Feeds:
Posts
Comments
Noah and Esther napping together

Noah and Esther napping together

I’ve known, for such a long time, that no matter what happens in my life, it all ultimately comes back to me and to my perception of any given situation. But sometimes this just ticks me off. It really means that there is never anyone to blame, …but there are times that I would really like to blame “them”, damn it!

For years, I felt that if someone treated me in a way that was less-than I would’ve liked, I secretly (or openly) blamed them for being inconsiderate, mean, unconscious, or whatever else I could think of that would take the focus off myself. As I began to awaken to a higher consciousness, I realized that thinking an unloving thought was not helpful. Criticising, condemning, and  judging, ultimately didn’t make me feel better, so I tried to “love them”. This  flipped me from thinking/feeling, “they are wrong” to “I am wrong for feeling this way. I need to be more loving….damn it!” Blame them or blame myself…it was the same trap.

What I didn’t know was that self-love (or the lack thereof) was really at the root of the situation/conflict. I didn’t know that I couldn’t even begin to love another when I was sinking in self-hatred, doubt, and loathing.

Eventually, I began to see that every time an unpleasant situation arose, it was a signal from my higher-self for more love, more self-love, and I found that when I remembered this, the situation and my feelings about it changed. Quickly.

It is futile to try to get others to love me. They might be in a bad mood and say something hurtful, and if I either believe them or blame them, I’m stuck in their (temporarily unhappy) version of life or of me. There is a better way.

I ran into a woman the other day who gave me such a dirty look that I felt my whole body pull back as if I had been hit. My first reaction was, “What did I do?”…this thought did not make me feel better.

A few minutes after I saw her, I thought, “This situation calls for more love. More self-love”, and I began to tell myself how much I appreciated who I was in this lifetime. As I sat there, quietly contemplating my finer qualities, I felt peace flood though me, a peace that I can still feel when I think of that moment.

Today is a wonderful day to let go of the old, worn out concepts of yourself. Today is the day to begin to feel who you really are; a magnificent point of God-consciousness…the incarnation of Love itself.

“The concept of self-love is not easy to grasp, but think about it in terms of vibration and resonance: without your own positive vibration, you will be unable to help others vibrate. Simply put, it is impossible to love another unless you can first love yourself. Let me give you an example of what I mean. Let’s say that there’s a 440-hertz tuning fork. If it’s just standing there, there’s not enough vibration to be audible by the human ear. But if you sing ‘Ah!’ at this level the tuning fork will begin to vibrate. By sharing your vibration, you have restored the tuning fork–you have brought it back to life through an act of sharing.

In this case, we might even say that the act of singing ‘Ah’ is a loving act. Each one of us has an important responsibility to give love in the way only a human can….But to give energy to the world around us, we must first have the energy within you. You can’t give someone something that you don’t already have. So to have love in your life, begin by respecting, appreciating and caring for yourself.” pg 101-102 The Miracle of Water by Masaru Emoto

 

The "blackbird fly...." painting sitting on top of some nests and eggspainting

The “blackbird fly….”* painting sitting on top of some nests and eggs

Lately I’ve thought so much about the idea of beginning our lives again, starting now, from this very point where we stand, to change our thinking and thus our lives. For me, a consistent thought that has seemed to accompany this has been, “It’s too late. You are almost 60. You should have made these changes when you were younger and not so …..”

The lie, that has ruined so many lives and rendered us helpless (feeling) is that it is too late to change, or at least to change for the better. When I let myself think this way, about anything in my life or in the lives of those around me, I can feel myself begin to sink, almost like I am slowly folding into myself as I begin the process of what I can only call “decay”.

A song that I have always loved is “Blackbird” by Paul McCartney. The words, “….take these broken wings and learn to fly, all your life, you have only waited for this moment to arise…” have been going though my head. When I looked up the meaning behind this song, I read that Paul McCartney had written it about the Civil Rights Movement.

