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Posts Tagged ‘Play’

Raise the Volume of Love

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

“Do things that light you up with people who light you up for people you love to serve.” ~Jonathan Fields

What happens when you bring 250 people from all around the world together to immerse in inspired learning, to connect on deep levels, and to play like a kid? Magic. Pure magic.

I signed up for the Camp Good Life Project as soon as the invitation came to my inbox and couldn’t wait to experiences of 3+ days of learning bliss with writer, entrepreneur, and venture builder,  Jonathan Fields.

Before the Camp Good Life Project this past weekend (known as Camp GLP), I had some life changing experiences. In June, a good friend found out she had a brain tumor. In July, my mother-in-law passed away. And by August, I was running a NYC mentoring program solo. Plus, a foot injury, fatigue, and dizziness slowed down my exercise.

By the time I was ready to leave for Camp GLP in September, I felt worn down, exhausted, and still full of so much grief. I decided that since the camp was only a 90-minute ride from my house, I would still go. So I threw clothes in a bag and packed my journal, flashlight, and my drum in the hopes that a few days away would rejuvenate me.

Upon arrival, I was greeted with big smiles, bubbles, and a warm welcome. I thought, “I can do this. I have no idea what I am doing, but I can do this.” Later I was greeted with big hugs from Stephanie and Jonathan Fields.

welcome_campersThe weekend was a chance to reconnect with my love of service, creating community/tribes, and leading heart-centered work in the world. And for 3+ days, I had the chance to immerse myself in ways that would engage my mind and heart like I never did before. There were workshops on time bending, tea-blending, hand-lettering, mindfulness, podcasting, book-binding, visual branding, crowdfunding and so much more. And if that wasn’t enough, there was so much time to PLAY! The camp included a bonfire (with s’mores!), color wars, swimming, rock climbing, wearable art, and a talent show.

By the end of the weekend, I realized it wasn’t really a matter of “doing” anything. I just needed to show up – as is. And whether singing at a bonfire or writing in my journal or crying by the lake, it was perfect. I realized it wasn’t about not knowing what I am doing, but rather it was about being all of me.

Camp GLP was a powerful experience – not just because it gathered beautiful world-shakers and makers together. But Camp GLP was powerful because there was reminder throughout the whole weekend to ask and listen for the power of living a Good Life.

The weekend was a deep experience of what can happen when we gather with intention, inspiration, service, and practices of the heart. It really is life-changing.

As I sat writing and coloring in my visual journal in the Capture the Wow class (with the awesome Cynthia Morris) and the Hand-Lettering class, I kept drawing and writing the words, “Raise the volume of Love.”

As soon as I wrote the words, I relaxed into my beingness realizing I had all I needed for my life, my business, my work and my connection to nature and Spirit. I am (still) learning to integrate my heart-centered work with all the emotions of the heart. And my Good Life Project is becoming more clear – to raise the volume of love.

Camp GLP was more than a weekend or an event. It’s what one of my friends would call “a happening.” It felt like a movement – a stirring towards alignment meeting action.

So, when people asked me what I learned at Summer Camp GLP, I smile, and say:

Raise the Volume of Love!

Big shout out to Jonathan Fields, Stephanie Fields, the Crew, KC, Cynthia Morris, the volunteers, and all the campers at CampGLP! Thank you for raising the volume of love.

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We Have What We Need

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

“This is a work in progress, a process of uncovering our natural openness, uncovering our natural intelligence and warmth. I have discovered, just as my teachers always told me, that we already have what we need. The wisdom, the strength, the confidence, the awakened heart and mind are always accessible, here, now, always. We are just uncovering them. We are rediscovering them. We’re not inventing them or importing them from somewhere else. They’re here. That’s why when we feel caught in darkness, suddenly the clouds can part. Out of nowhere we cheer up or relax or experience the vastness of our minds. No one else gives this to you. People will support you and help you with teachings and practices, as they have supported and helped me, but you yourself experience your unlimited potential.”

~Pema Chödrön, Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears

{Photo by Mary Anne Flanagan}

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Conversation with a Seven Year Old

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

I love speaking with my nephew as he can always make me smile – even without realizing it. He is just so open, real, and pure and he reminds me I can still be like a seven year old in the world. About two weeks ago we spoke on the phone and the conversation went something like this:

Me: Hi George.
George: Hi Aunt Mary Anne (said with glee).
Me: What are you doing?
George: Playing my Nintendo DS.
Me: Which game?
George: Mario Brothers.
Me: How was school today?
George: Great!
Me: What was the best part of your day?
George: Well…I think it was when I was in the lunch room and saw Mrs. Henderson (the lunchroom lady).
Me: Why was that the best part of your day?
George: Well, I like Mrs. Henderson because she is nice.
Me: That’s great George. Have you ever told her that you think she is nice?
George: No, but I do give her a hug.
Me: I am sure she likes that.
George: Yea.
Me: George?
George: What?
Me: Are you distracted?
George: Yes, I am distracted.
Me: What’s distracting you?
George: Well, I am talking to you.
Me: Thanks for that. I love you.
George: I love you too, lots and lots.

