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Being Held

10832865 - lotus in hand image of buddha

“I’m not holding on” said a voice in my head.

The thought floated up like a gauzy smoke from the Caterpiller’s hookah in Alice in Wonderland.

I was sitting in silent meditation along with 349 other people on a five-day silent retreat last December.

No sooner did that declarative thought arise; another quickly followed.

“I’m not letting go.”

Ah, now this was curious, as both statements felt utterly true.

I noticed that these two seemingly opposite truths were what in Zen Buddhism is called  a “koan.”

ˈkōän/

noun

  1. “a paradoxical anecdote or riddle, used in Zen Buddhism to demonstrate the inadequacy of logical reasoning and to provoke enlightenment.”

I sat with the relative truth of both and peered into the space in-between and this is what emerged:

“I am being held.”

Yes.

Being held.

Ahhhhhhhhhhh. The awe of it.

At the end of the meditation period, I recalled a poem I read many years ago that captured this same truth. I looked it up when I returned home from retreat.  It did indeed speak of this same experience of being held and charmingly was written by another Mary.

Footprints In the Sand

One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.

After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.

This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
“Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You’d walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”

He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you,
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.”

-Mary Stevenson.

Amidst intense chaos, change and conflict at present, I am heartened by the fact that I can seemingly hold on one moment and let go in the next. And when I get quiet, still and clear, “held-ness” was there all along.

Namaste my friends,

Namaste.

Mary

Quiet is the New Loud

Dear Friends,

“Quiet is the new loud.” – Patrick Stump

I came across this quote last night and no pun intended — it spoke volumes. 

What is it about stillness that can be so unsettling? Why do we find ourselves filling up at the pump of life, filling our minds, hearts and stomachs with endless thoughts and experiences, with more, more, more?

Winter is often the season, in the cycle of change, that invites us to slow down. Weather may keep us in our homes, the bare trees and still earth, the shorter days invite us inside — to rest, to sleep, perchance to dream?

Years ago, my sister Kate gave me a birthday present. The gift was a deceptively simple book called The Art of Doing Nothing: Simple Ways to Make Time for Yourself. Some 18 years later, the book is still on my bathroom counter. I have to say, I am not sure I have cracked the book open in years. In some ways, I don’t really even see it as separate from the other objects that sit on the shelf —  periodically moved for cleaning. I hadn’t really thought about it until I came across the quote last night.

Quiet is the new loud.

I am thinking about it now.

My sister Kate knew exactly what she was offering me in this deceptively simple little book. She saw in me a person who lived in the loud, who filled up time, space, body and soul with otherness — with you-ness. And the invitation was to cultivate and reserve some time for “me-ness.”

In many ways, I’ve come light years in the the me-ness department. I’ve cultivated the space to rest and restore, to play and to be quiet. I know that many of you have as well. However, the topic of “self-care” has become so ubiquitous in the media, in the culture and in our 24/7 lives that I think it has become like that book on my bathroom shelf — it’s time to dust it off.

I opened and read through the book this morning. I felt myself tense and exhale simultaneously as I read the art of creating with beauty,  with light, with joy “the something’s of nothing.” I tense because, though comfortable with the stillness, the not-doing still brings up a sense of imbalance, a loss, a disequilibrium that is unsettling. Change does that.
It is time to exhale into the stillness. To breathe into the quiet.

“Sit quietly, doing nothing,” instructs the zen master. “Spring comes and the grass grows of itself.”

Practice along with me during this season of rest and re-birth, the art of doing nothing, whether for a minute, an hour or a day. I’ve a hunch it will do us all, and the world, a great deal of good.

Here are a few simple tips to get us started.

Listen to nothing. I guarantee, you’ll hear something new.

Stretch your imagination. Notice pictures over words. They speak volumes.

Empty your stomach. Skip a meal or a snack. Emptying the stomach IS emptying and quieting the mind.

Quiet is the new loud.

I can hear it already.

Namaste my friends,
Mary

*Reprinted from Fresh Intuition Newsletter
February 2016
*It felt like a very important day to reflect on the impact of quiet, stillness and contemplation and the empowerment of actions — heartfelt and clear. 

