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Posts Tagged ‘friendship’

Maud and me

Mary and Maud

I’ve been wanting to write this story for a while, and finally I am. I first met Maud Maynard in 2009, but I’d heard about her, and had been briefly introduced to her, in 2002… but I didn’t want to have anything to do with her. Not because she wasn’t a perfectly nice, possibly interesting person, or because she had done anything wrong. I didn’t particularly want to like her since I’d found out that she and Jack had dated before he and I met, and that they were still good friends, and it was obvious that he thought the world of her. That right there was enough for me to not care for her.

It wasn’t like he’d talk about her all the time or anything, but he’s say, in casual conversation, things like, “I ran into Maud at the bank and you’ll never guess what she just did?!” I would pretend I didn’t hear him or change the subject, but he’d inevitably get back on-track and say, “She just went skydiving with her son!” or some other equally fun sounding story, knowing how I myself like adventure and thinking I might appreciate another woman with the same spirit. I didn’t. I’d respond to his stories about her with a casual “Oh”. This went on for years, and I thought it was an odd joke the universe was playing on me, that one of my favorite names was Maude (my grandmother’s name) but I had no intention of getting to know her.

Then one day it happened. I’d been asked, along with a number of other alternative health/spirituality practitioners/healers, to give a short presentation to a group. After I’d agreed, the schedule of events was mailed to me and I was aghast to see that Maud Maynard was one of the presenters too.  I wondered if I could get out of it.

Fate had different plans, and several weeks before the event, another friend of mine suffered a horrific loss in her life. By the night of the presentation, I hadn’t even had time to prepare. I knew what I was going to talk about but I didn’t have a note or any emotional reserve. I showed up empty, hoping Spirit would help me to say what needed to be said.

Maud presented before me and as she began to speak, and tell the story of how she became involved with Reiki, I felt a light, that was surrounding her, almost reach out and hug me. As she continued to talk, I had to hold back the tears. I thought, “She is wonderful. She is wonderful.” …and I told her this as we walked out together that evening. We’ve been walking together, as friends, ever since (and Jack is thrilled and occasionally says things like, “I knew that you would love her. You two are so much alike.”) I now take this as a high compliment.

I started this story by saying that I’d wanted to write it for a while, and one reason that I didn’t was because it was/is so multi-faceted. Do I write about how sometimes we resist what is right in front of our faces and is so perfect?  How the Spirit of this Universe is always putting the highest and best in front of us to simply say yes to? How jealousy can be so insidious, and can limit our lives, if we don’t challenge/recognize it?

All of these are true, but I don’t think I’ve ever written about jealousy before, and if anyone had asked me if I was jealous of Maud, I’m not sure I would have had the awareness to say yes. After all, I didn’t really have a reason to be jealous. But I’ve found out that jealousy doesn’t need a reason. Just like all destructive emotions: hatred, resentment, bitterness, and unforgiveness, jealousy manifests when we don’t feel good, for whatever reason, about our lives or about ourselves.

I’ve also found it very healing to recognize, uncover, and admit when I am feeling jealous. For me, being able to tell this story, first to Maud (years ago …and we’ve had some good laughs about it) and now here, helps me to keep an eye on that tendency in myself. Because it still does come up at times, and maybe it always will. But it won’t hold me captive if I see it, maybe even talk about it, and then gently say goodbye to it.

I want to live in inner-peace and happiness. I want to be open and free of tormenting emotions and thoughts.  Every time I let go of an unhappy belief or emotion, the world, my world, opens up a little more….the world becomes a little kinder, nicer and friendlier.

“The jealous are troublesome to others, but a torment to themselves.” William Penn

Maud’s website is http://maudmaynardreiki.wordpress.com   She has a blog and also her contact information for her Reiki practice. I’ve had many sessions with Maud (all have been wonderful) On my trip last spring with my brother (when we were planning on driving 20 hrs straight) I asked Maud for Distant Reiki and found I had an energy that was surprisingly great.

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Fred: a unique being!

Fred resting his head on Luke’s toy and looking up at me with his cute, crossed, eyes!

Years ago, someone in my family got quite angry with me for not acknowledging her daughter’s birthday. I remember the feelings of guilt and embarrassment, but it wasn’t because I hadn’t remembered. I was particularly un-wealthy at that point in my life, and didn’t want to just send a card (what 10-year-old is happy to get a card with nothing inside it?!).

