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Archive for July, 2011

Amazing Grace & Bagpipes

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Have you ever heard the song Amazing Grace played on the bagpipes? No matter where I am or what I am doing, if I hear that song, I stop, and cry. Amazing Grace always makes me cry. The words seem so tender and when you add bagpipes, the sound goes right in. I have heard it played at many funerals, including my mother’s.

I haven’t really thought about the song in years. Then as I was walking to the subway this morning in the Bronx, I heard Amazing Grace being played on the bagpipes. The bagpipes stood out as it was 7:30 in the morning and a quiet, “suburban” section of the Bronx. I stopped to try to find where it was playing from, but the song just echoed around me. I watched as people kept walking and rushing to the subway. Did other people hear the bagpipes too and were ignoring it?

I stopped to listen to the beautiful bagpipes blaring, tears and all. I could hear the words:
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

Maybe the song doesn’t have to just be a memory of funerals. Maybe the song can be a reminder of life, of grace, and of sweet mornings. Maybe Amazing Grace is always around me and I just need to be reminded to listen to it more.

What is your “Amazing Grace?”

Mary Anne

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Posted in Storytelling | 3 Comments »

If Only You Knew…

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

If only you knew how magical you are.

If only you knew how beautiful you are.

If only you knew how radiant you are.

If only you knew how magnificent you are.

If only you knew how creative you are.

If only you knew how joyful you are.

If only you knew how peaceful you are.

If only you knew how playful you are.

If only you knew how blessed you are.

If you only knew how supported you are.

If only you knew how powerful you are.

If only you knew how embraced you are.

If only you knew how loved you are.

Breathe in your magical, beautiful, radiant, magnificent, creative, joyful, peaceful, playful, blessed, supported, powerful, embraced, and loved SELF. You are all of this and much more – always and in all ways.

Mary Anne

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Better Than the Great American Novel

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

I picked up a copy of Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. I am often hesitant to pick up writing books because I am afraid they will be telling me all the things I am doing wrong as a writer. As I opened to the preface, I read, “Writing is a path to meet ourselves and become intimate.” The words went right (and write) in. The next thing I knew, I was highlighting page after page and phrase after phrase. I was so lost in the book, I even missed my train stop coming into work. I found myself smiling, underlining paragraphs, breathing slower, and grabbing pen and paper to jot some writing ideas down.

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to write a book. Could I really write “the Great American Novel?” In many ways, I already have. I have published three years worth of blog posts that include stories, poems, antidotes, and meditations. It is my great American novel. I just keep writing, even when it sounds like gibberish. I have come to discover that it is the processes and the practices that have been the real jewels in my life.

As Goldman says, “Some days you don’t want to run and you resist every step of the three miles, but you do it anyway. You practice whether you want to or not. You don’t wait around for inspiration and a deep desire to run.” Do it anyway. And keep doing it.

It’s time to color outside the lines and write beyond the page margins. It takes practice. It takes trusting the voice inside. It takes giving ourselves permission and space to create. It takes embracing all that is around us. Anything we take deep enough will take us to the very place we are longing to go and grow.

What is your Great American Novel that is bursting to come forth? As Goldberg says, “Once you connect with your mind, you are who you are and you’re free.”

Keep going, creating, and drafting-

Mary Anne

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Posted in Learning | 2 Comments »

Have You Checked the Expiration Date Lately?

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

I found a Metrocard in my wallet last week and swiped it to see how much money was on it. The machine read, “Please see an attendant.” I walked over and asked the MTA attendant if she could check how much was on my card. After she swiped it and checked her computer she said, “Ma’am, this was a 30 day unlimited card that expired in January.” I thanked the lady and walked away with my expired card. After discarding it in the recycling bin, I realized that I had been carrying around an expired card for over six months.

Later, I decided to look through the rest of my wallet for other expired or outdated cards. As I finished reorganizing my wallet, I decided to check what else in my house had expired and could be thrown out. As I sat down feeling proud of getting rid of unnecessary items, I decided to check inside and see if anything within could be discarded. What else has expired in my life? Were there any thoughts, beliefs, and feelings that have expired that I am still carrying around? Could I let go of my disappointment and frustration? Am I carrying around anger that expired last month?

I invite you to check in and see if there is anything you are carrying (inside and out) that has expired. What has expired that is still living inside you?

Start with today. What are you still carrying around that you are willing to let go?

It’s time for a new 30-day pass.

