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Archive for June, 2010

June OM Meditation

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Bathe in the sun and bring the light of the longest day of the year into your heart. Know that the light is always available, always there, and always ready to be shared with those around you. Spend time with some contemplative thoughts and questions and feel free to pass them on to others.

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.

What do you believe about happiness? What brings you joy?

Rest in the place of a loving and generous heart within.

Peace resides within, always, always…awaiting expression.

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.

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?

Each person will have their own experience so 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 bathe in the light of you!

Make at least 10 people smile today.
Mary Anne

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Friday, June 25th, 2010

Everywhere I look in NYC, there are rainbow flags. Everyone is gearing up for Pride weekend. It’s a time to celebrate diversity at its best. Most folks don’t even blink an eye when I tell them about my sexuality – in fact, they are happy for me (and my 16 year relationship).

I consider myself lucky to live in a place as “open” as New York City. So, when I am asked why I march, why I come out, why I speak so often and openly about being gay, it’s because many marched before me so I could hold my partner’s hand in public and many will come after me who I hope can do this in every place without retribution or violence.

For me, Pride weekend is a time I get to sing and dance in the streets while holding my partner’s hand. While this may seem like a small act, the truth is there are many places where it is not safe for gay couples to be open. And like many other gay people, I have been called derogatory names. I have been called “faggot”, “dyke”, “homo” among other things. And while all the names may be true, the venom with which they are spoken has been full of hate. I have been spit at, had glass bottles thrown at me, and told I have ruined civilization and I will be sent to hell.

I stand proud of who I am and invite you to stand with me. And this weekend, you might just hear me singing at the top of my lungs, “New York City, New York City, Loud and Proud, Loud and Proud!”

To celebrating the Pride in each of us,
Mary Anne

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Make More Art

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Each week there are many vendors and artists at the NYC Union Square Farmers Market. I recognize many of the artists as they are there every week.  I walked over to a table I had not seen before and saw some beautiful Buddha’s painted onto wood. The woman told me the cost of a small wooden Buddha painting. I knew I wasn’t carrying much cash with me and asked her if she would be around again. She said she would sell it for a little less. I reached into my pocket and realized I was still short a few dollars. I explained I would come back another day. She picked up the painting, put it in a bag, and told me I could have it for that amount of money.

I brought the painted wood home and put it on my bookshelf. All weekend it would catch my eye and I smiled. I love the bold colors, the three candles, and the shadows. I realize how important it is to make and share art. Art takes many forms and lives on in ways that we cannot possibly imagine. Seth Godin says his definition of art must have three elements:

“Art is made by a human being.
Art is created to have an impact, to change someone else.
Art is a gift. You can sell the souvenir, the canvas, the recording… but the idea itself is free, and the generosity is a critical part of making art.”

Ms. Solomon is the writer in the “Questions For” column in The NY Times Magazine. She was interviewed this weekend in the Book Review and asked, Is there an art to asking questions?” Solomon replied, “No, definitely not. There’s a tendency to call everything an art form, so we read about “the art of Twittering” or “the art of mixing a perfect mojito.” The word “art” should be reserved for activities that stand a chance of adding at least one beautiful object to the world.”

We need more art that has a chance to add at least one beautiful object or idea into the world. Yes, we need to make and share more art.

What art will you make that will change at least one person?

Mary Anne

The photo in this blog of the Buddha is designed by Anothai Hansen.
Visit her website: http://www.anothaiart.us/

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Imagine Yourself

Friday, June 18th, 2010

Imagine Yourself…
taking time to pause, feeling your breath, & being open…

Imagine Yourself…
sitting quietly, listening to your heart, & creating space inside…

Imagine Yourself…
slowing down & taking time for you…

Celebrate the upcoming Summer Solstice in a
FREE Global Meditation Teleclass on Monday, June 21 at 8P (ET).

The evening includes a summer meditation, silence, and reflection.
The free global meditation class will be on the phone. Call from the anywhere!

