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Archive for the ‘Letting Go’ Category

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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Stewardship Meets Serendipity

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Who would you be if you aligned your life with your soul? I ask this question almost daily. When making a decision, I often ask if it is aligned with my heart and soul.

PathwayAs I work with many entrepreneurs, healers, and coaches, I’ve seen how many breathe life into a business because they want to be of service, they see an opportunity, and they have knowledge and expertise in an area of need. The business starts to grow, and then one day the entrepreneur wakes up and asks, “Why am I doing this? And why don’t I love this work more?”

I have learned that just because you breathed an idea into the world and spent all your time and energy getting it to where it is, doesn’t mean you should continue investing in keeping it alive the rest of your life.

You change over time and so does your work. This is actually the greatest place to be in. This is the place where stewardship meets serendipity. There comes a point when being good at something might mean letting it go so you can make yourself available to something even better. There’s no shame in saying “things have changed” and “I have changed,” then taking the actions necessary to allow you the space to redirect your energy toward something more aligned with who you are, what you want out of life, and how you wish to contribute to the world.

I recently left a successful shamanic teaching practice. The last teaching practice I co-taught for the last seven years flourished. We had a vibrant community of students open to learning a healing path. I had great pride in teaching deep healing work. But there came a time when I stopped wanting to teach. I felt increasingly disconnected from the practices and teachings I’d co-created. The teachings and practices began to focus on only one healing modality. I was at a place in my life where I wanted the practices to be more expansive. I no longer wanted the teachings to focus on just the pain of the past. I wanted to build community around living with wholeheartedness. I have never believed there is one path to follow ─ rather I have experienced many modalities, methods, and paths that teach about wholeness.  

I found myself changing and wanting new practices to teach. I made the assumption everyone would want to learn new practices and healing modalities. I came to realize I was not the steward of this community anymore. So I stopped teaching the classes. I shared my healing practices with my last group of students in April, and walked away. It was time. And it was the right time ─ or I would have remained in an old pattern and not have allowed myself to be open to serendipity. It was the right decision for me and the students.

We get so wrapped up in finishing what we started, we forget to ask if the thing that led us is still the thing that brings us joy. Maybe what we started has evolved. Maybe we’ve evolved. Assumptions that drew us may now be wrong. And even though we’ve adapted to create a successful project or practice, that version is now stripped away from what drew us to the quest in the first place.

So, yes, maybe you gave birth to something powerful, something that matters to others. But does it still matter to you? Ask the question: “Is what I am doing aligned with my heart and soul?” Ask it at least once a year. And if the answer isn’t a resounding yes, then it is time to pause and listen and explore why. Then do what you need to do to get back to a yes. And that might mean walking away, letting go, letting someone else take over, or starting over.

But if you stay without joy, are you willing to risk not being open to what might be available?

Stewardship often means giving yourself space to do less and be more ─ and to come back to alignment. Sometimes the greatest stewardship can mean letting go and making ourselves available to what’s next. If we don’t leave space for a new possibility then we risk missing moments of serendipity.

Are you willing to give yourself space and be open to serendipity?

Serendipity has led me to discover profound practices of the heart, learning new meditations and mantras. My teaching practice has now expanded to include, Deep Listening, Vulnerability, Sacred Awakening, and Ceremonies of the Heart.  I will be teaching the Wild Cosmic Heart in Hawaii, Colorado and Costa Rica. I am learning to align my work with my heart and everything grows from there.

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This Too Shall Quiet

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

As I began my meditation journey with my teacher last week, I heard very clearly, “This too shall quiet.” I wasn’t sure what was meant by “this.” I allowed my heart to slow down and my breath to soften, and the meaning of “this” became more clear. The noise I have become so attuned to. The worry and anxiety I have become so attached to. The anger and fears I have listened to. “This too shall quiet.” 

QuietMy whole body relaxed into the quiet that resides inside. I could hear the wisdom of my teacher deep within:
“You’ve let noise fill you.
Let quiet fill you.
Let love fill you. 
You are never alone.
The noise will quiet down.
And this too shall quiet.”

I am very grateful for my teacher, GH, for holding space and being present.
Her peaceful and compassionate presence gave me the space to be available for inner quiet.

Photo by Mary Anne Flanagan

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