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Archive for March, 2011

Meditation in a 4G World

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

In a world that is moving so fast, how can we slow down? I often hear people tell me that they would love to meditate, but can’t – they are just too busy or don’t know where to start.

Here are some meditation ideas that can get you started:
Start each day thinking of someone you love and dedicate your day (or daily practice) to them.
Sit quietly for three minutes – ten minutes.
Breathe in and out. Allow your thoughts to arise. (Even to-do lists can become meditative.)
Read an inspirational quote or line.
Think of someone or something you are grateful for and name it.

{Add soft music, candles, sacred texts or anything else you think would support your practice.}

In a 4G world, wouldn’t it be nice to give ourselves a meditation broadband?

Should you want support on your journey, feel free to contact me to co-create a Meditation Coaching experience together (On the phone or in my NYC office).

Mary Anne

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You Are Pure Joy. Have You Noticed?

Monday, March 28th, 2011

You Are Paradise. Heaven Is Within. {My Morning Meditation}

In the book, A Thousand Names for Joy, by Byron Katie she writes about how kind reality is as we inquire our thoughts and experience the awakened mind in action. Katie writes:

As you begin to wake yourself up from your dreams of hell or purgatory, heaven dawns on you in a way that the imagination can’t comprehend. And then, as you to continue to question what you believe, you realize that heaven too, is just a beginning. There is something better than heaven. It’s the eternal, meaningless, infinitely creative mind. It can’t stop for time or space or even joy. It’s so brilliant that it will shake what’s left of you into the depths of all-consuming wonder. (Chapter 44)

Mary Anne

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I Was Wrong about High School (Sorry Paramus Catholic)

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

For about 20 years I have been telling people how much I hated my high school. I would tell stories about not having many friends and how I felt like the school emphasized discipline over education. There was the constant threat of getting a demerit. I couldn’t wait to graduate and leave for college. I even took my name off their mailing list.

While at college, I made friends easily and enjoyed my classes. It was only when I began writing long papers and taking exams that I realized how good of an education I received in high school. But I would still tell the story of how terrible my high school was.

When my 20 year reunion came around, I never saw the invitation (since I wasn’t on the list). My sister is the same age and when she received her invitation, she asked if I wanted to go. I told her I had no interest in a high school reunion. A few friends also invited me to go with them. Nope. I remained stubborn and rejected the gathering.

Then after joining Facebook a few years ago, some high school friends “friended” me. We began catching up about our lives. They commented on my inspirational thoughts or posted comments about my blog. Over time, I connected with more high school friends – folks I never even realized knew my name or remembered me. I started hearing amazing stories about marriages, divorces, finding life partners, losing parents, moving far away, caring for ill children, adoptions, careers and so much more. There were a lot of exchanges of good news, sad news, and day-to-day happenings. As I began to connect more, I received invitations to meet for a drink, a party, or just to hang out.

Now, the story about my high school has changed. I tell funny stories about teachers and friendships. Maybe I was just too insecure in high school. Maybe I was holding onto a story of the past that kept me insecure. Maybe I have been too insecure for the last 20 years to believe that every one struggles at 15 and who we are changes over time. Maybe I am still growing up. Maybe I didn’t like who I was in high school. The people I went to school with are pretty incredible. Maybe it’s time to release all the demerits I have given myself over the past 20 years.

Thank you Paramus Catholic and all my friends~
Mary Anne

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Heart + Mind = ?

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Heart meets mind & feels love. Mind meets heart & thinks love.

How do you want to feel and think love today?

Mary Anne

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What Makes You Smile?

Monday, March 21st, 2011

As I walked all around New York City on Saturday, I noticed a lot of smiling faces. Spring was in the air and folks were talking about the Super Moon. As I stopped by the Union Square Market, I found myself slowly walking and checking out the various vendors. I checked out different art work, many of which I pass each week, but somehow seemed different this weekend. I wondered, “Is that vendor here during the week? Have I ever seen those photographs of New York City before? Is that t-shirt vendor new?”

I kept walking around the farmers market and found myself smiling – even at the sight of fresh organic kale! Then I moved onto exploring the fresh cut flowers and baked goods. I liked that I could wander. I loved watching people wander too. I loved the sun hitting my face while the wind blew. I just wanted to keep smiling.

As I was enjoying the day, I wondered if I was smiling because I was outside, because it was a Saturday, because I was spending the whole day with my partner, because I had no big plans. So many things make me smile and perhaps I needed Spring to remind me. Maybe smiling is like the crocus bursting through the earth – always there, just waiting to be seen and feel the sun.

What makes you smile?

With a big smile,
Mary Anne

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Listening to Fear

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

If fear asks, let love answer. {Morning Meditation}

Last week, I kept waking up with a sense of fear. I had no idea why I was feeling it or where it came from. In the past when I have felt this way, it has meant some big shift is happening. I noticed that I was allowing the fear to flow through me. I picked up my journal with some Byron Katie quotes so I could question my thoughts about fear (The Work).

“Question your mind – then terror and fear turn into gratitude.”

“Open the mind, and the heart opens.”

“You can’t do it wrong. That’s not possible.”

I finished reading the quotes and asked fear to show me what I needed to learn – show me the gift of fear. I realized I was willing to allow fear to be my teacher (Should be interesting homework assignments!).

As I left for work, I turned on my iPod and the song, Not Afraid, by Eminem was playing.
I’m not afraid to take a stand
Everybody come take my hand
We’ll walk this road together, through the storm
Whatever weather, cold or warm
Just let you know that, you’re not alone
Holla if you feel that you’ve been down the same road

Fear may rise up and love may greet it.
Mary Anne

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What Can Earthquakes and Tsunamis Teach Us?

