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Thursday, July 9, 2020

At This Point in Our Evolution...

As they stand, our political traditions do not serve the needs of our country. 

They provide for a two party system but, at this point in our evolution, the lure of a two party system encourages one party to align itself against the other.  The desired result is always to win… to prevail, to satisfy what one half of the country espouses.  The other half is left to struggle against the party in power with the hope of prevailing via the next election.

We have seen a stunning example of how this operates with the power wielded by the Senate majority leader who can prevent urgent and desperately needed proposed legislation from even reaching the floor of the Senate for consideration and discussion.  Sadly, this has become the common practice.

And there is an even more blatant illustration of why our political traditions are not serving our needs.  During the last few years our current president has been able to perpetrate many actions which have been damaging to our country, its honor,  the well-being of its citizens and have presented  grave danger to their lives.

Here, in her own words, is a list of some of these travesties compiled by Rachel Maddow of MSNBC:

“The worst coronavirus response of any industrialized country in the world killing 131,000 Americans in the process and heading into month seven with Americans still not reliably able to be tested for the virus.”

“Botching the response to hurricane Maria which killed 3,000 Americans in Puerto Rico and then blaming Puerto Rico and cutting off their funding and support in the aftermath of the hurricane.”

“Soliciting, accepting, and trying to leverage further help from the Russian government to help Trump’s election effort against Hillary Clinton then spending four years in office doing every single thing the Russian government wanted from him and then firing, demonizing, and trying to criminalize everybody in intelligence and law-enforcement who was involved in investigating what happened there.”

“The end of the independent justice department...its transformation into a tool that both hunts the president’s enemies and protects and rewards the president’s criminal allies.”

and, most egregiously...

“Over 700 children (babies, toddlers, and teenagers) separated by policy from their parents after crossing the southern border and sent to live in jail like conditions, sleeping on the floor under space blankets by order of the federal government in the name of the American people.  An early but unspeakably ugly chapter of this administration that will never be forgotten.”

Any ONE of these atrocities should have been enough to ensure the removal from office of the sitting president.  But this has not happened.  There has been voluminous reporting on the circumstances of these actions. There have been many leaders who have spoken out in their condemnation.  There has been  passion and unrest and disgust at these actions. And still they go on.  And we continue to endure them.

Why haven’t we been able to remove this president and those who support him in these despicable actions?

We are clearly shocked and horrified by this situation but unable to take action.

Our political traditions that have evolved over time give too much power to federal office holders who have not evolved enough to deal with their own fear and angst and now, through their actions, foist them upon our country.

To go even deeper into the issue… These office holders are able to be elected and hold office because we, the people,  have also not dealt with our fear.

What is the answer to this tragic situation?

Marie Helena

Image from  clipart.me

Saturday, July 4, 2020

The Leader

The European Union has decided not to allow Americans to fly into their countries because of the current Coronavirus situation in the United States.  This is a clear example of self protection.  It is important, it is needed and it is a disgrace to our country.

Clearly, we have not taken all of the important steps necessary to combat this virus.  This is a failure of federal leadership.  But let us not fall prey to the rationalization that we are not receiving the leadership we need and, therefore, we are on a downward spiral with no hope in sight.

It is true that our government has failed us but we need not fail ourselves.  If the leadership we so desperately need is lacking, then it is incumbent, necessary and critical that we lead ourselves.

On this Fourth of July, let us once again declare our independence.
Independence from those who act purely from self interest because of their own fear.

There is  power in the people.  Ultimately, there is absolute power.  We have recently seen stunning evidence of what can be achieved when we step up and become 
THE LEADER.  The leader who is strong enough to assess what is needed to ensure fairness, health and safety for all.  The leader who is an independent thinker not swayed nor deterred by actions designed to incite fear. The leader who keeps making new decisions as they are needed.  Decisions that may be different from the ones they made not long ago. There’s new evidence to clearly tell us that change is imperative.  On this Fourth of July, let us all assume the mantle of moral courage that led us to found this country.

We need not wait for our president to do this work.  We need not lament that it has not been done. The president can only preside because we have abdicated our power.  Working together, we can show ourselves and the rest of the world what the United States of America stands for.

                                                                                   Marie Helena

image from pinterest
Independence Day:  July 4th
si.edu, it is needed and it is a disgrace to our country.

Friday, July 3, 2020

The Cutting Edge: Curiosity

Many people carry the perception that it is difficult to cultivate spiritual practices...that a great deal of restraint and discipline are required to accomplish this goal.   We are often encouraged by inspirational leaders throughout the world to practice love and compassion in our every interaction and, sometimes, this may feel very challenging given the intensity of our own triggers and the pain we may have been holding as a result of them.

But, introducing the actual practice of COMPASSION may be as simple as expressing interest and curiosity about how an event that has just transpired has affected another.   Most likely, this would occur after we have expressed our own reaction or response to what has just happened. Admittedly, it is very easy to carry on for a while about how things feel to us but   what if we turned to another after we have spoken our thoughts and simply asked, "How did you experience this?"

