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Posts Tagged ‘Listen’

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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Empty the Bucket

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

As I traveled to Peru, I knew I needed to let go of some pre-conceived thoughts so I could make room for all the information and beauty I would encounter. I wrote in my journal, “I am willing to let go and let in.” There is no room if the bucket (of my mind) is full. I went to Peru with an empty bucket and it was filled with so much insight, joy, and laughter.

On my second day in Lima, I passed this little boy helping his father gather all the grass clippings and place them in the bucket. As soon as I took this photo, the little boy looked up and dumped the bucket of grass and smiled. His father quietly walked over with his broom and together they refilled the bucket.

As I smiled at the boy and his father, I was simply reminded: empty the bucket.

Empty the bucket and make room for more.

Over the next few weeks I will be posting my insights about my journey to Peru – after I empty the bucket of my mind.

Enjoy! Mary Anne

{Photo taken by Mary Anne Flanagan, Lima, Peru}

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Look for the Wonders Inside. They Exist, Always.

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

I just returned home from Egypt! The days leading up to the trip felt uncharacteristically calm for me. Given my level of energy, I would have normally been running around. I didn’t even make a packing list. (This from someone who organizes their clothes by color!) I just went with the flow. I listened as other people gave their various opinions about the trip. I heard everything from, “Have a wonderful time”, “Make sure you take lots of pictures”, “I can’t wait to read your stories from the trip” to “You are crazy”, “I would never go to Egypt” and  one person even said, “I think you’re stupid for going.” Maybe everybody was right in some form, and yet, I found myself going to Egypt anyway.

This was more than an adventure. It was a chance to travel on a spiritual adventure with a group who was very open to exploring, sharing, experiencing, and listening to the wonders of Egypt, their own hearts, and one another.  As a teacher and healer, I was called to go.

This was more than experiencing the “Wonders of Egypt.” It was about experiencing the wonders inside that always exist. I had no idea what 18 days in Egypt would be like, but I was open to experiencing a new culture and meeting new people. I traveled with 9 men and they were so generous, kind, loving, and supporting throughout the entire trip. I now have 9 new friends (who are more like family). And how could I pass up an opportunity to visit a country that loves drumming?

I am still processing this amazing journey. As I integrate the experience, I have learned that while there are many beautiful temples, sacred sites, and wonders of the world, that all of that exists inside of me know matter where I go. I found many treasures, temples, and sacred sites within myself.

Look for the wonders inside. They exist, always.
Mary Anne

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Welcome Home

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

While attending a Journal Writing class at the New York Open Center, we were asked to do a guided visualization. The teacher invited us to think about having a conversation with someone who had passed away even if we had not met them before and ask them for a message that would be meaningful to hear. I sat with my eyes closed, breathing softly, and my Uncle Edmond from Ireland came to mind. I had never met him, but I had memories of how much my father loved him and was so upset after he passed away in 1983 at a young age.

I asked Uncle Edmond for a message. I listened intently and wrote the following:
You are the way; once you believe that and claim that, the way will be open for you. The past is always available, the present is always free, and the future is always open. Listen to yourself, honor yourself, remember yourself, love yourself. That is the way. You are home.

As the teacher, Catherine Ann Jones, said, “It’s not the past events, but the way we remember them.” And in the end, it’s about coming home to ourselves.

Welcome home.
Mary Anne

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What Is Today Asking of You?

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

What is this day asking of you? It’s so easy to get caught up in the daily routines of life. We can mindlessly go about our business – getting our children dressed, having breakfast, commuting to work, running errands, or driving our car – that we forget about all the little moments in between that show us the miracles all around us. Are we willing to listen?


What’s new about today? What would you like to see change and are willing to do one thing to make that happen?

I have often heard people say, “It’s the way it is.” Yes, it is the way it is, until it’s not.

How will you listen to this day and all it brings you?

Mary Anne

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Listening to My Father’s Wisdom

Monday, May 10th, 2010

Growing up, my father had many expressions: “Take your time, but don’t be long”; “You can always replace money, but you can’t replace a person”; “It takes a lot longer to fill out an accident report than it does to take your time on the road” and on and on. He also had his way of imparting values of how his daughters ought to be in the world. If I had to sum up the four cornerstones of how to live life through my father’s expressions, it would be this:

Tell the Truth.
It’s a lot easier to remember the truth and own up if you have done something. It’s a lot harder to remember the lies or stories and the truth always gets revealed.

Say Please/Thank You.
Manners say a lot about a person. There is such respect in an exchange that includes a please or thank you. In the end, people feel connected and want to help when they hear polite words.

