Yes to life

Our tree

Monday afternoon we bought our Christmas tree and as soon as we got it home and up, we both noticed that it looked pale. Then we realized that the needles were falling off at an alarmingly fast rate. It was obviously a tree that had been cut for a while, and we felt bad about it, like we had done something wrong; we were in too much of a hurry, we should have looked at more trees, why didn’t we notice its color at the tree farm?

Tuesday morning we had a talk and decided that we either had to get a new tree, or think about this one in a new way. I wasn’t about to go through the next 3 weeks feeling disappointed every time I looked at our tree. But more important than that, I have come to see that disappointment is a low-vibrational energy and even when it starts as something so small as this, if I don’t catch it, pretty soon other things in my life will start looking bad. Maybe Jack and I will get into a fight over leaving the milk out, and then I’ll remember that a friend said she’d loan me a book and didn’t, and I’ll think that maybe she’s not that great a friend and feel bad about that, then I’ll notice that I have had a nagging headache and wonder if I have a big disease that I have been ignoring….on and on, the little negative thoughts will creep in and edge out the delight of this day, until it all looks as dull as the little tree.

I went for a run, which is a really good place for me to get clear, and decided to think good thoughts about the tree on purpose. I started saying,  “This is the most beautiful tree ever. I love our tree.”  I felt better. When I got home, I was arranging some loose evergreens and had the thought, “Why not insert boughs of different trees into it?” I’ve always loved wreathes that were made of a variety of evergreens but never thought to add them to our Christmas tree.

I went outside with Luke and started taking branches from all of the different kinds in our yard; white pine, blue spruce, cedars with little cones on them. I had a blast and came inside and started putting them into our tree. The more I put in, the brighter, greener, and fuller it looked, until I thought, “This is the most beautiful tree that we have ever had. Why didn’t I think of this in past years?!”

A friend of Jack’s came by Tuesday afternoon and said, “That is a gorgeous tree. What kind is it?”                  I thought, “It is a ‘collection of good thoughts’ tree!”

“I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes“. e.e. cummings

the TED talk below was sent to me yesterday by Jonne. It is so wonderful and uplifting. It is 10 minutes long and even if you don’t have the time to watch it…do it anyway. You will be very grateful that you did!

57 thoughts on “Yes to life”

  1. Oh, Mary,

    When life gives you lemons you manage to make the most amazing lemonade ever! That is indeed a gorgeous tree.

    Thanks very much for a timely and welcome reminder that we can use our imagination and creativity to find the positive in every situation and not let the depressing thoughts accumulate and really get us down—-a much better place to put our energy.

    Have a wonderful weekend enjoying your collection of good thoughts tree.

    Love from Fran

  2. Hi Mary, your tree looks beautiful, what a creative idea to add the different branches! I have never thought of disappointment as a low energy before but that is so true and something I know Happens to me alot (1 disappointing thought or reaction snowballs into 10 or 15!) when I feel disappointed or irritated about something that didn’t go as I Hoped… And I have a teenager and preteen at home so I have to say this happens a lot! I will start to be more aware of not letting 1 disappointing thought cascade into a whole day’s worth, thanks Mary. Renee

  3. Your sphere of influence just multiplied amazingly with your Ted link, as it has just been sent to many more! Thank you!
    Last night my girls (Labs) barked and “low and behold” there were two deer standing under my Japanese Lilac, which is trimmed w/ tiny lights. My heart smiled to be awakened to see this lovely sight outside my bedroom window…and I did not think about my camera. The picture is so in my mind and smiling heart though. The same 2 deer were grazing out in the field this am when I took the girls out..all so special..Thank you for giving Mary!

  4. A very worthwhile 10 minutes, indeed.

    The dog got me up very early this morning, so after I read your post and watched the video I was able to walk out the front door and, in a clear cold dark and cloudless December sky, contemplate the big dipper and half moon right over my head, coyotes howling the last of their nighttime howls. (Which, come to think of it, is probably what got the dog going so early!)

    Here’s to a mindful, gratitude-filled day.

  5. If trees have awareness, and I believe they do, this little tree is now feeling beautiful once more, thanks to your deciding to love it and “spruce” it up (no pun intended).

    You created a win-win situation. Did anyone ever tell you how very good you are at that? Your’e the BEST, Mary!

    1. I love the thought that our little tree is now feeling beautiful Suzanne! We are all smiling.

  6. Mary: A beautiful tree indeed! Isn’t the variety of all of us in the world that makes it more beautiful? Wish I could smell that beautiful tree.
    Thank you for the TED talks video – started my day off well!

