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Archive for April, 2011

Bird by Bird and Breath by Breath

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Last week, two people mentioned the book, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott. I had heard of the book before, but have shied away from buying writing books. I always thought that books like this would remind me of all the things I am not doing as a writer and would only highlight my flaws. Yet within pages of picking up this book, I felt utter relief. I felt like someone was voicing exactly some of my inner feelings and beliefs.

On the second page of the introduction, Lamott writes, “One of the gifts of being a writer is that it gives you an excuse to do things, to go places and explore. Another is that writing motivates you to look closely at life, at life as it lurches by and tramps around.” I think in words. I process in writing. Most people I know process verbally and through conversation. I process with pen and paper. I process with stories and metaphors (which drives some of my friends nuts!).

Writing has saved my life – in many forms and ways. When all my emotions get stuck inside, sometimes my only outlet has been putting my thoughts on paper. I understand when Lamott says, “Throughout my childhood I believed that what I thought about was different from what other kids thought about. It was not necessarily more profound, but there was a struggle going on inside me to find some sort of creative or spiritual or aesthetic way of seeing the world and organizing it in my head.”

Lamott tells a story about a paper her brother had to write about birds and the advice her father gave him – to take it bird by bird.  With so much information to process and feelings to express, I am easily overwhelmed. In my case, I have to take it breath by breath – word by word.

Why do I write? I write to make some sense out of life. I write because it fills my heart with more joy than anguish. I write because just having one person feel connected and heard and seen is the most valuable gift I know how to give. As Lamott says, “Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul.”

Feed your soul – breath by breath,
Mary Anne

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How Are You Breathing?

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

I fell sound asleep on the subway on my way to work. I woke up and didn’t know whether I was going to the office or I was on my way home. I looked around to take in my surroundings. I noticed that my breath was calm and soft. Even though the train was very crowded, I felt relaxed. Was my slow breathing slowing down everything else around me?

I invite you to notice your breathing. Take slower breaths and watch what happens. Notice the times throughout your day when you are having shallow breaths or are holding your breath. What thoughts are going through you when you are in that state? Breathe yourself.

When your breath slows down, perhaps everything around you will as well. In a city that never sleeps and in a 4G world, perhaps it is time to slow down and just breathe.

Mary Anne

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How Do You Nourish Yourself?

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

After just returning home from teaching a powerful and healing Shamanic Intensive, I feel so connected and grounded. I felt nourished by all the participants (the tribe) and the abundance of nature that surrounded me all weekend. I had the opportunity to “feed” myself with friendships, healing techniques, sacred ceremonies, and of course, delicious meals. There was authentic reciprocity with people and nature. The transition back to the city, all my projects, and everyday tasks seem to be flowing effortlessly as I feel so nourished. How can that feeling of nourishment be sustained?

In his new book, Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being, Martin Seligman , writes about new ways to look at happiness: a life of well-being. Seligman identifies four factors that can help people flourish: “positive emotion, engagement with what one is doing, a sense of accomplishment, and good relationships.” When I read that, it made me think about how nourished I felt this weekend because of all of the factors listed.

How do you nourish yourself? How do you tend to your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual needs?

How do you want to move from nourish to flourish?

One way to move from nourish to flourish is to come to an upcoming teleclass, circle, and/or workshop to connect and thrive. In a city that never sleeps, perhaps it’s time we slow down and nourish ourselves. Visit https://www.toningtheom.com for more information.

Mary Anne

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What Inspires You?

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Every few days I log into my WordPress Blog and clean out the spam comments. It’s amazing how many spam comments come in each week. For some reason, before I clicked the “Empty Spam” button last week, I read a few of the comments. The first comment read, “The site is uninspiring. Daily life proceeds.” I started laughing and grabbed a piece of paper to jot it down. What a wonderful reminder that my site is uninspiring and daily life proceeds.

