May's News

Dear Friends and Family of Wisechoices and Mari Hall

After many months and e mails back and forth between the web designer, Katerina in Thessaloniki, Greece and myself in Houston, Texas our new Wisechoices web pages have been put up. We are still working out the the kinks that we find. I had been waiting to post a newsletter until I had the finished results to show you. My intention was there at least even though it took longer than I had imagined.

To see our new site follow this link. http://www.wisechoices.com

I have also moved into my new home, unpacked all the boxes from storage and have begun to reacquaint my self with treasured books and photos. I am also enjoying my garden complete with a meditation spot. It is heaven to sit outside and listen to the birds, the sound of the water running over the sides of the fountain and the wind chimes hanging in the craggy old tree. It has been 19 years since I have purchased my own place...My roots are growing deeper. I have been planting patio containers with flowers that spill out in multi colors. I am so blessed!

Our next 21 day virtual Usui Retreat will start on June 21st. I have a very special person to do the focus meditations this time. Stay tuned for further announcements. Here are some interesting articles that I am sharing with you. May your Spring be filled with sights, smells and sounds of newness and your heart be filled with joy.

Love and Blessings,


Each of us is a Vital Thread

A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package. "What food might this contain?" the mouse wondered. He was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap. Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning:

There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!" The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, "Mr. Mouse”, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it."

The mouse turned to the pig and told him, "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!" The pig sympathized, but said, " I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. Be assured you are in my prayers."

The mouse turned to the cow and said "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!" The cow said, "Wow, Mr. Mouse. I'm sorry for you, but it's no skin off my nose."

So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer's mousetrap alone.

That very night a sound was heard throughout the house -- like the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey. The farmer's wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught. The snake bit the farmer's wife. The farmer rushed her to the hospital and she returned home with a fever. Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup's main ingredient.

But his wife's sickness continued, so friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig. The farmer's wife did not get well; she died. So many people came for her funeral; the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them. The mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness.

And so, the next time you hear someone is facing a problem and think it doesn't concern you, remember -- when one of us is threatened, we are all at risk.

We are all involved in this journey called life. We must keep an eye out for one another and make an extra effort to encourage one another.


Pausing To Drink

Beauty Day

Sometimes we go through whole days without really tuning in to the beauty of nature that surrounds us. We have a habit of seeing it without really taking it in, yet once we begin to notice it we treat ourselves to an exquisite realm of subtle, complex scents, miraculous forms, and ethereal light. The natural world enriches our entire being through the vehicles of our senses. When we are low, nature lifts our spirits. When we are tired, it rejuvenates us-if we pause long enough to drink from its beauty. If you have fallen out of the practice of taking time to observe the light as it filters through the leaves of a tree, or the concentric rings a raindrop makes as it plops into a puddle, you can re tune yourself by dedicating a day to noticing the beauty in nature.

On this day, one possibility is to rise early enough to see the sunrise. Watching the sky change colors and the world emerge from darkness is an experience that will influence the whole rest of your day in ways that words cannot describe. Or simply observe the quality of the morning light as it infuses the world with its particular pale golden beauty. You may let the light play on your own hand, remembering that you are also part of the natural world. Let your intuition guide you to the elements of nature that call to you throughout the day, such as the sound of the wind as it shakes and sways a tree or the feeling of snowflakes landing on your warm eyelids and cheeks.

After you devote one day to opening your eyes more fully to the beauty of nature, you may want to make this part of your daily routine. Each day drink from the beauty all around you, and allow it to rejuvenate your entire being. All you have to do is pause, for just one minute, and really take it in, remembering to thank Mother Nature for her beauty.

Hearing the One Voice

Taking Counsel in A Circle

When we sit in a circle together and share our thoughts and feelings, we participate in a powerful, unifying practice whose origins stem from the very beginning of human time. All early cultures practiced some form of this ritual, which gives each individual in the group a voice, and at the same time reveals the one voice, and the ultimate unity, of the group. This profound and simple way of talking and listening has experienced a modern rebirth in counseling, social work, and spirituality.

Most circles benefit from the presence of a leader who opens the circle by calling in angels, spirit guides, and ancestors-beings of light who will be present with those taking counsel. The leader may announce a theme for the circle, or one may simply evolve from the unstructured expressions of each participant. The circle continues for as long as feels right, at which point the leader may summarize what has been said, perhaps leading everyone in a moment of silence before the circle disbands. One of the most powerful components of this work is the talking stick, which can be any object-a crystal, a flower, or a candle-that is passed around the circle from person to person. The person holding the object speaks until he has fully expressed his feelings, and no one else interjects, interrupts, or even responds until they are holding the stick. This enables people who have a hard time speaking out to express long buried feelings and points of view. This is powerful because in a! Community it is often what is not said or acknowledged that causes the most pain and suffering.

