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Posts Tagged ‘Letting Go’

Leaving the Station

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

Next stop – the Bronx. I often wait a long time at the Pelham Bay station for my train to leave the station. How long have I sat scrolling social media or reading or meditating or listening to a Podcast while waiting to leave the station? Over the years, I have left many stations behind – some that I have not returned to in years and some ever again. Leaving the station of people and places often means letting go and moving on.

Leaving and arriving are daily practices. It’s when I am stuck in the station that negative emotions arise. Leaving the station can mean a good-bye, a travel away, a travel towards, a moving on, a welcoming, a grieving, a homecoming, a shift in perspective. I have learned that we all leave the station at some point and each time is different. What are we really leaving?

Everything changes. And in the end, I have learned that everyone leaves in some form. It’s the inhale and exhale of life. Breathing in and breathing out. We meet each other in the in-between breath.

We all leave the station at our own pace. Welcome the leaving.

Soon the conductor will shout, “Leaving the station.”

Next stop…

This is dedicated to my mom who passed away 17 years ago. Glad we had time together to share the in-between breath.

This essay was inspired from the Prompt a Day Program with Cynthia Morris.

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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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Tears of the Heart

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

When the phone rang last week at my office, I looked down to see that the call was from a colleague and friend. While a part of me wanted to pick up the phone and connect, there was another part of me that was feeling very vulnerable and the sound of her kind voice would probably make me cry. In a conversation we had recently I said to my friend, “I knew all you had to do was ask me how I was feeling and I would start crying.” My friend responded, “Crying is the sweat of the heart.” She completely understood the choice to let the call go to voicemail and wait to speak. We had a wonderful conversation about self-care and how sometimes that means reaching out and connecting, while other times it means going inside ourselves and being quiet.

My friend shared that what helps her when she is feeling quiet is reading Louise L. Hay affirmations. When I hung up, I picked up my box of Louise L. Hay affirmations and chose a card to read and meditate on. The card I picked up read:

You are an artist of the spirit.

Find yourself and express yourself in your own particular way. Express your love openly.

Life is nothing but a dream, and if you create your life with love, your dream becomes a masterpiece of art.

My heart sweated and tears came. Thank you Jude.  

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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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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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