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<Drums Rattle Djembe Doumbek>

My Home

January 14th, 2015

Nature PoemMy roof is the ocean.

The woods are the doorbells.

The grass is the rug.

The trees are my paintings.

The trails are the hallways.

The sun is the window.

The clouds are the roof.

Nature is my home.

Posted in Happiness | Toning the Om

What Is Your Word/Theme for 2015?

January 8th, 2015

At the start of a new year, I take time to sit quietly and set intentions for the coming year.  I focus on areas of my life I want to cultivate. I recognize the turning of a page as a restart with fresh eyes and perspective.

As a yearly ritual, I give thanks for the past year and the lessons it taught me. I honor what I have learned and fully release the past. 2014 was my year of magical being and honoring loving-kindness – metta. The Pali word for loving-kindness, metta, means unconditional friendliness, warmth, love or care, and the Pali word for compassion means to “feel with,”- to bear suffering with.

As I look back, I realize that 2014 was really all about magical being. I spent time being with my family and living in compassion. I spent a great deal of time with my mother-in-law, who passed away in July. I spent time being in nature. I spent time being in grief. I spent time being with my partner. I spent time being in quiet. I had to let go of teaching a retreat and some workshops. And in the end, it brought me closer to myself. It brought me closer to my heart center. It brought me closer to presence. It brought me closer to BEING.

I also learned about deep compassion and suffering with this past year. I learned about releasing attachment. I learned about turning guilt into freedom. I released toxic relationships. I transformed doubt into wholeness. My heart was my map and it always guided me to the perfect place within – even when I was uncomfortable, uncertain, and full of grief.

So, as I step fully into 2015, I am profoundly aware of my inner source of peace. I am listening for the presence in everything and in everyone. For the New Year, I have meditated on my intention. As I walk into 2015, I recognize how I am moving from gratitude for into blessings towards. My word for 2015 is BLESSING(S).

As John O’Donohue says in his poem, Blessings:
May the nourishment of the earth be yours, may the clarity of light be yours, may the fluency of the ocean be yours, may the protection of the ancestors be yours. And so may a slow wind work these words of love around you, an invisible cloak to mind your life.

You are invited to take time and listen for your intention, your word, and your heart.

What does 2015 feel like for you?

Blessings, Mary Anne

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Posted in Wholehearted | Toning the Om

Quiet Places Within

January 6th, 2015

I notice the sky. I see fully the sunlight that bounces off the brick buildings.

I notice the clouds. I take in the shapes that fill the limitless view above me.

I notice the birds. I feel the expansive wings that encircle my very beingness.

I notice the trees. I feel the arms of the universe surround me.

I notice that beauty encircles me, light fills me, and nature supports me.

I live in a world of sounds that teach me to be alive and present.


Posted in Meditation | Toning the Om

How Will You Celebrate the Light?

December 19th, 2014

SONY DSCHow will you celebrate the light in the darkness? As winter draws near, it is a time of going inward. The winter season allows us to align with a slower pace. In the depths of winter, when the bears hibernate, trees put their energy deep into their roots, and many of us dive deeper into the dream world, it is a natural time to retreat.

As we go inward, let us notice the beauty and tranquility of winter. Let us celebrate the light within that is always available. Let us embrace the opportunity for deep rest and integration that winter provides.

How will you keep the candle lit inside yourself this winter?

Posted in Wholehearted | Toning the Om

Our Holy Darkness

December 8th, 2014

Holy Darkness fire ceremony

Breathe and be

Savor and serve

Into the place

That has never been touched

Feeling the pureness

Residing within

An innocent soul

From beginning to end

Listening to wisdom

Surrounded by light

Belonging to Wholeness 

The birth of your presence

Sacred awaking

This moment

Into the womb of your heart

(Reposed from 2/14 by Mary Anne Flanagan)

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Posted in Letting Go | Toning the Om

Coming Back to the Cushion

December 5th, 2014

Meditation is a practice of unknowing. meditation cushion

When you just sit,
you let each breath teach you.

When you allow thoughts to flow through you,
you learn from each moment.

Breath by breath.

Moment by moment.

Just have to keep coming back to the cushion.

Posted in Meditation | Toning the Om

Poem: Beannacht / Blessing

November 26th, 2014

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.
And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

By John O’Donohue

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Posted in Life | Toning the Om

Meditation on Relaxation

November 18th, 2014

“There is no need to go to India or anywhere else to find peace. You will find that deep place of silence right in your room, your garden or even your bathtub.” ~Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

I have noticed that when the sun is shining and the buses are running smoothly, it is very easy to go into a relaxed state. My meditation practice happens during the moments of rainy days and when the traffic is at a stand-still. How can I relax more?

It all starts within. When my mind is at peace, external happenings do not cause stress. When I experience that the nature of my mind as peace, it makes all the puddles in the street and the delays on the highway easier to deal with.

During a walk last week, I looked out at the colorful trees, the still waters, and became absorbed in nature. I felt my whole body  become relaxed. I stopped along the path and recorded a four-minute meditation on relaxation. As I replayed it, I noticed pauses in the video. At first, I thought the pauses would be a distraction to all who watched the video. And then I remembered, we are called to relax into the pauses. It’s where the healing happens. When we pause, we remember. When we remember, we breathe. And we breathe, we relax.

Enjoy this meditation video on relaxation. And remember to pause, remember, breathe, and relax.

Posted in Meditation | Toning the Om

Forgiveness Means Choosing Peace

November 13th, 2014

The peace you are seeking is seeking you. The forgiveness you are waiting for is waiting for you. ~Enlightened One

I recently re-read Viktor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning. Frankl, an Austrian psychiatrist, was imprisoned in Auschwitz and Dachau, and he writes eloquently about his harrowing experiences in the death camps. It was through unimaginable suffering that Frankl was able to find meaning not only in his life, but to fully understand how others find meaning in theirs. He writes in his book, “When we are no longer able to change a situation…we are challenged to change ourselves.”

How can we change ourselves? Viktor Frankl writes, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Forgiveness has taught me to live in the present and leave the past behind. When I find myself seeking peace, I have noticed that peace is seeking me.

Are there people and situations in your life you are still carrying around with anger, disappointment, and sadness? Perhaps it is time to fully let go.

Look for an upcoming announcement about a new course on Loving-Kindness that will begin in 2015. Stay tuned!


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Posted in Forgiveness | Toning the Om

Everything is Meditation

November 4th, 2014

As I come across beautiful places throughout my travels I often pause and record a three to five minute meditation video. They are unedited and offer a focus that I am feeling in that very moment.

As part of my meditation practice, I headed down to the end of my street on City Island in the Bronx to see an evening sunset. As the light began to change from an orange to an incredible vermilion, I realized it would be a perfect moment to record a meditation. Right on cue as I held up my iPhone and hit record, a helicopter flew in the background and a bird started to sing loudly. I decided to continue recording and use all the sounds in nature as part of the meditation. As I began recording, I had to become centered and focus on the meditation. I had to turn the background noise into a meditative hum.

In that moment, I realized our mission is to use everything as meditation. Transforming loud sounds into peaceful soundscapes can be a beautiful experience.

Truth is, life is filled with noise. And if we are really honest, our mind is filled with noise throughout our day.

The gift of noise is that we have to choose to zone in rather than zone out.

As you listen to this meditation, I invite you to notice the places of irritation and the places of peace. All of it is useful. At the end of the day, everything is meditation if we allow it to be.

Enjoy this beautiful sunset meditation.

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Posted in Meditation | Toning the Om