a simple tool

 

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Griffin and Nana (me) getting ready for Sullivan’s baby blessing

I often take my 2-year-old grandson, Griffin, to the library on rainy days, and the other day, I overheard a woman remark that she really enjoyed seeing the toddlers playing there. I loved her observation, and was about to agree with her, but she quickly followed up by adding, “It is such a shame and so disturbing that so many kids spend hours in front of the television, on computer games…” As she continued to speak, I could feel the energy become dense and low. Her brow furrowed and she looked distressed. If she had stopped at what she’d first observed, I think she would have felt better.

I didn’t blame her. I’ve done the same thing myself, many times. But I am quicker to catch myself these days. If I want to change and become a happier, more open, person, then I must stop dragging negative comparisons along. It’s a really bad habit and it also keeps us stuck.

A beautiful day today doesn’t need to be compared to the “rotten weather we’ve been experiencing”. A magical time with my mother doesn’t need to be contrasted with how difficult it used to be. A compliment from someone doesn’t need to be rejected or looked upon suspiciously, because they’ve never said anything like that before. If we stop and take in the beautiful day, the magical time, and the compliment, we will change…and isn’t that what we are here to do…to grow, expand, and become more than we ever dreamed we could be?

This is such a profoundly simple, spiritual, tool. So often we don’t need to do anything to change…we just need to stop doing/thinking negative, unhappy, thoughts that block the Goodness and the Grace that are there for us…and that are us.

“If you live right mentally, everything else will be right. By a change of mental diet you can alter the course of observed events. But unless there is a change of mental diet, your personal history remains the same. You illuminate or darken your life by the ideas to which you consent. If you find the world unchanged, it is a sure sign that you are wanting in fidelity to a new mental diet, which you neglect in order to condemn your environment.” Neville Goddard

 

an inclusive life

Luke trying to get Eleanor to play...she isn't amused.

Luke trying to get Eleanor to play…she isn’t amused.

When I notice that I’m not feeling good emotionally, it takes little introspection to realize that I’ve excluded someone from my life…maybe not overtly, like telling them to leave me alone, but in my mind I’ve made them into an enemy. Then my mind begins to look for evidence to support this belief…and it always finds plenty.

While excluding people, whom we feel have hurt us, initially can feel good, even powerful, eventually it shrinks our worlds just a little. Several days ago, I realized that I had done just that, and I watched this petty part of my mind try to justify its thoughts about someone. It was arguing for my limitations, telling me not to open my heart, warning me that I wasn’t safe.

I took a deep breath and reminded myself that I knew better, and that I would not accept living a small life based on exclusion…which is always fear in disguise.

I began to softly repeat, “I love every being. Everyone is included in my life.”

I thought about one person in particular, but I didn’t try to figure out how to change my thoughts about her, I just knew that they would…and I was right. I also didn’t take any action like calling or emailing her. Working with my mind was enough to bring me inner peace and freedom from fear of being hurt or of hurting her anymore with unkind thoughts…Love always leads me home to my heart where everyone (including me) is safe and loved unconditionally.

”Do I love you?” is the important question. It’s the only thing I need care about. ‘Do you love me?’ is a prison. It’s a torture chamber.” Byron Katie

 

 

a 15 minute trip…the destination is your choice

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He Holds the Universe in His Hands (painting available on my artwork page)

Several nights ago, Jack and I got into a lengthy discussion about our relationship. After 20 minutes of “honestly” telling each other what we felt was missing, how we had been disappointed, discouraged, angry, hurt, and generally dissatisfied, we both felt horrible. The more we talked about what was wrong (in an attempt to correct these shortcomings) the worse we felt.

I know this truth: look for what is wrong and you will find it. Attempt to solve problems or clear misunderstandings from a place of unhappiness and all of the negative, crappy, old complaints will jump on that train and take you on a ride to hell.

As we sat on the couch feeling more and more deflated, we decided to try something different and began to talk about what we appreciated and loved about each other. Within a few minutes, our energy lightened, and just like when we talked about what we didn’t like, and more examples popped up to confirm that we were in fact a mess, as we talked about what was good, fun, loving, caring, wonderful, surprising, delightful, and happy, more memories, stories, and occasions presented themselves as well.

In 15 minutes, we went from discouragement to actual happiness about where we were as a couple, and even where we had been.

 

15 minutes.

 

What I know is that anyone can do this. You do not need special training or any skill other than a genuine desire to see yourself and “the other” with new eyes. If you can’t sit down with the person who you believe is causing you so much pain, then do this in your mind. Imagine having the new, positive, conversation and do it until your energy changes.This is what I believe true forgiveness is.

There is a self-defeating human tendency to not want to think anything good about the person we blame for our unhappiness. It can almost feel like we will loose our leverage (anger, resentment, etc.) if we see the good in them or forgive them…especially if we don’t think that this will be reciprocated. But if we don’t do this, we will end up bitter, small, and more fearful, believing that we need to protect ourselves from further injury.

