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Saturday, September 19, 2020

Coloring Outside the Lines














As little children we were often gifted by family and friends with coloring books.

These books had very distinct pictures of people and places and things. The guidelines, no doubt, helped us learn about the many aspects of life and told us what to expect from our surroundings.


We were instructed by most of our supervising adults to color carefully inside the lines …and we learned to do so. This served us well for a time…but life proved to be much bigger and bolder and more complex than that original coloring book.

Coloring inside the lines is a careful response to what we have learned to expect. Stimulus…and reponse. Coloring inside the lines is often our goal. So precise, so clear…so easy to understand.

And we often carry this preoccupation over into adulthood into the world of interpersonal communication…anticipating that the people in our lives will fulfill our expectations. When they do, we know exactly how to proceed…what “colors” to choose, what the “picture” should look like.

But… when the people and circumstances and events in our lives don’t look like the pictures in our coloring books (our images of them), we can’t use this childhood process.

Coloring inside the lines won’t work because the people, places and things won’t stay inside them.

And this is not a bad thing.


In fact, it’s a wondrous, challenging thing. Admittedly, sometimes it is very, very difficult…and sometimes very messy. We have to color outside the original lines. We have to see what boundaries will fit each picture (and try to honor and respect them) and we can’t determine that ahead of time. We have to watch where the borders are each moment for they are constantly moving. We have to see how the whole picture itself looks and how it meshes with ours.

To put this in human terms:


If we have a certain image of someone or something and then we see that based on what is happening, the image we have is not holding, it is very natural to be distressed.  But the problem isn’t with the person or thing or circumstance; the problem is the fact that we are holding onto our old coloring book with a very structured mind picture we have created.

In doing this we are missing the opportunity to see what really exists in this LIVING work of art.

We are missing the opportunity to learn something new from each other.

We are missing the opportunity to be brave and adventurous...to engage in life and be fully present “in that Moment”.



If we only color inside the lines, we are missing out on one of the most profound and moving opportunities of life.


Let's redefine our creation to include the bold and bright colors that rush headlong into each other alongside the soft and gentle hues that open channels of converging energy with their loving interactions.


All are brilliant and beautiful.  All tell the story of how we come together and, sometimes, stand apart.


Perhaps the ENGAGEMENT with this colorful, messy, ever moving picture is an ART unto itself.  


                                                                                      Marie Helena

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Proof Positive

5, 2014



Earth Life is such an interesting combination of the fascinating and the mundane.

And, often, we place our consciousness on those everyday tasks and responsibilities…cleaning, cooking, earning a paycheck, paying our bills (and our taxes), keeping up with the news and the neighbors.



What we often take for granted is the fascinating, the miraculous, the wondrous phenomena thatsurrounds us and quietly anchors our everyday life.


I am talking about the body…that same body that can get tired and feel aches and get a cold. We can become so caught up with these body sensations that we miss the message right in front of us.


And that message is:

The body is a work of art...a masterpiece.
This wonderful body that can process emotions…sadness, for example, that permeates our every cell and takes that sadness and changes it into chemicals that move through the body and release themselves through the shedding of tears.

This wonderful body that can harbor an embryo and nurture it so carefully on a beautiful heavenly timetable so that a fully developed infant is born with all of the chemistry and growth patterns intact to help it become a mature adult.

This wonderful body that can produce super-human strength through its resource of adrenalin, aiding a grief-stricken mother to lift machinery that weighs many times her weight to save the life of her child.


This wonderful body that can do all of this and much, more more has the capacity to heal itself...IF we don’t get in the way.

But it’s so easy to do that…and so human to get lost in the duality of our life and the problems we have taken on.


It is our work to see beyond the mundane and our suffering and to trust in the sacredness, the gift of life.  

It is our work to keep our hearts and emotions clear by acknowledging our feelings, accepting them, valuing and not judging them and speaking them in a loving way to ourselves and to others.

It is our work to clear the way for the body to do what it has been designed for…to provide radiant health. 


It is so very clear. There is  Proof Positive that our body has the capacity to do this if we look at the miracles that already happen.


All that we have to do is get out of our own way,
enter into the flow of life
and connect with the LOVE that governs the universe!


