Life: An in-the-moment adventure.

Eleanor napping on top of a cat toy

Eleanor napping on top of the Turbo-scratcher cat toy

I hardly ever let Jack choose the route when we take a trip. My history with Jack and trips is that he inevitably chooses the longest route possible. He likes to take roads that get you to your destination eventually. I generally choose the shortest distance between 2 points. The other night I was tired and for some reason, I let him pick the route. About half-way home (one and a half hours into a normally two-hour and fifteen minute trip) I began to feel an old familiar feeling toward him: irritation.

We stopped at a gas station and while he was inside buying water, I let my head flop onto the steering wheel and sighed “I am dreading this trip home.” But the thought that immediately followed was, “Why? Why are you doing anything in the spirit of dread?” I didn’t have a good answer except that it was a habit to feel annoyed when things didn’t unfold in the way that I would have planned them or done them. The next question that I asked myself was, “Can you look forward to the rest of this trip?” As I pondered this question, I can’t say that I suddenly felt happy anticipation, but my irritation eased up and surprisingly, I felt less tired. So I then said, “We will get home at the perfect time” and I felt happier.

Within 3 minutes Jack was back at the car handing me a treat that he’d picked out, and I was feeling good. I never said a word to him about this, so he’ll be surprised when he reads it tonight.

Dreading anything is a dreadful thing to do to ourselves. What is dread, really? It is fear. Fear that things won’t go the way we want them to go. Fear that our plan (which of course we think is the best plan) won’t be realized, or we’ll be harmed in some way. But as I sat in my car dreading the rest of that trip, I was the one hurting myself. It wasn’t getting home later than I’d hoped that caused me pain, it was my thought that it was somehow wrong.

 No matter what we are going through, we all have the ability to embrace it. It might sound insane to say, “I am looking forward to a colonoscopy” or “I am looking forward to being unemployed” or saying that we look forward any other thing that society tells us we should dread. But why? Why do it? Why dread things that we are expected to dread? If you watch very young children, you’ll notice that they have a natural curiosity about everything. They look at life as though it is an in-the-moment adventure. Could we do that too? Could we look forward to everything that life presents and refuse to call anything (that we need to do, or that has been handed to us) bad or wrong?

At the very least, it is fun to try. So, take something, anything, right now, that you are dreading and begin to say, “I am looking forward to it”, and watch what happens….allow yourself to be like a little child; full of wonder and full of trust.


I still have a few skin balms available from the batch I made several weeks ago. If you are interested in purchasing any, they are $8.95 each

I still have a few skin balms available from the batch I made several weeks ago. They are $8.95 each. You can let me know by email, if you are interested in purchasing any and I’ll get right back to you.




This entry was posted on November 21, 2015. 19 Comments

more about the Roadblock Prayer and Mary’s Skin Survival Balm offer


I am finally in the process of making a small batch of my skin salve (Mary’s Skin Survival Balm).  It will be ready around mid-November. I have tried to get back to everyone who wanted to be notified when I was making more, but if I missed you, I am so sorry. Please email me at if you’d like to reserve some. They are $8.95 each (shipping charges are simply what the post office charges me…usually about $3 for one or 2 but if you’d like a shipping estimate,  let me know in your email request).

the label with ingredients of my skin salve

the label with ingredients of my skin salve

Another crucial part of the Roadblock prayer is the timing of it. This isn’t a prayer to use when you have not made a decision. The essence of this prayer is motion and the assumption that we have moved forward. If you cannot get an internal feel for what direction to take, then ask for the guidance first. Ask for a clear lead. Your inner self always knows which direction to take, even when your conscious mind is confused. So ask for direction and when that guidance comes, and you are ready to move forward, if you feel uncertainty, this is the time for the prayer

This entry was posted on October 29, 2015. 3 Comments

The YES path

Eleanor looking very cute as she naps under the coffee table

Eleanor looking very cute as she naps under the coffee table

Last Thursday, I thought about buying a new car. I’ve contemplated getting another car for a while, but when I stopped at a dealership a year ago, the salesman wasn’t encouraging about my trade-in options. I remember his face as he looked at my car, and I thought he was thinking, “What a mess.” He ran the numbers and basically said, “No”. I drove away from that dealership feeling like I had no choice but to pay off my current car and then look for another…some day.

