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Saturday, September 30, 2017

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

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Adventures of a New Author

Last evening I had my first book signing at Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Grand Rapids, Michigan for The Night Blooming Jasmine in Your Heart, my first contribution to the Mystic Marks series of books I am writing for Lillicat Publishers.  Along with fifteen other local authors, I held court on the second floor of the bookstore, chatting with passersby about my book and the process of writing it and signing copies purchased by customers.

What a delightful evening it was!  Friends and family stopped by to wish me well and have copies of my book signed for them.  Other individuals making their way through the labyrinth of authors stopped by curiously to take in the colorful displays of shiny new books happily resting on various holders, fragrant flowers adorning the tables and crystal bowls of mints and bite-size tootsie rolls waiting for attention.

It felt like a huge on-going party with streams of people genially making their way through the long, linen covered tables curiously perusing the highlighted displays, often encountering individuals they knew and greeting them with smiles and hugs.

One of the most special parts of the evening for me was my encounter with two beautiful little girls. I would guess they might be in the third or fourth grade. They seemed very interested in my book and as I began a conversation with them, I learned that they were about to enter into a school writing project.  They were very excited about this and announced to me with great enthusiasm their intention to become writers.  As I told them about my book and mentioned that it was a collection of my blogs, I realized they did not know what a blog  was and so I took some time to explain this to them and showed them a sample in my book.  They were very enthralled and asked me several questions.  I pointed out to them that each of the blogs in my book was accompanied by a watercolor image of a beautiful flower and they asked if I had colored the flowers myself.

Who can resist the innocence and curiosity of a child!!!

I was completely entranced by their beautiful hearts and decided to give each of them a copy of my book as a gift and, of course, I signed the books for them with a personal message encouraging them to listen to their hearts.

Perhaps this will be a moment to be remembered by the little girls from their childhood... to be given a new book signed by the author especially for them. Perhaps they will even become writers, enamored by the joy of holding a new book in their hands, feeling the texture of the pages on their little fingers, sensing the magic of the author's emotions.

This awesome experience is a beautiful example of why writers write... to share their feelings, their very private peak at the world.  I felt so privileged to find myself in that magical moment with these beautiful little girls sharing my love of the written word.

After the girls left, one of our family friends told me that she thought I was very brave. I asked her why she felt that was so and she answered that it is very brave to put your personal and private feelings into a book for all to see. After reflecting on this for a moment, I agreed with her and celebrated my courage.  And I realized that the joy of expressing my feelings has always been so profound for me that I have never been aware of my bravery in this transcendent act of writing.

It was truly surreal to sign copies of my book last evening as an author. It felt like I was wishing the final farewell to my words as I sent them off to the world to fly to whatever corners they are guided to and I was very privileged to see them land smack into the hearts of those two beautiful little girls.

                                                                                           Marie Helena

image from pinterest

Saturday, September 16, 2017



The Italians have a beautiful word which translates as "crossing over"


To me it means moving through
and moving on.

As I looked through some interesting comments I have saved from my readings, I came across some lovely impressions of how this process happens.
Lauren Gorgo tells us that 

"we are not here to own or hold experiences but to fluidly move thru them so as to continually embrace the next experience...and the next, and the next."
When I attempt to visualize the  process  Lauren describes the scene I see is filled with gently moving images that are translucent...they are effortlessly transforming into new images (read experiences).  The feeling is one of lightness and the most beautiful energy vibrating joyfully.

According to Lauren Gorgo this is Conscious Co-Creation and it means to live in the moment and create the next moment from the moment that preceded it.


As I reflect on this picture I see that  LIFE looks very purposeful.  Every experience we have holds the gift of a sacred lesson which anchors the next step in our spiritual evolution.


Does this image of moving pictures seem difficult to engage...to stop fixating on or obsessing over our experiences...especially the ones that feel difficult, uncomfortable or painful and move instead into the on-going  grace of transformation?


Here are some words of encouragement I feel are especially inspiring to help us develop this approach to life.  They describe a gentle process, a habit we can cultivate that will facilitate this spiritual exercise. 