                           
                                                                          
                                                                                        Marie Helena

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Divine Creatures


 




We are such beautiful creators, bringing into our lives whatever we give energy to!  Sometimes we flow in a beautiful space of peace and joy and gratitude and the things we focus on in that moment enter into our lives with elegance, beauty and exquisite timing. In their own unique wrappings, possibly not ones we could have imagined.   

Sometimes, though, we knock around in a space of frustration and annoyance, paradoxically angry with the world and the people in it for reflecting us to ourselves (a small bit of cosmic humor from the Divine Universe).  

When we finally awake to this strange but divinely inspired strategy, the “pesky” people around us no longer appear to be villains.  They are all very clearly delivery persons with very specific assignments.  (Perhaps we could even imagine them in their spiffy delivery uniforms.)  They have something to tell us.  A message about ourselves.


And the question is:  Are we listening? 


If we ARE listening…if we are able to see the lucid reflection of ourselves being beamed right to us, life transforms from a nest of annoying, varmints buzzing around to yet another inspired scenario (which, perhaps we do not feel quite up to perceiving...but the Universe knows our beautiful souls and senses our readiness whether we can feel it or not).

The message here is:  We are so loved that we keep getting the gifts we are “ready” for on a soul level.  They WILL keep coming.  For our learning.  For our edification.  For the spiritual evolution to be experienced on the earth plane.  There is no hiding Who We Truly Are...Divine Creatures catapulted into a world of adventure designed to WAKE UP and ENJOY every moment of this awesome experience.

When we do learn to see and appreciate what is being revealed to us about ourselves, we cannot help but be totally entranced at the existence and operation of such a mystical intelligence
   And, when we eventually grasp Who We Truly Are…and revel in the brilliance of it…we begin to create from a place of JOY!  And, (here’s the magical part), because we are focusing on our JOY, we get MOREof it!



The Divine Gift that keeps on giving!  How beautiful is that!


 

                                                                                         

 


 
image from pinterest 
painting by Marc Allante

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Yes, We Have No Bananas


  
 As a young child I remember so enjoying singing the first lines of a delightful song:

"Yes! We have no bananas.
We have no bananas today!"


The song tells the story of a fruit store run by a Greek gentleman.  Whenever he was asked about some item he did not have in the store such as bananas, for example, he always began by saying, Yes, We have no bananas.” 

The lyrics to this song are light-hearted and paint a vivid picture of the fruit market and its owner.  I’ve included them at the end of this blog post so you can enjoy them.


However, a very important reason for me to remember the No Bananas song is serious.  I cannot even recall how I came upon it…and it’s possible I dreamed it up when I was trying to help someone solve a problem…but I know that I have used this story in my life many times to help me get perspective and have shared it with others so much that it’s become an integral part of my philosophy. 


And so it is my pleasure to share it with you now.


Let’s pretend you go into a fruit store and ask the clerk for some bananas.  The clerk replies that he is sorry that he has no bananas, but he does haveapples, pearsstrawberriesoranges and kiwis.

You listen to his list of available luscious fruits and answer, “That’s great.  But I want bananas.”  He replies, “But we have NO bananas.”  You answer, “I don’t care that you don’t have bananas."
 
"I came into this store to buy some bananas and that’s what I want."




So you ask what is the point of this story…and it’s this:

Often in life we identify something we want from someone (not a physical thing but rather a satisfying or comforting emotion).  

It’s something we would really like to have in our life so we approach the person and either ask for it or drop hints…but…we never get the “bananas”because the person doesn’t have them.  

And, because our desire and need feel so great to us (no doubt because of empty spaces from other parts of our life), we lose sight of the fact that this person does not have what we want…perhaps because he is on his own journey and has not cultivated it yet. 

But our need for the “bananas” is so great that we have blinders on and cannot see that there are no bananas in that store.  Thus, we feel disappointed and alone and abandoned.  

The emotional need we have has blinded us to the bigger picture of what stock items (read many other luscious fruits) ARE possibly available and we stay stuck in our banana obsession.

Persistently looking for something that we know (on some level) is not there seems counterproductive and exhausting...albeit a very human reaction when we are in emotional need.

Have you ever searched for bananas at a store that doesn’t have them but insisted that bananas are what you want and must have?  

And have you ever been so upset and distressed when you couldn’t find the bananas that you missed all of the other possibly wonderful offerings that ARE available at that store?

Here’s to opening our shopping baskets (and hearts) to welcome in all of  the delights that HAVE BEEN cultivated and are waiting for us to partake of their pleasures!


