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Archive for the ‘Letting Go’ Category

Share the Good Stuff Now

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

“Throw the flowers while they are alive” my friend would say. This quote has stuck with me for more than twenty years. It means we ought to say the loving thoughts, compliments, and kind words to people while they are living. I do my best to live this way as I compliment people daily, sometimes even strangers on the street. I can be found sharing kindness with the coffee vendor that serves me daily or even high-five a young boy who just graduated kindergarten.

I personally had people “throw flowers to me” after I shared with students my decision to step away as co-teacher of the Path of the White Mesa. I knew it was time to make space for a new path and expand my wild cosmic heart. After sharing about my heart-centered journey, I invited students to listen to their heart and where they are called to more deeply lead, serve, and love.

After sharing my gratitude with the students I had taught for more than six years, I received many responses filled with overwhelming appreciation and love. I hadn’t realized the impact I had with the participants and how much my presence meant to them. As students began sending their reflections and gratitude to me, I felt like it was hearing my eulogy while I was still alive.  

I am sharing some responses as a way to spread light, joy, and the impact of sharing kindness.

We all matter. Every one of us matters. Make sure the people in your life know just how blessed you feel.

I thank you always for sharing you and your gifts with us. May this new journey surround you in only love and light. You are a beautiful shining light.

The light has formed you, the light has carried you, through light you witness darkness, through light you know love. It is time to spread your wings and fly so that all of us who remain earth bound can see where you lead us.

I have so deeply loved our circles in Goshen of which you were such an important part. Another part of me is so glad for you in making this bold change and creating a new space for your own expansion. I am grateful to have had you in my circle for these past six years.

I’m going to miss you at the White Mesa gatherings. I love your smile, fantastic sense of humour, and the way you spoke and taught during the white Mesa gatherings.

You are the light that shuts out the dark. You are the essence of love and the hope we all hold on to. Continue being who you are. Your journey is perfect. Just as planned. Beauty, in every aspect of the word. 

Thank you for all the work, play, stories, laughter, and energy that you shared with me and the White Mesa circle over the years. You were the one that always made space and took everyone in!  And thanks especially for your big smile and bright eyes.  I hope to see that smile again soon!

I admire your courage to go off on your new path and honor your knowing that this is the time.  One of the statements I will remember you saying is, “Do it afraid!”

I will miss your hugs and your affectionate welcomes every time I came for the White Mesa weekend.  I send you many blessings and may your new journey be splendid in beauty, more growth and great prosperity. I love you and you will be always in my heart as a sister and teacher. Thank you for all you have given me these past years. I will miss your laughter.   

I will miss your soothing yet steady presence.  You have added the feminine heart to the white Mesa teachings and grounded our work with love, patience ….. In the most sacred container.

I know that you will forge a light path that is very sacred and powerful by creating a space where each person will have their own unique experience of the Divine. I am looking forward to being a part of it.

Thank you for always holding space. I would look up and know how grounded and present you were with each of us. I am grateful I had the chance to be in circle with you — and I know we will be in circle again.

I wish you only love and light on your continued heart journey. Thank you for your amazing hugs, contagious laughter, and your smiles. I will miss hearing your meditations and channeled messages. Yet, I carry your wisdom with me. 

You will be missed. I know you are following your path and where it leads you. You have always led with your heart as our teacher and I am filled with immense gratitude. 

Keep drumming, divine one. The world needs to keep hearing your rhythm.

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Without an Agenda

Monday, May 20th, 2013

As I walked along the meadows in Cape May last week, I followed a long dirt path and let all agendas go. I had an immediate guttural sense to walk without an agenda.

Later in the day, I opened my email that included a weekly message from Pema Chödrön. The message read:

“First, come into the present. Flash on what’s happening with you right now. Be fully aware of your body, its energetic quality. Be aware of your thoughts and emotions. 

Next, feel your heart, literally placing your hand on your chest if you find that helpful. This is a way of accepting yourself just as you are in that moment, a way of saying, “This is my experience right now, and it’s okay.” 

Then go into the next moment without any agenda.”

As I return back into my daily routine, I am taking this lesson with me — stay in the present and go into each moment without an agenda.

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True Refuge of the Heart

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

“We can find our true refuge within our our hearts and minds —right here, right now, in the midst of our moment-to-moment lives. We find true refuge whenever we recognize the silent space of awareness behind our busy doing and striving. We find refuge whenever our hearts open with tenderness and love. We find refuge whenever we connect with the innate clarity and intelligence of our true nature.”

