• “Life is short, life is precious. Don’t wait, do it now.”
    ~ Mom

    My mother showed me in words and actions that the greatest gifts we give each other are our presence and appreciation. Here’s a story from my book, My Mother, My Friend to help keep that in mind and celebrate Mother’s Day.

    Mom, You’re the Real Hero In The Family

    Last Photo with Mom

    The phone rang at 2:40 a.m. I heard Jeanne’s voice, “Mary? Mom’s free now. She just took her last breath.”

    “I’ll be right there,” I said.

    The ten-minute ride to the house was filled with thoughts of regret, guilt and sadness. I was exhausted and had left the house at ten o’clock, kissing my mother good-bye and saying, “I love you.” I thought I felt her squeeze my hand ever so lightly.

    Why didn’t I stay? I was glad that Eileen and Jeanne were there with her but I wanted to be there too when she left her body. I’ve always felt strongly about not wanting to die alone and wanting someone I love to be holding my hand when I die. I wanted that experience with her and yet, I never asked her what she wanted.

    The house was lit up when I got there. Mom was still warm, but beginning to cool. Her skin was this odd shade of cream with a glow that still shines in my mind’s eye. I couldn’t take my eyes off her and wondered if her spirit was hovering about. Continue reading »

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  • Tiny Biped Dreams (c) Mary Marcdante

    “No facet of nature is as unlikely as we, the tiny bipeds with the giant dreams.”
    ~ Diane Ackerman ~

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  • Inspiration met me at Balboa Park along the Promenade. I found musician Mark Goffeney, born without arms playing the guitar with his FEET and singing The Beatle’s song, “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away.”

    I walked away from those few minutes connecting with Mark thinking, “If I ever tell myself again that I can’t do something that I really want to do, or something isn’t possible…think smiling armless toe-playing guitarist.”

    And then I had a flood of other thoughts – what gave him the idea that he could play guitar with his feet? Did his parents encourage him? What did he do when he wanted to give up? Where did his courage come from? What kind of thoughts does he have to create this kind of success and joy? Mark’s story is a powerful testimony to looking for your unique gifts in your challenges and loving the life you’ve been given.

    When I watched the video again, I heard the lyrics to The Beatle’s song clearly and realized I’d never thought much about the words to that song before because I loved the melody so much and it fit a lot of my teenage angst when I first heard it. But with all due respect to the genius of John Lennon and the pain of heartbreak, seeing Mark and the joy he brings to others, the song really should be retitled, “You’ve got to GIVE your love away.” Mark, you do, along with your courage and creativity! Thanks!

    You can learn more about Mark at BigToeRocks.com.

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  • Last week I was privileged to celebrate the life of a great friend, father, and a pioneer and leader in the nutrition and holistic health fields, Dr. Bruce MacFarland.

    We were invited to bring a favorite food to share, which in my case, that day, because I was pushed for time, would have been chips and salsa, picked up at Costco. But as I thought about all the things I’d learned from Bruce over the five years I’ve known him including his infamous “Eat slow or die fast,” and “Don’t cross your legs or risk varicose veins,” I realized I wanted to do something to honor his health conscious ways (well, except for Kopp’s Custard in Milwaukee, but who can resist that!) so I decided to make homemade hummus with sliced carrot sticks.

    I got out one of my favorite (and beautiful to look at) recipe books “The Raw Goumet” and made the Hummus recipe, which is good, but still kind of bland. I wondered what I could do to spice it up and asked the Ethers, “What would Bruce add?” Continue reading »

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  • “Have the courage to act instead of react.”
    ~ Earlene Larson Jenks

    Did you watch the Grammys? So many amazing performances so full of mastery, so much audience enthusiasm for the art and skill of creating and performing music. Were you inspired? I sure was! And I still am. In fact, I watched all the main performances last night on YouTube, which, actually, surprises me.

    When I stopped to think about what compelled me to revisit performances of musicians, excellent as they may be, whose music I’d never listen to by choice, I realized there was a great practical tip here for creating enthusiasm and inspired action. Can you guess what it is?

    You’re right. When people give themselves completely to their unique gifts and share them authentically and enthusiastically with the world, magic happens. We’re all capable of creating that magic daily, but the challenge for most of us is first of all to KNOW what our gifts are, and then second, to FREE ourselves from our fears and give ourselves completely to whatever it is we’re doing and express our GIFTED SELF. Great performers have learned how to do this. We can too.

