An Interview with Mary O’Malley: Author, Counselor, Speaker & Teacher of Awakening
Sylvia: Welcome Mary! I am excited to finally interview you. I am also very honored that you sent me a copy of your book. I can’t wait to read it… and starting this weekend. Please give our readers an introduction of yourself and your book.
Mary: Hi Sylvia. I hope you enjoy the book. My name is Mary O’Malley. I am an author, counselor, inspirational speaker, and teacher of awakening in Kirkland, WA. My new book, What’s In the Way IS the Way, guides readers through the most important journey they will ever take: the journey into the joy of being fully alive. The book is filled with powerful teachings, moving stories and simple exercises to heal fear, anxiety, shame and confusion, and transform struggle into the peace we all long for. Jeff Foster, author of The Deepest Acceptance, says “Her message is medicine for the world.”
Sylvia: Wow, how powerful! I can’t wait to get started reading it! What inspired you to write your first book?
Mary: I have to tell you a little bit about what led up to my first book because I did not have any intention of writing a book when I began my journey of awakening. As a matter of fact, I was on a journey into darkness at a very young age, which included sexual abuse, alcohol, drugs, and food. By my early-twenties, I had been in two psychiatric hospitals and tried to kill myself three times. I had essentially given up all hope. Then a few years later, a teacher came into my life who showed me that what I had been trying to do my whole life was fix myself, which is an endless game. He told me, “Become curious instead.”
As I began to discover the power of bringing curiosity and compassion to all of the states of mind and body that I had tried to control or change all of my life, people began asking me to share what I had discovered, and that is when I started leading groups and retreats, and I eventually became a Certified Counselor. Many years later, I wrote my first book called Belonging to Life: A Journey of Awakening. I decided to write this book to help others heal their inner wars so they too could have a trust-filled connection with Life.
Sylvia: I commend your strength! You are victorious! Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Mary: When I was writing my new book, What’s In the Way IS the Way, I was just typing away one day and this wonderful little statement came to me.[pullquote]
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
There are many important messages in this book, but one of the core messages is that Life will put you in difficult or challenging situations, not because you’ve done something wrong, but because something is asking to be seen and transformed by your attention.
Sylvia: Very powerful quote. And yes, you are right; life is like a roller coaster, a long, abrupt, curvy and bumpy ride. Do you have any advice for other writers?
Mary: My advice to other writers is to speak to your audience from your heart. As a writer, I try to allow the wisdom of my heart, rather than my mind, to be the guiding force in my work.
Sylvia: What marketing techniques have you used to sell your books and which ones have been most successful?
Mary: Marketing a new book is not an easy feat, so don’t give up. My advice is to do something every day to market yourself and your book. I would have to say that my students and the people who have read my previous books are my best source for spreading the word about my work. So, tap into your biggest fans. Other than that, I suggest trying to do as many radio and website interviews as possible as well as book reviews. Speaking engagements are also a good way to get the word out. Marketing a new book is the work of a life time.
Sylvia: Why should we buy your book?
Mary: I truly believe this book transforms people’s lives. I have seen it happen time and time again with my students. Everyone deserves to live from a place of peace, ease and well-being, but we all struggle with the spells we took on when we were very young. These spells come up as fear, sadness, pain, grief, compulsions, anger, addictions, etc. What I teach is a radical shift in perception, a shift from trying to fix or change yourself to becoming compassionately curious about what is showing up in your life. Your innate sense of well-being will be revealed as you learn how to unhook from your struggling self, and I guide you every step of your journey.
I am so pleased that my new book is endorsed by Jack Kornfield, Stephen Levine, Neale Donald Walsh, and Jeff Foster. I would have to say that Scott Kiloby, author and founder of the Kiloby Center for Recovery, answers your question beautifully:
“Out of the plentiful garden of books out there on spirituality that get too heady or are not experiential enough to really help people, this rare gem arrived at my doorstep one day. This book is different! I tend to prefer books like this one, ones that don’t just talk about the experience of freedom but that graciously and helpfully reach a hand out to the reader and lift him or her out of suffering. Mary has the rare gift of being able to translate her experience well and to actually help a lot of people.”
Sylvia: What an impressive list of endorsers. Is there a special place that you prefer when you write?
Mary: No special place. I typically write in my home office. But I do have a magical garden with a fish pond and a waterfall, and I often sit in my garden. Taking the time each day to slow down and just be provides inspiration for my writing.
Sylvia: I like that… slow down and shhhhhh! What projects are you currently working on?
Mary: I am working on the details for my two retreats being offered in 2015, one in Costa Rica and one in Denmark. In addition, I am currently working with Sounds True, as they will be publishing What’s In the Way IS the Way in the fall of 2015. I also just videotaped a course on compulsions that will be offered through the en*theos Academy for Optimal Living.
Sylvia: I am so in awe of your work. Sounds intriguing! What is your POWER WORD? Why this word?
Mary: “Heart” is my POWER WORD. Life shows up differently when you listen to your heart. I try to allow the wisdom of my heart, rather than my mind, to be the guiding force in my life. When I first began to listen to my heart, I began to see that I was not my thoughts, that it was only the storyteller in my head. And, I began to discover the phenomenal power of the heart by seeing through the spells I took on when I was very young. I have come to believe that this is the time of the heart, and the most important person to touch with our hearts is ourselves!
If you let your heart be your guiding force, rather than your mind, you swim in a sea of gratitude, and you don’t take anything for granted. This is a beautiful way to live. There is practically no greater joy a human being can know than living from gratitude, and this happens by living from your heart. My book explores the great wisdom of the heart and how to thrive through an open heart.
Sylvia: How do you start your journey into ease and well-being today? What is the very first step?
Mary: You can start by giving yourself five minutes a day of just noticing this moment. One way is to follow your breath, and I guide you to learn to do this in my book. When I first started on the path of awakening and turning toward myself, I could not follow my breath. It was too scary, too intimate. So, I started with sounds.
There are always sounds – sounds inside your body, airplanes going overhead, a bird chirping, your stomach grumbling. Most of the time you will be thinking about something other than the sounds and you will be off in the storyteller in your head, but that is okay. If you give yourself the gift of five minutes every day, you will start wanting to do it longer because it is fascinating. That is the first foundation, strengthening the muscle of your attention.
Sylvia: How else can my subscribers and readers follow you or get more information? Do you have any upcoming events or webinars?
Mary: The best way to get more information about my awakening work is to go to my website. There are free talks on my website, you-tube videos, newsletters, lots of CDs, and my four books. I also do phone counseling, phone groups and retreats.
These are all good ways to begin to nourish yourself by discovering the power of compassionate curiosity. I also have two phone groups and two in-person groups that meet once a week. We explore together and it is so amazing to gather with groups of people who are awakening because we need that kind of support. Everybody else has what I call “spells”, so it takes the stigma away and you can become much more interested in what Life is showing you in any given situation.
Sylvia: I’ve enjoyed this Mary, thank you! Please share your social media and book contact information.
Mary: This has been great! Thank you for taking time to interview me. Your readers may find me at: