Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Every negative experience is an opportunity for growth.  This is something I repeat to myself often.  It has lifted me out of many dark holes, when I'm weighted in, "Why is this happening to me?"

Yesterday, I was blindsided by a heavy blow of betrayal.  I will save the sticky details for my best selling novel (how else will I coerce you into reading it) but if you're extra curious, I will tell you that Colonel Mustard and Professor Plum had absolutely nothing to do with it.

The way I consciously chose to handle it, created an immediate positive reaction.  Once I let go of the negativity, opting not to give it any energy, I felt an intense gush of freedom.

It helped that I started my day with a dose of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama.

Sometimes, when we are discouraged by a difficult situation, anger does seem helpful, appearing to bring more energy, confidence and determination.  And while it is true that anger brings extra energy, it eclipses the best part of our brain:  its rationality.  So the energy of anger is almost always unreliable.  It can cause an immense amount of destructive, unfortunate behavior.  

After reading and sitting with the Dalai Lama's message, I clicked on my son's memorial website and discovered a letter from one of his former classmates.  She has given me permission to share it with you.

I met Kerry in Central Middle School.  I didn't have the privilege of knowing him but I can proudly say he was my first crush.  I was so young and did not know what love was.  We used to take the same bus which took us to Greenwich Ave so I would see him pretty much everyday.  He was always with Curtis, his best friend. The funny thing was that one of my girlfriends had a crush on his friend.  Every time we would be around them we would get so nervous.  They were the cool kids and we were just some weird girls that would not stop staring.  One day I got the courage to write him a little note and tell him what I felt for him.  I gave it to someone that knew him and waited for him to say something to me.  I didn't expect much since I knew deep down that I was not his type.  I don't know if he ever received it or even read it.

After Middle School, we both attended the same High School, GHS.  I didn't see him much but whenever I did see him, he brought a smile to my face because I always remembered him as my first crush.  He was so handsome still.  His smile...his eyes...they brought all my attention to him.  

I think the last time I saw him was on Greenwich Avenue.  I was walking near the park and he walked right by me.  It took me by surprise since I had not seen him for a long time.  Again, I smiled.  I have a picture of him that I stole from Central Middle School.  I saw it on a bulletin board and loved it so I just took it.  For some reason I looked him up today and I had no idea what happened to him.  It brought a lot of tears but I know he's an angel that is watching over us, especially his loved ones.  

                                                                                                                     - Heidy Johanna Mutis

Photo of my son, Kerry Ryan Magann, that I never saw before.

A memory is the greatest gift you can give me with regard to my son.  Knowing he is remembered fondly, brings me enormous comfort. 

I arrived at work just in time for lunch (I write from home in the mornings - brilliant plan, don't you think). 

In celebration of a crisp, clear, autumn day, Miss Pegged (coworker and cohort in play) and I left the car keys behind and mindfully meandered our way to the bank and then to a small restaurant on Greenwich Avenue.  

As soon as we crossed the first intersection, I noticed the sidewalk had been graffitied with large SMILING faces.  One after the other, all the way down the street, leading directly to the bank.

I don't know who drew them, but I know they are for ME!

After the bank and a relaxing lunch, we ran into my friend Jay.  I tell you, recently, it's Jay every day!

Jay and I both attending a writing workshop at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York this past weekend titled, Memoir a Buddhist Practice, taught by James Kullander and Rikki Asher.  He is also one of my trapeze buddies (I love saying that).

Being at Omega is refreshing.  Rural simplicity, bursting with beauty and seeded in like minds - minds focused on expansion, goodness and wellness.

Jay and I have been running into each other a lot lately, and I know why.  We are on the same path.  Jay too sees his obstacles as opportunities for growth.  Jay's journey will be chronicled in his best selling novel (to be completed on May 17, 2011), so I can't give you any details, but trust me...Jay's got it going on!

The people I have attracted into my life are AMAZING gifts.  Starting with my husband and streaming down into my core circle - my true family, my camp-mates, my coworkers, and my extended family.  Friends from far and near - in real time and in blogger format, all of them compassionate, earnest, and forthright.

 Green Monkey, Jesse, Piko, Jelly 
Pappy, War Bunny, Bull Bunny, Dust Bunny, Pinky, Ian, Tiger, Chad 
Alan, Wally 

If you are reading this, that includes YOU.  You have nurtured my creativity.  You have encouraged me to be myself, to trust myself, and to honor myself.  Please know that I appreciate your open heart, your genuineness, your kindness and most of all, your unconditional love and friendship.


Aspiring Best Selling Authors:  Stephanie Thompson, Ami Bhalodkar, Shannon E. Kennedy, Mary Ann Donahue, Mary T. Keane, Carol Wolff, Jay Chalnick, Cassie Eshelman, and Kathy Robinson 

With brilliant instruction by literary geniuses, James Kullander and Rikki Asher

James Kullander, MDiv, is a program curriculum developer at Omega and a writer.  His acclaimed essay "My Marital Status," originally published in The Sun magazine, has been anthologized in The Best Buddhist Writing 2008 and the Mysterious Life of the Heart. 

Rikki Asher, EdD, has practiced Chan (Zen) meditation since 1979 and teaches meditation at the Dharma Drum Mountain Retreat Center in Pine Bush, New York.  As director of art education at Queens College in New York City, she uses writing, visual awareness and meditation, as part of her curriculum with college students. 