When I did explain my reason for not sending a gift, this family member wasn’t any happier with me, and actually didn’t speak to me for some time. This was the way my family was, and I was just as guilty of this as the rest of them. There were set, unchanging, rules of conduct that everyone obeyed: You sent gifts on birthdays (even if you didn’t want to, or didn’t have the money), you went to every party that you were invited to (even if you didn’t want to), you called each other on a regular basis (even if you didn’t want to)….the list was endless, and if anyone stepped off this path of accepted behaviour, they became the subject of extreme scrutiny. There was no room for the individual on this path, no room for change.

I also remember when I made a decision to step away from this way of relating, not only to my family but with everyone. I made a decision to be honest in my relationships (which sounds like an easy thing) but felt like a huge risk. In time, I became aware that the people who were going to get angry at me for saying no, or not giving in a way that they thought was appropriate, were eventually going to get angry with me anyway.

I saw that I could drive myself crazy trying to be who they wanted me to be, or I could be true to myself see what happened.  Much to my surprise, I found that the only loss I experienced was the feeling of desperately trying to be liked.

You cannot lose true relationships by being yourself.

If I want somebody to “dance to my tune” then I’m not even seeing who they are. Can I then call myself their friend? And if I am not being myself, I’m not really giving anyone the chance to like me. If you dance to your own tune, and I dance to mine, we may not like each other and that is OK …but we might Love each other, be surprised by each other, …we might learn that there are millions, billions, of dances in this incredible universe and we might make room for them all.

Who are you? Maybe you’re not the kind of friend who brings casseroles in a crisis, but sits and holds a friend in silent love. Maybe you don’t like to meet for coffee, but love to talk on the phone. What if you took this weekend to honor your own dance? What would it look like? Isn’t it time we found out…and started dancing.

Life is like dancing. If we have a big floor, many people will dance. Some will not dance but will gossip about those who are dancing. Some will get angry when the rhythm changes. But life is changing all the time“. don Miguel Ruiz*

*Read more: http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Ellen-Degeneress-O-Magazine-Interview-with-Author-don-Miguel-Ruiz/6#ixzz2XVe20Z4n

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Ben in the suitcase/cat bed looking so sweet

Ben in the suitcase/cat bed looking so sweet (small Hindu god riding peacock statue in the background…in case you were wondering what that was!)

I was watching a show this morning that highlighted the important events of 2012, but it seemed like so many of the “high-lights” were not high at all, but stories of very unhappy and tragic situations. So I thought, “What better way to celebrate the passing of 2012, and welcome a new year, than to tell our own news?”

This White Feather Farm community is full of large and small stories of love, hope, kindness, successes, happiness, peace and inspiration and I am inviting you to share yours here today and tomorrow. I would love it if we could get 100 (or more?) great stories from 2012: cats that have found their way home, dogs adopted, reconciliations, engagements, weddings, job and business successes, acts of kindness (both given and received), moves, spiritual awakenings, a new skill that you learned, a blog that you started (please share the link), a trip that you finally took, the birth of a baby, the biopsy that came back negative, the healing that was instantaneous, a compliment from a completely unexpected source, the near-miss, or any positive story that comes to mind. If you have shared it before, please do so again (and comment as many times as you would like to). I’m already thinking back over the year with a happy anticipation of sharing some of my own.

These are the small stories that make up our lives, give us pause to say “thank you”, and help us to know each other a little better, and yet many never get told (or make the evening news) because they ended well.

I look forward to reading your stories, and to starting 2013 refreshed, renewed, and a little lighter, and I send each of you the same heart-felt blessing. Love, Mary

In the sweetness of friendship, let there be laughter and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things, the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.” Khalil Gibran

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Fred has taken over Ben’s suitcase/bed

I went upstairs on Saturday afternoon and found Fred peacefully sleeping in what had been Ben’s bed. I’d noticed Ben downstairs on the couch, but that they had exchanged places (or more likely, Fred just took over Ben’s spot and Ben adjusted accordingly) didn’t occur to me until I was taking their pictures. I love the way that animals adjust to each other….and how we adjust to them.

On Friday morning, I decided to take a drive and as I opened my car door, the smell of cat urine hit me. I’d been leaving my car windows open and usually Esther (who doesn’t want to come inside at night) will end up in there. Well, Ben has been getting in there too, and I guess Esther thought she’d better claim the car as her own.

I was on my way to visit my friend Nancy at the Coop, told her about my car, and she handed me a bottle of Bac-Out that completely removed the smell. I’ll leave the car windows up from now on, but I’m not holding it against either of the cats. I took care of the problem and let it go.

