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Saturday, August 29, 2015

THE CUTTING EDGE: Metaphrasing the Message

One of the most dramatic moments baseball fans hope to experience during a game is the exhilaration of spontaneously catching a ball moving in the trajectory of their seat in the stands. 

 Got'cha!!!  A surprise and a delight for the lucky fan!  And, once that ball is caught, the baseball buff gets to keep it as a memento of an unanticipated adventure.

This serendipitous occasion is not the only time that unexpected "balls" get hurled in our direction, and, often they surprise us with their ferocity and juice.  To try to catch a "ball" with that kind of negative energy may seem like a dangerous aspiration and ducking out of the way, maybe even hiding in the stands, might feel like better choices.  But hiding out is not "taking care of the business" that is coming your way.  And even if you are successful in hiding out, the "business" will not be deterred from making another, and possibly more uncomfortable, appearance because the issue has not yet been addressed.

Better to catch the "ball" coming your way...sooner or later it's going to find you.  The messenger does not rest until the message is delivered. 

Here is where your skill and insight come into play (pun "play"fully intended). 

If you can keep your wits about you and view this moment as a juicy opportunity to step into the majors (Yes, I am at it again), you can not only "catch" the ball that is coming your way, you can also recognize the specific energy that is fueling its circuit. 

Chances are you will not like the way the message is being delivered.  It may feel rough, edgy...attacking, judgmental.  Here is where you use your ability to discern the import of the message but then put a different wrapping on it, translating the message into an expression that feels comfortable to you.  Still preserving its intent and authenticity but expressing it in a way that goes down easier.  Literally, helping the "pitcher" manage his emotions and still get the job done.   Rewiring your reaction to the juice headed in your direction by responding with gentleness and understanding, honoring the energy of the emotion that is making itself known. 

Metaphrasing the Message...translating it from one "language" (the language of judgment and accusation) to another (the language of self-assessment, compassion and understanding).

This maneuver will undoubtedly cause a new reaction.  When someone is overcome with distress, they throw a fastball and expect to get a fastball back. And when they don't get it, they stop to see what is happening.   They feel off their game and sense a new energy is brewing.

YOU are the new energyYOU are demystifying the negativity by unearthing the unmet need that is giving birth to it.  YOU are transcending their adversity with your readiness and willingness to meet them in their time of need.

YOU have caught the "ball" and introduced a new play so that the story behind it can be recognized, acknowledged, understood and welcomed.  When we know the truth of what is happening and how people feel about it, 

we are primed and ready to be an agent of healing for ourselves (as we appreciate the beauty of our effort) and for others (as we clearly demonstrate that we are listening with our hearts).

Rules of the new play:

Welcome the truth of what someone is feeling. 
Affirm their right to have this experience. 
Look for the unmet need that is sourcing the problem.
Reflect on whether you have contributed to the difficulty.
Consider what you are willing to do to help resolve it.
Express your truth as you have come to understand it.

Cutting edge

                                                                                Marie Helena

top image from 6thelementdesigns.com

bottom image from goplayball.com

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

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

Saturday, August 15, 2015

THE CUTTING EDGE: The Basque System

The Glossary of Chess defines the Basque System as a chess competition in which the players simultaneously play each other two games on two boards, each playing White on one board and Black on the other.

If we were to adopt the classical interpretation of Black and White,  we could see the color Black as a representation of the discrete, finite, earthbound and white as the picture of the spiritual, the ethereal, of higher dimensions.  When Black and White come into play simultaneously, we have the potential for a most exquisite example of earthbound evolution. 

Capturing, now, this metaphor within the interplay of our every day lives with others, we can clearly see the limitations and travails of earthbound experiences that often occur such as tension, stress, frustration, hurt...the well-worn human paths we encounter.  Playing Black chess on a board.

And, as we walk ourselves through a contemplation of the maze of alternative moves on that board, we only "see" those which vibrationally match the state of our emotions and that is exactly what we attract to ourselves.  More of the "limited" options.  More difficulty.  More Black.

