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Archive for November, 2009

How Do You Practice Gratitude Attitude?

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

“Gratitude opens the way for more good to come into your life.” – Louise Hay

GratitudeAttitudeThis is the time of year where we make plans for a big meal with family or friends, for volunteering to serve others in need, and for expressing our thanks. After some reflection about this time of year we call, “Thanksgiving”, I was reminded of my blog, Gratitude Attitude, I wrote this past summer. It highlighted the idea that each day we have the opportunity to live from the place and space of gratitude. We have a choice of living from scarcity and complaints (isn’t there enough of that on the news?) or we can live from a sincere place of gratitude. We can probably name people we know who complain for a living.  This is the complainer/martyr with the mentality of victim consciousness that I often teach about – the ‘poor me’ syndrome that many live from.  I choose to work, collaborate, and hang out with folks who are thankful for what is in their life – even the painful experiences. I see such liberation when we open to gratitude in every form, even walking in the rain without an umbrella!

By expressing gratitude as a daily practice, I have discovered that gratitude is an attitude and that once you have it, you can make it a regular practice like brushing your teeth. There are many gratitude attitude practices that can be incorporated into everyday life. Here are a few:

As soon as you open your eyes in the morning, say thank you.

Thank at least 3 people every day for something (from holding a door to being in your life).

Start a gratitude attitude journal – write down each day something you are grateful for.

Take 3 minutes each day, close your eyes, inhale the word gratitude and exhale the word gratitude.

Each night, say out loud at least one thing that brought a smile to your face and say thank you.

As we prepare for Thanksgiving, let us take this spirit and energy of the harvesting of the past and bring forth more fruits into the world. Let us all bring “Thanks” and “Giving” to all we know.

When I am grateful, the world is grateful.  Happy “Thanks-Giving!”

What are your gratitude attitude practices?

I am grateful for new learning, my life partner, Lorene, incredible co-workers, my clients, the White Mesa allyu, my coaching colleagues/friends, my friendships of unyielding support – Paulette, Val, Joe, Louis, Didi & Ellenrita, my family, friends from all the  schools I attended, past co-workers, my blog, books, meditation, the building of international connections (South Africa), the ability to travel, my spiritual teachers, my faith, and my ability to hold space & so, so much more!

With much gratitude, Mary Anne

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How Much Is Mind Chatter Costing You? Stillness is Free.

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

soul-mind-chatter.jpgLast month in meditation, I sat on my blue meditation cushion with my eyes closed, crossed my legs and started some conscious breaths. I wanted to experience a quiet space within that would allow my heart to expand into the awareness of stillness. There I was on my cushion breathing in and out, slowly and deeply. On this particular morning, as soon as I started my breath work, my mind chatter began sprinting in my head like a racehorse out of a gate. Immediately, running thoughts and questions began: ‘What are you doing…Can’t you do more…Can’t you keep up…Other people are thriving, Don’t you want to be like other creative people…Your week is too busy…You are not doing enough’…and on and on and on. I watched then as my breath became faster and faster until I became light headed. Suddenly, my entire body exhaled. I was exhausted.

I breathed slowly into each part of my body with awareness and intention. I breathed into my feet, my legs, my stomach, my abdomen, my heart, my arms, my back, my neck, my eyes, my head over and over again. Each breath was a gift to my body. I noticed the absolute silence in the room. I found myself with a big smile on my face swaying to stillness. As clear as day I heard, “How much is mind chatter costing you? Stillness is free.”

I have been taking an inventory of my mind chatter. I have noticed and watched the impact my mind chatter has on my body, my energy, and my spirit. It’s not a matter of shouting to my mind chatter, “Shut Up!”, because the chatter will only get louder. Instead I watch the thoughts float in the air and imagine them on the sands of a beach and with each wave I ask the water to wash them into the sand. My mind chatter begins to get swept up by the waves of the ocean until they completely disappear and I can no longer hear the thoughts.

How much is mind chatter costing you? How do you release mind chatter?

I invite you to breathe into all parts of you. Breathe into your body and wait for stillness to emerge.