But I wonder;  if a human had sprayed some very unpleasant smelling thing in my car, would I be so quick to forget it? Probably not….but I’d like to think that this is where I am heading spiritually: taking each next step into new life, and with each new step, letting go of any past hurts, problems, regrets, worry or anger. Moving with ease, like a dance, with all of the other beings (human and otherwise) that I am privileged to share this life-experience with.

Clara Barton (founder and president of the American Red Cross) who never bore any grudges, was once reminded by a friend of a wrong done to her some years earlier. “Don’t you remember?” asked her friend. “No,” replied Barton firmly, “I distinctly remember forgetting that.” Taken from September’s Sun Magazine and sent to me by Susan A.

Ben happily moved to the sofa for his nap

Carolyn was the winner of the Blue Moon give-away!

 

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1961 summer trip to “Magic Land” (I think that was the name of the place) with my cousins. I’m 4th from the right. the only ones who look like they are having fun are the 2 little guys (my brother on the far left and my cousin Matt running in front!) To this day, these are the guys you want to have at any gathering!

Years ago, I was very good friends with a woman (who I really liked a lot) but she wasn’t the first person I’d call when something wonderful happened for me. She struggled with life and so other people’s victories or happiness felt unfair, or even like an unkind barb to her. As much as I liked her, it wasn’t any fun at all to share my joy with her, so often times, I would either down-play what happened, or not tell her. I learned a lot about what I wanted to be from that friendship and set one of the intentions for my life: “I want to be the kind of person who people love to tell good news to, and I want to be fun to be around.” These sound like such small things, but they are  two of the qualities that I cherish in people as well.

Thinking about what we value in friendships (or relationships in general) is a great way to look and question ourselves to see if we are giving what we would like to receive. And if we find that we come up a little short in this area, it can become a new point of focus, to grow into the people we want to be.

A man’s growth is seen in the successive choirs of his friends. Ralph Waldo Emerson

BLUE MOON GIVE-AWAY!!

Today is a blue moon, and so I am going to give away 2 skin balms to one person! To enter this giveaway, just comment with one quality you love in your friends (or feel free to tell a story about friendship). I will pick a random winner on Monday Sept. 3rd (Labor day)

2 tins of the skin balm I make , website, http://www.marysskinsurvivalbalm.com

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The very fun and whimsical glass jewelry made by my friend Nancy at http://www.spinningglassstudio.com          (she wrote in her blog that she’d made these for a friend and to my delight, I found out yesterday that I was the friend she was talking about! They are delightful to wear and make a little ‘tinkling’ sound when they move as the silver touches the glass….they are my new reminders to listen for the Good in Life!)

I wrote the other day about our 4th of July plans not going forward as I had hoped: James Taylor concert, picnic on the lawn, with fireworks after at Tanglewood. We didn’t make another plan, but on Sunday, friends asked us to come to dinner on the 4th, and said they’d like to do a seafood grill if that was ok with us …it was way better than ok with us…we both love seafood. Our contribution was a mousse-cake from Mrs. London’s bakery.

As we sat on their lovely screened porch suddenly the music came on,….it was James Taylor.  Knowing that we’d wanted to go to his concert originally, they downloaded a bunch of his songs to play that evening. The food was incredible, the company relaxing and fun, and the background music perfect. On our drive home, we were going through a tiny Vermont town and up in the sky, guess what we saw?! Fireworks!

We turned down a dirt road by a corn field, and a family with 3 children were parked by the edge of the field. The kids were sitting on the roof of the car. We asked if the fireworks were finished and they all chimed in enthusiastically, “They just started! Are you going to watch them with us?!”

Yes we were. We pulled up next to them, on this dirt road with tall corn stalks on either side, and could not have enjoyed a show more if we’d paid to get in. After each set of fireworks went up, the kids all squealed and laughed and clapped and one of the parents beeped the horn.

Driving home, we both felt amazed at how the day had unfolded. It was better than the original plan in every way.

I know in my heart that life is meant to be an ever-expanding, flowing, richer, deeper, more joyful journey of Self-discovery, and that so often, all I need to do is relax and be delighted at what shows up.

“You never know what events are going to transpire to get you home“. Og Mandino

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We’re leaving for Mexico in the morning. I’ve had dreams of swimming in warm turquoise-blue water for years, and tomorrow night I will be. I feel a deep desire to float…just to float without a plan: to suspend thought, and let the beautiful ocean hold me up for a while. Although I won’t be posting during my time away, it is my intention to hold all of you in my heart. I feel that we are kindred spirits here…friends of the deepest kind, even if we have not met face to face. Your presence is such a profound gift to me.

