THE PARADOX of OUR TIMES …

Is that we have taller buildings, but shorter tempers; Wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but we have less; We have bigger houses, but smaller families; More conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees, but less sense; More knowledge, but less judgment; More experts, but more problems; More medicines, but less wellness. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values; We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often; We have learnt how to make a living, but not a life; We have added years to life, but not life to years; We’ve been all the way to the moon and back; But have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbour. We have conquered outer space, but not inner space; We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted our soul; We’ve split the atom, but not our prejudice; We’ve higher incomes, but lower morals; We’ve become long on quantity but short on quality; These are the times of tall men, and short character; Steep profits, and shallow relationships. These are the times of world peace, but domestic warfare; More leisure, but less fun; more kinds of food, but less nutrition; These are the days of two incomes, but more divorces; Of fancier houses, but broken homes; It is a time when there is much in the show window; And nothing in the stockroom. – By His Holiness the Dalai Lama | https://youtu.be/jGKrM-PSYwE

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AUGUST 05, 2018 | Community …

COMMUNITY | “We are not called by God to do extraordinary things, but to do ordinary things with extraordinary love. Every child, every person needs to know that they are a source of joy; every child, every person, needs to be celebrated, honoured, valued and included. Only when all of our weaknesses are accepted as part of our humanity can our negative, broken self-images be transformed, for a community comes about when people are no longer hiding from one another, no longer pretending or proving their value to another.” – Jean Vanier | https://youtu.be/OHx4SyN7UWc

SYLLABUS …

1. Grooves | At the beginning O’Malley dreamed of becoming a train conductor; his fascination with these machines was almost an obsession. His mother had taken him to a miniature train showroom and what the youthful O’Malley saw in that large space was – in his eyes – out of this world. Soon afterwards, he received his first model train, featuring a little town, a few hills, and wooden people – the days were filled with simple joys.

2. Planes | a day spent at the international Airport piqued his curiosity and the imagination; flying was a must, in any capacity. His first miniature plane arrived shortly thereafter. Of course, ships were something else altogether – a blessed weekend at a major sea port close to the capital city was, simply put, extraordinary – navigating the oceans found a place on his growing list to be, and naturally that Christmas he got his first miniature powered boat, whistles and all – captain O’Malley was to be at the helm, one fine day.

3. Oceans | The early years were memorable; friendly neighbourhoods, a comfortable life provided by his parents, decent schools, and the emerging curiosity of first “loves” – basically, clowning around in wooden horses, imagining lands to explore in a country so much defined by its geography. Weekends were often communal affairs – fish meals to share, breads to pass along, and good wine to celebrate new adventures.

4. Identity | By the time O’Malley was ten, he become aware of its internal class conflicts as well – what your last name was, in the existing order, who your friends were, town or regal scents – even, your “enemies” where labelled so; and, what sort of future you were to have, if any. Few wanted to talk about such matters least his parents – they preferred to foster the idea of an idyllic nation; you are too young to ask these questions son – O’Malley was told a number of times, don’t grow-up too quick …

5. Pathways | Years later, O’Malley soon found himself in the midst of a massive gathering, his first – it seemed rather inconsequential at the time, yet, it become indelibly imprinted in his soul. He remembered right to his expiry date the wondrous voices, chants and hand-made signs, the local chapters and passionate neighbourhoods.

6. Syllabus | On a fine spiritual Sunday, O’Malley remembered his mother’s teachings; after all, he was the source of his love for the arts, literature and the humanities. Mama, he whispered, what would you like to see in the world? Well, she replied, above all; let there be peace in the hearts and minds of men, wherever geography they may be on.

7. A Mother for All Seasons | Indeed mama; let us be better fathers, mothers, friends, brothers, sisters, daughters, lovers, companions, spouses, confidants, colleagues, neighbours, co-workers, politicians, civil servants, policymakers, community leaders, cultural workers, new internationalists, engaged citizens. Let us be better humans.

