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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Here or There?



..we cannot be in the present and run our story lines at the same time.

                           Pema Chodron

Hmmmmmmmmmm.  This one really has me thinking.

Our "stories" come from our experiences, our conditioning, the beliefs we have been taught.  Together they form our reality...the reality we know and operate and live by. 
 But...is our reality what is really there? 
 Or, is it always clouded by our limited perception?

And, if so, is there a way to take in the bigger picture...hopefully, the whole picture or as close as we can get to it from our human perspective?

Is that what Pema Chodron is talking about when she says our story lines prevent us from being in "the present"?


It is true that our stories (what has happened to us, our suffering and pain) seem to travel with us.  We take them everywhere we go. 

Everything that we experience is viewed through the subconscious lens of what has occurred in the past.  If we feel that someone has hurt us, for example, we protect ourselves from the fear of further hurt by shutting down emotionally and becoming inaccessible.  It's how we make sense of things and know how to feel and react.  It's our interpretation of the world.

But Pema Chodron seems to be saying this lens we use is really like wearing blinders and prevents us from truly knowing the essence of things

We deal only with form...specifically, the form we engaged with in our personal experience...a very specific, limited form for which we ourselves shaped the meaning. 

What if we are missing the true nature of things by being stuck in our stories and not consciously opening up to the essence of what is?


Perhaps that essence is only accessible if we approach it with an OPEN heart..not one that is carrying the wounds of the past.  

Perhaps we limit ourselves by reacting to something that only truly exists in OUR reality?  

What if we are missing the purity and beauty of a moment because we only see and feel what we have previously experienced?

Our stories really give us a VERY limited view of what is out there.  

What if we drop the stories knowing they are only the product of a moment in time we encountered because of many circumstances? 

And, what if, instead, we open ourselves up to the majestic and compelling draw of the Present Moment which speaks to us with the power and presence of  PURE BEING untainted by the pain of our unhealed hurt...IF we are listening?


Perhaps, then, we can transcend the limitations of our earthbound existence and enter into the incredible, glorious pageant of  the world we really live in but very rarely see.

                                                                                                                  Marie Helena                                        


image from schoolofwisdom.com

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Remembrance: Why We Should Forgive Ourselves

The supreme act of forgiveness is when you can forgive yourself for all the wounds you've created in your own life. Forgiveness is an act of self-love. When you forgive yourself, self-acceptance begins and self-love grows,

Don Miguel Ruiz

As we write the story of our life, our learning occurs in a myriad of ways.  Sometimes the path is straight and clear.  We take action that feels instinctively right...it works beautifully...we benefit and all is well.
Sometimes our learning takes a different path.  

Sometimes we are influenced by unhealed pain, hurt, unmet needs, etc. and we choose a path that is not in our best interest.  But, at that time, the choice we made felt like the only way we could go.
And so we went there.  And it was not what we expected. 
All was not well.  And we ultimately JUDGED ourselves for the choice and stayed mired in sadness and regret. 

Writing the story of our life is not usually a black and white endeavor.  Sometimes we are drawn to what SEEMS like a solution but ultimately does not deliver on that (false) promise. 

However, our learning can occur quite brilliantly
when we can view our actions with some objectivity...
perhaps uncover what has moved us in that direction...
love ourselves through the pain of self-confrontation,,,
and emerge with a stronger, braver view of what we want to do with our lives.

Judging ourselves (or anyone or anything) is not productive. 
It delays our process of learning. 
What is needed is an open, accepting heart that understands we were trying to navigate some difficulty...a heart which knows that LOVE is always expressing itself the best way it knows how.

What we did is what we knew.  When we know better, we do better.  
And, as we reflect on our choices and their consequences, we begin to know better and we do better.  We pass by judgment, embracing instead our humanity and moving forward with new wisdom and insight.

Perhaps the forgiveness which Don Miguel Ruiz is talking about can really be called the simple act of KNOWING that we are on a journey with some distracting side paths which ultimately can lead us to our true destination...a REMEMBERING of the glorious perfection of Who We Truly Are and an acceptance of how learning can occur in a dualistic world.

                                                                                      Marie Helena

image from salliesart.blogspot.com
originally printed September 17, 2011

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Don't Push the River

EACH RIVER HAS ITS OWN BEAUTIFUL JOURNEY.. moving, flowing, unfolding in its own sacred space and time.
It may follow a straight, focused path moving forward with determination. 
It may carefully navigate earth fragments...twigs, rocks, trees, boulders. 
It may move forward in near silence, absorbing  with deep appreciation every living thing it encounters.

All  rivers have a rhythm...a wisdom that needs to be honored.  They represent the onward flow of Life itself which animates our spirit.

