staying the course

Luke’s favorite summer game: retrieving rocks from the Battenkill river and bringing them to us

Yesterday I wrote about knowing that the balloon was a sign for me to let go, and stop thinking about a difficult situation in my life. What I didn’t write about, was my ongoing challenge to follow that guidance. All that evening and even yesterday, my thoughts drifted back to the scenario that I knew I needed to be letting go of.

The “lapses” got less frequent and I caught them sooner every time, but  I rarely let anything go in one fell-swoop. For me it is a process of first becoming aware that I am thinking something that won’t be helpful to me or anyone else, and then when the thought comes up again, continuing to turn it away by saying something like, “I am not going there. I have let that go.” I also find it helpful to hold up my hand, like I’m trying to stop something from coming any closer… (you know how it is with those negative, destructive thoughts, sometimes you can almost feel them coming).

So many people talk about wanting to get rid of the ego (not that we ever can) but it truly is a great help and ally if it stays in its proper place; as the servant of higher mind, not the master. We need ego to focus, discipline ourselves, set goals and stay on the path that we have chosen.

“Your conscious mind is the porter at the door, the watchman at the gate“. Robert Collier

27 thoughts on “staying the course”

  1. Your words are so helpful to me, Mary. I’ve been trying to let go of something for almost 4 years (I’m a slow learner) and I keep coming back to it in my mind, not realizing how that sabotages the letting-go — and moving forward — process. The quote is so relevant (they always are) and I will take it to heart…The photo of Luke is priceless. My sister’s shepherd of years ago had that same practicing of ‘gifting’ his family with rocks.

  2. Mary Muncil, I have never met you; probably never will, but want you to know how much reading your daily posts have helped me. I have always been a fretter, even as a child, the one who does the worrying for everyone and everything. Most of the time, as we know, things we worry about don’t even happen, but that has never stopped me!! I retired early after working 35 years in an action packed office at a university and I LOVED it! But, things change and it was time for me to retire early and look for my next adventure. Right now, the adventure is named Jillie, a Dalmatian, who spent four years in a cage at a puppy mill and is a work in progress…socializing and letting her feel comfortable mostly. But slowing down and then not spending that extra time I had by myself not worrying was/is difficult, but you have helped me so much!!! I loved that the balloon flew over you yesterday; maybe I’ll see my balloon today!!! Take care; with love, Syl

    1. Bless you Syl, for taking on a dog that spent four years in a puppy mill! There have got to be many challenges with socialization, etc., but lucky dog, to have been adopted by you. Let your worries fly away knowing that your love and devotion to this dog is making a huge difference in Jillie’s life. What a gift you are giving!

      1. I whole-heartedly agree Susan!…and now your story is a gift to us Syl

  3. I love the comments here as much as your posting this morning, Mary. A fretter, how can it be that the people who seem so connected to life are often fretters…we see so much, we feel so much. To move in another direction after retirement, how healthy it is to rehabilitate a shelter/kennel dog…both will benefit in different yet bonding ways. Letting go of something that is troubling in my life is a constant reminder that I’m allowed to do this. Raised to be responsible, always report my whereabouts as a child growing up meant to me to be responsible, to always try to work something out…but some things are better left alone. Forty years of trying with my step-daughter, whom I love dearly but who was damaged early on by her own parent’s acrimonious relationship and being left by her mother at the age of five is baggage she’s focused on still and trying to work out with a mother figure…me. This year, I needed to let it go and that’s not easy when you love a child as your own. One step at a time in letting go, sometimes two back, one forward but eventually the reminding does work.
    SandyP in Canada

    1. Sandy, maybe letting go is the right thing to do,it isn’t the same as giving up by any means, but when you let go of the reins, it allows something/somebody/higher power, whatever you want to call it, to step in and take over, at least for awhile. You will never let go of the love you feel for your daughter in law, and that is a constant that will feed both her and you throughout whatever remains to be healed. Sending you a hug!

  4. I am especially in synch with the responses of Syl and SandyP this morning. I was born a fretter and it has taken me 69 years to finally catch myself when I start, and try to let it go. I can only do this, Mary, because of your blog and what you teach on a daily basis. You give great directions and then let us all know that you, too, fall by the wayside on occasion. That is the most helpful sharing of all, because it lets us all know that you still have your moments, just like we all do.

    Thanks to all this morning for your sharings. I think we all have the same target and are pretty much on the same bumpy road getting there.

    Love the picture of Luke bringing his summer gifts!

