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Friday, April 20, 2018

Old Fashioned Wisdom


  Many of us have been very fortunate to spend special time with our grandparents or members of the older generation who instructed us in the lessons they learned in their lives...lessons that were packed with practical, OLD FASHIONED WISDOM. 

These lessons imparted a beautiful work ethic to us. They embraced the value of generous love and compassion AND of self-discipline.  They also instructed us in many skills needed in caring for the home and family.  Many delicious recipes, for example, were shared in those old-fashioned kitchens.  Generous instructions were doled out about the secrets of preparing meals for the family.

One of the most interesting and significant pieces of wisdom imparted by our family angels is the importance of blending ingredients well when baking
The RITUAL of holding a large mixing bowl and wooden spoon or spatula and lovingly blending the batter was an important activity for them for this investment of time and energy produced a delicious gift for all to enjoy...a heavenly, scrumptious offering straight from the oven that gave us the wonderful enjoyment of physical satisfaction but also conveyed the joy of feeling loved and cared for.

 Interestingly, the old-fashioned wisdom of "blending well" with conscious, loving attention extends much further than the kitchen.  It is a wonderful LIFE MANTRA for human interaction.  Because we all have our own unique view of life and our own "recipe" for how to navigate it, it is natural that we often find ourselves surrounded with differing ideas about how to decide on a course of action.  Where someone might prefer the aggressive approach of "chopping" through the ingredients, another might prefer "meandering" through the territory...possible even "tiptoeing" over the terrain. Sometimes we have what appears to be wildly differing views of how to approach something and this seems to be the most important time to consider and honor all of the "ingredients" of that moment.

And we HONOR that moment by not only patiently explaining our view of the situation but also, and equally important, gently working to understand what each individual is perceiving and suggesting. 
When we continue to try to understand the feelings and thoughts and needs of others and we also receive the benefit of others trying to understand us, a beautiful "blending" of the differing views always emerges.  An unfolding...a compromise which somehow meets the needs of all individuals involved in the interaction in a new, unanticipated and creative manner.

It feels like the Divine Universe is witnessing our common compassion and is leading and guiding us to a beautiful blending of all of our interests and needs.  The generous impulse to take the time to patiently "blend well" the ideas and thoughts and feelings of all individuals...the loving desire to meet the needs of everyone involved...always produces an answer that is perfect-for-that-moment!  The gifts we receive from the "grandparents" in our lives are more bountiful than we might realize.  Old fashioned wisdom for kitchen...or conversation.... pouring through our beautiful memories connects us with the precious heart wisdom of all generations.

                                                                                       Marie Helena

image from the graphicsfairy.com

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Bella Luce

To speak wisely, one must listen humbly.

- Si Yo Tanka
  (John Two-Hawks), Lakota

In our fast paced, frenzied world of Instagrams, Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook, the “listening” we do is usually along the lines of a lightning fast “gotcha...and let me tell you what I think about this”.  Snappy repartee, glib retorts, occasional one-up-manship… for sure.

Soul Satisfying?  Hmmmmm.  Not so much.

It’s often pure and simple gamesmanship. No table board necessary.  Just grab your iphone or other techno gadget and “Go”.  Who can answer first?  Who has the best story?  Who gets the most hits?

And, there is a place for all of this fun but the Authentic human connection that Si Yo Tanka is describing is a very different enterprise. 

It takes an INVESTMENT of time and energy,
the creation of a safe environment,
and a real desire to hear and understand the emotions that will, hopefully, reveal themselves.

So often in conversation we automatically fill in the blanks.  We hear a part of what someone is saying and then, relying on our own world of experience, assume we know the rest.  But everyone’s story is unique to them.  And it is shaped, forged, shimmered and frosted with an array of EMOTIONS we might never imagine.  Emotions that reveal so much about the rock, the wave, or even the precipice each individual is resting on.  And anyone who truly wants to tell us their story is most profoundly in need of some deep listening, some compassion...a true heart connection.

When we give this gift of compassionate listening to others, we “speak wisely”.
Our silent acknowledgment itself “speaks wisely” for in taking the time to listen deeply we affirm the  individual’s profound significance. 

By our actions we say:
I am here for you. 
You are important to me. 
I want to understand what you are feeling. 

And, In so doing, we strengthen and ease the way for him or her to do the difficult work of addressing the issues weighing on his emotions:  

Moving through the dissonance of the moment,
Ascertaining and accepting the body’s message, 
And holding space for its wisdom to reveal itself.

