There is a Choice in Front of All of Us

Planet earth with sunrise in space. Earth Day. Vector illustration

I have written about how a new world can emerge from this global crisis–how we are seeing more kindness, compassion and love in the world. The new normal, for most of us, is being off the hamster wheel–giving us time to do the things that find the “we” in things–ways we can do what is best for the higher good.  Apart but together.

Those who are working even harder than before are our heroic healthcare workers, our delivery people, our mail carriers, and the folks working in our grocery stores. Our state governors are working hard to keep people safe, making hard decisions to ensure that fewer people are exposed to this serious virus. Our own state governor tirelessly keeps us informed and does so much, along with those in his administration, to help flatten the curve, so we will have fewer people stricken, fewer people dying. My heart is full of much gratitude for all these people.

For those of us at home, off the hamster wheel, there is time to look at our lives.  The new normal has required new ways of doing things.  Simplifying–looking at the things that we thought we needed so much and are doing without (easier than maybe we thought).  We’re finding a new normal with the time to be a support (even if it is just to make a phone call to check in on someone, letting them know you are thinking of them), or discovering creative ways to express support and love–online or through writing. There is time to cook food at home,  look at inventive ways to use resources, conserve, read, write, pray, meditate, examine what is really important in our lives, say, “I love you,” and do self-care to keep ourselves healthy.

Within the new normal is a new world emerging of love, service, care, compassion, kindness, generosity, and wholeness–more connectedness. We are all in this together.

When things eventually (and, hopefully, safely) start opening up again in the world, let’s not go back to the old normal. No please.  During this time there has been a huge opportunity for all of us to create a new world. The old normal was a world where people were so focused on the hamster wheel that there wasn’t this kind of compassion, caring, love, gratitude and generosity expressed so freely by so many.  There wasn’t this kind of creativity used in service to others.  The old normal was a focus on oneself. On consuming and consumerism.  What was the newest thing to buy, to have, to experience? The old “business as usual” was broken. The gap is wider than it has ever been between the haves and have nots. Many times the best part of us took a backseat to the bottom line.

When things gradually and safely start opening up, let’s keep the new normal–our personal discoveries in simplicity, in caring, in serving, in sharing, in giving. Together we can get through this and create a new world where we are better people, a better humanity. There is a choice in front of each of us. I’m choosing the new normal, a new world in which love, compassion, kindness, and generosity flow freely . What about  you?

© Copyright 2020, Mary Claire O’Neal

Mary Claire O’Neal author of the award-winning book, Becoming What You Want to See in the World.

A New World Emerging Based on Love and Kindness

Global Communication Network (World Map Credits To NASA)Everywhere there is an outpouring of love, kindness, unity and sharing.  We’re finding that in the vital and very important social distancing, we can unite our hearts together and help one another. We can reach out to others over the internet, social media, phones–even offering to leave food/groceries on doorsteps of those who need it. We are using our creativity to sing to others from our balconies, offer free live concerts from our homes, or give free tutorials online in painting or even easily crafting a face mask.  Even in the necessary isolation and social distancing (and even because of it), the interconnectedness of all things is so apparent.

Those who are serving all of us in healthcare in every country are giving so much for the common good–at high costs to themselves.  They need our love, our patience and our support. Those who are working on supplying food in our groceries and are delivering our packages are sacrificing for the common good and need our love, patience and kindness. Those who are having to self-isolate need our love and support– a phone call to check in or some needed supplies on the doorstep.

Let’s all try to find ways we can be of service. Be a part of this emerging new world based on love and kindness. Feeding hope and positivity over the internet and social media is a service of love.  Sharing practical tips that you’ve discovered at home to better use resources is a service of love. Calling someone just to see how they are and chat is a service of love.  Making people laugh with humor spreads opportunities for much needed balance during stressful times.

We always have been in this together, and this time puts a bright light on how we can do better, be better, love better.

There is time to reflect on what’s really important and how to find the “we” in things, instead of just the “me or mine” of things.

Together we can get through this and a newer, more loving world can emerge. Together we can be greater.

More than ever before Gandhi’s words are so true and important:

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Be well. Be love.

Love to all,

Mary Claire

© Copyright 2020,  Mary Claire O’Neal

Mary Claire O’Neal is the author of the award-winning book, Becoming What You Want to See in the World.

Overcoming Over-thinking

Have you ever thought about something TOO much?166262764_8

Have you ever not been able to sleep because thoughts keep running through your head?

