10/7/17
San Diego International Film Festival 2107 Global Consciousness Films

4 Global Consciousness Insights from San Diego Film Fest Filmmakers

San Diego International Film Festival 2017 Global Consciousness #sdiff

“What is one practical action you would want audience members to take after seeing your film?”

After a long work day and hearing my inner voice tell me I needed to step out of my way-too-comfortable comfort zone, instead of going to a comedy screening, I attended “Global Consciousness,” a series of six riveting films in 62 minutes. Kudos to the San Diego International Film Festival for a socially impactful, relevant and soul-searching evening.

At the Q&A with the filmmakers following the screening, when I asked that question about a practical step, here’s what they said:

“Awareness. Be aware of what’s going on around the world and share it.” said the writer of the film “Citizen,” about an American born Hispanic female border patrol agent whose pregnant Mexican born younger sister is deported and tries to cross the border so her child will be American. The agent has to decide between protecting her livelihood and young son’s safety and helping her sister who goes into labor as she is detained by another border agent at a desert crossing.

“Read and when you find injustice, speak your truth. Don’t turn away,” from the director of “Ravage,” about China’s illegal organ harvesting and torture of Falun Gong practitioners and political prisoners. Horrific and still going on.

“Compassion. Imagine yourself in the situation of others who are different from you. Look people in the eyes.” This from the director of “The Fare,” about a young Ecuadorian man who works in a sex-trafficking ring and has to decide between saving the life of a teen girl from his home city or saving face and ultimately his own life. Heart-wrenching.

“Love. It really is that simple. See the Oneness in humanity. Everyone goes through hard times. Don’t knock people down, lift people up.” Encouraging words from the directors of “Shine,” an animated film about helping to end homelessness.

Powerful films and powerful words to put into action. My first action post-film: share their words with you and live them best I can. Be aware, speak the truth, turn toward rather than away, look people in the eyes, love on others and lift them up.

Two more days of incredible films and live interviews. You can check out the films and events at http://sdiff.org/ #sdiff

08/5/17

Opening to Nature’s Wisdom Through Mindful Photography

In the Heart of the Agave -- Mary Marcdante, Mindful Photography
While walking in the hills of Del Mar just before sunset last night I came upon this spectacular Agave plant more than five feet in diameter growing beside a sandstone cliff two stories high. The sunlight illuminating the plant’s leaves beckoned me closer for a photo. As I held up my camera, I had the most wonderful and ephemeral moment of watching my shadow move into an alignment that merged my head with the plant’s core, which holds its newest growth and under that, what growers actually refer to as its “heart.”

I stood there for a few seconds awestruck and rooted by a feeling that I can only now describe as a falling away of the illusion of separation and equally a knowing of the Oneness that lives and breathes through me, this plant, the wind, you, and everything.

And then in an instant everything was back to normal. A car drove by, my phone chimed a message had arrived, and my shadow self stepped back into my body.

As I glance at that photo again, trying to recapture the feeling and make sense of the insight to apply to my daily life, it looks as if a new plant shoot is about to burst open on the top of the left side of my head. Maybe nature’s gift of new ideas for my next book? Funny what a hair clip in shadow can create in one’s imagination. Or maybe not.

One of my favorite Zen proverbs pops into my mind: “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”

Yes, and…through it all, keep looking, keep asking, keep photographing and writing, or creating through whatever your chosen path is, and remember to align head and heart — your’s and nature’s.

You never know where enlightenment is waiting for you.

05/14/17

My Mother, My Friend Turns Sweet 16

My mother’s presence lingers in the 25 years after her passing, especially on Mother’s Day. Her legacy is filled with the births of five children, one who, sadly, died a week after birth, and four, fortunately, who still carry her story into their own lives — two with children of their own, two with contributions that include mothering in myriad other ways.

This Mother’s Day 2017 one of my mother’s greatest legacies to me turns Sweet 16. My book, written in her honor after she died, My Mother, My Friend: The 10 Most Important Things To Talk About With Your Mother, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2001 and remains in print and available on Amazon, having sold more than 30,000 copies, a feat I’m proud of and so grateful to so many for in a world according to Nielsen BookScan where the average book sells less than 250 copies and no more than 3,000 copies over its lifetime

I still receive letters and emails about how the book has changed a woman’s relationship with her mother, her daughter, her extended family of sisters, aunts, grandmothers, granddaughters, and what has really surprised and delighted me because of my own journey — her relationship with herself.

