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Posts Tagged ‘Awareness’

Be Present and Lean In

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Be present. Lean into discomfort.
Bring the light to each experience.
Listen for the open mind – the free mind – the fun mind.
Let go of exaggerations and delusions of the mind.

Ask: What am I saying no to? What am I saying yes to?

Exhale stress. Inhale light.
Be present. Let go of the past. Release the anxiety of the future.
Be present with each experience and lean in.

As Pema Chödrön says, “The next time you lose heart and you can’t bear to experience what you’re feeling, you might recall this instruction: change the way you see it and lean in. Instead of blaming our discomfort on outer circumstances or on our own weakness, we can choose to stay present and awake to our experience, not rejecting it, not grasping it, not buying the stories that we relentlessly tell ourselves. This is priceless advice that addresses the true cause of suffering—yours, mine, and that of all living beings.”

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Compassion, Courage, and Breath

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Sitting with compassion for others and myself led me to a beautiful meditation:

Fill yourself up with compassion with each breath. 

What do you look like when you are living with compassion? 

Show yourself some compassion right now. 

Allow your hand to move and breathe compassion into your body. 

Notice your body and breathe compassion. 

Let compassion move your hand. 

How are you transmitting compassion? 

What is your message of compassion today? 

Listen to compassion. 

Take a deeper breath in and out. 

Breathe compassion. 

When you see the world with compassion, what’s possible? 

And take a nice big breath. 

Be compassionate to you, always. 

Beam compassion with every interaction. 

And so it is.

As Pema Chödrön writes, “Just as nurturing our ability to love is a way of awakening bodhichitta, so also is nurturing our ability to feel compassion. Compassion, however, is more emotionally challenging than loving-kindness because it involves the willingness to feel pain. It definitely requires the training of a warrior. 


When we practice generating compassion, we can expect to experience our fear of pain. Compassion practice is daring. It involves learning to relax and allow ourselves to move gently toward what scares us. The trick to doing this is to stay with emotional distress without tightening into aversion, to let fear soften us rather than harden into resistance.” 

Stay with your breath. Stay with yourself. Stay with compassion.

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Daring Deeply on a Path of the Heart

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

I came across this poem by Carlos Castaneda that reminded me of living a path of vulnerability with heart.

You must always keep in mind that a path is only a path.
Each path is only one of a million paths.
If you feel that you must now follow it,
you need not stay with it under any circumstances.
Any path is only a path.
There is no affront to yourself or others in dropping a path
if that is what your heart tells you to do.
But your decision to keep on a path or to leave it
must be free of fear and ambition.
I caution you: look at every path closely and deliberately.
Try it as many times as you think necessary.
Then ask yourself and yourself alone this one question.
Does this path have a heart?
All paths are the same. They lead nowhere.
They are paths going through the brush or into the brush
or under the brush of the Universe.
The only question is: Does this path have a heart?
If it does, then it is a good path.
If it doesn’t, then it is of no use.

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How Are You Growing the Garden of You?

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

This past weekend I noticed amazing flower gardens all over New York City. As I walked through the Central Park Conservatory, I stared at flowers. Looking deep into the colors, I wondered when the seeds were planted. I became curious about the depth of the roots. I noticed so many beautiful flowers fully grown and came to realize that this is the ultimate trust in nature that exists.

How am I like that flower? Where do I plant seeds in the hope and trust that they will fully blossom? How far down are my roots and which ones will I allow to become unearthed in new and amazing ways?

In every way, I trust that I will grow.

Mary Anne

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What Brings You Happiness?

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

For the past five months I have been tending to my Happiness Project. I have created a road map for opening up to more happiness by paying attention to three areas of my life: Self-Care, Connections, & Sabbaticals. I have created Life Mantras that provide intentional happiness within such as: Do It Afraid, Show Up, Be Still, Show Gratitude, Trust My Heart, Forgive More, Voice My Truth & Be Vulnerable.

What I have learned over the past five months is that where I put my energy, who I hang out with, and what practices I engage in have been where the lessons have shown up. My biggest learning has been less about being happier and more about being more aware and connected.

In the book The Fifth Agreement, Miguel Ruiz speaks about awareness. “Self-mastery is all about awareness. First to be aware of what is real, and then to be aware of what is virtual, which means what we believe about what is real.” What do you believe about happiness? First, ask yourself some questions and discover what is real for you. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Awareness Questions:
What’s really, really important in your life?
Who is really, really important in your life?
What are some areas in your life that you want to grow?
What connects you deeper to your heart?
What would a happier, joy-filled heart look like?

Experiencing Happiness:
Spend time with people who bring you joy.
Make at least five people smile every day.
Give stuff away. Be generous.
Talk less about others (gossip).
Start early and “Eat the Frog”.
Go to your growing edge and ask for help.
Have a gratitude practice.

