Popular Posts

Monday, August 22, 2016

Presumption of Innocence

One of the most important principles upon which the American judicial system is based is the presumption of innocence.  Regardless of how heavily evidence may appear to be weighted against someone, the law requires that we consider him innocent of all wrongdoing until testimony in court proves otherwise.  And holding this position can be very difficult to do when an individual has already been charged, arrested and bound over for trial.  We cannot help but speculate and draw conclusions regarding what looks like culpability when law enforcement has already moved to take action.

This very conundrum of the law is also a strapping example of how we often react to
each other when we are faced with a disagreement and experience the accompanying backlash of emotion.

When an individual addresses us in an unfeeling or harsh manner or rampages over what we consider to be an innocent remark, it is a very short jaunt to our accusation that HE is guilty of creating the chaos.  We pronounce him GUILTY of wrongdoing.  Guilty as charged.  BY us.  Guilty on the face of it. 

But, perhaps, this is the exact moment when we need to consider the principle of presumption of innocence.

Let me explain.

Tracy McMillan
, American author, television writer and relationship expert, makes the profound observation:  People act on the outside the way they feel on the inside.

Whoa!  That is a very significant reveal into the psyche of others.  And an important confirmation of the pain they are feeling.  Someone who acts miserably is feeling miserable inside.   Someone who speaks in an angry manner is angry in his heart.  Someone who accuses others of wrongdoing is really accusing himself.

Here is where the principle of presumption of innocence enters the picture.  Each and every one of us carries the beautiful heart we came into the world with… the lovely innocence and joy and peace of the newly born.  When we incarnate, each and every one of us enters into an agreement to experience life and to learn from the lessons.  But "experiencing" can be very painful, confusing and difficult and the "learning" can take a very long time. When we interact with someone who is still "learning" from his "experience", we are actually witnessing that innocent heart struggling through the self-selected challenges of earth school.

And, rather than reacting to our original perception of wrongdoing,  it is a loving and generous thing for us to presume the innocence of that primal heart which is still trying to find its way through the difficulties it is encountering.  That heart is still suffering… this much is clear.  As Tracy McMillan tells us, we are being shown by the outside action of an individual the nature of the suffering he is enduring within.

And, it is in this moment, that we are called by Compassion to presume the innocence of an individual and the absence of his conscious, harmful intent and, instead, to extend love and understanding to him for the pain that is clearly still in emotional residence and complicating the issues at hand.  

Appearances can be very deceiving and  what we see as attacks on our person are only the countless interwoven stories of earth dwellers finding their way through the pain of unhealed hurt and the havoc it causes when brought to bear on a triggering situation.  Supporting and understanding others during this time of emotional affliction is an act of unconditional love that helps them gain the hard won clarity of self-confrontation.  When we have no one to react to, we are left to examine ourselves.

"Although we cannot help but speculate and draw conclusions regarding what looks like culpability," it is an extraordinary act of trust and wisdom to offer to someone the LOVE that helps him access the inner chambers of his heart.

                                                                                         Marie Helena

image from pinterest


Saturday, August 13, 2016

A Tender Place

I believe there is a very tender place in every human heart.  A place where unconditional love and compassion resideThis is a gift we come into the world with but, sadly, gets clouded over from the limiting experiences we undergo.  As a result of this, it is sometimes difficult to access this beautiful oasis because we have all been scarred by emotional debris and are in varying stages of doing the work of clearing it out.

I believe there is a way to access this place...a way to help ourselves and to help others connect with this beautiful resource and that is by letting them know the emotions we are experiencing in our body.

So often, when we are triggered or affected by an assumption or a comment made by others, we react with stony silence or a counterattack, drawing the conclusion that we have not been supported or understood.  We feel alone… and sad… and uncared for.  But the reason we feel this way may be that we have not clearly communicated in a very primal and pure way what we are physically experiencing in that moment

When we choose to engage with another in a moment of upset or distress exclusively in the mode of this-is-what-you-did-to-me, we miss the opportunity to avail ourselves of a resource of great power that has the potential to bridge the chasm that we are feeling between ourselves and another...and, that is, the sharing of the raw emotions we are experiencing

What if when we feel upset or attacked instead of moving immediately into an expression of blame or hurt feelings, we were to take a breath and softly and gently describe the feelings that are taking hold of our body?