    I think of performance artist Pink on that Cirque du Soleil style twirling machine and the flawless performance she gave. Did you wonder, like I did, whatever inspired her to take on a risk like that? In front of 25 million viewers?! Where did her courage to do that come from? How many times did she practice that routine to make it look so effortless? How did she not puke while she was twisting upside down, dipped in water, all the while singing her heart out, and then be able to stand at the end and not just walk but strut confidently off the stage?

    TIP: I have an idea about what moves her that I believe moves each of us to inspired action and Gifted Self moments, which strung together become an Inspired and Gifted Life. I wonder if you agree?  I believe we are all wired to be inspired. And when we appreciate what inspires us, we are filled with a natural enthusiasm that gives us the confidence to move beyond our fears and share our Gifted Self into greater expression with the world.

    Can you think of a time when you were totally and completely your most confident, inspired Gifted Self without worry or fear of what others would think or what might happen? When you were so present in the moment that all you were aware of doing – fully, completely, and enjoyably – was whatever it was that you came there to do?

    TIP: Memorize a Gifted Self Moment and relive it often throughout your day to receive greater inner strength and motivation to act on what is important to you. This energetic space is where your manifesting power, dreams, and Creative Spirit live.

    So what inspirations will you notice, appreciate, and enthuse about with others today to experience and share more of your Gifted Self with the world? Share your thoughts in the comment box and check out the inspiring resource below to help you.

    RESOURCE:

    Ever heard of a Virtual Retreat? This is a really innovative idea and will definitely nourish and nurture your Creative Spirit and help you discover and express your gifts with confidence and grace. I love this: “You will meditate, move, journal, visualize, laugh, and engage your whole body and spirit” all from the comfort of your own home and phone or computer. Get a couple friends together and share the weekend or a few hours together. I’ll be attending too.

    Jen (author of The Woman’s Comfort Book series) is leading this bargain-priced Virtual Retreat with 13 other world famous teachers February 12-14. You can listen live or use the replay/download option at your convenience. Sign up by February 5th and get a major discount plus bonuses and ongoing support included. Check it out here.  Just reading the details will reduce your stress and make you smile. Add your 16-Second Smiling Breath and you’ll really relax.

    NEXT ISSUE: How to get started discovering your gifts and strengths and a great new book for connecting more deeply with your Inner Voice (IV to your Creative Spirit) in challenging times.

    Inspired by your presence…Mary

    PS. Leave a comment on my In The Moment blog by Sunday February 8, 2010 about something in this post that inspired you, helped you, or triggered a new insight and you’ll be eligible to win a copy of Marci Shimoff’s best-selling book “Happy for No Reason” and my book “Living with Enthusiasm.”

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  • “A happy life
    is just a string
    of happy moments.
    But most people don’t allow
    the happy moment,
    because they’re so busy
    trying to get a happy life.”

    ~ Abraham ~

    String together happy moments; I love this idea. It’s so easy to get lost worrying about the future or thinking through a challenging situation, comparing myself to others, hearing bad news, or any of the many other ways we human beings naturally distract ourselves from experiencing all the good in our lives. I have to remind myself, sometimes even with a timer, to take a breath and reground myself in the present moment to stay connected to the beauty in this world.

    One quick way to create a string of happy moments for yourself is to allow yourself to take a deep breath right now, put a smile on your face – a big one – and hold it for 16 seconds while repeating slowly, “Thank you.” Look around you and find something to focus on that makes you feel good and savor the feeling for another moment. And another. Do this as often as you can throughout your day.

    If you can’t find something positive where you are, choose to think of your own smile as what’s giving you happiness in this moment. That choice alone can lead to happier moments and a happier life.

    What’s one of your happy moments today? I’d love to know. Leave a comment below.

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  • Click here to listen to the audio version now. Once the audio starts, click back on this window to read and listen at the same time.

    Friday, September 11, 2009 9:32 AM

    Torrey Pines Reserve

    Torrey Pines Reserve, San Diego 9/11/09

    This morning on my walk at Torrey Pines I had the privilege of reflecting back on 9/11/01. I say privilege because I’m alive and so many others are not for reasons that we all know are equally horrifying, stultifying, and mystifying.

