By Robin Van Auken
The Wholehearted Author
Mary Woods is an artist, a poet, and the author of “The Heart of the Matter,” which guides the reader to becoming wholeheartedly happy.
I know Mary through her service work with Beloved Community Council and Heart of Williamsport. We’ve worked on the HoW project for three years, and it’s amazing to see the change of heart she’s experienced as the project assistant. HoW’s mission is to collect stories from our diverse community, identify what people value, and share this information to guide Williamsport’s future. Developed by the Orton Family Foundation, the Heart & Soul Community program empowers people to shape the future of their communities by improving local decision-making, creating a shared sense of belonging, and ultimately strengthening the social, cultural, and economic vibrancy of each place.
It’s a fuzzy concept, but after a few years of working together, we think we have it down pat. Mary does, at least. She’s been talking to hundreds of people, one-on-one, with interviews and then follow-up conversations to develop clarity on what the people of Williamsport value. I enjoy working with Mary on this local project because she’s an optimist and is always kind. She’s obviously taking her own advice.
The amazing thing is, the program mirrors her book, which she authored years before HoW took over her life. She describes the book as, the result of a willingness to listen to and follow her heart.
And you know I can relate to that.
It is a spiritual message that transcends different beliefs and divisions, so that we can remember the love that unites us all.
Learn more about Mary’s book on Amazon:
“The Heart of the Matter” is an idea whose time has come. It is a simple, yet profound message that will hit a chord and resonate in your heart because it rings true. Like a children’s book for adults, it is a fast and easy read, reminding grown ups of the innate wisdom that their inner child never forgot. This is a book about the whole heart that guides the reader to an experience of being wholeheartedly happy. It is a spiritual message that transcends different beliefs and divisions, so we can remember the love that unites us all at heart. Highlighted with original poems, as well as quotes from A Course In Miracles to Swami Beyondananda, it is an inspirational and heartfelt look at life that takes us to the very heart of the matter.
There’s Something About Mary
Originally from Baltimore, Mary has had a diverse and unconventional career before settling in Williamsport in the year 2000. She describes her life as her piece of art, like the collages that illustrate her book, a collaborative composition of all the individual pieces that come together to form a whole piece of art, the art of the heart.
Mary has lived and worked in many interesting locations. In Florida, she was an art director for the Port St. Lucie Independent newspaper and a day care teacher at Indian River Community College. She lived in Puerto Rico for ten years where she had a health food restaurant, Punta de Energia, and began her own holistic center, The Open Heart Retreat. She worked as a staff member in two New York spiritual centers, Omega Institute and The Foundation for A Course In Miracles.
In Virginia Beach at Edgar Cayce’s Association for Research and Enlightenment, she worked as a correspondence coordinator, lecturer, and Egyptian tour guide. When Mary moved to Williamsport to be near her family, she became a Wellness Coach at Freshlife, where she worked for seven years. It was there that she met her husband, David DeFebo.
In the spring of 2007, Mary began writing and illustrating an inspirational book, “The Heart of the Matter” She describes the book as, “the result of a willingness to listen to and follow my heart…like a personal thesis as a student of life, it is a reflection of my journey, a path with heart.” The book is about the whole heart that guides the reader to an experience of being wholeheartedly happy. It is a spiritual message that transcends different beliefs and divisions, so that we can remember the love that unites us all at heart.
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