Where are you going this weekend?

Fred patiently waiting to lick Luke's dish
Fred patiently waiting for any left-overs

The other day, I was talking with a family member who was going on about how unfairly excluded his wife had been from his family. He said the last straw was when she wrote a letter to the one family member, who had originally been welcoming to her, but this woman had also, in the end, snubbed her. He and his wife were genuinely confused and angry by what they saw as such unfriendly and “exclusive” behaviour on the part of his entire family. He said, “I know we haven’t been the best people, but we aren’t the worst either.”

And yet, seeing from a more detached perspective, it is clear that they both are only experiencing (in the apparent behaviour of “others”) an outpicturing of their own minds. What they see on the outside is truly what they feel about themselves,… and how they behave toward others. They are afraid of getting snubbed, so they don’t attend family functions, even when invited, and blame others for their isolation. They never believe that anyone truly loves or likes them since they really don’t like themselves. Both feel a lot of guilt (even though this is well-hidden) for years of heavy drinking and all of the “unseemly” behaviour and lack of clear judgement that went along with that lifestyle.

They have been harshly judged, but nothing can compare to the judgement they have lived with in their own minds….but they aren’t able or willing to see this yet, so they push it out and it comes back multiplied, in the behaviour of others. They think they need to protect themselves from any more insults and hurts, and in response, their world gets smaller, tighter, and actually more painful, since they are shutting themselves up with their own clouded, critical minds.

I don’t know why is seems so much easier to blame others than to look at ourselves. Blaming anyone (including ourselves) is hell. Treating the world like a huge, friendly, kind, mirror, designed to show us where we are contracting (by believing a victim’s story) or expanding into a larger, happier, more joy-filled life, is an exciting way to live….and it can save years of therapy, misery, pain, and loss of relationship.

What I think is being done to me, I am doing to myself. What I think about others, I am really thinking about myself. Once I accepted this Truth, life opened up to me in what seemed like miraculous ways.

I still trip up, still find myself blaming people for what I am feeling, at times still feel like an innocent victim, still listen to the very unhappy, rejected, angry, stories that my mind tosses up to me, wondering if I’ll grab onto one and run with it. Just yesterday, I called a friend but he didn’t return my call and my mind started to say, “I’m not sure he is that great a friend. I am always available when he wants to talk but when I need help…..” I stopped myself, sat down, and said out loud, “This is an unhappy story. Do you really want to entertain it Mary?” This question made me smile. I said to my mind, “You are a pain in the ass sometimes! Do you know that?”…and it laughed.

My friend called back an hour later.

The weekend is here again. What would it be like if you refused to believe any unhappy story for just 72 hrs? What if you just noticed your mind trying to get you to believe some tale of woe, and you refused to join it? What if you held fast to your image of heaven, and refused to traipse into hell, just because you were invited?

“Man surrounds himself with the true image of himself. Every spirit builds itself a house and beyond its house a world, and beyond its world a heaven. Know then that the world exists for you. …What we are, that only can we see.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

23 thoughts on “Where are you going this weekend?”

  1. OMG, Mary, I have those conversations with myself all the time. I think a negative thought about someone, then my better self kicks in and offers a mild rebuke and I am momentarily chastened before returning to a more positive state. And then, as you say, the person you thought had wronged you calls or visits, proving that the ‘wrong’ was only in your mind. So glad I’m not the only one still working on this. 😀

  2. Dear Mary…another timely and insightful post. Thank you! The stories we create in our minds can indeed trip us up…convincing us that our reality is fixed. I love your idea of taking the next 72 hours to believe in not only an outer world of heaven, but an inner one as well. Whatever we cultivate will grow, and I’m looking forward to growing some heaven all around me!

    1. Debra, what popped out at me right now was your line “whatever we cultivate we grow” – so forgiveness is like a seed. And seeds don’t take root right away, – they take awhile to sink into the ground and time to take root, sprout, push through the earth and rise to the sun, but it is the intention to forgive that is the seed. Time will foster and nurture the intention. So, we need to watch which seeds we plant. Seeds of ill will and resentment can take over like nasty weeds, multiplying, ruining the garden. Thank you for helping me find this image. Mary, this post comes at a perfect time – it is one I will share with someone close to me who is facing a difficult situation with an in-law. Perfect timing. Love to all this weekend.

