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Archive for May, 2012

Another Growing Edge and Sacred Journey to Peru

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

On May 24 I fly to Peru to take part in a sacred journey. I will travel to the sacred sites of Cuzco, the Sacred Valley, Lake Titicaca, and the Crystal City of Machu Picchu. The journey is an opportunity to deepen my practices as a teacher and student of the Andean Master Path of the Inkan Cosmology. I have wanted to go for years.

My growing edge is calling me to South America. And my mind is turning up the voice of doubt. I hear my doubt voice as a constant question: “Are you sure you want to travel for 11 days on a trip that you don’t know anyone and in a country you don’t speak the native language?” Then, there is the travel within Peru itself. I will be traveling by plane, bus, and train with at least 15 strangers and staying in at least five hotels.

Maybe our growing edges are the places that call us to do more and be more. Maybe our growing edge is ready for us to reach out our arms and stretch father than we have before. Maybe our growing edge is beyond our limited mind (thinking) and calls us to listen to our unlimited heart (being).

Maybe our growing edge wakes us up to who we really are in the world. My growing edge is inviting me to be adventurous, curious, and courageous. Machu Picchu here I come!

What is your growing edge saying to you?

Mary Anne

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Loss, Separation, and Connectedness

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

I had the privilege of hearing a TEDxEast talk a few weeks ago. One of the speakers, Keith Yamashita, gave a wonderful talk called The Other Side of Separation. His talk was about loss and connection. He told the story about his six month old son who needed an operation and how it felt to hand over his son to the anesthesiologist. He spoke about how scared he was about passing his son into the doctors’ hands and the experience of saying good-bye before the surgery.

As Keith said in his talk, “We are always saying good-bye to something or someone. If we can have the belief that just on the other side of separation is connection.” He spoke about the two strong emotions that run through us – Love and Fear.

I resonated with Keith when he said, “Life is what we choose and choice is what connects us. With all of our separation and fear, there is also connection. We become present. Let’s be open-minded to what comes next.”

Loss connects us to what is right in front of us – to the present moment – to who is in our lives. In the deepest moment of loss, there is a gift of connection. Within our deepest fears, there is the gift of love. And in our experiences of separation, there is presence.

One of the gifts I have learned is that life isn’t about what I have or what I have lost. Life is about the people (and relations) you meet along the way. We are all connected.

Feel free to share your stories of loss, separation, and connectedness.

Mary Anne

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What Is Your Filling Your Cup?

Monday, May 21st, 2012

What wakes you up?

What brings you joy?

What  fills you up?

What fills your cup with goodness?

Notice if your cup is too full or too empty.

Be present to what fills your cup with love.

{Photo: Turkish Coffee – taken by Mary Anne Flanagan}

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Lessons Learned from Uncertainty

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

I have been listening to the message of uncertainty lately. There is some uncertainty about some of my projects ending and where to grow in the next phase of my business. I have noticed that when I am in my head, I want immediate answers. And when I am in my heart, I allow the universe to show me where to go next. Blazing the next trail requires me to align my head and heart in both the knowing and unknowing parts of  life.

And as always happens when I am open and willing to listen (without solving), the universe provides more clarity and a message. This time it came through my friend’s, Joe Monkman, blog post. He wrote this week:

“Are you open to believing that the next step awaits? Are you open to knowing that the path you have chosen is absolutely in line with your highest good? Are you open to continuing to forge what may seem to you and others to be an unusual path?

The unusual is calling. The extraordinary is beckoning. The road less traveled awaits.”

Yes, the unusual is calling me. I am certain of my uncertainty and open to seeing the next step that awaits. The road of more joy, growing edges, and bliss awaits me – for that I am certain!

Mary Anne

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And Grace Appeared…

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

As a lot of grief swept through me the days and weeks leading up to Mother’s Day, I reached out to some friends and spiritual teachers for guidance. One long-time teacher left me a message saying, “Go easy. Be gentle with yourself. Be your best companion to yourself on Sunday because you deserve it.” I am still learning how to be my best companion, especially when grief consumes my heart.

I wrote the words, “Be your best companion” in my small journal as I headed into the city. I wasn’t sure how I could practice this and asked to receive a reminder of my own gentle companionship. As I walked down the street, I happened to look up and saw a building with big letters that read: GRACE.

And grace appeared … a clear reminder.

How could I be my own best companion? It was clear – with Grace.
And so it is.

Mary Anne

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World Peace Begins With … a Smile!

Friday, May 11th, 2012

World Peace Begins with a Smile.

World Peace Begins with Your Smile!


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Would You Rather Fit In or Stand Out?

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

It’s easy and safe to fit in, to conform, to do what everyone else is doing. And yet for many of us, that is no longer working. It is time to step outside the crowd, to stand out, to shine and bring our gifts to the world. Staying small isn’t serving anyone.

I work with lots of people and organizations who are ready to play bigger in the world. Just recently I sent an email to a client and asked them to dream ‘boulder’ – of course the spelling should have read bolder. And yet, boulder seemed more fitting. In order to stand out, to really stand out, we may need to move the internal boulders holding us back.

What boulder are you ready to move out of your way? What would it take for you to stand out?

{Permission to share photo taken by my friend Clarance Dickinson}

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Sister Rita Margaret

Friday, May 4th, 2012

I had the opportunity to go back to my college and give a workshop. It had been twenty years since I had graduated and the campus had tripled in size (including the parking lots!). It was amazing walking around the college campus and taking in the energy of students preparing to finish a semester and others getting ready to graduate. I had some time before the workshop to walk around campus, visit with some professors, check out the new academic buildings, and (happily) purchase a new college t-shirt.

As I walked passed one of the buildings, an older woman was sitting on a bench with a big smile on her face. I walked over and introduced myself and she said, “I’m Sr. Rita Margaret.” She seemed thrilled that I was there to give a rhythm workshop and that I was a proud alumna. Sr. Rita Margaret started telling me many stories, including one about the founder of the college – a brilliant woman who had a vision of a (women’s) college and fought to make it happen. She went on to tell stories of the many dreamers and brilliant minds that made the college the incredible institution that it was and still is. We laughed and shared stories about our lives. She was curious about my work, my dedication to service and healing. She apologized for not being able to come to my workshop, but she explained that she gets tired and instead, she would say a prayer for me. I told her my rhythm circles were a form of prayer so we would be praying for each other.

After more than a half hour together, I stood up to go for one more walk before preparing for my workshop. I thanked her and she said, “Come, give me a hug.” We exchanged hugs and I walked slowly around the campus. All I could think about were Sr. Rita Margaret’s stories of the history of the college and her smile. When I made my loop around the building back to where I started, the bench was empty. Sr. Rita Margaret had left – she left the bench, but not my mind and heart.

She gave me the gift of her time, her knowledge, her wisdom, and her smile. Sr. Rita Margaret taught me about being present, generous, kind, gentle, and loving – a lesson as an undergrad I took for granted. Twenty years later, it was the best class I ever sat in.

Thank you Sr. Rita Margaret and Caldwell College.

Mary Anne

This is dedicated to my beloved friend and mentor, Kathy Detlet. I also want to extend my gratitude to the many Sisters for my excellent education and for modeling service and faith.

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If We Listened…

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

If we listened to the rain drops, what would they say?

If we listened to the flowers, what would they say?

If we listened to our heart, what would our heart say?

{Photo taken by: Mary Anne Flanagan}

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