With just these few words we have moved beyond the narrow and very specific subject of OUR reaction and generously expressed our curiosity and concern about how another has been affected.  Whether we have been an agent in the action or whether the action has been graced, supported, imposed or inflicted on ourselves and others, the very act of asking someone how this felt to them would naturally influence the way we might choose to respond.

Now, with this interaction...the knowledge and awareness of how both parties are experiencing the moment...we naturally begin to consider how the emotional needs of both persons are presenting themselves and can be addressed.  And, when both persons feel heard and cared about, things move forward with mutual support and consideration…and, ultimately, with COMPASSION for each other.

Though amazingly powerful, Love  directed responses are innately and profoundly simple.  They emanate from the heart and feel generous and joyful and soothing to our spirit.  If mindfully cultivated, just a very slight change in the pattern of our reaction to distressing moments can redirect us into the flowering of a beautiful spiritual practice:

How did you experience this?

Marie Helena

image from arocordis.com
Two Flowers Floating, Watercolor.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

The Unpacking

It’s a good start.  An important start. But it’s only the beginning.

Some kind of legislation regarding police brutality is apparently something all of our lawmakers can wrap their brains around…at least when thousands of people in every state keep marching to demand reform.

But there is so much to unpack here.  And that unpacking has to do with a heavy burden of systemic racism that lies at the very foundation of our country.  Racism that has produced unrest, unease, riots, injury, death.  Negative behavior all stemming from one primal source:  fear.

And that fear is what we must all understand.  That fear is what has sourced the negative behavior. And that fear has been deliberately stoked repeatedly to separate us even more from each other.

There are two primal emotions. Fear is one and love is the other.  The more we cultivate one, the less room there is for the other.

We have seen what more fear can do but what of this equation:  more love, less fear.

We can actually use love to TRANSMUTE fear.  We can use it in this way.

Instead of dividing into two primary parties each determined to prove the other wrong (our traditional response), we can instead...and this may seem radical and difficult and uncomfortable...

We can, instead, make an effort to uncover what is causing the fear.  And we do that through the peaceful effort of LISTENING to UNDERSTAND.  To understand another’s experiences.  The personal experiences that have shaped and formed their beliefs and life view.  The personal experiences that have caused them pain and that may have been left unhealed to rise up, agitate, compel, incite and sear the soul.

“Listening to understand” means no countering with our feelings and experiences...only listening to THEIRS.

And here’s why.  What every Individual needs is to be listened to objectively, nonjudgmentally, compassionately.  Until every person feels heard and understood.  Not countered with another’s beliefs...just heard and understood.

When people feel heard and truly understood, something softens inside them.  They leave the brittle cave they have sequestered themselves in and begin to see beyond their own experiences, their own pain.  They don’t forget the pain but rather become capable of recognizing others’ pain.  And this is a necessary foundation for the realization that we all share a common humanity.  That we are all One.

This is the unpacking that must be done.  And it must be done by everyone… for everyone.

One by one, we begin.  Stepping past our own beliefs, we open our hearts to minister to each other’s pain.

I wonder...
What if no one "argued" religion or politics...or anything else for that matter?  What if we all talked to each other to learn about what others believe and why and how their beliefs have affected their lives?

What if we all listened to what others said without feeling threatened or intimidated?  What if we had nothing to prove and, possibly, something to learn from hearing other points of view?

The world would surely be a very different place than the way it is now.  It would more closely resemble a gathering of curious scholars and philosophers than  being the hotbed it is of arguments and disputes that have culminated in unrest, injury and violence.

Why do we have a need to compel or persuade others to "see things our way"?  Why is it so threatening to us that others reject our beliefs?  Why do we need to see OUR ideas prevail? And why are some of us sometimes willing to inflict mental, emotional or physical injury on those who do not share our views?

Have we not come to this earthly dimension to learn, to experience, to discover for ourselves what there is to know?  And are we not gifted with the company and comradeship of other earth travelers who are also here to discover FOR THEMSELVES what there is to know?  Why argue with each other when everyone has been given this same calling?  Why not stay open to learning what has been noticed, accepted, embraced and assimilated by others and try to understand what they have learned that has felt so important and appealing to them?

Can you imagine the wealth of sharing and mutual support that would take place if every man clearly embraced his highest calling "to understand"...one of the most powerful and needed changes that could ever occur on our planet.
Can we help each other UNPACK the stories that burden us, creating a space for mutual understanding and shared compassion?  Can we embrace the practice of love rather than feel the fury of fear?

                                                                              Marie Helena

image on Pinterest
Briana Kranz watercolor and ink |poster

Tuesday, June 23, 2020


Resistance to the disturbance 
the disturbance.  

Vernon Howard 

The only way out of anything is through.

Whenever we try to find ways to sidestep the lessons of life we place them deeper inside us…ensuring their resurrection at a later time. And most probably, a resurrection which will be more dramatic and more painful.

We have entered into our earthlife so that we can learn the lessons we have chosen. The learning calls for courage and strength and truth. Interestingly, the more deeply we embrace the lessons, the more courage and strength and truth we have.

There is beauty in the SURRENDER. 

And wisdom awaits on the other side.

Bless your life by fully engaging in it.

