The best day of my life

Today (acrylic on old 2-piece board)

Today (acrylic on very old wood)*

Yesterday was the best day of my life. I got up early and took my cup of strong, black, coffee outside where I sat on my very soft upholstered chair (that barely fits on our tiny front porch) and said, “Today is the best day of my life.” I’ve been doing that for a few weeks now, and when I remember, I also say it during the day.

It seems to open new ways of seeing….like the magic words, “Open Sesame”. I consider these words, “Today is the best day of my life” a prayer. I am setting an intention and alerting myself to be watchful for the wonderful things of life that are just waiting to be recognized.

I don’t say these words because I have just bounded out of bed full of the feeling of joyful expectation. i say them because this is how I want to be…and as I repeat them I do begin to feel an inner change. Coincidentally (and I do not believe that anything is coincidental) some incredible opportunities have presented themselves in the past few weeks.

So as I say good morning to all of you today, I wonder if you’d like to join me in saying, “Today is the best day of my life!” It costs nothing to try…except of course a possible confrontation with that egoic mind which might say back, “How can you say that? Your life is a mess! It’s easy for Mary to say or someone else (anyone but you) but your life is far from good and this day can’t possibly be the best. You’ll be lucky if it isn’t the worst!” …thank god you don’t have to feel a certain way to call it into being.

We have the power to change our minds (and our lives) through our thoughts and words, and knowing that, I will boldly claim, (as I sit here writing on my couch, fully aware that after I post this, I’ll be cleaning up the mess that our elderly kitty, Noah, just vomited in the corner of our living room) “Today is the best day of my life!”

 

Words  are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal…..” Yehuda Berg

 

* this painting, along with a few others, is for sale on MY ARTWORK page

 

 

A wonderful life

Summer nap

Fred, Esther, Bodhi and Noah taking a summer nap

It has taken me most of my life to realize that if I have a problem with something or someone then I have a problem. The “problem” is mine and the problem is always with my thinking.  I’ve heard this stated in 100 different ways but one of my favorites was something I heard Edween Gaines (a Unity minister) say, “If I see a problem with anyone, it is my vision that needs correcting”.

For a while, I thought this meant that I was the only screwed up person, no one else did anything wrong, and I needed to change so I would feel love toward them. This seemed like an impossible task. …and it was.

What I have come to see is that everyone really is perfect. Just because I don’t like the way they are acting, how they are treating me, or others, doesn’t mean that my vision of how they should behave is the right one. That is arrogance in the extreme…and ego running the show.

I am the only one who can determine what is right for me. If I’m around someone who is perpetually hostile or unpleasant and I choose to stay, how can I blame them? How can I call their behaviour wrong? If I want them to change, so I can be happy then I am trying to make them into the image of perfection that I like. Again, arrogance in the extreme.

But knowing that everyone is living the life of their choice (which I have no right to judge) also means that I can leave them, or ask them to leave, or not invite them into my life, without assuming that they are wrong.

I know a woman who stays married to an unhappy, disconnected, mean-spirited, man because she feels like she need to accept him as he is. And she has suffered for years over his behaviour. She has contorted herself 1000 different ways to get him to love her, while all the time ignoring her own pain, which is saying, “Make a new choice for yourself”.

Her ego is in charge but she thinks she is being “spiritual” by staying, while it is so clear, from the outside (and isn’t it always so easy to see from the outside!) that the most loving thing that she could do for herself and him is to leave. He is perfect just the way he is. It is clear that he isn’t perfect for her but she stays because she thinks that he is someone who needs her to fix him. She vacillates between feeling sorry for him, and being angry at him, and he just continues along ignoring her as she continues to ignore her dreams for a happy life.

Dare to dream of a happy life. See it, love it, become it…and that vision will guide and direct you in ways that you could never figure out, manipulate or plan. Trust that you were meant to live a wonderful life.

 

“Everyone is perfect, just as they are, but there are some people whose perfection I choose not to be around.” Edween Gaines

This entry was posted on July 22, 2014. 6 Comments

If you want a new world, ask a new question

A New World Today

A New World Today*

I’ve had the chance to spend some time with someone lately who seems to dislike me….quite a bit. I’ve heard a lot of people say things like, “I don’t care what anyone thinks about me”, or similar statements, but this isn’t my experience. I do care what people think about me, even though I know (deep down) that it isn’t any of my business, and even though I cannot change what other people think, there is still a part of me that wants everyone to like me, even if I don’t really like them.

