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Posts Tagged ‘Inspiration’

Finding Our Inner River

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

riveroflifeAs a writer, I am often looking for the “right” word. Sometimes, I am looking for any word. It is the blank page that can either become my most meditative or dreaded moment. I am known to type notes on my iPhone, scrawl words on the back of envelopes, or fill journals (dozens of them) with meditations and ideas. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing. I may not always be poetic or even grammatically correct, but the joy of writing has always superseded being a perfect writer.

When I feel stuck with writing, I read more, meditate more, and spend time in nature. I try to let go of frustration of not writing and open to what is available as my writing teacher. As my cousin in England recently wrote to me after I expressed my experience of feeling stalled in my writing:

Sometimes the river is full.

Sometimes the river runs low.

But the river is still there.

Everything has its season.

Seasons turn.

She concluded with, “Don’t give up. Keep going with your writing.”

We don’t always know who we touch with our words. So, I am going to keep writing, keep scrawling, and keep dreaming.

What keeps you going? Where do you turn when the river seems low?

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A Wholehearted Journey to Hawaii

Friday, November 1st, 2013

Wild Cosmic Heart Fire

How do we return to our wild, untamed selves?

How can we slow down long enough to listen to our own heart?

How do we open up to vulnerability and trust we are always enough?

How can we give ourselves permission to be silly, to not know, to let our heart teach us, and to be ourselves without editing?

These are just some of the questions I will take a deep dive into during the upcoming Wild Cosmic Heart Retreat in Hawaii at Kalani Oceanside, November 3 – 9, 2013. I am thrilled to be joined by women all around the country and Canada who are willing to take dig deep inside their own wild cosmic heart.

Look for some great insights, stories, and photos when I return.

Until then, you are invited to ask yourself:
What is your heart saying now? And now? And now?

Keep asking. Keep listening. And enjoy every moment.

From my wild cosmic heart to yours…

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What MS Has Taught Me About Life

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

It was a year ago that I walked into my neurologist office to get results back from a MRI of my brain after a series of symptoms and tests. I went to the appointment alone as I thought the symptoms would pass and perhaps needed some temporary medicine. I sat across from the doctor as he scrolled and clicked the computer looking at my MRI. He looked up and said, “Your results show you possibly have Multiple Sclerosis.”  I didn’t hear anything else he said after that. My mind went blank, my hands shook, and tears rolled down my face.

He invited me to come over by him and said he wanted to show me the scan. I stood up and went over and saw an enlarged version of my brain on a computer screen. He explained that the scan showed white spots, known as lesions, at various parts of my brain. And given the number of lesions and the location as well as my symptoms, it was likely that I had Mild Multiple Sclerosis. I had to go for many more tests and see many more doctors for the next seven months to rule out other possible diagnoses. 

After several months of being poked and prodded, sent to various specialist and given a variety of health diagnoses, my test results proved to show Mild Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in May of this year. A part of me was relieved to finally know what I was dealing with and how to treat it. Another part of me was in shock (and still is) that I have this. 

My world has changed in so many ways. MS has required me to slow down and rest more. It has taught me the value of advocating for myself in the medical world — especially with doctors who dismiss symptoms or patients. It has made me feel vulnerable and show up in the world with an openness I never experienced before. It has taught me to ask for help and receive. It has taught me who can show up when I don’t feel well. Having MS has deepened some friendships and let go of others.

MS has taught me to continue to live life to its fullest. It has deepened my spiritual practices, opened my heart, and led me to discover feelings that have been buried for a long time.

MS has taught me a lot about life: No one doctor or diagnosis defines you. If there are friends who can’t deal with your illness or can’t be present for you, then seek friends who can. Find people who are aware and can show they care. Give yourself permission to have your emotions — all of them. Follow your heart and your divine light. You may not change your illness, but you can change how you relate to it. You can make choices that help you. You can empower yourself by finding doctors, healers, teachers, and supportive people who are willing to listen and witness you on your personal journey.

Do things that make you happy. That might mean meditating more, having a cup of tea, talking with people you love, getting a massage, forgiving yourself, starting and ending each day with gratitude, chanting/praying or tapping into a spiritual practice that feels right for you, and surrounding yourself with people who make you laugh. 

Having MS has taught me to participate in life more fully, lovingly, passionately, vulnerably, creatively, and spiritually. That doesn’t mean I still don’t get tired or sad. It means I embrace all of it and all of me.

Machu Picchu

 

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Be Just This Moment

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Be just this moment

What if you could be just this moment?

Let the past go. Not worry about the future. Be just this moment. Then what?

Be just this moment and notice what happens inside.

Be just this moment and this moment and this moment and this moment.

