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Archive for the ‘Letting Go’ Category

An Uncertain Heart

Friday, June 21st, 2019

Life is about living in uncertainty. 

Life happens in the in-between moments.

Life asks us to make a journey with ourself.

Life exists in the ordinary moments – washing the dishes, sitting with our loved ones, driving in traffic, taking a walk, watching the sunset.

When we live with uncertainty, there is room to explore everything.

Maybe the map we really need to follow is one that makes us lost. In that space we find our way.

By being uncertain, we can find our life moment by moment.

Perhaps that’s the real meaning of uncertainty – finding our unexplored wisdom of the heart.

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The Old Man and the Lake

Wednesday, March 13th, 2019

I recently took a three-week vacation to Florida. It was the first one in over a year and came five months after my dad’s passing. I needed time to pause. I needed time to relax. I needed time to breathe. I needed time to honor my grief.

One of my grief rituals included long walks around Lake Osborne. My walks were slow and deliberate. I took in the scenery, the palm trees, the birds, the fauna and anything and anyone who crossed my path. As I stood in my favorite spot, a great blue heron flew near me and just sat. As walkers passed by, they said, “Oh, you’ve met the Old Man.” They were referring to the great blue heron which would sit on the edge of the water.

After taking photos, I walked as close as I could without scarring this beautiful bird – the old man. It was watching me as much as I was watching it. I love nature and synchronicity and when the two come together, I listen.  I felt there was meaning and a message that this great blue heron had for me. In the shamanic world, the great blue heron is known to be the massager of grace in times of transition between the worlds.

In North America Native Traditions, Blue Herons have the innate wisdom of being able to maneuver through life and co-create their own circumstances. Blue Herons reflect a need for those with this totem to follow their unique wisdom and path of self-determination. Those with the Medicine of the Great Blue Heron follow the promptings of their heart and are one of the most magnificent when they choose to soar.

Just sit. Just walk, Just breathe. Just cry. Just love. That was the message from the old man at the lake.

For the first two weeks of my trip, I saw the old man on my daily walks. By the last week, he was gone. There were other great blue and little blue herons around the lake, but it wasn’t the old man. It took me a few days before I realized I had spent most of the vacation following the prompting of my heart and it was time for me to soar.

Listen to the messages around you. Listen to nature. We are all being breathed.

And to the “Old Man,” thank you.

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And God Whispered…

Wednesday, November 14th, 2018

I’m right here.

As I headed into the woods to look for fall warblers and hawks, I found myself smiling at the abundance of yellow trees. I looked up to see the sunlight streaming down onto the tops of the trees. Then tears came streaming down my face. I was overcome with joy of being in nature, of being surrounded by light, of walking with my spouse. Of feeling the crunching of leaves and feeling peaceful. It had been a long time since peace filled me – as most of the year has been spent being with my ill father until his passing in September.

Nature is a great reminder that everything changes. Leaves fall and mulch. Seeds succumb to the darkness. And transformation comes in every season.

Many emotions filled me with every breath – sadness, gratitude, peace, and grief. I felt all of it. I looked up as the sunlight bounced off the yellow leaves and listened to the silence that filled the trail. Suddenly I heard squirrels hurrying through bushes, birds flying from tree to tree, and crisp air blowing the leaves. Smiling at the beauty all around me, I heard the words, “And God whispered, I’m right here.”

Through the mystery of grief and love, my heart felt peaceful. Lost in emotions of sadness, I knew joy. Grasping for connection, I knew groundedness. Longing for the return of hope, I found myself whispering, “I’m right here.”

 

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Sorry for Your Troubles

Friday, November 2nd, 2018

Streams of my father’s friends came into the funeral home to honor him and share their condolences. Many walked up to me and extended their hand and said, “Sorry for your troubles.” I couldn’t really understand at first what they were saying. As the line grew longer and longer, many folks told me how they met my father, shared a story, and ended with their condolences, “Sorry for your troubles.”

I was a bit overwhelmed by the number of people who came to my father’s wake and repeatedly hearing the words sorry for your troubles. I came to learn that the expression is used all over Ireland. As the poet and theologian Pádraig Ó Tuama writes, “It comes directly from an Irish phrase, yet Irish has no word for ‘bereavement’ – the word used is ‘troiblóid’. So the phrase would be better translated ‘Sorry for your bereavements’.”

It was quite powerful seeing his wake filled with long-time friends and neighbors all sharing in our loss. Grief felt beyond expression – beyond words. Sorry for your troubles gave space to my inner experience of grief. The expression felt bigger than a condolence message. It felt like an acknowledgement of the enormity of losing a parent, especially someone like my father who was so loved and touched so many lives.

As the author, Liz Gilbert, says, “Grief is not an interruption of your life, but a braided-into-your soul aspect of it. We weep and we continue.” My experience of grief is that it brings me to my knees. It reminds me of how much I love and long for the connection that existed. And I am also reminded of how hard it can be for people to express their condolences or to know that grief lasts a lot longer than the days following a funeral. I know it can feel overwhelming to reach out to check in on grieving friends after time has passed after their loss. And it’s as overwhelming being the one experiencing grief.