But I also had another thought about that experience. I was the one thinking that my car was a mess. I was the one feeling like I had no options but to keep paying on something that I didn’t even like. I felt upset that the salesman seemed to be looking at me negatively, but on that day, I was the one who was looking at myself as somewhat of a mess…and I saw my mind mirrored back to me in energetic perfection.

Nothing about that visit felt right. I felt off and I lined up with someone who was a perfect match to that. Thank god I didn’t push it. This path was clearly a closed-door. This was the path of NO (or at least “NOT NOW”).

Last Friday I cleaned out my car really well, and as Jack and I drove to Albany to attend the opening of his art show, I asked him to stop at a Subaru dealership. Silently, I prayed, “If a new car is not in the highest and best for me, roadblock it*.” I had no feeling of desperation. As a matter of fact, my thought was, “The worst that can happen is that I drive home in a very clean car with a $20 Starbucks gift card” (they were offering these as incentives to test drive a car). Everything about this trip felt easy. My current car was valued at quite a bit more than I expected, I’d wanted a white car and there was one in Pearl White…we drove home from Jack’s show that evening in my new Subaru Crosstrek.

The “Roadblock Prayer”* is one of the most helpful spiritual tools that I have ever used. Many years ago, I was working as a volunteer for the Norman Vincent Peale Prayer Line, and the director (at that time) was the one who first told me about it.

Sometimes we make commitments, or say yes to something, that we’re not totally comfortable doing, and aren’t sure if we should cancel, or go forward with it. It’s hard to tell, when our minds are full of doubt, conflicting desires, and old fears, if a certain path is the best one for us to take. This is the time when the roadblock prayer is so helpful. Basically it says, “I am turning this entire situation over to a Higher Intelligence. I cannot figure out the best course and I feel confused when I try to. I am going to move forward with the plan (whatever it may be) but if it is not in the highest and best good, then I give You (Spirit/God/Universal Energy that is within me and everything else) full permission to roadblock it, and I will now drop the struggle from my mind.”

The wording is not important, but the intention is. I have to be ready to really let go of the mental debate (and my plan) and turn the current dilemma/situation/decision over to the part of me (the Divine Self) that always knows the best course to take. After I’ve said this prayer, I drop the issue from my mind and refuse to entertain it again.

When things are “right” for us, they flow. We might need to push through old fears, but the situation will not feel like a struggle. When things are in the highest and best for us (and we drop our mental anguish, worry, fretting, and struggle) all we need to do is say YES to the idea and then YES to the action that is presented. When things are right for us, we walk on a path of opening doors. It is also true that it sometimes takes all the courage we can muster to step foot on that path, but the YES path is clear, harmonious, and it feels like an open door….because it is.

“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” Joseph Campbell

* The “Roadblock Prayer” has been such a helpful tool in my life. If what I have written is at all confusing or you would like me to say a little bit more about it, please let me know, and I’ll be happy to talk more about it. It is equally true that after the action has taken place (if the path has been one of opening doors and harmony), second-guessing our decision is just another way to mentally torture ourselves. If it happened like it was meant to be then trust that guidance.







This entry was posted on October 28, 2015. 15 Comments

Affirming life…a little give-away

The box of affirmation cards

The box of affirmation cards

Most people who read this blog know that I love a good affirmation…and by that I mean an affirmation that moves me to a better feeling place. One of my favorites is to say, “This is happening for me”, right in the middle of what seems like a challenging situation.  I almost always need to repeat these words over and over, but they never fail to open up something inside (which inevitably opens up things on the “outside”).