    1. Thank you Peg (I watched that talk twice and it started my day off well too!)

  7. Mary, I so look forward to opening up my mail every morning, enjoying a hot mug of coffee and reading your posts. They set my mind down the right path for the day and I am grateful for that. Your ministry stretches many miles, thank you for your posts.

  8. Mary,

    You never disappoint! Sometimes I wish you could compile all your daily blogs into a book so that I could pick it up in the morning and review some of the wonderful teachings and inspirational writings you have done.

  9. I have been attempting to write 100 days of gratitude. My goal is to write each day 10 things that I am grateful for in my day. I cannot say that it has always been an easy thing – but this video made me realize it should be easy. I am trying to write these big wonderful things when it is all the multitude of simple things that I am missing. Much like the story of your tree and how you made it bettter..
    Thanks again for an inspiring post.

  10. Good Morning! Wow, did I need this post and the replies today. Thank you! That “D” word, disappointment, can be a biggie. I’ve been wallowing in it this week and am takiing today to move up and out of it. Thanks for the synchronicity. And the tree is amazing and so well loved, as are all of the beings in your periphery, Mary.

  11. I love how you look at life, Mary! And this Ted video was just what I needed today. I’ve passed it along on Facebook in hopes of giving it’s gift to others like you did for your readers also. Wishing you a good day!
    PS: I loved how he described “Oh My God.” It made me say outloud, “Oh My God.” 😉

    1. Thank you so much Barbara….I loved his description of “Oh My God!” too!

  12. I identify with the snowballing effect of disappointing thoughts. For some reason these thoughts often occur to me in my morning shower. Maybe if I remember the beautiful e.e. cummings quote each morning before my shower, I can begin the day on a more positive note. Thank you.

  13. That video was just lovely…it’s good to be reminded of the importance of gratitude in this busy season, in our busy lives.

  14. Dear Mary,

    Once again, thank you for your gentle, loving and insightful post. It was your blog that inspired me to finally create my own blog (something my web-master had been encouraging me to do for some time) I now find that writing about my work with animals and the daily ‘ah-ha’s’ they so happily bring to our lives has enriched my world ten-fold…..see how your spiritual ministry has inspired so many?! Thank you for continuing to provide guidance and hope….wisdom and honesty. Your words will continue to be my a daily, delicious break-fast each morning.

    1. Debra, I’d love to check out your blogs about your writing and work you do with animals. I write about my work with my animals, as well as what I’ve learned from them… so I’d love to check out your work!

      1. Well I certainly love the work that you are doing Barbara! Your book, Frankie the Walk ‘n roll Dog is so sweet (as well as being a Best Books Award Winner…for all of you who are not aware of this!)

    2. Thank you Debra and if you would like to send a link here to your new blog (for others to see as well), I know that it will be appreciated.

      1. Hi Mary,

        Thank for the invitation to share my blog….I wasn’t kidding when I said you inspire me daily with your courage, honesty and soul-touching insights. You are like medicine for the spirit. Here is my blog I hope it brings understanding and joy to all who read it.

  15. I bet that little tree is so happy to be holding its brother and sister trees in its branches and being part of the beauty of your celebration. I’m glad you saved yourself (and others!) from the potential avalanche of angst that could have ensued.

  16. Mary..You have made a beautiful silk purse out of a sows ear as we Brits like to say. You are so inventive Mary I love it. Your tree looks so vibrant and full of the spirits of the season. Thanks from me too. Todays blog was great.

  17. sun-prise! when the early morning sky displays it’s extravagance, we usually call it a sun-rise; like one that i witnessed unfolding early. when i went to write this reply for wff, sun-prise came out of my mouth instead. it was an oh my god eye-feast! how graced we are.

    imperfection is often a gateway to unintended art. what’s not to love here, it’s to celebrate. i love it and maud’s idea of holding it’s brother and sister branches. gratitude to you mary and all again, for this post, youtube and the cummings quote. i will borrow it.

  18. Before I read your post today Mary, I took a look at your tree and thought, “That is the prettiest plumpest! tree I think I’ve ever seen!” – and then I came to learn how you added the lil’ brothers and sisters! (love that Maud!) to grace its lovely form. The video is beautiful! I, too have passed it on to friends. Because you offer us a gem every morning Mary, the collection basket just grows and grows with more and more of them added as everyone adds a line or two. I loved hearing about the deer Marjorie saw outside her window, and Jill’s dogs early rising allowing her to witness that half moon, Big Dipper and coyotes howling. You raise our collective consciousness Mary Muncil, and we are forever grateful! By the way, how do you fasten the separate branches to the trunk? Or do they just sort of snuggle into the tree best they can? That’s also a wonderful idea to keep the fresh fresh pine scent going!

