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Archive for the ‘Letting Go’ Category

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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Lessons from a Pity-Party

Monday, October 1st, 2012

It seems I have been having some big pity-parties lately. You know the ones – where negative self-talk and mental games fill the space in your head. There are some major changes ahead (all at the same time): new work projects that are filled with bureaucracy, unstable housing, and over a month of Vertigo that now requires more medical tests. So, I threw myself the best pity party ever!

I decided to sit quietly for an hour and just listen. Within minutes, I started sobbing and that opened me up to a beautiful meditation:

You feel like you have lost your anchor. It is true that all of your inner tools don’t seem sufficient nor are they going to move you past your challenges as you have outgrown them.

The peace path is a belief – you will return to YOURSELF. You will get up, accept help from others, sit quietly, thank Spirit, remember love, and laugh. Until then, are you willing to listen to the blahness that is guiding you knowing there is a lesson? You don’t need cheering up – rather, you can take time for cheering within. Magical thinking won’t change anything. Believing you will stay in this place is temporary. Deep down you know that this new growing edge of uncertainty will provide a necessary shift (on all levels). 

You invited this in and you are the one who will know when this cranky and depressed energy has outlasted its invitation. You are being broken open and while some of these cracks hurt like hell, please know what is coming forth is more powerful than you could possibly describe in words. It’s a power that will bring your essence more fully into the world.

You are not alone. Look around and see all the amazing support that is showing up in new ways. Your support team comes in every form. 

Your pity-party is not going to sustain change. So, move on. Get to work. The world is waiting for you. And more importantly, you are waiting for YOU.

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Relaxing into the Unknown

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Welcome to the Unknown. As I sat in meditation this week, I was drawn to the unknown, unnamed, and unthought. As my mind started conjuring up fearful thoughts, my body fidgeted, I took a long inhale and exhale. I let silence fill me. And then my higher meditative self welcomed me home – welcomed me to the unknown. I am having a ‘reception’ for my unknown self. I am not ready to embrace it yet, but I will offer the unknown a toast.

As I read though my emails, there was a message to remind me just how much I can relax into the unknown. “It’s not impermanence per se, or even knowing we’re going to die, that is the cause of our suffering, the Buddha taught. Rather, it’s our resistance to the fundamental uncertainty of our situation. Our discomfort arises from all of our efforts to put ground under our feet, to realize our dream of constant okayness. When we resist change, it’s called suffering. But when we can completely let go and not struggle against it, when we can embrace the groundlessness of our situation and relax into its dynamic quality, that’s called enlightenment, or awakening to our true nature, to our fundamental goodness. Another word for that is freedom—freedom from struggling against the fundamental ambiguity of being human.” Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change, Pema Chödrön

How are you with uncertainty? What ways have you embraced relaxing into the unknown?

Photo by Mary Anne Flanagan

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