For example, we might make a comment such as "In this moment I feel my heart racing and my chest feels tight and I don't know why."

For some beautiful, and, I believe, spiritual reason, the nonjudgmental description of the emotions we are experiencing in that moment has an intense, transformative effect on both individuals involved in the conversation. The person describing the feelings being experienced accesses what lies beneath his surface default reaction of protecting and defending themselves. The person who hears the feelings described experiences the sharing of sacred information.  And both are transformed in that moment because they have together entered into a journey of exploring the pain that is occurring without the heavy armor of accusation, guilt and recrimination. 

In order for an experience such as this to take place, both individuals need to be prepared for it and agree to this very different response to conflict.  Perhaps an understanding can be reached during a peaceful moment to speak to each other in this manner when feeling deep distress.

There is something so intuitive, so powerful that occurs when we truly feel the stirrings...and sadness...of the human heart.  That beautiful, tender place in each of us rises up effortlessly in this epic moment for the purpose of understanding and soothing the emotions being revealed with such deep authenticity.

Whether we are the person expressing the emotions revealing themselves in our body or the person hearing them expressed by another… in this interaction, we enter into a sacred covenant of understanding and compassion, helping to heal ourselves and helping to heal another.

As simple as a soft, gentle step away from the usual fray we engage in and into a space of Divine interaction, offering and receiving the tender grace of a kind and loving heart.

                                                                                                Marie Helena

image from pinterest.com

Saturday, August 6, 2016


The initial note...
the dawning...
the "ceremony"

that leads us into the space of 

So salient, so critical...the overture that fashions the response to what is about to unfold.

What kind of "prelude" do we usually create in that compelling moment before we engage in the discussion of a burning issue?

Do we "get right down to business"...not even noticing whether our audience is ready (and calm enough) to receive the "message" on our mind?

Do we begin by listing the words or actions that are affecting or, possibly, distressing us?

Do we describe in great detail our view of how things SHOULD have unfolded?

It would be so easy to launch into one of these approaches when we are upset and disturbed by someone's actions. But, by failing to create a space which invites heart sharing, we may well up the ante on distress and significantly lessen our chance of working out our problem with mutual intention and cooperation.

The PRELUDE that we need here in this moment (before we engage in discussion of the issue) should flow from an open heart...a heart that trusts in finding solutions that minister to EVERYONE'S needs. And this intention can be voiced as a prelude to the "discussion".

Here are some examples of what we might say...

I want to share my feelings with you and hear what your feelings are.

I want to tell you what I would like to do and have you tell me what you would like to happen.

I want to honor my feelings and also honor yours.

I trust that we will find a way to navigate this moment that will take care of both of us.

I want to give and receive love, support, joy and wisdom. And I thank you for taking the time and making the effort to do this with me."

The first moments of an encounter can meet everyone's emotional need to feel "heard" and "cared for".

By holding...and voicing...a clear and loving intention to peacefully approach our issue, we set into motion the vibrational
PRELUDE that leads to peace, honoring and harmony.

    Marie Helena

image from Angelsinnature.wordpress.com

Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Adventure of Receiving

 It all seems so simple.  

We've been knocking around a while, experiencing life... becoming seasoned travelers through our adventures and struggles and have drawn some conclusions about how to navigate things.  We know what feels good to us and we like to act on those feelings.  That way, things seem predictable...they feel right.  And, furthermore, we are most comfortable when someone responds to us in the way that WE respond…the way that we prefer.  What we consider the RIGHT way.  The perfect moment for us is when someone acts exactly as WE do.  

But maybe this is not our real perfection.

While it is true that life would feel predictable if everyone acted exactly the way we did, that feels almost like the Stepford Wives story, doesn't it?   Mindless echoing of our thoughts and opinions.  And that scenario gets old really quick.  It's not enjoyable to be surrounded by parrots who keep "squawking" our own words back at us.