My journey the last five months has included paying attention to how I treat myself. I often tell my clients to treat themselves as the most important person in the world – because they are. That is easy to tell others. I have had to examine my practices of self care, connections & sabbaticals. Here is what I have discovered:

Self Care is all about self love.
Connections are about letting love in, trusting friends, asking for help & being with people who want to grow.
Sabbaticals are about taking time off “to be.”

To continue to honor all of the above, I am taking time off from giving workshops or classes this summer (July 1 – September 12). I will still continue to see shamanic and coaching clients.

I am also planning a 14 -16 day sabbatical to India with a few friends in November.

What are you aware of that brings you happiness? What do you want more of in your life and how do you want to invite that in?

If you would like to work with me as your coach in developing your own Happiness Project, please feel free to email me at toningtheom@yahoo.com or call 917-238-9726.

Keep sending me all your updates about your Happiness Projects and Happy Ideas!
Mary Anne

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Are You Taking Up a Seat?

Monday, May 17th, 2010

I have noticed more and more people sitting and taking up two seats on the subway. Most seem oblivious to the fact that they are stretched out while others are crammed into a subway car. I, like many others, have approached these folks to politely ask to sit down.  There are folks who take up only one seat and are just as oblivious. While sitting at baseball games I have seen a lot of folks in very expensive seats who are busy texting, emailing, and some even leaving for two innings or more.

These experiences led me to start thinking about all the times we take up a seat in life. What we do while in our seat, how we offer others our seat, and what we contribute while in that seat is what really matters. What will you do with your chance to sit in that seat? What value do you want to offer others – even when it is difficult – even when your voice is the opposite one of what is being said? How many meetings, conventions, or events do you want to attend and not offer anything to the conversation?

How many times have I taken up a seat and have not been present to the conversation or what is happening around me? Next time I take up a seat, what will my contribution be?

Is that seat taken?
Mary Anne

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March OM Meditations

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

In keeping with the rhythm of sharing monthly meditations and the new season of Spring, I invite you to join me in celebrating March with some meditations and contemplative questions as a way to open up to more love.

As an invitation, feel free to close your eyes, sit with your spine straight and take a few soft breaths. Then inhale a little deeper through your nose, and on the exhale, repeat the mantra OM (AUM).  Do this three times. Allow yourself to really feel everything and become the observer of your thoughts. Feel free to focus on one question or statement below and just allow your experience to unfold

Love What Is Now. Love What is Now.

I am open to the rhythms of the world.

Beloved, what do you hear in the silence?

“I love you and you are perfect exactly as you are.”

How do you become an observer of your thoughts? What practices allow you to see things as they are?

We show up with love and that is all grief needs to flow into grace. We show up with love because in the end that’s all we really need.

What seeds (inside yourself) are you watering?

The invitation is to be open for whatever thoughts flow through you. Allow your mind and body to expand into the experience (without judgment).  Feel free to start with whatever mantra calls to you.

May you experience the bursting of seeds within your heart and mind. Take time to water the garden of you!

In every moment, there is grace,
Mary Anne

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Do You Stumble Into Happiness?

Monday, February 8th, 2010

Stumbling into happinessAfter posting a blog about my Happiness Project, I received many responses from folks who wanted to join in on creating their own project. People wrote about doing art, taking walks, committing to their health, journaling, and creating a vision board. The buzz was on for ‘happiness’. I realized this is more than just a flavor of the month—it is an all out commitment to creating meaningful happiness.

If people are asking me to listen to their Happiness Projects, I had to be sure I was keeping up with paying attention to my own project. I had already committed to my three themes: self-care, connections, and taking sabbaticals. I have paid attention to my sleep habits, taking care of my body with yoga classes, and my spiritual practices with meditating everyday for a minimum of 10 minutes. I also have taken time with friends to share experiences and deeper conversations. Finally, I have practiced stillness and silence. Am I happier? I am definitely more peaceful and calm. Perhaps, I am stumbling into happiness.

Taking the Happiness Project to a new level, I am declaring my ‘Mantras’. It’s not random acts to create happiness, but rather intentional living to be happy. Here are examples of some mantras I have drafted:
Do It Anyway/Do It Afraid
Express Myself
Show Up
Be Still
Honor my Healing Journey
Follow the Compass of My Heart
Rest in Forgiveness
Show Gratitude

Samuel Johnson wrote, “It’s by studying the little things that we attain the great art of having as little misery, and as much happiness as possible.” By paying attention to our happiness, perhaps we can ignite it in others. We can awaken to what creates more joy.

Are you aware of what makes you happy or are you stumbling into happiness?

To creating your happiness mantras,
Mary Anne

Special thanks to all those who sent in their Happiness Project ideas—keep them coming.

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