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Where is Your Mind?

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

Where is the dwelling place of the mind?

Drop out of your head

Drop into your heart

Allow yourself to feel the expansion of your mind

Imagine no thought is a fixed thought

Be certain of uncertainty

Reside in the space in between

Notice the breath between the breaths

Live in an awakened state

Accept grace

Give love

Go to the empty space within

Perhaps your mind lives there, or not

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At Home with My Emotions

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

I’m hyper-sensitive. I have come to discover that means I am an empath.

I feel other peoples’ pain as if it were my own, even if I don’t know them. My face loses all color and I turn “sheet-white” if I watch something devastating or really sad. I cry easily at Hallmark shows, Maxwell House Coffee commercials, or even melancholy song lyrics.

I have known this for many years and have been made fun of for it. People would say, “You’re too sensitive” or “Lighten up.” For a long time, I thought that it was a bad thing until I realized my sensitivity made me a better listener and a better visionary.

It’s been a huge asset as an entrepreneur, writer, leader and artist. I relate to people in ways other people are not able to do so. I often understand what they seek and aspire to. I relate to their emotions. It lets me work with clients on more of an emotional level. I see past the facades and can speak to, create, and offer inspiration for what really matters.

Being an empath has allowed me to take a deeper dive inside my own heart as well as have in-depth conversations with those around me. I am able to question more, probe deeper, and create space for expansion.

It’s also been hugely beneficial in allowing me to connect when I teach, present, and facilitate. My empathetic ways allow me to feel my way through conversations on an intuitive level. It allows me to really “see” people for who they truly are.

Of course, it is not always easy. When someone else is in pain, it can be hard to distance myself from it. I tend to take on too much of what and who is around me. I want to help other people — at times to the detriment of myself.  

So, how do I navigate in the world as an empath? I know I don’t want to go down the rabbit hole when I am feeling overwhelmed and I don’t want to push people away in order to not feel. I need to be able to engage and be present and let go in order to best serve.

For me, I do my best to balance the gifts of feeling deeply with the grace of letting go. I live with vulnerability and also have very clear boundaries.

I wouldn’t change being an empath for the world. I have come to accept that to feel is to be alive.

It’s the raw emotions that allow real meaning and connection to flow into creation and inspiration.

The challenge is to understand when to let it in and when to let go. And the challenge is also when to let in just enough to allow for deep connections, compassionate experiences and extraordinary creativity.

I’ve danced with this process of letting in and letting go for as long as I can remember. It has been a driving force for some intense journal writings, channeling messages, and connections with many mentors and spiritual teachers.

A few years ago when I started Toning the OM™, for an entirely different reason, I found something else that’s helps me process life as an empath — meditation and mindfulness.

It doesn’t mean I still don’t cry easily or close my eyes when something profound is happening. It means I can allow my emotions to flow rather than consume me. What it also does is allow me to understand when I’m being drawn in and then make a more conscious effort about whether I’m going to open to empathy or detach with love. And it reminds me to breathe and not get stuck in the shallowness within my own body.

Honestly, it is not easy and it takes work. There are days I am lousy at it. And I’m still learning just how important it is to stop and take slow, deep breaths. Having awareness of my breath and being mindful has made me more awake and alive in the world.

Being of service is an honor and privilege. Recognizing what emotions bring compassion and what emotions bring exhaustion have been part of my life-long journey. Identifying the waves of emotion as they rise, acknowledging them, and pausing to breathe has empowered me to lead and serve more humbly.

I’d love to know what your experiences have been with this.

What has your journey of the heart revealed about you?

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Book Review: The Power of Starting Something Stupid

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” Paulo Coelho, Author of the Alchemist

What if we realized that in order to accomplish our dreams, we will sometimes have to start something stupid?

After reading Richie Norton’s new book, The Power of Starting Something Stupid, I learned that the smartest people in the world don’t run away from stupid ideas; they lean into it. What if we let go of excuses and gave into our dreams?

If anyone has ever told you that your idea was crazy, then you would be in good company.  Richie Norton reminds us that many brilliant minds before us were labeled as crazy: Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Sara Blakeley, Ben Horowitz, Walt Disney and William Shakespeare.

In The Power of Starting Something Stupid, Richie Norton redefines stupid as the new smart and explains that life-changing ideas are often mislabeled stupid. What if the key to success, creativity, and joy in your life lives in the potential of your stupid ideas?

As Norton says, “Projects allow us to experiment and determine what works and what doesn’t. They allow us room to fail and modify our ideas to achieve eventual success.” The important thing is to make room for the experiment – the stupid idea.