  3. Another keeper, Mary! Today is my 60th birthday (which I like to remind myself I share with Henry David Thoreau), and this post was a true gift to me. YOU are a true gift to all of us, Mary!!!
    When I got up this morning, my husband had an online radio station playing for me. The name of it is Calm Radio, from Markham, ON, and he chose Celtic music, which he knows is my favorite. I don’t know when I have felt so peaceful, sitting here listening to this wonderful music and reading my favorite blog!!!
    Love to you all!!! Laura

    1. Happy Birthday Laura! Welcome to the Smashing Sixties! I learned today on Writer’s Almanac that you also share a birthday with George Eastman, “father” of the Kodak camera! What a sweet gesture from your husband! Have a beautiful day!

  4. Mary, what a beautiful way for us to spend the weekend and even better if we keep it going. I know I can always find what I’m looking for…so it might as well be the good stuff! Happy weekend to all.

  5. Thanks Mary for the invitation to 72 hours of awesome! Happy, peaceful, awesome! Here’s to a WFF, all connected, heavenly weekend. WFF energy is the BEST!

  6. This concept that we create our own world in our relationships is something I have just learned. I am trying to retrain my thinking away from victim mode which is where I have been for way too long. Thank you so much for this reinforcement.

  7. Mary, your posts are so refreshing in their candor and universality. And I love your quotes and animal pals!

    A book worth reading (or listening to on CD) is “You Are NOT Your Brain,” which helps us identify the “deceptive brain messages” that are spun out constantly. And how we can be trapped by them. The book has some great exercises — a four-point program — to let our “wise advocate” (true self) emerge. Maybe this will connect with some of us here. 🙂

    Have a fun and peaceful weekend, all!

  8. How wonderful and beautifully synchronistic. . . I was just writing about the mirror reflecting myself in my journal this morning. I also touched on the fact if I am feeling “lost”, I also draw those types of individuals to me. Thanks for an “oh so appropriate” posting today!!

  9. During a few particularly stressful times in my life, I now and then woke up enough to give myself permissiton to simply take a break from the problems for a whole day. Those days were so delightrul and no doubt what kept me sane until peace returned. Now why on earth I couldn’t figure out that if I started stringing a few of those days together my life could improve a whole lot is another story. Thanks for this message, Mary.

  10. Mary
    This is so me and so what I am trying not to do any longer. Came at a perfect time!
    Thank you so much. I often send your posts on to others.

  11. Good assignment, Mary. Building muscle in my “tame the monkey-mind” section of my brain. It sorely needs it!

    A fun and peace-filled weekend to all!

  12. Mary, I love the fact that your mind slips into the same vortex as mine does from time to time…thanks for the humanness of this morning’s message. I also love the quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson. I am reading a book given to me by one of my B&B guests called Harvest of a Quiet Eye by Lawrence Scanlan and in it, he speaks of Ralph Waldo Emerson as having purchased a fifteen acre tract of land on the north shore or Waldon Pond. Thoreau had been coming to the pond since he was four years old and living there had been a dream of his, so when his friend, Emerson bought the land, Thoreau built his well-known cabin there, which of course, he made famous. A quote attributed to Thoreau in 1862 as he lay on his deathbed when his aunt asked him he had made his peace with God, he replied: “i did not know we had ever quarrelled.”
    Sandy P in Canada

  13. thank you, Mary, for your beautiful important message today. . .amen! I work on this dynamic a lot. . .I loved you making fun of your spinning-out-there brain. . .so true! sending my love and thanks, Veronica in (sweetly sunny) California

  14. This is the story I tell myself! exactly moving through pain and suffering old story lines crying from emotional overload. Burning through karma is what I tell myself when others say really hurtful things I get a burning feeling inside “this is how others felt” and my eyes water…..yes, words do hurt….and I move through the emotion. Burning through karma..

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