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Cushion Wisdom

Mar 2, 2022

Journey of 1,000 Hugs

“Can you promise I will come back?” says Bilbo.
“No, but if you do, you will not be the same,” replies Gandolf.

In the beginning I enjoyed our small quarantine pod of four. Each Saturday late afternoon we came together for a gourmet meal, Star Trek Catan and a robust conversation. It was the only in-person social event of the week for almost 1.5 years.

The weekdays kept us working in our home offices coaching, teaching and running Mindfulness Coaching School virtually.

This flexible coaching lifestyle kept us safe and worked well. As a learned extrovert, I relish opportunities to be a full-on introvert with my books, research, writings and music. And yet even though the pandemic offered much inner growth and reflection, it also offered outer growth to the tune of 20 extra Pandemic Pounds.

Through coaching I became aware food was replacing in-person hugs. Once I realized it was hugs I was jones-ing for and not food, I asked myself daily on the meditation cushion, “How can I get my hugging needs met?”

I sat and listened to what arose

At first my Monkey Mind with its’ chaos and my Inner Critic with its’ Fixed Mindset kept interfering. Yet both fell away when I approached the specific agenda of getting my hugging needs met. With focus, presence and a Beginner’s Mind, I learned to cultivate mental plasticity with an Infinite Mindset.

Following the breadcrumbs

Sitting on my meditation cushion one morning at 4am an image arose. I saw myself traveling on open roads in North America and hugging students, faculty and clients along the way! This is how The Journey of 1,000 Hugs began to take form.

Similarly, seven years earlier in 2015, Mindfulness Coaching School manifested. It’s why I often call meditation and my blog, Cushion Wisdom. I hadn’t planned on creating a school, and yet I followed the breadcrumbs that arose during meditation and mindfulness practices. One coaching class became 18 coaching classes just like one hug becomes The Journey of a 1,000 Hugs.

Hugs in times of war

May 14, 2018, I witnessed Ukrainians and Russians laughing together. I know they would have hugged if we hadn’t been in a webinar. It was the opening day of the ICF International Coaching Week. I gave a presentation to both ICF chapters organized by two coaching friends, Nikolay (Shyfan) Mykolasia and Ivan Smirnov.

My presentation was on mindfulness, love, understanding and connectedness. The Russian and Ukrainian coaches were warm-hearted, eager to learn and together shared much laughter. It was the most fun I’d had presenting at ICF chapters. This experience continues to live in my heart.

Fast forward four years to Thursday, February 24, 2022. The Journey of 1,000 Hugs took on a new importance and meaning: Russia invaded Ukraine.

The Three Treasures Practice
for
All Peoples of the World

As a coach who is committed to walking her talk, the last eight days since the invasion I have been steeping myself in the Three Treasures Practice.  It was developed many years ago by Mac Dryden, ACC and myself as antidotes for grief and loss. If you would find it helpful, please practice these alchemical mantras with me.

Find a place to sit. Inhale and exhale deeply. Settle in. Imagine all Peoples of the World in your mind’s eye. Say and repeat the six mantras below:

•May all Peoples of the World now be filled with loving kindness.
•May all Peoples of the World now be safe and protected.
•May all Peoples of the World now be resilient in mind and body.
•May all Peoples of the World now live with ease and joy.
•May all Peoples of the World celebrate our differences.
•May all Peoples of the World hug a thousand times more.

With a deep bow of respect to all sentient beings,
Ann-Marie
~~~
This song reached deep into my heart.  I wanted to share it with you.
Holly Near: Send In a Thousand Grandmothers

~~~
The Journey of a 1,000 Hugs has begun!  In celebration of my 70th year and the school’s 7th year I’ll be traveling and comfort camping in my Tesla as well as periodic stays at B & B’s. Join me! I would love to meet up with you.

Next journey: From Santa Fe to Albuquerque to Tucson,to Marfa, Texas!

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The Body Electric teaches important skills for being present and grounded as a coach that will help students trust their intuition and make deeper connections with their clients.
Suzanne L'HeureuxStudent CoachOakland, California
[Right Speech] was a transformative class for me and Meg Hess was an inspiring and compassionate teacher. I have had an abiding interest in the notion of Right Speech, so I was looking forward to taking this class and curious about how it would unfold. It was very gratifying to see the teachings and practices we learned making a real impact on my listening skills, as well as on my responses to life circumstances and even world events. I am certainly taking away a wider scope of curiosity and the communication and listening tools to more effectively investigate that curiosity, which, in turn, expands the scope of my compassion.
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[Right Speech] highly resonated with me and my current needs for growth. I cannot be more thankful for the support of this community, and our instructor Meg…With the guidance and support of the Mindfulness Coaching School I can see that I am closer to a life of purpose and meaning. Thank you Ann-Marie, instructors and fellow coaching students for creating this wonderful community.
Ruby OrcuttStudent CoachDerby, NY
I’ve been a therapist for years now, but still get the jitters every time I begin to work with a new client (probably the “fixer” in me). It was a joy to watch Ann-Marie in action [during Skillful Means: The Coaching Skill Set] and realize that we don’t need to feel like we have all the answers for the client!
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The Dynamic Trio is not only something that will help you bring more light into others’ lives but will also be beneficial for your own. The content was priceless and made me a better person.
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Skillful Means: The Coaching Skill Set was essential to building my toolbox as a coach. I feel that my range of skills have broadened and that my clients can be served much better.
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I attended The Dynamic Trio with Ann-Marie at a time when I was certified on all three of the “Trio” (EMDR, Positive Psychology, & Coaching). I was curious as to how these would be blended and what new things I would learn; and I ended up learning a lot indeed. Ann-Marie has a unique style that makes attending the course worthwhile. The applications she offers do have a positive tone when used with clients facing different struggles. It certainly is beneficial to capitalize on strengths through the approaches she suggests, instead of just focusing on mending one’s weaknesses. I find it a “must attend course” for practitioners in the field of any of these approaches (& others).  
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This course was very helpful for me. It changed my outlook from pushing selling to offering my gifts to the people that are in need of them.
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