    In honor of the families who experienced a loss of loved one, and to remind myself and you, if you choose, of the value of choosing to celebrate and appreciate life and this moment as fully as we can, here is an excerpt from my book Living with Enthusiasm that highlights one woman’s choice to turn her 9/11 tragedy into a legacy of loving service to the world.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    Our Lives Can Change in an Instant

    Acting from our values not only fuels our enthusiasm for day-to-day living, it also allows us to get through difficult times. Our lives can change in an instant, but how quickly we forget until a crisis hits. Knowing and acting from our values can see us through. I received an email from a colleague in the days following September 11 that really brings this point home.

    ———————-
    Date: 9/14/01
    From: Judy-Lee

    Hello friends:

    A friend of mine who lives in San Diego was a victim to the tragedy in NY last week Tuesday. Her 20-year-old daughter was aboard flight 93 that crashed in PA. Below please find her words to the community. She has agreed to have the message spread to the world. Please pass this along so that her daughter Deora can be remembered.

    Thank you.
    One Love,
    Judy-Lee

    ——————–
    Date: 9/14/01 11:28 AM
    From: Debby Borza

    The last few days have been tragic, not only for our country but most directly for the families that lost loved ones during the terrorist attacks of September 11. My daughter Deora was a passenger on United Flight 93 from Newark to San Francisco. She was returning home after visiting friends in New York to continue her education at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara where she was a junior.

    Deora was a bright light. She was a gifted student, a wonderful friend, a kind and generous person beyond description. Where ever she went her light shined brightly leaving behind people who were empowered by who she was being. She impacted her friends. She impacted her schools. She impacted the animals at the Helen Woodward Center and the San Diego Zoo where she was a volunteer. Everywhere she went she left the world shining brightly.

    As a mother, I will miss her terribly. She was my baby. My baby is gone. As an American, however, I am absolutely unwilling for her death to go unanswered. This was a young, vibrant woman who loved this country more than anyone knew. She loved her freedom. She was fiercely independent; a leader. She was the future of this country.

    So here’s my stand. Let this passing be the start of a new conversation that has this world work for everyone. Let us start a new conversation that is all-inclusive, that leaves no one out. Let us start a conversation that is tolerant of all people’s beliefs, that includes everyone’s God, that includes everyone of color, and most of all, that provides a future for all mankind to live in harmony and respect.

    My daughter made a difference everywhere she went. Let this then be our call: To live our lives in such a way that makes the biggest difference possible in the lives or our fellow man, with no one left out. No one! Let her light shine brightly for all people for all time!

    Debby

    ——————–

    Sadly, tragedy, immediately clarifies what’s important to us. Tragically, for some the lesson comes too late. When we know what is most important to us and we are willing to look for and accept the lesson or gift, we walk into a state of grace. Courage rushes in and replaces our fear. Our passion is ignited and we are inspired to share our truth, which brings more light and healing to the world.

    “At the end of our life our questions are very simple: Did I live fully? Did I love well?”  ~Jack Kornfeld

    Music excerpt Once Upon a Time in America: Deborah’s Theme from CD Yo-Yo Ma Plays Ennio Morricone

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    ACTION STEP FOR LIVING WITH MORE ENTHUSIASM

    Write out your purpose statement and spend your day imagining these are your last days on earth. How will you live? What will you do differently?

    TIPS FOR LIVING WITH MORE ENTHUSIASM

    • Imagine you’ve been asked to give a commencement speech at your alma mater. Write a 250-word speech stating what you’ve learned about life that is most important, then ask to deliver it to your local high school or college’s senior class. Or send it to your family members and ask them to do the same for you.
    • Make a collage of images and words that represent your purpose statement (clip from magazines and your photo album) or print out a sign on your computer with your purpose statement. Put it on your refrigerator or a place where you’ll see it often.
    • Memorize your purpose statement and use it as a meditation mantra during quiet times or when you’re out walking or swimming laps.
    • Write a family purpose statement. Steven Covey offers a great process to use in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families.
    • Write your own eulogy or obituary. Share it with your family and friends or put it in an envelope in your “Important Papers” file for the future. Reread it every New Year’s Eve.

    5 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF ABOUT YOUR LEGACY

    • What are/were your parents’ most important values?
    • What single value brings you the greatest joy? Significance?
    • What values do you most want your children to learn? (If you don’t have children, think of the children in your life.)
    • What four descriptive words would you want loved ones to say about you after you’re gone?
    • Who specifically do you need to share your values with?

    If this post has touched you in any way, please share your thoughts. I appreciate the connection and you.

    Love, peace, and purpose, Mary

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