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Posts Tagged ‘Forgiveness’

What Does Forgiveness Mean?

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Last week I received a response from one of my blogs about Tolerance. A young boy wrote that he was kicked out of his house because his father found out he was gay. He told me how ashamed and scared he felt. But even more powerful was when he said, “I want to forgive my father for hating and rejecting me. And I want to forgive myself for believing him.”

What parts of ourselves have we not forgiven?

If you are interested in expanding your thoughts and experiences about forgiveness, join me for an upcoming Resting in Radical Forgiveness 4-week telecourse (on the phone from the comfort of your own home).

In this 4-week telecourse we will deeply examine forgiveness from many points of view. We will see where we are carrying the pain of not forgiving and why it is important to be free. We will spend time looking at the 4 levels of forgiveness. You will leave the course with a deeper understanding of resting in radical forgiveness and the impact it has on your daily life. Guided meditation/imagery, deep listening, examining world views, and inspired writing are all a part of this course.
Monday’s, November 1, 8, 15, & 22, 2010 at 8:00PM – 9:00PM (ET)

For more information and/or to register: http://www.toningtheom.com/events/?event_id=105

Peace!
Mary Anne

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“Human-Kind”

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” ~Lao Tzu

As I was listening to the reports of the tragic suicide of Tyler Clementi, I was saddened by the disregard for basic humanity and dignity. I recently wrote a blog about Tolerance and the cost of intolerance. The tragic wave of suicides among young people who have been targeted because of their sexuality has prompted many news stories. This offers all of us an opportunity to reach out to young people as well as look more deeply at our “us vs. them” mentality.

In his book, Us and Them: Understanding Your Tribal Mind, David Berreby explains why people are wedded to the notion that they belong to differing tribe-like categories. David Berreby describes how each person creates his own mind map, identifies others with similar mind maps and ostracizes all those who are different. Based in solid scientific research, David Berreby exposes new discoveries about the mind and brain. It’s a book about looking at “human-kind” thinking.

What is your “human-kind thinking?”

Mary Anne


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How Do You Show Yourself Compassion?

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

While giving my forgiveness telecourse, I read a quote by Pema Chodron:

“It all starts with loving-kindness for oneself, which in turn becomes loving-kindness for others. As the barriers come down around our own hearts, we are less afraid of other people. We are more able to hear what is being said, see what is front of our eyes, and work in accord with what happens rather than struggle against it.”

The forgiveness course is about making space for more love, peace and forgiveness in our hearts and in our lives. Each week has a specific focus and last week our focus was compassion. I shared with students my definition of compassion:

Compassion is our capacity to love – without the story attached to it. It’s the acts of doing and the heart of being. It’s being our own best friend & having the capacity to befriend others.

I ask students in the course to share how they show themselves loving-kindness and compassion. We take time to reflect and write down a few ways we are compassionate with ourselves. In every course, many students struggle to name ways of how they treat themselves with loving-kindness and compassion. It reminds me of how hard we are on ourselves and that giving comes from our capacity to give to ourselves too. Compassion is our ability to find relief and lead with our hearts.

The invitation is to practice compassion with yourself. Notice ways you show yourself loving-kindness. Ask how does loving-kindness and compassion show up in my life and HOW do I respond when it does?

As the Dalai Lama says, “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

Mary Anne

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Second Chances

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

As I was finishing up at the dentist office, I was speaking with my hygienist about some of the work I do with mentoring. I ended one of my sentences with, “Everyone deserves second chances.” At that very moment my dentist walked in and said, “You think everyone deserves second chances?” I told him I thought most everyone deserved a second chance. With that, my dentist went off with a litany of people he thought should never have a second chance. I noticed that I was getting annoyed, so I quietly responded, “I think many of us make mistakes, take the consequences, and deserve another chance.” His response was, “You know what we call a liberal? Someone who has never been mugged.” He concluded by telling me that most people don’t deserve second chances.

I left the office and started thinking about all the mistakes I have made and how so many people have given me a second chance. How long must we pay for a mistake we have made in the past?

Later that evening, I thought about how quickly our mind can go to labeling people and ideas, and about second chances. Do I really believe in second chances?

The universe must have heard my question because in the Sunday New York Times there was an article on parole. The article was about a woman who had committed a crime at 18 and paid for her mistake by serving time until age 41.

As she said in the article, “I still have those dreams of not being able to leave prison, like I’m still in there trying to get out. Why am I still struggling to get out?”

I realized that our minds can be more of a prison than sitting in a room with bars on the window. In what ways are we in prison with our thoughts, beliefs, and actions?

Yes, mistakes will be made and we must accept consequences of our choices. And, yes, I do believe in second chances.

Mary Anne


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Shifting Into Joy

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Every breath is a miracle. Every day is a gift. Everyone is love. (My Meditation)

As I flipped through my notebook to find a blank page to write down my meditation, I saw a few quotes that had captured my heart over the past two weeks. I sat and read each one like a poem, letting them flow. I took a deep breath and with my exhale read a quote. I became calmer, softer, and quieter. The noises that were once disturbing – dogs barking, sirens blaring, cars screeching now seemed like background sounds in the far distance. All I could hear was my breath and my voice. I invite you to do the same and see what shifts in you.