As a first time published author I was beyond thrilled to finally have that book out of my head and into print. After ten years of living with my mother’s spirit (or my imagination, take your pick), telling me in two dreams, “We have a book to write together; it’s a book for adult daughters and their mothers so they can know each other better and make healthier choices than I did,” I was ready to move forward with my life.

In those 16 years since publication my life has been filled with more choices, more challenges and lessons than I could imagine. Buoyed by the thousands of women I’ve met and talked with all around the world through my speaking engagements, coaching, blog, and social media, I continue to be inspired and humbled by their stories of strength, courage, forgiveness, heartbreak, loss, creativity, wisdom and deep love. Something else that I didn’t expect but kept showing up were opportunities to explore my own mothering and befriending — and lack thereof oftentimes — of myself.

The exploration and adventure of self-care, self-discovery and creative expression has continued after My Mother, My Friend as a new book waits in the wings to find its way from my heart to paper: My Self, My Friend. My resistance to finishing the manuscript is strong but I’m inspired to keep going based on a dream I had a few years ago where my mother appeared again, having an equally significant conversation with me, guiding me to choose a path to greater presence, connection and valuing of myself in my life and in the world.

If this is something that calls to you, I invite you to walk the path of My Self, My Friend along with me as we learn how to live, love, listen and laugh with ourselves through anything. I would love to hear from you with a comment below or click here to be notified of updates.

01/22/17

San Diego Women’s March Review

Keep democracy alive. Participate
Amazing. Brilliant. Courageous. Destiny. Extraordinary…I could run through the alphabet of superlatives to describe yesterday’s Women’s March in San Diego. So many of you posted about your experience on Facebook and I have loved reading every one. Thank you for inspiring me. This was one of those once in a lifetime moments for me.

I am still thinking about all the families who brought young children and the leaders these children will have the potential to become over the next several decades. They’re watching and participating and even if they’re not sure what it’s all about, they will remember it was important enough for their parents to participate and bring them along. They were making their history. And they could one day say, “I was there and now I am here and I am making a positive difference in the world for human rights. Look what we did. Look what we can do together!” #ittakesavillage


Another image that has stayed in my mind are the people in wheelchairs being pushed by their family and friends in an unending crowd of moving people while their frame of reference is eye level with most people’s waists and they are dependent on the kindness of others to make sure they are safe. People were kind and it was safe.

And I think of that story President Obama told about a town hall meeting he spoke at in South Carolina where very few people attended early in his first campaign. There was an uncomfortable silence when he finished speaking and then out of that silence a woman in the back yelled, “Fired up! Ready to go!” and slowly others start to follow. “One voice can change a room…it can change the world.”

In San Diego, 40,000 people got fired up and went. We marched, we sang, we carried signs about issues that matter and are at risk of being dismissed, denied, or repealed; we hugged, we spoke up, we cared, we participated (around the world!), we showed the world what loving each other, our country, freedom and our rights looks like and feels like — that is love in action — and we opened the door along with the rest of the marching world for everyone to join in.

And today, we begin again. Fired up. Ready to go. Again. Right? We hope and pray. But we need more than hope and prayers. We need action. Ongoing action.

I have not been as active a citizen as I could be. I’m still learning. I made a promise to myself that I would commit to minimum one action a day – email, letter, social media post or comment, photograph, phone call to my representatives (now in my contact list), a conversation with someone who may have a different perspective – to listen, to learn, to stay informed and to speak up on the key issues that matter to me. I may fail at times but I promise to keep getting back up. How about you?

What ideas and commitments will you follow to stay fired up and not just ready to go, but going, already there, and speaking up and sharing whatever is most important to you?

It’s a choice every day. And not always easy. In fact most of the time pretty challenging. Grateful to my circle of inspiration. Stay inspired. And invite others to join you. Our presence, your presence, does make a difference.

I appreciate you and look forward to walking with you on this journey and where it will lead over the next decade and lifetime.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” -Margaret Mead

See more photos on Facebook at www.facebook.com/marymarcdante. Let’s connect.