While thinking through things is really helpful and important (some people could even do more of that!), sometimes we can detour our lives and get off track by thinking or analyzing too much. This over-thinking can turn into a negative direction and create a state of doubt, stress, anxiety or worry (or even cognitively convince oneself of a hypothetical situation that doesn’t even exist).  Have you ever encountered a difficulty with someone, thinking that their intent was negative and found out later that you were very wrong about that?  You discovered later that they did not have a negative intention at all?

From the perspective of Quantum Physics, simply put, thoughts are things. Thoughts have an effect on us, the world, and matter. When we allow ourselves to go down a path of negatively over-thinking something, we are having more of an effect, many times, than we realize.

Our minds work through association (association with past experiences) or perceptual connections, so given free rein, the mind can divert us from being in the moment with what is really needed. We are so much more than our thoughts. We are deeper than thought. We all have a core of strength, wisdom, joy, and, yes, love that is much truer than thought. And ideally, thought can be influenced by and arise out of that inner core of what we really are.

In many traditions throughout the ages, the area of the heart is associated with this part of us that is more than our minds, more than thought, even more than matter (or the physical aspects of life).  For thousands of years, it has been associated with the seat of the soul, with universal love, with wisdom.

Here is an activity to try:89796678_8

  • Sit quietly and focus on your breath (just pay attention to breathing in and exhaling).
  • Quiet yourself and focus on the area of your heart.
  • Visualize a beautiful white light with sparkles of gold in that area.
  • Allow the light to expand into your whole body (including your head), filling your cells with that light, like a honeycomb lighting up.
  • Let yourself feel the love coming from your heart or soul, that inner core of wisdom.
  • Send this light of love from your heart to bathe the difficulty or person with that light. Send positive thoughts for that situation or person.

You may find that this easy and simple activity not only helps bring you back to a more balanced place, it also helps with your perspective in a situation.  You might even find that things improve and the truer aspects “come to light.”  This is also a good activity (in addition to other obvious ways) when observing a situation or area of the world that needs help—pouring into that country or situation the love from your heart.

When you see yourself in a place of over-thinking, it helps to bring yourself back to the heart, to infuse the problem with love.  To some people using the word “love” sounds fluffy, and to that I say that love is a powerful force in this world–more powerful than fear, hate, and separation.  It is what we truly are. It is the hope for the world. What would this world look like if more and more people brought themselves to a place of love instead of fear?

Mary Claire O’Neal is a communication consultant, coach and author of the award-winning book, Becoming What You Want to See in the World .

© Copyright 2013, Mary Claire O’Neal

Photos: Getty Images

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Website: http://maryclaireoneal.com

Saying “Yes” into Overwhelm

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Every day offers new opportunities for activity, along with the challenges of keeping on track with priorities. Accomplishing things step-by-step is helpful in bringing ourselves back into a state of balance.

Have you ever said “yes” too many times and gotten yourself into a place of overwhelm? I have. I realized what was behind the “yes” was my desire to serve and to help (which is a good thing), but sometimes ego can be in there, too.

Has anyone ever said to you something like, “We’re looking for someone with your gifts and talents,” or “We need someone who has your insight to guide this.”  Saying “yes” to something and knowing that it will be of service to others is a very good thing.  Saying “yes” to something, knowing that you are already over-committed, but it will give you the opportunity to shine, is another. There’s nothing wrong with “shining” in the world. It can be a good thing. But it can be a part of the motivation in making choices that will send you into overwhelm or cause other priorities or commitments to be compromised, derailing your purpose in life and creating difficulty–not 83598834_8only for yourself but others. Also, when in overwhelm there is usually not time for the things that can help you stay balanced and healthy (like exercise, sufficient rest, and social and creative time). You cannot give the energy needed for things if you get seriously depleted or become ill.

I don’t write about anything that I haven’t experienced myself, and I can tell you, the overwhelm from saying “yes” too much kept me in a place of chaos for several months. It had nothing to do with the people or the organizations I said “yes” to. They would have kindly understood if I had said “no.” It had to do with me and my choices.

Lesson learned.

So, if you have a patterned tendency to “yes” yourself into overwhelm, here are a few things that can help:

1. Stay in the moment with life choices, using discernment before giving an answer. In other words, don’t fall back on a past pattern of taking things on or automatically saying, “yes.” The answer probably doesn’t have to be given right away.

2. Ask yourself, “Is this going to prevent me from honoring other commitments?”

3. Ask, “Will I still be able to take care of myself (health and happiness), if I do this?

4. Ask, “Is being considered indispensable or wanting to shine one of the main reasons for saying “yes?”

5. Take a break. If conflicted or in doubt, take some quiet time to just ask for guidance. Deeper or higher levels of ourselves probably already know the answer.