Dial in number: 605-475-4875
Access Code: 976552# (be sure to hit the # key)

For more info click link: Toning the OM FREE Meditation Teleclass~

Happy Summer!
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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Learning from Dolly Parton

Monday, June 14th, 2010

Dolly Parton has always been an inspiration to me. She sings and I smile. The other day I was playing the album Backwards Barbie as I was doing house chores. I could hear myself singing the lyrics:

“I said you’d better get to living, give in
Be willing and forgivin’
cause all healin’ has to start with you.
You Better stop wining, pining,
Get your dreams in line and just
Shine, Design, Refine until They Come True.
And you’d better get to living”

Yep, getter bet to living’! How about you?

Mary Anne

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Second Chances

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

As I was finishing up at the dentist office, I was speaking with my hygienist about some of the work I do with mentoring. I ended one of my sentences with, “Everyone deserves second chances.” At that very moment my dentist walked in and said, “You think everyone deserves second chances?” I told him I thought most everyone deserved a second chance. With that, my dentist went off with a litany of people he thought should never have a second chance. I noticed that I was getting annoyed, so I quietly responded, “I think many of us make mistakes, take the consequences, and deserve another chance.” His response was, “You know what we call a liberal? Someone who has never been mugged.” He concluded by telling me that most people don’t deserve second chances.

I left the office and started thinking about all the mistakes I have made and how so many people have given me a second chance. How long must we pay for a mistake we have made in the past?

Later that evening, I thought about how quickly our mind can go to labeling people and ideas, and about second chances. Do I really believe in second chances?

The universe must have heard my question because in the Sunday New York Times there was an article on parole. The article was about a woman who had committed a crime at 18 and paid for her mistake by serving time until age 41.

As she said in the article, “I still have those dreams of not being able to leave prison, like I’m still in there trying to get out. Why am I still struggling to get out?”

I realized that our minds can be more of a prison than sitting in a room with bars on the window. In what ways are we in prison with our thoughts, beliefs, and actions?

Yes, mistakes will be made and we must accept consequences of our choices. And, yes, I do believe in second chances.

Mary Anne

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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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What Brings You Happiness?

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

For the past five months I have been tending to my Happiness Project. I have created a road map for opening up to more happiness by paying attention to three areas of my life: Self-Care, Connections, & Sabbaticals. I have created Life Mantras that provide intentional happiness within such as: Do It Afraid, Show Up, Be Still, Show Gratitude, Trust My Heart, Forgive More, Voice My Truth & Be Vulnerable.

What I have learned over the past five months is that where I put my energy, who I hang out with, and what practices I engage in have been where the lessons have shown up. My biggest learning has been less about being happier and more about being more aware and connected.

In the book The Fifth Agreement, Miguel Ruiz speaks about awareness. “Self-mastery is all about awareness. First to be aware of what is real, and then to be aware of what is virtual, which means what we believe about what is real.” What do you believe about happiness? First, ask yourself some questions and discover what is real for you. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Awareness Questions:
What’s really, really important in your life?
Who is really, really important in your life?
What are some areas in your life that you want to grow?
What connects you deeper to your heart?
What would a happier, joy-filled heart look like?

Experiencing Happiness:
Spend time with people who bring you joy.
Make at least five people smile every day.
Give stuff away. Be generous.
Talk less about others (gossip).
Start early and “Eat the Frog”.
Go to your growing edge and ask for help.
Have a gratitude practice.

My journey the last five months has included paying attention to how I treat myself. I often tell my clients to treat themselves as the most important person in the world – because they are. That is easy to tell others. I have had to examine my practices of self care, connections & sabbaticals. Here is what I have discovered:

Self Care is all about self love.
Connections are about letting love in, trusting friends, asking for help & being with people who want to grow.
Sabbaticals are about taking time off “to be.”

To continue to honor all of the above, I am taking time off from giving workshops or classes this summer (July 1 – September 12). I will still continue to see shamanic and coaching clients.

I am also planning a 14 -16 day sabbatical to India with a few friends in November.

What are you aware of that brings you happiness? What do you want more of in your life and how do you want to invite that in?

If you would like to work with me as your coach in developing your own Happiness Project, please feel free to email me at toningtheom@yahoo.com or call 917-238-9726.

Keep sending me all your updates about your Happiness Projects and Happy Ideas!
Mary Anne

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