#whyimarch #sandiegowomensmarch #womensmarch

11/20/16
Torrey Pines Razor Point Lookout Stars of Torrey Pines by Mary Marcdante

Mindfulness: Smile. Click. Laugh. Connect.

Torrey Pines Razor Point Lookout Stars of Torrey Pines by Mary Marcdante

No matter how much mindfulness training I do, my mind still notices what is different about other people I meet for the first time, most often their physical characteristics and then their language. But what’s equally true, is that when I’m at Torrey Pines, a smile and a conversation about the beauty of nature and what we’re privileged to be in the midst of transforms those differences into unique opportunities for connection and understanding. It turns strangers into stars for me. Stars of Torrey Pines.

Yesterday afternoon, there were three groups of people standing against the wooden fence at Razor Point Lookout gazing out at the ocean. On the right was a group of two young men and a woman, dark haired, sturdy looking, taking photos of each other. I asked if they had taken one of all three of them together so they could return in 10 years and celebrate their friendship. They nodded no, so I offered to take that photo. The man in the red hoodie handed me his phone. They posed, I clicked, and it turned into a fun photo session. Smile. Click. Laugh. Connect.

As I walked away, a couple standing to this group’s left – he a tall, thin yogi-type and she, a lithe brunette, said, “Would you mind taking a photo of us.” “I’d love to!,” I said, “Especially with that t-shirt.” (It said, “Heavily Meditated.”) We laughed and the man, who had a German accent said, “If you think that t-shirt saying is creative, you should go to Japan and see what they do. Sayings you wouldn’t believe.” Smile. Click. Laugh. Connect.

To move along the trail, I had to backtrack past a third group of four people. Wow, did they look alike. And like the others, they were posing for each other. I asked if they were family. Four heads nodded yes while one pair of eyes rolled noticeably. I asked if they’d taken their holiday photo yet and if not, this would be a perfect place to do it. They all looked at each other, the eye roller laughed and nodded no, and the mom handed her phone to me. They were full of expression and clearly enjoyed one another’s company.

Three groups, a total of nine people, from all over the world, and for a few minutes, we were all in the same community enjoying the park and each other’s presence.

I felt this warmth of connection and gratitude wash through me as I walked away. When I was about 30 feet back into the foot trail, I turned around and yelled, “Thank you so much! You’re my Stars of Torrey Pines! How about a group photo?!” Not knowing what to expect, I held up my fingers, 1, 2, 3, and yelled, “Go!”

Much to my surprise and delight, they rallied and gave me another first at the park – a spontaneous group photo of people unknown to each other, people willing to let down their guard with each other for a few moments, mug for the camera (instead of mugging each other) and welcome me as if I were a family friend posing them for the Holiday photo. Wishing that for you and your family and the world.

Smile. Click. Laugh. Connect.

09/24/15

Flying Thru Life Book Exclusive Offer with Zen Pilot Robert DeLaurentis

Flying Thru Life by Zen Pilot Robert DeLaurentisAre you dreaming big enough? My friend and coaching client, Zen Pilot Robert DeLaurentis is committed to helping people identify their impossibly big dream and go after it.

Robert has shown people through his recent record-breaking around-the-world solo flight in his plane “The Spirit of San Diego” and his new book “Flying Thru Life: How to Grow Your Business and Relationships with Applied Spirituality” that:  1) most people don’t dream big enough and 2) going after that impossibly big dream and experiencing it in real time is something everybody can do with the right support and actions.

I want to help Robert get his life-changing message out to more people. With his permission I’m sharing three of his 19 Insights from Flying Thru Life below and invite you to join me in purchasing his book. If you buy a copy today, September 24, on Amazon and register your purchase receipt at his website (link below), you’ll be entered to win some incredible prizes (scenic flight along San Diego’s coastline!) and receive for free a special gift poster of all 19 Flying Thru Life Insights. (If you’re reading this after September 24, 2015, with or without prizes, the book is still a valuable read and will be a keeper on your bookshelf.)