  5. I woke up with the memory of my dream of Aunt Gert, my mother’s sister. Gert has been dead for years now. In my dream she was standing at the stove in her kitchen, I was talking to her, fretting over one of her children. Gert said so sincerely, please don’t worry or gossip about my children. I said “I’m sorry Aunt Gert, worry about everyone and everything is a habit of a lifetime living with my mother”. Then in my dream, tears were forming in my eyes at the realization of the lightness of having Gert for a mother versus the heaviness of being raised by her sister, my mother.

    Dropping a heavy load needs to be a process, I think. If you drop a heavy object (bag of groceries, say) too quickly…you could have a big mess on your hands! But that doesn’t mean we have to walk up a big hill carrying a heavy load all by ourselves sweating and tripping and grunting before we stop for a rest or ask someone else to carry the load for awhile.

  6. These things just creep up to the point where I find myself momentarily wondering why I am feeling this gloom until I realize it is this situation that I am having difficulty letting go of. Was encouraged to hear you experience somewhat the same. When you said, “I also find it helpful to hold up my hand……” I envisioned offering up my worry to the good Lord and then I read on and saw what you were getting at. Had my hands twisted in the other direction. Will have to try both scenarios as I am not a huge religious person but I do have a soft sense of peace when I allow myself to believe in an all loving God.

    Always, always, always love your posts, Mary. Thank you.

  7. I too have been a worrier in the past…I work at letting ‘stuff’ go almost every single day. I listened to something recently that suggested “worrier or warrior”…not that they are the only two choices, but it did give me something to think about! I just got back from a brief trip and got caught up on Mary’s blog and comments…I must say, again, how very special this community is…we share and exchange some of our most private thoughts and feelings in a public way and I am so much better for it…thank you all for my daily dose of awesome! Much love…

    1. p.s. There is a sweet 24 year old spoken word poet, Sarah Kay, who I was recently exposed to, who has a quite wonderful outlook on life and it shows in her spoken word poetry. She is American with a Japanese maternal grandfather, which prompted one of her poems in the first video mentioned below. I was captivated by her…There are two videos included in this website that some of you might enjoy…30 minutes in total but worth the time I think…she is a high school teacher now and focuses on helping teens find their expression…(I’m technically challenged so you may have to type in the website…sorry!)

  8. I find the comments about “fretting” interesting. I too have been a fretter much of my 65 years….(I come from a long line of fretters – ha). But I am learning to let it go…..that to “bless and release” has real value. To some degree I think it is human nature to fret and only when we are totally concious of it, focusing on it, can we then bless and release and move on. Your “teachings” have great value, Mary. Thank you, as always.

  9. Dear Mary, I loved what you said about the ego….”the servant of higher mind, not the master…..”. There are times I battle with my ego, especially when it comes to it’s incessant need to hand-wring over troublesome thoughts and situations. It’s only when I remember to embrace the ego…like a small child who is just worried… with love and acceptance, that I begin to feel a sense of balance returning. In visualizing the embrace of that small child (ego), I am clear that I do not accept the worry, but am empathic towards the pain which worrisome thinking creates. When I have the wherewithal to do this practice, (instead of getting so caught up in the hand-wringing, which is usually the case!) I am instantly relieved from the battle with not only my ego, but those troublesome thoughts as well.

  10. What did I ever do before I started reading your blog Mary and all the great comments. I so often think of what you have written throughout my day and try to pay better attention to my actions and thoughts.

  11. So many of us mentioned being a fretter today that I decided to look its origin up:

    verb: frets, fretting, fretted
    1. to distress or be distressed; worry
    2. to rub or wear away
    3. to irritate or be irritated; feel or give annoyance or vexation
    4. (Chemistry) to eat away or be eaten away by chemical action; corrode
    5. (Engineering / Civil Engineering) (intr) (of a road surface) to become loose so that potholes develop; scab
    6. to agitate (water) or (of water) to be agitated
    7. (tr) to make by wearing away; erode
    1. a state of irritation or anxiety
    2. (Chemistry) the result of fretting; corrosion
    3. a hole or channel caused by fretting

    Sounds like we need to stop fretting if it is creating corrosion and potholes upon our spirit’s path. The guitar frets – hmm, you know how they are placed to divide evenly the spaces (notes) on the fingerboard? And yet, once again, that fret is divisive and breaks the whole into parts.

    Thank you everyone for your candid sharing today. Luke is beautiful! He retrieves and releases – carries his little burden only as long as he needs to, then drops it as a blessing. What a guy, Mary!

  12. My best friend refers to “already thought thoughts”. As in “No need to think about that again, I’ve already thought about it”. I find that very helpful when I need to put a thought down again and again.

  13. Hi Mary, Just looking at this photo of busy Luke with his rock in the water has cooled me off! Thanks!

  14. Awww, that Luke! I’m a bit in love with him; something about his fuzziness just melts my heart! He looks like a dog-bear hybrid in this pic.

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