If I had read that comment two years ago, I would have felt like a failure and questioned my writing and my work. Yet when I read the comment, I thought there are times the site is uninspiring and daily life does proceed. Inspiration comes from within. I can’t inspire people; I can only notice what awakens my mind and emotions and share that with others. There may be times an idea, a poem, a story, or a workshop inspired you. Perhaps that was because something inside was feeling connected.

What inspires you?

Daily life proceeds,
Mary Anne

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I Change and the World Changes

Monday, April 11th, 2011

Feed yourself and you feed the earth. Feed the earth and you feed yourself. ~Enlightened One {Channeled Message}

I change and the world changes.

I listen and the world listens.

I open and the world opens.

I awaken and the world awakens.

I smile and the world smiles.

I laugh and the world laughs.

I dream and the world dreams.

I create and the world creates.

I give and the world gives.

I receive and the world receives.

I love and the world loves.

More love. Love more.

Mary Anne

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What Are You Waiting For?

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles, and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving until the right action arises by itself?”
~Lao-tzu, Tao Te Ching

Here in the East Coast, especially the tri-state area, we are “patiently” waiting for Spring-like weather. The temperatures have been below normal and we have had our fair share of snow and rain! As you “wait” for Spring, I invite you to remember that warmth exists inside you. You are the sunshine. You are the beauty of the season. Can you feel that?

The crocus are bursting through the earth. The birds sing their beautiful songs every morning. And the month of April reveals the miracle of the season (snow showers and all!). What are you waiting for? Perhaps it already exists.

What is living inside you that is ready to be revealed once the mud settles? Will you allow right action to arise within?

Mary Anne

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Moving From Piece of Mind to Peace of Mind (Part II)

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

I recently wrote about attending a workshop with Byron Katie and practicing The Work. I shared my experiences of questioning my stressful thoughts in order to feel more at peace.

As I sat with Katie and 300 hundred other participants this past weekend in New York City, I captured a few quotes that I found very peaceful:

A mind at peace with itself is a mind at peace with all.

Service to you is service to myself.

You do need a teacher – the one within you. That teacher is waiting for the invitation to be asked or heard.

The mind has to rest in itself.

I question what I believe and I let my thoughts greet me.

That’s why people want to be self-realized – it’s kind.

Mentally, whose business are you in?

It’s beautiful to watch suffering collapse and have nothing to stand on.

When your mind opens, you will be amazed how free you are.

Want to see a perfect being without comparison? You would see you.

Gratitude and compassion are so close; it’s hard to tell which one is which.

Gratefully, Mary Anne

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Moving From Piece of Mind to Peace of Mind

Monday, April 4th, 2011

If you have ever read my blogs or know me personally, then you have heard me quote Byron Katie many times. I first heard of Katie back in 2002 when I bought the book, Loving What Is. After reading about 50 pages, I put it on my bookshelf and forgot about it. Then in 2004, I went and picked it up again. As I read through her process called, The Work, I realized how often I was addicted to many stressful thoughts. The Work is about questioning thoughts that cause us stress. As Katie says, “It’s not the problem that causes our suffering; it’s our thinking about the problem.”

As much as I meditate and write, I also have my fair share of stressful thoughts. I worry a lot about everything and everyone – only to realize afterwards that the worry was for nothing. I have had many moments of feeling disappointed and depressed and The Work has helped me question my beliefs and thoughts.

So when the opportunity to sit with Byron Katie in New York City and practice The Work came along, I took advantage. I sat and listened to my stressful thoughts: No one wants me to go to Egypt. I am crazy to go to Egypt. What if I get really sick? I should be working more. My shoulder is never going to feel healed etc…

Katie invited us to breathe and just listen to our stressful thoughts. She asked us to write our stressful thoughts on paper and question each thought. As she says, “We don’t let go of our thoughts. They let go of us.”

As I sat there moving through each stressful thought, I realized I wasn’t looking for “piece” of mind; instead, I was experiencing “peace” of mind.

What thoughts are causing you suffering? Question your thoughts – if for nothing else, but peace of mind.

Mary Anne

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