                                                                                    Marie Helena


Sunday, June 21, 2020

Inchworms, Turtles and the Finishing Line

We all know about the tortoise who won the race. And the inchworm who edged his way to success.

Something in their “stories” gave them the persistence and tenacity to complete the tasks they set out to do.

Perhaps the tortoise and inchworm had an innate impulse to go the distance.

Perhaps they very wisely balanced their lives and conserved their energy so they could call upon their reserves of wellness and vitality when this was most needed.

And perhaps they were so fortunate as many of us are to have a very special inspiration figuring predominantly in our lives…the masculine energy that is holding so strongly the image of our success…despite all odds.

That kind of special faith and support is often personalized in our father or father figure or someone close who is inhabiting that role for us…sending us light and energy to help us stay the course…to dig deep inside us to find the reserves of strength we need.

Mr. Miyagi in the Karate Kid did that for Daniel-san. 

Miyagi always held a 
knowingness of the power and goodness of Daniel-san. He instilled a strong sense of honor in the young man and taught him that it is the way he conducts himself that determines whether he has successfully run (and completed) the race.

On the occasion of Father’s Day this June 19 let us take a moment to thank all of our real life and symbolic fathers in appreciation for their precious gift of faith in our goodness and strength and in our ability to navigate life with courage and honor.

And a special shout out for the very masculine preference for lightness and humor in this very challenging work. As Mr. Miyagi tells Daniel-san,

Man who catch fly with chopstick accomplish anything. 

                                                              Marie Helena

Saturday, June 20, 2020

The Password

One autumn day in Firenze, Italy an enthusiastic traveler noticed a sign posted on the Duomo, the imposing cathedral which holds a watchful eye on the beautiful city of Florence, announcing that Vespers would be held in the evening.  Excited to participate in this service, he returned at the appointed time and attempted to enter the Vespers area of the Church but was abruptly stopped by a guard who firmly announced the word CLOSED.  

Surprised, the traveler turned back but moments later decided to try once more to enter the Vespers area.  Again, the guard curtly articulated the word CLOSED.  As he glanced behind the guard, the traveler noticed that several people had already gained entrance to the area and were gathering there waiting for the service to begin.  Encouraged by this observation, he attempted a third time to gain admittance...with the same results.   

Now the traveler moved aside and began to calmly assess the situation.  He theorized that the guard could tell he was obviously not Italian and, of course, did not recognize him as a member of the congregation and that this could possibly be the reason why he was barred from entering.  He pondered further and came to the conclusion that there must be a password that needed to be used to gain admittance.  Persevering once more, the traveler then approached the guard a fourth time and, when he heard the word CLOSED loudly proclaimed, he quietly said “Vespers”  and was immediately admitted to the area. 

I so LOVE this story because I adore metaphors and there is a magical mega-metaphor here:  the PASSWORD which helped the traveler gain entrance to the Duomo’s Vespers.  After I heard the story of the traveler’s adventure, I immediately started pondering situations in my life that felt stuck and unsatisfactory and...dare I say with the curt and dogmatic voice of the Duomo guard...CLOSED.  I wondered if perhaps the problem with these stuck situations was that I had been using the wrong “password” in response to them and, when we don’t have the right password, we don’t get in.   

How well we know the importance of passwords in our contemporary culture where we must have dozens of them to gain entry to the online field of play.  And consider, too, how often we hear from our compatriots the voicing of a common lament, “I FORGOT my password!”

We need passwords for everything...passwords that WORK and that we can remember and  I am wondering if it is the low vibration of some of our “passwords” that may be keeping us mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually STUCK in situations that are uncomfortable and upsetting to us.

When we are embroiled in an argument, for instance, and tempers flare and we find it impossible to speak calmly about the issue, the password we are using may be I am right and I’m going to show you why.
When we try repeatedly to accomplish a goal pushing steadily forward an our self-appointed schedule but encountering roadblock after roadblock resulting in the claiming of our victimhood, our password may be  things never work out for me.

When we try to solve a problem from a very limited and ego focused perspective with VERY unsatisfactory results, our password may be nobody cares how I feel.

The way we can tell whether our “passwords” are the right vibration is by looking at the results we obtain and the way we feel about them.  If things work out comfortably for us and we have a peaceful feeling about the resolution, we have undoubtedly used a higher vibration password.  And the reason this is so is because we are designed to be Creatures of LOVE...to generously extend that love to ourselves and to others, to honor our journey and others’ journeys, too.  And when we choose to do this, we feel peaceful, satisfied and happy.  When we choose otherwise, we harbor a sense of dissonance and dissatisfaction.

There is a beautiful, divine plan afoot here.  Once we ascertain and embrace the “password” which is in harmony with our souls, we feel the comfort of being at home with ourselves.  If, instead, we settle into lower vibrations, things don’t feel right in our world.

If you have any issues in your life which feel stuck, unresolved, CLOSED, perhaps you might consider choosing a high vibration password and then enjoying the fun of seeing how you have so easily and gently and comfortably transcended whatever was causing you distress. 
Esso intende essere.

Touching home base can be AMAZING!

                                                                                  Marie Helena