If we base our futures only on what has happened to us (or others) in the past, we never change because we cannot see a different world…so we never see a different world.

Begin today to see the world, your world, the way that you would love to see it. I know that this feels like a brave step…it may even feel like foolishness, but this is the true use of our minds, and this is true creative power. See behind the veil of appearances, diagnosis, decline, disease, disappointment, disaster and despair to your true self.

We’ve all been broken in places…take your broken wings and heal them with your thought…and fly….in your mind first….and then….

 

the little painting up close

the little painting up close

* Since I returned from New Orleans (and being inspired by a little painting I saw there) I began painting these small (5×7 acrylic on stretched canvas) images of a blackbird (with a crown of course!) and the simple words, “blackbird fly….” above him/her. If you would like to purchase one, they will be ready to ship on May 1st. They are $33 plus $5 shipping. Just email me at mmuncil@verizon.net and I will send you an invoice and details.

my mother, 83 years ago

my mother, 83 years ago

I picked up the book, Dying to Be Me, yesterday and read the words, “...our feelings about ourselves are actually the most important barometer for determining the condition of our lives!”* If this is true, and I have come to believe that it is, then what can I do (or think) to feel better about who and what I am? How can I really love myself? were my next thoughts.

As I sat with these questions, I realized that the most loving thing that I could say to someone (including an animal) would be, “You will always be loved, cared for, and have all of your needs met. It is my heart’s desire to see you live the most wonderful life.”

So what words could I then say to myself?…. The words that came to mind were ones that I have said many times to myself, but suddenly, they seemed like Truth. They were, “You have always been taken care of, in the most wonderful way, and you always will be”.

Faith. This thought is about faith.

Growing up I had faith, but it was faith in a God that was outside of me; a God that was judging and testing me to see if I was good enough. This God was not friendly and would only “help me” if I proved worthy of that help, and that meant hard work, struggle, going without, not asking for much, and above all, not thinking too highly of myself.

I heard just a snippet of an interview on NPR yesterday. The woman interviewed was talking about being a 4th generation atheist. This sounded interesting, but within minutes she telling a story about how a priest had once asked for money to give last rites to her great-grandfather, and that her grandmother had witnessed this (they didn’t have the money so the priest didn’t come) and how several years later her grandmother (who was a young woman) was dying, and the priest came, put a crucifix on her chest, and her grandmother threw it across the room. The woman being interviewed then basically said, “This is why I am an atheist …to remain loyal to this brave act of my grandmother.”

I thought, “What does her grandmother’s refusal to have anything to do with ‘the church” have to do with a belief in God/Spirit/Universal Good? So, she didn’t want to be a Catholic. So? Do you think that the larger dimension of who you are cares at all what you call yourself? Whether you attend church or not?” It sounded like the proverbial throwing the baby out with the bath water.

It also reminded me of when I was in my 20′s and made the decision not to raise my sons in the Catholic church. I was so ignorant of any larger spiritual truth that it seemed to me I had 2 options, 1. Remain a Catholic and raise my sons in a church which only seemed to fill me with guilt, remorse, and self-loathing, for not being good enough, or 2. Leave the church and become an atheist. I chose the latter. Leaving the church didn’t make me an atheist. It helped me to leave behind a limited concept of both myself and of God. It gave me a mental break so I could truly begin to think for myself. I left behind someone else’s conception of God so the truth could, eventually, emerge.

So back to faith.

My upbringing was not one where I found comfort in religion or God. I was scared of God, afraid that I would never be good enough, tortured by thoughts of hell that would surely be the end result of my poorly lived life.  I had faith that I would eventually be punished for every single bad thing that I had done or thought. The focus was on human sin, folly, mistakes and penance. It was a backward approach to becoming awake spiritually; looking for what was wrong and weeding it out so that the good would be all that was left. But this approach to life never works. If we continually look for what is wrong/bad, wrong is what we tend to see, and wrong is what we tend to get.

