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Archive for the ‘Learning’ Category

The Kindness of Others

Monday, September 16th, 2019

Leaning on other people is not always easy for me. I prefer to give help rather than get help. I don’t like feeling like I can’t do something. And lately I have found myself relying on the kindness of family, friends, and strangers. I have been tending to a sore knee and getting support in many forms for it. Of course, I waited a good few weeks before asking for help thinking I could take care of it and do it “on my own.”

I finally had to tend to my knee and get support through physical therapy. Then, after a few sessions when I was still in pain, I thought maybe asking for help wasn’t a great idea. I nearly gave up, but I kept hearing that I ought to rely on kindness, rely on others, and be willing to ask for help. And I realized that kindness is often an exchange of connecting. Kindness allows us to tune into other people and share who we truly are.

I relied heavily on the kindness of others to help me with stairs or the subway or lifting things for me. And I have relied on my physical therapist for helping me slow down and relax while doing both easy and challenging exercises.

I get to notice other parts of my life that need tending. And I get to notice the many parts of my life where relying on kindness is really a daily practice. Kindness is an opportunity to establish a real connection.

Notice all places in your life where kindness appears. Notice how kindness shows up from those we love and those we have never met. Notice where you give kindness to others. And notice how it feels to receive kindness.

Fully experience what it means to be kind. Just be kind.

And thanks to everyone who has showed me kindness the last few weeks! Still healing my knee and grateful for all the acts of kindness.

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I Came to Love (Poem)

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

I came to love
To give more love
To receive more love

I came to love
For the great mystery
Of the language of the heart

I came to love
For the magic
And the great magicians

I came to love
To learn about living
And to appreciate the dying

I came to love
To fall more deeply
Into a connection

I came to love
Fumbling and failing
And learning from it all

I came to love
As a child, friend, spouse
Strangers known and unknown

I came to love
And it met me
And I said yes

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AHA Moments and Ideas

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Where Good Ideas Come From:


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What Is the Fire of Your Heart Saying to You?

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Have you  listened to the fire in your heart?

Mantra: I listen to the fire in my heart

{Photo taken at a Fire Ceremony from the Wild Cosmic Heart Retreat in Hawaii by TK}

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The Teacher and Student

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

“You Don’t Need a Guru. You ARE one. You are the Guru of your own life.” That line from a recent post by Jennifer Boykin felt like it hit me over the head.

I am the Guru of my own life.

I have sat with many, many amazing teachers over the years. And I still do. I, like many people, who facilitate and share their knowledge, hesitate when someone calls me their teacher. For years, I called myself “a guide.” I often feel like an air line stewardess who gives the necessary information needed and shares where the best escape route is located should you want to exit. I resisted being called “teacher.”

I was relieved when I read Jonathan Fields blog post, When Do You Know Enough to Teach? In his post he wrote:

It’s about being of service, helping others find ways to move forward without proclaiming yourself the sage or all-knowing guru. It’s about earning a living by opening your heart and sharing whatever learnings you’ve gleaned from your far-from-complete path with enough humility to inspire others to discover their own truths. It’s about the power of knowing the right questions, the right resources and the right primes, not just dropping the right answers.

As I sat and reread this I realized that being a teacher is about being of service; sharing what I have learned, what I have experienced, and what ideas have worked for me. At any given moment, I am the teacher and the student – the one guiding and the one learning. My work as a shaman and a life coach has taught me to help others discover a path of healing, to illuminate processes that allow for deeper understanding, and to ask powerful questions that ignite insights.

I don’t have the answers. I have many questions. I have lots of ideas. I am the teacher and student at the same time.

And yes, I am the Guru of my own life. If someone learns something from my life experiences, that is a gift.

I am the one I have been waiting for – I am the one I have been seeking and I am the one who I have been learning from all along.

What are your thoughts on being your own Guru? How are you a teacher for yourself?

Feel free to share your thoughts and comments.

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My School Lessons

Friday, September 7th, 2012

The classroom of life is teaching me to: Take more risks. Learn from many teachers. Give more than expected. Be inspired. Rest. Be kind. Relax. Dream. Do it afraid.

I am enrolling into a new semester of life.

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AHA! I’d Rather Give Than Receive

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

As I sat in meditation, the word receive became my mantra. Receive. Receive. Receive.

I went on with my day and looked for ways I could be more open to receiving. As I went to get something in my workbag, I pulled out a recent blog I had printed out by Jennifer Boykin, PSST. Sweet Pea – You Suck at Receiving! Right in front of me was the message I needed to hear (again!).

In her post she refers to her friend, “the Rock”,  as someone who needs a little pampering because she was going through a rough patch. Her friend’s response to this was, “Nope. I’m fine. I don’t need a thing. I’m all in. I’ll figure this out. There are LOTS of people with greater needs than I. Help them instead.”

Isn’t that how many of us respond? Don’t tend to me – tend to “them.” They need it more – and don’t they always? As my beloved friend said to me three years ago, “We all have our Haiti.” We all struggle and we need to receive.

I loved Jennifer’s response to her friend. (Read the excerpt from her blog.)

“Listening to this exchange, of course something popped out of my mouthy mouth: To the Rock: “You SUCK at receiving!”

“And we all giggled. Because every one of us sort of sucks at receiving.

In general, each one of is The Rock. Our Rock-ness means we don’t receive. We give. We don’t yield. We provide shelter. We take the hit so others can get filled, be safe, rest, heal, etc.

But it’s ALSO true, that we each need to give.

Because giving reminds us that we have enough, we are enough, there is enough.

And, if none of us ever receives, the rest of us never get a chance to grow in selflessness.

And I humbly suggest that when the Rock to your right offers some help, you consider receiving it. Because that shared compassion erases the illusion of disconnection between us all.”

Message received. I’d rather give than receive. The lesson was now in my face. Time to receive and receive and receive. There, I said it.

How about you? How are you with receiving?

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I’m Listening

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

{Photo taken by Mary Anne Flanagan} 

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Opening to Life

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

These few words are enough, if not these words, this breath…
If not this breath, this sitting
This opening to the life we have refused
again and again until now. Until now.
In this moment of epiphany
This opening to the life we have refused
again and again
until NOW”
{By David Whyte}

What opening have you refused? Are you ready to open to your life?

Now is the time to open to life, again, and again, and again.

{Photo taken by Mary Anne Flanagan}

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Lead With Passion

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Great leadership demands passion.

Passion is a quality that projects vitality, joy, and enthusiasm for all the tasks at hand.  If leaders can show their passion in an authentic way, then the effect will show to the rest of the team and the result can be profound.

Passion is the way you show what you think of your job, and your role.  If you are passionate, your team will know that you care about your job, and that gives them high hope that they can care about their jobs too.

I discovered a long time ago that I loved being a leader.  And so, showing passion was never a problem.  I went into my workdays full of positive energy and feeling like I had the best job on earth.

Did it make a difference? Yes, it did.

When I received feedback about my leadership, the most fulfilling comments were the ones along the lines of “you really inspired me with your energy and enthusiasm“.

Great leadership demands passion.

It’s also a very personal thing to put yourself “out there” like that – it can put you in a vulnerable position.  That’s why passion isn’t a trait you see in every leader.

It takes some fortitude to bring emotions to the surface like that, but the benefits are well worth the risk.

And besides, passion brings something else into play that goes beyond leadership – an enjoyment of life.

Great leadership demands passion.


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