Imagine walking through the woods when suddenly you begin to hear the sounds of running water. The sound touches you like music. It calls to you. Then imagine coming out of the trees and finding yourself standing on the banks of a stream that is cascading over moss-covered boulders. Pause for a moment and allow that image to nourish you. Why does moving water touch us so deeply? It may be because water flows! To watch a river is to see a glimpse into what Life is really like – a great river of dancing energy that has been flowing and… Read more.
Author Archive for: Maryomalley
Mary O’Malley is an author and counselor in Kirkland, Washington. In the early 1970’s, a powerful awakening set Mary on the path to changing her whole relationship with the challenges of life, freeing herself from a lifelong struggle with darkness. Since that time, Mary has taught extensively throughout the United States, Canada and Denmark.
She is an inspirational speaker who leads retreats that transform people’s lives, provides individual counseling, and offers ongoing groups where people can come together to experience the miracle of Awakening. Her strengths lie in her ability to be fully present in the moment, integrating information, technique and insight with simplicity and compassion. Mary is committed to helping people heal their inner wars, so they can become a part of the healing of our planet. She does so by drawing on her own life experience to facilitate healing and awakening in a compassionate and powerful way.
Mary’s books, which are endorsed by Eckhart Tolle and Neale Donald Walsch, include: What’s In the Way IS the Way: Moving Beyond Your Struggle into the Joy of Being Fully Alive; The Gift of Our Compulsions: A Revolutionary Approach to Self-Acceptance and Healing; Belonging to Life: The Journey of Awakening; and The Magical Forest of Aliveness: A Tale of Awakening.
For more information, please visit maryomalley.com.
Entries by Mary O'Malley
Spring has arrived, and I invite you to take some time in this magical season to truly connect with the Earth. You are the Earth. Your bones are made out of particles that were once a part of mountains. Your cells are surrounded and penetrated by the ocean. The breath that moves through you once moved through mighty cedar trees and baby pandas. And all the plants and herbs that you partake of come from a love affair with the sun! To connect with the Earth is to remember that you are a part of the mysterious and awesomely creative… Read more.
A friend of mine is having a lot of back pain and she hasn’t been out of her house in days. She is hyperalert around her pain and is afraid to do anything. The pain has so affected her life that she told me if it doesn’t get better soon, she feels like “checking out.” I invited her to consider the possibility of opening to the healing of being with her pain rather than always resisting it. I explained that so often we amplify our physical pain through our resistance to it, not realizing that we create more pain by trying… Read more.
The month of February, and Valentine’s Day in particular, is a time to celebrate romance and love. Why, when Love is our birthright, do most of us live our lives separate from its healing presence? It is because we have been conditioned to search for Love outside of ourselves, leading inevitably to the often endless, and mostly unsatisfying, search for somebody to love us. Yes, we can enjoy loving and being loved by other people, but that kind of love comes and goes (if you have been married for a while, you probably know what I mean). What would happen if you… Read more.
Stephen Levine, who is one of the most amazing hearts on our planet, died on Sunday, January 17, 2016. I am filled with gratitude for his presence and how much he helped so many of us to see through our stories and come home to our hearts. In honor of his life and how deeply he changed mine, I want to share with you an experience I wrote about after I came back from a retreat led by Stephen in 1985. I had been at a 10-day workshop with Stephen, a skilled teacher of consciousness and author of many books on… Read more.
It’s that time of the year again…that time when you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and decide how you want your life to be in the new year. We call this a New Year’s resolution. Now I ask you, have your resolutions ever really worked? We keep on rising to the challenge of resolutions and yet in the past, most of them have faded by the middle of January! The reason why they don’t work is in the definition of the word resolution: “a firm decision to do or not to do something.” Resolutions are all about doing because they are made… Read more.
My friend, Jane, has a very high pressure job, plus she travels a lot. On a Friday morning recently, she arose feeling stressed and anxious about her weekend trip out-of-town. When she got to work, she had a conversation with one of her co-workers that did not go well. Then, when she got to the airport, she discovered that her plane was delayed for many hours. Jane had a traumatic childhood and has struggled with overeating for much of her life. So what did she do to soothe her anxiety and stress? She ate. Then she got angry and berated… Read more.
Stephen Levine, author and spiritual teacher, once told me that focused human attention is as powerful as taking a magnifying glass and putting it right above a leaf with the sun shining through it. Even weak winter sun will start a fire on the leaf. In other words, focused human attention is phenomenally powerful. Focused attention is the ability to have your attention and your immediate experience come together. How do you bring these two things together? It begins with curiosity. Curiosity is becoming interested in what is going on right here right now without needing it to be any different… Read more.
Allowing yourself to be exactly as you are is such an important part of awakening. Author Jeff Foster, who is an amazing voice of consciousness in the world, talks a lot about acceptance and allowing. He says, “You do not have the power to accept this moment. You do have the power to allow it. This moment does not ask for your acceptance. It is already the way it is.” Jeff is saying that whatever is showing up in your life has already been accepted by life. It is all okay because whatever is happening is exactly as it should…. Read more.
