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Sunday, May 31, 2020

The Menagerie




It all began with a teddy bear my older daughter brought me during an especially difficult time. I loved it. It was white and had a beautiful ribbon around its neck and tiny flecks of silver sprinkled throughout its fur. Just like a child, I carried it with me upstairs at night when I slept and downstairs in the morning when I settled in for the day.  

The teddy bear was especially helpful to me when the pandemic occurred for, though I could not see my daughter, I could hug the beautiful present she gave me.  

I settled into a routine keeping my beautiful white bear close at hand. A few weeks passed by and I found Mother’s Day soon approaching. We were all still in our shelter-in-place mode which meant I would not be experiencing our usual family gathering. 

Inspired by the teddy bear, I thought of a wonderful plan to help me feel close to my family. I made a request for Mother’s Day:  a stuffed animal from each family member that represented their energy. If I couldn’t have my family close to me, I reasoned, I could perhaps have their delightful stand-ins.  

When Mother’s Day arrived, family members gathered on our driveway in collapsible chairs they brought with them, distancing themselves six feet away from me and bringing along a stuffed animal they had all selected which represented their energy. The animals were all packed into a gift bag ceremoniously presented to me. I took great delight in holding up each animal one at a time and trying to guess who it was from.

I also had with me a package containing two stuffed animals sent from my second daughter and her husband who live in Lincoln, Nebraska. My grandson volunteered to access them on FaceTime and they quickly became a part of the festivities.

You’re probably wondering what kind of presents I received that day.  Here are the very special Mother’s Day animals making their appearance to celebrate the occasion:  an owl, a penguin, a chicken, a black bear, an otter and a honey badger.

You may be thinking that if these animals represent the energy of my family, this could be quite a motley crew. And you would be right.  How fortunate I am to be surrounded by family members who are full of authentic energy, mischief, affection and are out-of-the box thinkers!

This event turned out to be one of my most memorable Mother’s Day celebrations. And it  occurred during the pandemic lockdown.
Our beautiful celebration was not impeded by the regulations imposed upon all of us. In fact, we had all been inspired to think in new, creative ways.

And this is one of the hallmarks of our family. Embracing what is and creating within those parameters.

I have seen a lot of evidence in the last couple of months of individuals using their creativity to not only survive this time in our history but to thrive. To open their hearts to deal with circumstances they might never have been able to imagine. To bring to those circumstances gifts of love and caring affectionately wrapped in whatever their imaginations could create.  

What profound evidence of the human spirit and its desire to expand the corridors of the heart!

Perhaps this is the “new normal” we’ve been musing about. And perhaps this “new normal”, this exercise of our positive outlook
and unbridled imagination, can help us think beyond the borders of the past and, instead, inspire us to enter into the creating of a world that is truly sourced in LOVE. For everyone.




Marie Helena




Friday, May 29, 2020

Spiritual Warriors


Earth School is not for the faint of heart.

Everyone who has chosen this path has, on some level, accepted a huge challenge: experiencing the density and duality of the third dimension including navigating the many obstacles placed in the path of learning our soul lessons.

Yes, we are - all of us - Spiritual Warriors.


Now for the good news. We are not being left alone in the dark.  

We have all been gifted with a spiritual compass which helps us find our true north. That compass is the deep, abiding joy we feel when we act in alignment with our Higher Self.

Another way of saying this is we have chosen to respond from the perspective of Love.  

Even if we do not reach the full expression of love...if we can clearly identify the behavior to which we aspire, we are poised to move with great power in that direction.


When we are out of sorts, or irritable or impatient, this is an indicator to us that we are not in that spiritual alignment. 

But when we choose to act from a place of peaceand acceptance and compassion...it doesn't matter how difficult the circumstances are for we transcend the darkness and difficulty by introducing the Light of Love. In this way we need not fear what challenges we find in our path for our only concern is the energy we choose to bring to the occasion.



Spiritual Warriors need only the desire and commitment to follow the promptings of their soul and they will surely be shown whatever they need to know.



                                       Marie Helena

Saturday, May 23, 2020

In the Evening by the Moonlight



















  There shall be peace, wisdom  
   and harmony. Mankind's hope shall
   be restored in the beauty and
   magnificent wonder of nature...
   and of life.
                       Julia Altamar



I have this beautiful, new, summery white wicker chair.  It is so comfortable and relaxing.

I love to stretch out in it and gently lean into the supportive arm rests.  It has a delicate light beige and white pattern on the cushion.  Perfect for sitting on the porch on late summer nights.

Now there's something that people used to love to do...sit on their porches at the end of the day, sipping a light summer drink...nodding and smiling as their neighbors passed by on their passeggiata.

 
And it is not surprising why they engaged in this lovely ritual.  



                                  

As the soft evening breezes wane and the trees gently flounce their leaves, there is a soothing quietness, a stillness...a nocturnal signal that resting time has come 

A few delicate yet ambitious insects decide to ignore nature's curfew and make their rounds circling overhead.  You can barely hear their wings in motion but it's a delight to witness their sense of ambition.  