                    Marie Helena


Yes! We Have No Bananas!
Folk Song written By: Frank Silver and Irving Cohn 

There's a fruit store on our street
It's run by a Greek.
And he keeps good things to eat
But you should hear him speak!

When you ask him anything, he never answers "no".
He just "yes"es you to death,
And as he takes your dough, he tells you...

"Yes! We have no bananas
We have no bananas today!!
We have string beans and onions, cabBAges and scallions
And all kinds of fruit and say
We have an old fashioned toMAHto
A Long Island poTAHto, but

Yes! We have no bananas
We have no bananas today!"

Business got so good for him that he wrote home today,
"Send me Pete and Nick and Jim; I need help right away."
When he got them in the store, there was fun, you bet.
Someone asked for "sparrow grass"
and then the whole quartet
All answered:

"Yes, we have no bananas
We have-a no bananas today.
Just try those coconuts
Those wall-nuts and doughnuts
There ain't many nuts like they.
We'll sell you two kinds of red herring,
Dark brown, and ball-bearing.
But yes, we have no bananas
We have no bananas today."

Saturday, August 29, 2020

THE CUTTING EDGE: If Not Here, then Where?


  
There are certain moments in our lives when it becomes extremely important to us to  have the attention and energy and focus of another.  We have a sense of need, of urgency...and, if that need is not met, we struggle with feeling lost, alone, frustrated, possibly even abandoned.  The dominant perception we experience at this point is the feeling of:  Where were you?  I needed you.  You were not here for me.

And, from the outward look of things, that interpretation seems right on.  They were not WITH us.  They were not HERE.  



But, WHERE, then, were they?  And the answer to that question holds some very important information ABOUT the person who APPEARED to leave us standing in distress  and also FOR the person who was requesting their attention.

But we usually don't travel down that path of information gathering, staying mired  instead in the chaotic energy of these reactions...


YOU didn't answer me.
YOU weren't listening.
YOU don't care about how I feel.

 
 

But the very fact that someone has "left the building" in our hour of need points to the existence of an unresolved quagmire, a fear or anxiety or, perhaps, a need as great or greater than ours that has been buried but is still making unmistakable sounds of protest.  And what looks like a conscious decision on the part of another that we are not important to them may be an unrelenting, subconscious echo that is their distinct cry for help that has somehow gotten buried and is now revealing  itself in an awkward way, drawing attention away from the crisis of OUR moment of need.

And yet it seems there may be a SPIRITUAL connection between our need and the issue that is subtly trumping our cry for assistance
.  And, by pausing to consciously give our full attention to what is manifesting in another's behavior, we may find information that illuminates issues in the relationship, softens our energy and inspires our compassion regarding the pain or distress that has captured our companion's attention.


And, when this new tenderness graces our heart, it is not long before it is returned in kind to us and both parties find it possible to honor what is important to each other.



The behavior I describe requires an intense stepping up from and beyond the pain that is tugging at our heart.  Not a typical response when it feels like someone is walking away


 

It is not easy to maintain an awareness of others when we are feeling lost in the turbulent sea of our own emotions.  But strength of character, the ability to widen our perspective and the wisdom to trust that the Universe connects us all provides access to the unfolding of the highest good for all involved.  
 
Cutting edge.  Stunning personal evolution.




                                                     Marie Helena 





image from enotes.com


Monday, August 24, 2020

Hot Pink Gloves and the Boomeranging Bands

                       



Last Monday I sat waiting in my podiatrist’s office for his nurse to take an impression of my feet for a new set of inserts for my shoes.  I have cuboid bones that randomly like to “relocate”, launching parties of misalignment, inviting my knees and sacrum to go rogue and join in the fun.  Needless to say, my visits to the podiatrist (though wonderfully philosophical) are serious and necessary.  So, on this day, I was expecting a rather scientific procedure coming my way when in walked the doc’s nurse waving hot pink rubber gloves in the air which matched none of her attire and, therefore, seemed incongruous and rather hilarious.

It wasn’t long before I could see how perfectly they suited her persona because she immediately launched into a vaudeville routine as she began the work of preparing me for the impression.  As she delightfully performed for her audience of one, she made a point of warning me that the black elastic bands she was about to use to secure my plaster booties have been known on occasion to boomerang off the walls.  As if to highlight their adventurous nature, the black cords sported a blue bauble on them and I was struck by how prettily they accented the hot pink gloves even while I could hardly keep from laughing as every comment she made seemed to outdo the humor of the previous retort. 