“Be kind whenever possissble…it is always possible.”  Dalai Lama

“Our joy in the beautiful is as native to us as breath, a lyrical act where we surrender but to awaken.” John O’Donohue

“Being the shift means that you claim your responsibility and your power for creating and experiencing the world you desire. Being the shift is about being fully present, sovereign of heart and intimate with all life.”  Judy Kinney

“So, that cracking, breaking, shattering…that’s the husk surrounding the blossom of your heart. Let it go.” Mariel Hemingway

“Forgiveness means it finally becomes unimportant that you hit back. You’re done. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you want to have lunch with the person. If you keep hitting back, you stay trapped in the nightmare…” Anne Lamont

If want to learn about making space for more joy and peace, please join me for an upcoming Resting in Radical Forgiveness 4-Week Course (starts May 26 at 8p ET). http://www.toningtheom.com/events/?event_id=96

May light shine your path and love be your guide.
Mary Anne


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Venia – Grace & Forgiveness

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

I came across the Latin word for forgiveness — “venia.” The direct translation means grace. I experience the gift of grace every week in my work with children who have an incarcerated parent. They write letters of forgiveness to their parents and are able to acknowledge their pain. In his work with prisoners Buddhist teacher Noah Levine writes, “Some actions may not be forgivable, but all actors are.” He goes on to say, “For this actor, the person whose own suffering has spilled onto other people, there is always the possibility of compassion.”

How does my pain spill onto others? My experience of looking at my past or current pain has led me to deepen my meditation practice — to go within and ask how my current actions are showing up based on past suffering. By sitting in stillness, I have become present to my own thoughts and can separate people from their past actions and this has made space for greater understanding and love.

Eckhart Tolle says, “You can acknowledge and learn from mistakes you made, and then move on and refocus on the now. It is called forgiving yourself.” By paying attention to the present moment, we allow ourselves the opportunity to release guilt, regret, grievances, and anger. As Tolle says, “Forgiveness happens naturally as soon as you realize that the past cannot prevail against the power of Presence.”

All forgiveness starts inside — by becoming still, by noticing your breath, by expressing gratitude — we expand deeper into our own hearts. By experiencing the present moment, we can release the past and step into the future with greater joy.

How has the pain of others spilled into your heart? What pain in your life is playing out with actions you are taking? If you would like to experience making space for more understanding and peace, please join me starting May 12 for Resting in Radical Forgiveness 4-Week Telecourse. All you need is your phone, pen & paper, and an open heart.

Venia,
Mary Anne

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There Is Nothing To Undo

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

I apparently hit a button on my iPhone more than once, and my screen read, “There is nothing to undo.” I stared at my phone for a minute, first, because I had no idea what buttons I pushed and second, because my phone was giving me my lesson for the day. “There is nothing to undo.” Such relief swept through me as I thought about releasing the thought that I had to undo anything.

There are so many times I want to ‘undo’ words, actions, and feelings of fear, doubt, and worry. Rather than undo them, I can accept them as they flow through me with no attachment. They just are thoughts and feelings flowing. This can be especially difficult when I am in the process of forgiving someone. I want another person to undo their words and actions. As Louise Hay says, “The act of forgiveness takes place in our own mind. It really has nothing to do with the other person. The reality of true forgiveness lies in setting ourselves free from holding on to the pain.” She goes on to say we are perfect just the way we are and that we can give ourselves some tenderness.

My best friend reminded of this last week in her email to me. She wrote, “I love you and you are perfect exactly as you are.” In other words, there is nothing to undo. Nice to know my iPhone and friends think the same way – now I have to remember that the next time I am in my head about letting things go or forgiving someone.

There really is nothing to undo.
Mary Anne

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Lessons Learned in 2009

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

lessons learned in 2009I spent this week rereading all the blogs I posted this year. Each one felt like a personal recipe for living, learning, & loving. Each blog held a nugget of hope, a spark of light, & moments of absolute love. I have put together some of the best quotes from my blogs of 2009. May they give you the hope, light, & love that is already awakening in every way.

“Starting over means we can release the past without judgment and move forward without baggage.”

“Forgiveness is not an act; it’s a process. In order to forgive, there must be a journey of going to the place of healing. It’s coming to a place and resting – just resting.”

“The question then becomes, are we willing to practice and share peace with one another? It starts with each person being peace. We can then see peace in each other. Each of us can be the peace story.”

“Do it afraid. Whatever the ‘it’ is, do it, live it, breathe it…Do it anyway. Do it despite yourself.”

“The phrase “Truth Be Told, I Choose You” represented the grandest invitation to life. This is the experience of totality – the gift of fully inviting another person on your life’s journey.”

“When I am open, the world is open, when I am grateful, the world is grateful.”

“I am the one I have been waiting for. The teacher I have been waiting for is me.”

“How are we prisoners to our own minds and project it out to the world? Freedom starts with each one of us. Step forward for yourself and for another.”

“Here was an opportunity to live in harmony with the way things were. Now was my chance to ask myself how I am unconscious in the world.”

“How much is mind chatter costing you? Stillness is free.”

“Imagine taking a planned break to clear yourself of all distractions. Perhaps we are not ready or able to take a year off, but what if we could actually plan in our calendar a sabbatical to generate new ideas, listen to our inner creative voice, and appreciate our work as a calling.”

“As we prepare for a season of “Peace on Earth”, may each exchange this season be one of love and presence. It’s the economy of the heart that I am looking to build this coming year. It’s increasing our capacity to love that I am hoping to stimulate.”

Happy New Year! Here’s to learning more lessons ~ Mary Anne

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