A Path of Plenitude

44177049 - picturesque landscape at sunset of the wetland, a long straight path across the lagoon in the natural reserve valli di comacchio, near ferrara, emilia romagna, italy

The rest of the line reads:

“A path of plenitude opening before you” or as I am reading it “A path of plenitude opening before me.”

I was at a day-long writing retreat on Saturday, January 7th with the fabulous Ali M. and one of the exercises she created was to pick a line that speaks to us from the John O’Donohue poem For A New Beginning.

A path of plenitude stood out for me.

Who is this me?

I am.

Who receives this plenitude?

I am.

Who journeys on this path?

I am.

For many years, the attitude, the frustration, the fear is: I’ve experienced or journeyed on a “path of scarcity.”

Not enough.

And this time of “not enoughness” has in fact brought me the MOST life, love, and grace. It has also brought me to the edge.

Consciousness, awareness, awake-ness has brought me to the edge of plenitude. Being at home with more. Deeply experiencing fullness and yet knowing that emptiness is the same thing – the same sinewy substance as fullness.

My mind goes to what’s in between this emptiness…this fullness, and the response was ‘satisfaction.’

Feeling satisfied.

Feeling full of well-being.

Enough-ness. Not too muchness.

I’m clear that I want more in the areas of life that have felt like deprivation.

What are those?

I know it’s in the arena of actual money.

There is an in-debted-ness that comes in the form of taxes and I want – I need – to be debt-free.

I notice as I write this, there is a knowing that some part of me has made peace with the indebtedness. The fear + frustration though hang about in the air, like CO2 bombs threatening to cut off the oxygen supply – shackle me to a path of plenitude in hell.

Interesting, my friend Cynthia talked yesterday about a place between death and resurrection. There is a tomb time,  a visitation to the underworld to be with the shadows, the shades, the reconciliation.

I have spent so long pushing away,

                                                             pushing off,

                                                                                 pushing down.

Life in-between.

I talk so often about the space in-between.

What is it like to live for a time accepting and peaceful in this limbo?

I sense that the moment there is acceptance, there is no limbo-ness – no limbo-mess.

It ceases to be. Because “limbo” is a mental construct and as the mind shifts – limbo dissolves.

 

-Mary’s Musings

January 7th, 2017

We Are Made To Be Opened

El Corazon

I named it El Corazon.

For my birthday last month, my 21 year-old son Maxwell gave me this glorious surprise ball. He went to a beautiful shop in Berkeley called The Tail of the Yak. The shop is a favorite of my sister Lisa and when Max started at UC Berkeley this fall as a junior studying English, we all visited the shop together.

Upon opening the gift, my sister commented that it was a surprise ball and they are typically filled with little trinkets rather like a pinata. She knows the artist, Anandamayi who creates them and suggested that I may not want to open it at all. I agreed. It was so beautiful, so I put it on display in a prominent place in my home office. And though it was clearly designed as a mango complete with a leaf on top, it looked to me like a heart, hence El Corazon. And there I thought it would stay.

A few weeks passed and I was preparing to facilitate a meeting on the topic of the power of receiving. The brilliant Amanda Owen had been the guest author at a women’s luncheon I sponsored last September and I was invited to present some thoughts on receiving at our December meeting for the Natural Healers, a networking group where I have been a member for the past four years.

Intuitive Flash

As I was in the bathroom getting ready that morning, I had a flash of insight. As an intuitive coach and consultant, I have often shared that some of my clearest insights and profound images happen while I am brushing my teeth, or washing my face or putting on make-up. While the cognitive mind is pre-occupied, the intuitive mind is free to play.

Zing. Ping. Flash.

The image of El Corazon, the mango surprise ball, flashed in my mind with the phrase “we are made to be opened.”

I was moved. I was clear. We are the surprise balls and we are designed to be opened and  share our humble trinkets with the world. I knew then that I would open El Corazon on new year’s eve as my year-end/year-beginning ritual.

And that’s what I did.