Mary Anne

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When You Don’t Know What to Do, Have a Cup of Tea

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

my mind is clear as water –

so peaceful, nothing troubles me.

such is the state of leaving

the self and all things behind.

i pour myself a cup of tea

and drink; it is sweet indeed.

~korean tea poem – 15th century

When you don’t know what to do, have a cup of tea.

Mary Anne

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Let It Go. Let It Flow.

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Last night at a healing circle I led, the focus was letting go. I asked the participants to think about what they wanted more of and to make room for it by letting go of something (or someone). I invited folks to release anything that was not serving them anymore and was only clutter in their life, their heart, or their mind. As I often do, I used a cup of tea as a metaphor. We can’t pour a cup of tea if it is already full of water. We need to empty our cups. And like a full tea cup, we need to empty our mind clutter and clean it out from time-to-time. By making space, we can experience more joy, more peace, more light, more laughter, more compassion, and more of what we really want.

This focus of letting go continued again this morning. I was on a Wake Up Meditation call with my friend, Joe Monkman. He asked us to focus on boundaries and limits. During the meditation he asked some questions about boundaries and letting go: Where can I loosen up myself? Where can I expand the limitations that I have imposed on myself? What do I need to let go of in order to expand my boundaries? Is there anything I need to let go of in order to loosen the boundaries a little bit?

I love when life is clear with where the focus ought to be. It’s as if Joe was reminding me that the lesson I was inviting others to notice was for me as well.

It’s time to let “it” go. It’s time to let “it” flow. Amen.

Mary Anne

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Listening to Our Fear

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Seth Godin had a fantastic post this week about fear. He writes about the two problems with waiting for fear to subside: 1. By the time you wait for fear to subside, it will be too late and someone else will do that which you were too afraid to do. 2. Fearless doesn’t always make things happen. Sometime a little fear can be the very thing you need to guide you. As Godin says, “The fear can be your compass; it can set you on the right path and actually improve the quality of what you do. Listen to your fear but don’t obey it.”

What are your fears saying to you? What is keeping you up at night that you can make happen, even with a nudge from fear?

Listen to your fear and move past the doubts into actions of your heart. Do it afraid. Do it anyway.

You are fully supported, always.

Mary Anne

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Cultivate More Good

Friday, July 8th, 2011

I spent the holiday weekend reading Noah Levine’s new book, The Heart of the Revolution. It’s an incredible book about challenging ourselves to do the hard work of opening our minds and hearts to more compassion, more forgiveness, and more love. Levine refers to the spiritual 1%ers who are the ones willing to put in the effort of meditation and mindfulness. In one chapter, he uses a phrase cultivate the good. It became a mantra for the rest of the day and the weekend.

How do I cultivate the good? How can I cultivate more good? I sat in meditation and asked for a deeper understanding of cultivating the good. After 15 minutes, I wrote the following:

Cultivating the good starts with living your soul moments rather than your survival moments. It’s recognizing all the good in yourself and sharing it with the world. It’s stretching beyond all doubt and fear into the place of joy. You are bigger than any one moment. It’s releasing doubt. Anger is merely fear and fear is merely doubt. When did you stop believing love? Take a deeper look inside. What is your loving heart saying to you? Can you meet yourself with kindness?

Cultivate the good – grow a garden of love in your heart and remember to water it daily. Cultivate more good. Cultivate more love.

Today, I will meet myself with more kindness and cultivate the good.

Mary Anne

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Live Your Life as Only You Can

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

The word “divine” keeps showing up in conversations and in books. I noticed that reading or listening to the word divine makes me feel expansive. My divine self is merging with my human self more and more. As they do, I realized I am living the life as only I can.

As Maya Angelou says:
People say that I am remembered by various things, but I hope one of them would be the encouragement to live the life you want to live. Live your life so that you will not leave too many things undone. Live the life you sing about. Live the life. That’s it.

Live your life as only you can. C’mon – get going!

Mary Anne

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Are You Ready to Play? Tag – You’re It!

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

Summer is here! And I am ready to play. As the poet, Mary Oliver says, “I simply do not distinguish between work and play.” How can your work be more like play? How can your life be one big vacation?

I have many memories of playing outside for hours as a kid. There were many games of kick-ball, hide-n-seek, and even long hours on a pogo stick. I couldn’t wait for recess!

It’s time to return to play. It’s time to see my life, my work, and New York City as one big playground. This summer, I am committing to playing more and more and more.

Want to join me?

Are you ready to play? Tag – you’re it!

Happy July!

Mary Anne

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