Never Hate (Disliking Is OK).
You don’t have to like everybody, but hating serves no purpose and is only draining. Plus, the cost to hate is more hurtful to the one hating. Do we really need more enemies?

Quiet Please Rather Than Shut Up.
There is nothing worse than being stifled or put down. We can be kinder and gentler with one another. Asking for quiet brings peace back to us.

Think about the wisdom your family has shared with you and how it has shown up in your life and the values you teach others. I am grateful that my parents demonstrated generosity, service, and strong work values.

Thank you, Dad.
Mary Anne

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Time to Eat the Frog

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

When I first heard the phrase, Eat the Frog during a workshop with Janice Hoffmann, I was both hesitant and interested. Curious to hear more, I leaned forward to find out what Janice was talking about. Essentially, Eat the Frog means starting your day by tackling the most challenging thing on your list. Develop the habit of doing the hardest thing first – the thing you put off to the end of the day – the one that never gets done. It’s about creating space in our day to do what we love. If we put off eating the frog, it’s always there, waiting for us.

We spend so much time on smaller tasks, we run out of time to do what might need the most inspiration or energy. We multi-task in the hopes more can get done and then wonder why we feel so exhausted. There was a time being able to do ten things at once made us feel successful. But all we need to do is one task a time with full attention. Eating the frog is about performing a task that is crucial for our growth, our business, or our life, even if it is not fun. In the end, eating the frog gets us farther.

How do you prepare for your day? What do you really want to pay attention to and complete? Successful people know how to eat the frog. Entrepreneurs eat the frog every day – they take risks. Listen for the most important task, write it down, and do it. Think about the last time you wanted five more minutes of sleep or will go for that walk tomorrow – how did you end up feeling?

We tell ourselves we don’t have enough time. We may not have time for everything we want to do, but we always have enough time to do everything we choose to do.

Go ahead – Eat the Frog!

Mary Anne

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What Informs You?

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Have we all lost our minds? It’s the only explanation I have for the savage way some people have responded to the new Health Care Reform that was just passed (i.e. throwing bricks into people’s windows, making threats to families of Democratic members of Congress). Obviously, many people have strong opinions about Health Care – as they should, it’s our health we are talking about. But my question is, whose opinion do we have? Is it our own educated opinion or is it the opinion of talking heads on the television or radio?

How do you become informed? Who do you listen to? When you are listening, are you even aware of how your body is reacting? What informs you? If the health care conversation is causing great stress and struggle, anger and resentment, what could you do to become calm and centered in whatever actions you may want to take?

I have been curious to hear all sides. I want to know what people like about the Health Care Reform and what they don’t and why—not just generic comments, but specific ideas. It’s about being curious, being educated, being open, being willing to listen, and most of all, being civil.

Who you are will inform how you will respond. How do you want to BE?

Here is to civility prevailing over violence.
Mary Anne

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“Just Listen. Nothing Else to Do…”

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

I had the incredible opportunity to attend a weekend workshop with Byron Katie in New York City. Katie facilitates The Work, which allows you to question the thoughts that cause suffering. It was quite the experience (see my last blog). I often found myself holding my breath as people shared their life stories – the ones that caused them the most suffering. I was in awe and overwhelmed at the same time.

Sitting in a packed room, I was trying to figure out how to process what I was hearing. I decided to text a friend a mine a few lines Katie had said that really touched me. I thought this would allow me to open up more to the experience and feel less alone in the crowded space. About a half hour after sending the text, I received her reply, “Just Listen. Nothing else to do…”

 

I smiled down at my cell phone and exhaled. My body began to relax and my mind quieted. The text became my new mantra: Just listen – nothing else to do. My whole experience of the workshop shifted as I became more present in the room. Suddenly, I noticed how this huge ballroom with over 300 people became more intimate.

In this new space, I could really listen to Katie’s powerful words and noticed how they just floated in the room. With each breath, I inhaled the words that created an opening in my mind and heart. Here are just a few examples:

 

“Change the thought and it shifts. There is no other way.”

“It hurts until it doesn’t.”

“When you believe the thoughts about the world, you miss it.”

“My job is to love because it hurts when I don’t.”

“Nothing is ahead of its time.”

“People change when you question what you believe about them.”

“It’s what we believe that hurts.”

“If I see something unacceptable in another person, I have to look at me.”

“The past is over. Look at it without experiencing it.”

“It falls away – a little bit at a time.”

“We are who you believe us to be.”

“Love the one you are with. Sit. Rest. Meditate.”

 

I am so grateful to my friend for reminding me how to be open with such simplicity.

 

Just Listen – Nothing Else to Do…

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