Listening to our river and RESPECTING its forward movement (whatever that may be) is essential for us to progress through our earthly journey with joy and ease.


On the other hand, pushing "the river" produces tension and anxiety.  


If we are feeling anxious or upset...if we are frustrated by events or circumstances that trigger us...and we choose to pretend this is not what is happening...we are pushing "the river".   

"The river" inside us wants to express itself with the freedom and grace of authenticity.  

If we deny that authenticity, we fight the natural unfolding which is so important to our health and well-being.

Like the river, we are designed to be open, transparent, expressive. 


When we deny "What Is" clearly going on because of fear or discomfort...because of limiting beliefs or unhealed hurts, we interrupt the beautiful rhythm and flow of our life. 

And when we try to force an action or reaction from someone  (or ourselves) instead of waiting for its natural expression (which comes in its own time), we create disharmony. 

And, by so doing, we not only compromise the health and well-being of the body, we compromise our emotional and spiritual progress and we surely cause disturbance to our relationships.

"The rivers" of our life must be welcomed and honored.  If we respect their flow we will feel the beautiful ease of being our true, authentic selves and encouraging others to join us in this Divine unfolding.

And so I offer you this gentle reminder...

As you move through your day and navigate the "scenery" of your life, take a deep breath,  bless the moment, remind yourself of Life's innate wisdom and DON'T PUSH THE RIVER.

                                                                       Marie Helena


image from ClipartHeaven.com

originally published July 29, 2012

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Beyond the Words

I  always start to lose focus when I think I understand what I'm hearing rather than feeling it.
Mark Nepo

There's a reason why we have a left brain and a right brain.  They both have work to do. The left brain is logical...it grabs the meaning...makes sense of things...understands.  The right brain, on the other hand, is feeling- centered, emotional, intuitive.

Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking that logic (the left brain) is ALL that we need.  Like in conversations, for instance.  Once we get the idea of what someone is saying or even just hear the drift of it and fill in the blanks ourselves, we think we have truly gotten the message.

Not so.

We have heard the facts (or, perhaps even assumed them).  We have heard the sequence of how things transpired.  We may have even heard the end of the story...at least to this point. 

But what we have not done is FELT the message being sent to us.  That takes right brain work...and a little time...and an investment of our heart energy. And we are not going to make this effort if understanding others is not our
priority...if we are consumed with what is transpiring regarding our own agenda...and if we are not tuning in to the emotional states of the individuals with whom we are interacting. 

And, if any of these conditions is true and we are not really perceiving the emotions of others, we are missing the opportunity to participate in the exquisite experience of CONNECTING with them through our understanding of their heart.

The giving of a gift engenders joy and appreciation and connection...and connection is one of the greatest pleasures we experience.  Feeling cared about... listened to...honored in that way...is beautiful and so soul satisfying.

When we give our full attention AND invite our heart to respond, we open a precious pathway of mutual caring and consideration. 

Listening beyond the words someone speaks and really taking in the emotional impact they represent creates the most beautiful environment for the expression of compassion and empathy...in both directions.

Put on your metaphorical headphones...
open your heart to someone's emotional music! 

Choosing the intention of listening BEYOND THE WORDS may be the most wonderful gift you ever give to others and yourself!

                                                                                                                           Marie Helena

image of girl with headphones from colourbox.com

originally published November 23, 2013

Saturday, April 16, 2016

I Hear Your Heart

Our ears can hear the words that a person speaks and also the inflection and nuance present in those words... but there is something even more important for us to listen to...and that something is
the message of his heart
This very special treasure is something we come to know over time and through experience and sometimes it is something we can sense about someone. 
We are able to witness and perceive the glory of a person's heart when he is centered...peaceful...in his power.

But this is not always what is happening.

Sometimes the challenges and trials of earth school feel so great for someone that he reacts from his stress, fatigue or frustration and sometimes from his unhealed pain. 
And his reaction in this moment could easily feel as if it is directed at you.

The message is really for his personal emotional space where he is attempting to navigate his reaction to a  painful trigger. The words he has blurted out are his first attempt to express his distress. The release has not yet taken the path of Higher Self and spiritual evolution.  

It is stuck on the first rung of (very human) expression. And it may seem aimed at the closest available object and, in this case,  that object may be you.

This moment is such a blessed and holy opportunity to offer love and support to the person who is confronting an old trigger or pain or who is worn down by the stress he is experiencing in his life.  

We can do so much good at this moment by NOT listening to the words of release that appear to stumble out in our direction but by
LISTENING INSTEAD TO THE PERSON'S HEART which we have already come to sense and know. 