I do not have the author's name recorded in my notes but the tone of the message sounds a lot like the words I read from Meredith Murphy's Expect Wonderful and I share it with you in the hopes that it will spark your motivation and, oh, so gently touch your heart:

Continually allowing myself to let go of things without resistance just opens up ease and makes life so happy.

I let things come into my life.  I let them go.  I stop trying to control this or take it personally.  I just am.  Amazing.  So simple, isn't it?

 Can you SIMPLIFY the moments of your life?

                                                                              Marie Helena

image from art-saloon.ru

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

You're Invited


I am very excited to extend an invitation to you to attend an Author's Night to celebrate
the publishing of Book 1 of my Mystic Marks series: 

The Night Blooming Jasmine
in Your Heart 

I will be talking about my book at two major bookstores in the Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA area:

as one of several featured authors for Local Author Night  at Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Woodland Mall on Friday, September 22nd at 7 p.m.    


 as a guest on a panel of authors at Schuler Books and Music on 28th Street on Thursday, November 2nd at 7 p.m.

I am so looking forward to these wonderful evenings which will, undoubtedly, be a thought provoking introduction to several local new authors.  The creative energy is sure to rock the rafters!

If you are in or near the Grand Rapids area, I hope you can join me on one of these exciting occasions!

                                                                                    Marie Helena


Friday, September 8, 2017

The Night Blooming Jasmine

Several months ago I was invited by Lillicat Publishers of San Diego, California to publish my writing because the editor felt that words of inspiration are so needed today as we are all living in so much turmoil.  I am so happy to hear that my messages are being received. 

Here are two comments I received in the last 24 hours:

    from a Florida resident evacuating her home because of the threat of hurricane: Irma:

    “Your book was one of my treasures I took along with me from Florida.”


    from a physician in Haryana, northwestern India: 
    “I got my copy and keep reading it again and again!  God bless you, dearest Marie!!!”

The Night Blooming Jasmine in Your Heart 
   ~how to flow your energy into a mindful embrace
             of the beautiful gifts of the Universe

The Night Blooming Jasmine is an exquisitely designed messenger with a lovely secret to share. It inspires us to align ourselves with the still, calm wisdom of the Universe, opening our hearts to nature's beautiful instruction and inspiration.
Mystically themed offerings, with lovely illustrations by various artists, encourage us to become even more glorious versions of ourselves. Join Ichabod the Sailor, Irish Taxi Drivers, and the fluttering Wings of assorted characters you already know for a moment of conscious contemplation.

Are you ready for the journey?

Marie Helena Pokora
 is an international spiritual blogger whose Mystic Marks Blog is read in over one hundred countries. She has been a college professor, a coordinator of peer and professional tutoring and peer counseling, a freelance writer, and a copywriter at an ad agency.  Marie has studied spirituality for over twenty years.


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Chauffeur

Imagine a sleek, shiny limousine waiting for you to ride in...complete with a skillful, experienced chauffeur who effortlessly whisks you away to your desired destinations and knows so well the routes you enjoy.   

This is a personal assistant with whom you are extremely comfortable.  You have traveled to many destinations together and it is always the ride you desire and expect.  And, of course, YOU are the one who is responsible for hiring this chauffeur whom you trust so implicitly with the task of getting you to all of the events on your life calendar.  And why wouldn't you be for he is the EMBODIMENT of your own PERSONAL BELIEF SYSTEM.

chauffeur is entrusted with important responsibilities.  Once he knows the location you desire to be transported to, he determines the ROUTE he will follow to get you there.  He knows you well...your likes and dislikes, your preferences, the things you absolutely feel comfortable with and the things that annoy, irritate and rattle you to the core.  And, of course, he will go to great lengths to avoid them

There is something to be said for preserving and perpetuating your comfort but  perhaps following the same old route EVERY TIME is not serving you well.

There is a very simple yet profound adage that says,
If you keep doing what you always do,
  You're going to get what you always get.