So I found myself asking the futile question, “Why doesn’t he like me?” and my ego was happy to oblige me with many reasons, and I was still left, in the end, feeling bad. None of the things my mind came up with felt right. So I asked myself another question, “Do I really like him?” and the answer was yes, which meant I had to keep looking for the reason for my inner discomfort.

Once I was able to get a little distance from the emotional rat’s nest (that my mind had become trying to figure him out) I saw the answer and knew it was the truth because I felt a deep sense of relief: I really like this person, I really don’t like me around this person. I don’t like who I become around him. I try too hard to impress him. I try too hard to make him like me. I try too hard…..and so the relationship feels difficult…because I am not at ease within myself.

This isn’t a new revelation. I know about enough about projection, and the psychological theories of human relationships and the ego, to fill an ocean. But I still get caught in the trap of thinking that something or someone outside of me can make me feel a certain way….and when I do that, I am lost. So where to go? Back to myself. What I am thinking?  The answer is always there.

“When a thought hurts, that’s the signal that it isn’t true.” Byron Katie

* this new painting and several others are for sale on the MY ARTWORK PAGE (feel free to email me with any questions, mmuncil@verizon.net)

trusting in a plan that I cannot see

The baby mouse

Bernadette

Jack was cleaning out the garage the other day and emptied an old cardboard box, which he thought had junk in it, into the trash barrel, only to find, to his distress, a mouse-nest at the bottom. The mother jumped from the box into the rose bushes leaving a small, baby mouse at the bottom of the box. Not knowing what to do, Jack put the baby into the bushes at the same spot where the mother had seemed to go, but he felt terrible. The baby still had closed eyes and just a little fur.

We decided there wasn’t anything we could do, and hoped that the mother would return for her baby. An hour later, I heard one of our cats, Bodhi, making that cry (the sound that means he has caught something) and I went outside and saw him with the little mouse. My heart fell. I went back inside, but Bodhi’s meows persisted so I went out again, and then something amazing happened.

Bodhi looked at me, picked up the baby mouse (which was on the ground in front of him) trotted up the steps, and deposited it at my feet. When he was satisfied that I was going to take the mouse, he trotted away. I gently picked it up and could tell that it was unharmed. Bodhi had gone into the thickest, most tangled mess of old rose bushes, thorns, and undergrowth, retrieved this baby mouse, and carried it 50 feet, without even a slight injury to its tiny body.

I held this tiny creature in my hand and said to it?, “What am I going to do with you?” I didn’t think that it could live long without eating, so I sat in the studio with it in my palm, but as I looked at it I just felt like it wanted to live. It was about 9:30 a.m.and I had appointments all day, so Jack got a soft towel, and set it inside the studio (right next to the bushes where the mother had gone). We hoped that the mother would be able to find it in there and it would be safe and warm in the meantime.

When I checked on it again at 4 pm, I was hoping beyond hope that the mother had found it. She hadn’t, but it was still alive. I knew that I couldn’t take care of it myself since the next day I was going to visit my new grandson for a couple of days. Suddenly an idea came to me. Earlier this year, I’d met a man who did wildlife rehab and I wondered if he would take the mouse. The only problem was, I could only remember the town he lived in, not his name.

I went on the New York State Wild animal rescue website and tried to look through the names to see if anyone rang a bell. Finally, I just decided to call one of the names on the list and ask her if she knew of this man. It felt like a shot in the dark, because even if she did know who he was, would he take a mouse?

I left a voice message for a woman who lives about an hour from me, telling her about the mouse and asking if she knew the man I was looking for. Fifteen minutes later, she called back and said, “So you have a mouse! This is so odd. In all of the years that I’ve done wildlife rehabilitation, I’ve never gotten a call about a mouse until today, and you are the second one. When I took the first baby this morning, I was wishing that it wasn’t alone. Where do you live?”

Within an hour I was driving north to meet a woman who I can only call an angel. As I drove along, the name, Bernadette came to mind, and I thought this was a good name for my tiny friend. I arrived at the meeting spot and after filling out the official paperwork, this wonderful woman took my tiny friend home with her. Driving away, I felt like I was a part of, and a witness to, the Living Web. It brought me to tears.

The following day, as I drove to my son’s home, thinking about my precious grandson, who I would soon be holding in my arms, I also thought about the little mouse who was being cared for, and who even had a tiny friend to keep it company. I turned on the radio and was flooded with goosebumps. The song, Bernadette, was playing.