Story Spinning

I am a master at seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary, an alchemist who can turn base metals into gold. In my work as a facilitator and teacher, I often say “I am the Rumpelstiltskin of Life Coaching – I can spin shit into gold.” And the truth is, I can. I use “shit” here, (my favorite swear word) instead of straw as the fairy tale goes, because often, shit is what we feel and see when the road gets rough and tumble. The truth is though, we get tunnel vision when things get tough and our peripheral vision narrows, almost to the point of blindness.

Through the symbolic, the ordinary day to day images, words, ideas and synchronicity, there is gold, upon gold, upon gold along that rough road. If we can see it. If we can see past our ideas of perfection and order and the outside looking complete…just like the surprise ball.

So, I knew that when I opened up my heart last night, when I opened up El Corazon, it would speak to me in my native tongue – intuition – fresh and new intuition. And I pleased to tell you, there was a magical message in there.

Setting the Stage

Important background information before we open up El Corazon.

My husband Drew and I have been through the financial wringer the past six years. I won’t tell that story today. I will leave that to another day. Another post. Suffice it to say that the collapse of our financial house became the very foundation for the birth of my business. Life literally took all my money away to shake me awake.

It did. And I am.

We are coming into what feels like the auspicious YEAR SEVEN of financial austerity. And I am done with it. My husband is done with it. We are ready to thrive. Note to self: we are thriving.

Boom. (I am feeling feisty and it feels good.)

Ok. To the background information. This past year ELEPHANTS have continued to be a symbol that has shown up again and again for both Drew and I. Just in this past month alone, I received fabulous elephant pj’s from my friend and coaching partner Keisha, Drew wanted and won the very clever “white elephant” nightlight in our family Christmas exchange last week and my sister Martha gave me a blue elephant-angel Christmas ornament. It was truly beginning to be uncanny. Really, I didn’t even tell you the half of it. So many elephants trumpeted into our lives this past year.

So, I said to Drew on Monday night this week, “I think the Elephant is to be our prosperity and abundance totem for 2015.” Remember, I have shared with you that I am the Queen of the Symbols and they often inspire me to action where other efforts fail. He agreed and I read out a few of the qualities and attributes of the elephant, i.e.commitment, strength and wisdom, ability to remove obstacles and barriers and in the Hindu culture, in the form of Ganesh, the god of luck, fortune and blessing on all new projects.

Brilliant. Inspiring. Motivating.

So, I take you now to last night at 11:11. Yes, that turns out to be the exact time on the clock when I happen to sit down with Drew to open up “my heart” to this new year.

As I pulled that first piece of colored crepe paper, Drew said to me, confident and clear, “there’s an elephant in there.” Note to self: Intuition runs in the family.

Opening - New Beginnings

Opening – New Beginnings

I will not keep you in suspense because no sooner did he say that then I came upon the first object in the surprise ball, a pack of Smarties. Ok, I will keep you in a wee bit of suspense.  I will admit, I was feeling a little uncertain of my decision to break-open this beautiful piece of artwork when the first gift was a cheap penny candy prize. Or it was life’s humorous little joke on me.

The elephant revealed itself in the very next layer, sitting aloft a field of green.

I liked the symbolism. I liked it a lot.

Elephant Magic

Elephant Magic

Turns out he was an “Ikea model.” It feels like Humpty-Dumpty in reverse as we took all the little pieces and put him together.

I liked it. I liked it a lot.

Ready to Go 2015

Ready to Go 2015

Each layer revealed a new item, the hummingbird sticker, the single-wrapped Swedish fish, the plastic white hen and star-stamped top. The final gift at the center of the mango was a tin of Fairy Rose mints.

Fairy Fresh

And one final shot of all the treasures inside:

Surprises inside

Surprises Inside

Surprises Inside

I will leave you with two additional pieces of the story that feel equal parts magical and poignant.

Max arrived home this morning and I shared with him my decision to open his gift along with the insight that we humans were designed to be opened. I then told him about his dad’s prediction that there was an elephant in there. He was genuinely giddy with excitement and  so pleased to have been the one to have bestowed this gift upon me, indeed upon our whole family.

He shared that when he was in the shop on the day of my birthday, he was drawn to the mango. The saleswoman explained what they were and he was enchanted. It however was an investment for something so simple. I asked how much he had paid and he said $40. I felt my eyes well with tears that this young man, on a budget, would buy me something so frivolous and fun and play-full for my birthday. My very practical self was glad I didn’t know what he paid for it BEFORE I broke it open or I may have been tempted to leave it intact.