During a weekend recently three big challenges came up for me and and I used one of my favorite mantras over and over again, “As Is, I’m Here.” Saying “As Is” reminds you of the willingness to allow yourself to be exactly as you are in this moment. It invites you to let go of struggling with whatever is (your usual mode), so you can move into the place of healing that comes from allowing yourself to be exactly as you are. “I’m Here” reminds you to be keenly attentive to what is, in a way that invites your heart to be open to… Read more.
A friend of mind has been struggling recently with her body image. She says she feels a lot of shame when she looks in the mirror, and the stories in her mind keep on trying to convince her there is something wrong with her at her present weight. She is caught in the land of fear, where her mind keeps telling her stories that she is not skinny enough, pretty enough or sexy enough. In other words, she is not enough, period! Our western society basically deems women’s bodies unacceptable unless they are a size 2 or less. Just take… Read more.
Welcoming means accepting yourself exactly as you are and also accepting life exactly as it unfolds. It is the ability to allow all of it, including all the parts of yourself and your life that you don’t like, and letting it all flow without getting hooked into the stories created by your mind. Welcoming is not trying to make your life any different than it is. Easier said than done, right? I know it’s not always easy to welcome and accept life, especially your challenges, because you have been conditioned to continuously judge yourself and others. This is the inner voice… Read more.
How would your life change if you trusted that your challenges are a part of your journey home – back to yourself and back to Life – instead of feeling that your challenges are here because you have done something wrong or you are being punished or God fell asleep on the job? What would happen if your illness, your difficult relationship, your demanding boss, your compulsions, and maybe even your troublesome dog were showing up in your life to help you heal? The healing you long for comes when you discover how to play the warmer, warmer/colder, colder game. Remember that… Read more.
During the last twelve months, I have experienced some of the deepest sadness, pain, and grief that I can remember. I have had challenges with my body, my daughter was hospitalized with a very serious illness and on top of that, I’m walking the path with my son as he goes through aggressive cancer treatments. It has been gut and heart-wrenching. It is so hard to watch others suffer so deeply, especially our children, and not be able to do much, except love them. And love myself! I keep on remembering what author and spiritual teacher, Stephen Levine, said to… Read more.
I have had a plaque on my fireplace for a long time by artist Kelly Rae Roberts which says, “Kindness Changes Everything”. A friend of mine recently sent me another one of Kelly Rae’s inspirational quotes, “Embrace the imperfections, the chaos, the HOLY MESS of your BEAUTIFUL life”. I love both of these sayings because they are all about the heart. While most people try to get rid of the uncomfortable stuff in their lives, true healing is about allowing our imperfections and chaos to float into our hearts. How do we do this? By embracing it all with kindness…. Read more.
A woman in one of my groups shared her experience of overwhelming guilt and shame. Four years ago, she rescued a puppy that had deep fears, probably because of abuse. Several months later, it began lunging at people on the street and actually nipped a woman. After extensive training, the dog has come a long way and has not exhibited this kind of behavior for quite some time. While my friend was out of town recently, the dog was being cared for by a neighbor and during a walk, it nipped an eight year old boy in the neighborhood. After… Read more.
With the return of my son’s cancer, I have had lots of opportunities to be with fear and despair. Sharing this journey with my son has taken me to a deeper level of presence than I have ever known. My body has been a very dear friend throughout this fierce process, especially my belly and my breath. Whenever I am caught in the fear-based mind, sometimes all I can do is soften my belly and allow a deeper breath. The belly is one of the best biofeedback mechanisms we have. If it is tight, we are up in our… Read more.
If you watch your mind, you will see that it goes into the past or future all day long. It especially loves to go into the future and when it really gets activated, it moves from a whole different place. It will convince you that that you can’t do it right, or you can’t do it at all, or something bad is going to happen, and the thoughts go on and on. These thoughts are just not true because we don’t know what is going to happen. All we have is this present moment, but you can begin to see… Read more.
What would happen if you were to realize that everything you have done is just a part of the natural unfolding of life, and that it is forgivable? What would it be like if you forgave yourself for all of it? I have been reading the book, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed, and I want to share this inspirational excerpt about forgiveness: “What if I forgave myself? I thought. What if I forgave myself even though I’d done something I shouldn’t have? What if I was a liar and a cheat and… Read more.
We all created a finely-crafted survival system to bury or numb our pain when we were young. We had to, as it was absolutely necessary for survival. Life was too scary, and we didn’t have the skills to meet ourselves in our hearts. Our survival system can include compulsions, such as drug and alcohol abuse, shopping, work, sex, the Internet, busyness, self-judgment, and chronic worry. I think about all of those years that I shut down the pain with food, drugs and alcohol. In one year alone, I gained 97 pounds. I would have died of the pain if I… Read more.
The willingness to meet whatever is showing up in our lives takes courage. Did you know that the root for the word courage means “of the heart”? It takes an open heart and deep compassion to see all of the conditioned stories in our heads that keep us separate from life. It takes courage to see them, love them and, under that gaze of compassion, allow them to evaporate like the summer fog when it is touched by the morning sun. I have been experiencing a lot of pain in my back and leg for quite some time now. … Read more.
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