And we do not HAVE TO live in that Stepford world.
  It's V E R Y boring and there are no invitations and opportunities to transcend the sticky moments of life.  The messy, really challenging, mountain climbing, truly soul satisfying stuff that teaches us new ways of looking at things.

We get to ENJOY the ADVENTURE of not knowing what will cross our path.
  Not knowing if our words, thoughts and actions will be affirmed, well received or questioned.  Not even imagining the life clues for us that could fall from someone's lips or the example their life story might provide for us.  Receiving all of this sensory stimulation
being delivered in varying states of emotion, sometimes dramatically different from the way we perceive what is happening or how we feel about it.

THIS is where the perfect adventure begins…witnessing, experiencing, RECEIVING the different ways that people think and feel and express themselves about life.

And this can be VERY interesting…puzzling, even intriguing and sometimes downright eccentric for these experiences reveal to us a great deal about the mystery of each person we encounter and the messages they may hold for us.

To truly take all of this in it is important to have NO expectations
.… to be completely OPEN to whatever wants to present itself in our world whether it takes us completely by surprise, excites or even irritates us or produces a feeling of camaraderie.   It is essential for us to not require others to walk through life exactly as we do. 

If we can feel at ease with this supposition, we can experience our own exciting ADVENTURE every single day. Actually, every single moment. Everything we encounter brings us new information, new perceptions and invariably teaches us something new we need to learn.  We are the RECEIVER in this fascinating experiment...a whirlwind of continuing new sensory impressions swirling around us, tapping us on the shoulder, inviting us to see something in a different and often creative way.

And THAT is The Adventure of Receiving, a gift of life intrinsic to this dimension.

                                                                                                 Marie Helena

image from Paintings on Pinterest
Krishna, African Art and Abstract Paintings

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Dreaming You


Whatever is happening in your life is coming from an image you hold about yourself.
  The images you send out attract situations to you.  These pictures are absolutely
  available to your conscious awareness.  You can change any situation by looking at
  and changing your vision of yourself.

                                 Sanaya Roman
                                            Personal Power through Awareness

I'm always so clumsy.
I can't cook.
I am never comfortable telling people what I really feel.

The descriptions we give ourselves are the source of our behavior.  Whatever we believe to be true determines the course of our actions. 
It's the biology of belief. 

And it belongs to us.  

Granted, we were influenced by our families, society and the world around us.  They all helped by providing us with some predispositions to these images but guess who made the final purchase?  Oh yes, we bought in.  And when we did that, we set a course for ourselves that would play out in a hundred different ways.

Here's the good news. 

We are NOT stuck on those checkpoints.  Even though we may think we are and give up on ourselves ever becoming anything different.

The fact is we have INDISPUTABLE CONTROL over these images and just need to choose their replacements. 

OK, maybe not JUST choose...because there is some work involved.  It includes conscious awareness, creativity, focus and follow through.  But we can handle that...we earth dwellers are constantly reinventing ourselves...we just need to reinvent in the right direction.

Instead of whining about how we are losing our touch...what if we were to SEE ourselves as bright, alert, tuned in

Instead of feeling we lack the motivation to realize our dream, we can begin to see ourselves full of joy and satisfaction, creating something beautiful for the world in physical form or in the beautiful love and compassion we send out.  

We already have the resource we need for this exercise...it's  our IMAGINATION.
What if...just for tomorrow...we hold this amazing image of ourselves living each moment with attention and awareness and appreciation and gratitude? And what if our new fabulous image is totally feeling JOY and having FUN exploring the glorious moments we can create for ourselves?
Sounds like a winner to me.  High vibration.  Open, aware, connecting with life...someone we would so love to be around.

Ooops....that's already WHO we are and we got there by dreaming
ourselvesNow watch  how THIS  delightful person attracts the most fabulous scenarios into her life.

                                                                                    Marie Helena                                                    

website for the image

1891455-2-dreaming « The New Writers

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Honoring of Pain

When I am healed,

  I am not healed alone.

