Heavenly blessings

Fred on the clean cover

Last week, I was lying down on the couch talking with my sister on the phone, and about 5 minutes into our chat, I noticed that my sweater felt damp. I reached behind me and felt my back, and then the couch, and realized with some minor horror that both were wet. Obviously, one of the cats had thrown up, mostly water, but it had soaked a large part of the cover, a cushion, and the couch underneath.

My first reaction, when things like this happen, is to go to worst case scenarios: something is seriously wrong with one of the cats, the cover will be ruined, the couch will always smell. These kind of thoughts; ones that escalate a situation, are always accompanied by a feeling of panic. In the moment, they create a chaotic atmosphere and make every little thing into a crisis. If left unchecked, they start drawing other negative thoughts and circumstances into my life. I wish that I could go instantly to a calm, accepting feeling inside when something like this happens, but generally that is not the case. Usually I notice how bad I suddenly feel, and this is my signal to change my thoughts.

A tool that I learned to use, years ago, and one that I must say, always works, is to simply say (and keep repeating), “Thank you”, when I feel overwhelmed. As I did this the other day, while at the same time removing the cover and taking the cushions apart, I could feel an inner “OKness” come over me. I caught the negative before it made a miserable atmosphere in my home. I ended up feeling wonderful and now have a clean and good smelling couch cover. Jack walked in later that day and said, “That couch looks brighter. What did you do to it?”

Just saying thank you, even when you don’t feel grateful in the moment, seems to unlock a spiritual door inside. It turns things around, sometimes so quickly, that the thing that seemed awful, can suddenly reveal a hidden gift.

The unthankful heart… discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!  Henry Ward Beecher

34 thoughts on “Heavenly blessings

  1. Mary, I know that feeling, but have been working very hard to change and I think it’s working! In the whole scheme of things, this is not a big deal, right?
    I just wish I could teach/train my husband how to do this. He turns everything into a major crisis and it goes on from there. Thank you so much for helping me understand and being such a role model that I am able to see what’s happening and make it a “no big deal.” I hope you have a wonderful day!!

  2. Dearest Mary,
    Fred is obviously enjoying that cover which you cleaned just so he could lie on it looking magnificent! And the cover looks lovely too.
    I am ever thank full for my wonderful cats and love hearing about yours. Cats do come with issues however and throwing up seems to be a major one. As one of my friends commented, “Why can’t they choose a bare floor, preferably near paper towels to throw up on”? But no, they seem to prefer absorbent, fluffy surfaces such as carpets, furniture or clothing.
    Anyway, I am ever thankful for my two beautiful companion kitties, as I am ever thankful for the positive alternative attitudes you offer to help me deal with these fleeting (and sometimes major) adversities.
    Love from Fran

  3. Good Morning, Mary, and all my White Feather Friends. I’m back! Back from the land of pelicans and sunrises. To the land of canada geese and sunsets over the Green Mountains. The former is a nice place to visit, but monochromatic – even aqua blue and endless sunshine can tire my spirit.

    I love what Maria Wulf said in a recent blog on the change of seasons. I paraphrase Maria, but she said something about the exhiliration and renewal of endings and beginnings (fullmoonfiberart.com). That’s just one of the reasons I love living in Washington County, Upstate New York. So my thankful heart said “Thank you” for the snow when I returned to it; loving it for itself, and knowing that the end of this snow would be followed by the beginning of daffodils.

    “Thank you” to Mary Muncil and Maria Wulf for walking the same path and seeing what I see and putting it into words.

  4. Mary…it seems I am hearing a little song from long ago..Count your blessing one by one..” No matter how we see deity or lack thereof, it is exactly as you say..having a thankful heart!

    to see this world
    through smiling eyes
    comes from
    deep inside..
    heart smiles
    bubble up
    and
    thanks
    bow
    down
    in
    humbleness
    in
    graciousness
    Thankful heart.
    equals
    mind and body
    pliability
    playability..
    swaying
    dancing
    Changing the world
    one smile at a time.
    mdg(2012)

  5. To get from stressful to calm AND have Jack comment on how nice and bright the couch looks, just priceless!!!

  6. To get from stressful to calm AND have Jack comment on how nice and bright the couch looks, just priceless!!!
    Leaving the land of cold and snow and heading south today… Back to sunshine and warmth.

  7. Good morning! I had a moment just like the one you described just a half an hour ago. My “new to me” car sustained a chip to the windshield yesterday as my husband and I were following our two boys home from Michigan’s UP, where our oldest goes to school. We had an amazing weekend enjoying the Keeweenaw Peninsula and watching the Copper Dog 150 sled dog race. The crack was no big deal yesterday – I knew the insurance company would help out with the repair.

