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Saturday, November 27, 2021

The Best Christmas List of All

 





It's almost December and time for our Christmas to-do lists.. 
Some especially ambitious individuals have started on their lists many moons ago.  But for those of us who kick into high gear after Thanksgiving...it's time to get down.

And I bet you have LOADS OF ITEMS on your list: 

 buy a Christmas tree (and decorate it), 
 shop for presents,
 plan a holiday party, 
 balance that budget so finances will work smoothly,
 try some new holiday recipes...
oh, and clean the house (including those jobs you've left undone but now have to do because out-of-towners will be staying with you).


I'm guessing you might be exhausted just thinking about these tasks and that's nothing compared to the EXHAUSTION you feel when you start trying to complete the tasks and keep on trying...even when you are stressed
 and tired...and in need of sleep and relaxation and nourishment
In other words, when the concept of BALANCE has gone completely out of your life.
 

Just yesterday I got   a wonderful idea  about this whole conundrum of how do you get the work done and avoid feeling STRESSED to the max.
 

And here it is.

This is probably going to sound radical to you, but after some reflection I am convinced it's the answer to this problem.

The first premise of this idea is:  Christmas (and all of the preparations that go into the holiday) should be fun.  

Easy enough to say.  But, you may wonder, how can we have fun doing the Christmas to-do list when we are bone-tired...weary...dragging ourselves around?

The answer is not to do it.  DO NOT make yourself do the things on that list when you are not  IN YOUR POWER and have good energy, a  positive disposition and are ready to be in-the-flow.  
Just DO NOT do that list of tasks when your chin is on the floor.

Instead (and here comes the next premise) do WHATEVER IT TAKES  to get you  back to your place of power.  This might mean taking a  nap, relaxing, having a lovely conversation, enjoying  nourishing food for your tired body (and eating it slowly and tasting and enjoying every bite).  WHATEVER IT TAKES.

Then...when you have reclaimed your power (whenever that is)...do something on the Christmas prep list.
 

You are probably thinking THIS WILL NEVER 
WORK.  There won't be enough time. 

But here's my thought: 

If you've ever pushed yourself to do things when you DID NOT have the energy (physical, mental or emotional) to do them, then I am sure you know there is a hefty price tag on that delightful maneuver.  

And I bet this is when you develop that cold or catch that flu or get so totally out-of-sorts that nobody wants to be around you.  

Then...what good did it do to have the things on your list completed and you can't even appreciate what you have accomplished?
 

I know...I know...this concept will take some reframing of the way we usually tackle our tasks but consider this:  

How wonderful would it be to actually enjoy all of the holiday preparations...to be in such a lovely space that  it felt like you were constantly accessing the joy of Christmas and what it represents?  

How lovely also for all of those around you to engage with the happy, positive person you know you can be!
 

Wouldn't it be worth taking the leap to give this a try and then see how everything plays out?  
And, by the way, this isn't just a wonderful plan for Christmas...I think it's the best way to engage life all year round.

So start making that special list of all of the wonderful things that will rejuvenate you and move you back into that DELIGHTFUL place of joy and power and make that one THE LIST you always remember!



                                                                                Marie Helena


image from vickiblackwell.com

Saturday, November 20, 2021

The Author of Our Stories


    

















Everything in your story is constantly changing, including the story that you tell yourself about who you are. 

                                                don Miguel Ruiz 

                                                     
The bedtime stories we tell our children are so appealing to them because they resonate with their hearts. There is adventure in them...challengevictory.  By the end of the story ultimately, peace prevails...and joy...two things we all long for.  


Little children sleep so peacefully after hearing a loving narration such as this because The Divine Universe is leading us back to the realization that we truly are Pure Love and that our essence is bright, bold, beautiful, expansive.  The guardians of our lives… parents and parent figures...are meant to live the role of gentle reminders to us of our awesome nature.

As we grow and mature, we take over the role of the parental figure as storyteller to ourselves. 
 But, sometimes, we forget the truth of what we felt so strongly as children..the joy  of our  invincibility.  We  forget Who We Truly Are.  And, often, our stories begin to show evidence of disappointment and self judgment because the world tries to inflict its own values upon us and, in trying to satisfy others, we override the innate clarity we possessed as children in knowing so clearly what "music" made our hearts sing.