If you perchance are not satisfied with what is happening in your life, perhaps it's time to see who is really driving your limo.  Just who is this limo driver so sure of how things should go?  Is he (you) missing something?  Does he always follow the routes he (you) learned many years ago and has he (you) stopped considering any new input?  Has he (you) missed something important or misread or misunderstood the "street signs"?

Such is the nature of our belief system.  It shapes and molds and may even calcify our view of life effectively eliminating the possibility of viewing life through a different lens than the one we have always known.

And what if we have adopted the view of someone in our life who has exerted great influence upon us?  And what if that very influential person's "view" has been subject to his own personal limitations or experiences?  And, by the way, WHO is driving HIS limo?

This complicated state of affairs has been the case all along for all of us because it is the nature of how things work in earth school.  We are ALL struggling, learning, and sometimes misperceiving or misunderstanding how things are.  If we limit ourselves to the initial view that we have learned from the influence of another, what will we have missed because we have never considered it possible?

And that is why it is so very necessary and wise to examine carefully ALL of our beliefs, to hold then up for introspection and to also consider alternate beliefs and see how THEY might operate in our lives.

I have been astounded to discover the possibilities I have cut myself off from because of the societal and cultural beliefs I have unquestioningly embraced.  Now I have adventures "playing" with opposing beliefs, turning the original ones topsy turvy to see where they might land.

By the way, I've got an ad out for a new chauffeur.  

Adventurous, open-minded, out-of-the-box thinker who is always searching for the most astonishing routes on this roadmap called Life.

I'm looking to mix it up in this new version of myself and see where it takes me!  How about you?

                                                                                        Marie Helena


image from graphicswww.picgifs.com

Saturday, September 2, 2017

The View from Up Here!

The view we hold of life is always influenced by the place where we stand...both literally and metaphorically.  For example, literally speaking, if we stand at the foot of a mountain its peak looks very small in the distance.  If we stand on the top of a mountain, we have a beautiful, panoramic view of what lies below. 

In life the same principle holds true in our personal interactions in a very spiritual way.  The LOWER the vibration of our reaction to an event that has occurred, the less we can see of that beautiful "mountaintop".  The  HIGHER the vibration of our response to that event,  the more we can take in the "beautiful horizon" around us.

And what would constitute a "lower" vibration view in this scenario? 
Seeing what is happening from the lens of limiting beliefs, painful or hurt feelings, unresolved issues.  In other words, giving something that has happened the worst possible interpretation we can think of at that moment.  A "higher" vibration view would be making a conscious decision to interpret what is happening in the most accepting, most compassionate way we can imagine.and, hopefully, with some lightness and humor as that always helps us and everyone else involved gain perspective.

Here's an example
We are speaking with someone and while we are still forming our words, the person begins to turn and start moving away from us.  The view at the foot of this mountain:  "Wait a minute.  I am still speaking.  Why are you walking away?"

The view from the top of this mountain would look quite different. 
Here when we are speaking and a person begins to fidget or move about we might say, "I see you are dancing.  What 'music' are you hearing?"

There's a huge difference in these two reactions.  The first one interprets the behavior as uncaring.  The second one interprets it in the highest possible light...something is going on inside the person that wants his body to move.

And, if we think about the situation calmly for a moment, we can see that the second interpretation has to be true.  Something IS going on.  Something the person hasn't understood or resolved.  And, wonderfully, we are giving that person compassion and understanding. 

How did we get to this beautiful state of generous caring?  By making the conscious choice to go to the highest peak on the mountain...in other words, to go to the best possible interpretation of what has just transpired.  We can cultivate this habit in ourselves...practice it....experiment with it....see how this choice changes our feelings and what happens next.

Here's a thought.  We may not have the physical stamina and endurance to make the demanding climb to Mount Everest or Mount Kilimanjaro.  But we can be adventurous mountain climbers in our hearts by taking on the challenge of reaching for that panoramic view of what everyone's interactions represent.  And the road sign in to that destination:  This way to "the best possible interpretation". 

There is always more going on than we can see from our own, personal view, but THE VIEW FROM UP HERE holds the potential to give us that very important information.


                                                                            Marie Helena

image from dreamstime