And I would have missed the call to open. I would have missed the message. I would have missed the gift.

And I wouldn’t have liked that. I wouldn’t have liked that one bit.

Final piece of the story. As I finished writing about the elephant symbolism and Lord Ganesh, I wrote “as I opened up my heart to this new year.” I realized that even though I have referred to the surprise ball as El Corazon – My Heart, it is actually a mango. So, I was curious to know the symbolic meaning of the mango. So I googled. And here is what I found.

“Mango: Food of the Gods! It is symbolic of love and fertility for Hindus, and is seen as a symbol of attainment when being held by Lord Ganesh.”

Attainment.

And I liked it. I liked it a lot.

All the brilliant layers - One surprise at a time

All the brilliant layers – One surprise at a time

So, I invite you on this first day, of this new year, to recognize that you too are “made to be opened” – all of you. And those glorious colored layers inside you, each vulnerable and precious prize, is there when you are ready to open your heart.

Your El Corazon.

I like that. I like that a lot.

You Whelm It Well


I know that many of us feel at times overwhelmed with all there is to do – all the ways we are asked to show up.

As my intuitive coaching practice has taken off this year, I have so many clients who consult with me because they are seeking a clarity on their life path and feel overwhelmed with the hectic 24/7 pace in their lives.  After several clients reported this same sense of overwhelm, I found myself curious as to the meaning of whelm.  If we are ‘over’ something, then where is the balance?

So, I went to my favorite source – the dictionary – to find the meaning of whelm.

Whelm: a verb; to engulf or submerge.

Well, the meaning and energy of whelm inspired me to give what I called practicing whelm as an exercise for my clients. One client described her sense of overwhelm as the desire to just drive off the highway and keep going. Another, the inability to let herself create art until all the tasks on the proverbial to-do list were done, which of course they never were and a third who is such a pillar of strength for others that she was literally not able to stand on her own as her health had declined.

In each instance, I suggested an activity or exercise that gave them the opportunity to submerge for a time, to go off road, to take the art break, to let go of a task or an event at work, and just dive underneath the surface of their life’s for five minutes… 10 minutes… 30 minutes and practice whelm without the wait. You see, when we put off balancing our hectic outer lives with our quiet inner life, then the weight of whelm takes over.Women in particular as the nurturer/caretaker often use these descriptors of their emotional landscape – “I feel trapped in a box with no way out,” “I’m drowning,” “I feel weighed down by my life,” or “I’m suffocating.” If you hear yourself say these words this month, take note. Listen to that small, still voice asking to practice whelm. Listen to that voice asking to submerge and sit in the silence for a few moments.

Stretch the body, have a bite to eat, close your eyes and rest. And you will discover this: when you whelm it well – here’s the paradox:

You’ll know when it is time to come back up to the surface and breathe. Practice whelm. It does a mind, heart and soul good!

Namaste,

Mary

 

The Dose

The Dose 
vitamin C for your soul
Sunday, June 9, 2013


February 2013 091.01
Photo Credit: Mary Welty-Dapkus

Photo Designer and Editor: Mary Welty-Dapkus

Try another way of looking…try YOU looking and the WHOLE UNIVERSE seeing.

-Rumi

Consciousness…seeing in a WHOLE NEW way.

The Daily Dose

The Daily Dose

vitamin C for your soul

 

 vine leaf background

 Consciousness.

Turning over a new leaf…turning over new beliefs.

The Daily Dose – The Sun Is Out. The Sun Is…

042.02

Consciousness.
Fueling the future.
One dreamer at a time.
Dream On.

The Dose “Do” for the Day!

Follow the sun.

Take a moment today and head outside. Yes, head…and body and soul your way outside and find the sun. Or better yet – close your eyes and let the sun find you. Lift up your face, your heart, your burdens to the sun and feel the warmth seep into your skin, into your muscles, into your bones.

It is an act of living we perform much too infrequently.

