offering my best

One of the things that I’ve found most challenging about my mother is our conversations…which have almost always felt like parallel monologues; she talked about other people and what they were doing (which to me felt like she was avoiding any “real” conversation) and I would in turn would try to introduce “meaningful” subjects (things that I found interesting).

I tried for a number of years just to listen to her, thinking that eventually she would ask me a question or inquire about my life in some meaningful way, but found that she would simply talk herself out and then, if I did begin to speak, that would somehow add fuel to her thoughts and she’d be off and running again, or she’d become uncomfortable and start looking around the room, get up and clean something (or once she got an ipad, she would turn to that).

I am 61 years old and had never found peace with this dynamic. I have always felt as though there was something wrong with me when it came to my mother and our relationship. Then last week in couple’s therapy, I told our therapist that I had stopped by my mother’s house and as she immediately began to talk about other people, I said, “Mom, I don’t want to talk about anyone else….” Our therapist replied to me by saying, “You are still trying to change your mother.” I knew that he was right…after all of these years, I still was trying to get my mother to be interested in me.

Then he looked at me with the most compassionate eyes and said, “Your mother doesn’t like you.” I knew it was the truth.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that my mother loves me, she just doesn’t like the woman that I am. I like to swear and have a particular affection for a word beginning with the letter F. I am direct. I like to ask questions. I am, at times, loud. I am curious about religion and spirituality and have always questioned ideas and beliefs which, in my upbringing, were the “unquestionable”. If someone told me that I couldn’t do something, this often felt like a challenge to me to do it. I am smart, and although I didn’t know this for a long time, my mother told me many times that this aspect of me intimidated her.

Over the past week, I’ve found a new sense of freedom when I’ve thought about my mother and I’ve had the interesting revelation that I don’t like her either. Just admitting this about myself, and acknowledging her feelings about me, has brought inner peace. I am free not to like her. She is free not to like me. She doesn’t need to change one bit for me to love her, but I don’t need to change to get her love either…as a mater of fact, I can’t.

I would go to the ends of the earth to help my mother if she needed me and I know that she’d do the same for me…this feels like real love….so good to know.

“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself, just as I am, then I can change.” Carl Rogers

IMG_5690.JPG

Evolution of Little Wing Shop & Gallery opening June 10th at 10 a.m…(148 Dunbar Rd. Cambridge, NY). I’d love to meet you (or see you again!) if you’d like to stop by. 

 

try again…I might need to go for another walk!

IMG_1428

the first day of our vacation…so much fun

Last week, the day before Jack and I were set to leave for Hilton Head, I received two notifications that needed immediate attention. The first was that my email server would no longer be providing service, and the second informed me that my phone bill was overdue because the auto-pay, which I’d set up months before, was no longer working. I was also getting a lot of calls cutting out in the middle of conversations…a problem that I’d spoken to Verizon about multiple times without any solution.
It was 6 a.m. and I could feel the front of my head begin to tense up as I imagined long hours on the phone with these companies. Before I even made the call, all of the lengthy past calls paraded before my eyes and I felt deflated, discouraged, and worried that I would not get the issues resolved and I’d have my internet cut off, would no longer be able to receive emails, and would have to try to deal with this all on my dysfunctional phone which might be cut off too since I had, unbeknownst to me, not paid for it over the past several months. My mind has a tendency to go to extremes.
Then I noticed these thoughts… and stopped…and breathed. I knew better than to call in this state of mind, so I went for a walk and tried to let go of the anxiety that had already begun to take root inside my body.
When I returned home, I was clearer and ready to call. Before I picked up the phone, I said to myself, “I am going to get a very helpful person, and this is going to be easy.” I made the call and was immediately connected with a very nice woman…then the phone cut out. I could hear her but she couldn’t hear me. She said she’d call me back but the calls kept going directly to voicemail and I couldn’t call her back either.
I repeated the affirmation that I would get all of the help that I needed, and I really felt it. I called again and was immediately connected to another wonderful woman who ended up spending almost 2 hrs. with me, not only straightening out my phone issues but also helping me with some internet problems, which weren’t even her company’s responsibility.
We left for vacation the next day and the entire week flowed in the same easy way.
I am learning that things work out when I let go of the belief that I need to make them happen…in my way, in my timing. I am learning that my mind creates problems, disasters, and escalates issues, but that it also heals, soothes, and dissolves “problems” when I use it properly.

“Part of your conquest of anger is to see that its cause is always inside you, never in outer things. So use those small daily accidents when you drop or spill something. Study yourself at the same moment that you spill the coffee. Watch irritation jump up, take you over, and make you shout in aggravation. You can now see how you yielded to the swift habit of angry reaction. One day you will not join angry emotions any more than you join rioting mobs.” Vernon Howard

IMG_5626

Little Wing Shop & Gallery is evolving….I’ve just finished painting the floor. Opening day will be June 10th at 10 and you are all invited!

This entry was posted on May 9, 2017. 5 Comments

decisions, decisions…or maybe not

IMG_5501

Fred on the counter yesterday morning…looking like he belongs there!