In the process of cleaning out my bookshelves, I found a great little box of affirmation cards called, Ask and it is Given, by Esther Hicks, and I’d like to give these away. To enter this give-away, all you need to do is comment and tell us what affirmation works for you. Feel free to tell a story of how you used it or just write the affirmation/s. I will choose a random winner on Wed. Oct 21st.

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

This entry was posted on October 18, 2015. 47 Comments


Jack's photo of sunflower outside his shop

Jack’s photo of a sunflower outside his shop in Cambridge, NY

For so long, I believed that being spiritually awake meant never having another negative thought. Sometimes, after getting on a very strict and complicated program/practice of meditation, diet, exercise, or whatever I thought at the time was THE answer, I’d feel like I had attained this most elusive state. I’d feel delighted until I inevitably fell off the spiritual wagon and then I’d think, “You are right back where you started! You’re never going to get it, are you?”

One day I realized that my approach to life wasn’t working. I wondered how these seemingly enlightened people “got there”. I knew (intellectually) that we were all, at our deepest level, divine beings and thought, “It can’t be so hard to be who we really are. Why does it seem so complicated?” The answer that came surprised me. It was, “Stop feeling bad about yourself.” My pattern had been to notice when I was thinking a crappy/critical/judgemental thought about someone or something and then after I’d noticed it, I’d feel bad about myself. That self-critical thought would lead to more self-condemnation and then I’d just spiral down.

I believed that the only way I would change was by being hyper vigilant; catching every negative thought or action, and then treating myself like a tight-lipped school master would treat a misbehaving child…but one day I saw all of this differently. I would notice a crappy thought and say to myself something like, “Whoa, that is some thought! Are you having a rough time, Mary?” Softer, gentler, and more loving thoughts started to be my response to my thinking (instead of following hard, harsh, and mean thoughts with more of the same).

I began to realize that I was awake/enlightened many times a day. It wasn’t the “once and for all” way I’d thought it would be…but it was enough…and it was so simple.

People think that they need to get ‘enlightened’ in order to be free, and nobody knows what enlightenment is. Yes, it’s in the sacred texts, and yes, this guru or that lama says he has attained it, but that’s just a concept; it’s the story of a past. The truth is that there’s no such thing as enlightenment. No one is permanently enlightened; that would be the story of a future. There’s only enlightenment in the moment. Do you believe a stressful thought? Then your confused. Do you realize that the thought isn’t true? Then you’re enlightened to it. It is as simple as that. And then the next thought comes, and maybe you’re enlightened to it as well, and maybe not.” page 29 from A Thousand Names for Joy, Living in Harmony with the Way Things Are, by Byron Katie


Jack's sculpture going to be on display as a part of the Albany NY's

Jack’s sculpture is going to be on display as a part of the Albany International Airport’s, “Folk Modern” exhibition. The reception is on October 23rd from 5:30-7 pm. If you are in the area on October 23rd, we’d love to see/meet you!

This entry was posted on October 12, 2015. 11 Comments

Letting go of preconceived ideas. Allowing perfection to appear.


me looking very serious as I try to cast a spell

I’m looking very serious as I try to cast a spell in Diagon Alley.

Jack and I got home a few days ago from my 60th birthday trip. Everything seemed to unfold like magic as we entered this 4 day excursion. Then on the third day, I woke up in the middle of the night with extreme nausea. By 5 a.m. I’d been to the bathroom at least 40 times and was exhausted and completely drained. All of my plans for the next day were off. I wasn’t even sure if I’d be able to fly home the following day much less leave our room that day. I tried to sleep but was still in a fair amount of pain…but not so much that I couldn’t think back over the past 4 hours and try to get some insight into what had happened.

Two things became clear right away.

The first was when I let my mind ask questions about the past, like, “What did I eat?” or “Why did I eat so much?” or things like that, I felt horrible. Asking questions (that truly had no answer that could have helped anyway) led me directly into hell. I went from simply being in pain to being in pain with emotional suffering heaped on top. When I asked myself questions about the past or projected into the future with thoughts like, “How will I be able to get on an airplane?” or “I’ll have to cancel our dinner with Tom and Lindsay”, or “Jack is going to have to spend the day alone and it is my fault”, my suffering increased, and it seemed like the pain did too.

