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Archive for August, 2011

Our Greatest App – Humanity

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

In the midst of all the chaos and recovery from the recent hurricane, I thought about how we all needed one another to get through the storm. I realized that despite our advances in technology, what really served us was our humanity. I was reminded how someone like Steve Jobs, who recently stepped down as CEO from Apple, used his genius to better our lives and keep us connected. It seemed that through all his health issues, he has inspired others to create something wonderful. As his quotes below express, he wanted young people to live their dream and follow their heart. Create good for humanity. In the end, that really is the greatest ‘App’ we can download within and then go out and share with the world.

Steve Jobs in some speeches/talks he has given over the years:
 “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.”

“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” [Stanford commencement speech, June 2005]

Peace, Mary Anne

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Storms Passing Through…

Monday, August 29th, 2011

The wind shows us how close to the edge we are. ~Joan Didion

As Hurricane Irene made her way up along the eastern coast, I, like many others, prepared for the worst. I evacuated my home, made an emergency bag for myself and my partner, filled the car with food and water, and stayed with family in New Jersey. As I tossed and turned on an air mattress on Saturday night, I listened to the wind and rain pound against the windows. I prayed that all the glass would stay intact and we would get through the storm with minimal damage. When I awoke the next morning, I watched reports of massive floods, downed trees, damaged homes, and people stranded. While the news report expressed much relief that New York City was spared, many places were not. There were entire towns that were without power and completely under water, including many parts of upstate New York (in particular, the Catskills region), many towns in New Jersey, Vermont, and many more. As wind and rain swept through so many places, I felt ‘flooded’ with many emotions ­— relief, sadness, exhaustion, and gratitude.

When I looked up at the clear blue sky this morning, it looked as if nothing had ever happened. Then I looked down and saw all the broken trees and debris. I meditated on storms passing through. I wrote some thoughts from my meditation about lessons of storms passing through:

~nature will always have it’s say; it’s up to us what we are willing to hear

~in the end, life is about feeling vulnerable with ourselves and one another

~staying connected is something I value

~listening to wind without fear can bring me closer to God (spirit etc…)

~getting ‘submerged’ in fear is as easy as getting ‘submerged’ in water

~asking for help makes life easier

~trust that nature will care for itself through cracking, shaking, and washing

~time heals pain and remembering good memories brings comfort

~everything flows — in its own time

What lessons have you learned from the various storms in your life?

Mary Anne

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As Above, So Below – the Earth Shakes

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

As the earth shook yesterday after an earthquake, the responses were varied. Here in New York City, seeing streams of people on the sidewalks and streets brought back conversations and memories of 9/11. After finding the whereabouts of their loved ones, the conversation shifted to the earthquake itself. People wanted to connect and see what others had felt and where they were when it happened. This seemed to bring comfort to the people evacuated from their offices.

I was fascinated by two polar opposite responses: “I felt everything move in my office and I knew something was wrong” and “I didn’t feel anything at all.” As ‘normalcy’ returned to workplaces, there was a sense of fear about an earthquake happening in the east coast. People seemed surprised that the earth shook.

As I listened to various conversations about the earthquake, I realized how uncomfortable people felt with the earth rumbling. I had the thought that it was ironic that Washington DC was rattled by a quake given the current political atmosphere. Maybe we need shaking up from time to time.

The earth moves every day, but we are not as aware or attuned to it. What will this earthquake teach us? What else needs a little more movement in our lives?

As the writer Dominique Browning says about life, “It never gets easy. But if we are paying attention, it can get simpler.”

The earth will shake again. Are we willing to pay attention to what the earth is saying to us and what we are saying to the earth?

Mary Anne

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When Was the Last Time…

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

When was the last time you spoke to a blade of grass?

When was the last time you listened to a grasshopper?

When was the last time you walked with a tree?

When was the last time you slept under the stars?

When was the last time you picked up a pine cone?

When was the last time you let the river run through your hands?

When was the last time you danced with daisies?

When was the last time you touched love?

Mary Anne

This is dedicated to my teacher, GH, who reminds me to breathe, to let life flow, to keep writing, and that everything is okay.

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Listening to Clouds

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

How often have you looked up at the clouds and thought it looked like something familiar? The clouds have been magical this summer. I am not sure if they seem more magical because of all the summer thunderstorms or just because I have been noticing them more. While walking, I have looked up at the clouds and it feels like they are are putting on a show. The clouds have stopped me in my tracks and I have taken (too many) photos of them with my iPhone. 

I have watched the clouds as they have moved softly through the sky or moved rapidly as if to remind me there are big changes happening. As I stared at the clouds, I sat and listened. In that quiet space, I meditated on and with the clouds. After a few moments, I wrote:

Where there is light, there is shadow.

