A downward spiral…and then an upward one


detail from a new painting, Winter Wonder, available on my artwork page

Several days ago, I received a letter from the bank notifying me of an issue  with my on-line account. I was very tired, and a little irritable, when I opened it, but I didn’t stop to center myself before phoning them. The call was a disaster. The woman who answered the phone was unfriendly and unhelpful. She actually told me that I had withdrawn a fairly large sum of money on a certain date. When I told her that I hadn’t, she said, “You must have.” So I asked to speak to the manager, but was informed that he wouldn’t be back until the following week.

The phone call ended with no resolution but my level of frustration had escalated.

Usually, when I am feeling off, I know enough not to make phone calls or to try to resolve “issues” with anyone…but not on this day. What I did next was to return a call to the dealership where I’d just purchased my car. They said that they needed a certain document signed (which was overlooked at the initial purchase) and that they had sent me a copy to sign. As I looked the document over, I didn’t understand one paragraph and asked the man to explain it to me. He said, “No one has ever asked me this before. Can’t you just sign it?” When I said that I’d like an explanation, he replied, “So you aren’t going to cooperate with us?”

For about 10 seconds, I couldn’t even respond. That conversation did not end well.

Then Jack called to say that he’d just had a very unpleasant talk with our home owner’s insurance company who said they hadn’t received our last 3 payments (all of which had been sent on time) so they were canceling our policy.

I sat in my chair wondering what was going on. It felt like the Muncil/Metzger household had been plunged into Dante’s 5th circle of hell.

In that moment, I realized that there was something I needed to do. I hung up the phone and said out loud, “Help me”, and then I closed my eyes and imagined all of this paperwork being lovingly picked up by the hands of Spirit. Within 5 minutes the phone rang. It was a bank manager who quickly sorted out the mishap. I thanked him, hung up the phone, and said out loud, “Thank you”.

The next morning, I was tempted to call the car dealership back to resolve the unsigned document issue, but as I picked up the form, I immediately put it down again and imagined my hands blessing it. Several minutes later, a manager from the car dealership called me. Everything was explained and resolved in 2 minutes.

As I thought about this day, it was clear that my reactions were the cause of all of my pain. Had I taken the time to center and calm myself before making that first call, I know that it would have gone differently. As challenging as it is to admit, both of those unpleasant people mirrored my inner feelings/mind pretty accurately. But what is equally important to remember is that as soon as I asked my higher self for help, the help appeared…first in the form of a calmer, less frantic, inner self, and then with people who actually could help me.

As these brilliant words from the literature of AA remind us, ” We learned that if we were seriously disturbed, our first need was to quiet that disturbance, regardless of who or what we thought caused it.“* This is such a good thing to remember. The world is my mirror. When I strike out in anger or frustration or try to resolve anything from a mind that is filled with frustration and worry, I am bound to create more of the same.

It is so good to remember that before we do anything we can ask for help…and we can rest assured that it will be there.




*page 47 Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of AA





15 thoughts on “A downward spiral…and then an upward one

  1. Wow. Isn’t it amazing what centering oneself and asking for help can do? I’ve certainly been in this place a time or two in my life two. 🙂 Your new painting is SO sweet!

  2. Mary, blessings to you. This comes at such an important time for me. Thank you for your clarity and connection!!

  3. You are using the power available to all of us, yet most people don’t access it! Thank you for reminding me to ask for help next time I have an issue with the demands of just keeping up with things in this complicated world. As I get older, I admit I simply don’t have the patience to deal with companies, banks, utilities…things we must do each day just to get by.

    • I confess that with some companies moving their answering services ‘off-shore’ where I’m unable to understand the accents of those speaking English, particularly with our Bell Telephone here in Canada, I have literally been driven to tears, shouted at them, finally because they are not hearing my issues, in the end many customers who are with Bell have been so turned off by the off-shore outsourcing of employees that they avoid calling them. I’m not even sure I was sane enough after Bell disconnected my internet service for lack of payment last Sept. I was out of service for almost one month. It was a mistake at their end, the service I was being billed for had discontinued 9 mos. before and the bills continued to be sent to an address not our own. The frustration of having this happen was enormous and as much as I would try to stay calm, I would end up in tears talking to Bell. It shouldn’t happen. I don’t think service people, some of them, really listen or hear customers today; they are on their own agenda of thinking. I’m not sure which would have been better for me, prayer or a bottle of cognac at that point. I finally had a B&B guest who worked for Bell and who managed to help clear this issue up for me. I think there are many frustrations today that need not be and I don’t feel it is always the customer’s fault. Where is the day that the customer was always right….long gone…
      Sandy P. in Canada

  4. thank you for your honest words today. . . an important reminder for me to quiet my frustrations/anger as I go through the day . . .and to ask for the help that’s always there. . blessings all over you! Veronica

  5. Dear Mary, such a beautiful post! How many times have I ignored that niggle inside myself that says “You are off center, not quite yourself….why don’t you slow down, take a breath and get back to center before you embark on this action, word, etc.” It’s true what you said: when we recognize that we need help to get back to our true selves (the loving, patient, forgiving and wise self), we can ask for help (from our higher selves, angels, spirit helpers, inner teacher, divine wisdom……) and it will be there. Thank you for your honest reminder of how important it is to humbly ask for guidance and always trust that it will be there. Much love to you.

  6. I certainly could have used some centering this week as I struggled with phone calls that left me frustrated and angry when I tried to have questions answered or issues resolved. It seems to be an area of my life where I do get angry and lash out at people, something I don’t ever do under other circumstances. I will remember this post, Mary, and get centered before ever picking up the phone to make one of “those” calls!

  7. Isn’t it amazing when G-D sends struggles like these to show us how to trust ourselves and him to find a peaceful and calm way to deal with the stress of life. May your family Mary have a joyous holiday season. I love your new art piece.

  8. Thank you, Mary, again. Over and over you use your experience, strength and hope to encourage us to move beyond the frustrations that can turn an ordinary day into an emotional nightmare. For me, being still and present can re-direct my thoughts and actions. That’s what I took from your post today. Love to you and yours, and so love your art.

  9. Thanks you for this reminder Mary. I’m sorry you were going through this. But I’m glad you shared your insight. I needed that facing experienced a setback with the healing of my knee replacement. This morning I was so scared and panicked and suddenly realized I needed to sit and quiet myself and ask for help from God/Spirit/Blessed Mother. To take the fear and fill me with love and courage. Your experience and insight confirms my action – thank you. I know your challenges will be resolved. Blessings on you and your husband and family.🎄

  10. Thank you Mary, for sharing this powerful reminder to move from a place of calm and wait until we can really feel centered. What an amazing turnaround with each one of those situations. Peace to all the friends who gather here!

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    | | | Hi Mary, Hope all is well with you and Jack.  Your post really hit home, and at a time when I needed it. Thanks. Have a very Merry Christmas. Love and Peace, JoLife is an adventure for those with the courage to explore   |

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