 
And, so, we are sometimes left with stories mirroring the expectation of others and the pain of our compliance
 because we do not recognize our worthiness, our endowment in the Grand Experiment to return to Who We Truly Are.



Don Miguel Ruiz reminds us that the stories we tell ourselves...the stories we, therefore, live...are constantly evolving, reflecting the changing image we hold of ourselves.  If we subject ourselves to the burden of meeting others' expectations, that is what our stories...and lives...will reflect.  And they may well hold unconscious anger and deep resentment.   Conversely, if we are open to the many clues The Divine Universe provides us with and we honor its guidancewe come to clearly see that true happiness does not result from following the perceptions and value systems of others but rather from  listening to the guidance of OUR OWN HEARTS.  And, when we do, we experience a deep sense that all is right with the world and, that is, because all is right in our own hearts.   


We are meant to be the authors of our stories.  The acceptance of this wisdom transforms our stories with the alchemy of love, returning them to the beauty and joy and simplicity of our childhood innocence and wisdom when we possessed the clarity of knowing what felt right for us andthe boldness and courage to bring it into our lives.


Can you clearly see the stories you tell yourself? 
 And, can you recognize that these stories proceed from the beliefs you hold, regardless of where you got them?



If your beliefs are not bringing you peace and joy, perhaps they are not truly resonant with Who You Truly Are.  Can you consider finding a story that brings you to this beautiful place? And, are you willing to see if that new story truly fills the longing of your heart?


                                                                                                Marie Helena



image from glogster.com

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Embracing the Shenpa


“All of us, in our essence, are Love. 

A big part of our healing journey is to embrace and, thereby, release the SHENPA (which is blocking the beautiful expression of that gift), opening the pathway for our true nature to reveal itself.”

                            Ken Porter

                                                                                                                                                                                               

EVERYBODY has experienced the very distinct sensation of being triggered by something upsetting...we feel a tension, a tightening in our emotions.  And it happens lightning fast.  And before we know it our default reaction has registered and been expressed.


In many (and I would venture to say most) cases that default is not so pretty.


One big example of the default is an ADDICTION. 


We feel stung by a remark or an event.  It hits a point of insecurity...or an emotional wound that we have not dealt with... and we immediately turn to our "comfort" of choice (and it's not something on the health and wellness list). 


Or, we might become immediately defensive or respond to our perceived hurt by  "counterattacking".

.

And, when all is said and done and the dust has settled, we don't feel so great about our choice or outburst.   But we were feeling so very helpless;  everything seemed so out of our control... like the issue (read TRIGGER) took over our consciousness.


And that space...the very quick space of time after the trigger was activated... is 

the Tibetan concept of shenpa.  

It's the flash that occurs BEFORE we act.  It's the upsetting emotion.


And it's VERY powerful.  


Especially when we back away...literally RUN away from that HOOK and grab on to something that will calm our upset and anxiety.


It's the backing away that is the problem.  


We don't want to go there.  But that space...the shenpa...is the very place we NEED to go so that we can EMBRACE this mystery...this force which drives our behavior.


When we open ourselves to the shenpa...

when we embrace it and let ourselves feel what is happening inside us...

we begin to see what Pema Chodron, notable American figure in Tibetan Buddhism,  calls "the whole chain reaction".  


Chodron says that "somehow, learning how to open up the space without putting [any] particular form of scratching into the equation is important."


And that is when release occurs...when  we EMBRACE this uncomfortable feeling which, if unexamined, leads to unhealthy choices and  behavior.



Chodron (and Porter) believe  

"there's some wisdom that is based on a fundamental desire for wholeness or healing- which has nothing to do with ego-grasping.  It has to do with wanting to connect and live from your basic goodness, your basic openness, your basic lack of prejudice, your basic lack of bias, your basic warmth. Wanting to live from that. It begins to become a stronger force than the shenpa and itself stops the chain reaction."


What we resist, persists.


What we embrace and experience reveals itself to us.

 

This act of courage..of bravely facing ourselves... seems resonant with what we have come here to do and I believe it helps us access the resources we need for the work of our journey.


