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Posts Tagged ‘Relationships’

The Four Noble Truths of Love – Book Review

Monday, July 9th, 2018

Susan Piver’s book, The Four Noble Truths of Love, is an inner course on navigating relationships and well-being. In her new book, New York Times bestselling author and mindfulness expert, Susan Piver applies classic Buddhist wisdom to modern relationships, including her own long-term marriage.

The Four Noble Truths of Love will challenge expectations we have about dating, love, and romance. This mindful approach towards relationships and love invites us to explore our heart fiercely, deepen communications with our partner, increase our compassion, and lead us toward a path of wisdom and happiness.

Through the lens of both her Buddhist practices and her own experience in a 20-year marriage, Piver interweaves personal anecdotes with practical wisdom to arrive at the Four Noble Truths of Love. Piver spends time in each truth: Relationships never stabilize; Expecting relationships to be stable is what makes them unstable; Meeting instability together is love; The path to liberation. While her practices come from a Buddhist background and her study of the Four Noble Truths, the Four Noble Truths of Love are an invitation to be questioned and examined from our own experience/s.

It’s when we stop trying to see a relationship as only an extended love affair that we gain access to its unique and often undercelebrated powers: of warmth; of solace; of protection; of friendship; a connection that slows and deepens until it subsumes both hearts and blurs the lines between you, me, and us. –Susan Piver

Piver shares from her own personal experience of marriage including some personal struggles and revelations. She shares that if a couple meets their instability together – this is love. This book is a teaching on love from a “big” mind. There are insights about the phases of relationships, from irritation to deep compassion. Piver also offers practical wisdom, including meditation practices. Meditation can be a practice of love.

Everything in this book is a practice – of the heart, of the mind, of the Self. Love at its core is about being vulnerable, open, and kindhearted. Love shows us our inherent goodness and it can also reveal our unhealed pain. Love isn’t about hiding the pain, rather its’ about uncovering it. This path takes great courage – and the noble truths of love offer wise insight to practice that courage.


*I received an advance review copy of Susan Piver’s The Four Noble Truths of Love. I have also met Susan Piver and taken courses with the Open Heart Project.

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Only Carry What Is Necessary

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

My office is going through major renovations. We have spent the past week packing up everything in our offices and can only take with us what is necessary. What a wonderful practice—to only carry what is necessary. It made me look at what I need vs. what I want.

How much am I carrying around with me as a form of comfort or because I want to hold onto it to feel more secure? What am I willing to let go of? Throwing things away or giving them away is such a practice in freedom. The emptier my office, the lighter I feel.

As I was packing my last box, I looked at my desk and saw my favorite pen, my coffee mug, a couple of books, and a Margaret Wheatley poster. The poster was rolled up and looking down I read, “Trust that meaningful conversations can change your world.” What a great reminder that stuff will come and go, but what remains are the relationships built and sustained. Meaningful conversations are necessary and are coming with me on my move.

Next week the walls are coming down—that’s a whole other lesson!

Mary Anne

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Immeasurable Love

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

Immeasure LoveIn the blink of an eye, January turned into February. The love month is here. Everywhere I look, there are hearts in the window, chocolate candies in the stores, and love cards – ‘when I care enough to send the very best’ (Hallmark). Love can be expressed in so many ways.

This past weekend, I had a horrible head cold. It kept me up at night as I worked my way through three boxes of tissues. In the early morning hours, I sipped tea and drank juice hoping for some relief. What made me feel better was my partner going to the store early Saturday morning in 13 degree weather to buy me tissues, juice, soup, tea, Airborne, vitamin water, and much more. She set up the room so I would have everything I needed while home sick and went back to the store on Sunday to buy me more tissues and she even made me homemade chicken soup. It’s moments like this weekend when my gratitude for my life partner is beyond words – it is immeasurable love.

There have been so many experiences of immeasurable love that have occurred throughout my life. Love appears in ways so sweet and simple. There is the random text from a friend, “Sending you love.” There is a phone call to see how I am doing and to just say hello. Love has come in the form of a sharing a fabulous meal for hours and a friend inviting me over to spend time and enjoy a Pilate’s/Yoga class together. And there are no words to express the love that comes from a 7-year-old, especially when every phone call ends with him saying, “I love you too Aunt Mary Anne, lots and lots.”

Love takes many forms in marriages, relationships, or friendships. There is no way I can describe my love for my partner of over 15 years, and, the next time she feels under the weather, you can be sure I will gladly go to any store to get her what she needs to feel better.

