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Posts Tagged ‘Be’

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

The Dude and the Zen Master

There is an incredible new book out, The Dude and the Zen Master, written by what many might think is an unlikely duo – an actor and a Zen Buddhist. Yet, this book by Jeff Bridges and Bernie Glassman takes a look at life through the lens of The Big Lebowski. The book is part mystical, part Zen, part humor, part journey, part compassion in action. What I loved about the book is that throughout their entire conversation (on many topics), there was a deep sense of the importance of showing up, being present, and staying true to oneself.

One of their dialogs includes Glassman sharing with Bridges his insight about how to have a mindset without having expectations. He says it can be summed up with these words:

Row, row, row your boat
gently down the stream
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
Life is but a dream.

It is all about going with the flow, staying in the present, and doing it merrily. The song doesn’t say go down the stream crankily. It reminds us to row our boats, change our oars when we need to, and to be gentle with ourselves. As Glassman says, “There are different streams. Sometimes you come to a fall and sometimes you come to white water. Your rowing has to adapt to the situation. So gently is really important. Don’t power yourself or blast through; rock with the way things are.”

The book gives you the sense you are sitting in the room listening in on a profound conversation and you get to bear witness. You will feel grateful for being able to listen to the conversation and Bridges and Glassman’s insights from acting to Zen Buddhism to sacred activism.

Row, row, row your boat is a way of looking at life in the present, being gentle, and changing shores. As Glassman say, “Take care of yourself right now. Befriend what’s happening, not just who you’re supposed to be or what the world should look like. This is where you are now, so how do you care for yourself this minute?”

Treat yourself to this powerful exchange between two incredible human beings.

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How Are You Spending Your Time Today?

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Every so often I pick up Robert Grudin’s book, Time and the Art of Living, and read a passage that becomes my focus for the week (or longer).  When I flipped open the book, here is the paragraph I opened to:

“When building a nest of time, be certain of its dimensions. Its duration should not depend on something unpredictable — a homecoming, a phone call, or your own whim — for then its outer fringes, beginning and/or end, will be weakened by uncertainty. It should be long enough for the activity it includes, not so short as to be rushed or so long as to be oppressive. If possible it should look out, like a room in a country house, toward some pleasant prospect of future time — a meal, a meeting, a rest. Protect these periods also from within. A telephone or television set or radio, for example, can ruin time as thoroughly as a hole in the roof or a missing door can ruin interior space. A confused schedule, conflicting obligations or habitual distraction all crack the walls of time, leaving us defenseless against an infringing environment.”

How will you spend today?

Mary Anne

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Create Space for What You Love Doing

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Create space for what you LOVE to do, rather than fill space with what you are ‘comfortable’ doing.

I hope you have been able to spend time doing what you LOVE this summer. I decided to take a little more time off this summer from what was becoming a hectic schedule (that I created). I would often hear people “admire” me for my busy schedule, all the programs and workshops I gave, my growing business, all while working full-time. The truth is I became very “comfortable” filling my schedule. What I really needed to do was become comfortable being uncomfortable with less to do.

After emptying my calendar and saying “no” to a lot of invitations, I began to create space in my schedule. I was able to spend time seeing what it was I really LOVE to do. I didn’t need a sabbatical from work; I needed a sabbatical from myself! I spent a lot of time going to the beach, connecting with friends, taking long walks, and reading lots of good books. This gave me the respite I needed to relax. I spent many mornings and evenings sitting quietly, watching sunrises and sunsets, and listening to the birds sing. I came to a place where I finally acknowledged how much I love to write meditations, poetry, and blogs. The quieter I became, the more ideas for my business flowed effortlessly.

Create space for what you LOVE to do! How could being uncomfortable give you the space you need to show you what is you LOVE?

Mary Anne

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Relax! The Importance of Down Time

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

As someone who works full time and also runs a healing arts business, I fully understand the importance of down time. I work full time overseeing a city-wide mentoring program. My evenings and weekends include seeing clients for life coaching  or shamanic healing sessions and I am also taking classes at NYU. I actually schedule down time!

I made the decision this past weekend not to work, make plans, or go anywhere – my goal was “to relax.” After enjoying a cup of coffee and reading the New York Times on Saturday, I found myself doing things around the house – cleaning shelves, changing curtains, organizing clothes, throwing away papers, and going to the dry cleaners. I then sat down and wrote a newsletter and some meditations for an upcoming course. I couldn’t sit still or slow my mind down. I couldn’t relax. I even text my close friend to tell her to text me back and tell me to stop working and to rest.

Every time I sat down to be quiet, read an article, or take a slow walk, I was convinced I was being lazy. Yet, it is this down time that is so important for self care (part of my Happiness Project). Slowing down allows the body, mind, and spirit to regenerate. It allows for harmony of energy and stimulates creative flow. Without down time, it is so easy to burn out.

Give yourself a break and take some down time. Some ideas:
Do Nothing – clear your schedule for a whole day. Ignore your to-do list and live the day from a to-be place.

Rest – take a nap. I am not sure why we had to stop napping after kindergarten, but napping, laying in the grass or in a hammock just feels good.

Play – what amuses you? Schedule time to go and do something playful – something that makes you laugh.

Indulge – surrender to a mindless activity. Give yourself permission to read a magazine, go to the movies, or treat yourself to something. Treat yourself as if you are the most important person in the world – because you are.

Schedule down time – block off time in your calendar as “you” time and choose how you want to relax and pause. This is all about self-care. Don’t wait until your body forces you to rest because you are burnt out or sick. By taking down time, you will be refreshed and energized.

Here is to slowing down ~
Mary Anne

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What Informs You?

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Have we all lost our minds? It’s the only explanation I have for the savage way some people have responded to the new Health Care Reform that was just passed (i.e. throwing bricks into people’s windows, making threats to families of Democratic members of Congress). Obviously, many people have strong opinions about Health Care – as they should, it’s our health we are talking about. But my question is, whose opinion do we have? Is it our own educated opinion or is it the opinion of talking heads on the television or radio?

How do you become informed? Who do you listen to? When you are listening, are you even aware of how your body is reacting? What informs you? If the health care conversation is causing great stress and struggle, anger and resentment, what could you do to become calm and centered in whatever actions you may want to take?

I have been curious to hear all sides. I want to know what people like about the Health Care Reform and what they don’t and why—not just generic comments, but specific ideas. It’s about being curious, being educated, being open, being willing to listen, and most of all, being civil.

Who you are will inform how you will respond. How do you want to BE?

Here is to civility prevailing over violence.
Mary Anne

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Be Kind

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

A few years ago I heard the story about a 3rd grade teacher who only uses one rule in her classroom: Be Kind. At the start of every year, she posts this at the front of the room. When students get loud, push each other, or are not listening, she refers to this one rule—Be Kind. By keeping it simple, the students know what is expected without having to remember a long list of rules. She lets her students know how ‘to be’ with just two words.

I began my own list recently of creating two word expressions that speak to my expectations of how I want to be in the world.
Smile Often.
Be Generous.
Love More.
Write Letters.
Take Pictures.
Show Gratitude.
Meditate Daily.
Create Community.
Speak Truthfully.
Express Vulnerability.
Think Bolder.
Live Purposefully.
Do Afraid.
Forgive Enemies.
Trust Divinity.
Take Naps.
Be Silly.

What are your two words you want to live by? Create a list and see what feels really important in your life.

Be Kind.
Mary Anne

This is dedicated to wonderful 3rd grade teacher, Cindy. Thank you!

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