© Leo Campos Aldunez
Edmonton (AB) Canada

Track: Bloom | by © William Prince

https://youtu.be/icHiB66oeiQ

SURFACING | FEBRUARY 24, 2018 |

FEBRUARY 24, 2018 | Had the universe asked me about how my life would unfold since my last birthday a year ago I wouldn’t have known how to answer – the moment was dark in several levels – yet, please to report that a year has gone by and my body, mind and soul is doing much better – resilience, the survival instinct, and some very special people in my life/community (personal & professional) have much to do with it. Now, at 63 I find myself in wondrous reawakening with a deep sense of gratitude. The bonus of the story; I also met someone special last summer – Carmencita – shortly after I was released from the Grey Nuns Hospital following a serious vascular operation – the gratitude to the universe and the angels that surround us is even profounder – a series of insightful gatherings and playful interludes followed, while the alchemy of love unfolded. In any case, my heartfelt appreciation to my new love, and all the friends who came to visit me during my recovery in the past few months – you know who you are – thank you for being my friend and for being there after all these years. Poetry & Alma writing will resume, soon. Hugs and to life! | Smiling face with halo LCA

Album: Sweet Summer Days | Windham Hill Jazz

Ray Obiedo 1997 © | https://youtu.be/UGdAAx9szO4

INTERPARES @ 4:00 AM

His breathing is slow, broken, harsh – Que Pasa?!

His temperature falling; he shivers – Que Pasa?!

His body trembles; 3 blankets are not enough – Que Pasa?!

Emergency Response Team gathers – noises, voices – Que Pasa?!

Michael; can you breathe? If something happens, do not resuscitate, you hear! Michael; can you breathe? Cold oxygen pumping through now – Nurse! Cold oxygen; night of many sorrows – Doctor! I wish for more warm blankets – Administrator! Roommate; you stay with us – you hear?

Care: Good grief; blood pressure dropping ominously – you stay here! Michael; can you hear me? Breathe deep now; in, and out | Breathe gently now; in and out | Breathe dulcemente now; in and out. Think of your beloved daughter; breathe in and out | Hope: Think about what remains to be done; breathe in and out | See the loving welcoming embrace of your closest friends; breathe in and out | Michael; can you hear me now? Puedes respirar? Compassion: Your daughter is smiling at you; see her? Stay with us; you hear?! Yes; breathe in; breathe out. Love surrounds you.

© Leo Campos Aldunez, July 26, 2017 |

Theme: Salvation, by GuGabriel ©

| https://youtu.be/U_p7sFwfQZw |

THE STRING of UNCERTAINTY …

1. Down is Up – Up is Down. Through several wandering years, unconventional lifestyles and abided by the rule of law one can notwithstanding get the idea of uniformity, as if the his story, the perpetual literary narrative at the loner’s café required a special reintroduction, along with a gift certificate naturally. First person singular; pain populating his body, life going sideways afloat an old continental shell. Two days to disappear? Maybe a week? Travel to Barcelona as the last act of departure? Or return to the arms of an old lover still waiting in the imaginary mystery of a story that remains echoing through various narrators.

2. A dear friend brought a bottle of wine – just what was needed at that moment to uplift the spirt of an old wonder warrior. I want to see you on the public square once again brother, he said as we tasted the deep Chilean red – and we are not abandoning you either – stoicism yes; amicable? Always. I know it has been hard; but you will survive – is it worth it, I asked – what remains to be done? I couldn’t take another winter of deep sadness and loneliness. You need to write a different story, my friend said; heal, and get to the square with refreshed outlook – short stories; long stories, invisible stories. I look at my friend and see the intersection of a deep calling to serve, and the philanthropy of distant lands, and the soul of a woman in the distance that keep on giving.