As evidenced in his voice, inflection and words, the openness of his heart  has been temporarily blocked by the emotion of hurt or pain but we can choose love to help us access it while he undergoes what is essentially the first stages of self-confrontation.  And  by choosing love we help set the stage for the work he has to do with the issue that has come up for his awareness, acceptance and release.

By affirming that WE KNOW what resides in his heart, we help him access that awareness himself...a step he must take to deal with the issue.

This is a unique opportunity waiting to be recognized.

What a beautiful gift we can give to this individual...remembrance and awareness of his  
"Best Self" communicated to him with gentleness and caring...and in the moment when he most needs to feel that LOVE!

image from thevectorart.com

originally printed June 14, 2012

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Adjust Your Sails

A wise sailor holds an awareness of every element that is affecting his journey and he navigates his vessel accordingly. 

 He knows that if he wants his voyage to be smooth and efficient he will need to pay attention...to respect and honor...every circumstance of his environment.

Just imagine, for example, what would happen if he took to the sea and set sail on his own course, disregarding the winds and currents around him.  Chaos would ensue...he might encounter unexpected storms or turbulence...and possibly even experience a shipwreck.

And that is why a wise and knowledgeable seaman will be completely aware of his environment and will adjust his sails accordingly.

There is a lesson to be learned from this sage sailor.

Sometimes we set our course and plunge ahead with enthusiasm, fervor and, unfortunately, a huge set of blinders.  We march to our own drummer and are so rapt up in our journey, that we fail to notice that everyone is making his own music. 

This great variety of musical compositions can be coaxed into a beautiful song with some conscious attention and awareness

Let's take this down to terms of HUMAN INTERACTION

If we are interacting with a die hard humorist, we are not going to make great progress if all we do is make serious statements. 

If we are speaking to a gentle hearted soul, we will surely encounter difficulty if our words tumble out in erratic cacophony.

If we are speaking to a no nonsense bottom-liner, our efforts at presenting elaborate examples will not be appreciated.

However, if we invest our energy in knowing our audience and appreciating the chemistry and propensities of each participant, we can ADJUST OUR SAILS to the human  variables of this interpersonal weather. 

I have found the payoff to this approach to be mind blowing

When we "pay the price of admission" regarding what is close and what is dear to someone's heart and, thereby, help them into a space of comfort and ease...that individual is poised and ready and open to considering whatever message we wish to deliver.

All sea winds and currents are navigable when we are willing to honor their energies.

                                                                                     Marie Helena

image from blog.craftycutie.com.     
originally published December 1, 2013

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Writing Team of our "Glee"

first published August 14, 2012


The highly acclaimed TV musical series Glee has proven so popular that it has generated a series spin-off called The Glee Project.  
On this show young performers who are talented singers, dancers and actors compete for the honor of being a guest star on several episodes of Glee. 
The talent and skill levels of the competitors are naturally of paramount importance but so is the question of whether or not Glee's writers feel inspired to write a story for the character that a performer represents.

The question which is asked each week by the writing team is:  Can we write for this character?  

Fortunately, in the stage of our life, we do not have to be concerned about whether our writing team can write for us.  
The Divine Universe is ALWAYS ready to write....to gift us with impulses, ideas, opportunities and experiences that help us manifest what it is that we DREAM about.

And when we dream (hold a conscious intention) and then release the dream to the Universe, we only need to be alert and watchful for the most amazing and beautiful impulses and opportunities to arise which move us with grace and ease toward the fulfillment of our dreams.

The  clues and synchronicities which appear may be subtle but if we harbor the curiosity and tenacity of the detective we WILL find them. and the more we experience them, the better we get at detecting their presence.

I received some beautiful encouragement for my desire to experience my life with simplicity and ease last evening as I attended a wedding on a beautiful cliff overlooking the shores of Lake Michigan. 

As a special gift to the guests the bride and groom had gathered small, flat stones from the shore and written a different inspirational word on each stone.
Every guest was invited to select a stone and take it home after the reception.  The stones were arranged as adornments on many different tables, nestled among beds of green leaves. 
The very first stone I picked up had this word written on it:  "easily".  

I knew the synchronicity of the appearance of this word was an offer of inspiration from the Divine Universe to encourage me in my intention.
I get these kinds of messages of encouragement daily...from something I read on the Internet, from a song I hear playing, from an offhand comment made by someone close to me or even a stranger.

And the more I relax and trust in this wonderfully Divine arrangement and don't attempt to "fix" things myself...the more I choose to float on the river of life, accepting its flow whatever that may be,  the easier and faster they manifest.  And lately they have been manifesting almost immediately.  The process is so easy, it is astounding..and so very joyful.

And in response to this amazing grace, I say, "Thank you and I'll have more!"