For more information on the Omega Institute visit:


Green Monkey Tales © 2010 Shannon E. Kennedy 

Dalai Lama and Heart Energy photo courtesy of Google image


  1. Shannon, love this. In my day job, we talk about how ones thoughts lead ones mood, and this is an awesome example. By maintaining a positive point of view in your thoughts, you give us all a gift back.

  2. Shannon... your son, in his new stage, has new and improved ways to be with you; it is not a coincidence that you read that letter today and that you received that picture exactly when you needed it the most. Happy faces were just the cherry on top (and yes, also FOR YOU). You are an AMAZING woman; reading you makes me feel deeply motivated and touched by you. Thanks A LOT for sharing your gifts with us.

  3. so good to be able to see the blessings in the middle of the hardships of life.

  4. Simply AMAZING Monkey!! There is such a shine going on, and with such depth of heart, YUMMYYY! My heart brightens at this, and knows that you feel it too.

  5. Your strength and grit are an inspiration. Being able to glean even a glimmer of hope or positive energy when you are feeling betrayed is a blessing that many of us struggle to grasp. Please let me know if I can do anything. You know I am just a call away if you ever need someone to listen. I love you and know what ever your burden, you are stronger than other people’s negative energy. Love Pinky

    P.S I may know where we can get a a couple dozen voodoo dolls;)

  6. (((((hug))))))) deep breath (ahhhhhh) and LOVE xoxoxo

  7. I love the part about your son and how "A memory is the greatest gift you can give." What a great story she had to tell you and the cool is that! I've always felt a smile can warm a heart even if its from a sidewalk.
    Loves ooxx

  8. Beautiful words and pictures, Shannon. You truly are an amazing, inspirational woman. I am sorry you were betrayed, but whoever did it, is certainly the one who "lost" something....
    I love the first line of this post, "Every negative experience is an opportunity for growth." I think I'll print that and hang it on my bulletin board! I also LOVE the twinkle in the Dalai's entire face!! Adorable and sweet...just like YOU! Hugs!

  9. What a wonderful tribute to your son, and a great post. You are one heck of a strong woman, and I love your attitude.

  10. There's something special about Kerry's picture. I've always been fascinated by his eyes and smile. Even though he's not smiling in this picture, his mesmerizing stare just captivates me....
    I believe that things happen for a reason and going back to the day I took that photo, it was meant for me to take it so that I could share it with you.


    Heidy J. Mutis

  11. Lovely post. I sense your genuine serenity in response to betrayal and that makes you grand. Funny how the Universe works. You open to it, and it conspires to bring you joy.

    It touches my heart - the memories you cherish about your son. I'm so glad you discoved that sweet letter.

    By the way, I'm green with envy that you participated in a course at the Omega Institute. But glad you did.

  12. Memories are a great blessing and finding the letter from your son's classmate shows how much he is loved by those who were around him, as long as people keep the memories alive he will always be here with you.

  13. Earlier I wrote this to myself on Facebook.
    "loves the way my life is totally insignificant but worthwhile at the same time". Internet seems to be the place to throw stuff out into darkness when you see the light. Faceless people mostly, people we never meet personally, but each contributes to our lives in some way or another.
    Often they only read and say nothing but that is ok, the thought is out there. I enjoyed your thought's tonight, even if I sit somewhere in the open countryside, outside a village with a couple of crackpots for neighbours, with my computer being the only link to the outside world.

  14. that and my fax machine. I once had a reading with John Edward, and he told me that Kerry tries to contact me via the phone. John said it was hard for him to say, because to him it sounded he thought about it a bit and he said "its a beeping sound" We moved into our new house a year or so after Kerry passed and we also got a new telephone number. I worked with the phone company to try to find something that meant something to me, and we ended up with "0027" Kerry was alll about 27's... a year or so later, we started to get repeat fax calls. you listen to your voicemail and all you hear is "beep, beep, beep, beep" it used to drive us crazy until I heard John's message. Now, when the calls come in we yell "HI KERRY" :))))) this always, makes us smile

    Thank you everyone for reading about Kerry! It means the world to me - that others know he lived, and know how truly special he was.

  15. Alice - that gave me goosebumps! I do believe we are connected in this moment (if that makes sense)

  16. That makes total sense. I live like a hermit, out of choice, but it allows me to get rid of the interference and tap into one person at a time that has a part in my life. You are a part of my life because I follow your life so to speak. I have some uncanny stories to tell, but I think my lack of contact with people allows me to connect in other ways.

  17. Shannon, this is beautiful. It brought a tear to my eye. It is my honor to be part of your path, and -- as you said in the comment you left on my post: RIGHT ON! (Also, I can't resist: WRITE ON!) As for the letter from the girl (woman now) who had a crush on your son, how beautiful and generous that she shared it. Lives touch lives in ways we can never know.

  18. What a great and optimistic post! Something I needed today. Thanks for this, Shannon!

  19. So very well written Shannon... Yes we should remain positive when faced by a challenge and a bit of spiritual reading always helps... That letter was just so heart warming.
    Have a lovely weekend:)

  20. Sorry I have been away! What a wonderful gift of a memory!

    Yes, I did put those smiley faces on the sidewalk just for you!


Thank you for encouraging my JOY of writing. By reading and commenting you are feeding my soul, stroking my heart, and in the end...making me a better writer.

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Shannon E. Kennedy


Photo by Joan Harrison