3. Legally or illegally; remaining or exiting, he was now looking for temporary sanctuary and a shore of respite; an old man navigating a long literary goodbye. Show me the streets! The cafes, the movements of a renaissance, show me hope! – let me thank you all for your equanimity, and for showing up when it really mattered. I guess we can now return to some kind of test of passage and fall sleep with the pride of having been of service to our fellow human beings – heroes, heroines, silently; idyllically blending in, fading to black on a postcard of gratitude – infamously lonely, and faraway.

© Leo Campos Aldunez

Edmonton, AB (Canada)

Music: The Best of Carol King

https://youtu.be/i5hNRStIDe8 | Sony Music ©

AFTER the FOG

1. It was a strange visit, summoning the voices of the past for a gathering of the perpetually vain. Was there a particular communion among its participants? A superior order deeply embedded in our own subconscious minds leading us towards a new holiness of all things? Doubtfully. For Jerry O’Connor, it was just another photo opportunity to announce what was already there, a bit more self-gratifying, and a few extra claims about how “we have taken the place to new highs” – new and old club members clapping, and naturally, the selfies that came along with it. It was all going to be on the front pages tomorrow; some going straight to influential positions, others right to hell, or some compassionate limbo until the next call for a revival of their political souls. At that juncture, however, O’Connor saw no reason to change, but to retain some self-respect and make plans for his winter holidays in Bora-Bora.

2. Mary received the text inquiring about special deals to sunny destinations; in the old days it would have been a regular voice call or a fax, now, everything was fast & furious through the digital landscape – efficiency was essential; not mystical actions from the “guardians of tradition” – she replied there were same sales for Bora Bora, was he interested? Yes; O’Connor said back; terms and conditions? Please see myborabora.ca for details, and select the package most suitable for your needs, thank you.

3. Taking a vacation was something recommended by one of his most trusted advisors; McCoy, the fellow who had maintained law and order within the ranks – had one motto and one motto only – while reclaiming our natural territory, keep repeating the following; they brought havoc to our economy, nothing but pain and we are the cure, a confident team ready to serve … Ah; what would we be do without McCoy, redefining our constituencies with a large and multivolume new flag of renewal – would the masses buy it? Indeed; a holiday in Bora Bora was a refreshing breather …

4. Meanwhile, in the midst of a serious economic collapse, the general conversation gravitated towards entertaining general elections somewhere else, mostly in the US where militants of various kinds, guided by populist doctrinaires and “homegrown-demagogues” where having a field day telling working people everything is “rigged” and the “elites are weak and deeply corrupt” – their most outspoken fellow? Enter Malarkey man, a strange entity with no history or experience in public service, but apparently rapacious sexual appetites. This “model citizen” had managed to tap into some people’s fears however misguided, and with ferocity along the lines of “the public square is full of undesirables; we are no longer the shining city on the hill” – the punch line being; but do not worry kids, I am the one to fix this debacle and bring our country back to its former glories. We shall be great; again.

5. Back on our country, federal and a few provincial elections in the bag, we faced new paradoxes – wanted to be authentic to the values and callings of progressive world-views; managing a tanking economy and its painful human costs, with no end in sight, although, some modest signs of recovery had begun to show. On my bulletin board, I see the picture of little Aylan Kurdi reminding me the shores of a forsaken land; and how much remains to be done to reclaim our humanity. New arrivals on our borders now; doors opening and kitchen tables are enlarged to receive them with generosity.

6. While the wildfires were burning, solidarity heard the calling – kindness emerged from unexpected places; a friend on a parallel journey, at times a ghost from another era reappeared and his company become somewhat comforting, reassuring, as it were. Then I heard some other voices I have been missing for a while – we’re here too, they whispered. Embraces ensued, a gentle touch; the company of good men manifested; live another day brother, let the fog disappear. –

© Leo Campos Aldunez

Edmonton, AB (Canada)

Track: Sailor, Sailor | © Aqua Tarta Music

Gaye Delorme | https://youtu.be/-LzpDhEaXzw