I’ve come unglued…finally!

New painting, The Jeezum Crow Inn, is currently displayed at The Village Wine and Coffee in Shelburne, VT, along with a number of other pieces of mine…(all are for sale!)

I used to believe that I was the glue that held things together…. especially when it came to relationships. If I hadn’t contacted someone in what I thought was a reasonable length of time, I would feel guilty and immediately take action in the form of a phone call, email (once upon a time this meant writing a letter), or visit. With one family member in particular, 99% of the time, I initiated the contact because I believed her lack of initiation was “just the way she was”. A friend of hers once told me that she felt the same way, and I guess this was the evidence that I wanted to support the illusion that she “needed” me in this way.

Then one day I overheard another family member say that this person, whom I labeled as unable to reach out to others, called and emailed him often.

I was stunned. It was as if my mind couldn’t take that information in because along with seeing her in a new way I also realized that she didn’t really want to contact me. She wasn’t incompetent, forgetful, or too busy…she just didn’t want to connect with me! What a humbling revelation it was, and how difficult to admit this…even to myself.

I’ve seen and heard this scenario play out with many other people, especially in dating/friendship situations and have heard myself say, many, many times, “If you feel like he/she is avoiding you, he/she probably is. Trust that.”

But that is so hard on the ego. Our minds want to make up a story about the person to explain what is wrong with them instead of taking a deep breath and realizing that there is a disconnect between us… and it doesn’t make either person wrong or defective but if I feel like I’m banging my head against a closed door/person, I can choose to step back and observe myself.

In my case, I didn’t end the relationship, but I stopped initiating contact with her, and began to notice my feelings as I allowed a space to open up. I didn’t know what would happen, but as more time passed without any communication from her, an interesting peace filled the space. Since I was no longer feeling guilty and rushing to take action to alleviate that feeling, I was much freer to ask myself the question, “Do you want to connect with her at this moment?” If I did, then I trusted that and did it, but if I didn’t, I trusted that too.

I’ve spent way too many years anxiously trying to figure other people out…trying to figure out their needs, their motivations, and their issues, so I could be in some sort of relationship with them. It is such a small and controlling way to live, and we can’t do it anyway.

My only “work” is to know what is happening within myself, and I don’t mean understand myself in psychological terms. What I really mean is much simpler than that. All I really need to follow is that still, small, voice that always leads to peace and harmony for me. The reasoning mind comes up with a thousand theories a day in an attempt to make sense of things that cannot be explained, but the “knowing”…the deep knowing of which path, thought or action to take, is our only true and trustworthy guide…and it is always with us, always ready to take the lead.

You don’t experience anxiety unless you’ve attached to a thought that isn’t true for you. It’s that simple. You don’t ever feel anxiety until you believe that a thought is true—and it’s not.” Byron Katie, Question Your Thinking, Change Your World

front and back of my new business card

29 thoughts on “I’ve come unglued…finally!”

  1. Oh, Mary, thanks so much for putting this into words. I always want to leave the door open, but I don’t always have to push myself through. Being genuinely delighted to hear from someone, run into someone, or even contact someone because something triggered a memory or thought of them is far more joyful than being the ‘glue.’ And I need to allow that to be true for others as well with regard to me. Your art work is beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Your comments really resonate with me Charlotte. Wanting to leave the door open and not being overly sensitive if the other doesn’t walk through first. That ‘surprise’ or spontaneous contact from another IS delightful. And being the one to make the call rather than feeling guilty because I haven’t is so freeing. I find that even the best, the longest, the closest relationships require nurturing from time to time…everyone is dealing with life in their own way. The games of who
      calls who first seem trivial in true friendships. My closest friends make it easy…whether we
      communicate regularly or not. And I want to make it easy on my end as well. At least I aspire to! Always so much room to grow! Thank you!

  2. How so “coincidental” that your post and quote from Byron Katie popped up…..as I’ve been doing “the work” many hours a day for last few weeks…..amazing what it feels like to become unglued…..how powerful our minds are😘

  3. Thank you for this message. I am in this situation with an old friend. So thank you for helping me to let her be her and me be me.

  4. Thanks for sharing this. One of those situations that happens to all of us – but I have never seen it shared. It makes me think what is going on in me that I feel the need to be the glue? If I allow space between myself and the other person and our contact becomes minimal can I find a different way to view it than rejection? Can I do more than just allow and accept it, but view it positively as a sign to move on and grow by making some other connections to fill whatever void I am feeling? I see that one of the biggest lessons in my 60’s is this form of letting go, and not trying to control things, but see without so much judgement of what I think things should be.