Listening to another in this way is truly humble.  There is no need for the ego to intervene and direct the drama.  Only the precious opportunity to express the caring and concern of a fellow earth traveler who believes we all share common challenges and we all hold the strength, power and beauty to find our way through them.  That strength, power and beauty in others often show themselves more readily when we make the time to acknowledge their existence.

We are all fellow travelers and sometimes we encounter caverns of darkness.  The deep, humble listening of Si Yo Tanka that we give to each other is a gift of grace lighting the way to someone’s peace and transformation. 

Bella Luce!

                                                             Marie Helena

image from pinterest

Sunday, April 1, 2018


Now that the beautiful blush of spring is finding its way onto the universal earth campus, there will be a myriad of opportunities to indulge our awakening senses. 

Gazing at the beautiful blossoms gently emerging on the branches of welcoming trees.  Spying the sprightly, chattering birds returning to their home bases.  And lazily watching the cottony clouds roll by. Rolling in a soft, billowy fashion… Drifting… gently drifting...quietly finding their way.

Just contemplating the drifting clouds feels like a meditation to me.  And I wonder if it has to do with the very concept of drifting.  That word feels like ease to me.  Sprezzatura... the Italians might call it...effortless elegance.

Does the effortless elegance I perceive here manifest itself to me because the clouds have aligned with their nature and are simply...and profoundly... being who they are? 

What if we, like the clouds, were to align with OUR nature:  Divine beings playing on our verdant, lush planet of infinite possibility?

If we could recognize our magical playground, perhaps we would find it easier to embrace our self-designed challenges and gently direct ourselves into a reframing of what feels like difficult circumstances from our earth school view. 

Perhaps then we could move on to envision and embrace the gentle changes, the shifts in behavior, which could incrementally bring us into alignment with our Higher Selves.  In the most loving, harmonious way. DRIFTING  back into the beautiful beings we truly are.

                                                                                   Marie Helena

image from pinterest

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Here Comes Da Judge

The great spiritual teacher J. Krishnamurti said the highest form of human intelligence is the ability to observe ourselves without judgment.  And this is no small task for we all carry an imaginary presence inside of us which we automatically gift with authority and respectability (even though its voice is a hindrance and not a help).  

 My sister calls the arrival of our guest "Here Comes Da Judge".

Imagine our magistrate attired in formal black robe and the British judicial white wig altercating furiously for air time in our consciousness.   If he wasn't so annoying and didn't dredge up old feelings of unworthiness, this creature would be quite amusing.  But the fact is the appearance of our judge introduces negative energy into our aura. Yikes!

What in the world can be done about this vexing creature?

I am thinking this is the perfect time to call in the resources of our Left Brain and turn this disturbing image into a Subject of Study rather than a schlepper of suffering. 

It's "white coat time" and, though you will not be donning the pristine uniform in reality, at least "white coat" your mental process and steer yourself away from subjugating your psyche to the judgmental pronouncements. 

Collect data.  Be curious.  Experiment.  Be a scientist.  Watch how often your "Judge" makes an appearance...and under what conditions and circumstances.  Look for patterns in the magistrate's behavior.  Note his verbal nuances and the disapproving posture and attitude. 

Why would Krishnamurti call observation without judgment the highest form of human intelligence?  Because we cannot attain wisdom (sense of or understanding of something) while we are mired down with the weight of self condemnation

 Instead, we need to be able to see the broader view of what is transpiring, how it presents itself, what connections exist within the issue, how we fit into the equation.  We must be free from self judgment for self judgment obscures our vision because of the heavy emotional outlay and prevents us from ascertaining the energies at work.

Once we can see those energies (expectations of society and figures of authority, cries of the ego for attention, co-dependence on others' emotions, etc.), we gain clarity regarding where we are giving our power away and we can make choices regarding how WE choose to respond to the opinions and expectations of others.

It is a natural, human reaction to fall under the heavily subjective influence of our "Judge".  It is cutting edge to take an impartial look at how this magistrate's leverage has materialized.  And it is cutting edge to release this figure's hold on our emotions.

                                                                                               Marie Helena

graphics from can stock.com

Friday, March 23, 2018

Down the Rabbit Hole: Alice Discovers the Rulebooks

There was soooo much to discover, Alice realized, as she blinked repeatedly, wide-eyed at the strange goings-on in the rabbit hole.  

The bizarre behavior she encountered from the various creatures chattering and buzzing about made no sense to her UNTIL she realized that it MADE SENSE to them.  And that was the very secret she uncovered that helped her to understand and navigate this bewildering territory.  
Apparently, each of the characters in the rabbit hole had his or her own Rulebook.  And each Rulebook was different from all the others.  It seemed these Rulebooks were not easy to come by and one had to experience some perilous adventures to earn this achievement.  And, furthermore, she discovered, the precepts written in the Rulebooks might magically disappear at any time to be replaced with new prescriptions.  It all seemed to depend on the actions of the characters, she observed, though she wasn't sure that they realized they had this power.

