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Archive for February, 2010

February OM Meditations

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

I am celebrating the joy and love of another month! One way I am celebrating is to share my morning meditations and contemplative questions as a way to open up to more love.

As an invitation, feel free to close your eyes, sit with your spine straight and take a few soft breaths. Then inhale a little deeper through your nose, and on the exhale, repeat the mantra OM (AUM).  Do this three times. Allow yourself to really feel everything and become the observer of your thoughts. Feel free to focus on one question or statement below and just allow your experience to unfold.

Daily living is our enlightened state. How are you living?

I am the perfect companion I seek with another.

When you question the mind, the only truth left is love.

In the end, love shows up, and if you are open to receiving it, the experience of love is infinite. How do you experience immeasurable love and how does it show up in your life?

How do you define and experience ceremony?

The magic moment, the miracle, the unexpected is happening – are you willing to take the risk and listen to it?

Beloved, what do you hear in the silence?

There is nothing to undo.

I will wait for you – always. In your time, I am here.

Each person will have their own experience­—the invitation is to be open for whatever thoughts flow through you. Allow your mind and body to expand into the experience (without judgment).  Feel free to start with whatever mantra calls to use.

May you experience expansive love in every way. I would love to hear about your meditation experiences – drop me a line anytime!

OM Shanti, Shanti, Shanti,
Mary Anne

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There Is Nothing To Undo

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

I apparently hit a button on my iPhone more than once, and my screen read, “There is nothing to undo.” I stared at my phone for a minute, first, because I had no idea what buttons I pushed and second, because my phone was giving me my lesson for the day. “There is nothing to undo.” Such relief swept through me as I thought about releasing the thought that I had to undo anything.

There are so many times I want to ‘undo’ words, actions, and feelings of fear, doubt, and worry. Rather than undo them, I can accept them as they flow through me with no attachment. They just are thoughts and feelings flowing. This can be especially difficult when I am in the process of forgiving someone. I want another person to undo their words and actions. As Louise Hay says, “The act of forgiveness takes place in our own mind. It really has nothing to do with the other person. The reality of true forgiveness lies in setting ourselves free from holding on to the pain.” She goes on to say we are perfect just the way we are and that we can give ourselves some tenderness.

My best friend reminded of this last week in her email to me. She wrote, “I love you and you are perfect exactly as you are.” In other words, there is nothing to undo. Nice to know my iPhone and friends think the same way – now I have to remember that the next time I am in my head about letting things go or forgiving someone.

There really is nothing to undo.
Mary Anne

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Empty and Full

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Time and IllusionI am a creature of habit. Every morning, after getting ready for work, I check my emails, read a few blogs, and scan some ‘tweets’ on Twitter. I look for inspirational quotes, stories, and book recommendations that make my mind and heart expand. I always find something.

Recently, I read a tweet of a Haiku poem by Stevie Ray Robinson, and I immediately emailed it to myself so I could print it out and put it in my journal. It expressed in a few words the simplicity of being empty and full, and fading illusions.

Beginning and end…
Empty and full of all thoughts…
Illusions fade now

Each word has meaning. The words, empty and full of all thoughts, repeated in my head. There is a sense of flow and nonattachment. In infinite time and space, my habits could be less restrictive and more expansive.  As I create new habits of self-love, self-care, deeper connections, expressing my voice, and writing daily, this Haiku reminds me of something my beloved teacher and friend taught me many years ago with the expression,  “We ought to take our work very seriously, but not take ourselves so seriously.

Some of my habits will fade away and the ones that remain will be full of passion, happiness, and love. May every word I express today be generous and expansive.

To being empty and full,
Mary Anne

Thank you Stevie Ray Robinson for sharing your beautiful Haiku. I want to dedicate this blog to my friend Louis Alloro for deepening my understanding of limitless time.

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What Are You Doing With Your Magical Moment?

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

By the River PiedraYou have to take risks, he said. We will only understand the miracle of life when we allow the unexpected to happen.

…And also one moment in which we have the ability to change everything that makes us unhappy. Every day, we try to pretend that we haven’t perceived this moment, that it doesn’t exist – that today is the same as yesterday and will be the same tomorrow. But if people really pay attention to their everyday lives, they will discover that magic moment. It may arrive in the instant when we are doing something mundane, like putting our front-door key in the lock; it may lie hidden in the quiet that follows the lunch hour or in the thousand and one things that all seem the same to us. But that moment exists – a moment when all the power of the stars becomes a part of us and enables us to perform miracles.

Excerpt from By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept by Paulo Coelho

What are you doing with the everyday miracles that exist inside of you? In the ordinary moments of ‘doing’ is the extraordinary experience of ‘being.’ The magic moment, the miracle, the unexpected is happening – are you willing to take the risk to listen to it?