    This morning, Monday morning, as I was driving to my very stressful job I heard a crack and the chip grew into a 20 inch crack across the windshield. I didn’t think the insurance company covered this damage and it made my already unsettled stomach even sicker. My brain can rationalize that this is a minor thing but it felt so monumental that I wanted to cry.

    Thank you for your blog and I pray that I will be able to see the beauty in the rest of my day – it would be a shame to waste the opportunity because of a cracked windshield.

    Blessings,
    Sheryl

    • Sheryl, just a thought – most car insurance policies cover cracked windshields at no extra cost – no deductible even. Maybe check if yours does. Lots of car washes here in AZ try to inspect your windshield before the wash because a tiny chip can be sealed on the spot and most insurances again, cover it – good luck! – Both my parents grew up in the U.P. – one in Calumet and the other in Ishpeming, – copper country! Small world!

  8. If ever I needed a good an simple “how to,” it’s today. I will be using this ad infinitum for the next three weeks, at which time I expect to be an expert in conjuring forth instant peace in the midst of chaos. Thank you, Mary.

    P.S. I think Fred is the king of his domain.

  9. Thessa 5:18 “In all things give thanks”. I think of this a lot when good or sad/unpleasant things occcur. It does work! Thank you for sharing this Mary. I tend to forget at times. And . . . I love Fred! What a laid-back guy. Our dear furry creatures live in the here and now and we can learn a lot from them as well.
    Sheryl you might be surprised about your windshield. Mind cracked too and it was covered by insurance. The new windshield was great and I said, “Thank you!”

  10. I think it’s normal that we all react to situations that arise beyond our control with panic, anger and frustration. The first thing is to acknowledge and become aware of the negative feelings arising and then immediately try to counter those feelings with a more positive reaction. I know that isn’t always an easy thing to do. I for one will be trying out the “thank you” tool Mary…..

  11. Thank you Mary for this (as always) very timely post. As I head out today on a trip, my heart is heavy with yesterday’s passing of my beloved Aunt. I am so lucky to have spent time with her and my very special cousin and friend just three weeks ago. I am so eternally grateful for that time. And as I write this I am looking at a vase filled with daffodils that my husband had put on the desk next to the computer. When I looked up and saw that the flowers had died, it seemed a metaphor for how I was feeling. But then I saw that one daffodil was still very much alive and full and open amidst the others. And suddenly my heart filled with brightness and life and spirit as that one daffodil continues to reach toward the light. Exactly what my Aunt and cousin bring into the world. And I smiled. So I say thank you…thank you…thank you…for this heavenly blessing. See you all when I return…

    • Tender love and condolences Kathye, and may grief be gentle with you. I bet you’re going to see daffodils for some time to come and think of your beloved Aunt. How wonderful that so recently you were able to spend time together.

    • I am so sorry for your loss, Kathye, and I wish you an abundance of wonderful memories to get you through.

  12. Every day I tried to start with a quick “Most Benevolent Outcome” for the higher good of all. If I can get my intention and continue the use MBO’s, my day flows much better. I have the people in my work space using the intentions and we have noticed the public and others tend to not “flare” compared to days we forget to set the intention.
    Tom T. Moore has a great blog and has been sharing the MBO experience of many people all over the world. Makes me smile to think about others using the same intention……hopeful!

  13. I loved your blog today Mary as I have been trying very hard to overcome any negative thoughts I am having and when they do happen I am trying to focus on something entirely different and enlightening. I am finding it does change my attitude and outlook for the better. I especially liked the Thank You part of your blog. I will try that also.

  14. No wonder we used to say to our kids when they were young, “What’s the magic word?” – Please, AND Thank You!” Mary, I loved the metaphor of thank you being a key that unlocks a spiritual door inside, turning things around!, opening up all sorts of possibilities. This past weekend, I was working with my little nine year old grandson to develop tools to deal with when he is frustrated. He had a couple of incidents last week at school that were reported to the office, and he really needs more than “do not’s” to handle these situations. I thought of the mantra the fire department teaches the kids if there is a fire, “Stop, drop, and roll”. I asked him if he knew that one, and he answered a resounding yes! So we decided to think of using this in a different way when he feels himself losing control of his emotions. He’s going to try and think of Stop!, Drop! (your anger, frustration) and Be Happy. Reading your message today Mary, – I thought of taking my own advice to Jacob next time I am tempted to react to a situation where I feel out of control or in a panic. Stop! Let it drop! – whatever negative thought blocki that really won’t serve me well anyway, and let it all roll away to be replaced by a simple thank you. Teri, thanks for sharing the Most Benevolent Outcome technique.