Here are three of the 19 Insights that will help move you through the turbulence in your life into calm air:

Ask for the help you need. Your all-knowing and 24 hour business consultant – Spirit (God, the Universe, whatever you call it) is waiting to assist you but you have to ask. You are the one that is holding you back. And you are the one that is in charge. See the challenges in your daily life not as some form of cosmic torture, but rather as opportunities to heal what you’ve been carrying with you for too long so you can fully express the joy that has always been a part of you. (p. 11)

Listening in the Silence. When you connect to Silence, you get something that is called perspective or altitude. Silence allows you to connect to your inner self, Spirit, and the collective consciousness, where you will find all the information you need available to you. (p. 67)

“I once asked Spirit for a plane so I could realize my childhood fantasy of flying. Instead, Spirit gave me a set of spiritual principles and practices. I didn’t wake up one day to find a plane in my front yard. But I was able to use the spiritual principles and practices I was given to triple my business. With the income from that business growth, my plane became a reality.” ~Robert DeLaurentis, Flying Thru Life, p.72

Reframe. You are not a victim. When you take the time to look at situations from a different perspective, things often become much clearer and much closer to reality. Compassion for everyone, including yourself is what shifts energy and results. No one is intentionally trying to hurt you or your business. People occasionally encounter tough times – and they do the best with the tools they have. By showing compassion in your thinking, communication, and actions, you can often turn a situation around with an outcome better than you could imagine. (p. 101)

I think you can see that Robert is on to something and lives the language that a lot of people give lip service to but find a lot harder to put into action. In Flying Thru Life, Robert will guide you through all 19 insights with personal stories, practical business advice, spiritual wisdom, inspirational quotes and photos that will help you break through your fear, release judgment, and inspire you to take the necessary actions you know you need to take to turn that impossible dream into reality. What are you waiting for? Join us in this evolutionary opportunity and adventure.

When you buy Flying Thru Life today on Amazon and register your receipt number at this special website link, you’ll be entered to win an epic flight with Zen Pilot Robert in his plane “The Spirit of San Diego” and fly over the scenic coast of San Diego followed by a luxurious lunch at The University Club on the penthouse floor of Symphony Towers. You’ll also be entered to win one of six of the new Amazon Fire ebook readers, plus you’ll receive these 19 insights in a suitable-for-framing poster you can download immediately that will help you make your seemingly impossible dreams possible.

For more information and to order your copies, click here: Flying Thru Life Special Offer.

In gratitude,

Mary

PS.  You may feel fear, doubt, and confusion on your journey to a more abundant life and want to give up at times but by applying the 19 spiritual insights Robert identifies in his book Flying Thru Life, you can navigate your life’s flight plan in a conscious, courageous way and land in your future with grace and ease. Check out Flying Thru Life here.

07/22/15

2,920 Days: The Power of Your Presence, Words, and Kindness

TOPS International Recognition Days with Keynote Speaker Mary Marcdante

TOPS International Recognition Days with Keynote Speaker Mary Marcdante

2,920 days. This weekend I had the privilege of speaking to 2000 TOPS members at their International Recognition Days on “Finding Your Genie Within.” So much energy and emotion moved through me – I felt anxious, excited, humbled, grateful… At the end of my speech, two women – mom and daughter – came up and asked if they could have their picture taken with me and then surprised me with a photo of the three of us from eight years ago when I spoke at another event. Eight years! 2,920 days of our lives had passed and it was important enough to them to stand in line for over an hour to remember and connect with me. What a gift they gave me.

If I’m really honest with myself and you, I share this selfishly and humbly to celebrate a personal milestone with you, but equally important, to remind you in your weaker moments that your presence and words are ALWAYS an opportunity for impact. Even if it doesn’t look like it on the outside, we all need each other’s kindness — and maybe even more for some us — our own kindness to ourselves.

If you don’t know me well you may not know that I suffer self-doubt and worthiness issues in my quiet moments, which is one of the reasons I speak on the topics I do – I need the positive reinforcement as much if not more than the audience. In my strong moments, I sense that I am a channel, catalyst, example, role model, and human post-it-note for others to experience the power, value, and beauty of their presence within themselves and their relationships, but oh how those weak moments can rise up out of nowhere and try to dim my light. And then out of the blue, Grace flies in through two beautiful human beings and says, “Thank you,” just like you do with your presence right now.

Thank you.