Tag Archive: Mary Treacy O’Keefe

Book Launch For Meant-to-Be Moments on Nov. 18, 2014 in St. Paul, MN

FINAL Meant to Be Moments cover copy

Please join me at the book launch for Meant-to-Be Moments: Discovering  What We are Called to Do and Be, at 7pm, November 18, 2014 at Assumption Church, lower level, 51 W. 7th St. W, St. Paul, MN.

Here’s a story that opens my book, about the first time I experienced a meant-to-be moment in my own life:

“Get out of the car,” a voice inside me whispered one cold Minnesota evening as my boyfriend and I sat talking in his car in front of my parents’ home. Not wanting to explain to Dan (now my husband of more than forty years) that I was hearing voices, I ignored it. But when that voice became an urgent command, “Get out of the car, NOW!” I obeyed. Moments after my perplexed date and I were safely inside the house, a drunk driver smashed into Dan’s car and sent it careening into the neighbor’s yard.

There was an explanation for the accident: the driver drank too much, lost control of his car, and drove headlong into ours. Yet the voice I heard seemed meant to be: it saved our lives. But where had the voice come from? Had it been luck? My overactive imagination? Or was it the “still, small voice” that Scripture says comes from God? (1 Kings 19:12 KJV)

Since that long-ago incident and others like it, I’ve wondered: Are some experiences meant to be? Does God really call us to be a certain way and do certain things? Is there really a Divine master plan? And if so, what is our role in the plan?


My second book, Meant-to-Be Moments:Discovering What We are Called to Do and Be contains fifty-five inspiring and hope-filled stories along a four-part process for finding meaning within your own meant-to-be moments. If you are in or near the Twin Cities, I hope to see you tomorrow night! If not, the book is now available on Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com.  Watch for more news about the Amazon book launch, with prizes, to be held on Dec. 10.  And please continue to email me at mtbstories@gmail.com, with any meant-to-be stories to be considered for publication in my next book! Thank you!

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Hope, Healing and WellBeing – Living a Heart Healthy Life with Dr. Steve Smalley

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In honor of American Heart Month in February, we’ve invited cardiologist Steve Smalley, MD to provide a comprehensive overview of invaluable information about how to determine the risks and prevent heart disease. He also discusses the symptoms of a heart attack, which are often different for women, and what to do immediately after someone has one. Some of the most significant risk factors are family history, smoking, poor diet, inactivity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. For a healthy meal plan, Dr. Smalley recommends the DASH diet as the best overall diet, especially for lowering blood pressure. The concept of “broken heart” syndrome is also explained, including how it is caused by stress and grief. He emphasizes the importance of incorporating stress reduction techniques including the programs and classes offered at Well Within.

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Hope, Healing and WellBeing – Second Firsts with Christina Rasmussen

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Christina Rasmussen is a grief coach and author of Second Firsts: Live, Laugh and Love Again. With clear-spoken science and inspiring stories, Second Firsts guides readers through The 5-Step Life Re-entry Model: a revolutionary process that turns the whole notion of ‘grief recovery’ inside out — taking loss out of the spotlight, and placing life front + center. As the founder of Second Firsts, Christina now spends her time speaking, coaching and helping thousands of people to rebuild, reclaim and re-launch their whole lives — using the most powerful tool for personal reinvention: the human mind. Before creating Second Firsts, Christina worked as a therapist + crisis intervention specialist. But after losing her husband to colon cancer, Christina experienced the agony of sudden loss, firsthand. With two daughters in tow, she began the tender process of transforming her tragedy into a new career, a renewed sense of purpose, and a life of joy + laughter. But as she points out: “This has never been about my story. This is about the work of Re-Entry. It’s about choosing to dance, laugh, love + live again.

In this interview, Christina gives hope to those who are grieving. She discusses the importance of talking about grief, but then allowing even just 5 minutes a day to “plug into life” rather than wait until the grief subsides. She helps others “reentry” the world by trying to overcome the fear that often tries to prevent us from living fully. Grief changes over time. Christina says “grief is an inhuman experience that takes place outside time and space.” It’s helpful to surround ourselves with positive people who help us find life outside the “waiting room.”

Christina shares her five-step reentry process helps people bridge the gap between life before the loss and what lies ahead. She also provides tips for coping with the holidays and gives suggestions for how friends can help others cope with their grief. For more information please visit: www.secondfirsts.com or www.lifestarters.org.