It is nearly impossible to find our goodness, our strength, our magnificence, our true nature as loving beings, in any system that believes we are sinful and wrong.

In the years following my decision to leave “religion”, I began to search for the meaning of life and eventually found my way to the expanded teachings of people like Emerson, Emmet Fox, Carl Jung, Meister Eckhart, Matthew Fox, Teilhard, and others who led me back to myself….back to a concept that I had always known (in my heart), but had never been taught: We are all One. We are ‘The growing tips of God’, as one spiritual teacher put it, We are each a unique point of Divine Consciousness, Love is God, God is Love, I am pure Love at my center, Pure Love is me, there is no need for spiritual hierarchy, no person is closer to God than another (although some are more aware of their true nature), no school, church or organized religion can truly place any other person above the rest of humanity, we all have direct and equal access to the larger dimension of ourselves (no matter what we choose to call it) and we do not need intermediaries (even though we can be of great assistance to each other). It took a lot of years for me to begin to believe this way…but it eventually became my truth.

I now believe that I am taken care of, directed, guided, loved beyond words and at the same time I am that Love. I believe that I am helped, assisted and supported every moment of my life. I’m not saying that I remember this at all times, but when I forget it, I notice that I begin to feel off, and when I feel off, I know that I have moved away from my own center, and this gentle thought brings me back…back to faith in Love, faith in Goodness, faith in All.

So back to the thought that prompted this post; the idea that how I feel about myself is the most important determinate of my life experience. How do I (in practical terms) begin to love and honor myself?

I can begin by changing my thoughts; by noticing when I am thinking a critical, unhappy or judgemental thought about myself and I can change it. I can refuse to be critical of others, I can look for only the good in myself and I can celebrate that good. I can honor my accomplishments and I can be easy on myself when I slip into anything less than this.

We can begin where we are, right now….no matter what our upbringing, no matter what negative messages we believed about ourselves in the past. This moment is the moment of change, of the new. Begin today to remember that you could not be more worthy of love, happiness, peace, support, and assistance of all kinds. Begin to look for evidence of this support (that has been there all along) and you will begin to see it. And the more you see it, the more it will show up.

Today is the day to begin truly loving ourselves, and since Love is who you truly are, who I truly am, I have faith that we will be able to see ourselves through loving eyes the moment we decide to look for it.

 

* pp 157, Dying to Be Me: My Journey from cancer, to near death, to true healing,  by Anita Moorjani

HoneyBear (a friend's dog who, through her loving attention and training has gone from an unsocialized street dog to become a well-adjusted, happy little girl!

HoneyBear (a friend’s dog who, through Wendy’s loving attention and training, has been transformed from a street-dog into a well-adjusted, happy little girl. Wendy kept looking for what HoneyBear was doing right …not wrong, and eventually that is who she became.)

In a recent post, I wrote about bringing a book of Thomas Troward’s with me on my trip and my inability to get into it. I thought it would be sort of fun to then use a quote from Troward in that post. The next post, I did the same thing. Going to bed several nights ago, I picked up one of his books again and read:

We have never been out of our right path, only we have been walking in it backward instead of forwards, and now that we have begun to follow the path in the right direction, we find it is none other than the way of peace and the path of joy.” pg 79-80 Thomas Troward, The Hidden Power, 1902

In the pages before this statement, he is talking about looking for only the good, the lovely, the right, in every situation (past, present and future) and that this change of mental focus, will in fact change our lives.

For years I struggled with my conception of my parents. It was almost impossible for me to see anything they had done right. It seemed like the closest thing that I could come to feeling true affection for them, was to feel sorry for them. I had little genuine appreciation for who they were or how they were as parents. I had sort of made peace with this by saying, “They did the best they could”, but this was a luke-warm, half-hearted attempt at (at least) acceptance. Deep down, I thought they had come up short as parents…and people.