    1. Thank you Susan! I am forever grateful for you too. (I just pushed the new branches in…or as you said, “snuggled them in!”)

  19. I have never been so inspired by a Christmas tree so filled with love since I first saw Charlie Brown’s. OMG.

    I have never watched a TED talk that didn’t bring me to tears of joy and amazement. OMG.

    I have never felt so connected and humbled by a group of unseen family until I heard Mary’s heart song. OMG.

    Blessings and abundance to you all. May peace be our gift to the world.

    1. I love your comments Cheryl! Blessings and abundance streaming back your way!

  20. The tree is one of the most perfect ones I have ever seen thanks to your special touch. I echo the sentiments of others today who have expressed my thoughts eloquently. You somehow manage to lift me up with the right message every morning. When I get down or angry or confused, I say “what would Mary do or think” and find the answer. I am grateful that you are spreading the word to so many and feel that you are my spiritual advisior from afar. Please do consider the suggestion of Carolyn H to put your essays into book form. Have a blessed weekend in front of that tree and Merry Christmas!

    1. Thank you for your kind words and thoughts Marilyn and Merry Christmas to you too!

  21. Wow… Mary…your tree is so creative, festive, and must be
    wonderfully fragrant…

    …there is a lovely picture book based on e.e.cumming’s poem-
    Little Tree – Deborah Kogan Ray (illustrator) …a simple, sweet
    Christmas story…

    I’m grateful for this amazing blog…

  22. Mary, You truly sent your message out there creating this spirited and unique tree!
    Thanks for it all. 🙂

    1. I am overwhelmed and delighted by the response to this post Cindy! Thank you!

  23. Mary how wonderful that you took your little Charlie Brown tree and made it a gorgeous site to behold. A Christmas story if I ever heard one! It’s 9:30pm in Omaha I am curled up on my favorite couch with a concert of Christmas music being played outside my window, I’ve watched the video link you posted and my heart is swelling with gratitude…for you and the people who come here daily with me to smile and laugh and occasionally to cry and shout Oh My God! Tis a gift we’ve been given. Thank you.

    1. Thank you Terri…I am imagining you there last evening in Omaha with Christmas music outside! It sounds like a wonderful dream. Blessings galore to you.

  24. Mary, thank you for both of these wonderful gifts: the good thoughts tree and the gratitutde video. It is amazing how simple things can have such a powerful effect on us and can change our frame of thoughts & feelings. I was feeling anxious recently as I am sure many people are this time of the year for a whole host of reasons. With these inspiring thoughts, I now feel peace and calmness. I am content (even at being awake at such an early hour) with my dog and guest dog at my side with me on my bed gratefully waiting for what this day holds.

    1. Thank you for sharing your gratitude and warm thoughts here Diana…they are very much appreciated.

  25. Dear Susan, thank you so much for your kind thoughts. We miss Mav every day, Maggie May has been a great comfort and I know for sure he would want us to embrace the gift of each new day, just as he did.

  26. It’s funny, Mary, the same thing happened to the tree that we cut down last year. We went to a tree farm and this nice man and his two little boys helped us and I felt so good that I had given him some extra money to buy presents for his kids. Then, we got home, and the needles fell off the tree so fast that by two days after Christmas, it was almost bald! I think your solution is wonderful and the link you included made my heart sing – thanks once again for helping open up my world!

  27. Your tree is so beautiful, Mary. I love the way you take lemons and make lemonade. Your ideas are so creative. Thank you for sharing the TED video, it is very inspirational. The time-lapsed flower photography is so cool.

  28. Good morning, Mary! I love this post, and I love your tree. Have you ever read the children’s book, Why Christmas Trees Aren’t Perfect? It’s a beautiful story of a little tree striving its best to grow up perfectly, in order to win the prize of being on display in the castle. It’s doing wonderfully until one cold winter when it begins to open up its branches to protect the creatures of the forest. Despite it turning into one very sad tree, the queen sees what has happened, and little tree does get chosen! I read it to my sixth graders each year.

    1. Thank you for sharing that Paula! I am going to get that book…it sounds magical.

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