Before long the ultimate, sparkling "herald" of the night arrives in full majesty as dozens of ladylike lightning bugs flash their joy throughout the landscape, agreeably sharing their flickering rainbow radiance.

The gorgeous scent of summer...fresh, dew laden grass...rises fragrantly in the air.


And, all of this wonderment and beauty is merely a prelude to the liquid grace of Mother Moon Herself sailing serenely in the night sky. 



From my white wicker chair I gently rejoice at the exquisite fullness unfolding before me.  Only ONE breathtaking example of nature's peace, wisdom and harmony...


When will we recognize our greatest teachers?



                                                                      Marie Helena





*Title borrowed from a song of the same name,
   In the Evening by the Moonlight
     music by James Bland
     lyrics  by Nina Simone



image from layoutsparks.co

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Best Case Scenario







Who’s in Charge?
A favorite question my sister likes to ask herself while contemplating how best to navigate her life.  She says it empowers her.  And there’s certainly a vibe to it that makes you feel confident.  Like...You’ve GOT this!

And, so, borrowing inspiration from her, I decided to imagine some creative and interesting ways to deal with issues that have proven quite challenging for me.


Like the Corona virus.

I started observing my behavior closely and noticed myself reacting quite intensely to the 24/7 news reports... and not in a positive way.  Of course, I was delighted to hear the descriptions being broadcasted of generous, loving, humanitarian efforts being made by many individuals, especially the first responders.  That touched my heart deeply.  But there was also a great deal of news focusing on statistics, warnings.  You know the drill.  And they presented a challenge.  I realized my energy was negative (fraught with fear and anxiety) after listening to these reports and I decided I needed to transmute my reaction into something positive.

Recognizing I was developing a habit of negativity about the situation, I opted for the opposite:  optimism.   And I decided to make it an entertaining practice.


I have found the best way to change a habit is to do something fun while you transform it.  I decided that every time I recognized I was making a negative statement (which, by the way, was often a worst case scenario), I would change it to a statement of the BEST case scenario, flipping the switch.

No matter how difficult or challenging it was, I persevered...often laughing at myself as I heard the doom and gloom resonating in my voice and then enjoyed switching up and  landing in a  lighter place.  And also feeling much happier as I reframed the situation.  With great results, I am happy to say.  I was able to literally lift my vibration.  I could hear it in the tone of my voice as I said the words aloud.  And, I also began to feel positive emotions.


I was proud of myself for finding the gift in the experience.  No one was doing this for me.  And that, in itself, was a wondrous thing because I was not depending on what someone else would say or do or what kind of space or mood they were in.  I could set this up for myself by myself any time I wanted.  Now that is freedom. And it felt really good.


Habits are TOUGH to break out of.  So often we chastise ourselves, gritting our teeth, promising to do better next time no matter how we feel.  But this approach is not sustainable.  No matter how great of an idea we have come up with, we probably need to raise our vibration and feel better before we can go in, do the work, and make the change.


As I practiced this new approach I found it interesting and curious to observe myself inhabiting a pattern of negative commentary.  Being the neutral observer instead of the person lost and overwhelmed in the subjectivity of the feeling was doing something NEW.  It got my attention. And that made it play.  And, best of all, I was breaking an annoying habit and moving into the next best version of myself.


What if...we held the intention to transform every worst case imaginable into the BEST conceivable possibility...into something that would ultimately help us grow?


Not only would that move us into a higher vibration, it would sharpen our creativity and imagination for out-of-the-box thinking and for reaching for a horizon not clearly visible nor accessible to others.

And that’s a great use of our energy.  And a lovely step in our evolution.

There’s no downside here. We take control.  We are IN CHARGE of our response to whatever our environment is providing.  There’s a really good vibe circling around this approach.  I can hear my sister’s influence whispering in my ear:  You GOT this!


                                                 
                                                                                 Marie Helena




image from Best Case Scenario-Home/Facebookfacebook.com

Friday, May 15, 2020

The View from Up Here!


The view we hold of life is always influenced by the place where we stand...both literally and metaphorically.  For example, literally speaking, if we stand at the foot of a mountain its peak looks very small in the distance.  If we stand on the top of a mountain, we have a beautiful, panoramic view of what lies below.

In life the same principle holds true in our personal interactions in a very spiritual way.  The LOWER the vibration of our reaction to an event that has occurred, the less we can see of that beautiful "mountaintop".  The  HIGHER the vibration of our response to that event,  the more we can take in the "beautiful horizon" around us.

And what would constitute a "lower" vibration view in this scenario?  Seeing what is happening from the lens of limiting beliefs, painful or hurt feelings, unresolved issues.  In other words, giving something that has happened the worst possible interpretation we can think of at that moment.  A "higher" vibration view would be making a conscious decision to interpret what is happening in the most accepting, most compassionate way we can imagine.and, hopefully, with some lightness and humor as that always helps us and everyone else involved gain perspective.

Here's an example.  We are speaking with someone and while we are still forming our words, the person begins to turn and start moving away from us.  The view at the foot of this mountain:  "Wait a minute.  I am still speaking.  Why are you walking away?"