When I decided to think about (and write stories about) them as amazing, enlightened, and wonderful, parents, it felt like pure fiction (which was fine with me). But gradually, I began to see them differently…and I began to feel them as different people. I noticed that I was actually interested in what they would say next instead of tolerating or humoring them.

I had no idea that I was the one holding them (in my own mind) in a fixed position. When I looked for their shortcomings, deficiencies, and inadequacies, that is all I saw. When I changed my mind, they began to change too. I had always been on my right path, only I had been looking for the wrong instead of the right.

I met with an old friend yesterday afternoon (who I hadn’t seen since high school) and she told me how she felt welcomed at my home when we were kids, and that my parents were both so nice to her. No friend had ever said that to me before.

 

Yesterday afternoon I sat down at my computer and wrote a little story, imagining myself back in high school but instead of recalling myself as I always had been: poor student, drinking too much, smoking cigarettes, feeling inadequate and trying so hard to fit in, I saw myself as a girl who had just “woken up” to who she really was: a vital, unique, important, part of All. I loved seeing myself like this, and I have come to love this way of entering into the spirit of life.**

Last evening I received an email from a woman (who I had been very good friends with in high school) saying that she would love to see me. We had not stayed in touch after graduation, and I hadn’t seen or heard from her since 1973.

Coincidence that I imagined myself as a changed person, from a specific time period, and someone from that time then contacted me?

I’ve come to see that (unconsciously and without meaning to) we are constantly sending out signals/vibrations telling others who and what we are. When we see ourselves differently, and begin to consciously change our energy (and really feel that change, not just repeat some lifeless affirmations such as “I am lovable and worthy” when there is no energy matching those words) others will feel that too….and they will respond.

By entering into the spirit of anything we establish a mutual vivifying action and reaction between it and ourselves: we vivify it with our own vitality, and it vivifies us with a living interest which we call its spirit; and therefore the more fully we enter into the spirit of all with which we are concerned, the more thoroughly do we become alive. The more completely we do this , the more we shall find that we are penetrating into the great secret of Life.” Thomas Troward, from The Hidden Power

 

 

** A few months ago, I offered a “workshop” which was based on this type of writing. That class filled up and has been so successful that I have decided to offer this on an ongoing basis. If you are interested in working with me on writing in a new way, the information is below on how to begin.

WRITE AWAY! Workshop is an on-line class that I offer to individuals wanting to create their lives in a more deliberate way through writing and focused imagination. The format and time-line will be flexible and will include 3 (1/2 hr) phone meetings with me (times will be set up that are mutually agreeable). The first will be for 1/2 hr at the beginning of your writing project, and the second and third will be at any time after you’ve begun to write. The focus of this adventure together will be for you to move closer to your dreams. The cost is $100.

If you are interested, please email me at mmuncil@verizon.net, and I’ll fill you in on how to get started!

 

 

 

My first cup of coffee in New Orleans at Muriels'...a perfect little indulgence

My first cup of coffee in New Orleans at Muriel’s  restaurant. I enjoyed every second of this meal. 

Several weeks ago, I went on a trip and brought a book with me. I had planned on reading it slowly, methodically and regularly. I truly love the thoughts of Thomas Troward but have always found his writing to be somewhat difficult, so I thought that the trip would be the perfect opportunity to focus on this one book which is packed with deep and profound spiritual wisdom.

Every day I’d unpack my backpack and put the book next to my computer. For several days in a row, I tried to read it, tried to stay “on schedule”,  and it was like pulling teeth. It did not flow. I barely comprehended his words. By about the 4th day, I realized that my plan was torturing me. I’d look at the book and think, “You are not even sticking to your plan. You are undisciplined. You had a beautiful opportunity and you are wasting it.” I didn’t really notice these thoughts until they got louder and louder, and I noticed that I felt worse and worse when I saw the book.

I finally decided to let my plan go. I noticed that I felt better. Along the trip I’d picked up a copy of the book, How Starbucks Saved My Life. I couldn’t put it down. The simple, humble, sometimes painful, sometimes humorous, tale of this man’s life swept me along. It helped me to become more light-hearted and more present to those around me too because it talked about respecting each other.

