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Archive for March, 2013

Leaning into Joy

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

“…But every time we allow ourselves to lean into joy and give into those moments, we build resilience and we cultivate joy.” ~Brene Brown

During the month of March, I have been teaching a teleseminar on Cultivating Joy. During the course I shared with participants, “How wonderful to know that we cultivate joy moment by moment. Breath by breath.”

Leaning into joy means recognizing the gifts of ordinary moments. It means accepting joy when it comes. If you can experience a little joy, then you can experience a lot of joy. It means seeing joy in ordinary moments.

As the course emerged, I heard folks share their “fear of joy” or foreboding joy – the feelings that joy will go away and something worse is just lurking around the corner. I name it the voice in our head that says, “This is too good to be true.” Yet, when I asked participants to share about their experiences of joy, here is some of what people shared. 

Sitting down with my family for dinner. Taking long walks. Hearing laughter from my children. Having my Starbucks coffee in the morning. Watching a movie with my husband and dogs. Falling in love. Spending time with my parents. Shopping with my friends.

Joy comes in ordinary moments. Joy means being willing to be vulnerable. Rather than crave more joy, perhaps we can recognize when we are feeling joy.

How can we cultivate joy more? We can stay in the present moment. We can breathe in joy and exhale joy. We can be grateful and celebrate what we have – everyday.

Yes, joy will shift in moments of sorrow and loss. We can lean into joy and learn from our heartbreak and build resilience and hope and more joy. When we appreciate the ordinary moments then joy becomes part of who we are.

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Take Time

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

Take time to look out into your world.

Take time to look into your world.

Take time to notice.

Take time to be aware of your breath.

Take time to be.

Take time to open to grace.

Take time to walk in beauty.

Take time to listen to nature.

Take time to explore the depths of your heart.

Take time. Take your time.

(Photo by Mary Anne Flanagan)

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What Is Your Good Life Manifesto?

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

About a year ago, I applied to be a part of the inaugural launching of the Good Life Project™ (GLP) with Jonathan Fields.

GLP is a movement. A set of shared values. A community. A creed, bundled with a voracious commitment to move beyond words and act. First, as a manifestation of your soul. And then as a quest to have the adventure of a lifetime, and to leave the world around you changed.

As soon as I read that description, I applied to be a part of the project. I made it to the interviewing round and had an amazing conversation with Jonathan Fields about bringing Toning the OM™ to the next level. I shared how I wanted to create more triZENbe communities (Zen Tribes). My goal was to create meaningful connections through inspiring (meditation) videos and global heart-centered workshops and conversations. After my interview, I received an acceptance email from Jonathan to participate in an intense 10-month program. I was one of 100 people who were accepted into GLP, but due to the financial cost, I wasn’t able to join the project, and had to decline.

After I let go of my deep disappointment of not being able to afford enrolling in the project, I celebrated the fact that I was part of a very small group of people that was accepted. And for a year, I have followed the Good Life Project™.

Another aspect of GLP is a weekly web-show hosted by Jonathan with “acclaimed entrepreneurs, artists, authors and thought leaders.” At the end of each interview, Jonathan asks, “What do you think makes a good life?”

As I still ponder my answer about what makes a good life, what has emerged for me is: love, connection, and service.

For me, a good life is all about having heart centered connections rooted in love and service. My good life focus is about co-creating experiences to slow down, opening my heart, remembering my true self, and living from that space. 

Connections, love, and service are my way of living aware, awake, and alive. That is my good life-long project.

How about you? What is your good life maifesto?

What is your good life manifesto?

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Vulnerable Unthought Known

Monday, March 11th, 2013

What I have realized is that vulnerability, however scary, is less terrifying than invisibility.
(Photo by Mary Anne Flanagan) 

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Walk Your Path of Heart

Friday, March 8th, 2013

Are you taking a path of heart?

Are you listening to your wild dreams?

Are you open to blazing a new trail?

Are you willing to go onto a path of uncertainty?

Are you open to deep diving into the unknown?

Are you available to what’s next?

If it isn’t a path of heart, are you willing to courageously walk away?

(Photo by Mary Anne Flanagan)

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Ready to Fly

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Do you hear the whispers of the winged ones?

They are inviting you to spread your wings and fly. They are inviting you to soar. They are inviting you to expand your wings. They are inviting you to reach out farther than your eyes can see. They are inviting you to fly wing to wing.

Are you willing to soar, expand, reach out, fly, and spread your wings?

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Expressing Awe and Devotion

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

When do you bow your head and when do you raise your head as reverence?

I have followed many spiritual paths. They have all led me to the same place – my heart.

I have thought about all the times I look up, look down, or look straight ahead. Amazingly, I have discovered that each of my paths has me looking in a direction, yet all the directions show me the light within.

When I come to Buddha, I place my hands on my heart, look straight ahead, and smile.

When I come to Christ, I genuflect, make the sign of the cross, and raise my head and am often filled with tears of gratitude.

When I come to Mother Earth, I spread my arms, invoke my prayers, and bow my head as a sign of reciprocity.

I honor all these paths as One. Opening, raising, and bowing to the Light in me: the Buddha, the Christ, and the Sacred Earth that lives in me as me.

OM. Shanti. Amen. Aho.

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Breathing into the Unknown

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

You are here. Not knowing, never knew. Never needed to and never will. If your thoughts float to the past, you can bring them back with love. If your thoughts wander too far into the future, you can bring them back with love. When we choose to live in this moment, we choose a direct path to our heart and the divine. Being present to this moment right now means being home. Welcome home. (Photo by Mary Anne Flanagan)

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Willing to Be Vulnerable

Monday, March 4th, 2013

You are not alone. I am not alone. I may need reminding of this. We are in this together. That’s how we journey – hand in hand.

Last week I posted a blog about my recent health struggles and how I relied on so many people for support, comfort, and connection. After the post, I experienced a lot of vulnerability – that felt both a relief and also very scary. For me, vulnerability is about being seen, being whole, and being real with complete acceptance. I was willing to weigh the risk of sharing a private matter because I knew how much it has influenced my life and business. I knew by opening up about a deeper part of my life, I was giving permission for other people to do the same. I decided that exposing my heart was more important than what others might think about me.

What I had not expected after publishing the post was the outpouring of love and support from friends and complete strangers who not only thanked me for sharing about my personal experiences, but took time to send me their vulnerable stories as well. People from various countries revealed their personal struggles going on in their life. This connection gave me the opportunity to have a real dialog about what scares us, frees us, and what gives us hope. Even the word “struggle” began to turn into something a bit more kinder and gentler.

As I continue to embrace uncertainty (with open arms), I have learned that many of my friends and readers of my blog are embracing uncertainty as well. I have discovered that many folks are dealing with their own personal journeys and have been inspired to reach out and ask for help.

As we reach out, we invite others to do the same. When we extend a hand, we show that support is always available.

I invite anyone who is holding in a difficult issue to reach out. Ask. Receive. Allow yourself to be embraced by unconditional support and love. I know how difficult vulnerability is. What I have realized is that vulnerability, however scary, is less terrifying than invisibility.

Thank you to all who have extended their hand to me. I continue to be touched by all the tremendous generosity of support and kindness.

We really are on this road together – hand in hand.

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Be With What Is

Saturday, March 2nd, 2013

What do your eyes see right in front of you?

What does your heart feel in this moment?

What joyful thoughts are you listening to?

What is your body sensing? 

What is your breath exhaling?

Where is your mind?

Be with what is in front of you – Be with what is.

(Photo by Mary Anne Flanagan)

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