  15. Oh, could I relate to this post, Mary. When Frankie became paralyzed I was constantly having to clean up after her because she does not have bladder control. I didn’t do well with it at the beginning. I was a complete mess.
    Luckily one day it struck me that there are worse things in the world than pee and poop! ha! From that day forward once I changed my attitude things fell into place.
    Did Frankie still have accidents? Yes, she did and still does – though happy to say not as much. But it taught me an awful lot of patience. I also realized how I loved taking care of her – how happy I was she was still here with me – that I had made the right decision to not put her to sleep because of her paralysis.
    At the beginning I saw the years ahead as daunting and overwhelming to have to take care of a special needs dog – but now I wake up every morning and thank God for the gift of Frankie. What a blessing she is!

    • Barbara, this was a great testimony to you as a person and also to a prime example of extraordinary love of a dog. Made me feel so good just to read it!

  16. Yes, yes, YES! I “know” this tool, but so often forget use it immediately. Since it has never failed me, why do I so easily forget? This morning, even before I read the post, I remembered it…but only after a few days worth of gloomy thoughts overtaking my head and rendering me miserable. The post was a great validation that I need to remember to “thank” and “let go” right away. How many days of my life have already been spent in fear and dread because I have imagined a terrible outcome for some situation? How many more do I want to spend that way? JoAnne quoted the perfect Scripture for this principle. And I agree with Mary Rita….that unrelenting Florida sunshine can be annoying after while. 🙂 It’s like living your life under one huge spotlight day after day. I remember being so happy to see some big clouds overtake the brightness last time we were there. New York’s variety is a blessing.

  17. Oh my gosh, Mary – I cannot WAIT to try this! You described my response to so (too!) many things so well. And although the overwhelming feelings of chaos, catastrophe, and being out-of-control in those moments are very unpleasant, more often than not I am without the resources to prevent them.

    Here then, is a resource. “Thank you!”

  18. Danke, arigoto, mahalo, gracias, merci, tak, xie xie. No matter the language, thank you, Mary.
    I, too, look for that ‘instant calm’ button only to find I’ve usually pushed the hair- trigger agitated one instead. Boy, when we find the right remote control gizmo, this group will float weightless in the sea of chaos—no inner tubes needed!! Happy sailing…

  19. I read your post first thing this morning. It so resonated with me, I could not respond at that time. Hearing you state all your thoughts and insecurities made me realize I am NOT the only one who does this. I find myself becoming agitated, insecure and paralyzed by my anxiety producing thoughts. Your use of the simple phrase “thank you” was helpful in quite a few ways. It reminded me that all situations offer opportunities for growth and awareness of self (rather than condemnation of self – my usual first choice). It also made me think of the practice of Ho’oponopono – “thank you” is one of the sentences to be repeated. Another thought was the phrase “stop it.” I’ve heard someone do a CD by that title (by Jon Mundy). In his talk he referenced a Bob Newhart thing on You Tube. Hope you all get a chuckle out of the skit.

  20. this meant a lot to me today and I shared it with my Bible Babes—a group of us women who love, share , and try, oh so hard to walk the walk we believe our Lord wants from us. They loved your words today, dear Mary. Thanks. I told them I was a half glass empty kind of gal and I am working on being the opposite. another term that you guys might like is from a dear man I know who guided my husband’s dental practice for years—NO STINKY THINKING!!! Yep, we do the stinky thinking to ourselves and it pulls us down.

  21. As my mind races with “what ifs?” and I feel anxious and overwhelmed with the thought of tomorrow’s eye surgery I am stopping. I am saying over and over,”Thank-you,thank-you,thank-you,thank-you.

  22. Thank you Mary for the new tool ….

    thank you Mary Solomon for the Bob Newhart skit…
    I actually remembered this one …
    Susan Alcantara love the Stop ! Drop ! and Roll !… strategy…

    I’m grateful for all my “teachers” along the way…thank you …one and all

  23. I would lots rather visit Mary’s house where her pets have the freedom to be themselves. Better than having every piece of furniture covered with plastic covers and a living room that was just like a museum. I’m sure some know what I mean. Growing up I knew people who had plastic covers on everything, and even plastic runners. They lived in fear of dirt. Never felt comfortable visiting those places.

    I know Mary’s place is a comfortable, relaxed place (doesn’t encourage hangups) that welcomes even cats, and dogs.

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