The view from the top of this mountain would look quite different.  Here when we are speaking and a person begins to fidget or move about we might say, "I see you are dancing.  What 'music' are you hearing?"

There's a huge difference in these two reactions.  The first one interprets the behavior as uncaring.  The second one interprets it in the highest possible light...something is going on inside the person that wants his body to move.

And, if we think about the situation calmly for a moment, we can see that the second interpretation has to be true.  Something IS going on.  Something the person hasn't understood or resolved.  And, wonderfully, we are giving that person compassion and understanding.

How did we get to this beautiful state of generous caring?  By making the conscious choice to go to the highest peak on the mountain...in other words, to go to the best possible interpretation of what has just transpired.  We can cultivate this habit in ourselves...practice it....experiment with it....see how this choice changes our feelings and what happens next.

Here's a thought.  We may not have the physical stamina and endurance to make the demanding climb to Mount Everest or Mount Kilimanjaro.  But we can be adventurous mountain climbers in our hearts by taking on the challenge of reaching for that panoramic view of what everyone's interactions represent.  And the road sign in to that destination:  This way to "the best possible interpretation".

There is always more going on than we can see from our own, personal view, but THE VIEW FROM UP HERE holds the potential to give us that very important information.



image from dreamstime
mountain-climber-girl-www.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Divine Feminine Energy

























As we celebrate the beautiful occasion of  Mother's Day, my thoughts are drawn to the power and beauty and significance of Love as it is expressed in Divine feminine energy.  This beautiful Grace which streams so elegantly from the hearts of women.  Such an exquisite blessing.  It seems to be their birthright . . . their gift to the world.I


Somehow, women intuitively know that when someone is experiencing pain, in that moment there is nothing more powerful, more healing than for that person to feel understood To have someone mirror back to them an understanding of the intensity of their pain or distress and how it is affecting them.

This essential longing to be understood is a vital part of the human condition.  Without this loving kindness it is difficult for an individual to move forward into an acknowledgment of what is transpiring.  And, without that acknowledgment, that acceptance, it is impossible to move through the experience to the other side. . . . to the peace that comes through Surrender.

The feminine heart holds the key to the unfolding of this process.  We are all so in need of this exquisite form of compassion.  When we receive it, we find the energy to lead ourselves through the dark night of the soul.  This precious feminine offering is the antidote to loneliness, to abandonment.  It promotes caring, a sense of safety, connection.

Because our world is changing and evolving it is wonderful to note that feminine energy is now being expressed by males as well. And, in return, masculine energy is leading by example the demonstration of the importance and value of steadfastness and devotion.

How wonderful that we all minister to each other, sharing the precious and pleasing endowments of our earthly lives!


                                              Marie Helena


                                                             
image on Pinterest
Joyce Hicks watercolor

Thursday, May 7, 2020

The Corona Virus and BARDO






In this very tumult lies opportunity to bring awareness into this uncomfortable place and locate mammoth energies from our unconscious.  Such power, not accessible in ordinary consciousness, can now be harnessed to remake ourselves and reconfigure our whole lives...



Stephen Ruppenthal
Bardo:  
Using Pain
for Spiritual Gain



Because of the Corona virus many of us have already found ourselves beginning to access the unconscious energies described by Ruppenthal that source our behavior.  Bardo is the next step in our evolution.  The lives we have been living have been catapulted almost overnight into 
“a new normal” we could have never imagined.  Separated from friends and family and from our occupations, we are left to deal with this new landscape...our only choice of action.  And, additionally, we must face ourselves for we have lost the opportunity to be distracted from this quest.  We are essentially alone, left to make sense out of what appears to be a senseless interlude in our lives.

It is so interesting to contemplate that history books will surely tell the story of this formidable experience the earth is undergoing.  But WE are living it.

And there is something here for us in these moments of darkness.  Something very profound is interwoven into this strange, cataclysmic episode:  the opportunity to discern the tumultuous energies which lie deep inside us.  The Leviathan most of us are never able to “see”
In ordinary times.

The Bardo Ruppenthal describes is authentic and somatic driven.  It is irrefutable testimony from the soul accessed through the body. If we are open to its gift, we are able to sense and feel what has been stirring, spiraling, and fomenting our behavior throughout our lives.  And it comes in a lightning flash.  In an illumination so intense it cannot be ignored.  And it connects with stunning clarity the many threads of our behavior which suddenly reveal themselves to be instances of the same unrealized longing.  A longing expressing itself over and over wherever it senses a fighting chance for us to be heard.

The stark realization of how these moments of our life are so connected is shocking.  But it is enlightening, too.  We see how intensely we have been pursuing the healing of our issues and how coherent our efforts have actually been.

The clarity of what we need and what has propelled us to seek it is astonishing.  With that clarity,
it seems important and urgent to acknowledge and address our pain and to find positive ways to heal it.

Now we can clearly see how we have attempted to compensate for our unmet need in our unsettling behavior AND we feel inspired to take responsibility for its healing.

The presence of Bardo, though immensely challenging, is a profound gift in our lives.



                                                                     Marie Helena



Image from pinterest.com
Tips and ideas for Abstract Painting