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Posts Tagged ‘Passion’

Showing Compassion

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

The Pali word for lovingkindness, metta, means unconditional friendliness, warmth, love or care, and the Pali word for compassion, karuna, means to “feel with,” to bear suffering with an active sympathy. In his wisdom the Buddha realized that by purposefully awakening lovingkindness and compassion, we invite the alienated hurts and fears into consciousness, and free ourselves into a wholeness of being.
Tara Brach, True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart

My books all have the same theme lately —compassion. The word “compassion” seems to be in neon lights. First I read a quote by Pema Chödrön, “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.”

Then I came across the book, Training in Compassion: Zen Teachings on the Practice of Lojong, by Norman Fisher. There were many sections on empathy and compassion.
Fisher writes, “Remember that compassion literally means to feel passion with. Passion means pain. Compassion is the willingness to feel pain with another, to feel another’s pain as one’s own.” He goes on to write, “And it turns out that it’s impossible to take in the pain of another unless we are able to take in our own pain.”

This gave me the clarity I have been seeking after taking some time off to heal and rest. I noticed how difficult it was for people to show compassion. They wanted to reach out and be kind, but somehow the offerings were more about advice-giving, cheerful words, or awkward silence. I realized that what I really wanted was for people to listen, to feel, and to acknowledge.

By sitting in the pain, we allow it to rise up, be acknowledged, and then bless it. Having a witness – a friend – to do that with makes it all the more holy. Looking at our own pain gives us the ability to sit with others in theirs.

What are your experiences or thoughts on compassion?

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Lead With Passion

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Great leadership demands passion.

Passion is a quality that projects vitality, joy, and enthusiasm for all the tasks at hand.  If leaders can show their passion in an authentic way, then the effect will show to the rest of the team and the result can be profound.

Passion is the way you show what you think of your job, and your role.  If you are passionate, your team will know that you care about your job, and that gives them high hope that they can care about their jobs too.

I discovered a long time ago that I loved being a leader.  And so, showing passion was never a problem.  I went into my workdays full of positive energy and feeling like I had the best job on earth.

Did it make a difference? Yes, it did.

When I received feedback about my leadership, the most fulfilling comments were the ones along the lines of “you really inspired me with your energy and enthusiasm“.

Great leadership demands passion.

It’s also a very personal thing to put yourself “out there” like that – it can put you in a vulnerable position.  That’s why passion isn’t a trait you see in every leader.

It takes some fortitude to bring emotions to the surface like that, but the benefits are well worth the risk.

And besides, passion brings something else into play that goes beyond leadership – an enjoyment of life.

Great leadership demands passion.


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A Universe of Possibility!

Monday, October 25th, 2010

A show factory sends two marketing scouts to a region in Africa to study the prospects for expanding business. One sends back a telegram saying,

The other writes back triumphantly,

Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander, The Art of Possibility

Which kind of ‘scout’ are you? Can you move beyond ‘hopeless’ and into possibility? There is a universe of possibility available!

Enjoy this TEDtalk by Benjamin Zander on music and passion.

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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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Angela Lansbury, My Mom & Me

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Angela LansburyThe clock went off at 6:22am on Sunday morning and I hit the snooze – twice. Getting up that early on a Sunday is not common. I had bought tickets to see Angela Lansbury speak at the New York Times Center.  She is my favorite actress. When I share that tidbit, I am often met with some mockery and strange looks.  For me, Angela Lansbury is ageless and represents many good memories.

First, I remember watching BedKnobs and Broomsticks (1971) and enjoyed all the tricks and songs that Lansbury performed. Later, I became a huge fan of her show, Murder, She Wrote (1984 – 1996). I would watch this television show with my mom on Sunday nights. We would sit together and try to figure out the mystery each week. This is one of those memories I have carried with me since my mom’s passing in 2000. Whenever I watch a re-run of Lansbury as Jessica Fletcher, I think of my mom.

I continued to follow her career and went to see her most recent performances on Broadway, including, Deuce, Blythe Spirit, and A Little Night Music. I even had the chance to meet her and get her autograph after one of her plays and joked with her about also having family from County Cork in Ireland. She smiled and said how lovely it is there.

From Mame to Gypsy, Ms. Lansbury has delivered many memorable songs. The best song that describes her long career is Liaisons from A Little Night Music. Lansbury sings, “Where’s discretion of the heart, where’s passion in the art, where’s craft?” After six decades in show business, Angela Lansbury has proven she has shown all that and more. At 84 years old, Ms. Lansbury exemplifies what a life lived full of passion on and off screen can do. She stands on stage, and chills run through your body. She comes to take her bow, holds her hand out for Catherine Zeta-Jones, and it’s in that moment you realize she shares a stage with class. Yes, I cried at her final bow – and whispered thank you. I shed tears of gratitude for a woman who has graced our stage, our homes, and our hearts.

When the chance came to see her again on Sunday, I was thrilled. She came out to the center of the New York Times stage and received a standing ovation. She talked about her years growing up in England, her thoughts about acting, and her long career. Ms. Lansbury shared, “It’s about being an actor first, then a singer.” She talked about all that is entailed to prepare for performing. She told us that when you can tap into the emotions of the character, you feel a connection.  “I have felt each character, and I sing from that place.”

Angela Lansbury taught me that by stepping into full character, it allows your voice to be revealed. She showed me that when you live your passion, life can be full of joy at any age. Most importantly, she allowed me to feel connected to my mom and keep the emotional bond alive. With dignity and class, Angela Lansbury, thanked her audience Sunday morning, and once again I gave her a standing ovation.

With gratitude,
Mary Anne

This is dedicated to my beloved mom, Catherine Flanagan (1944-2000) and the many years we watched Angela Lansbury together.

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