like a co-existence of the two opposites. it’s tiring. you never know what’s real. you look for clues in what people say to you or the way they treat you, but you don’t believe what they think of you, especially their compliments. you doubt it all because you don’t even know your own truth. one day you’re okay, you see that you have a wonderful life, and one day you’re just deflated. it keeps changing up from good days to bad days to good days to bad days as months pass and then years pass and you realize just how much you’ve changed, what you’ve gained and what you’ve lost along the way. and you’re struck with something else now. nostalgia. wishing to be back there because it looks better than right here even though you know it wasn’t really any better at all.