  5. Dearest Mary, your words and observations ring especially true for me since I have recently had a similar experience with a long-term friend who no longer appears to want any contact with me and with my brother, who has made it very clear he never wishes to speak with me again. I have been carrying around such guilt, remorse and confusion as my ego has tried to figure out what to do. I finally realized today after reading your post, that there is NOTHING I need to do except let go. As always, thank you for your wisdom, kindness and straightforwardness when it comes to matters of the heart, spirit and enlightenment. Much love, Debra

  6. This REALLY struck a nerve/resonated with me about my relationships — particularly with my children and grandchildren. I wait and wait for the call (which doesn’t come) and then I call and it is very unsatisfying (to say the least). I, too, feel that I should try to keep the contacts going — but that sure as heck isn’t working for anyone. Your post then made me see how I am with other relationships — as the one to e the glue and keep everyone together. I’ve been slowly in the process of altering that and your email sure shines a spotlight on that type of communication and the motivations behind it. Just thinking about changing attitude and behavior, I’m feeling lighter, less weighted down.

    Of course I loved the quote from Byron Katie — I’m in the middle of reading her new book — A Mind At Home With Itself. Another “keeper.” One of the quotes that jumped out at me was “Fear is born only to words believed.”

    I am also reading from one of my new favorite authors — Vernon Howard — and something I read last night seemed to dovetail with part of your post. It is as follows:


    A teacher asked a group of new pupils. “Did it ever occur to you that there might be an entirely new way to see life than your present way? I will show you this astonishing way, but first you must learn to listen. For the next fifteen minutes pleases study what I have written on the blackboard.”

    The students read:
    Listen with present opinions set aside.
    Listen with an eagerness to learn.
    Listen with no desire to dispute.
    Listen without ego-projection.
    Listen with a wish to become new.
    Listen with wonder at this marvelous way.

    To hear the answers–which certainly exist–we must first recognize and dissolve our own resistance to them.”


  7. I am presently experiencing this exact situation with a friend. Now I can see the situation so much more clearly, and my part in it. Thank you.

  8. Dear Mary,
    What a great relief to read your words today! Thank you immensely. It provides such a welcome perspective!
    From Fran

  9. Great post Mary! Thank you! I know that wonderful little shop in Shelburne and I have been there! Now I can’t wait to go there again! And your new business card is so perfect! One of my favorite pieces and I love the one I have similar to it (3 eggs vertical!). Sending energy of peace and grace as winter visits for a bit tonight and tomorrow. XO

  10. Great thoughts Mary, and thanks for sharing. I often feel guilty for not reaching out to people and then have to remind myself that that is a two-way street. To alieve my anxiety about it I often write in my To-do list to email or text people!

  11. Dearest Mary,

    Pure joy to hear about this new “unglued” freedom of yours – so happy for you 💕
    I am an introvert who enjoys spending endless hours alone. These past few years I have stopped feeling obligated to initiate contact, maintain contact, attend functions I have no interest in etc.
    I find chance encounters, spontaneous gatherings much more fun 🎶 🌞🌈

    ” ….. gently down the stream
    Merrily, merrily life is but a dream”

    Love your new business card 💕

    Hugs, love & blessings

    1. Monika — I, too, find myself stepping back and just enjoying my home and being by myself. So peaceful. In fact, I have a new T-shirt that says — “I like to stay in with my cats. It’s too peoply out there.”

      1. Love it! ♥ I am blessed to have 4 cats and a wonderful dog. Animals are often the best companions 🙂

        Thank you for sharing “How to Listen”. I will print it and post it on my bulletin board
        May you enjoy your peaceful day

  12. November 9 is a keeper! So wise, so simple (but we sure know how to make it COMPLEX), so true…
    Thank you, Mary. I think it’s a dynamic that we all have to figure out; I’m 73 and still working on it.

  13. Your timing on posts is always perfect… I have been thinking that maybe I do the same thing because everyone else is “busier”. But yesterday another friend mentioned she had just spoke with Friend A, and they were going to have dinner this weekend. (I was still stuck in why she hadn’t called back after my vm 3 weeks ago.) Dang! You shined a light on it, and I’m letting it go, her loss. Btw, love your crow sign, do you paint ravens too?

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