A visitor bearing gifts

It has been a long time since I posted a picture of either myself or Jack on the blog…so here we are sending you so much love today!

Several days ago, I found out that someone close to me had betrayed me in a way that quite literally sent me into shock. For hours, my body shook and my heart felt like it would explode. Later that same night, as I tried to sleep but found it impossible…thoughts about the hurtful event felt like spears being shot into my brain and I didn’t think that I could stop them. Feelings of anger and confusion made sleep, the one thing that I thought might bring some temporary relief, impossible.

I tried to say, “This is happening for me, not to me”, but it felt empty and pitiful compared to my feelings…it felt like utter bullshit.

At about 2 a.m. as I lie there in my cocoon of hell, the word, “kindness” came into my mind. I kept repeating it and as I did, I became aware that the angry thoughts, and the reliving of the betrayal, were such unkind things to do to myself. They felt like daggers, because they were just that….and I was doing this to myself.

So I started repeating,

“Be kind to yourself. Think kind thoughts, or no thoughts. This is so hard but don’t become hard. Become soft, stay kind. Let this open you up to more love, life, and goodness. Don’t close down. Don’t become hard.” The sense of relief that I experienced was small and I felt powerless as I was then overwhelmed with sadness instead of rage, but I knew that deep sadness was appropriate and that anger was a cover up.

In the past, anger had been a default emotion for me. I thought that I was in control (or it felt that way) if I was angry…but sadness? Sadness was frightening. Sadness seemed like it would render me useless, pitiful, and unable to move. Anger felt like it contained within it the energy to change and so I had been reluctant to turn away from what felt like an old ally. But I had the awareness that the sleeplessness and sadness were working something in me…similar to the feelings that I’d experience on a vision quest many years earlier. I was in a new place and I needed to trust it, even though it felt awful.

Sleep still did not come and so at 5 a.m. I got up, made a cup of tea,  went outside, and asked to see my part in the betrayal. I could not have asked that question 12 hrs. earlier, and if anyone had said, “So how did you bring this into your life? Or “How did you attract this?” (both legitimate and good questions which I know to be the truth), I would’ve become enraged and probably shot back, “How dare you insinuate that I had any part in this?”

But I was ready to ask myself, and within minutes an answer came; I saw how for several years I’d had so many negative and unfriendly thoughts about this man and in that moment, my heart opened and I sobbed uncontrollably. There was no blame of him or myself; there was only the space that an epiphany creates. There was room for something new to emerge and I sensed that it would heal me in a way that I could never do by trying to change myself. It was Grace…my part in it was simply to stay open (simple but certainly not easy).

We all know people who have been so hurt by others that they shut themselves off from life. They become hard and closed-down in an effort to shield themselves from the inevitable pain that happens as we live these human lives. There is going to be pain. There are going to be betrayals, or what we believe in the moment are betrayals. There is going to be loss or the feeling that we have lost something/someone, but what we do in these moments, holds the key to our freedom and happiness. One of my favorite quotes by W. Clement Stone is, “Big doors swing on little hinges”. Deciding to refuse anger and blame and ask what my part was seemed small at the time.

During the experience that I just went through, I could see these 2 paths clearly and I knew that the old way for me was dead. I made a decision to stay open, not knowing that a light would shine so quickly on the new path, bringing with it a great feeling of relief. I didn’t know if I would get an answer at all, or if it did, when it would come… an hour, a day, a month?

The pain that this incident caused was my wake-up call. It was a gift and I recognize it as such.

I now believe even more in the concept that we do not heal ourselves. Healing happens when we metaphorically speaking, stop pouring salt in our wounds: stop blaming anyone, including ourselves, for the unhappiness in our lives. Stop looking to others to change toward us so we can be happy. Stop looking at anything outside of us for wholeness. We live in a field of Grace…it does the work if we let it.

I’m so grateful to be able to share this with you. If you are ever in a situation like I was, I hope that something here will help you to see a new way too. I wish you freedom and deep peace today.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

(translation by Coleman Barks)





30 thoughts on “A visitor bearing gifts”

  1. Oh Mary, it is as though the energy flowed from me to you in my time of need. My son, who is going through a protracted separation from a partner, no marriage, but one daughter of eight years, is closing on a home he owns tomorrow. She, the partner, who lived in the home for five of those eight years and dare I say it without anger, she seems to have a five year expiration date on any relationship or the two marriages she has had. This in itself need not be explained and may be seen as a negative thought. My son called an hour ago, his partner is trying to block the house closing tomorrow for reasons she and her lawyer threaten. The amount of anger I felt towards this woman, rushed in like an electrical surge during a thunder storm. And just as quickly, I thought, the anger I feel towards her has to be offset by something else, anger fills a person up, spills over, obliterates logical thinking. I went onto the internet and put the word ‘faith’ into my search engine. Not long after, your message came into me in my inbox.

    It’s a wonderful picture of you and Jack, I feel at one with you both.

    Sandy Proudfoot, S.Ont., canada

    1. As always, Sandy, I appreciate you sharing your journey so much. I love that you did an internet seach on the word faith…it makes me feel very warm to read that. Sending you love tonight, Mary

  2. Thank you again, dear Mary, for your wonderful words that ring so deeply for me. The picture of you and Jack is a delight and your face glows from within. I love it!!!!