The second insight that happened was when I thought, “This is happening for me. What if this isn’t wrong?” When I thought these things, I noticed that I felt better. When I let go of all of my preconceived ideas about what a vacation should be or what the next day should be or even what that moment should be, I began to feel lighter. I was genuinely surprised by the thought, “Well, maybe I’ll just imagine that I’m at a spa doing a ‘cleanse'”. It was followed by thoughts like, “The bathroom is only 15 feet away from my bed. The bed is really comfortable. In this moment I have everything I need.” I didn’t realize it at the time, but these were thoughts of gratitude for my life exactly as it was in the moment, and I can now see that those higher thoughts brought a light with them…a healing light, first for my mind and then for my body.

I was able to fly home the next day and even go out to a wonderful dinner the following night. I ate less than I normally would have but enjoyed the evening to the fullest. Jack had a great day by himself exploring The Wizarding World of Harry Potter by himself…he even rode the “Escape from Gringot’s” ride four times in a row, something he never would have done if I was along.

I’ve felt lighter since I returned from the trip and can say without reservation that I wouldn’t change one thing about it. It was perfect.

Always say ‘yes’ to the present moment…Surrender to what is. Say ‘yes’ to life and see how life starts suddenly to start working for you rather than against you.” Eckhart Tolle



This entry was posted on October 3, 2015. 14 Comments

nothing to do but relax


Eleanor napping

For much of my life I lived by the philosophy: “If I don’t do it, figure it out, or orchestrate it, either it won’t happen or it will be done poorly or wrong”. For a long time, this way of living worked…sort of. I got a lot done anyway. But I was never at ease. I felt guilty and lazy when I wasn’t struggling with something…and I was always struggling with something. If my life was momentarily peaceful, I’d take on other people’s situations and struggle with them. Every problem, of every person in my life, became mine to solve.

It was a stunning revelation when I realized that I lacked faith in anything beyond myself. It was shocking to see that I had so little faith in Life/Love/Spirit. I also realized that my attitude was condescending toward others and a very limited way to see myself: a bundle of problems to be solved.

I had no idea how much harm these worry/struggle thoughts were doing, but I knew that I was getting tired and I assume that I was tiring to be around as well. Even if I wasn’t physically active, my mind was working (struggling) over-time. The question, “How can you do nothing and expect life to change?” always nagged me until I realized that doing nothing didn’t mean sitting somewhere with racing, worried, angry, frustrated, or “concerned”, thoughts.

As I began to relax, to trust the larger part of me/Life/God/Love, I started to experience the spontaneous dissolution of “problems”. Sometimes I would just imagine a person (including myself), who I’d been worried about for whatever reason, as smiling or laughing, as I sat outside enjoying my morning cup of coffee, and often I’d either get a call or an email from that person with a happy message. If it was my own perceived problem I’d find a similar resolution had occurred, or I’d get a new idea on how to go forward and find the situation quickly solved.

I began to see that doing nothing wasn’t really doing nothing at all. I began to see that true rest meant having a mind that was at peace… and that kind of rest was always available. It is one thought (or the dropping of one thought) away.

“I always forget how important the empty days are, how important it may be sometimes not to expect to produce anything, even a few lines in a journal. A day when one has not pushed oneself to the limit seems a damaged, damaging day, a sinful day. Not so! The most valuable thing one can do for the psyche, occasionally, is to let it rest, wander, live in the changing light of a room.” May Sarton

new painting, NEST EGG

new painting, NEST EGG for sale. My show in Manchester is over (it was a wonderful show. 11 paintings sold and they’ve invited me back!). I’ll be putting more paintings up on my website in the next few weeks.

This entry was posted on September 3, 2015. 26 Comments