Thursday, February 19, 2015


I receive regular emails from an author and counselor named Mary O’Malley whose work, according to her website, Awakening with Mary O’Malley, “awakens others to the joy of being fully alive”.  Among other things, she asks “What would your life be like… if you truly trusted yourself and your life? …If your challenges, rather than being endless problems to be solved, became doorways into the healing you long for? …If you discovered that the peace you long for is always with you, right here, right now?”

There are articles and interviews, a blog, retreats, telephone groups, classes and workshops and, of course, books and CD’s and DVD’s. Mary is even licensed to perform weddings in the state of Washington and will officiate at your nuptials if you’re within an hour’s drive of her home/office.

She encourages us to meet our fears head on, to welcome the problems and grief that life can bring, treating them as ways to enlarge our experience of the world and ourselves, rather than swatting them away and trying to ignore or forget them “through busyness, compulsion, fixing, judging, analyzing”. There’s much about setting intentions rather than goals and opening our hearts and moving through life in kindness. I haven’t been able to go through all the newsletters and blog postings, and while there seems to be an element of “woo-woo” to it all, much of what I’ve read resonates for some reason. Basically she seems to be saying to live life as it comes, to welcome it all, the good, the bad, the messy, the happiness and the grieving.

The older I get, the more aware I am of feelings of unease and imbalance and, yes, fear. I try mightily to find the joy in things and have lately become aware that I’m really pretty self-absorbed. It’s probably time for me to reach out and find an outlet of some sort. I’m due to start a monthly creative workshop group with a few other artists, dedicated to keeping each other on course as far as our creative endeavors are concerned, to get each of us working and productive. Maybe, even given my 9-to-5 schedule, I could find some volunteer work somewhere… “Yeah,” as Jon Lovitz used to say, “that’s the ticket!”

Meanwhile, here’s a poem from one of Mary O’Malley’s recent emails. I only wish I could greet each day like this...

There is joy in all:
in the hair I brush each morning,
in the Cannon towel, newly washed,
that I rub my body with each morning,
in the chapel of eggs I cook
each morning,
in the outcry from the kettle
that heats my coffee
each morning,
in the spoon and the chair
that cry "hello there, Anne"
each morning,
in the godhead of the table
that I set my silver, plate, cup upon
each morning.

All this is God,
right here in my pea-green house
each morning
and I mean,
though often forget,
to give thanks,
to faint down by the kitchen table
in a prayer of rejoicing
as the holy birds at the kitchen window
peck into their marriage of seeds

~ Anne Sexton (from The Awful Rowing Toward God)

How sad to think that such feelings of joy and gratitude coexisted in the heart and mind of a tragic figure: Anne Sexton died by her own hand. According to Wikipedia, in an interview over a year before her death, she explained she had written the first drafts of The Awful Rowing Toward God in twenty days with “two days out for despair and three days out in a mental hospital”. She went on to say she would not allow the poems to be published before her death.