The circle, which contains no hard edges or angles, is the ideal container for these difficult truths. As we hear the many perspectives the subject at hand inspires, we begin to see that our individual truth is just one of many. Our own hard edges begin to soften as the circle flows from one person to the next, and each wave of words cleanses us of one more layer of mental and emotional armor, freeing us to be closer to the people around us. Try using counsel during your next family meeting, school class, or any setting where you feel a centering communication method is needed.

Returning Home

Open Heart

Spiritual teachers have always pointed to the heart as the seat of consciousness, and recently Western science has found evidence to support this realization. It turns out that the heart has its own central nervous system and is not simply under the rule of the brain as formerly believed. Anyone who has taken the time to explore the heart knows this and, more important, has realized that the heart is the source of our connection to a consciousness greater than the ego. Approaching life with an open heart means that we have opened the door to this greater consciousness, taking up residence alongside it in the seat of our soul. Fortunately, at this time there is a lot of support for this shift energetically as well as practically. To some degree, approaching life with an open heart is as simple as shifting your attention onto your heart.

Eventually you will be able do this any time, any place, but at first it may help to try it in a quiet place where you won't be disturbed. Simply sit with your eyes closed and draw your breath into your heart. As your breath expands your chest cavity, your heart expands and opens. You may feel tenderness or sadness in your heart, and you may also feel relief. Any emotions that arise can be effectively witnessed and healed through the meditation process, which benefits both your physical heart and your energetic heart. The more you practice, the more you will find your heart opening to your own presence and to all the situations your life brings.

When we open our hearts, they may feel tender and vulnerable, which simply means that they need our loving attention as we cleanse and heal them of past hurts and blockages. This process asks us to practice some of the heart's greatest lessons-patience, compassion, and unconditional love. On the other hand, we may take up residence as effortlessly as a bird returns to its nest. Either way, approaching life with an open heart simply means returning to our true home.

As if it Were the First Time
Paulo Coelho

I would like to believe that I am going to look on this new year as if it were the first time that 365 days have unfolded before my eyes. To see the people around me with surprise and amazement, happy to discover that they are by my side and sharing something so often mentioned and so seldom understood, called love.

I shall climb on the first bus that comes along without asking where it is going to and I shall get off as soon as I see something that catches my attention. I shall pass by a beggar who asks me for some spare change. Maybe I’ll give him something, maybe I’ll think that he will spend it on drink and just walk past – hearing his insults and understanding that that is the way he has to communicate with me. I shall pass by someone who is trying to wreck a telephone booth. Maybe I’ll try to stop them, maybe I’ll understand that they are doing that because there is nobody to talk to on the other side of the line and that is their way of chasing off loneliness.

On each of these 365 days I shall look at everything and everybody as if it were the first time – especially the small things that I am not used to and whose magic I have forgotten. The keys of my computer, for example, that move with an energy that I fail to understand. The paper that appears on the screen and for a long time has not been revealed in a physical manner, although I believe that I am writing on a white sheet where it is easy to make corrections by pressing a key. At the side of the computer monitor are some papers that I do not have the patience to put in order, but if I feel that they are hiding something new, than all these letters, memoranda, newspaper cuttings and receipts will gain a life of their own and will have odd stories of the past and the future to tell me. So many things in the world, so many paths trodden, so many entrances and exits in my life.

I am going to put on a shirt that I wear a lot and for the first time I shall pay attention to the label and the way it was sewn, and I am going to imagine the hands that designed it and the machines that changed this design into something material and visible.

And even the things that I am used to – such as my bow and arrows, the breakfast coffee mug, the boots that have become an extension of my feet after wearing them so much – will be coated in the mystery of discovery. Let everything that my hand touches, my eyes see and my mouth taste be different now, although they been the same for many a year. In that way they will no longer be still-lifes and start to convey the secret of having been with me for such a long time, and they will show me the miracle of coming into touch again with emotions already worn down by routine.

I want to look at the sun for the first time, if the sun comes out tomorrow, or at cloudy weather, if tomorrow is overcast. Above my head there is a sky for which all of humanity - over thousands of years of observation - has given a series of reasonable explanations. Well, I shall forget everything I have ever learned about the stars, and they will once more turn into angels, or children, or anything else that I feel like believing in at the moment.

Time and life have changed everything into something perfectly understandable – and I need mystery, the thunder that is the voice of an angry god rather than just a simple electric discharge that sets off vibrations in the atmosphere. I want to fill my life again with fantasy, because an angry god is far more curious, frightening and interesting than a phenomenon of physics.

And finally, let me look at myself on each of these 365 days as if it were the first time that I was in contact with my body and my soul. Let me look at this person who walks, feels and talks like any other, let me feel surprised at his most simple gestures, like chatting to the mailman, opening his correspondence, contemplating his wife sleeping at his side, wondering what she is dreaming about.

And so I shall remain what I am and what I like to be, a constant surprise to myself. This I who was not created by my father or by my mother, nor by my school, but by all that I have lived so far - suddenly I forgot and am discovering it all over again.