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Posts Tagged ‘Abyss’

Sitting in the Abyss of the Vast Unknown

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

Non-doing keeps showing up. I decided to take the summer off from giving workshops, retreats, and healing circles. After announcing this in my newsletter, I thought, “What will I do with all this time off?” Quickly, I began a list of all the things I could “do” this summer. I started to look up classes and programs I could attend as a participant – none of which really excited me. Then my best friend invited me to do nothing – to stay in the abyss of not knowing and see what shows up. This has become my new practice – staying in the abyss and just listening for what is next.

I started with an easy topic – listening for what ought to be my next book to read. I stared at my bookcase for a few moments, reading dozens of book titles. I watched as my hand was drawn towards Byron Katie’s book, A Thousand Names for Joy. In each chapter, Byron Katie reflects about the Tao Te Ching. About ten pages into the book, Katie quotes the Tao, “Practice not-doing, and everything will fall into place.

Katie reflects:
“The Master leads simply by being. “Being” looks like doing the dishes, answering the phone and e-mail, shopping, going to work, driving the kids to school, feeding the dog, doing one thing at a time, without a past or future. She doesn’t empty people’s minds. She doesn’t have to (even if that were possible). The way she helps people is by living out of don’t-know, can’t-know, no-need-to-know, not-possible-to-know, nothing-to-know.”

And just as I was writing this blog, my friend Joe Monkman posted a blog about taking a day off and giving ourselves permission to change our routine. In his Fishing for Soul blog he wrote, “Let go and allow your self to do one new or different thing today.  Give your self the gift of not doing.  Permit your self to BE.  What might you create from that place?  The possibilities are endless.”

Joe’s blog was another reminder to do nothing – just be and see what gifts arrive. Or as my friend said to me, “Just listen. Nothing else to do.”

I am sitting in the abyss of the vast unknown and have no idea what will appear. It is frightening and thrilling at the same time. As T.S. Elliot said, “Teach us to sit still.”

What gifts are awaiting you in the abyss of the vast unknown?

Mary Anne

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Accident or Purpose

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

forestroadAfter more than 9 years, I decided this past May it was time to move on with my spiritual teacher. It was not an easy decision. She has been my teacher, therapist, shaman, coach, and confidant for a long time. She believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. She was there after my mom died and my heart was consumed with grief. And she celebrated with me when I started my company, Toning the OM™, and eagerly awaited to hear about my next venture, creative project, workshop, and collaboration. Every step of the way, this amazing woman was with me on my path.

One day I was sitting in meditation and I asked for guidance on where and how to deepen my spirituality. The answer that came, and the one I ignored until May, was that it was time to move on from my teacher and create a new path. I walked into her office and said, “I think it’s time for me to go.” Smiling, she said, “I was waiting for you to say that.”

We decided we would spend some time over a period of weeks reviewing and giving space for completion. We wanted to be sure we gave our long journey together a proper ending. I knew it was the right decision, and yet, after the reality of my words hit me, I cried my eyes out. Nine years of having a witness from someone who only wants wholeness and love is a long time. I knew this was a big step into transition. I didn’t have a plan for who would be my next teacher. I just knew our road had come to an end. We completed the last week of June and I wasn’t sure I was ready for this unknown territory – the abyss – to be my teacher.

As I was internally preparing for my last session with my spiritual teacher, I reached out to friends to get their advice of what I should do next, how to find another teacher, and how to sit in the space of transition. For the most part, my friends said to allow myself time and space, to be in the fog, to be open to what’s next and who’s next. It wasn’t the answer I wanted. I wanted my friends to say, “Go back to your teacher and stay there forever” or “I have a teacher for you”, or even “You would love my teacher.” None of that happened. All I heard was people saying to just stay in this empty space.

I went to my next mode of action. I begged God to show me my next teacher. “Just give me a sign God” I implored. Then three days after my completion with my teacher, I was in a car accident. An SUV slammed into the passenger side of the car I was in and smashed the whole door. I walked away, stunned and shaken. The talk to God shifted to shouting the question, “Are you kidding me God?” I even screamed, “First I lose my teacher and now I lose a car?” After calming down, I realized I just needed to be in the space of transition on every level. For the next few weeks I had to pay attention to my neck and back. I had to slow my pace down and recalibrate my nervous and energetic systems. I had to listen to what I needed, ask for help, connect with friends, do some writing, meditate, and listen to nature. In this quiet space, I began to see what and who informs me.

Oddly enough, the accident gave me purpose to reveal myself more humbly and lovingly. I trusted myself and others in ways I had not been able to do before. I even asked a coaching classmate to help me walk through ideas of how to find a new teacher. She asked me what I was looking for in a spiritual teacher. I told her I wanted someone who is compassionate, smart, generous, challenging, and knows my head and heart enough to push me. Her answer to me was, “Wait, isn’t that you?”

I received more confirmation on the same day when I saw my shaman friend, Joe, and he looked me in the eyes and said, “The teacher you are waiting for is you.” The accident showed me it was inside all along and the teacher I was looking for was me. I am the one I have been waiting for.

So I can’t help but wonder – accident or purpose?

Mary Anne

This is dedicated to my spiritual teacher, GH, who taught me that my inner compass will always show me the way and to my many, many teachers throughout my entire life.

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