Jack and I have wanted to move for a while, but since this isn’t happening as quickly as we’d like, we’ve decided to open a small shop/gallery in the studio space on our property. It will be called Little Wing Shop and Gallery. We’ll have artwork of our own and antiques, including furniture, mirrors, scales and other interesting and old things for sale. Jack’s store will be open as well since he isn’t closing it until the end of October.

Today, it just felt like the right time to set a date to open. We’ve decided that we can get ready in 7 weeks (6 weeks seemed too little and 8 much). On Saturday, June 10th at 10 a.m., we will open our doors and welcome all who feel drawn stop by.

Our address is 148 Dunbar Rd. Cambridge, NY 12816, and it’s about 3 miles from downtown Cambridge. Please feel free to email me at mmuncil@verizon.net or call me at 802-233-4997 if you have any questions. I’ll post more about this before the big day.

I don’t know whether this shop/gallery is a “divine” idea or not. Many times, when things are right, I’ve had a feeling of uncertainty. Often my guidance seems clearer when what I’m considering is a no…but the yesses are things that I have to begin and then trust that the way will unfold and the next step will be given. No matter what happens though, I will not worry about it.

Below is a photograph that I just took of the studio space. I’m finishing up painting the walls.

IMG_5503

 

“The direct path might seem long, because the mind tells you of a distance and mesmerizes you with its proof. When you believe that thought, you feel the exhaustion that accompanies it, the heaviness, the stress. But the direct path isn’t long. In fact, there’s no distance to it at all. Where are you going, other than where you are right now? How can you go anywhere else? The direct path means realizing that the beginning and end of every journey is where you always are. You can’t make a decision. You can only experience a story about how you made it. Decisions make themselves; they’re happenings; they come when the time is right. I like to ask, “Are you breathing yourself?’ No? Well, maybe you’re not thinking yourself or making decisions either. Maybe reality doesn’t move until it moves, like a breath, like the wind. And when you tell the story of how you’re doing it, you keep yourself from the awareness that you are nature, flowing perfectly.” Pg. 122 A Thousand Names For Joy, Living in Harmony with the Way Things Are, by Byron Katie

a new concept of myself

IMG_5388

Fred

One of my favorite Neville Goddard quotes is:

“There is nothing to change but our concept of self….As soon as we succeed in transforming self, our world will dissolve and reshape itself in harmony with that which our change affirms.”*

One day as I was quietly repeating these words to myself, the thought came to me, “What are the concepts of myself that are keeping me from my heart’s desire?” I sat with that question for a while and the answer that came was this: I believed that if something good was going to happen in my life, then I must make it happen. I saw myself as a person who “got things done”. I’d think thoughts like, “Give me a project and I’ll see it through in an efficient and timely manner”…and god help anyone who gets in my way or doesn’t line up with my plan. I was sure that I knew the best way, the right way, that things should happen, and I enjoyed that concept of myself…sort of. I didn’t believe that anyone could or would do it as well as I could and I didn’t dare leave anything to chance.

So as I pondered the concepts of myself that I still held onto (that were no longer serving me) I saw how this concept of myself had run its course. It worked when I felt alone and this very competent, overly responsible, sense of self was all I had. But when I was ready to grow spiritually, it stopped working. It was no longer a thrill to achieve goals like it had once been. I grew very tired of seeing life as something to be overcome, endured, conquered, or planned out to the last detail, by me. One of the reasons that I felt like I needed to do so much was from a deep sense that I was not good enough…I was not enough. I’d believed this for most of my life and felt like I had to work hard to prove to others that it wasn’t true. I always felt like I had to prove something…

And then the most incredible thing began to happen. As I started to watch my life, to observe how it was presenting me with everything that I needed, and often what I wanted as well, I felt a new trust growing…a trust in the unknown goodness of Life. As long as I held onto the idea (concept of myself) that I was making things happen, I was actually blocking the essence of wonder, happy surprises, and delightful ideas from reaching me, and I was getting tired.

I used to hear slogans like, “Let Go and Let God” and I’d think, “What garbage!” What I didn’t realize was that my concept of God was too small, limited, and antiquated. I believed that God was some guy, existing somewhere outside of me, who decided the fate of little humans on a whim, and who was definitely not pleased with me. I had no idea that I was a part of this inconceivably large, loving, presence/spirit… that I was intimately connected to the power of Love…a power/presence that was beyond anyone’s ability to describe in words…and that I could trust this way more than I could trust my reasoning mind to figure out and plan my life.

What I didn’t know, when I began this journey of faith was how much fun it would be. You think it’s fun to plan something and have it turn out exactly like you imagined?…. it is such a wild and wonderful experience to have your plans ripped away, only to discover that the new plan is so much better than anything you could have imagined.

*page 94, Awakened Imagination, Neville Goddard

reframing the day

IMG_5298

A perfect day with Jack and Luke

Jack and I decided to go on one of our favorite hikes yesterday. It was supposed to be 75 degrees and sunny and we both wanted to be outside. We packed our treats; English breakfast tea for me, strong coffee for Jack, thinking how much we’d enjoy them at the summit.