Isn’t it better to look back years from now and not have regret for what we didn’t do? There will always be an excuse of why we didn’t start something. Norton points out the three most common excuses: the lack of time, the lack of education or experience and the lack of money. Even if we had all of these, there is still no guarantee that our idea will work. How liberating to just go ahead and live out our stupid idea!

This book is rich and inspiring. Norton shares a very personal story about how he came to live his stupid ideas. After great losses in his life, he learned from grief what he calls Gavin’s Law: Live to Start. Start to Live.

No more excuses. Start something stupid — the smartest thing you can do.

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Lead By Listening

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

After a lot of hard work, you have been made the leader of your team or your organization.  And now, as a leader, you are anxious to start performing.

First, there is a level of excitement and then the pressure is on – to not only lead, but to lead well. What lessons have you learned along the way to get here? What leaders inspired you?

At those moments there’s a natural tendency to immediately start forging ahead – after all, you are all up to speed on the organization/team, vision, plan, and now, the strategies and tactics that will be needed to move forward.

And that tendency can easily lead to believing the thought, “Since I know the way and I can just push forward, my teammates will just follow me, and they’ll figure it out.”

There is however another voice as well. It’s the voice that says, “Wait, slow down. Is everyone on team in alignment to what is happening?”

When that voice speaks, the best response is to lead by listening.

People and organizations cannot move forward without being heard. The phrase lead by listening is very important – its representative of the one thing a leader has to do before they push forward.

Alignment – of vision, of plan, of strategy, of tactics, of metrics, roles and responsibilities – all of it can only happen if we listen first.

And it is not just listening to your immediate reports – the listening has to go all the way down the line, to every employee.

Listening is not a leadership assumption, as the impatient parts of our brain may love to think.  It doesn’t happen without effort.

A leader must take the time to make this happen, the old-fashioned way – person by person, meeting by meeting, and conversation by conversation.  

A good leader listens first before becoming a teacher who prepares his or her students, and then a coach, making sure everyone is ready to move forward.

Listening is a culture that may feel new, but it is critical for visioning and taking action. What’s happening now and where do you want to go are questions leaders need to ask and listen for answers. What is the company mantra that people are saying?

Serve your organization and team by asking key questions. Serve yourself by listening to the answers.

They are ready for you to lead.

And now, so are you, as you have listened to those around you. You are really ready to move forward.

Don’t succumb to that pressure to race ahead and get a lot of tasks completed before you take time to listen.

That way, you’ll never have to look behind you as you climb upward and bring others with you.

Lead well by listening!

Mary Anne

 

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What’s Your Favorite Joni Mitchell Song?

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

I spent this weekend listening to Joni Mitchell.  There is nothing like Joni Mitchell lyrics to wake you up to what’s happening inside. Listening to her songs reminded how much healing there is left and how much more love there is available:

If I Had a Heart
Holy War
Genocide
Suicide
Hate and cruelty…
How can this be holy?
If I had a heart, I’d cry
Holy Earth
How can we heal you?
We cover you like a blight…
Strange birds of appetite…
If I had a heart, I’d cry.
{If I Had a Heart}

and… another song…

Love never looks for love
Love’s not puffed up
Or envious
Or touchy
Because it rejoices in the truth
Not in iniquity
Love sees like a child sees
Where as a child I saw it face to face
Now I only know it in part
Fractions in me
Of faith and hope and love
And of these great three
Love’s the greatest beauty
Love
Love
Love
{Love)

Love more.
Mary Anne

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Inspiration, Curiosity, & Positivity

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

After meeting some of the best and the brightest researchers and educators at a recent Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital Coaching in Medicine & Leadership  Intensive, I wanted to share some amazing quotes of inspiration:

“All great leaders by their passion and sense of purpose, and their accomplishments, live a great story.” ~Sanjiv Chopra, MD

“The opponent within one’s head is more daunting that the one on the other side of the net.” ~Sir John Whitmore, PhD

“Positive emotions help us become the best versions of ourselves.” ~Barbara Fredrickson, PhD

“Changes in the internal system will effect changes in the external system and vice versa. This means that how you relate to your Inner Team members is similar to how you relate to the people in your world and vice versa.” ~Richard Schwartz, PhD

“We cannot inspire passion in others without engaging it ourselves.” ~Richard Boyatzis, PhD

“Coaching improves psychological resources that predict higher performance, capacity to change, and mental health, e.g. increasing positivity, resilience, and self-efficacy.” ~Margaret Moore, M.B.A.

You don’t have to be a life coach or a doctor to ask, to be open, to be curious, to connect in ways that allow us to reach our deepest vision of healing and wholeness. As Paul Farmer once said, “The only true nation is humanity.”

Mary Anne


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