—Tara Brach, True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart

What say you?

Where and how do you find your true refuge of the heart?

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How Do You Respond to Uncertainty?

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Sitting in uncertainty

No longer rushing to certainty

Allowing myself to be in the discomfort

Learning from the unknown

Awakening to the gifts of the new questions rising

Releasing old roles and responsibilities

What do you do when you experience uncertainty? 

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Liberating Path

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

One of the ways I have learned to walk a more liberating path is by welcoming my thoughts without being attached to them and by listening to my heart. My Buddha Nature is always available with each breath.

What thought am I listening to? What feeling am I attaching to as my identity? What can I let go of so as to make room for more joy, more peace, more love? That is my liberating path – breathing in light and letting go suffering.

I like that liberation is a path – an on-going journey of mind and heart. I welcome the journey. And with that mindset, more liberation shows up.

Geshe Kelsang wrote a beautiful praise to Buddha Shakyamuni called Liberating Prayer, which includes these words:

Please nourish me with your goodness,
That I in turn may nourish all beings
With an unceasing banquet of delight.

May your liberating path be filled with an unceasing banquet of delight!

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I Imagine

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

For the past few days, I have heard myself say frequently the phrase, “I can’t even imagine.” I was referring to the gut-wrenching grief the families and community of Newtown is going through. I also noticed I was feeling guilty about my strong emotions because “I’m not a parent.”

When I allowed myself to release the guilt, I realized that in many ways I have been a parent to children. For over 21 years I have worked with youth. I have run an after-school program, worked in drop-out prevention programs in the South Bronx, created youth summer camps, served as liaison to the city about positive youth development, and developed a mentoring program for youth with an incarcerated parent or involved in the juvenile justice system. I have supported, advocated, taught, nurtured, protected, and loved many, many children.

I have decided to turn my, “I can’t imagine” to “I imagine.”

I imagine a world filled with beautiful children, laughing, singing, playing, dancing, drumming, drawing, swinging, coloring. I imagine a world with adults loving, nurturing, hugging, laughing, and teaching our children. I imagine a world where we choose love. I imagine a world where we love ourselves.

I know this is possible because I have seen it – I have lived it.

May our love of children be our guide.

I imagine…

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Take a Moment

Monday, December 17th, 2012

As many conversations take place around the tragic event in Connecticut, many people have expressed feeling stunned and shocked. People feel overwhelmed, sad, angry, grief-stricken, worried, and many other emotions. Like numerous people I spoke with, I cried and cried and cried.

A horrific event like this brings up our coping skills, our problem-solving skills, and even our numbing skills. Nothing will make this better and despite our attempts from our brain to rationalize this tragedy, there is no real explanation that will be understandable.

I have noticed that I have wanted to make this better by blaming. I have expressed my frustration at the lack of mental health or the easy access of purchasing guns. None of those conversations made me feel better. I realized I was still feeling too raw, too sad, and too angry.

Before going into solution mode, I needed time to be with my feelings. I needed to take time to be and listen to my heart.

Breathing in and breathing out, my meditation reminded me to take a moment.

Take a moment to listen.

Take a moment to feel.

Take a moment to sob.

Take a moment to grieve.

Take a moment for self-compassion.

Take a moment to be peace.

Take a moment.

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Leaving My Nest

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

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

In 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. This is what came:

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.


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I Am Ready

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

I am ready to let go.

I am ready to let God.

I am ready to let in.
I am ready to let flow.

I am ready to ask.

I am ready to receive.
I am ready to surrender.

I am ready.

{Photo by Mary Anne Flanagan}

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Accepting Ourselves

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

At a gathering of some of Kobun Chino Roshi’s long-term students shortly before Kobun’s death, a student asked, “Kobun, why do we sit (meditate)?”

He replied: “We sit to make life meaningful. The significance of our life is not experienced in striving to create some perfect thing. We must simply start with accepting ourselves. Sitting brings us back to actually who and where we are. This can be very painful. Self-acceptance is the hardest thing to do. If we can’t accept ourselves, we are living in ignorance, this darkest night. We may still be awake, but we don‚t know where we are. We cannot see. The mind has no light. Practice is this candle in our very darkest room.” 

Mantra: I accept myself as the light that I am.

And so it is.

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