As we got closer to the mountain (about 1 ½ hrs. north of here) we began to see a lot of snow still on the ground. By the time we reached the trailhead, I realized that I hadn’t dressed properly at all. I had worn only light running shoes and the trail was still covered with either snow and ice or mud and water.

We tentatively headed out with Luke happily running between us, splattering cold, muddy, water all over my bare legs (I’d also opted for shorts, not long pants) each time he came close to me.

We weren’t sure what to do. Almost everything was different than we’d expected and my mind was searching for direction: should be turn back? Should we try another trail? I suddenly said, “I am going to look at this hike as if it were an obstacle course with water, mud, and snow elements.” As soon as I had that thought something inside relaxed and it became an adventure.

We slowly made our way over icy rivers, deep muddy trenches, slippery leaves, melting ice mounds and patches of dry trail. Sometimes we slipped, sometimes we almost fell, one time Jack fell completely into a small creek when a mound of ice that he was walking on broke. It was in the 70’s so our upper bodies were warm enough but at that point, we’d only gone about a mile, and it had taken us an hour, so we decided not to continue up the mountain.

Before we reached our car we sat on a large rock that overlooked a still-frozen lake, drank our tea and coffee, and laughed about it all. It had been so much fun…after we allowed it to be what it was. After we suspended our idea of what we thought it should have been.

We’ve been reading a book to each other every night called, “No Mud, No Lotus” by Thich Nhat Hanh. As I sat there on the rock with Jack and Luke, that title made me smile. There was a time in my life when I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy myself if a day that I’d planned had not turned out as I had expected. I used to get angry and disappointed much quicker, and often I’d look for someone or something to blame, but that didn’t happen yesterday. At the start of the hike, I was silently asking for help on how to view the situation differently, and the idea was right there…all I had to do was say yes to it.

Yesterday felt like a gift not only because of the fun we had but also because it showed me how I’d changed…the “mud” of my past was very fertile soil. I no longer want to live in an agitated, angry, or disappointed state of mind. I want to trust life. I want to experience more than I expect.

We don’t have to wait for the end of all suffering before we can be happy. Happiness is available to us right here and right now. But we may need to change our idea of happiness. Our idea of happiness may itself be the main obstacle keeping us from true happiness.” Page 56, No Mud, No Lotus

imagining heaven

IMG_5245

50 years ago (I’m the one with the crazy orange pants)

My father died a few months ago. Since his passing, I’ve felt closeness to him that I hadn’t felt in the last 6 months of his life…since he had stopped communicating with me, but I still struggled when I thought about his wife.

I hadn’t seen her in years (her choice) and we’d never had a friendly relationship, so I didn’t expect any communication with her after his death, but I guess I did expect that I would be named, as one of his children, in his obituary. I wasn’t, and neither were any of my siblings (my father’s children) or any of their, or my, children…no one on “our side” was mentioned by name.

When my stepmother’s daughter (whom I had never met) called me to say that my father had passed away and that there wouldn’t be a funeral, she did mention that there would be a memorial service this summer, adding that my father had meant so much to her family.

A few weeks ago, I had a dream about my father and his wife was there too. My father was very “background” in the dream, and I was fully engaged with his wife…and it was so loving and warm that I felt I was with my best friend. I felt love pouring from both of us toward each other. I woke up feeling that love as a lingering presence and thought, “You now have a new experience of J…” and you also have a choice; you can go back to the past with no good memories of your relationship with her or you can begin again in your mind.” At the time it was very clear what I wanted to do/think. I loved that dream so much and the feelings were so pure. How could I choose resentment or bitterness over that? But in the past few weeks, those feelings have faded and I can feel the old ones creep in again when I think about her…especially since my father had promised me a gift, in his will, when he passed, and it looks like that was changed sometime before he died.

So, here I am, being given the opportunity to choose forgiveness and understanding or resentment and disappointment. I choose the former, because I really do understand. I understand what if feels like to be possessed by fear, self-righteous anger, jealously and a firm resolve not to see another person’s point of view. I’ve lived that in my past and it is hell. I don’t choose forgiveness and understanding because I am a good or spiritual person. I choose it because I have the presence of mind to choose and because I want love inside of me. I want to remember that dream of loving communion and breath deeply the Truth of that. I also want to be forgiven for all of the times that I hurt others when I was too blind to my own pain to do anything else.

Even though my father cut me off at the end of his life, it has come to me that things worked the way they were supposed to. My father adored Jack, and if we had been communicating last summer, I’m sure I would’ve told him what had happened, and it would’ve broken his heart.

So today as I write, I feel lightness in my heart …like there is little laugh right at the edge of my consciousness that wants to burst out. I was going to say that I’m a little poorer (referring to being out of my father’s will) but I’m not poor at all. I have a sense of being OK deep inside…I am in heaven.

 

Of course! the path to heaven

doesn’t lie down in flat miles. It’s in the imagination
with which you perceive
this world,

and the gestures
with which you honor it.       Mary Oliver