THIS is what we are designed to do on our earth journey.  
We are designed to hold conscious intentions, release them to the Divine Universe with no attachment regarding the journey by which they may arrive...and then stay alert for the surprises to come...and, when they do, receive them with a full and grateful heart and follow the direction in which they lead us.

We are truly Co-Creators with the Divine Universe and this glorious experience is meant to be joyous and full of delight.  The writers of our "GLEE" await our focused and conscious dreaming.  Are you ready?


                                                                                  Marie Helena

image from blingee.com

Friday, April 8, 2016

Loving the Distance


Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky.

                                                                               Rainer Maria Rilke


To see the other "whole against the sky"...

How beautiful and loving to truly "see" and "know" another sans the heavy trappings of our own unmet needs, conditioning and ego!  How transforming...how triumphant!

And not the easiest task
when mired in the heavy density of earth school where we struggle so to come up for the air of feeling in control, satisfied, vindicated, "in the game" and winning.

Rilke is suggesting in his beautiful poetic way that we choose a view much more vast than just taking care of ourselves.  He is asking us to look much further...to reach, to stretch our souls up into the infinite distance where we have the clarity of seeing the view of each soul traversing its own terrain.  And it is a stunning picture...it is magnificent.  It is a work of art creating itself in each moment...the story of all of our journeys.

That work of art is subtle and sensitive...intricate and winding...powerful, chaotic and peaceful.
.teeming with the stories of all earth dwellers trying to find their way. And the paths...and landmarks...and back roads vary greatly but they make sense to the traveler and THAT is what we need to honor in ourselves and in all others.  In that honoring is birthed the exquisite gift of understanding and  empathy...and the life-changing, mystical experience of Loving the Distance!

                                                             Marie Helena

image from scamp.ie
Scamp:  The Irish Illumination Blog
 (from Brian Fitzgerald's sketchbook)

 originally published Septeme
r 22, 2013

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Gathering

Media cinematographers have perfected the process of superimposing an image on a screen…with one image overshadowing the other.

Both images can still be seen but the superimposed image is the stronger, more impressive one.

What if we were to borrow this beautiful artistry and use it energetically to help us stay connected to what is the true purpose of our life!

When we encounter another in a moment of challenge or distress, perhaps we could superimpose right over them the image of their Higher Self.  Could be a brilliant white light…a figure our imaginations have created…a beautiful blend of harmonic colors and sounds…however we wish to portray the image of Higher Self.

This superimposed figure would no doubt be bathed in love and caring for its human counterpart, softly offering the energy of confidence and support, smiling and nodding as the individual breaks through the barriers of the challenge and finds his way to a LOVE directed answer.

And, if the human counterpart has not yet found his way but is suffering from some hurt or pain, Higher Self would be offering the energy of compassion and unconditional love.

And… as WE enter the scene… we would also be accompanied by our Higher Self superimposed upon us. The two beautiful Spirits would recognize each other, and connect telepathically through the realm of LOVE.

What if we made a habit of seeing this superimposed figure covering EVERYONE we saw.

Wouldn’t life look different to us?

Wouldn’t we be eternally bathed in the higher vibration of Spirit?

Wouldn’t we see others through new eyes, through the vision of our and their Higher Selves?

Let's consider the beautiful and inspiring possibility of GATHERING all of our Higher Selves and welcoming them into our consciousness.

What a wonderful way to experience the day and see ourselves protected, honored and loved by this supreme vibration!
                                                                                       Marie Helena

image from eternalgodz.blogspot.com

originally published July 13, 2011

Friday, April 1, 2016

Secrets of the Orange

Nature has gifted us with so many
beautiful fruits…each with its own special appeal. The cornucopia of delights is amazing…and so life-giving…a bounty of the earth just waiting for us to partake of its pleasures.

Of all of the delightful earth offerings, my very favorite is the orange.

Hold the orange in the palm of your hand and notice how perfectly it fits…a microcosm of the earth and all of its natural opulence.

Feel its texture…the ambivalence of the contrasting smoothness and edginess…the story of our life journey.

See its glorious color…radiating
warmth and energy.*

And, very best of all, witness how INSTANTLY it reveals its truths to the world in a burst of goodness, of flavor, of clarity and appeal.

What a gorgeous message to us regarding how to navigate the pilgrimage we have undertaken:

With joy and gratitude,
in glorious color,
sharing our warmth and energy with others,
and manifesting for all to see the truths of our hearts and souls!

Once again, the Divine has gifted us with a guide to mentor us by its very beingness…still another beautiful lesson for us viewed all by itself.

I think the orange is probably not so very determined to hold onto its secrets but rather is waiting patiently for us to foray into Sherlock Holmes discovery of the clue sitting right on our kitchen table.

                                                                                    Marie Helena


originally published April 1, 2011