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Hope, Healing and WellBeing Show– Close Your Eyes and Open Your Mind with Dada Nabhanillananda


Meditation is one of the most effective self-care practices, offering countless benefits including stress reduction, healing and overall health and well-being. In this episode of the Hope, Healing and WellBeing show, Yogi and musician Dada Nabhanillananda discusses why it’s so important to incorporate meditation into our daily lives.

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Meditation enables us to connect deeper with our Higher Power, as Dada writes in his excellent book, Close Your Eyes and Open Your Mind: A Practical Approach to Spiritual Meditation.

Dada begins by describing how as young man from New Zealand, he became a yoga monk of the Ananda Marga Yoga Society after a spiritual experience he had as a college student. He now blends together his passions for music and meditation to become a profound spiritual practice which he loves to teach to others. Music can change your state of mind and mood. There are many types of meditation, but Dada prefers using a mantra in his daily practice, which also uses chanting. Meditation is a struggle for many people so he shares ideas for how to begin meditating and improving each person’s own practice.

To obtain a free meditation guide from Dada, please email him with the heading “Meditation Please” to dada@themonkdude.com. For more information, please visit www.themonkdude.com

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Nourishing Heart and Soul with Bonnie Blanchette

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Bonnie Blanchette is a volunteer chaplain assistant and a woman of deep faith who experiences the presence of God in all she meets. She has been working with cancer patients for over ten years and leading a cancer support group at Woodwind’s Health Campus for almost three years. She studied and worked with Qigong Master Chunyi Lin at the Spring Forest Qigong healing center as a Master Healer.

Bonnie created the Nourishing Heart and Soul support group to assist people living with cancer and their family and friends. The focus of her group is on staying balanced, finding peace and living as fully as possible. Nourishing Heart and Soul offers prayer and affirmations, inspirational messages and stories, guided imagery and other meditation techniques, gentle qigong movements, and self-help tips. For example, use post it notes with affirmations around your home. She demonstrates a brief breathing meditation and discusses the importance of setting intentions.

Bonnie stresses the need for incorporating spirituality into her daily life. Although she wasn’t particularly religious in her younger years, she shares a profound spiritual experience when she heard a voice say “You have a lot of love to give. ” This resulted in her going more inward and coming into her own heart. She now believes spirituality is about opening our hearts, and connecting with ourselves, by being present to own needs and also the needs of others.

She discusses how Qi Gong is about balancing energy, through meditation and active exercises. Bonnie shares a simple exercise which can be done sitting or lying down, one that can be very healing for anyone. Healing begins the moment people relax, then they leave with more energy and feeling better. Bonnie recommends doing whatever brings a person the most peace rather than trying to please others. Those with a peaceful presence are people who follow their heart and have a strong relationship with God.

For more information about the Nourishing Heart and Soul support group, which takes place on Saturdays at 1pm at Woodwind Hospital in Woodbury, MN, please contact Bonnie at bonnieblanchette@gmail.com.

Note: Well Within also offers QiGong practice groups and Bonnie co-facilitates a free monthly Healing Circle for Body, Mind and Spirit on the first Thursday of the month, from 4-5pm at Well Within.

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Holistic Self-care for Cancer Survivors with Cami Smalley

Hope, Healing and WellBeing – Holistic Self-care for Cancer Survivors with Cami Smalley

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Cami Smalley, MA is a Health and Wellness Coach who specializes in holistic wellness, personal growth, and stress management coaching, and teaches yoga, meditation, and several stress management strategies. With advanced degrees in Physical Education and Holistic Health Studies, she has worked in the health and fitness industry for over 25 years. She currently volunteers at Well Within as a health and wellness coach, and facilitates its cancer survivorship program.

She begins by describing her work, especially as it relates to survivorship. When faced with cancer, working with a coach will enable the person to be empowered during a time when it feels a person has very little control. Between 60-90% of people with cancer use some sort of complementary therapy in addition to traditional western medical care. Cami is trained as a Circle of Life coach, a program which includes a six phase process, including assessing one’s life, establishing readiness, designing change, creating a blueprint for change, planning action steps, taking steps and accessing resources, and reevaluating and revising one’s program.
She describes some of the 15 “powers,” of the program including self inquiry, group process, acknowleding your strengths, developing mind/body practices for good self care to reduce stress, and accountability. Cami has found that certain mind-body practices are particularly helpful for people with cancer including
visualization, cleansing breaths, positive emotions and other techniques. For more information about Cami, please visit http://www.nurselifecoach.com.