In the end, love shows up, and if you are open to receiving it, the experience of love is infinite. How do you experience immeasurable love and how does it show up in your life?

Sending you love,
Mary Anne

This is dedicated to my life partner, Lorene, whom I love with all my heart.

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With Every Breath…Start Over

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

“It’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best of it or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.”

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

A friend of mine recently told me that we learn by looking backwards – too bad we have to live life forwards. Perhaps because I was watching the Oscars and saw many people tell stories of redemption or perhaps because my family has had to do some major shifting after finding a new member of the family, I began to ponder the idea of starting over.

If you were to look at all the big movies in 2008 – Milk, SlumDog Millionaire, Frozen River, The Wrestler, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Reader, and Revolutionary Road – you will see that they all touch on major issues of birth, death, redemption, decisions, relationships, and hope-filled visions. It’s in the smallest of moments when the biggest decisions are made and questions get asked. How do I say good-bye? How can I promote equality and justice? Where do I fit in? How can I love more?

It’s easy to see a speck of light in another, but often more difficult to see it in ourselves. Starting over means we can release the past without judgment and move forward without baggage. How many times have you started over? I think about the first time I moved out of the house at 17 and never looked back. I was hoping for a new environment to escape to and hopefully find a place to thrive. I found my first job in the South Bronx and moved with two duffel bags and a few hundred bucks to start over. I had to find my way, often literally, because I got on the wrong subway. After I felt like I had given all I had serving youth in the South Bronx, I changed jobs. In my new job at the Red Cross, I taught CPR/First Aide and trained volunteers. In starting over at the Red Cross, I decided I would be ‘out of the closet’ from the beginning and put a picture of my partner on my desk. After a few years, and a lot of management turn over, I left and returned to the South Bronx to help create youth focused programs.

After 15 years in nonprofit, I realized that it was my time to lead, to inspire, to create my own way, so I started my own company. With the support of my partner, a dream, and a notebook full of ideas, I launched my healing arts company in 2006. It was outside of everything that was comfortable, easy, and known, but I had to do it. I realize to start over, you may have to be willing to give up what may seem real, important, and safe. But in starting over, the real gift is that life opens new doors and gifts never imagined come into your life.

I am not sure I could ever be Benjamin Button and live life backwards, but I can take time to really ‘be myself’ looking forward. Time is more than a gift; it’s an imaginary line that moves. Starting over is more than changing jobs, it’s changing the direction of the road you travel. Every day, every moment, every minute is a chance to start over. With each breath, I hope you have the courage to start over.

Mary Anne

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Creating My Own I Love You Hallmark

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

This is one of the biggest Hallmark holidays of the year. We look to see how we can express the words “I love you” with cards, flowers, candy, gifts, wine, and perhaps a meal out. We tend to express our love for each other more on a day we call Valentine’s Day.

I started thinking about all the ways and all the people to whom I say the words “I love you.” For a couple of days, I observed who I was willing to be vulnerable with and noticed how the words “I love you” came out with ease. I also listened for when the words felt more forced, as if I was responding with a “you’re welcome” to a “thank you.” With whom am I comfortable saying, “I love you?”

This reminded me of the story of all the times I would be closing a conversation with my mom and I would end it by saying I love you, but she didn’t say it back. One day I decided to ask my mom why she didn’t respond back with the words I love you. My mom said, “Of course I love you; do I have to say it every time?” I told her yes and that I was creating a new rule that every time I said I love you to her, she had to say it back. We continued this ritual and on July 11, 2000 when we spoke, I ended the call by saying, “I’ll see you tomorrow. I love you.” She said, “I love you too.” At 5:45am the next morning, my father called to say my mom had passed away at the nursing home. Throughout many years of tears, grief, and sadness, I have been comforted by my experience of our last exchanged words of I love you.

I have come to accept that I need to express love both in words and kind actions. I have to feel safe enough to be vulnerable to say I love you without an expectation that someone will say it back. They cannot be empty words. I realized I need to open my heart more to give and receive love.

I don’t say I love you often enough to my partner, to my sisters, to my friends, and even to those who have impacted my life in a significant way. Maybe it does all start with making sure you can say the words to yourself and really love and accept yourself deeply before loving another. Maybe I can fully experience myself vulnerable with the words I love you. I am committed to loving myself and others more. So, in case I have not told you lately, I love you.

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