welcome those guides…

Over the past year or so, a lot of people have asked me if Jack and I have moved yet…and this is a reasonable question. I’ve talked, dreamed, wished, hoped, intended, focused on, let go of, took back again, prayed for, and puzzled about moving for a number of years….and still we have not moved. How can I account for this? Of course there are rational explanations but all of these feel hollow.

I’ve come to see the true reason for not moving…and it is rather simple: there was other “work” to do first and moving would have been a distraction. Those of you who have read my posts over the past year and a half know what Jack and I went through… and are still processing. It has been a roller coaster ride of emotions and feelings that has left me more certain than ever that I cannot know or control anything outside of myself…or at times, even my own life. I’ve also begun to embrace this uncertainty in a new way.

Sometimes it takes having our well-planned lives turned upside down or ripped apart before we enter into the stage of spiritual development so crucial for inner peace…. trust. I’ve begun to trust in a much deeper way the divinity that is all around me and includes me.

I always thought I needed a plan and felt like a rudderless ship without one. I don’t have a plan anymore…I have ideas about what I’d like, but I hold them very loosely. I’ve grown much more interested in seeing what happens when I think that I want something.

The other day Jack and I visited a museum to see the work of Joseph Cornell. After, as we walked through the gift shop I saw a pair of earrings that I liked a lot, but didn’t buy. Instead, I came home and started looking on-line for modernist, sterling, handcrafted earrings. I became a little obsessed so I stopped.

The next day we decided to take a ride to donate a bunch of things at a thrift store. As Jack brought the items to the back, I browsed the tiny shop and spotted a gorgeous sterling silver modernist handcrafted pair of earrings…for $2.50. I didn’t see a signature on them but it didn’t matter. They were exactly what I wanted. Only after we arrived home did we discover the mark of Ed Levin.

This was such a small thing, but it felt like a wink from my higher self…I hadn’t wanted to go to that particular thrift store but Jack really wanted to, so in the spirit of saying YES, I agreed.

I don’t’ think that we need to suffer huge traumas to grow. I believe that opportunities to change and expand are constantly being presented…and that they can be as gentle as a nudge or a whisper to awaken out of our sleeping, troubled, mind-directed way of living. But if/when those traumas do happen, like they have in my life, can I welcome them? Can I see them as missed opportunities that have come back again to help me? Can I see them as “guides from beyond”?


The Guest House

This being human is a guesthouse.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they’re 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 whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.

Jalaluddin Rumi

from Rumi: Selected Poems, trans Coleman Barks with John Moynce, A. J. Arberry, Reynold Nicholson (Penguin Books, 2004)


10 thoughts on “welcome those guides…”

  1. What a great post-noticing the symbolic message in the details. Lately I have been noticing that when I try to make something happen it is often a struggle and the end result can feel forced or not really bring peace. It is often when I am willing to let go my expectation and surrender to let things be as they are, open to what life brings my way (even if it is at the 11th hour), that things work out better.
    I left a job that was no longer a fit a year and a half ago. I have been working per diem part time leading recovery groups, and doing illustration jobs around it. It has taken this long for me to realize I am happy, and this is right for this stage of my life. I kept thinking I have to have more security and get a “real job”. The amazing thing is: there is a flow, whenever a gap has come I have needed it, and the next thing comes along for work, without me looking for it. I have to trust that this is what God wants and he is continuing to provide..

  2. Hi Mary! What an amazing piece! I especially connect with your last paragraph. Can I welcome them…those opportunities that have come back again to help me? That I ignored or missed the first time because perhaps I was too cluttered to have space for the grace of God. No room to let It in.
    That gentle (or not) nudge, that quiet (or not) whisper to arouse me from that sleeping place into a welcoming awareness and readiness to receive the next step in God’s Diving plan. All we need is a moment of willingness to be open to what is naturally flowing to us. Just one moment…🙏❤️

  3. Your posts are always a thread running thru my life. Thank you for your writings Mary, they speak to me.

  4. Thank you, Mary, for your words. Somehow they always enter my soul and feel as though you are speaking to me personally. I suffer from RA and some days are so hard, but there are always people worse and in more pain so I try to take each day as it comes. Your words help so much. Please keep writing..always.

