What will I do today?

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Eleanor snuggling with one of Luke’s toys

“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to save the world and a desire to savor the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” E. B. White

 

For much of my life, I’d felt a deep urge to help others…but it never seemed like I was doing enough. I believed that life was a long, narrow, uphill, climb toward some place of perfection where I would finally be in my right place, doing my right work, at the right time; a place where I’d finally know who I was and why I was here. I struggled for years to get to this place, yet it always seemed out of reach. Rest was not an option on this path.

During these years of struggle, I was incredibly self-concerned, but I didn’t realize it. I thought that my striving was noble, not selfish. I assumed that harsh self-examination was the path to improvement…and god knows, I believed that I needed to be improved. But God didn’t “know” this. This wasn’t a Divine path. The constant thoughts of how I could be a better person, do more for the world, and become happier, were fueled by ego.

When I began to lighten up, which meant stopping critical thoughts about others and myself, I noticed that people around me changed and reflected this light back to me. I saw that I didn’t so much have to do something but I needed to stop doing/thinking the things that separated me from who I really was/am: Love.

I don’t mean to suggest that I never have a critical thought about myself, or other people, anymore. I have plenty of them, but I am much more aware of these thoughts as invitations to a fight; they are seductive; they call to me with feelings of anger, righteous indignation, resentment, and revenge. They tell me that I am better than other people. They tell me that I’ve been wronged. They tell me that there is a right and a wrong (I’m usually the right/virtuous one) and I must choose my side and fight for it, or banish the other one. They masquerade as strength, but in reality, if I believe them, I become their victim.

I’ve been declining a lot of these invitations lately and in their place, choosing to see what is right with a person (including myself), situation, event, or memory. Several days ago, I was thinking about one of the people currently running for president, and how easy, and almost fun, it is to blast this person. So, again, I noticed this and asked myself, “What is there to love about this person?” We are one. He/she is a part of my consciousness at some level. It wasn’t hard to answer the question, it only required giving up my desire to criticize and condemn.

So, what will I do today, save or savor the world? I think that I’ll just be myself. I will Love it/me/them/us and I will allow that Love to flow back to me.

 

The happier I become, the more I like you.

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Fred

I woke up this morning with the words, “All relationships exist only in your mind”, running through my mind. I’ve grown comfortable with the concept that people are constantly mirroring myself back to me, but this new thought/idea that the relationship (them and me) itself isn’t something fixed by the interplay of “us” but is mostly a self-constructed/imagined reality of my doing, is a new level of thought/experience for me.

Lately, I’ve seen evidence of this truth playing out in my life.

For as long as I could remember, I’d had a difficult/unpleasant relationship with one of my uncles. Even though I was polite when we saw each other (which was infrequent), I was critical of him both in my mind and to family members. Last year, I decided to change this. I began to imagine a group of friends holding hands and dancing in a circle, and I included him. I saw him laughing and hugging me when the dance was over. I played this scene over and over in my mind until it felt real.

Several months ago, an unfamiliar van pulled into my driveway. As the driver got out of the car, I could see that she was carrying a bouquet of flowers. I couldn’t imagine who was sending me flowers, for no special occasion…they were from my uncle. We hadn’t spoken in ages and he’d never sent me flowers before.

It didn’t take two to change our relationship. It didn’t take sitting down and hashing out past grievances. I was at peace with him, in my mind, before the flowers arrived.

For so many years, I failed to see that my own critical, judgmental, and unhappy thoughts about others were the very things holding those people in negative, fixed, states in their relationship to me. And truthfully, I was really hesitant to see anyone I was upset with, or felt hurt by, as happy, healthy, or doing well. As odd as this sounds, I didn’t think that they deserved my good thoughts. I didn’t realize that as long as I held them in an unhappy, fixed state of mind, I was also holding myself in that place too.

“Do not try to change people; they are only messengers telling you who you are. Revalue yourself and they will confirm the change.” Neville Goddard

 

 

unexpected happiness

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I recently came across the above photograph of my parents holding my sister Jayne and me (I’m the baby), and I was struck by two things: how happy my mother looked, and that I had never seen this picture before, yet it was in a family album. As I’ve been turning away from the negative past (in my mind), and consequently becoming happier, happier memories have been quite suddenly appearing in my life.

