• Beach Break
  • Cloudy Mountains
  • Tree In Water
  • Field 01
  • Blue Mountains
  • Beach Bird

Fall says CHANGE to me! Its changing colors, and the changing light as the days so obviously become shorter. I start to notice an inner call for greater focus on the state of my life and work.

This happens every year for me — partly due to my many years in school or working for universities, and partly as a response to the natural rhythms of the changing season.

Did you know that change has its own stages? I learned this from reading William Bridges’s book called, Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change.  He taught me that change (or transition) has three primary stages:


For the past few months, I’ve been thinking about and supporting others in taking steps towards healing the seemingly uncomfortable divide between our families, communities, and countries. It can seem so hard to even open a conversation about our political differences, let alone locate common ground we can agree on.

I have people in my life I love dearly who appear to hold political views that differ radically from mine. We’ve chosen not to discuss politics. I think this is because of our desire to maintain our connection and respect for one another, based on mutual love and caring.


The other morning, I was walking in our local Nature Center and admiring a goose family that was made up of a Mom, Dad, and two goslings. They were floating down the river and I was standing on a bridge just over them. When the Dad saw me, he stretched his neck up and placed himself between his goslings and me. The Mom then took the lead, while he watched me. I really felt touched by how they both cared for their family and also sad that my presence invoked fear or stimulated a desire for protection.

Do you ever feel that way? Like you’re protecting yourself or your family or your stuff?


The fall says CHANGE to me and I love it! It’s a time to move away from summer and welcome in the fall – its changing colors, the changing light as the days so obviously become shorter. I start to notice an inner call for greater focus on the state of my life and work.

This happens every year for me – partly due to my many years in school or working for universities and partly, as a response to the natural rhythms of the changing season.

Did you know that change has its own stages? I learned this from reading William Bridges’s book called, Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change.  He taught me that change (or transition) has three primary stages:

  1. The End – something that may have been precious to you at one time has ended (i.e., you’ve moved to a new location)
  2. The Neutral Zone – the stage where you’ve said good-bye to something, but you’re not yet ready to move into the New Beginning (you haven’t made friends in your new location yet, so you still rely almost exclusively on your friends from your previous location)
  3. The New Beginning – You’ve fully stepped into your new transition (i.e., you may still maintain your past friendships and you rely on local friends for most of your day-to-day connections and comraderie)

In each stage, our internal and external growth and development may be enhanced when we understand the meaning and purpose of these stages. For me this has been true.

Knowing this doesn’t change the truth that change can be challenging, yet it does help me to relax into it a bit more. And, it helps me remember that even when it seems murky and impenetrable, I will make it through to The New Beginning!


I confess I spent the first week after Donald Trump’s election as president of the United States in mourning, deep despair, and bewilderment. I felt as if someone I loved had punched me in the chest. Many people I love, in fact, voted for him. They too were feeling despair: despair that I didn’t vote for him, and confusion about why I felt so devastated.

During that first week, I led several meditations on peace in different national and international venues. I offered formal and informal empathy sessions to many people, and listened to many more: hundreds of stories about enormous pain from families, spouses, and loved ones who had suddenly found themselves deeply divided.

It was exhausting — until I said “STOP,” and allowed myself the space to receive empathy, to offer it to myself, and to grieve and grieve and grieve my own grief.

And then I got clear (really clear!) that I wanted to focus on healing the gap between those of us who didn’t vote for Donald Trump, and those who did – and all our life experiences that led us to this point.

Thich Nhat Hahn says, We need someone to be able to listen to us and to understand us.  Then, we will suffer less. But everyone is suffering, and no one wants to listen.”

I am listening.


Years ago, I was driving down the road listening to NPR (National Public Radio) and they were reporting about a pediatrician who had been molesting children for over 30 years; at that time, they estimated that hundreds of children had been affected.

My heart sank and I started to cry – deep mourning for the gravity of this. All the children whose lives had been affected, and everyone who came in contact with them throughout their lifetime. And, the pediatrician – everyone he came in contact with within his medical practice and beyond.

The more I thought about the growing number of people who would have been knowingly or unknowingly affected, my grief grew and grew – and overwhelm and hopelessness began to take over. How could this possibly be healed?

And, then I had a thought…


Mahatma Gandhi once said, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

I first heard this quote many years ago and it took a little longer for the deeper meaning of it to sink in. At the time, I was working for a small organization. Each week we’d hold our staff meetings and I’d leave discouraged and disappointed because I didn’t think we were hearing each other or connecting at the depth I’d hoped for. My judgment was that the others didn’t want to connect.

I chewed on my judgment for several months, became more disgruntled and judgmental.

Then, one morning as I was waking up, I started grumbling about how we’d have another staff meeting that wouldn’t be connecting or enjoyable, and a voice rang through my head: “Mary, if you want to connect, connect.”


Welcome to February, which for me is the month of Love. I am especially heartened or possibly humbled to remember to invoke Love as we begin the Trump administration here in the USA, when I experience how deeply divided we are as a nation and a world community, when I consider the trauma millions (yes millions) of refugees must have experienced when they fled the middle east in 2016 and continue to experience now, and so many other devastating issues that affect our world’s people.

It can be equally challenging for me to invoke Love in my own daily life when someone makes a racial or sexist comment, when I empathize with an African American friend who is terrified for her son’s life, or when our bikes are stolen out of our secured garage….


Welcome to 2017! No matter where you live in the world, this New Year poses many opportunities to recommit to living our value of nonviolence. Remember, that Marshall Rosenberg and Mahatma Gandhi both believed that violence is a continuum, anything from judgment to physical abuse. Our goal is spend as much of our life as possible outside of that continuum. We’re not looking for perfection – all of us have moments when we are critical of others or ourselves – we are looking for a commitment toward limiting the time we spend on the continuum of violence.

Many years ago, I felt utterly despairing that world peace was possible. And, then I realized that I was looking for it outside of myself – in my political leaders, supervisors, friends, ministers, and others. And, while I was looking for it outside of myself, I myself wasn’t acting peacefully in my everyday interactions with my family, friends, and others I encountered.


mary-mackenzie-150The other day, I was running late and I rushed across town to get to my personal trainer for one of my weekly workouts.  I got into the parking lot, burst into her workout space spewing apologies like a machine gun, and then realized that I’d forgotten my water bottle so I raced outside again, literally jogging across the parking lot, when suddenly I stopped cold.

Walking down the middle of the parking lot, as if they had taken a measuring stick to determine where the absolute middle was, walked a mama duck, trailed by 8 teenage-size ducklings, with papa duck taking the rear.  They walked straight towards me, and then when they were within a few feet from me, they turned right down a different part of the parking lot.  Each of them followed every move mama duck made.  Even their feet moved in unison – all twenty feet rising and falling in rhythm.