The end of suffering

I’ve been wanting to write about this for a while, but the timing hasn’t been right. Today it felt right, so here I go. Two years ago Jack and I almost split up. We had a major crisis in our marriage that, instead of pushing me out the door or shutting me down emotionally, opened my heart and allowed me to see how I had contributed to the breakdown of our relationship. Within a day of the crisis, I made a decision to fearlessly look at myself, and begin to make the changes that were necessary.

This summer things came to a head, and to an end. I cannot say anything more about the particulars, only that Jack and I had different ideas about what constituted a working relationship/marriage.

We’d been married for almost 17 years and even though there were so many times I knew things were not good or right, I kept thinking that if I tried harder or wasn’t so difficult, then I could make our marriage a good one. I was suffering and confused about why I couldn’t make it work…and I didn’t want to get divorced again. Divorce felt like a failure, and I’d already been married twice before. I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned that here. It was something that I’d been ashamed of. Who gets married, and divorced, three times? Me.

My fear wasn’t only about looking and feeling like a “looser”, I had financial fears as well and fears that my family would look at me and say something like, “Oh my goodness (they probably wouldn’t say, “goodness”) Mom/Mary, how could you do this again?”

These fears kept me paralyzed. I kept trying to turn off (and shut up) my guidance that was persistently saying, “Things are not right here”.

Then one day this summer, I told someone in my family what was going on in the marriage, and that I thought I was going to leave. She looked at me and started to laugh and cry. Then she said, “Thank God!”

“What?” I thought, “Can I be hearing her right?” Over the next week, as I told more family members, and got similar reactions, I had the startling revelation that all of those critical, judgmental, thoughts were my own. Honestly, I knew that I felt this way about myself, but my mistake had been in thinking that other people felt the same and saw me in the same very critical light. The opposite of my “worst fear scenario” began to play out. Love and support seemed to come to me from everyone. I would not have guessed this in a million years.

So I began to walk this out, and as I walked, my fears fell away at an astonishing rate. As they fell away, they were replaced with feelings of peace and inner calm: feelings that always let me know when I’m on the right track.

Every spiritual tradition tells us not to fear, to trust in the larger part of us: God, Inner Wisdom, The Still Small Voice, Intuition…to guide and direct our steps and our decisions. It doesn’t matter what we call this power, it is the Knowing that is often beyond any reasonable explanation. It is our invisible connection to all of Life: everyone and everything.

But taking the step to trust, when we cannot see how something will work out, can be terrifying. I know that it was for me, but I have some experience here too. I’ve left relationships that weren’t working, stayed in relationships that were difficult but needed attention, I’ve started new adventures, I’ve taken risks in a lot of ways, and every time I listened to my inner voice and took these steps, larger vistas opened, life expanded and my “worst fear scenarios” were revealed for what they really were: fear of the unknown cementing into stories.

Another remarkable result of this decision was seeing the work that I do as a spiritual counselor go to a very deep level. As this disharmony in my own life/energy field cleared, my work with clients reflected this change. There is a well-known saying that goes something like, “To really help people, we must become like clean, clear, channels, letting the spirit flow through us freely, and we cannot be clear channels if we are full of shit”. I like that saying. To me it means being honest with ourselves and others. It means being vulnerable, human, and transparent. It means being open, kind, loving and real…it means being and becoming the magnificent people we were meant to be.


Your present problem is your great opportunity…your life is your laboratory. Your world is your workshop. The reason that you are here is that you may develop spiritually: and the way to do that is to meet the challenge of practical life. You do not develop spiritually by running away from life into some sheltered retreat. Nor do you grow in spiritual stature by gaining your point through will power. It is spiritual law that any difficulties that can come to you at any time must be exactly what you need most at the moment to enable you to take the next step forward by overcoming them. The only real misfortune, the only real tragedy, comes when we suffer without learning the lesson.” Emmet Fox









39 thoughts on “The end of suffering”

  1. Will hold you in my heart as you navigate through this. Proud of you for doing what is good for you!

  2. I love what Veronica said about holding you in her heart — will do the same. I’m sorry for the pain that accompanied you on this path, and I’m glad you are at peace with the outcome. I have several close friends who have been married 3 times: we live longer now and maybe have a greater variety of growth experiences. With more time ahead of us, we want to be spending our future with the right person, even if –especially — that is us! Bless you, Mary, and thank you for still keeping an eye on your flock as you go through this life-change.

    1. Thank you, Charlotte…I am so grateful for all of you who gather and share here…as I move into this new life, I feel more myself than I have in a long time (maybe decades) and I have a sense of freedom that I expect will be reflected here as well. I love your words about spending the future with the right person. Love and blessings to you, Mary

  3. Dearest Mary,

    It is all spiritual growth, soul work
    Keep listening to your inner voice
    Follow your heart

    Much love, admiration, respect, glad tidings & infinite blessings


  4. I admire your courage in listening to your inner guidance over outward appearance, what others think etc. & transparency to share this. This is what I needed to read tonight. Taking the step to trust, even when we can’t see how things can possibly work out. I have an entirely different situation, but this brings to mind that Indiana Jones movie where he has to step off a cliff- although it looks terrifying-it is the act of stepping off that magically causes an extension to grow under his feet and support him!