There was a time when I couldn’t think of one happy childhood memory, so I assumed that I didn’t have any (or many). To realize that they had simply been suppressed, by my dogged belief in an unhappy past, has been surprising, especially when I thought I’d pretty much made peace with my past and had done so much “work” around family issues…

What wonderful things are waiting to be revealed to us when we do nothing more than  stop telling/thinking the same old stories of unhappy pasts?

“All that you behold, tho’ it appears without, it is within, in your imagination, of which this world of mortality is but a shadow.” William Blake

AN OPENING   My plans for tomorrow have unexpectedly changed and so I have a free day. If you’d like to book a session with me, I’m offering 20 minute phone sessions for $20 (you can also schedule a longer time if you’d prefer). On the home page of my website, http://www.marymuncil.com there is a tab at the top that will open a page (Private Sessions) which explains the work that I do. If you can’t find this link, email me at mmuncil@verizon.net and I will send you the link.

 

This entry was posted on March 13, 2016. 4 Comments

What we do changes the world…little step by little step

Several weeks ago, a friend sent me a photograph of a Chickadee perched on his granddaughter’s hand. It was such a sweet image that it stayed with me for days, especially when I went out to feed the birds. Until I saw that picture, I guess I didn’t think it was possible…at least for me. But seeing this little girl, I could imagine how delightful it would be to feel those little bird feet clamped around my fingers.

Two days ago, I decided to put some seed in my hand and wait. When the first bird landed, selected its seed, and flew away, I felt like I was flying with it.

There are hundreds of unhappy, discouraging, and negative images bombarding us everyday and they can be so compelling to look at, but I believe that people are doing extraordinary, wonderful, and even magical, things everyday and these are the events and happenings that I want to see and hear about and share. If you have an uplifting story that you’d like to share, please do so!

“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” William James

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My breakfast with a friend this morning

I’m sure of one thing…

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Bodhi snuggled up with me

I’ve always been a competitive and opinionated person. I’ve loved taking sides and cheering (and sometimes fighting) for my side to win. But over the past few years, I’ve felt out of sync with this part of my personality…something has seemed off. The straight and deep lines of right and wrong, good and bad, moral and immoral, proper and improper, have begun to blur. The question that I often find myself asking myself is, “Are you so sure you are right?” and the answer that I often hear coming back is, “No. I’m not sure.” And far from feeling frightened about this, there is a freedom in it. I’m not sure that I ever knew that much anyway, and I certainly didn’t know as much as I thought I did, so as I let the need to know (or the need to have an opinion) drop away, I feel like laughing.

Another thing that I have noticed about the spiritual life is this: when I think that I’ve changed/grown, a situation will come along to challenge me.

There has been a huge amount of coverage for the upcoming presidential elections and once again I found myself in the same “game”; cheering for the one/s I wanted to win, and being critical and judgmental of the others. I’d even tried to get friends and family to talk about the candidates, and secretly delighted in blasting those whom we felt were unacceptable.

Several nights after the NH primary, I dreamt that I was struggling to take care of an unruly bunch of animals that didn’t belong to me. As soon as I had a few corralled, more got out. There was more to the dream than this, but as I pondered it, I saw that it had to do with my attitude regarding judgment/criticism/opinions and specifically the presidential race. I could see that I not only wanted to take sides, I took secret (and sometimes not so secret) pleasure in demonizing the other candidates. This dream was a signal for me to change. It was as if my spirit said, “You can stay this way, but you will suffer, and the price that you’ll pay for taking sides in this negative way will be the loss of inner peace.”

I knew that it didn’t mean I shouldn’t have a preference, or vote /campaign for whomever I thought was best, it simply meant that I needed to stop thinking about the other candidates in derogatory ways. The habit of mentally escalating the good that would result from my candidate winning, and the disastrous results which were certain to occur if one of the others won, had to stop.

The night after this revelation, I closed my eyes and brought to mind each candidate. I imagined them smiling and greeting me like a friend, and I did the same to them. Some were really easy, and some were not, so I stayed with it and began to sense a very soft and light feeling inside. It felt so good. It felt like peace. It felt like love. This is the place where I can make high-level decisions. This is the place where I can be of most service to the world….I am sure of that.