Cami will be one of the featured speakers at Well Within’s September 14 Becoming Well Within conference for cancer survivors and those who love them. Here’s more information about this exciting upcoming program:

                       Becoming Well Within


 Enjoy a day of inspiration, connections, laughter and learning, including lunch.

Discover a medley of resources for survivors and caregivers.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

8:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m

The PROM CENTER in Oakdale, MN


     Featured Speakers:

  • Ruth Bachman, cancer survivor and author of “Growing Through the Narrow Spots”
  • Brenda Elsager, cancer survivor, humorist and author of “If the Battle’s Over, Why Am I Still In Uniform?”
  • Henry Emmons, MD, PhD, resiliency expert and author of “The Chemistry of Joy”and “The Chemistry of Calm”
  • Michele O’Brien, RN,CNS, MN Oncology Survivorship Program
  • Cami Smalley, MA, wellness coach and facilitator of Well Within’s Holistic Survivorship Program


Cost Per Person (includes lunch):
$39.00 before 9/1/2013 or  $49.00 after 9/1/2013

Table for 8 with priority reserved seating:
$350.00 before 9/1/2013 or $450.00 after 9/1/2013

Scholarship Note: A limited number of scholarships are available for this event. Please contact Cathy Nordheim  at Well Within 651-451-3113 to apply for a scholarship.



To inquire about being a sponsor, please contact Mary Treacy O’Keefe, Well Within President, directly at 651-231-1094

For more information email betsy@wellwithin.org or call Well Within at (651) 451-3113.

Presented by Minnesota Oncology

In partnership with

Well Within


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Meant to Be Miracles: Remembering the still small voice that saved our lives

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle.   The other is as though everything is a miracle.                     — Albert Einstein

As a writer, I’m often asked if I have a blog. Until today, I said something like, “No, but my radio show is like a blog for me, as an extrovert who struggles with the solitary process of writing.” But now that I have more time to enjoy writing, I’m excited to have created this “real” blog. Many people write blog posts, then use them to create a book.  I guess I’m doing this backwards. I’ve nearly completed my second book, tentatively titled Meant to Be: Do Things Really Happen for a Reason?, and look forward to sharing some of the 55 stories contained in it here.

The first time I observed a “meant to be” experience, I was eighteen years old.  Parked outside my parents’ home in my boyfriend’s car, Dan and I were chatting and, well, “making out.” We were having such a good time that when I heard an inner voice say “Get out of the car,” I refused to listen to it. It spoke again, this time so urgently I had to obey: “Get out of the car NOW!”   When I told Dan we had to go inside, he asked why. I didn’t want to tell him I’d heard a voice in my head. Instead, I replied, “I don’t know why. We just have to get out of the car.”

Less than five minutes later, we were taking off our coats in the front hall of my house. Suddenly, there was a loud crash. Racing to the window to see what happened, we then ran outside to check on the driver who had just rammed a beat up green Ford into the back of Dan’s rusted Buick, which now blocked the sidewalk adjoining the neighbor’s yard.  A young man, no older than us, staggered out of the car, dazed and drunk, but unhurt. Later, Dan (now my husband of nearly 40 years) and I realized that had I not responded to the mental warning, both of us likely would have been injured or perhaps killed.

At the time I wondered how I could be so smart, telling myself to get out of the car and thus saving our lives. It never crossed my mind that it might be a message from the Divine or from the guardian angel my mother asked to take care of her ten children every day.  But over the years, as I began to question my parents’ strong faith and wondered whether there really was a loving God, I remembered hearing the still small voice. I realized it was no accident it spoke just before Dan’s car was destroyed.  The meant to be message became the first time I experienced a “thin place,” when the veil is very thin between this world and the next one. Since that long ago event, I’ve heard and observed hundreds–maybe thousands–of meant to be incidents. Some are dramatic miracles, others everyday ones, each a reminder of God’s presence in our daily lives. I look forward to sharing these stories and anecdotes here. And I invite you to share your own “meant to be” and “thin place” stories with me, either as a comment below or, for long ones, please email me at mary@marytreacyokeefe.com.



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