 

“Everything in life is interconnected. If we could see these connections, we would be instantly relieved of all of our fears and worries about the future.” Alan Watts

Seeing beyond my eyes

"Sometimes a friend and a good cup of tea can save your life." Acrylic on very old board

Sometimes a friend and a good cup of tea can save your life.” Acrylic on very old board (details below)**…also, I am setting up a temporary gallery in Jack’s shop (30 West Main St. Cambridge, NY) beginning this weekend and ending with a show August 15th, 16th and 17th.

I’ve been painting a lot lately. I don’t need to discipline myself, set up a schedule, or carve out time, to do it. The desire is so strong, that it has swept everything (that could be a possible distraction) away, and so I am giving in to it and letting it carry me along.

This doesn’t mean that the little critical voice inside my head has been swept away too. It still says things like, “You should be writing more (and I’m sure that if I was writing more, it would then say, “You should be painting more”) What are you going to do with all of these paintings after they are finished? What if they don’t sell? What if no one likes them?…..”

Even though, up to this point, over 20 paintings have sold, and they have been met with appreciation, the little voice in my head doesn’t care about these petty details. Its job is to point out what is wrong or what could go wrong and if I believe it, it will stop me from going forward. My approach has been to notice it going on and on, about all sorts of potentially bad things, and to keep on painting.

There is such a huge difference between noticing and believing this voice.

The Spirit of Universal Love is the voice that I want to follow, and it offers non-stop guidance (in the moment, and for the moment) and I know it because It feels and sounds like a YES, it feels and sounds like a deep sigh, it feels and sounds like Love.

“The habit of seeing only that which our senses permit, renders us totally blind to what we otherwise could see.” From the book, Out of This World, by Neville Goddard

 

** this painting is done on a fabulous piece of old wood, (8 x 13 x 1 3/4th inches, and weighs almost 3 lbs) that came from an old warehouse by the ocean. I originally had the idea after having a cup of tea with a friend and feeling so much better. Suddenly the idea of a cup of tea (and a feathered friend) coming to the rescue made me smile. I’ll be happy to send you additional photographs if you would like them. More details can be found on MY ARTWORK PAGE    The cost of this painting is $175.00

A plan for life…sort of

Noah napping in the heat

Noah napping in the heat…I just loved seeing his paws sticking up

As I was driving yesterday, I listened to a snippet of a sermon that really made me think about guilt. I’ve heard this particular man preach before, and I truly believe he is sincere, but at the same time, limited. He was talking about prayer time and said; “Don’t let the world pull you away from your time with god. Don’t leave god to answer the phone. It might be someone just wanting to sell you something!”

And I thought, “That is the problem. We believe, and have been taught, that we must “set time apart” for god, as if the Spirit of Creation can only be found by getting quiet and shutting everything out. And another problem in our thinking is the idea that god can be left out of our lives, or must be found….that “he” is somehow hidden.

I understand the need to center ourselves, have our quiet time, and all of that. I also understand the need at times to turn off the phone, go on retreat, and get quiet on purpose. Setting time apart for this contemplative period can be deeply satisfying, but we should drop, forever, the idea that when we are not having this time, for whatever reason, that we have temporarily “left god”.

I cannot even count the number of people who, over the years, have told me that they were struggling with guilt and feelings of inadequacy for not meditating or praying on a regular basis. It is as if we think there is some sort of pre-existing correct path (set up by a god that is outside of us and has made many firm and right rules) but we haven’t been given the program for this “event” so we keep fearing we’re missing something and are not doing it (life) right.

We search for routines that made us feel (at least temporarily) secure and we then vow to stick to our plans….and when we don’t, we feel guilty. Rigid rules and routines regarding prayer (or anything) will eventually suck the life out of it.

Hold your plan loosely.

See god (your inner divine self that is inseparable from all that is) in your planned prayer and in your decision to answer the phone instead (even if it was a telemarketer). See god in your meditation, and in the eating of that bowl of ice cream (that you decided to have instead of mediating). See the ice cream as meditation and the phone call as the prayer.
Why should I wish to see God better than this day?
I see something of God each hour of the twenty-four, and each
moment then,
In the faces of men and women I see God, and in my own face in
the glass,
I find letters from God dropt in the street, and every one is sign’d
by God’s name,
And I leave them where they are, for I know that wheresoe’er I go,
Others will punctually come for ever and ever.” Walt Whitman, from Song of Myself

Guess where we were yesterday?

Griffin Wesley Getz was born at 11:08 yesterday morning. I sent this photo to my mother and she said, "It looks like you are in love!"...she is right.

Griffin Wesley Getz was born at 11:08 a.m. on June 29th. I sent this photo to my mother and she said, “It looks like you are in love!”…she is right.

 

“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child…our own two eyes. All is a miracle.” Thich Nhat Hanh