Supporting a new belief

Eleanor looking into the recycle pail
winter boots are still being used
winter boots are still being used …for something!

Yesterday afternoon, I was trying to nap, and Fred plopped himself down right next to my head. This isn’t all that unusual but this time, just as I was drifting into a very peaceful sleep, he started grooming himself (and Fred is a very loud licker!). I kept trying to ignore the sound, but his licking seemed like it was getting louder and louder and it was also right in my ear. I could feel irritation begin to rise.

After a couple of minutes, I reluctantly opened my eyes to move him, and was very surprised to see that he wasn’t grooming himself at all, he was grooming Noah, whose head was resting on Fred’s paws. Suddenly, instead of feeling irritated, I was filled with a feeling of warm delight. Our cats rarely groom each other and I love it when they do.

As I quietly watched them, I also noticed my thoughts. When my mind told the story that Fred was too loud, I felt irritated. When my mind told the story that animals grooming each other was a soothing activity, my mind felt peaceful. The sound was the same in either case. My mind was the only thing that changed. In one scenario I was in hell (not really, but I wasn’t happy) and in the other scenario, I was in heaven.

I was raised with the belief that people should not make noise. Chewing (especially with our mouths open) slurping, and  burping, were severely criticized and ridiculed. As a result, everyone in my family became extremely intolerant of these human (or animal) sounds. We didn’t question these beliefs as little children, we just accepted them as truth.

What I have come to know is this: if something disturbs me, it is my thinking about it that is the problem. It doesn’t matter if I’ve been bothered by “this thing” for my entire life. It is still my thinking that’s causing the problem and I can change that (even though with some very old habits of reactive thought, it might take a little time to do so).

Being intolerant of others is an unhappy way to live. This may have been the way that my family was, but it isn’t my choice to continue along that same unquestioned path….and what is my alternative? Stop eating with people? Put all of my animals in another room when they are grooming, eating, licking or scratching themselves? Try to get the entire world to stop making noise so I can live comfortably with a limiting belief? I think not.

Instead, when I feel unhappy, I question my mind, my beliefs, my opinions, my “convictions”, and every time, I find that they are small, petty and unworthy of continued support.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.” Steve Jobs

It is Friday again! It might be interesting to watch your reactions to people’s (or animals) behaviour this weekend, and if you find yourself irritated, maybe challenge those judgements, refuse to give them further support, and open up your world a little bit more.


25 thoughts on “Supporting a new belief”

  1. Your blog today hits home for me as I also grew up with these things that were not accepted and believed I should carry them on. I now know they weren’t my ideas and beliefs. Thank you for your blog Mary. I look forward to each one.
    They give me confidence to believe in me.
    Have a Blessed weekend.

    1. The thought that this blog gives you confidence to believe in yourself is just so wonderful to hear Carol, thank you

  2. Thank you, Mary. The message hit home for me as well. I needed this as there are some people in my life who think bodily noises are hysterical and I am cringing because of my old belief systems that were given to me and I am living out. More work to do on this unfinished product, me.

    1. …they may be stuck in a limiting belief too Kathleen; that there is something funny about the natural sounds of bodies, (and they deal with it in another way)…just a thought!

  3. Welcome back, Mary…I missed you, but a wonderful example of self caring! My favorite “spiritual” quote…”nothing is good or bad, it is MY thinking that makes it so” . Sending loving , good thoughts your way …..

    1. and what a thought to embrace Sandy…I love this thought! I was raised to believe that I was supposed to judge everyone and everything so it has taken a lot of mental undoing to just notice instead of mentally commenting or labeling

  4. Ah Mary. Another good one to go into my “Spirit” email file. Thank you for this one!

  5. Oh yes! I can see that asking ourselves the question ‘why does this disturb me?’ can lead to uncovering the root of the matter within us. It touches us that way for a reason. And if we can ‘clear’ that energy then that disturbance becomes a gift. Wow! Thanks Mary!

  6. What a nice surprise to find your blog in my email today ~ I have missed my daily feeding of your words!
    Your message today gives me inspiration for the weekend and having my daughter’s two dogs with us. I love them to pieces but as most middle-aged women will agree, I cherish my sleep and they often wake me up in the middle of the night to go outside. Interestingly enough they do not do this to my daughter, I think because she lets them sleep in the bed with her and I don’t. For years our cats slept in the bed with us but my allergies just won’t allow that now. 😦
    It’s only two nights, I know I can smile at them and see all their endearing qualities for that short time.
    As to the other aspect of your message Mary, I am forever amazed at how our past affects us in the here and now. I know there were many things about my growing up that I either consciously or unconsciously decided I would not perpetuate, that is a freeing feeling!
    Love and hugs for a wonderful weekend to all… Marian

  7. Dear Mary, thank you for your most welcome post this morning. It reminds me that watching the mind, catching those thought patterns and old tapes is a daily, sometimes minute-by-minute endeavor…one that results in inner peace and freedom from limited beliefs. I really needed to hear this message today! Thank you and thank you Fred and Noah for the beautiful image of partnership bathing!

    1. Debra, I just posted and THEN went back up to read the responses to Mary. We must surely be on the same–wave length. What IS that anyway?!

