World Meditation Day is May 21st and we thought it was the perfect occasion to honor BCRC’s dedicated volunteer and meditation facilitator Maria Marotti. She has been a Reiki practitioner for 20+ years, and facilitating the mediation group for over 15 years, she’s a retired academic, formerly teaching at UCSB, and accomplished author. Every Monday at 12:15PM Maria leads BCRC clients through a meditation practice. We hope you enjoy getting to know her a little better! All of us at the BCRC are grateful to Maria for her years of dedicated service as a volunteer and for her kind compassionate heart. Thank you Maria!
Silvana Kelly: Can you share with us your personal history with the BCRC?
Maria Marotti: I came to the BCRC in 2002 as a Reiki practitioner. I was introduced to the Reiki group by my Reiki teacher, Rama Seltzer. Later on I started a guided imagery group. It didn’t gain enough traction, so I let it go. When Rama was diagnosed with brain cancer, I was asked to replace her. I asked Rama if it was a good idea and she was glad and told me:”You’ll be great!”
Silvana Kelly: What have been some of your most rewarding moments from your involvement with the BCRC?
Maria Marotti: Every time I have seen our clients thrive I’ve felt rewarded.
Silvana Kelly: How long have you been practicing meditation and how did you begin?
Maria Marotti: I studied several meditation techniques for more than forty years. And I have practiced them on and off for just as long.
Silvana Kelly: What are some of the greatest benefits of meditation and particularly someone going through breast cancer treatment?
Maria Marotti: It creates a peaceful state of mind. It lowers anxiety by making us more aware of our ability to get in touch with our inner self. By practicing meditation on a regular basis we gain control of our anxiety and the recurring thoughts and mental habits, which are behind it. If practiced on a regular basis, meditation can foster healing.
Silvana Kelly: What is one of the biggest misconceptions about meditation?
Maria Marotti: Some think it is boring. I think our mind is very entertaining if we are willing to detach from it and just observe it. We are not our mind. Some people also think that meditation slows us down and makes us passive. That, too, is not necessarily true. It may makes us less reactive. That may create more peace and love in our lives.
Silvana Kelly: Can you offer some advice to someone who has never meditated but wants to get started?
Maria Marotti: Yes, start by sitting comfortably and notice your breath, count your inhalation and your exhalation and then just your breath the way it is and the thoughts crossing our consciousness
Silvana Kelly: You are also a Reiki Master, can you share with us a little about Reiki healing?
Maria Marotti: Reiki is for me is one of the most rewarding practices. It starts with getting in touch with the spiritual guides and then with our inner healer and then with the client’s guides and their inner selves. It is wonderful to see our clients come in with their pain and leave without—or at least without some of it.
Silvana Kelly: During this past year, many people have struggled with isolation and anxiety. What do you do to find personal happiness?
Maria Marotti: I understand the anxiety and suffering connected with isolation. Not being able to be part of the volunteer work I have done for years was a bit hard.It was also hard not to be able to travel and to go to Italy to visit family and friends. I love animals and having a dog and a cat helped me. Unfortunately my beloved and super smart dog died in October. Big loss. I live with my partner and that has helped, too. Ultimately, writing, publishing and marketing my writing has also helped me a lot. Zoom and being able to teach the guided meditation and Chi Gong class has been a gift.
Silvana Kelly: What are some of your favorite things about living in Santa Barbara?
Maria Marotti: It’s a lovely city, very verdant and green, with a thriving cultural life and a blue ocean and a mild climate.
Silvana Kelly: Who are your heroes in real life and/or fiction?
Maria Marotti: I don’t know that I have heroes. There are people whom I admire for their bright minds and generous hearts.
Silvana Kelly: Is there anything you would like to tell us that most people don’t know about you?
Maria Marotti: Not everybody knows that I am a retired academic and hypnotherapist who helped smokers quit the habit and other things along that line. I’ve been a writer most of my life. It has been rewarding and it has helped me keep my balance even when it was hard.
Silvana Kelly: On behalf of the BCRC thank you Maria for your many years of generous volunteer service for the benefit of individuals facing breast cancer. It’s beautiful to think of how many lives you have touched and hearts you have filled through your teachings. Thank you for allowing us this opportunity to get to know you a little better.
Join Maria on Mondays at 12:15pm for our weekly guided meditation. Register Online Here.
Maria also has a new book coming out soon entitled The Etruscan Princess. To check out her other books you can visit her website.