So what about a 10 day “assignment”!? Mine is going to be to repeat,(often over the next 10 days), “I am never alone. I am surrounded, suspended and connected to all of Life, by a sea of Love.”

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” C. S. Lewis

*******************Bodhi and Noah sitting together on our front walkway Thursday afternoon******************************

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Fred

For many years, I was friends with a woman who was funny, smart and interesting. She was also extremely critical.  I never quite knew when this critical part of her would come out. It might be after having a nice lunch, or talk on the phone, but several days later, I’d receive a letter or phone message saying that she was very upset about something that I said or had done (or didn’t say or do). Many times, I had no idea what she was talking about, so I’d be scrambling mentally to figure it out…feeling terrible.  Eventually I let the relationship go. It was just too tiring.

What I also came to see, is that the most relentlessly tiring and critical people were cupcakes compared to the one that lived inside my own head. …talk about never getting a break! If constant self-criticism worked, many of us would be perfect beyond measure, but it doesn’t. I cannot mentally beat myself into being “better” and neither can you. Incessantly looking for defects, just magnifies what is not right, and makes us feel perpetually inferior, afraid and insecure.

If we don’t like this quality in our friendships, why do we accept it in ourselves?

How about taking this weekend to refuse to think critically about yourself? Just for 2 days, treat yourself like you treat your best friend.

We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses. Carl Jung

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Noah investigating the, "Peacock with very interesting praying god (?) riding on its back" statue that I recently found at Goodwill

We  spent a wonderful Easter with Tom and Lindsay (my oldest son and his girlfriend) and her family. Tom moved back to the northeast a year ago, and this is the first time, in many years that we’ve lived within driving distance of each other.  On Sunday, it struck me that if Jack and I moved to the seacoast, we’d be 4, (instead of 2 1/2), hours away from them…. It was as if a curtain was drawn back and the options on the blackboard were:

You can live by the ocean and see it everyday, and visit Tom 4 or 5 times a year, or  You can live closer to him and go to the ocean 4 or 5 times a year.

The answer felt so obvious that I was a bit awe-struck. I was talking with my good friend Jon yesterday about out potential move, (and how we had changed direction and were now looking at Middlebury, VT instead of the seacoast) and he said, “That sounds right. Don’t ever move for a view, because after a while, you don’t even see it.” His words went right to my heart. Simple words spoken with such clarity.

I was 22 years old when Tom was born. I thought that I was an adult. As I look back over those years, I see how “un-present” I was, and I’ve done my best to accept the past, make amends where needed, and embrace the life that is now mine. But at 56, and with this opportunity to re-enter his life in this new way, and at this stage of my life; knowing more fully who I am (and having my priorities much clearer), my heart knows the right move.

“I reserve the right to change my mind.” Charles Fillmore (co-founder of Unity)

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Eleanor

A few years ago, I was starting a new venture in my life, and as I sat with a very close friend talking about it, feeling somewhat discouraged that it wasn’t right, she said, “It’s too small for you Mary.” She went on to tell me, what she thought some of my real talents and abilities were, and I listened to her. I didn’t brush off or dismiss her positive thoughts about me. So many of us have been conditioned to refuse “compliments”;  To see them as empty and valueless, to believe that we shouldn’t listen to them, and this is true about “empty praise”, but I think that the greater danger is in not taking another persons more expansive view of us, to heart.

I have had people say some very nice things about me and thought, “If they only knew me, or if they could see inside my head they wouldn’t think that.” which is really the internal chatter that goes on day and night telling us how sub-par we are, how inadequate. If someone says that I am kind, my mind will throw up examples galore of how I was impatient. There is a part of us that blocks these higher opinions of ourselves from “taking root”.

Our lives and our worlds change for the better when our conception of ourselves changes for the better, but if we won’t “let in” any new information; any new and better view of ourselves, we don’t change. The people in my life that have helped me the most are the ones who have had, and held, the highest and best thoughts about me.

How about making a decision to listen, and pause, and to really take in, the next compliment that you are given. Take a minute to consider it to be true.

As A Man Thinketh,  FORWARD, by James Allen

THIS little volume (the result of meditation and experience) is not intended as an exhaustive treatise on the much-written-upon subject of the power of thought. It is suggestive rather than explanatory, its object being to stimulate men and women to the discovery and perception of the truth that—  “They themselves are makers of themselves”  by virtue of the thoughts, which they choose and encourage; that mind is the master-weaver, both of the inner garment of character and the outer garment of circumstance, and that, as they may have hitherto woven in ignorance and pain they may now weave in enlightenment and happiness”.

(this entire little book is available on-line as a free download)

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