I realized that I had made a goal, at the beginning of the trip, that I could feel good about. I could say I’d accomplished something difficult, I’d learned something, I’d advanced spiritually.

Sometimes I still view Life like it is a tough school master. Like it is demanding that I struggle, work hard, fight my impulse to nap, meander without a purpose, or indulge in little extravagances. I can feel it there saying, “What have you done, what do you have to show for all of that time? I hope you haven’t wasted it!”

And I could have wasted it. I could have wasted it by sticking to a rigid plan when clearly it wasn’t speaking to the deeper part of me. I could have wasted it by feeling guilty and ashamed of myself and as a result been an unpleasant companion to my family and everyone else I met. I could have wasted it by being so wrapped up in myself that I didn’t have time to think good thoughts and prayers about others or notice their needs and try to help them.

We all know people like this. Individuals who are so wrapped up in their little worlds that they seem constantly irritable and unhappy if they aren’t sticking to their plans, or things aren’t turning out the way they wanted. I dare say most of us have been these people too. They/we aren’t very pleasant to be around. It as if they/we are wrapped up in cocoons of self shouting, “What about me?”

Who do I want to be? I can answer that question by asking who I like to be around. I want to be easy, open, available, relaxed and kind. I want to enjoy life and share that joy with others. I want to be aware of goodness, aware of what is going right. I want to notice the world around me and respond in a loving way. What could be a better plan than this?

If you have a plan that is torturing you, maybe it’s time to re-think it. Imagine that someone you love was telling you that it was their plan (and how they were struggling with it) and listen to the words that you would tell them.

 

“We hear a great deal these days about Initiation; but , believe me, the more you try to become a so-called  ‘Initiate’ the further you will put yourself from living life.” Thomas Troward (excerpt from a letter written to Genevieve Behrend in 1912)

 

 

my niece Amanda (humoring me by trying on funny hats at the Goodwill in Biloxi)

my very fun niece Amanda (humoring me by trying on funny hats at the Goodwill in Biloxi)

I’m leaving New Orleans tomorrow afternoon to go back home. In my last post, I talked about the feeling of loneliness and disorientation that I had felt during those first few days of the trip. In my case, the feelings weren’t coming from being alone, but more from being almost constantly with people (even those I love). I crave fairly large periods of alone time…it is during this time that I recharge my internal batteries; physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Walking through the streets of New Orleans with my brother and niece, I could see them come alive as we stopped to watch and listen to street bands and performers. I, on the other hand, was much more drawn to the quiet interiors of places like the St. Louis Cathedral and the Voodoo Spiritual Temple.

The older I get, the more I realize how vital it is to know ourselves. I’ve had countless conversations with people who have spent all of their lives thinking that there was something wrong with them for not being “more outgoing”. Even as small children, they were told to go outside and play (instead of staying inside reading a book) and often the message was, “there is something wrong with you if you don’t act like everyone else.”

When I was much younger (in my teens and early twenties) I didn’t like to be alone. I was constantly planning parties and get-togethers. When I turned 30, I got sober and found that I didn’t even know how to talk to people. I had no idea who I was. I’d always assumed that I was very outgoing, and so when I took a Myers Briggs personality test and came up a strong introvert, I was shocked and insulted. I thought it meant that I was a social misfit. I subsequently learned that being “introverted” was simply a way that some people (including me) processed life and life experience.

After spending 9 days with two people who see the world in their own unique ways (and who are much more extroverted than I am) I feel in awe of way that we are all so different, and how this is so perfect.

Today I plan to celebrate the perfection that is me. How about you? Would you care to join me?

p.s. I did go into the pool yesterday ….without my swim suit*

 

“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences”. Audre Lorde

 

* The B and B I’m staying at has a swimming pool is “clothing optional”

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,351 other followers