The Rulebooks seemed to be especially important to Alice because they helped her make sense of the thespians' behavior.  Alice began to pay close attention to the interface of the characters' actions and what she deduced was written in their Rulebooks and things began to make sense to her.  She realized that the Rules were there to protect each character.  They appeared in the Rulebook as needed and could be changed or even erased depending on what the character learned from his experiences.

Not every character down the rabbit hole was ready to learn anything.  Many of them seemed agitated and anxious; some were totally convinced they already knew everything.  The behavior they exhibited often tried Alice's patience but, over time, she realized
they were stuck in a default loop that kept repeating itself.
What was Alice to do?  At first, she tried to argue with them; later, she avoided their company as best she could.  But Alice was not happy doing this and she WANTED to be...even if she WAS smack in the center of the rabbit hole.

One day Alice was in an especially happy mood and she decided to try to be VERY patient with the mad hatter.  She listened patiently while he hopped in circles, talking incessantly, trying her best to be attentive and understand what he was saying.  Then, a funny thing happened.  The Mad hatter began to notice that Alice was paying attention and he was NOT used to anyone REALLY listening to him.  He began to look at Alice every few seconds while he was chattering and, then, an amazing thing occurred.  He began to speak slower and slower and before long he slid onto a toadstool near Alice and stopped talking completely, watching her face for a response.

Alice was amazed.  No one had EVER slowed down the mad hatter before.  What was happening here, she wondered.  As Alice continued to give her rapt attention to him, she saw a light began to shine in his eyes.  The light grew bigger and brighter.  Soon it spread to his whole body.  Oh my, thought Alice...he is GLOWING.
Alice thought about his new behavior.  She had been very sure that the Mad Hatter's Rulebook stated that he should keep moving and chattering away as that is what he always did.  Now, it seemed to Alice, that his behavior had changed and, therefore, his Rules.

How did this happen, Alice wondered.  She had not tried to talk the Mad Hatter into doing things differently.  She had not argued with him nor tried to persuade him to make a change.  In fact, she had done her best to honor and respect his frantic behavior.  Alice felt the erratic movements of the Mad Hatter must have been prescribed in his Rulebook and that the Rule must have existed for some good reason even if she didn't know what it was.  What she had done now was just give the Mad Hatter her interest and care...and he had noticed...and it had circumvented his usual pattern.

THIS was something VERY significant, Alice thought and wondered about the powerful transformation she had witnessed.  The Mad Hatter was still sitting quietly and he was still glowing very brightly...so brightly that many other creatures wandered over to see what had caused this transformation. 

Alice theorized that if the Mad Hatter was sitting still, then a new Rule must have appeared in his Rulebook for he looked very relaxed and happy.

Suddenly, Alice noticed that the Mad Hatter was beginning to look lighter and lighter.  Soon he seemed almost luminous.  Alice thought he might drift away but instead he began to share his glow with the creatures standing near him.  
Alice was amazed and delighted and, most of all, she felt happy.  And that is when the Rules in her Rulebook changed.  She sighed contentedly and plopped onto a nearby toadstool.

Who was it, she wondered, who had created the Rulebooks and had mysteriously given each creature the power to change the Rules.  This, she thought, would surely be a great question for one of her next, fabulous adventures.


                                                                                  Marie Helena

  image from commons.wikimedia.org      

Monday, March 19, 2018

What's Behind the Blarney Stone?

According to Dictionary.com, the BLARNEY STONE is a stone in Blarney Castle in the southwest republic of Ireland said to endow whoever kisses it with the gift of the gab and skill in flattery.

What a great year it is for me to consider the question of what’s behind the blarney stone! I just took a trip to Ireland a few months ago to visit my daughter who is living in Galway for a sabbatical year. And I got to enjoy the delightful…no, make that DELICIOUS ways of the Irish as evidenced by my encounters with the Irish taxi drivers.

THEY certainly have the gift of gab. And they’re not just talking to hear the sound of their own voices. Their gift is their beautiful, heartfelt interest in the lives of others. They really want to know about people. How they are feeling…how they are enjoying the day…what’s really in their hearts. And, in return, they open their hearts at the first inkling of interest.

They seem to intuitively know how much information you would like to have and they are happy to provide it. No, not just happy. This heartfelt sharing is like breathing to them. This is probably why I felt so at home there. I, too, share a desire to do this heart connecting.