Love is the only power strong enough to protect us from harm, and the field of Love is accessed through the open mind…and heart.

“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

an unexpected opening and a give away

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Our newest grandson, Sullivan, snuggling with his Nana

Today has unexpectedly opened up, so it seemed like a fun thing to do to offer 20 minute sessions for $20. If this speaks to you, just send me an email (mmuncil@verizon.net) and we will set up a time to talk. You can read more about the work that I do on my Private Sessions Page (a tab at the top of my homepage).

The Giveaway

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A few weeks ago I ordered some of my favorite incense (The Moon by HEM) on line and when it showed up, I was surprised to find that instead of ordering 5 boxes, I’d ordered 5 cartons (with 10 boxes in each), so I thought I’d offer one as a give-away. To enter this give-away, just post a comment about some scent/smell/fragrance that you love, and I’ll choose a random entry on August 2nd.

 

A visitor bearing gifts

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It has been a long time since I posted a picture of either myself or Jack on the blog…so here we are sending you so much love today!

Several days ago, I found out that someone close to me had betrayed me in a way that quite literally sent me into shock. For hours, my body shook and my heart felt like it would explode. Later that same night, as I tried to sleep but found it impossible…thoughts about the hurtful event felt like spears being shot into my brain and I didn’t think that I could stop them. Feelings of anger and confusion made sleep, the one thing that I thought might bring some temporary relief, impossible.

I tried to say, “This is happening for me, not to me”, but it felt empty and pitiful compared to my feelings…it felt like utter bullshit.

At about 2 a.m. as I lie there in my cocoon of hell, the word, “kindness” came into my mind. I kept repeating it and as I did, I became aware that the angry thoughts, and the reliving of the betrayal, were such unkind things to do to myself. They felt like daggers, because they were just that….and I was doing this to myself.

So I started repeating,

“Be kind to yourself. Think kind thoughts, or no thoughts. This is so hard but don’t become hard. Become soft, stay kind. Let this open you up to more love, life, and goodness. Don’t close down. Don’t become hard.” The sense of relief that I experienced was small and I felt powerless as I was then overwhelmed with sadness instead of rage, but I knew that deep sadness was appropriate and that anger was a cover up.

In the past, anger had been a default emotion for me. I thought that I was in control (or it felt that way) if I was angry…but sadness? Sadness was frightening. Sadness seemed like it would render me useless, pitiful, and unable to move. Anger felt like it contained within it the energy to change and so I had been reluctant to turn away from what felt like an old ally. But I had the awareness that the sleeplessness and sadness were working something in me…similar to the feelings that I’d experience on a vision quest many years earlier. I was in a new place and I needed to trust it, even though it felt awful.

Sleep still did not come and so at 5 a.m. I got up, made a cup of tea,  went outside, and asked to see my part in the betrayal. I could not have asked that question 12 hrs. earlier, and if anyone had said, “So how did you bring this into your life? Or “How did you attract this?” (both legitimate and good questions which I know to be the truth), I would’ve become enraged and probably shot back, “How dare you insinuate that I had any part in this?”

But I was ready to ask myself, and within minutes an answer came; I saw how for several years I’d had so many negative and unfriendly thoughts about this man and in that moment, my heart opened and I sobbed uncontrollably. There was no blame of him or myself; there was only the space that an epiphany creates. There was room for something new to emerge and I sensed that it would heal me in a way that I could never do by trying to change myself. It was Grace…my part in it was simply to stay open (simple but certainly not easy).

We all know people who have been so hurt by others that they shut themselves off from life. They become hard and closed-down in an effort to shield themselves from the inevitable pain that happens as we live these human lives. There is going to be pain. There are going to be betrayals, or what we believe in the moment are betrayals. There is going to be loss or the feeling that we have lost something/someone, but what we do in these moments, holds the key to our freedom and happiness. One of my favorite quotes by W. Clement Stone is, “Big doors swing on little hinges”. Deciding to refuse anger and blame and ask what my part was seemed small at the time.

During the experience that I just went through, I could see these 2 paths clearly and I knew that the old way for me was dead. I made a decision to stay open, not knowing that a light would shine so quickly on the new path, bringing with it a great feeling of relief. I didn’t know if I would get an answer at all, or if it did, when it would come… an hour, a day, a month?

The pain that this incident caused was my wake-up call. It was a gift and I recognize it as such.

I now believe even more in the concept that we do not heal ourselves. Healing happens when we metaphorically speaking, stop pouring salt in our wounds: stop blaming anyone, including ourselves, for the unhappiness in our lives. Stop looking to others to change toward us so we can be happy. Stop looking at anything outside of us for wholeness. We live in a field of Grace…it does the work if we let it.