What we imagine, that we are.” Neville Goddard, The Search

This entry was posted on February 19, 2016. 17 Comments

a whole new world

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fly*

“The most remarkable feature of man’s future is its flexibility. It is determined by his attitudes rather than by his acts. The cornerstone on which all things are based is man’s concept of himself. He acts as he does and has the experiences that he does, because his concept of himself is what it is, and for no other reason. Had he a different concept of self, he would act differently. A change of concept of self automatically alters his future; and a change in any term of his future series of experiences reciprocally alters his concept of self.” Neville Goddard**

Years ago, I was seeing a therapist who did her best to try to convince me that I wasn’t as bad as I thought I was, but every time she would attempt to show me a more expanded, kinder, loving, view of myself (or others) I’d throw back example after example of the opposite. I finally stopped seeing her because I didn’t think she was helping me.

I’m not sure that anyone could have helped me at that time in my life. Even though I put on a good show of being happy, internally I was restless, irritable, and struggling to figure life out, and yet, I refused to see myself (or others, especially my family of origin) in any other way than the one I’d grown accustomed to. The story of my family was that it was a highly dysfunctional, unhappy, place to grow up. Period.

I wasn’t looking for a way out/growth, I was looking for “validation”. I wanted someone to agree with me that my ex-husband, parents, etc., were the ones to blame for me begin the way that I was, so I could feel better…and I did have people around me who agreed with my view, and I did feel temporally better when we were talking about the screwed up people in our lives. But things never changed. The people whom I’d blamed seemed to stay the same and so did I.

I thought that I was changing/advancing because I was doing spiritual study, retreats, workshops, etc., but that only gave me a reason to feel superior to “them”. The more study I did, the more I thought I didn’t get along with “them” because I was above them spiritually. Of course I didn’t admit this to anyone.

And then this began to change. I can remember the day I knew that I wanted to tell a different story about my past. It felt like complete fiction, but it was also fun and a little exciting. I realized that I didn’t know myself at all…and this was a good thing. I also became aware that I didn’t really know anyone. I noticed that when I held a concept of others (in my mind) as unpleasant, they probably would act that way when I saw them, but I also began to play with the idea of seeing them through new eyes.

The first time that I did this with a family member, I was stunned when she said something so kind and loving to me that I almost wanted to write it off as “manipulative”…but I didn’t . Instead I said, “Thank you. Why do you say that?”. I wanted to know what she was seeing in me, so I listened. I didn’t energetically bat her compliment away, I took it in. There is a power in words that I don’t think I’ll ever understand. They can change us when we are ready.

The other day, I was driving back from Vermont thinking about faith. I kept saying the word over and over. I said things like, “I have faith. I am showing active faith in my dream….”, just all sorts of “faith talk”. An hour or so later, I went into a shop and  a woman looked at me and said, “Excuse me, are you Faith?”

It is wonderful to see ourselves and others through new eyes and to become open to hearing good things about ourselves…and to entertain the possibility that those words might be true…and to see what happens next!

*painting available on my artwork page

**from the book, The Neville Reader, pp. 233-234 (a book that I highly recommend)

 

 

This entry was posted on February 7, 2016. 11 Comments

getting in shape

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 Fred

Several days ago, a friend sent me the article, The Science of Happiness: Why Complaining is Literally Killing You“*, and I wanted to share it with you…below are several paragraphs and the link to this wonderful article.

“Your thoughts reshape your brain, and thus are changing a physical construct of reality. Here’s the kicker: Every time this electrical charge is triggered, the synapses grow closer together in order to decrease the distance the electrical charge has to cross. This is a microcosmic example of evolution, of adaptation. The brain is rewiring its own circuitry, physically changing itself, to make it easier and more likely that the proper synapses will share the chemical link and thus spark together–in essence, making it easier for the thought to trigger.

Therefore, your first mystical scientific evidence: your thoughts reshape your brain, and thus are changing a physical construct of reality. Let that sink in for a moment before you continue, because that’s a seriously profound logic-bomb right there.

Your thoughts reshape your brain so think wisely

Shortest Path Wins the Race

Beyond the absolutely incredible fact that your brain is always doing this, consistently shifting and morphing with every thought, even more exciting is the fact that the synapses you’ve most strongly bonded together (by thinking about more frequently) come to represent your default personality: your intelligence, skills, aptitudes, and most easily accessible thoughts (which are more-or-less the source of your conversation skills).”

*The Science of Happiness: Why Complaining is Literally Killing You.” http://upliftconnect.com/science-of-happiness/

 

This entry was posted on January 25, 2016. 13 Comments