Wishing you the gift of stillness – Mary Anne

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Taking a Sabbatical

Friday, November 13th, 2009

sabbaticalIf you have ever listened to a TED talk on the Internet, you know about being inspired by the power of ideas. The “talks“highlight the best in the fields of technology, entertainment, and design (TED). Their motto is, “Ideas Worth Spreading”. Every year they hold a conference where folks present their ideas about new ways of thinking, connecting, and creating ideas.

After attending a TEDx event in New York City, I have been inspired by the power of ideas. I love listening to how people create, generate, and sustain ideas that create local and global vision. As someone who is always creating ideas – often scrawling them out on scraps of paper I have a lot of appreciation for the ‘power of ideas’. One talk that stood out was not just creating ideas, but taking time off throughout your career to regenerate your creative flow.

Stefan Sagmeister is a designer who closes his company every seven years for a full year in order to rejuvenate and refresh his creative ideas. He describes the life span of a person who spends their first 25 years learning, their next 40 working, and the final 15 enjoying their retirement (if they are lucky). His idea is interspersing our retirement years throughout our working years. It’s about having work that nurtures us and work as a calling – experiencing fulfillment. In his view people can experience work as a calling by taking time off – a sabbatical. Imagine taking a planned break to clear yourself of all distractions. Perhaps we are not ready or able to take a year off, but what if we could actually plan in our calendar a sabbatical to generate new ideas, listen to our inner creative voice, and appreciate our work as a calling.


I am thinking of ways of integrating a sabbatical in 2010. I would love to hear your thoughts. How do you envision taking a sabbatical? This is an idea worth spreading!

Peace, Mary Anne

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Forgiving – Radically & Peacefully

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

ForgivenessIn one of my meditations this year I wrote the following: “How is not forgiving showing up in your body, your mind, and your relationships? Forgiveness is a means whereby ALL experiences and relationships happen FOR us. Forgiveness is the freedom of peace and the peace of freedom.”

Earlier this year I read Colin C. Tipping’s book, Radical Forgiveness – Making Room for the Miracle, and experienced a ‘radical’ way of looking at forgiveness. I contemplated the concept that everything happens FOR me and not TO me. I began to stop playing small, playing the victim, and began appreciating people for what they could teach me. As I became more open and available to life’s lessons, I was able to see relationship patterns and how I was responsible for all of them. Suddenly, I experienced an inner peace like never before. I was showing up in relationships with family and friends in peaceful ways. More of my relationships began to expand.

I began to deeply listen to shamanic and coaching clients I was working with and their struggle to forgive themselves and others in their life. Clients expressed how they were clinging on for dear life for an apology or to their anger over a situation. With this in mind, I asked how willing they were to look at forgiveness in a new and radical way. I invited clients to imagine all the energy it was taking to hold on tightly to the anger and hurt and instead imagine this space being used to create more joy, more peace, and more love. Upon reflection I have come to discover that forgiveness is a journey, a process, and a resting – of getting to a place within and just resting. As part of this journey, I have read some profound thoughts on forgiveness from many teachers. These quotes have helped me make room for more love and I am hoping they might do the same for you.

“Forgiveness does not mean that we suppress anger; forgiveness means that we have asked for a miracle:  the ability to see through mistakes that someone has made to the truth that lies in all of our hearts. Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness. Attack thoughts towards others are attack thoughts towards ourselves. The first step in forgiveness is the willingness to forgive.”  Marianne Williamson

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act. It is a permanent attitude.”  Martin Luther King

“I could see peace instead of this.”  A Course in Miracles

“Forgiveness is realizing that what you thought happened, didn’t”  Byron Katie

Are you open to making space for more love, more peace, and more freedom? As Mother Theresa says, “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”

If you are open to making yourself available to a radical way of looking at forgiveness, join me for an upcoming 4-week telecourse, “Resting in Radical Forgiveness”, starting Wednesday, November 18, 2009. For information & to register:  http://www.toningtheom.com/upcoming-events/#resting

“Forgiveness is the freedom of peace and the peace of freedom.”

Peace, Mary Anne

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