One taxi driver in Dublin told me about his family history, including the legacy of his father and his grandfather. Interestingly, he was not of Irish descent but he fit in so beautifully with Irish ways he could have been mistaken for Irish. (Probably he was called to live there because Ireland resonated so appealingly with him.)

Other taxi drivers discussed their children when I asked about them…giving me not only the statistical details but also commenting on their strengths and virtues and how they also drove their parents crazy.
As for the question of flattery, I’d have to take exception to the inclusion of that word in describing the Irish. Yes, they are given to dramatic descriptions (another reason I loved them so much). And, yes, they seem to love to use language to express themselves but the message of the Irish seems to be that they are sincerely, authentically connected with life…its joys and its hardships…and they have been deeply affected by both.

They do not opt to do a superficial dance with the encounters of life…they immerse themselves deeply. Sometimes they are delighted, sometimes confounded; sometimes they are sad, other times outraged but always they deeply connect with their lives. They ACKNOWLEDGE what is happening to them and around them. At times the pain, I believe, is overwhelming and the attempt is made to quell the suffering by frolic and gaiety, dance and drink.
But so often the Irish find the happy note, the joy, the inspiration in the moment and celebrate this discovery. There is a strength to the Irish that buoys them up and helps them rise and meet each day.

What they really have to teach us, I think, is to be unafraid to embrace the flow, to acknowledge it, to speak our truth about how it feels, to deal.

And so, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I salute this courage and fearlessness and invite them to inspire us to remember the beauty of dancing Irish eyes and engaging Irish hearts and let that awareness linger just a little longer and inspire us to deeply connect with each and every moment of our day.

                                                                                                       Marie Helena

When Irish eyes are smiling,
Sure, 'tis like the morn in Spring.
In the lilt of Irish laughter

You can hear the angels sing.

When Irish hearts are happy,

All the world seems bright and gay.And when Irish eyes are smiling,
Sure, they steal your heart away.

lyrics by Chauncey Olcott and George Graff, Jr.
music by Enerst

image from pinterest

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Most Unwanted Moments

We all indulge at times  in the reverie of imagining what the wonderful future moments of our life will look like...how they will unfold...the  lovely surprises, the great tasks we will accomplish...how everyone will be lining up to support and help us realize our dreams. 

Ah, yes,we can be very creative as we fantasize about our upcoming adventures.


Sometimes the really big...REALLY BIG things happen to us NOT in the smoothest interactions...NOT in the most ideal settings..and  NOT in the way we would prefer.

And sometimes The Most Unwanted Moments (according to Guy Finley) "can actually prove most pivotal" in the unfolding of our life.

The stinger we feel when things don't happen the way we have envisioned them is a message that the way we have been operating is NOT taking care of our needs and what we really want. 

Perhaps, for example, we are doing things  to please others or to garner validation from outside sources.  And, in doing this, we are not listening to the messages of our own body and our own heart.

And perhaps it is these old ideas we are addicted to...because they helped us survive old experiences.

Finley says...with this  realization (I call it a sting) we can stop trying to find "meaning, purpose and plans through a level of mind that can only reconfigure old ideas."

Now "we simply bring ourselves into the light of the LIVING MOMENT.  Now we are present to what reality itself wants to give to us."

And that reality, I feel, is the Divine Universe giving us the opportunity to make a leap  into  a new and better way of living by forcing us to develop the resources we need to navigate the new experience.

When things go along the way we prefer, we usually just ride the high.  We've been there before, we know what to expect, it's comfortable.  But...we don't change or grow.

The changing and growing are what we do when we  are confronted with bzzzzzzzzzzzz
...and a stinger...something we didn't expect or invite but which has stopped us in our tracks and is challenging us to find a new way to do things... a better way because our old, familiar method  is not cutting it any more.

And that is why The Most Unwanted Moments are the GREATEST GIFTS.  They present us with the challenge of learning, reaching, growing beyond what we already know.  Yes...this takes work...hard work...but we emerge with new insight, new wisdom, empowered... and much, much stronger.

Keep in mind that our GIFTS sometimes arrive in strange packages...sometimes they are hidden in the "pictures" of our life and/or in the people in the "pictures".  But they are there, nevertheless...bzzzzzzing away..  And they require more of us than what we are used to doing...but they also hold the PROMISE of new strengths and new skills.

If we  can become accustomed to finding the "gift" in every Unwanted Moment we will have learned to use one of the most powerful ways to help ourselves grow.

                                                                  Marie Helena