Now the shenpa doesn't feel so scary.  


And we are rewarded with a sense of perspective and can see the choices of response in our behavior available to us and the merits of those choices and we can more easily choose the response path of Higher Self, the self we aspire to be.   


And, in that moment, WE MEET THE SHENPA with the strength and power of our shared divinity.  And  Love once again becomes the instrument which comforts, soothes and sustains us.


                                Marie Helena 


                                                                                        

image from elephantjournal.com.

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Cutting Edge: The Calling




A few weeks ago my podiatrist shared a fascinating anecdote with me during a routine office visit.  We love to have our chats together and. on this particular day, I found myself immensely inspired by something he told me. 


It seems the doc was having a meal alone one evening in a restaurant when he was invited by an acquaintance to join him and four other friends at another table.  Now the interesting thing about this is that the five gentlemen who were sitting together were all very conservative in their beliefs and my podiatrist leans way in the other direction.  


The subjects discussed by the group during the lengthy conversation which took place  that evening were religion and politics...a red flag zone if ever I'd heard one
.  But the doc told me that just as the conversation opened, he announced that he does not argue religion or politics.  He just discusses them in order to understand others' points of view.  


 
I was intrigued as I heard his no arguing stipulation and wondered how the conversation had evolved after he made that statement.  With the most delighted demeanor,  the doc informed me that the conversation that ensued (with him on one side and the five gentlemen on the other) had been enlightening and stimulating and gentlemanly in tone.  And, as the doc departed the gathering one and a half hours later, he was informed by group members that he had presented thoughts and ideas they had never considered before.  




Wow...I thought.  And WOW again!


What a profound result had occurred that day from the very sincere declaration of the doc, "I don't argue religion or politics." 



I wondered...
What if no one "argued" religion or politics...or anything else for that matter?  What if we talked to each other to learn about what others believe and why and how their beliefs have affected their lives? What if we 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 right now.
  It would more closely resemble a gathering of curious scholars and philosophers than often being the hotbed it is of arguments and disputes that sometimes culminate 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?



"I do not argue.  I discuss so I can understand."  


 
Can you imagine the wealth of sharing and mutual support that would take place if every man clearly embraced his highest calling "to understand"...perhaps one of the most powerful and needed changes that could ever occur on our planet!



                                                   Marie Helena


image from pinterest.com

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Unspent Energy









It’s a Saturday afternoon.  I am watching the MSU-U of M football game.  Fans packing the 75,000 capacity stadium are ablaze with emotion.  Their chanting is so intense it is a thunderous echo,   willing the players to aggressive action.   THIS is a signature game of football.  It is also a mirror image of politics in our country.

The voices slamming the Spartan Stadium are the same energy that is slamming the country.  It is UNSPENT ENERGY and it WILL be heard.

The intense frenzy of football gives fans the opportunity to release emotions that have not been expressed and, more importantly, have not been HEARD.  And I wonder if those emotions have not been expressed because there is no one to hear them.  I am speaking of emotions that are deep, subterranean, urgent, and personal.  Emotions that require the exquisite gift of loving care and compassion from a listener in order to be released. Most of us have not been nurtured to develop this special capacity and so we often fail to provide what is so desperately needed to each other.  Ergo, the immense popularity of football and other sporting events, providing an arena  for the paroxysm of unreleased emotion in the security of a communal setting.  

And, whereas football is a civilized venue for this exposition, what is transpiring in politics (the expression of conspiracy theories; white supremacy; racism; suppression of minorities, the right to vote and the rule of law) is dangerous and threatens the democracy upon which our country was founded.

Is all of this happening because we, the people, have not been listening to each other?  Have we failed to be there to offer the gift of recognizing and affirming the concerns of our fellow citizens?

Have we failed to ask each other to “help me understand what makes you feel this way”?  Have we failed to teach ourselves what we may not have been taught but what is clearly so important for us to learn?

In the world of politics there is a lot of attention being given to declaring who is wrong and why.   There is a lot of attention being given to legislating rules to protect ourselves.  But we cannot “legislate” the heart 💗 and that is where our emotions reside.