But, the very decision to simultaneously play White on another board represents our desire to transcend our earthly choices EVEN while we make them.  Our desire to WITNESS our behavior signals the yearning to take in the complete horizon...to see the inter-workings of every element in the picture...each person, each action...and to see how we fit into and are affecting what is transpiring.

And when we are able to observe the part WE are playing in the drama, we have the opportunity to recognize, appraise and choose to redirect the energy flowing through us.  We can transcend the drama, and, choose, instead, to RESPOND from a choice of peacefulness and acceptance, still speaking our truth but allowing our heart to shift the vibration we have encountered from unrest and agitation into a gentle response of honoring the emotions so clearly being felt and expressed by ourselves and others.

This dual engagement is a beautiful and challenging path leading to our personal evolution.

Still in earth school...experiencing the BLACK emotions.  But, simultaneously, being guided by Higher Self on the ALABASTER archetypeWith stunning results and transcendence.  CUTTING EDGE.

                                                                                                    Marie Helena

image from clker.com

Sunday, August 9, 2015

THE CUTTING EDGE: Soft and Gentle

The words CUTTING EDGE tend to evoke a strong, vigorous effort, a high level of energy and a huge commitment to stepping up to meet a pressing need head on.  There are, however, also other ways to engage a cutting-edge approach than with a zealous, strapping enterprise.  Like a soft, sensitive, gentle effort that also requires a strong commitment and enlists a conscious reshaping of energy so that it flows with warmth and compassionate tenderness towards others and also towards ourselves.

This approach is as simple and profound as these three words:  just keep talking.  But the "talking" here  needs to be of a special quality and intention.  Its purpose is twofold…to understand others and to help ourselves be understood.  The outcome it desires is a sense of peace and harmony.

This particular cutting edge approach involves creating a space which invites heart sharing and self honoring and the honoring of others  This choice of a grace-filled effort enhances the opportunity to resolve pressing issues of discord with mutual intention and cooperation.

Recently, when I have found myself dealing with an agitating incident, I have chosen to sit down with the persons involved and gently talk about all of our feelings regarding what is going on...to listen with an open heart to others and try to understand how each person feels while also authentically expressing how I feel...softly, gently, in a healing way.


Here are some SUGGESTIONS for how to begin to open this kind of conversation:

I want to share my feelings with you and hear what your feelings are.

I want to tell you what I would like to do and have you tell me what you would like to happen. 

I want to honor my feelings and also honor yours.  

I trust that we will find a way to navigate this moment that will take care of both of us.

I want to give and receive love, support, joy and wisdom.  And I thank you for taking the time and making the effort to do this with me.


By introducing this beautiful intention and modeling what we wish to accomplish we can set the stage for others to relax into this loving energy.  As Ghandi expresses this thought to us so eloquently:   "Be the change you want to see."

There is great power in accepting the leadership for resolving issues of dissent.  And also great rewards.  This cutting edge approach is a beautiful instrument of healing.  I have found that in these situations as we keep talking and listening to each others' needs with the gentle, soft voice of the soul and, with an open heart, consider their importance to others, we ultimately come up with a solution that honors how everyone feels. 

I have never seen this approach to fail.  Never.  What a beautiful way for all of us to take care of ourselves…together!

                                                                                        Marie Helena

image from pinterest.com

Saturday, August 1, 2015

THE CUTTING EDGE: Who's in Charge?

 Image result for watercolor of a captain on a ship

Ever have the feeling you are standing in a lineup with a bright spotlight glaring at you, just waiting for someone to take aim and tell or show you what you have just done wrong?  This state of anxiety may be occurring because of our co-dependency, because we are dependent on the good will, opinions and even the moods of others.  And we know that eventually someone is not going to be happy and that not-happy feeling will get expressed in body language, attitude, tone of voice, style of speaking and /or verbal expression.  So MANY ways for someone to communicate their displeasure!  And if we are co-dependent, we will feel vulnerable to all of them even if we have nothing to do with the reason for their appearance.  If we are in the vicinity, we may, nevertheless, end up feeling guilty or responsible and, for sure, worried and unsettled.  And that is because co-dependents think they must keep everyone satisfied and happy so they can feel feel safe and protected.    And that is a VERY vulnerable place to be.  

Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Human Needs tells us that safety and security are very basic to our welfare.  So it is no wonder that, if we have missed some important steps in our personal development, we may become very vigilant, always on the lookout for evidence of trouble (waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop) and jumping into action whenever we sense someone is distraught.  What a heavy price to pay to secure self-protection.  So unpredictable. And unrelenting.

But someone has to be the guardian of our happiness and so we assign ourselves the task of keeping everyone happy, eliminating discord and frustration, fixing problems as soon as they appear and even changing ourselves, if necessary, in an effort to keep the landscape quiet and peaceful.   That is the approach we use to protect ourselves.  And it is exhausting.  

There's a better way.  And it's cutting edge.  The reason it is cutting edge is it only involves us.  No babysitting others and tiptoeing around their issues and concerns.  No need to solve THEIR problems.  

I have come to believe that co-dependent individuals are so vigilant about taking care of others and feeling responsible for the well-being of others because they have not yet learned that their first and most important job is to take care of themselves.  First and foremost.  Before everyone and everything else.

If we have not paid attention to our needs and not set boundaries for our involvement with others...and held to those boundaries...we have not protected ourselves and made ourselves feel safe.  Without that safeguard in place, we intuitively know that ANYONE can come into our space and disrupt things.  That is why the words and actions of everyone around us are a potential threat and why we keep occupied trying to assuage their frustration and discontent.  That is why whatever frustrating things they say or do feel personal...as if they are judging us and seeming to imply we didn't take care of them.

But this caretaking we have assigned to ourselves by default is NOT OUR JOB and in spending all of our energy on this misguided assignment, we are dishonoring ourselves.

What if we were very clear about what WE needed and preferred and we deemed ourselves worthy of this attention?  And, what if we clearly explained to others our feelings - what we have the energy for, what we choose to walk away from?  What if we protected ourselves in this way and made it our life practice to take care of ourselves in every circumstance, making changes as needed, CAPTAINing our own ship?  Once we step up to this responsibility, it actually becomes possible and, ultimately, easier to flow with what is transpiring and envision how we may want to contribute to the outcome, free from the anxieties about others that have drained our energy previously.

The captain of a ship...the person responsible for how the ship functions...holds an empowered position.  He does not wait for others to decide what will happen next on board.  He sets the protocol and amends it as needed.  

So how do we become this empowered CAPTAIN?  By giving ourselves the right and responsibility to determine where and how we take action...or not.  By letting others know the state of our energy and our willingness or lack of willingness to act.  By granting ourselves the space to say uncomfortable things, if needed, to express ourselves and by also granting others the right to say uncomfortable things to us as they, in turn, speak their truth.

We do not have to "make happy" in every moment.  We just need to be real and act authentically, expressing things the best way we know how and accepting that others have the right to captain their ships in this some way as we do.  When everyone feels worthy of speaking their truth, it becomes very clear that just as we take care of ourselves, they, too, are doing the same.  Now their voice of displeasure or look of dismay doesn't compute to something we are responsible for.  

Just as we have decided to take care  of ourselves in every moment in our new way of thinking, we clearly see that the things they say or do are merely the evidence of them taking care of themselves, too.  Their non-verbal behavior, tone of voice, words or actions are not an indictment of us but rather they are an expression of what is happening in their lives and how they feel about it.  And we are are now free to see that.  We have protected ourselves by stepping up and into the role of assuming personal responsibility for how we wish to interact with what is happening to and around us.  There is no longer any need to constantly search for evidence of someone else's displeasure, no need to protect ourselves in this way.   These people are just doing what we are doing and we can hear that in this light because we have already spoken our truth.  This is merely their turn to speak theirs.  

It is cutting edge work to reframe a difficult and frustrating situation.  It is cutting edge work to release a habit of old standing.  It is cutting edge work to feel worthy of expressing our needs and to do so.  And it is cutting edge work to honor the declaration of the needs expressed by others.  Everyone gets to say what they need or prefer.   Everyone gets to decide their response to the declarations.

Truth speaking.  Honoring of self and others.  No more traveling the well worn path of saying yes to what feels like no.  Freedom. Independence.  Cutting edge. 

                                                                                           Marie Helena

image from pem.org