  5. Once again Mary you hit the nail on the head, especially for me! Wow that is so powerful!!! Yes, not woe is me when I see these problems but yes I know God is getting me the ability to get these problems taken care of!!! Thank you!  You are truest amazing!  Joan

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

  6. Mary, I’ve sensed that you were going through changes and issues simply because your productive output on your inspirational site was lagging. In order to be creatively spiritual I believe the mind and the spirit must be clear of obstructive issues. I sensed change. It takes a huge amount of courage to put your personal issues into a public forum, Mary, you have much courage. I wish you and Jack, both well, on the next journeys of your lives. We all have stresses in our lives and you’ve been very brave in opening up about your own. Again, it is a very courageous thing to do,
    Sandy Proudfoot, Canada

    1. Thank you, Sandy….you know, that is what this blog, and my life, is about: sharing what is happening with me with as much honesty and clarity possible. The profound healings that have taken place in my own life have almost always happened when I’ve heard/witnessed the stories/journeys of others who have written about their struggles and how they dealt with them in new and expansive ways…ways that helped them to grow and become happier/deeper people. I appreciate your perspective that my sharing is courageous.

  7. Really sorry to hear things fell apart, Mary. Funny how we sometimes know better, but still torture ourselves to stay in something so wrong for us. But it feels amazing when we do finally choose to love ourselves enough to let go. Your journey continues – enjoy what comes next!

    All the best – Wendy

    Sent from my iPhone


    1. Thank you, Wendy…you are so right that at times, now that I’ve made this decision, I feel so free and “new”…like I’m looking at life for the first time through my own eyes. There was so much dishonesty going on and when I looked at my part, I saw the dishonesty mirrored back: I knew things were wrong and yet I was afraid to say it was over…I wasn’t being honest with myself and when I finally really saw what I was doing, the strength that I needed to make this decision was there.

    2. Mary, the digital age is something I both enjoy and struggle with as to its invasion into people’s privacy but in a world of sharing your struggles and issues with others, it’s opened up a whole new world to me. I am of the generation where you not only did not talk about your difficult issues, they were set into a closet with the pretense that they did not exist. I have lost a daughter to estrangement, some years ago. It’s not how I ever envisioned my life would end up in raising children. One day I found a forum on the internet for rejected parents and I can tell you, having thought I’d dealt with this in very practical sense, I had not done so emotionally. Those on the forum, sharing my same issues, have helped me enormously. The world is different today in so many ways than that in which I grew up but the openness you’ve revealed here with your collection of followers is nothing short of courageous. I commend you for it and I again wish both you and Jack strength to face the coming days of adjustments.
      Sandy P. in Canada

  8. Mary, so glad you have made the decision that is best for you. Not that it will be easy to say goodbye to someone who has been such an important part of your life for so long, but it sounds like you made the right decision. Sometimes we end up with the wrong mate and try as we may, we cannot make it work. I know, I did the same thing. Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. But you are obviously a survivor and you have our Heavenly Father to guide you. You go for it!!!

    1. Thank you, Tricia…getting to this point has been very challenging/difficult but now that I’m here, although I am no longer questioning whether or not I made the right decision, staying out of blame and anger has been a new challenge. Watching the anger come up while trying not to judge it or act on it but simply saying , “This too shall pass”, feels like I am walking through fire…but I am walking through! So much love to you, Mary

  9. I don’t usually comment on things but I just had to say that the fact that others were “relieved” that you left your marriage was a testimony that you did the right thing. And it relieved you from the burden of second guessing yourself or feeling like a loser. The number of marriages one has doesn’t necessarily mean we are flawed or cowardly. I think that if the marriage isn’t right, for whatever reason, it is more cowardly to stay there and suffer. You’re not doing yourself or the other person any favors. By the way, I should consider myself a loser too. I’ve been married twice and neither marriage lasted very long. Don’t know if I’ll do it again, since I’m 61. But I finally don’t believe that being married defines me. Being me does. Take care and treat yourself well.

    1. I agree with you, Karen, that the relief felt by my family members was really significant for me. Sometimes people around us can see things that we cannot (or don’t want to) …my own spiritual counselor felt the same way and often told me that I was staying out of fear of the unknown. Thank you for this very thoughtful comment. Love, Mary

  10. Mary, I’m sorry you are having to go through this but you are obviously supported by your family and friends and most importantly by your higher self. Blessing on you throughout this journey of life.

  11. We are all sending you a group hug, with lots of smiles. I’d offer that, “three times is a charm”, you go girl!!!

  12. I’m definitely behind on my reading and was most surprised (but not surprised) by this post. You had previously hinted that you were holding back a post. Before responding, I thought I’d look over your artwork and one of them struck me — Your verbiage about it is — “Awaken Antique Queen Bee shipping box with original viewing glass on left side, vintage porcelain hand, original 1870 dictionary page of word awaken, awake, and quote by Byron, “But wide awake she was”, 1920s glass paper weight top, 1900 porcelain drawer pull, brass door knob. $225.00”

    (No need to add anything to what was said.)

  13. You know, the funny thing about a marriage is that it takes two people- both responsible for working it out, making it work…but at what price if it’s not working for either? And what if only one of you can have the selflessness to keep bending, trying to compromise “to make it work”…well, then thats no longer a marriage, is it, because it takes 2! Better to realize the benefits of letting go, to stop “making it work” & forget the silly expectation that it should always work! Maybe it’s wiser, and more courageous to be able to say you’ve been divorced 3 times! What a wonderfully strong woman you are to keep growing in self trust and self love! I congratulate you Mary!

    1. Dear Susan, Saying that I’ve been divorced three times (or will be soon) has been huge emotionally…I never thought about this as “courage” but thank you for that perspective. Love, Mary

  14. My heart is hurting for you Mary and all you have gone thru to get to this decision. The dissolution of a marriage is a death, it’s sad, and yet that’s not to say it’s not for the best. With the decision made you can now heal and move ahead. I’m praying for you, and Jack, that you will both find happiness and be well with your life. Sending you love and hugs ❤️

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