To experiencing magical moments,
Mary Anne

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Popcorn Ceremony

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

PopcornWhile visiting a youth program in the Bronx last month, a young boy looked up at me and asked, “Do you want to join our popcorn ceremony?” I told him I would love to join his popcorn ceremony and asked him to tell me more about it. “Well, it’s very special”, he told me. “First, you have to have all the ingredients, put them on the table, pour the special corn in the popper, wait a few moments because at first it seems as though nothing happens because the popcorn is so quiet. Then, it gets very loud and the corn pops like crazy. Look, we can even dance while it’s popping.” A few boys start swinging and swaying as the popcorn maker shakes on the table. After a few sporadic pops, the boy opens the lid and ever so gently pours the popcorn into a striped glass bowl. He then whispers thank you to the popcorn, takes a handful, and passes it around to the other boys in the group. Each boy is careful to only put what fits in their hands to eat and they keep passing the bowl around. We pass the bowl around at least ten times.

I have been to wedding ceremonies, prayer ceremonies, fire ceremonies, and even tea ceremonies, but this was my first ever popcorn ceremony!  Given the right attention, openness, reverence, could more of what I experience be ceremony? If young boys can pay attention to their popcorn and create a ritual out of that, could I be more mindful of the rituals I create in my life?

After finishing the popcorn, the young boy looked at me and asked, “Did you like our popcorn ceremony?” I told him it was one of the most fun and sacred ceremonies I have ever been to in my life. They asked me to define sacred – and it was with ease that I told them it was the purposeful act of paying attention to their popcorn and each other. “It is the respect you gave to making popcorn as well as helping each other and sharing it.”

“We have popcorn ceremony every day. Will you come back?” Yes, I will.

Let’s share more ceremony,
Mary Anne

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Come As You Are

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

JourneyIn a recent conversation with one of my closest friends, we spoke about what it means to show up with strength and vulnerability. In our desire to pay attention to our Happiness Projects, we developed our mantras and actions that deepen our awareness of our bliss. We have spent over a month developing our project and getting really clear about what we want. I shared that I wanted to have more clarity with how I express myself.

A teacher recently said in class, “Clarity brings confidence.” Amen! How can we bring clarity and the type of precision needed to really ask ourselves the deep questions that unearth our soul’s answers? How can we move with what is now and not live from the past? And how can we acknowledge ourselves with love and compassion as an every day practice? As soon as those questions went from my pen to paper, I turned to see Pema Chodron’s book, The Wisdom of No Escape and the Path of Loving Kindness, on my table. I opened to the following excerpt:

“Come as you are. The magic is being willing to open to that, being willing to be fully awake to that.”

“Inquisitiveness or curiosity involves being gentle, precise, and open­—actually being able to let go and open. Gentleness is a sense of goodheartedness toward ourselves. Precision is being able to see very clearly, not being afraid to see what’s really there, just as a scientist is not afraid to look into the microscope. Openness is being able to let go and to open.”

“Basically, making friends with yourself is making friends with all those people too, because when you come to have this kind of honesty, gentleness, and goodheartedness, combined with clarity about yourself, there’s no obstacle to feeling loving-kindness for others as well.”

How do you makes friends with yourself? Ask and then let go and let love lead you.

At the end of a meditation in a Yoga class, the following words came flooding in as I asked for clarity: “I will wait for you – always. In your time, I am here.”

Come as you are,
Mary Anne

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Questioning Thoughts That Hold You Captive

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

‘When you question the mind, the only truth left is love.’  
Enlightened One

Barbed_Wire_2191 (4_3)How much does inquiry play a part in your life? At times of struggle, doubt, worry, anxiety, and even catastrophe, can you pause and question the thoughts that are holding you captive?

In a recent interview with Clayton Gibson (founder of MyOutSpirit.com), Byron Katie speaks about a powerful process of inquiry, called The Work. Katie shares how inquiry can be used to question stressful or painful thoughts. Gibson asked, “How can we release thoughts of shame, feeling less-than, and unworthiness?”

Katie responded:
“We can’t. People have been trying to let go of their thoughts for centuries, for millennia, through meditation, breathing practices, mind-control of all kinds, and it simply doesn’t work, though it may appear to work for a while. You can’t let go of a stressful thought, because you didn’t create it in the first place. A thought just appears. You’re not doing it. You can’t let go of what you have no control over. Once you’ve questioned the thought, you don’t let go of it, it lets go of you. It no longer means what you thought it meant. The world changes, because the mind that projected it has changed. Your whole life changes, and you don’t even care, because you realize that you already have everything you need.”

(For the full interview click the link: Byron Katie: The Work of Gay Liberation)

Is there a thought that you are willing to release the reins from long enough to question it? Inquiry is questioning your thoughts that keep you from peace. When you question your stressful thoughts, you give yourself the experience of bringing yourself to your growing edge and then welcoming yourself home. Inquiry brings us back to who we really are­­—love.

You are invited to question any thoughts that hold you captive.

Welcome home,
Mary Anne

I am so grateful to Clayton Gibson for the opportunity to provide support and assistance with the Byron Katie interview.

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Love Is…

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010


Love is


“Love what is in front of you.”  Byron Katie

In an effort to get a sense of how people think about “love”, I asked folks to finish the statement: ‘Love Is’. Here are some responses.

