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Who's Morale Is It?



Whose MORALE is it?
By:  Jess Hollen- Haute Goddess

I have this vision in my head, like something out of The Pirates of the Caribbean, of rows and rows of men in the bowels of a creaking wooden sailing vessel, joints and ribs protruding, fatigued, being commanded to “Stroke! Stroke!”  I imagine them being lashed at the slightest hesitancy, grumbling under their breath, barely daring to glance up from their oars… as if the seedling of mutiny could be found in the gleam of a seditious eye. Who would want to be THERE? Not me. Yet at the same time, sometimes it seems like a real effort to maintain my optimism when things don’t always go my way… or when my 3-year-old son, Mason, chooses the most inopportune moments to express his own rebellion. After an emotional roller coaster ride with him that can last all day, I have to admit, my own morale has taken a lashing of its own! Unfortunately (or fortunately) I am always left with the question “Whose morale IS it, anyway?”

Just a few days ago I posted my status on Facebook as looking for a ticket to see the Dalai Lama. I knew he was going to be speaking at a local college in two days. I knew it was sold out. I just thought I had nothing to lose by asking the Universe! If you can believe it, I was supremely - no - Divinely lucky enough to get the call from a friend who serendipitously granted me my wish! Boy, I was thrilled about it! I thought to myself, “I am just too, too powerful! Look at that! THAT is some clear intention!” as I mentally clapped myself on the back. I thought that I was in for a life-changing experience, sure to strike me between the eyes with some cathartic epiphany. I thought merely being in the same space with the man would somehow change my DNA!

Well, my experience seeing him yesterday didn’t quite turn out that way. It was really difficult to understand what he said, given his thick Tibetan accent and that he was speaking in a soft conversational manner. Lucky as I was to be there, my seat was in the farthest corner possible, in the nosebleed seats at the top of some creaky metal bleachers. The acoustics were pretty shaky up in that corner of the arena, bouncing off the walls, and reverberating what was being amplified from a distinctly uni-directional sound system.  There was almost constant traffic along the metal stairs in the isle next to me. I could barely catch anything he was saying.  I was even feeling a little drowsy, in the blanket of the warmer atmosphere that high up. Yet, the woman next to me was studiously taking notes, understanding most of what the self-proclaimed “simple monk” shared. She even chuckled at some of his jokes while I asked her “What? What did he say?” I didn’t want to be left out of the big joke everyone else seemed in on.  It was immediately ironic to me that as I sat rigidly perking my ears towards his voice… praying for more close-ups on the projection screens so I could see his mouth… that I would also experience myself as annoyed with the inconsiderate passersby interfering with my chance to get something out of this lifetime opportunity… ALL at the same time His Holiness spoke on compassion and non-violence. On the drive home, my husband interrupted my disgruntled rant with his laugh as he, too, recognized the irony of my irritation in an environment cloaked in compassion and reverence. Too bad for me, I wasn’t in the mood to pull myself out of it – yet.

Again I found myself faced with the question of “Whose morale is it?”

I’ve placed my faith in that axiom of “mind over matter.” I’ve jeopardized friendships by debating that a gallstone is merely a lump of unresolved anger asking for forgiveness. I ask people all the time, “and whose feelings are we talking about?” when arguing that no one person can MAKE another feel anything without agreement. What was MY problem? It’s not like I haven’t just changed my mind before. I can turn the other cheek!

When I opened my refrigerator looking to quench my ire, I noticed my favorite quotable magnet, “If you’re going to doubt anything, doubt your limits.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made a point of sharing that little tidbit! And I realized that in some way I’ve doubted myself… I didn’t miss anything the Dalai Lama had to say, really. I caught a tidbit that was quite a jewel. In his address on “The Effect of Compassion on the Global Community” I got that we directly benefit from summoning compassion for others… that we support ourselves through our support for others.  Not that this is a completely foreign message to me, but it certainly carried more weight coming from him.

At the same time that I could retract my judgment of those people who left during the Q&A, I could see quite the dichotomy: I was so excited at the prospect of my brain being blown wide open by the Dalai Lama that I completely disregarded my gratitude for having the chance to see him live once I started to indulge my exasperation. I had changed my mind!  Just not for the better. As soon as this occurred to me, my mind was changed… and so was my morale! The best part to digesting this juicy little piece of brain candy was that I got a direct experience in my bones of what the Dalai Lama was talking about.

My promise to myself is to wake up tomorrow and start my day by meditating on the message from His Holiness in the program for his address:



“Every day, think as you wake up,
Today I am fortunate to have woken up.
I am alive; I have a precious human life.
I am not going to waste it.
I am going to use
All my energies to develop myself,
To expand my heart out to others,
To achieve enlightenment for
The benefit of all beings.
I am going to have kind
Thoughts towards others;
I am not going to get angry
Or think badly about others.
I am going to benefit others
As much as I can.”  


You know what the best part is? As I extend my gratitude and compassion, I AM gracious and compassionate… As I make the effort to develop myself, I grant others permission to pursue their own truths… As I focus on others’ well-being I contribute to their morale as much as my own… and I am SO happy to be here for that purpose.

Author Bio

Jessica received her initial training to be a scenic artist at the small conservatorium, Cobalt Studios for Scenic Art, in Monticello, New York. The program curriculum, centered on the execution of backdrops alone, was created to provide painters a working knowledge of classical painting and architecture, modern scenic painting techniques in use in professional theatre, and a specialization in both Trompe L'oeil and realistic faux bois and marbling. The studio focus was on the professional outside projects designed to develop the particular disciplines. Memorable projects include backdrops for Harvard's Hasty Pudding Festival and the Miami City Ballet.

Professionally, Jessica has painted scenery for regional theatres and scenery fabrication shops around the country, theme park scenery in Orlando, feature films, TV, and commercials in Florida, New York, and New England. Hi-lights include Disney/MGM Studios... Nickelodeon Studios... Speed 2 (1996)... HBO mini-series, From the Earth to the Moon... Sex & The City (HBO)... Riding In Cars With Boys (2000)... The New York Metropolitan Opera... After a decade-long career in the entertainment industry, Jessica then directed professional and creative efforts towards traveling as an artist for the Cheesecake Factory Restaurants and starting Haute Finishes, a specialized faux finishing and mural design & painting business.


Now the creative direction of Haute Finishes Incorporated is expanding to include the one of a kind, hand painted home accessory line called OM Accessories. Also operating under the auspices of HF inc is the Goddess Initiative, a private party series for women interested in participating as part of a like-minded community honoring the Divine Feminine and spiritual ascension. In development for future projects is a new division called Firebird Video Production which will specialize in custom video presentations for both private parties and corporate organizations. Long-term plans for Haute Finishes include "transpersonal" art classes.

You can Visit her website at:  Haute FinishesInc.com



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