Monday, March 14th, 2011

I will admit that I couldn’t watch the news about the tsunami in Japan. The images were overwhelming. A few times throughout the weekend, I would close my eyes and take a breath and say a prayer.

Images filled the television screens and newspapers of the earthquake and tsunami aftermath, including scenes of flooding and devastation that consumed so much of Japan. As many people struggle to find family members and deal with so much loss, we send out heartfelt thoughts and prayers.

When tragedy strikes, we can lose ourselves in our all consuming feelings. It reminds me of the many times I have been all consumed with something that completely takes over everything in my life. Haven’t there been times when the waters inside stirred beyond measure? Have I ever been swallowed up with emotions like grief or anger?

As one of my best friends, who has served as a nurse after the earthquake in Haiti, once told me, “We all have our Haiti. We have all been devastated by something.” We all have our tsunamis as well. We have all been taken over and have had to trust others and ourselves to recover.

Prayers and love to all in Japan.
Mary Anne

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What Has Your Attention?

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

“It’s not the load that breaks you down. It’s the way you carry it.”
~Lena Horne

How are you carrying the load in your body, in your mind, and in your spirit? What is the first thing you need to do to change how you are carrying the load that is breaking you down?

This load is heavy (you think). This load is too much (you think). This load is just too hard (you think). I can’t carry it (you think). Notice how your body is feeling when these are the thoughts coming in and out. What are the thoughts that get your attention?

Byron Katie says, “I am not breathing. I am being breathed.” I invite you to move into this breath and allow yourself to hear, “I am not carrying anything. I am being carried.” How does that FEEL?

Surrender to love,
Mary Anne

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What Is Your Growing Edge?

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

There is a wonderful quote by Margaret Atwood, “In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”  It reminds me that the days are longer and I get to see life around me sprouting. I look around to see what is growing. 

When I think about what is growing, I am reminded of my coaching and healing practice. I describe what I do for a living as bringing people to their growing edge and then welcoming them home. Growing edges are the places in our life we really want to be and live our life from, but are too scared to go there. We can stay away from our growing edge because we fear failure (or even fear success). Going to our growing edge means breaking through our fears of what holds us back.

Going to your growing edge means gaining self-mastery. It’s going to the places that might be uncomfortable, but not going there is even more painful. It’s what Reverend Joyce Meyers refers to in her sermon as, “Do It Afraid.” It’s showing up to life even when we feel scared, lonely, worried, and insecure. Playing small doesn’t serve anyone, least of all ourselves. It is time to emerge – to go to your growing edge. When everything inside you points you in a new and blossoming direction, it’s time to go to the edge.

When you feel ready to go to your growing edge, I’ll be there – waiting for you.

What is your growing edge?
Here is “My Growing Edge”: In late April, I will be joining Spirit Journeys as an Assistant Guide on their 17 day journey to the wonders of Egypt. Given the recent historic events and revolution in Egypt, I had to be very clear about my decision to travel to a politically uncertain country, consider my safety, and determine my purpose for going. Everything inside me says, “Yes, Go to Egypt!” All I know is that I want to travel on a spiritual adventure with this group who is open to exploring, sharing, experiencing, and listening to the wonders of Egypt, their own hearts, and one another. There is a sense of hope and possibility in Egypt. As a teacher and healer, I am called to go.

That doesn’t mean I am not scared (and doing it petrified!). While another revolution would certainly be scary, my own internal revolution is just as scary. There are cultural and custom etiquettes I have to learn (along with a few Arabic words). I am leaving family and friends for almost three weeks. And last I heard, I was the only woman in our tour group. Talk about going to my growing edge! For me, not going would be more painful. I have the opportunity of a lifetime – to facilitate meditations at the Pyramids, to sail up the Nile, and if I am lucky, to play a doumbek (Egyptian drum) with local residents. It’s time to emerge.

And when I return from my growing edge, I hope you are there – waiting for me!

Mary Anne

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Striking at the Root of Bullying: Lead with Love

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

In this series, MyOutSpirit.com asks LGBTQ spiritual leaders what the root causes of bullying are and how we can heal them in our children and ourselves. 

{Mary Anne Flanagan, Toning the OM, contributed to the series} 

Anytime we remove human dignity, we are bullying. Whether in the streets of Libya or Cairo, classrooms in the inner city, college dorm rooms, or Gay Pride Parades – when we make others feel less-than with our words or actions – we are bullies. It’s the mentality of creating separation through comparison.

We have grown up with it – winter/summer, light/dark, right/left, masculine/feminine, power/vision and on and on. But maybe now is the time to release dissimilar energies and welcome complimentary opposites. This offers all of us an opportunity to look more deeply at our “us-vs-them” mentality.

In his book, Us and Them: Understanding Your Tribal Mind, David Berreby explains why people are wedded to the notion that they belong to differing tribe-like categories. David Berreby describes how each person creates his own mind map, identifies others with similar mind maps and ostracizes all those who are different. Based in solid scientific research, David Berreby exposes new discoveries about the mind and brain. It’s a book about looking at “human-kind” thinking.

According to neuroscience research, there are approximately 20,000 moments in each day. A moment is defined as the few seconds our brains record an experience. At every moment we are presented with either an opportunity or a threat. Since the beginning of time, we were more likely to view the world as a threat – survival of the fittest. But through evolution, we have learned to co-operate, collaborate, and co-habitate.

To continue reading this article, please go to:

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