Love Is…
“All of it in this very moment”
“Available & accessible”
“Opening my heart and accepting what is”
“Home grown”
“Saints winning the Superbowl”
“Right where you are if you come from it”
“The pulse of life”
“Comforting—mentally, physically and spirituality”
“Knowing your child is safe and well by the sounds of his laughter”

My sister reminded me about my favorite reading from church that I have read aloud from the pulpit since the third grade. The last time I read it aloud was at my mother’s funeral and to this day it is still my favorite quote from the Bible about love.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres…

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13

To experience this even deeper I offer a Love Meditation: ‘And the greatest of these is Love’. I invite you to take a breath in and out through your nose, slow and soft, at least three times. Think about someone you love— a spouse/partner, your child, a friend, a parent— and visualize them with you. Close your eyes. Open your hands on your lap. Really sense the expansive love you have for that person. Feel all of it. Notice where in your body love is flowing. Is there an area you want to bring love—bring your hands there and allow love to come in. Stay still for a few moments and if your mind wanders, breathe in the words, “I am love” and breathe out the words, “I give love.” To release the meditation, bring your hands to your heart, smile, and bow. Open your eyes, and finish the statement, ‘Love Is’…

Expansive love to all,
Mary Anne

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Do You Stumble Into Happiness?

Monday, February 8th, 2010

Stumbling into happinessAfter posting a blog about my Happiness Project, I received many responses from folks who wanted to join in on creating their own project. People wrote about doing art, taking walks, committing to their health, journaling, and creating a vision board. The buzz was on for ‘happiness’. I realized this is more than just a flavor of the month—it is an all out commitment to creating meaningful happiness.

If people are asking me to listen to their Happiness Projects, I had to be sure I was keeping up with paying attention to my own project. I had already committed to my three themes: self-care, connections, and taking sabbaticals. I have paid attention to my sleep habits, taking care of my body with yoga classes, and my spiritual practices with meditating everyday for a minimum of 10 minutes. I also have taken time with friends to share experiences and deeper conversations. Finally, I have practiced stillness and silence. Am I happier? I am definitely more peaceful and calm. Perhaps, I am stumbling into happiness.

Taking the Happiness Project to a new level, I am declaring my ‘Mantras’. It’s not random acts to create happiness, but rather intentional living to be happy. Here are examples of some mantras I have drafted:
Do It Anyway/Do It Afraid
Express Myself
Show Up
Be Still
Honor my Healing Journey
Follow the Compass of My Heart
Rest in Forgiveness
Show Gratitude

Samuel Johnson wrote, “It’s by studying the little things that we attain the great art of having as little misery, and as much happiness as possible.” By paying attention to our happiness, perhaps we can ignite it in others. We can awaken to what creates more joy.

Are you aware of what makes you happy or are you stumbling into happiness?

To creating your happiness mantras,
Mary Anne

Special thanks to all those who sent in their Happiness Project ideas—keep them coming.

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Pushing Past the Veil of Resistance

Friday, February 5th, 2010

“Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.” -Steven Pressfield

resistanceHow does resistance show up in your life? Resistance can push you far from your dream through procrastination, sabotage, excuses, and convince you that the worst outcome will always happen. We do our best to keep resistance at bay and then we feel it – fear. But listening to fear can actually propel us to do exactly what resistance is pulling us away from. If we are scared, we might be on the right track towards ‘success’. Fear might actually be the catalyst that brings us to our growing edge.

In his book, The War of Art, Steven Pressfield writes, “The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more we can be sure that we have to do it.” If it didn’t mean anything or push our limits, then there would be no need to be fearful and expose ourselves to expansive experiences. Resistance keeps us in place.

There comes a time, a point in your life, a remembering of your original creative genius self that is ready to push past the veil of resistance. When you are ready, here are a few ideas to support you in tackling resistance. First, listen to that deep voice inside that has had that dream since you first learned to walk and ask: do you still love that dream? Next, after all the excuses have been made why you can’t draw, write, dance, create, or start a business, take some actions anyway. There will always be reasons and excuses and the best way to move forward is simply by taking daily actions. Lastly, ask for help. Get all the support you need to move your idea forward. Seek out experts, teachers, alliances, change agents, and anyone who understands that we are more than our resistant voice.

Here is a conversation with Resistance:
Self: Given my work schedule and NYU class, can I handle continue taking Yoga classes?
Resistance: You will never be able to do all that. Just forget it.
Self: Really? Give up Yoga?
Resistance: Why bother? You are doing enough already.
Self: Yoga gives me the space to go within and spend time in body, spirit & mind practices.
Resistance: Give it up–it’s too much and too hard to do work, school, & Yoga.

This could go on and on. To stop bantering with resistance, feel free to get quiet, get centered, and feel all of the emotions. Visualize where you want to be and see yourself in that full experience.

After sitting quietly, my meditation revealed the following response to Resistance:
“Is school not awakening your body as well as your mind? Ask your heart. Is yoga not awakening your mind as well as your body as you focus on balancing during a pose? Ask the stillness within you. You are already all of it. You can have all of it – in your divinity you already do.”

Push the veil to see what is on the other side of Resistance. This is a daily practice. Together, let us keep the veils moving.
Mary Anne

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