A Course in Miracles


Even though we may make a practice of consciously expressing ourselves in a thoughtful, considerate manner, when we speak to others, sometimes the words we choose or the way we speak them unwittingly ignite a land mine of unhealed emotions buried in someone's psyche.  And, sometimes, the person we are addressing is not even aware that the turbulence now showing itself has been brewing under the surface. 

In this moment, without meaning to, we have pressed a hot button and our button-pressing, unfortunately, gives way to an explosion of fear based emotion fiercely aimed in our direction. 

Voices intensify. Energy steeps and stews.  Now EVERYBODY is feeling agitated and the stage is set for torment and tribulation.

Or not.

WHAT IF in our own emotional evolution, we have learned a powerful way to defuse a distressing situation...and bring insight to the chaos?

WHAT IF we have learned to OBJECTIVELY observe what is occurring?  To step back and dispassionately discern another's distressful reaction?   

WHAT IF with compassion (and no trace of judgment) we were to gently and patiently ask the other if fear or anxiety has flared up in them in that moment?  To ask what conclusions they may have drawn?  What pain they may be feeling?

WHAT IF we were to study their PROCESS to help us understand the "message" of their emotions? 

Moving from the heat of the moment's reaction to a gentle desire to understand what is transpiring in another is a profound act of transformation.  It is the practice of alchemy...the process of transmuting a common substance into a substance of great value...for the gift of compassion and the desire to understand bring to light pain that needs to be released and a heart badly in need of soothing.  

Is there a greater gift we can give to another than to see and hear and honor what has unconsciously been driving their behavior and deeply affecting their view of the world?

We are here together to minister to each other and help release the pain that is preventing the experience of joy.  

We are here together to listen to the "music" of each other's heart...no matter the cadence or cacophony...creating a symphony of acceptance, love and understanding.  

We are here together to share the treasure of our own spiritual evolution.

The honoring of pain...however it shows itself...is a most eloquent expression of compassion.  And, when we create these moments of beauty, we experience the wonder of that gift being reflected back to us by others who have been touched by the gentleness of our hearts.  

                                                                                      Marie Helena

 image from innerharmony.com


Saturday, July 16, 2016

Remembrance: Why We Should Forgive Ourselves

The supreme act of forgiveness is when you can forgive yourself for all the wounds you've created in your own life. Forgiveness is an act of self-love. When you forgive yourself, self-acceptance begins and self-love grows,

Don Miguel Ruiz

As we write the story of our life, our learning occurs in a myriad of ways.  Sometimes the path is straight and clear.  We take action that feels instinctively right...it works beautifully...we benefit and all is well.

Sometimes our learning takes a different path.
Sometimes we are influenced by unhealed pain, hurt, unmet needs, etc. and we choose a path that is not in our best interest.  But, at that time, the choice we made felt like the only way we could go.
And so we went there.  And it was not what we expected.
All was not well.  And we ultimately JUDGED ourselves for the choice and stayed mired in sadness and regret.

Writing the story of our life is not usually a black and white endeavor.  Sometimes we are drawn to what SEEMS like a solution but ultimately does not deliver on that (false) promise. 

However, our learning can occur quite brilliantly
when we can view our actions with some objectivity...
perhaps uncover what has moved us in that direction...
love ourselves through the pain of self-confrontation,,,
and emerge with a stronger, braver view of what we want to do with our lives.

Judging ourselves (or anyone or anything) is not productive. 
It delays our process of learning.
What is needed is an open, accepting heart that understands we were trying to navigate some difficulty...a heart which knows that LOVE is always expressing itself the best way it knows how.

What we did is what we knew.  When we know better, we do better.

And, as we reflect on our choices and their consequences, we begin to know better and we do better.  We pass by judgment, embracing instead our humanity and moving forward with new wisdom and insight.

Perhaps the forgiveness which Don Miguel Ruiz is talking about can really be called the simple act of KNOWING that we are on a journey with some distracting side paths which ultimately can lead us to our true destination...a REMEMBERING of the glorious perfection of  Who We Truly Are and an acceptance of how learning can occur in a dualistic world.

                                                                                      Marie Helena

image from salliesart.blogspot.com