  8. Mary, I’m so glad you’re back today. How do you doooo it? These words? This sharing your thinking at just the right time for “me me me!” Seems as if you’ve been right inside my head waiting for the perfect time to share your thinking with me. Synchronicity to the max!
    These tired old thoughts of mine–the old old old ones–can go rolling around in my head for years and years. And when a familiar thought comes up in my head about how someone else’s behavior is irritating, then that’s just how i’m compelled to feel. Irritated. Any particular one of my thoughts can “have its way with me” and command fear or worry or intolerance or well, whatever! All sorts of unhappiness awaits when my intolerant or fearful thoughts get reused. (Thanks for sharing Steve Jobs on this, too. So fitting!)
    A sweet friend of mine told me recently that thoughts are just…. JUST thoughts! At first I didn’t get it. I’ve been mulling it over. Your Fred story today, Mary, really came at the perfect time. I can see how having a thought and actually examining that thought–thinking about that thought–are two different activities. You’ve given me such a memorable example of how the whole business of thinking is quite different from grabbing some familiar right-and-ready thought that’s conveniently available when triggered. You were thinking ABOUT that thought regarding Fred’s licking sounds instead of acting on the thought that such sounds were irritating to you.
    [Who can say that Fred’s future loud grooming sounds won’t just lull you into dreamland!]
    I thank you, Mary (and Fred) (and Noah!),
    for being in my life today. Hurrah hurrah!

  9. I’m sure I’m not the only one that felt thrilled to see WHITE FEATHER FARM in her inbox this morning! – Wish I could give whoever said this his/her proper due, – “You are as big as what you love, and as small as what annoys you.” Sort of puts things in perspective, doesn’t it? Let’s be as big as what we love this weekend!

  10. Hi Mary, welcome back. My name is Cindi Iam from wisconsinI love your blog. I found you through Jon Katz journal I have been with you about a year now and just have to say thanks. Your post is so welcoming,It is so neat to have you just as a good friend.I grew up in wi.small town raised my two boys here whom are both in the marines, One is married with our first grand son,so you have been a God send some times when they were deployed,your positive messages help me out. They are both in the states …life is good but I think my parents raised me just like yours!!! I so understand everything I have to laugh some days. So THANK YOU. Cindi from Rhinelander Wi


  11. Mary,
    How wonderful to have you back. A great post and one that hits home. Also, I love the quote from Susan Alcantara-words to live by. Happy weekend to everyone!

  12. Perfect timing for me on this post. My dog started whining as I just sat down to read emails and my favorite blogs after work, even though he had been taken out and fed. I changed my attitude and realized he had missed me and wanted to play! Nice to be missed!

  13. I missed your posts also Mary. So nice to have you back. I hope your time away was just what you needed. The kitties grooming ea other is a sweet image. You are blessed. Napping is a rare treat and often a reward I use to self-motivate. But I can’t sleep with the silence. I’ve used a white noise machine for decades! Happy Spring, Cindy PS: I think I’ll try tolerance and understanding this w/e with my man’s plethora of sounds and noises he makes!

  14. Phheeeeww.
    I was just on the verge of 4M: Mary Muncil Mindfullness Malfunction when I turned on the computer. And you have been L-I-S-T-E-N-I-N-G!
    Now if I could only quit listening to the claptrap that addresses everyone else’s foibles and concentrate on my own intolerances. [I just blew raspberries to SpellCheck which said ‘intolerances’ is not a word!] I have more than ONE that needs my attention, okay?
    And I recognize them so well in hindsight—I fully intend to examine them more in ‘real time’ this weekend. Welcome back….
    I love homework!

  15. Oh gosh, I can’t tell you how often I have wrestled with my thinking and how my Lab Kylie licks, and how I find myself irritated. I am aware… Though still working on it. Being aware, I believe is the first step and I hope to make more progress. Thank you for your post to help me along with this.

  16. Several weeks ago I stopped into a Michael’s Store (crafts) to buy some embroidery threads for my latest project. Standing in line with my purchases, I happened to line up behind two women, a mother and daughter, who had two carts filled with a wide variety of items….framed prints, pretty artificial flowers, containers and so on. Their bill ended up being over $500 for all their items which seemed unrelated to any craft. I waited…and waited…feeling myself getting annoyed at myself for choosing this check-out aisle and watching the next aisle moving quickly through until I had a check-in reminder…then I decided to ask what these items were all for. The mother responded, appologizing for taking so long, thanking me for my patience (which if she knew what was going on in my head, would have been embarassing)and said: my daughter works for two retirement homes in the Haliburton/Minden area and these are to decorate the residences. As I kept talking to the two women I became engaged in what they had purchased and what was going to be done with their purchases. When they were through, they turned again to thank me for my patience. In the meantime, I’d learned about two retirement residences in our cottage country and I learned that the young woman who was employed there had a budget to spend a certain amount each year on decorating the residences. She loved what she was doing, she said. I thought how nice she would make it for elderly people living there because she cared about what she was doing and about them. What was present in my mind was Mary’s reminder of how we look at things and how we can change our attitude if we choose to. It made all the difference in my attitude and patience.
    SandyP in Ontario, Canada

  17. “Life is short, and we do not have much time to gladden the hearts of those who travel with us, so be quick to love and make haste to be kind.

    And may the blessing of the One who made us, and the One who loves us, and the One who travels with us, be with you and those you love this day and always.” AMEN.

    Henri-Frederic Amiel

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