What would your life be like if you could reconnect with the joy, wonder, and vitality of being truly alive?
Mary O’Malley is an author, teacher and counsellor whose work awakens others to the joy of being fully alive. Her inspired and transformative approach to compulsions offers a way to replace fear, hopelessness and struggle with ease, well being and joy.
In the early 1970′s, a powerful awakening set Mary on the path to changing her whole relationship with her compulsions, freeing her from a lifelong struggle and opening her to the joy and the wonder of being fully awake to Life.
Since then, she has dedicated her life to helping others heal themselves by seeing what truly blocks them from life’s joy.
We recently had the honor to speak with Mary about her new book “What’s in the Way IS the Way”.
Soul Love – When I first read the title of your new book ‘What’s In The Way IS The Way’ I had a deep sense that this book was going to show us how to face our fears and move through them and to provide the reader with the tools necessary to incorporate this into our everyday lives.
Mary O’Malley – I can’t tell you how many people over the years that said to me “but I’m not doing being in the now very good”. Eckhart Tolle stayed with me a couple of times in the 90’s and the last time he was here I said “oh I’m a little jealous Eckhart. Your awakening was so sudden. I woke up and I had 999 other parts of me that I had to bring the good news to and I’m a little envious” and he said to me “oh Mary, the way you are awakening is the way most people will awaken and they need a guide” – and so that is what my work is about.
“The meadow represents the experience of okayness that is at the heart of life”
SL – I really enjoyed the experience of reading about the meadow. With this metaphor you bring the reader back to the heart of life through a journey of understanding the storyteller in our mind and the cloud banks of struggle that become the foundation of our lives from our early experiences. Can you explain this to us?
Mary – The important thing to get is that when we were young we were open to life. We lived inside of ourselves and there was a time when there were no thoughts in our head, so we were one with life. The meadow represents life. Everything in that meadow flows. Day flows into night, winter into spring, life into death, death into life. The water flows down from the mountain, the rain flows. Everything flows and there is nothing in that meadow that resists what is. Now the important thing is to know that we were born from that meadow, we lived in that meadow and then, I like to say, we were raised by unconscious giants.
If our parents were the same size to us as we are now they would be 17.5 feet tall and weigh 900 lbs. So I say to most people you’re not even seeing a waist band if you look up. Our parents left the meadow a long time ago because they had no choice. So they were living in what I call the cloud bank of struggle and even if they loved us, they wounded us in two core ways. I call these the sacred wounds. They abandon us and they invaded us and abandonment can go all the way from being a too busy parent to actually walking out the door. Invasion can go all the way from a mother that thinks parenting is about controlling to sexual abuse.
So we all receive these sacred wounds and the way I describe it in the meadow analogy is the clouds in the sky began to come lower and lower and slowly and surely they began to swirl around our head and the most important point about this is that we never left the meadow. It is always here. More and more people are waking up to hearing “Oh my god there’s a meadow” and more and more are waking up to “Oh my god I am caught in a world of struggle.”
Most of the struggles are these tiny things. I like to say that our mind is a problem factory and on the conveyer belt all day long are these problems. Some are big and they almost break the conveyer belt, like getting cancer, but most of them are kind of small and then you have these phases where it doesn’t look like there is anything on the conveyer belt but if you look really close there are these little tiny problems no bigger than a grain of sand which is where most people live all the time. That is the cloud bank.
This work is about understanding that there is no place to go, nothing to do, that you are already here in the field of love that is life and our job is to see the cloud bank. Not hate it, not fear it, not try to fix it, not try to rise above it, not try to get underneath it and not get lost in it but to see it. That is what all of my books are about, learning how to relate to this cloud bank that is made out of fear, is glued together with judgment and is very busy and very seductive but it is just what is conditioned inside of us.
It is so exciting to me that we are at a time in evolution that more and more human beings are waking up out of the addiction to struggle. That is what I say in my book The Gift of Our Compulsions – our core compulsion is to struggle. All the other compulsions are an attempt to numb out from that struggle. This cloud bank, what I call the storyteller in the new book, is all about resistance. It wants what is not here and it doesn’t want what is here and most people try to find their peace in that and all I am saying is let us step back. Let us take a look at it, get to know it, bring compassion to it and then the cloud banks begin to thin and you discover the meadow again.
“The more you can learn how to use your mind rather than having it use you, you discover that the okayness you long for is your natural state and it is always with you no matter what is happening in your life. You just don’t see it because you are always trying to find it! And you can’t find it, for you have never lost it.”
SL – I think the greatest struggle that many people experience is learning to use our minds rather than it using you. Can you share with us the importance of learning to use our minds?