  5. Dear Mary, I especially enjoyed Rumi’s poem. Your recent posts have been so filled with wisdom and your usual, very much appreciated honesty and humility. I have been challenged lately with tremendous physical pain (knee) and have had a hard time seeing my challenges as a guide or a gift, even though I know in my heart that’s what they are. Your reassuring posts recently have reminded me to keep my mind and heart open, even when I don’t want to:) !! Thank you for always presenting the deeply spiritual side of life through your posts and being so willing to share your own life challenges on your blog. Your words touch me deeply and I sincerely appreciate you.

  6. thanks so much for this. I think she really parallels us in her growth patterns! And The Guest House is the poem I always send newcomers as it’s about self-acceptance. Just got back from town, putting away groceries, Bill got a shot! fun & games:)

    love you lots, baba

    On Mon, Mar 12, 2018 at 8:23 AM, Mary Muncil ♡ White Feather Farm wrote:

    > Mary Muncil posted: “Over the past year or so, a lot of people have asked > me if Jack and I have moved yet…and this is a reasonable question. I’ve > talked, dreamed, wished, hoped, intended, focused on, let go of, took back > again, prayed for, and puzzled about moving for a numbe” >

  7. This is going to be a bit long — but I think it is worth the read. I have been reading various things about Stoicism recently and have found things that REALLY resonate with me. I am sending along one of the sayings from Epictetus and his “Handbook – The Enchiridion.” So, here goes…..
    (And as long as I have your attention, I’m going to add another saying by Marcus Aurelius from his compilation titled “Meditations”– the quote is “the obstacle is the way” There is a current book with that title — The Obstacle is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumphs” by Ryan Holiday. Hope you enjoy!

    Epictetus. The Enchiridion

    Some things are in our control and others not. Things in our control are opinion, pursuit, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever are our own actions. Things not in our control are body, property, reputation, command, and, in one word, whatever are not our own actions.

    The things in our control are by nature free, unrestrained, unhindered; but those not in our control are weak, slavish, restrained, belonging to others. Remember, then, that if you suppose that things which are slavish by nature are also free, and that what belongs to others is your own, then you will be hindered. You will lament, you will be disturbed, and you will find fault both with gods and men. But if you suppose that only to be your own which is your own, and what belongs to others such as it really is, then no one will ever compel you or restrain you. Further, you will find fault with no one or accuse no one. You will do nothing against your will. No one will hurt you, you will have no enemies, and you not be harmed.

    Aiming therefore at such great things, remember that you must not allow yourself to be carried, even with a slight tendency, towards the attainment of lesser things. Instead, you must entirely quit some things and for the present postpone the rest. But if you would both have these great things, along with power and riches, then you will not gain even the latter, because you aim at the former too: but you will absolutely fail of the former, by which alone happiness and freedom are achieved.

    Work, therefore to be able to say to every harsh appearance, “You are but an appearance, and not absolutely the thing you appear to be.” And then examine it by those rules which you have, and first, and chiefly, by this: whether it concerns the things which are in our own control, or those which are not; and, if it concerns anything not in our control, be prepared to say that it is nothing to you.

  8. Mary dear…may I say that I only ever knew you on a superficial level, but I truly enjoy getting to know a deeper layer of you. Your posts are so raw and revealing of your personal feelings. Your writing method is gray and I flow along with your words. Magic in them all.
    Bless you and love you and your entire family.

  9. “I always thought I needed a plan and felt like a rudderless ship without one.” Oh man, that is me! What a perfect post for me! Moving – should I move, where should I move, endless internet research on various areas and real estate websites, an impatience to begin the new, post-retirement chapter of my life.
    I have felt a new contentment the past few days though, content with this instant, maybe just because of the blessing of spring…
    Thank you so much for this post.

  10. what a treat Mary to see your post. Keep writing, I love to see your name pop up in my mailbox. You are such an inspiration to me and have been through the many years. Sending you much love and peace.

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