Everyone needs to be heard.  And everyone will find a way to make this happen.  


We all need to soften our hearts, to step away from the unyielding place of judgment and,  instead, acknowledge  the painful emotions of others which are clamoring to be heard.  Once they are expressed, the body begins to relax and, eventually, the possibility of a pathway appears, paving the way for co-creation of a resolution.

If we don’t take substantial action on this front, if we don’t move away from this  residence  of resistance, we will be left with laws to maintain order but no hearts to care about what happens to each other.

On this Saturday afternoon, I can imagine these painful hearts finding some beautiful comfort through the precious gift of understanding and compassion.  Can you?


                                     Marie Helena


image from pinterest 








Thursday, October 28, 2021

Mum’s the Word




It’s almost Halloween and I am a holiday junkie.  

The front porch is filled with scarecrows, corn stalks, bales of hay, a black cat and some very big (and I mean big) pots of chrysanthemums in purple, orange, yellow and white. 

And though I love the color and texture of everything on the porch, the really big deal for me is putting my face right into the flowers and taking in their essence… the touch and smell and coolness…in other words, their vibration! 


I take breaks during the day to go out and do this. It connects me with nature’s bountiful gifts and beauty. It lifts me out of my everyday tasks and says, “We’re right here…just waiting for you to enjoy us.” Yep, those flowers are smiling. I know it. They love to have someone get right in their faces.  


Which reminds me…I am also addicted to hugging trees. I have a particular tree in the neighborhood that lets me feel its roots straight down into the earth. I used to look around before I approached the tree, but, naw…I don’t look around anymore. I just see that beauty and go for it.
 I hug bushes, too. And have been for many years. 

Although I am no gardener, I think that this is exactly the kind of  high
  that gardeners feel when they do their thing.  Now here’s a really interesting fact I learned recently about plants and gardeners.

If you  are raising plants that you will eat, when you tend them with personal, loving care they 
produce for you whatever your DNA requires.


Now that’s mind blowing. And it sure tells you that the universe is alive and wanting to spread its goodness everywhere. 

So have at' em...pumpkins, flowers, trees...the whole works.  They're just waiting for yourperceptive eyes and glowing attention.


                                                   Marie Helena

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

New Territory



“Just as any explorer encountering unfamiliar territory, we are going to have to face the lions and tigers, the sand traps and swamps. 


But remember WE put them there and WE can take them out.”


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Whenever we decide (and I mean REALLY decide, ready-to-roll decide) to step up into a new and grander version of ourselves, we usually encounter the rumblings and grumblings of our old default behavior which is not going to take being passed by..stepped over...demoted!!!  in a light and casual manner.

Our default behavior has been with us for many moons...maybe even eons in the larger scheme of things and it's firmly entrenched in our psyche.  When our buttons get pressed, our emotions get T-R-I-G-G-E-R-E-D and we're off and running...running wild, that is. 

And, when we finally DECIDE to step up into a change, the battle lines are drawn (our Higher Self draws them with a firm assist from our growing intention and persistent tenacity) and, to describe the situation in contemporary language, let us just say, "It's ON!"

And, as frustrating as all of this is...it's EXCITING, too,  because we are about to become newer, stronger, more beautiful, more filled with the Light of Grace.

And it is the PROMISE of that TRANSFORMATION that provides the anchoring for the choice.  

We are going to be happier.  

We are going to be more satisfied.  

We are going to AH - PROVE of ourselves even more. 

The "AH" in the previous sentence is there to represent the peaceful place we are moving into and, oh yes, it's quite beautiful...but, just as any explorer encountering unfamiliar territory, we are going to have to face the lions and tigers, the sand traps and swamps. 

But remember WE put them there and WE can take them out.

We put them there because we are awesome and creative dreamers who envision a mighty and exciting battle for ourselves as we march forward in our quest to triumph over defeatist, limiting behavior.  

And, just like Indiana Jones, who ALWAYS prevails over the troublesome adventures that "befall" him, we, too, are the Stars of our Story and are already equipped with the  courage, conviction and wisdom to march into that NEW TERRITORY and claim it as the work of our Soul!


                                    Marie Helena


image from behance.net.   

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