Mary – We’ve lived in this mind for most of our life. We have defined ourselves as the storyteller in our head for most of our lives so when we start awakening the storyteller is still in charge. So here is all this good stuff and then it says ok now that is where I want to be. So what we do is go into what I call management mode and this has been around for thousands of years. If you look at the history of enlightenment, it is all about getting to the good stuff. We live in this world of management and it takes awhile before you realize that it is like herding cats. Maybe you can get them all together in a moment and then the next thing you know they are scattering everywhere.
What this work is about is engagement. We don’t make management wrong. It is a tool that we need sometimes but we learn how to engage with what is and then we need to just see that we need to get to know the cloud banks.
I have studied a lot of science and it has helped me a lot. If you watch evolution just on this planet you will see that it was a coming together of atoms into molecules and then molecules into cells and then cells into multi cell beings. Something happened when we became multi cell beings and they needed a communication system so that the cells could communicate. It began with a nervous system and if you follow that you will see evolution slowly and surely develop the nervous system until about a million years ago the frontal lobe showed up.
I ask the question why were we brought forth and to me we were brought forth to bear witness to life. We are the place in life that can bear witness to it all. We can go down into the oceans, we can go up to the mountains and we celebrate it. We can write poetry and we can be moved by it so we are life celebrating life. We are very young. We’re only at the most a million years old and we’ve been given this exquisite tool but we’ve become lost in it and as we begin to realize how to see fear rather than identify with it or try to get rid of it. As we learn how to see the states of unconsciousness like despair, loneliness, shame, guilt, terror, anger and rage and they make up this cloud bank whose spokesperson is the storyteller.
When we start to be aware of these states the cloud bank thins and you begin to see that life is for you. The better way to say it is life is for life. We seem to be these beings that take on the unconsciousness of the world and at least at this moment of evolutions, most people go to their death beds caught in unconsciousness but more of us now are taking it on and then beginning to bring our attention to it and we literally become alchemists. So when I was writing the book I was just typing away one day and this wonderful little statement came to me:
Life is set up
to bring up
what has been bound up
so it can open up
to be freed up
so you can show up for life
Life begins to become an adventure. I think the reason life asked me to have this message is because I almost died of my darkness but I’m saying the challenges of your life are for you. Life will put you in these situations not because you’ve done something wrong. It is about allowing life to put you in these situations and realizing that something is asking to be seen.
SL – You write about the five qualities of the meadow, one being Love. Can you share with us what love means to you?
Mary – Love is everything. It is everything. In the world of science, David Bohm, one of the grandfathers of quantum physics said “matter is an afterthought in a world made out of light” and to me the activity of that light is love. That is what Eben Alexander saw and what Anita Moorjani saw during their NDE’s and they had to leave their bodies to see it but both of them are medical anomalies. They both completely healed because they saw who they really are.
So to me, I’m sitting here in this room and I see a wall and I see a lamp and I see a computer but what I see is the expression of love that is all animated by love. If you blow up an atom to be the size of a sports stadium, the nucleus would be a grain of sand in the middle of the stadium and the electrons would be dancing around the outside. To me atoms are much more space than anything and that space is filled with light and its activity is love. Matter is an afterthought in a world made out of light.
The easiest place to see that is out in nature where you begin to feel it. You don’t see a tree as an object. You feel that it is an expression of this love that is at the heart of life. A slug, a dandelion, a rose, even a rock is animated at some level and it is all an expression of love. To me, the task that we have been given is to fall in love with ourselves.
We ran away to our heads into this dualistic world of good bad right wrong and totally shut down our hearts. We often times hear “Oh I’m supposed to love out there and I’m supposed to be kind out there” but that is the head trying to do it. When you discover how to free up your attention enough so you can be with how energy is moving inside of you, especially the blocked energy, and it begins to wake up your heart, you naturally come back to yourself and discover that you are love and you begin to radiate it out into the world. You become a healing presence in the world. You begin to love the simple things in life.
I know that there are no ordinary moments. I know that we are all in this together on this tiny blue green jewel of a planet that is dancing through vast oceans of space and I know that we are the heart. When we wake up to it within ourselves, we become this radiance in the world.
Mary’s book What’s in the Way IS the Way will take you on a journey of awakening from a lifetime of struggles and help you discover and live from your field of well-being. It will take you back to that beautiful meadow of life that you were born from and is always there waiting for your return home.
Neale Donald Walsh, who wrote the foreward for this book, says this “Put simply, this book will show you the way to a better life, without needing a single thing to be different for you to retain your inner peace, your outer joy, and our overall well-being. Yet it is far from a theory book, or a concept document. It is a Practitioner’s Guide. It is an easy-to-follow Instruction Book. It could easy have been titled Life’s Operating Manuel”. Buy it here.
You can learn more about Mary O’Malley, her individual counseling and coaching, books, classes, retreats and ongoing groups at MaryOMalley.com
INTERVIEW BY: TAMMY HOLMES – SHORT – SOUL LOVE AMBASSADOR