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

Posts Tagged ‘love’

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…


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.


mary-mackenzie-150Everything someone does or says is an attempt to meet a need …. Really?

The other day, I was in a gathering and I ran into a woman two times.  What I mean is, I looked up and she was right there and we were standing so close that I was startled.  After an hour at this event, I was pulling out of my parking place.  I looked both ways and waited for a car to go by and then pulled out of my parking space and I nearly side-swiped the lady’s car.  The very same lady!

In each case, I apologized and blamed myself.  Then, on my way home, I started to blame her.  Do you ever find yourself ruminating on your judgments and trying to place blame?  Has this behavior ever relieved your anxiety or angst over the situation?  It hasn’t succeeded for me even once, yet I’ve tried it countless times throughout my life and one more time with this lady.

If it’s true that ‘everything someone does or says is an attempt to meet a need,’ what needs would judgment and blame serve?


mary-mackenzie-150Happy Holidays!  This song / message from John Lennon and Yoko Ono was inspiring and lovely for me to receive.  I hope you enjoy it as well.  It reminds me that peace starts with me and it’s possible if I am committed to it in my life.  It takes true commitment, even a kind of fierceness, to live nonviolently and in such a way that values all needs.

On this day, I say I am committed for one more day to live my value of nonviolence.  I hope you’ll join me.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cJOm72QDDA&feature=related

Warmest Holiday wishes to you,

Mary


mary-mackenzie-150I have been feeling very sad about the killing of Osama Bin Laden – how it was handled and the joy with which people are responding to it.  I have been doing some personal work of late on forgiveness and atonement and so my way of dealing with the situation is to be honest with myself about what my part is, to take responsibility for my part, to forgive myself, to atone (I don’t have an idea for how to do this yet with regard to this specific situation but I’m praying about it), and especially to not add hatred or judgment to the situation.

It is challenging to understand in an intellectual way that I have a part in something happening thousands of miles away.  And yet, I know that we are all one and interconnected; every action I take has an affect on others.


mary-mackenzie-150Neuroscientist Dr. Tania Singer was recently at Stanford University during the Dalai Lama’s visit.  She was interviewed about the definitions and differences between empathy, compassion and courage.  Her definitions are somewhat different than in a traditional NVC model and I enjoyed listening to her responses and pondering how her views matched or disagreed with mine.


mary-mackenzie-150Blame, blame, blame….it is so easy to blame, isn’t it?

I’m discouraged over how automatic and easy it is to blame.  The other day I was driving in an area I didn’t know so I turned on my trusted GPS unit (Daniel) and entered my information.  Daniel was taking more time than usual and so I started out in the direction I suspected was correct.  No sooner had I gotten started when Daniel said in his calm British accent, “Recalculating.”  And I said in a voice louder than I am proud of, “Well, you didn’t tell me where to go!”

Kaboom.  I blamed a computer.  I actually blamed a computer.


mary-mackenzie-150I’m in Hawaii for three weeks offering a variety of trainings.  Nearly every day I express my gratitude that I get to do work that I love so much, in a place that is so beautiful to me, and to work with people whom I love.  Ahhh.

There have been many moments that I have thought, “remember this for the blog, Mary,” but have been distracted by all the beauty and joy and snorkeling and hiking with friends.  So, this morning, I will write about one thing and I hope to write again tomorrow.

I was in the second day of a 4-day retreat and I noticed that I felt uncomfortable with one of the participants and my inner chatter was saying, “He’s not satisfied with the workshop” and “He’s smirking” and “I actually have no idea what’s going on with him!”  I became aware of my jackal howling at the lunch break.

Does your jackal howl in your ear for a while before you notice her?  Sometimes, mine howls for a while before I become aware of her.  I believe this is because it is so familiar to have judgmental or critical thoughts.  NVC is teaching me how to become more aware of my jackal inner voice and to respond to her much more quickly, rather than be complacent in my judgments.


mary-mackenzie-150I had an incident happen about a week ago and it took a few days for me to take the time to give myself self-empathy.  What came up was my longing for softness.  I have had a series of things that have happened in my life since September that have been harsh and hard and sad including my mother’s death, a very long and cold winter with over 160″ of snow, and a more intense than usual allergy season and many other things.  So, when I connected to a desire for softness I cried and cried.  I gave myself a lot of time to let this sink in and to remember other times when I’d received tender softness.

The mourning was very healing.

In an effort to support the need for softness I allowed myself long baths, longer than usual quiet time in the morning, and time to connect with a few friends who I find especially nurturing to be with.

Two days later I was on a plane that was VERY turbulent.  It was only a 30 minute flight but the plane rocked vigorously the entire time.  I ran to the connecting flight and only had about 3 minutes before getting on the next flight.  So, I boarded feeling nauseous.

I wrapped myself in my shawl, turned the overhead fan on, closed my eyes and tried to calm myself and my body.  I had a 3-hour flight and then a 35 minute ferry ride still to go on this trip.  After a few minutes the man next to me tapped my shoulder and said, “Do you want the fan on?”

“What?”

“Do you want the fan on?”

“Yes,” I said.  “Is it bothering you?”

“No,” he said.  “I just saw you wrapped in your shawl and I thought you might be cold.  I wanted you to know that I could turn it off for you.  I’m okay with it being on, though.”

He said all this with a huge and inviting smile.  He had one of those really warm faces.  The kind of face you just want to crawl into.

I felt so touched by his simple act of kindness and regard.  And I instantly remembered my self-empathy and my request to myself and the universe for softness.

This is one of the reasons I love self-empathy….because I clarify what I want and then I recognize it when it arrives.  Had I not just discovered through self-empathy that I wanted softness, I wouldn’t have noticed that my request was answered.  I still would have enjoyed this man’s kindness (probably) but I wouldn’t have seen it as a response to my request.

When I see it as a response to my request then that meets my needs for appreciation, gratitude, reassurance, trust and so many more.  My enjoyment and wonder deepens as a result.  In this particular moment, it helped alleviate my physical discomfort too.  And, ultimately moved me from an experience of fear (of throwing up in a bag!  Ack!)  to gratitude.  Awwww.  I just love that!

Here’s to the people who touch our lives so sweetly and who probably have no idea how sweet our passing was to us!