I’m so grateful to be able to share this with you. If you are ever in a situation like I was, I hope that something here will help you to see a new way too. I wish you freedom and deep peace today.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Rumi
(translation by Coleman Barks)

 

 

 

 

little lessons with big results

 

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you can see this and some other work that I’ve done recently on my artwork page*

At a recent event, I overheard a woman basically telling another woman how she wasn’t seeing a situation “spiritually”. The woman talking was very intense and irritated as she tried to explain what she felt was superior wisdom…about being non-judgmental. At one point she waved her hands in the air and huffed, “Don’t you believe that each one of us is perfect in the eyes of God?” The other woman didn’t say a word, but she looked like she’d been hit with something, as she retreated further into herself. The “spiritual” woman didn’t seem to notice…but she did seem frustrated.

The talking woman clearly considered herself to be a wise, spiritual person and a teacher. So why couldn’t she see that in that moment, she was the one being judgmental? She was the one who didn’t seem to understand that she was acting more like a bully, and the woman whom she was trying to “help” looked like a victim.

I thought about this event all evening. It is easy to criticize the “talking woman” and yet, being honest with myself, I can see that I’ve been both of these women as well.

That night, as I fell asleep, I asked for clarity about what I had witnessed, and this is what came to me,

“You are a teacher. Teachers must learn the lessons set before them, and “embody” those lessons. You can tell the “spiritual teachers” or the ones meant to be teachers, by the way they respond to situations involving others. Before they “embody” the lessons themselves, they get very frustrated with people who do not understand. They try to correct them and they attract many of these people, not to teach them, but to teach themselves to step out of the dense reality of time and space and all of the situations, problems, and concerns that are a part of this denser plane. Once you are out of this mindset/reality, you no longer live in it and you are not bothered by people who still are. You see that they are where they are and yet you have no desire to correct/change this because you know it ‘isn’t yours’. Family members and old friends/acquaintances may slip away. This is as it should be. As long as you are trying to ‘pull others along’ you will be unable to embody the teachings…that old field is too dense. Let it go and let them be.”

This was so helpful to me. As much as I realize that all people are mirrors, I’d felt some confusion about the part of me that at times can still get frustrated with both my own spiritual progress and that of others. What this told me was that frustration is simply a sign that I am, in that moment, unaware of what/who I really am and that I’ve temporarily fallen asleep to my true essence, which is God.

If I look at frustration as just a little nudge to go back “home” …turn inside and realize that if I am seeing a problem, I am seeing through clouded eyes, I can be easier with myself. I can lighten up and know that all really is well. I can smile at frustration instead of becoming frustrated that I still become frustrated. I hope that you can smile at yourself today too…I am going to imagine that there are hundreds, maybe thousands of us doing that right now…I love that thought.

 “Your inner speech is perpetually written all around you in happenings. Learn to relate these happenings to your inner speech and you will become self-taught.” Neville Goddard, from Awakened Imagination

*https://wordpress.com/page/whitefeatherfarm.wordpress.com/11676

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I still have some skin balms available from the batch that I made several weeks ago. If you are interested in purchasing any, they are $8.95 each and you can contact me at mmuncil@verizon.net

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This entry was posted on July 10, 2016. 6 Comments

the golden string that leads us Home

About one month ago, I signed up for a 2 hour yoga class* which included a 40 minute “yoga nidra” at the end. I’d never heard of yoga nidra before so I assumed it would involve some special postures and I was looking forward to that, but as I sat in the class that evening, and the teacher explained that yoga nidra was like a meditation, I felt disappointed. I probably wouldn’t have signed up if I’d known that almost half the class time would be spent “doing nothing”…after all, I wanted to get my money’s worth.

I wasn’t about to leave the class, so I made a decision to be as open as I could and follow her lead.The yoga nidra began with all of the students lying down on our backs. We were instructed not to fall asleep, and not to move…I wondered how I’d manage to keep still for the entire time. At one point, I felt as though my hands were gone…very odd sensation but as I continued to give myself over to the experience, I relaxed. Then I heard the teacher say, “You may now begin to move your feet….”

I couldn’t believe it. I hadn’t fallen asleep and yet the 40 minutes seemed like 10. I was stunned. I was also deeply relaxed. Wow, what a surprise.

Over the next few weeks, I looked for more classes in my area, but not finding any, I widened my search and happened upon a wonderful yoga nidra youtube video, led by Liam Gillen (https://youtu.be/XN1ngkASEbY). I didn’t know if it would feel as powerful if I wasn’t in a live class, but it did. I’ve been listening/doing this practice every night since and have found it to be so delightful that I wanted to share it with you.

I am so grateful that I didn’t have all of the information about the class before I signed up. I so often fall into the trap of believing that I know what is best for me, thinking that I need to know what is coming next (totally impossible anyway) before I do something.

It isn’t coincidental that one of the affirmations I’ve been saying lately is, “I am always in the right place at the right time.” It puts me in a more open state of mind…one where I can be more easily moved and led toward my true heart’s desire.

I love the Blake quote,

“I give you the end of a golden string. Only wind it into a ball, it will lead you to Heaven’s gate…”

*the wonderful yoga studio that I belong to is Align Again Yoga in Greenwich NY.