Now, mind you, I was supposed to be sitting still and relaxing during this procedure and this was no easy task since the doc’s nurse was so funny and entertaining.  After she finished her work on my feet, she ceremoniously took an elegant Shakespearean bow at the doorway and invited the doc back into the room, announcing him as the next act with an excellent vaudeville-worthy introduction.

OMG, I thought...what great fun this was!  The energy...the delight...the unexpectedness of it all.  I found myself wishing I could program my entire day in this exhilarating vibration and then wondered...why not?  Of course I could do this.  The routine performance of our daily tasks usually feels like punching a notch on our to-do belt.  You know...that heavy belt that grows more cumbersome as the day progresses.

Where are our hot pink rubber gloves?  Our boomeranging black elastic bands? Our Shakespearean bows?  The FLOURISH of ourimagination?

Tomorrow I awake with a new Shakespearean mantra:

The game’s afoot.  Let us have pomp and circumstance!



                                                   Marie Helena


image from moziru.com





                                                


Saturday, August 22, 2020

The Intersection


The term intersection usually refers to a place where two streets cross each other.  In the intersection, it is very important that certain guidelines be observed by all parties approaching it to ensure that traffic moves easily and safely.

As I reflect on the concept of an intersection, I can see that these convergences occur much more frequently in our lives than when we are traveling. Intersections occur every time we encounter another person and, in these moments, our mental/ emotional state is especially important as we take in what is occurring in the course of action.

Naturally and, of course, importantly, our first reaction/response to what is happening in the intersection will center on what we are feeling.  Our first responsibility is always to take care of ourselves. But it seems there is an additional way we can help ourselves in this instance and that is by making a very important assumption about everything the other person is saying and doing.

And here is what I think that assumption should be. Regardless of how any verbal or nonverbal communication from another might feel to us, we need to assume the other person is ALWAYS acting from the highest intention he is capable of holding in that moment.  And, as a side note also present in the situation, the other person’s perception of what is the fairest and most authentic and even most generous response to us may well be (and often is) VERY different from ours.

And that is why we often don’t GET that the words or behavior of another is well-intentioned.   Sometimes even very generously intentioned.  We hold ourselves hostage, chained to the emotional default reaction rising up in us that our previous experiences have produced during similar circumstances.

I realize that I am suggesting that we act on something that we truly may not be seeing or perceiving in this moment...and, that is, the loving intention of the other to the best possible degree he can manage it.  Holding the belief I am suggesting calls for a beautiful sense of trust from us that everyone is always trying to act from the generous impulse to be a loving person. 

I truly believe that this is how we all enter life. With joy and celebration...with excitement and gratitude and appreciation.   However, our earth school experiences often offer significant detours from this loving path.  Consequently, we all carry wounds and scars waiting to be healed.  

As we attempt to heal those wounds, we all find our own ways of making sense of things.  And, because we are unique individuals, the sense we make of things may be very different from what others envision.  There is also the fact that we have not walked in their shoes and are, therefore, not cognizant of the extent of their pain or the factors complicating their lives.  Nor have they walked in ours.

Each time I pause and gently ask another person to help me understand what his reaction meant, I am humbled by the explanation I receive of the beauty of what was intended in that moment.  A beauty that is often not visible to me because of my own emotional reaction to something that has triggered my distress. 

As a result of this I am now choosing to hold the strong intention of assuming the beauty of what is sourcing the words or actions of another and I am also intending to offer compassion and understanding for any distress he is experiencing. 

I am convinced that underneath the words we speak and actions we take towards each other there is always a beautiful, loving child wanting to interact with the glorious world around him with grace and fervor and delight.  And I very much want to feel and appreciate the innocence of this tender caring.

This profound awareness offers me a new guide ensuring a measure of ease and safety as I move through the interweaving and intersecting of what may appear to be a view so different and dissonant from my own.

Perhaps we can ease the intensity of all of our humanINTERSECTIONS by remembering the intentions sourced by our always loving hearts. 💗



                                                                               Marie Helena



image from Elizabeth Elkin's Painting a Day: trueartgallery.blogspot.com