Where there is hope, there is peace.

Where there is love, there is you and me.

Change comes in soft breezes and big thunderstorms.

Move with the clouds. Every sky has a rainbow. So does every heart.

Where there are clouds, there is life.

Mary Anne

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Radiating Love

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Could you be more Love?

Could you be more Peace?

Could you shine your Light more?

When we radiate love, we attract it.

What are you attracting into your life?

If you could radiate more of who you are, what would you be radiating? 

Mary Anne

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Seeking Peace – Finding Love (Part II)

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

I wrote a blog post about reading a book while on vacation about a writer, speaker, and therapist who was “seeking peace.” The author needed to take time to find meaning again and take time out from everything in her life. I resonated with the book because I too was seeking peace. I was feeling burnt out at work, in my business, and living in the Bronx. I wanted respite and peace. I knew that six days in the mountains would provide me with the quiet space I needed to replenish. My partner and I spent days going for walks, swimming in local lakes and creeks, reading, and journaling.

We had planned to spend the second part of our vacation in Atlantic City. While a stark contrast from the quiet peaceful mountain views, we had tickets to go see Melissa Etheridge in concert. Plus, a few days on the beach and swimming in the ocean seemed like a relaxing way to spend a few days.

So, after we completed the first part of the vacation, we repacked the car for Atlantic City. We started driving and as we got onto the New Jersey Turnpike, I plugged in my iPhone to listen to music in the car. As soon as I heard the music, I turned to my partner and said, “I forgot the tickets.” Then I began crying. (If you have ever driven on I95 in the Bronx, you would understand.) My partner said we will turn around and get them. I said I felt terrible and the tears kept coming. I couldn’t stop myself from crying. Was it because it would add at least two more hours of commuting and crossing the George Washington Bridge again? Was it because I pride myself on being organized and felt like I failed? Was it because I just wanted to get out of the city and be on the beach? I think it was all of it. My partner was calm and wanted to make the best of the situation. She suggested buying lunch at our local diner and was very encouraging the whole ride back to the Bronx.

It all worked out perfect. We had lunch, drove to Atlantic City, saw an amazing show, and spent two days on the beach. Here I was seeking peace and by the end of vacation I was finding love – again. I realized the peace I was seeking was within and that I needed to be reminded of that.

It’s easy to find peace in the quiet uninterrupted moments. Seeking peace in the chaotic forgetful moments is where the work comes in. And finding love is a gift better than any concert in the world.

May we always seek peace and find love.

Mary Anne

This is dedicated to my partner, Lorene, who reminded me just how easy it is to be peace & love. I am very grateful.

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Seeking Peace – Finding Love

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

While spending some quiet time in the Catskill Mountains last week, I had the opportunity to read Mary Pipher’s book, Seeking Peace: Chronicles of the Worst Buddhist in the World. After becoming a bestselling author and speaker, Mary Pipher sought out inner quiet and peace. It’s a book about her journey home within. With all her great success, she realized she was unhappy and anxious. Pipher sought a journey of self-reflection and meditation in order to create a more fulfilling and joyful life. She is honest about her struggle with depression and despair. Pipher writes, “I suspect most of us feel as if our lives are both pedestrian and momentous. We all experience ourselves as exceptional and ordinary. Within us, we host libraries of narratives and experiences. And yet we are aware that we share a great deal of emotional terrain with everyone we meet.”

We all experience peaks and valleys. They make up who we are. What we do with them and how we respond to them ultimately becomes the story we tell ourselves and others. As Pipher says, “For their own reasons, many people politely fall apart at some point in their lives. How they regroup and move on determines what their future will be.”

In this moment, we are both (extra)ordinary and exceptional. In every moment, we are love. When we forget, all we need to do is breathe. Breathe ourselves back to self-love. Follow your breath and let it lead you – home to yourself.

If you really listen, you can hear the universe singing to you…you are loved. And so you are.

Mary Anne

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Atlantic City — Haiku

Monday, August 8th, 2011

Atlantic City
Boardwalks full of slot machines
With visions of gold

Beach stores and much more
Carts pushing people through crowds
Fried foods fill the air

Atlantic seashore
High tide ocean waves crashing
People look for shade

Local bands play on
Nightlife of casino bets
Atlantic City

{I wrote this while coming home from Atlantic City. I had fun writing Haiku poems while taking some time off to read and write and play. Give it a try: 5 syllables, 7 syllables, and 5 syllables. Go!}


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Home in the Catskills — Haiku

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011


Summer vacations
When I was a little girl
Spent in the mountains

Loud Irish music
Blaring tunes till the wee hours
And last call for drinks

One sister sang songs
And one an accordion
For our proud parents

All while I sulked
Drinking a Shirley Temple
From smoky tables

Mary Anne


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