Bearing the effects of losing a loved one takes more than weeks or months. It’s an everyday experience where sometimes grief feels heavy and other times grief inspires more love. The most important part is showing up, expressing your condolences (calls and cards are wonderful), sitting with those in grief; and if you don’t know what to say, you can always hold their hand, wipe their tears, and say, “Sorry for your troubles.”

This is dedicated to my beloved father, Ted Flanagan, who passed away on September 6, 2018.

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If Only You Knew

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

If only you knew how magical you are.

If only you knew how beautiful you are.

If only you knew how radiant you are.

If only you knew how magnificent you are.

If only you knew how creative you are.

If only you knew how joyful you are.

If only you knew how peaceful you are.

If only you knew how playful you are.

If only you knew how blessed you are.

If you only knew how supported you are.

If only you knew how powerful you are.

If only you knew how embraced you are.

If only you knew how loved you are.

Breathe in your magical, beautiful, radiant, magnificent, creative, joyful, peaceful, playful, blessed, supported, powerful, embraced, and loved SELF. You are all of this and much more – always and in all ways.

 

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Uncertainty as a Path Towards Freedom

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

Life is about living in uncertainty. sunset_uncertainty

Life happens in the in-between moments.

Life asks us to make a journey with ourself.

Life happens in the ordinary moments – washing the dishes, sitting with our loved ones, driving in traffic, taking a walk, watching the sunset.

When we live with uncertainty, there is room to explore everything.

Maybe the map we really need to follow is one that makes us lost. In that space we find our way. By being lost, we can find our life moment by moment.

Perhaps that’s the real meaning of lost and found. By being lost, and abiding there, we are truly found.

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Leave the Nest of Certainty

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

I’d rather live my dreams scared than look back and say I did nothing afraid. ~Mary Anne Flanagan

nestIn Pema Chödrön’s book, The Places That Scare You, she writes about the experience of leaving the nest. In an excerpt from the book Pema Chödrön’s writes, “All too frequently we relate like timid birds who don’t dare to leave the nest. Here we sit in a nest that’s getting pretty smelly and that hasn’t served its function for a very long time. No one is arriving to feed us. No one is protecting us and keeping us warm. And yet we keep hoping mother bird will arrive.

We could do ourselves the ultimate favor and finally get out of that nest. That this takes courage is obvious. That we could use some helpful hints is also clear. We may doubt that we’re up to being a warrior-in-training. But we can ask ourselves this question: “Do I prefer to grow up and relate to life directly, or do I choose to live and die in fear?”

I sat in meditation to listen to the message of leaving the nest:

Leave the nest of the past. Continue to remove the covering around your heart and fly farther out into the world. You have experienced tremendous heart expansion and have gifted it to others as well. You have chosen a path of self-love and awareness. Spread your wings to more people. Soar higher and trust that you have everything you need. Leave the nest – it’s time to leave the comfortable and fly into uncertainty. Continue to fly with vulnerability and engage the world with your whole heart – your wild, cosmic heart. Some may think you are crazy. You are – with love. You love so deeply, you want others to experience that within themselves. Show the world your deep laughter, your love of nature, and your willingness to do it afraid. Leave the nest of certainty. For what awaits is far more delightful.

Amen.

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Meditations for the Soul

Friday, February 21st, 2014

Have you wanted to start a meditation practice? Or do you want to deepen your meditation practice? Start by drawing a breath of light inward to your heart-center.

Be just this momentIn our busy lives, we rarely experience an extended period of quiet.  For our meditation session(s), we will enter the quiet within ourselves as a way to deepen our connection to our soul’s journey.  You are invited to enter the space of Being, rather than Doing.

You are welcome to join me for Meditations for the Soul. The 60-minute meditations will open you to thinking differently about meditation. Meditation is about zoning in, not zoning out. Our session(s) may include looking at where our mind wanders, focusing our gaze, guided visualizations, making movement an integral part of our lives, resonating with a (personal) mantra, and stepping more fully into our thoughts. All levels of students are welcome. You may book as many sessions as you want from January 2 – March 31, 2014. Each session is 60-minutes and will take place on the phone or Skype (Monday – Friday only).

What to Bring: A notebook and pen, water
Investment:
$75 in advance (via Paypal or check). No refunds.

For more information see events page on www.toningtheom.com

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Look, Listen, and Feel Again

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Look again at the traffic on I95. Perhaps the highway is a reminder to slow down and breathe.

Look again at the homeless people asking for change. Perhaps this is a reminder of how much abundance I have in my life.

Listen again to the sirens and loud alarms. Perhaps this is a reminder of how much music fills my life.

Feel again the hand tingling, dizziness, and fatigue. Perhaps this is a reminder to rest and just be.

Feel the snow, sleet, and cold air. Perhaps this is a reminder to hibernate and take time to take in the quiet of a new season.

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Breathe ─ You Are Enough

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Best sunset everBreathe ─ there is enough air for you.

Breathe ─ there is enough love for you.

Breathe ─ there is enough light for you.

Breathe ─ there is enough joy for you.

Breathe ─ you are accepted.

Breathe. You Are Enough.

(Photo by Mary Anne Flanagan)

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