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Archive for March, 2010

March OM Meditations

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

In keeping with the rhythm of sharing monthly meditations and the new season of Spring, I invite you to join me in celebrating March with some meditations and contemplative questions as a way to open up to more love.

As an invitation, feel free to close your eyes, sit with your spine straight and take a few soft breaths. Then inhale a little deeper through your nose, and on the exhale, repeat the mantra OM (AUM).  Do this three times. Allow yourself to really feel everything and become the observer of your thoughts. Feel free to focus on one question or statement below and just allow your experience to unfold

Love What Is Now. Love What is Now.

I am open to the rhythms of the world.

Beloved, what do you hear in the silence?

“I love you and you are perfect exactly as you are.”

How do you become an observer of your thoughts? What practices allow you to see things as they are?

We show up with love and that is all grief needs to flow into grace. We show up with love because in the end that’s all we really need.

What seeds (inside yourself) are you watering?

The invitation is to be open for whatever thoughts flow through you. Allow your mind and body to expand into the experience (without judgment).  Feel free to start with whatever mantra calls to you.

May you experience the bursting of seeds within your heart and mind. Take time to water the garden of you!

In every moment, there is grace,
Mary Anne

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The Sacred Space of You

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again
– Joseph Campbell

After spending a gray and damp Sunday cleaning the house, I thought about how much “space” there was after removing lots of clutter. Every weekend I have been dedicating time to throwing away papers, making donations bags, and clearing corners of the house. I realized how much space there really is in my apartment. Other than my collection of books, drums, stones/crystals, CD’s, sweatshirts, and mastana’s (altar cloths), I am pretty much a minimalist. I don’t own a lot or have stuff all over the walls. Perhaps because I grew up with a lot of knick-knacks and tables that had beautiful Irish Belleek and doilies on the table (every table), I wanted to have less things to collect. My house growing up had a lot of nice things and many photos—including pictures from First Communion all the way through College graduation, and many photos in between.

I like having space in the house without the need to put something there. How often do we fill a space rather than just let an area remain empty? How else are we filling the space in our lives? What are we filling our space up with?

Think about the space in between musical notes—otherwise known as “rest.” This allows us to live in the space between the notes—that’s where the quiet space is. How can we allow the space to teach us, to fill us, to empty us?

Love the space in between because you are that space. Find the sacred space of you and stay there. Remove the clutter within and make space for more love.

To the sacred space of you,
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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Ella Mae Johnson: A Legacy of Compassion

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

In honor of Women’s History Month, here is an amazing story of Ella Mae Johnson. Her memoir will be published next month, It Is Well With My Soul: The Extraordinary Life of a 106-Year Old Woman. As her co-writer, Patricia Mulcahy said, “Ella Mae’s real lesson is that compassion is what will get you through life.”

Ella Mae passed away on Monday, 3/22, at home surrounded by friends. She left us a legacy of life.

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Be Kind

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

A few years ago I heard the story about a 3rd grade teacher who only uses one rule in her classroom: Be Kind. At the start of every year, she posts this at the front of the room. When students get loud, push each other, or are not listening, she refers to this one rule—Be Kind. By keeping it simple, the students know what is expected without having to remember a long list of rules. She lets her students know how ‘to be’ with just two words.

I began my own list recently of creating two word expressions that speak to my expectations of how I want to be in the world.
Smile Often.
Be Generous.
Love More.
Write Letters.
Take Pictures.
Show Gratitude.
Meditate Daily.
Create Community.
Speak Truthfully.
Express Vulnerability.
Think Bolder.
Live Purposefully.
Do Afraid.
Forgive Enemies.
Trust Divinity.
Take Naps.
Be Silly.

What are your two words you want to live by? Create a list and see what feels really important in your life.

Be Kind.
Mary Anne

This is dedicated to wonderful 3rd grade teacher, Cindy. Thank you!

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How Will You Celebrate Spring?

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”
~Margaret Atwood

The seeds planted in the dark days and nights of the Winter season are now bursting through the earth. Do you see them?

The hope and trust we placed in the cold earth is showing us the miracle of life in fruits and flowers. What does the season of Spring mean to you?

As we celebrate a new season of longer daylight, blooming buds, birds singing, and warmer days, may we honor the seeds within that are pushing through. What seeds are you watering?

How will you celebrate Spring?

Let’s all put our hands in the dirt!
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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Irish Inspiration

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Take time to work;
It is the price of success.

Take time to think;
It is the source of power.

Take time to play;
It is the source of perpetual youth.

Take time to read;
It is the foundation of wisdom.

Take time to be friendly;
It is the road to happiness.

Take time to dream;
It is hitching your wagon to a star.

Take time to love and be loved;
It is the privilege of the gods.

Take time to look around;
It is too short a day to be selfish.

Take time to laugh;
It is the music of the soul.

—Old Irish Prayer

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What Are You Doing?

Monday, March 15th, 2010

Twenty years ago I traveled to the Bahamas to volunteer for two weeks to help rebuild a library and assist with various clean-up projects.  I joked with friends that if God asks me to do service work in the Bahamas, who am I to deny the call? I traveled with two college staff and seven other students. We were asked to bring extra canned goods with us as we were going to work in a “poor” section of the Bahamas. I filled one duffel bag with peanut butter and jars of grape jelly. When I arrived at the volunteer center, I unpacked my turquoise duffel bag and found that a large glass jar of grape jelly had broken and my clothes were covered in broken glass and jelly. I started to clean the sticky bag and then I just lost it – I started crying. My bag was a mess and I thought the jelly would never come out so I threw the whole bag in the garbage – clothes and all. My friends told me they would help clean it out, but I told them to forget it and just tossed the duffel bag in the garbage. The next morning I woke up early to find my bag by my bed, all clean and saw that my t-shirts and socks had been rinsed out and were drying on a line outside. No one said anything about the jelly jar meltdown and we spent the next two weeks painting, cleaning, and playing with children.

I was reminded of this story last week after making dinner for myself (which is very rare). I began making food and then half of my dinner spilled on the floor. I exhaled exasperated and started to throw the rest of my dinner in the garbage. I stopped and asked myself, “What are you doing?” I slowly cleaned up the spilled food, fixed my plate, and sat quietly eating my dinner.

There are so many moments that I am unconscious of how I am reacting or responding. I realize when I am exhausted and have little reserve that I just give up. There have been hundreds of times throughout the last twenty years when I have had the “broken jelly jar moment” and wonder what other ways I have responded. Am I willing to allow difficult moments to occur and not let them overtake me? Can I pay more attention to what I am doing and how I am being?

What is your broken jelly jar story and how do you respond? I am grateful I spilled my dinner last week and that the MTA had signal problems because it allowed me to dig deeper into my internal resources and ask myself, “What are you doing?”

Mary Anne

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TED Talk ~ Enjoy the Gift of Storytelling

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story

I am a storyteller. Here is to sharing more stories! Mary Anne

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