  3. Your account of the betrayal opened up an old wound, which I had thought was healed over and gone. Obviously, there was still some pain left. I worked on my issue for years, attending seminars, meditating, doing soul work. I will continue with this work, until even this small setback is gone and done away with. It seems so hard, but I believe, as you do, that what we put out there in energy is the most powerful healing there is. Bless you, Mary.

    1. Thank you for sharing this and I am sending you blessings and love this evening for a complete healing of your situation. May deep inner peace and freedom be yours now. Love, Mary

  4. Sending you love and blessings, Mary. Thank you for this sharing and for the joyful photo of you and Jack. ❤

    1. And we send our love and blessings to you too, Diana…I remember that day by the river when you found out that you were going to be a grandmother and I was so jealous (in a good way!)..and now we both have 2…life is certainly wonderful, isn’t it? Love you, Mary

    1. We really appreciate that, Myrna! We were having a lot of fun taking these “selfies” (something we’d never done before this week)…it has truly been a most amazing time. Love, Mary

  5. Thank you Mary. This was so very insightful. And a lovely picture of you and Jack 🙂

  6. I loved and felt everything about this message Mary. Your and Jack’s picture, your current ‘look’,
    the peace and smiles that I feel when looking at it, your compelling message, lessons…and
    Rumi’s “Guest House”. Those unexpected visitors always leave a gift…I’m getting better at
    opening it, understanding it, and being grateful for it. Thank you! Happy day to you and Jack!

  7. Dear Mary, Thank you for sharing the beautiful picture of you and Jack! I have been going through a some what similar experience in my life. It kept me awake and sick to my stomach for at least a week. But finally through the grace of God and his mercy things have improved. And then earlier this week while I was mediating God showed me how He has faith in us ! Wow! He has faith in us that we will go to Him in our hour of fear and sometimes terror especially in the middle of the night, and asking Him to help us. He knows we are his beloved who He bought with a price of his only son . We know that He is our Savior the only one who can rescue us from lthis terrible perdicament that we find our selves in. Even in many times when we did nothing wrong. He knows this because his son did nothing wrong . And if per chance we did make a mistake, once we go to Him all is forgiven. How could we be more fortunate then to have Him in our corner? Now we just have to remember this when it does happen again. Thank you so much for your amazing blog! JoanHansen

    1. I really appreciate your thoughts and encouragement, Joan. It is such a deep relief to know that everything really is happening for me…for all of us, if we stay open and trust. Love, Mary

  8. It helps to know that others, even you, Mary, need to remind themselves every once in a while that this being human is guest house. Your message today, and pictures of you and Jack, are most welcome.

  9. This is one of my favorites, Mary. The most challenging emotion to get under control and analyze and accept. The way you worked through the pain and arrived back at your center is very uplifting. I got a vicarious joy from the Rumi ending. Sorry for the time you spent working through it.

    1. That is a wonderful poem, isn’t it Rose?…It feels so lovely to say, “welcome them all…” but much more challenging in reality! Love to you and greetings from Jack

  10. What a wonderful photo! I have such a difficult time with photos of myself that it means there are too few pictures of my husband and me, or pictures of my son and me. It is definitely something I need to work on (and have been for years). Your post is so helpful, but I have a bit of a problem with the poem, which a friend posted on Facebook a few months ago. As someone who has wrestled with depression off and on for years — and has fairly successfully come to grips with it — I don’t think I could ever welcome it. I understand that it is trying to tell me something, but that awful sense of dread or weight on the chest truly tests my ‘hostess’ skills. Maybe if I substitute ‘acknowledge’ for welcome, I can reach a sense of calm, but I also understand that the poet chose his words carefully and it’s not up to me to rewrite it.

    1. I too have not liked photos of myself, Charlotte…the best thing about “selfies” is that you can see them right on the spot and delete the ones you don’t like (usually for me that is about 90% of them)…I so identify with your feelings about “welcoming” something like depression…I’m not sure that I could do that either..I like your change of words to “acknowledge”…Much love to you tonight, Mary

  11. Just yesterday a friend made a comment that our new dog might be happier with someone who could be home with him all day, like a stay at home mom (like she is) or a retired person. Our new dog is the happiest, goofiest dog we’ve ever had, and gets along really well with our older dog. She tends to have an idea of “how she thinks things should be” and frequently makes judgmental statements to and about others. I was annoyed at her statement, so when she made a critical comment to her husband a minute later, I said in frustration “do you know that you’re always making negative comments about him?” The three of us froze for a minute, so awkward! I feel bad that I let her get under my skin and said something, because I usually let things go.

    1. As I read your words (what you said to your friend) I thought, “Maybe those were just what she needed to hear so she could change” …sometimes Spirit moves in myterious ways to open us up to new ways of seeing. Thank you so much for sharing this. Love, Mary

  12. Oh, Mary, I am sorry for the pain you went through but it was so helpful to me to read your words today. It opened up a part of me that I had not looked at. Our feelings, even without words, can affect someone powerfully. Thank you for sharing your journey and helping me on mine so many times.
    Good to see you two. xoxoxox

  13. That was a very powerful post, Mary. Thanks for writing it. It “happened” to come at a timely moment when betrayal is a part of my life, and you offered some helpful perspective, as always. Thanks.

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