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Posts Tagged ‘Practice’

Breathing Warmth: Meditations for the Soul

Monday, January 13th, 2014

winter-solsticeHave you wanted to start a meditation practice? Or do you want to deepen your meditation practice? Start by drawing your breath inward as we prepare for a season of hibernation and going deeper inside ourselves.

In our busy lives, we rarely experience an extended period of quiet.  For our meditation session(s), we will enter the quiet within ourselves as a way to deepen our connection to our soul’s journey.  You are invited to enter the space of Being, rather than Doing.

The 60-minute meditations will open you to thinking differently about meditation. Meditation is about zoning in, not zoning out. Our session(s) may include looking at where our mind wanders, focusing our gaze, guided visualizations, making movement an integral part of our lives, resonating with a (personal) mantra, and stepping more fully into our thoughts. All levels of students are welcome. You may book as many sessions as you want from January 2 – March 31, 2014. Each session is 60-minutes and will take place on the phone or Skype (Monday – Friday only).

For more information, see Breathing Warmth: Meditations for the Soul

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Why Meditate?

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

What’s the point? I am often asked this question after people have tried to meditate. Many people say that they can’t meditate. There is the misconception that meditation is about shutting down or shutting off the mind. In fact, it is the opposite. The whole point of meditation is to allow the mind to feel free. The best meditations happen when we can acknowledge our thoughts flowing through us without judgment. And like anything we want to cultivate, meditation is a practice.

Meditation is about cultivating the mind. The very word “meditation” in Sanskrit means “to cultivate.” In Tibetan, the word meditation translates into gom, which means, “to become familiar with.” Meditation is about becoming familiar with ourselves over and over again. It allows us to cultivate the chatter and draw out what we have kept stuffed inside.

Cultivating our mind is essential if we want to develop our emotional well-being, create inner peace, and our service to others. The more we attempt to block thoughts during meditation, the louder they will be. The whole purpose of meditation is to show us what we need—to allow our thoughts to arise and dissolve into mindfulness. This might mean allowing ourselves to set a course that is most desirable for our experiencing peace.

Imagine the benefit of giving ourselves a new experience of the world with each passing breath. All it takes to start is ten to twenty minutes daily to get to know our mind.

Why do you meditate?

Mary Anne

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How Do You Show Yourself Compassion?

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

While giving my forgiveness telecourse, I read a quote by Pema Chodron:

“It all starts with loving-kindness for oneself, which in turn becomes loving-kindness for others. As the barriers come down around our own hearts, we are less afraid of other people. We are more able to hear what is being said, see what is front of our eyes, and work in accord with what happens rather than struggle against it.”

The forgiveness course is about making space for more love, peace and forgiveness in our hearts and in our lives. Each week has a specific focus and last week our focus was compassion. I shared with students my definition of compassion:

Compassion is our capacity to love – without the story attached to it. It’s the acts of doing and the heart of being. It’s being our own best friend & having the capacity to befriend others.

I ask students in the course to share how they show themselves loving-kindness and compassion. We take time to reflect and write down a few ways we are compassionate with ourselves. In every course, many students struggle to name ways of how they treat themselves with loving-kindness and compassion. It reminds me of how hard we are on ourselves and that giving comes from our capacity to give to ourselves too. Compassion is our ability to find relief and lead with our hearts.

The invitation is to practice compassion with yourself. Notice ways you show yourself loving-kindness. Ask how does loving-kindness and compassion show up in my life and HOW do I respond when it does?

As the Dalai Lama says, “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

Mary Anne

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“Who’s in Your Fab 5?”

Monday, July 20th, 2009

My Fab 5

Mary Anne & her drumming Fab 5 in Hawaii

There is an amazing new book out called The Talent Code, by Daniel Coyle. Coyle visited some of the world’s greatest “hotbeds”, which are small areas that have produced large amounts of talent. It’s all about having a better understanding of where talent comes from, how we learn, and how we can discover more by our mistakes. Coyle talks a lot about how we can acquire skill by learning about a substance called myelin. “Myelin is the insulation that wraps around nerve fibers and increases signal strength, speed, and accuracy.”

According to Coyle, there is a pattern in acquiring talent that includes, “deep practice, ignition, and master coaching.” I found this fascinating. I always wondered what talents were inherited and which ones were not. How can we increase our level of talent? …Practice, practice, practice.

In looking at how to increase our level of talent, I found there were other factors such as confidence, motivation, and environment. Want to build up that myelin? Here are just a few of my suggestions.

There may be times you want to do something new or increase your level of performance, but fear gets in your way. Notice and acknowledge fear when it arises. The more you push it away, the more it returns – even bigger and louder.

  1. Make mistakes. We not only learn by doing; we also learn by re-doing. Our brains can actually recalibrate according to what we learn from our mistakes. So, go ahead and use that phrase you did as a kid, “Do-over.”
  2. “You are who you hang out with.” A good friend of mine, Fr. Bob, once said this to me on a retreat back in 1989. Basically, look around and see who you are hanging around with and that will show you where your energy and actions are drawn towards. Are your friends there to support you on your journey or holding you back? Another way of saying this is, “Who is your Fab 5?” Take an inventory of the people who most influence your life.
  3. Do something new. Push yourself. Challenge yourself to do one thing that scares you. “Do It Afraid.”
  4. Ask questions. Push the limits of your brain and your heart. Begin a practice of asking questions daily and see what emerges. Create a question ritual. I find by asking a BIG question, it leads me to what is next in my life. My big question this month is: How can I be of MORE service?
  5. Follow your breath. Your breath is your will. When you are ready to start a new project, practice your skills, or create a path, start with your breath.  Use your breath to guide you. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, slowly and deeply. Awareness of our breath allows for better focus.
  6. Finally, our coaches were right – practice, practice, practice. Repetition is key when wanting to acquire a new skill.

So, go ahead, make mistakes, practice, and find a good coach. Then look around and ask, “Who’s in your Fab 5?”

Thanks to my “Fab 5” for  keeping me on track, pushing me to be more, and allowing the space to practice, to grow, and to develop.


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