taking a peek at Life

I was walking into the store a few days ago, and a very frantic sounding dog caught my ear. I turned quickly to see a couple of men racing around a dusty lot on 4-wheelers. I also noticed a little pit bull chained up, and aggressively barking at them. Instantly, a preconceived notion about pit-bull owners dropped into my mind. It wasn’t a happy story either. It was full of judgement, and it was there as soon as I glimpsed the scene. It was a story about what kind of people the owners were, how they treated their animals, and kids, and where they worked, or didn’t.

As I shopped, I made myself drop the “story of their lives” (as told by Mary Muncil’s all-seeing self) from my mind. Leaving the store, I looked over at the lot, but didn’t hear the dog because she was sitting on the back of one of the 4-wheelers happily riding with her owner. And he was driving slow. And he had a blanket on the back. And he was holding her gently, lovingly.

I’m so glad that my story was wrong. All of my stories (when they are full of judgement and labels and neat little boxes) are wrong,…and they are small, tight, and limited. One thing that I’ve noticed about myself and others is this: The more judgements we have about what is right and what is wrong, the more we think that we know the way it is, the less of life we are allowing ourselves to really see.

Being wrong (and embracing it) truly is one of the best-kept secrets. It is a magical feeling to be able to say, “I was completely wrong about that!” I believe that it is also one of the portals into our expanded selves…into our Divine consciousness. Every time that I get to witness one of my own judgements, I also feel I’m given the opportunity to drop it. …what an incredible gift. Every time I see my more limited self, right under the surface, is a whole new world ready to open up to me.

It might be fun today to see how many times you judge someone or something and when you notice this, to say to yourself, “Ah ha! An opportunity for more Life just peeked its head up. I think I’ll take it!”

A happy story

A happy scene

“Always admit when you’re wrong. You’ll save thousands in therapy…and a few friendships too.” Harvey Fierstein

14 thoughts on “taking a peek at Life

  1. A happy scene indeed! What a great story and lesson all in the span of a few minutes! We are headed “South” to Cape May from Vermont to celebrate a very dear family member turning 90! This was a great way to begin our trip! Thanks for starting my day with a great story and lesson…”I think I’ll take it!” XOXO

  2. Dear Mary, this poignant story is a great reminder to watch my thoughts! Thank you for this. I love your description of the portal into our higher selves and how being aware of our judgements and preconceived ideas can lead us back to our true inner being. Being guided by the light is a moment by moment experience of letting go, isn’t it?

  3. Mary – I love this post! The quote is right on. Many times I have found that when I have admitted I was wrong (and admitted it to the offended party), forgiving and forgetting quickly followed. An important life lesson – so much more enlightening than making excuses or trying to justify your mistakes. Thank you for the reminder!

  4. Wonderful! We all fall into the “judge-y” trap from time to time; the trick is to catch ourselves doing it and stop (unless, of course, you’re an actual judge, in which case, carry on!).

  5. It hasn’t always been the case, but with age/wisdom, I actually love admitting I am wrong. It’s the most freeing feeling. From there, I can take a deep breath and go about minding my own business, pursuing the sweetest life possible. In most cases, it’s more likely to be a thought than an action against another that snares me. If it does involve hurting another in some way and they accept my apology, that’s wonderful. If they don’t, that’s totally fine, too. Either way, I have done the right thing and my peace has been restored.

    Thanks for your faithfulness in writing things for the flock to consider. I never fail to glean a thought about an area in which I can improve. You’ve made my life better and I appreciate it. I also appreciate all the others who take the time to add comments…collective wisdom, can’t beat it.

    • Carol,

      You expressed it all so well. I couldn’t agree more. I wonder why I waited so long — lack of confidences or too many defenses, maybe — but saying I’m sorry really is freeing. And what you said about Mary and the blog is true for me, too.

  6. yes, i too think it is one of the portals into our expanded selves. i embrace that thought and the accompanying feeling. i had to wince when i read your account of the four-wheelers and the pit bull because i’ve entertained those very unhappy thoughts over and again including many others—–those-kind-of-people……! i’m becoming aware more quickly of these judgements and finding how liberating it is to admit that i was entirely wrong or mistaken about something. i think i’ll take it too. love to you, mary, a well-taken reminder here!

  7. I just read Garrison Keillor’s poem for today in Writer’s Almanac – the picture of this magnificent horse pulling itself to a sudden halt, restraining himself in all his power – to listen to his master – just made me think of Mary’s message to us to check ourselves when we go into ‘judge-y’ mode as Jill put it. I am not sure how this is going to copy out – when I copy/pasted the first time, the words were all jumbled. I’ll try to get it right! (thinking of you Debra Saum and the great stallion!)

    Who the Meek Are Not
    by Mary Karr

     Not the bristle-bearded Igors bent 
under burlap sacks,
    not peasants knee-deep
 in the rice paddy muck,
nor the serfs whose quarter-moon sickles 
make the wheat fall in waves 
they don’t get to eat.
    My friend the Franciscan nun says we misread
 that word meek in the Bible verse that blesses them.
    To understand the meek 
(she says) picture a great stallion at full gallop
 in a meadow, who—
at his master’s voice—seizes up to a stunned
 but instant halt.
 So with the strain of holding that great power
 in check,
    the muscles 
along the arched neck keep eddying, and only the velvet ears 
prick forward, awaiting the next order.
    “Who the Meek Are Not” by Mary Karr, from Sinners Welcome. © Harper Collins, 2006. Reprinted with permission. 

  8. I just love this story Mary! How quickly we jump to a conclusion without facts, just our own imagination to fuel the fire. I want to rember this story the next time I do that and see what happens!

  9. I love that picture of that pit wrapped in those protective arms. Happy boys. Thank you Mary for always putting everything in a much better light. My hubby, two pups and I are heading up to Nova Scotia pulling our little trailer this Saturday. Long trip but should be a blast. Catch up to the flock when I get back in a couple of weeks.

  10. I might not always comment, but I read every post and am so pleased to do so. They are always helpful, inspiring and usually something I need to think about. Thanks for that.

    • Thank you so much Irene….sending good thoughts your way today!

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