6. Talk to significant others or those in our lives the decision will impact.

After having honestly considered all these things, and you think that saying”yes” is still the best choice, you’ll have entered into the decision and commitment consciously.  Then there is more room to truly and happily give of yourself and serve.

Mary Claire O’Neal is the author of the award-winning book, Becoming What You Want to See in the World, and is a communication consultant, coach and speaker.

© Copyright, Mary Claire O’Neal

Photo credit: Getty Images

A Gift Gandhi’s Life Brought to Millions

ENA30004456Friday, Oct. 2, 2009 was the 140th birth anniversary of a very powerful role model in my life and the lives of many others, Mohandas K. Gandhi. He showed the world that one man can live with such impeccability and integrity that he could lead and become a peaceful force that would empower a whole nation. The way he lived his life became a true model in our world for living with integrity and love in intent, thought, word and deed.

There is a well-known story of a woman asking Gandhi one day to counsel her son to stop eating sugar because it was unhealthy for him. She lamented that her son would not listen to her. She explained to Gandhi that the boy would most certainly listen to him. Gandhi was silent for a moment and asked the mother to bring him back in a month, which she did. When the woman brought her son back, Gandhi said, “Son, you must stop eating sugar. It is not healthy for you.” The boy stopped eating sugar.  When the woman asked Gandhi why he didn’t advise her son on their first meeting, Gandhi replied, “Dear Madam, I cannot counsel someone in doing something I cannot avoid, so I had to work on my habit first.”

So many times  in our world, there are voices that say, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Gandhi knew that the only true and genuine teaching and change comes from those who live it. He had too much integrity to allow himself to request something of someone if he did not do it himself.

People pay attention to our actions and our choices much more than the words we speak. We can all “be the change” we want to see in the world if we live that change.  If we see a lack of understanding, peace and unity in our world, the way to bring change is to live the love, peace and unity in our own lives, in our own thoughts. This is the hope for our world. This is a powerful gift that Gandhi’s life brought to millions.

What an amazing life. What an amazing teacher.

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For pictures of celebrations on this anniversary:   http://snipurl.com/sbj7g

True mastery

“The human race is challenged more than ever before to demonstrate our mastery – not over nature – but of ourselves.” –Rachel Carson, environmentalist

What is mastery over ourselves? What could that look like?

Ultimately our intent, thoughts, words, actions and responses are the only things that we can control and master. These all involve choice and our own freewill.  It’s the awareness that every moment involves a choice—whether it be on the automatic, unconscious level or with awareness and mastery.

The awareness of those choices in the moments that make up our lives involves a discipline of mind.  Sound like a lot of work?  It is—at first. But that discipline of mind becomes easier and easier, and it is SO worth it!

How is it worth it?  A simple example is when I make a conscious choice to change a thought or a behavior. Maybe it’s a thought that really doesn’t serve any purpose other than making me feel down or defeated. By changing that one thought that has been floating around in my mind all day to one that is more uplifting, I can change the course of my day.

We can also change the world around us by changing that one thought.

Have you ever been around someone who is being critical or negative about almost everything?  It has an effect on those who have contact with them.  The same is true for those who are hopeful, empowered and are taking action that is consistent with hope and empowerment. They draw people to them in a good way like a magnet.

Another example of that mastery is when we look at and consider the effects a choice we make will have on others before it is made. Does insisting that it be our way make us blind to the needs of others?  How many times in the past several years have we seen on a national and global scale the effects of choices that were made (that first started with an individual making a choice or an individual pushing that agenda) that do damage to others?

Masters are everywhere, in all walks of life.  A master can be the person who sees her/his life as a service.  I see mastery in a janitor I know who always has a cheerful greeting and is truly joyful in doing what some people would consider a menial task. Mastery is in the person in the parking garage booth, who recently when I asked “how are you?”  answered with, “I’m blessed!  I have a job where all day long I can greet people and wish them a good evening. What could be better than that?”

I’m humbled by that kind of self mastery.

Mastery is not perfection. Masters make mistakes, and they do encounter difficulties.  Mastery can be working in a process of knowing there’s always more to know. Mastery can be about getting back up again after a fall or mistake, claiming it, apologizing for it (if it affected others), learning from it, dusting oneself off, and moving forward again.

© Mary Claire O’Neal

Mary Claire O’Neal is a communication consultant, speaker, coach and author of the award-winning book, Becoming What You Want to See in the World. For more information:  www.maryclaireoneal.com