Note to self: play more, thank people more, remember the best part of my day, give more hugs, and focus on love.

Thanks George.
Mary Anne

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Relax! The Importance of Down Time

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

As someone who works full time and also runs a healing arts business, I fully understand the importance of down time. I work full time overseeing a city-wide mentoring program. My evenings and weekends include seeing clients for life coaching  or shamanic healing sessions and I am also taking classes at NYU. I actually schedule down time!

I made the decision this past weekend not to work, make plans, or go anywhere – my goal was “to relax.” After enjoying a cup of coffee and reading the New York Times on Saturday, I found myself doing things around the house – cleaning shelves, changing curtains, organizing clothes, throwing away papers, and going to the dry cleaners. I then sat down and wrote a newsletter and some meditations for an upcoming course. I couldn’t sit still or slow my mind down. I couldn’t relax. I even text my close friend to tell her to text me back and tell me to stop working and to rest.

Every time I sat down to be quiet, read an article, or take a slow walk, I was convinced I was being lazy. Yet, it is this down time that is so important for self care (part of my Happiness Project). Slowing down allows the body, mind, and spirit to regenerate. It allows for harmony of energy and stimulates creative flow. Without down time, it is so easy to burn out.

Give yourself a break and take some down time. Some ideas:
Do Nothing – clear your schedule for a whole day. Ignore your to-do list and live the day from a to-be place.

Rest – take a nap. I am not sure why we had to stop napping after kindergarten, but napping, laying in the grass or in a hammock just feels good.

Play – what amuses you? Schedule time to go and do something playful – something that makes you laugh.

Indulge – surrender to a mindless activity. Give yourself permission to read a magazine, go to the movies, or treat yourself to something. Treat yourself as if you are the most important person in the world – because you are.

Schedule down time – block off time in your calendar as “you” time and choose how you want to relax and pause. This is all about self-care. Don’t wait until your body forces you to rest because you are burnt out or sick. By taking down time, you will be refreshed and energized.

Here is to slowing down ~
Mary Anne

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April Fool!

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Recently, the song Everybody Plays the Fool played on the radio and I found myself singing the lyrics:
“Everybody plays the fool, sometime
There’s no exception to the rule.”

The song made me think about all the times I was told to stop being silly – to stop playing the fool. I remember being told to stop laughing and to be serious. Somehow it was conveyed that you couldn’t be silly, giddy, or foolish. Yet, it is our joyful, playful self that we often forget. It is that part of ourselves that we hold back on and are afraid of showing in case we “make a fool of ourselves.”

There can be such freedom in bringing forth your most outrageous, wild, playful self that laughs and attempts some crazy ideas. My invitation to you  this month is to be an April Fool! Do one outrageous, fun, and silly activity and notice how you feel. Play the Fool. And most of all, have fun!

Play “the Fool” ~ Mary Anne

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“I Need to Know”

Friday, March 19th, 2010

One of my greatest teachers is my seven year old nephew, George. As soon as we see each other, we give each other big hugs. His face lights up when I walk in the room and my heart lights up when he walks in the room. My last visit with him was no exception. It had been a good few weeks since my past visit with George. When I walked in the door, there was an excited shout, “Aunt Mary Anne, you’re here!” I gave him a tight hug and said, “I’ve missed you.” George responded, “I haven’t seen you in three months.” It was his way of saying that it felt like a really long time.

We decided to go out for lunch. Upon returning to my sister’s house, George and I went for a walk. There is a wonderful small pond near his house and George took my hand and off we went. We spoke about school, his trip to Ireland, his birthday, and other random things. Upon returning back to the house, he said he wanted to stay outside. Although most of their lawn still had a lot of snow, the day was bright and not that cold, so we decided to play in the driveway. Our first game was “Mario Brothers goes to the Winter Olympics.” George would name a Mario character and an Olympic event, act out the event, and give a score. The highlight was watching him pretend to ice skate and do curling – as entertaining as the live Olympics.

We decided we would play hide and go seek in the backyard. I hid first and George could not find me despite giving hints with making noises. I came out of my spot and George asked, “Where were you?” I told him I would hide there again on my next turn. He said, “But where were you?” I told him that he can look again on the next round. “But Aunt Mary Anne, I need to know.” It was at that point I smiled and asked, “You need to know?” I think he wanted to know and it was hard for him to look again. He took his turn hiding and then I took mine, returning to the same spot. I peeked out and George found me.

All day I couldn’t get his little voice and expression out of my head – I need to know. How many times had I wanted to know something that I convinced myself I needed to know it? Is there anything I really need to know?

The day was full of big hugs, long walks, being lost and being found – I have everything I need to know.

Mary Anne

This is dedicated to my nephew George who I love this, this, this, this much!

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