Whether you spend a lot or a little time outdoors, today, TODAY,  notice what that sun-fuel feels like.  Take your walk following the sun.  Eat your lunch in the sun. Dry your hair in the sun. Take an empty jar out and capture the rays and put it on the shelf in your office, on the kitchen window-sill, or at your bedside table and know, KNOW, that the sun and that energy is fuel –  is warmth – is light.

Wrap yourself today in the quilt of the sun. May it warm you right down to your passion-filled toes.

Then bring that warmth back inside – all the way inside, until you feel your way – until you fuel your way into the light of your life.

Time to wake-up everybody.

The sun is out.

The sun is… in.

Welcome to My World

MP900439232.06.08

I love this title. It has become the gold standard in first time blog posts and today is the day! The official launch of my website and blog.

It is hard to believe that this day has arrived. With any long term project, especially one with a long birthing process, that last little bit can take the longest. It has indeed been a journey of a thousand miles and today the wait is over.

The truth is, I had to see myself in a whole new way to have this website.  And I have discovered that seeing ourselves in a fresh and clear way happens each and every day.   Hmmm, rather like this one little button that I have learned to press as I have loaded copy on these pages. It’s called – update.

I can see many of you nodding your heads with that exasperated look of knowing on your little face.  Because, if you have just loaded a lot of new content onto a page and you don’t press that little blue button, (in my world now it is a little blue button) that says UPDATE, you will lose all the new information that you just put on the page.

And that, THAT is the very experience that happens to each of us every single moment of every single day. We fail to press the update button.

Well, not today. Today I am pressing an almost year long update button to see myself clearly; to recognize growth and change in myself and to cut away the losses and the gains. Yes, the gains.  They both hold me back.  What I have experienced today, fresh, wisely, authentically is what gets updated.  That is what is fresh on the page.

So, welcome to Fresh Intuition. The new home to my intuitive coaching and consulting practice.  I have so many delicious and nutritious ways to connect, from the Daily Dose, my Monday – Friday offering of vitamin C for your soul. The poster here on the page is one of many daily offerings. Visit with me on the Work With Mary page and learn more about my coaching and intuitive consultations, read about me, my work and the generous heart-felt raves from some of my clients or hop on over to What’s Fresh which will feature a variety of events, classes and offerings in the community.

There have been so many who have walked beside me this last year as I have created this home on the internet highway for you to stop and set a spell. Here are a few by name and deep appreciation to the countless others who have lent an eye, ear, shoulder and other various body parts in support. You know who you are.

By name, I want to acknowledge Laurie Foley, who saw me so clearly from the beginning of our work together and ‘tapped the sap’ outta me. I would indeed not have imagined what was possible if Laurie hadn’t lent me her view of me for a time and invited me to step through that wee door that opened to a brave new world.  Laurie, I am forever grateful.  To Tzaddi Gordon at ThriveWire, the designer and my collaborative partner for these past several months.  Brava!  It was a long and winding road to get here, and you hung in there with me. Your patience, your calm and clear insights, your willingness to go back to the creative drawing board and your enormous talent and creative gifts, I say a heartfelt thank you. Melanie Gill, thank you for your way with words, your turn of a phrase, your pulling together all the words, and you know I have a million of them, and crafting a word-ship that held water and will make this long journey and Maryna Smuts for your right-arm and your left the last few weeks with all the technical bells and whistles, calendars and carts, to streamline the process for my clients, those who are already here and those to come.

And finally, to my friends and family, Kate, Lisa, Colleen, Rebekkah, Keisha and to my family, my dear Drew, Max and Emma for reviewing every new design, each edit, unending pages of copy and at times unanswerable questions as I worked my way through the months of development and all the emotions that went with it, I simply say “I love you…truly, madly, deeply.”

A special tribute to my mother, Jeannie O’Craighan, who has dreamed of this day with me. She has been my champion and my muse and has read, and cheered and laughed and cried with me as I have shown up to do this work in the world.  Thank you Mumma for shining your light on me each and everyday. She has her own journey now as she makes her way after a stroke at the end of December 2012.  We are shining the light back on you. I love you so very, very much.

And bless you all, because now that the website is up, the book is next!

Again, welcome to Fresh Intuition. I hope you will stay a while in this clean, well-lighted place to see yourself. To be yourself.

 

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