Archive by Author | Mary Muncil

decisions, decisions…or maybe not

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Fred on the counter yesterday morning…looking like he belongs there!

Jack and I have wanted to move for a while, but since this isn’t happening as quickly as we’d like, we’ve decided to open a small shop/gallery in the studio space on our property. It will be called Little Wing Shop and Gallery. We’ll have artwork of our own and antiques, including furniture, mirrors, scales and other interesting and old things for sale. Jack’s store will be open as well since he isn’t closing it until the end of October.

Today, it just felt like the right time to set a date to open. We’ve decided that we can get ready in 7 weeks (6 weeks seemed too little and 8 much). On Saturday, June 10th at 10 a.m., we will open our doors and welcome all who feel drawn stop by.

Our address is 148 Dunbar Rd. Cambridge, NY 12816, and it’s about 3 miles from downtown Cambridge. Please feel free to email me at mmuncil@verizon.net or call me at 802-233-4997 if you have any questions. I’ll post more about this before the big day.

I don’t know whether this shop/gallery is a “divine” idea or not. Many times, when things are right, I’ve had a feeling of uncertainty. Often my guidance seems clearer when what I’m considering is a no…but the yesses are things that I have to begin and then trust that the way will unfold and the next step will be given. No matter what happens though, I will not worry about it.

Below is a photograph that I just took of the studio space. I’m finishing up painting the walls.

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“The direct path might seem long, because the mind tells you of a distance and mesmerizes you with its proof. When you believe that thought, you feel the exhaustion that accompanies it, the heaviness, the stress. But the direct path isn’t long. In fact, there’s no distance to it at all. Where are you going, other than where you are right now? How can you go anywhere else? The direct path means realizing that the beginning and end of every journey is where you always are. You can’t make a decision. You can only experience a story about how you made it. Decisions make themselves; they’re happenings; they come when the time is right. I like to ask, “Are you breathing yourself?’ No? Well, maybe you’re not thinking yourself or making decisions either. Maybe reality doesn’t move until it moves, like a breath, like the wind. And when you tell the story of how you’re doing it, you keep yourself from the awareness that you are nature, flowing perfectly.” Pg. 122 A Thousand Names For Joy, Living in Harmony with the Way Things Are, by Byron Katie

a new concept of myself

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Fred

One of my favorite Neville Goddard quotes is:

“There is nothing to change but our concept of self….As soon as we succeed in transforming self, our world will dissolve and reshape itself in harmony with that which our change affirms.”*

One day as I was quietly repeating these words to myself, the thought came to me, “What are the concepts of myself that are keeping me from my heart’s desire?” I sat with that question for a while and the answer that came was this: I believed that if something good was going to happen in my life, then I must make it happen. I saw myself as a person who “got things done”. I’d think thoughts like, “Give me a project and I’ll see it through in an efficient and timely manner”…and god help anyone who gets in my way or doesn’t line up with my plan. I was sure that I knew the best way, the right way, that things should happen, and I enjoyed that concept of myself…sort of. I didn’t believe that anyone could or would do it as well as I could and I didn’t dare leave anything to chance.

So as I pondered the concepts of myself that I still held onto (that were no longer serving me) I saw how this concept of myself had run its course. It worked when I felt alone and this very competent, overly responsible, sense of self was all I had. But when I was ready to grow spiritually, it stopped working. It was no longer a thrill to achieve goals like it had once been. I grew very tired of seeing life as something to be overcome, endured, conquered, or planned out to the last detail, by me. One of the reasons that I felt like I needed to do so much was from a deep sense that I was not good enough…I was not enough. I’d believed this for most of my life and felt like I had to work hard to prove to others that it wasn’t true. I always felt like I had to prove something…

And then the most incredible thing began to happen. As I started to watch my life, to observe how it was presenting me with everything that I needed, and often what I wanted as well, I felt a new trust growing…a trust in the unknown goodness of Life. As long as I held onto the idea (concept of myself) that I was making things happen, I was actually blocking the essence of wonder, happy surprises, and delightful ideas from reaching me, and I was getting tired.

I used to hear slogans like, “Let Go and Let God” and I’d think, “What garbage!” What I didn’t realize was that my concept of God was too small, limited, and antiquated. I believed that God was some guy, existing somewhere outside of me, who decided the fate of little humans on a whim, and who was definitely not pleased with me. I had no idea that I was a part of this inconceivably large, loving, presence/spirit… that I was intimately connected to the power of Love…a power/presence that was beyond anyone’s ability to describe in words…and that I could trust this way more than I could trust my reasoning mind to figure out and plan my life.

What I didn’t know, when I began this journey of faith was how much fun it would be. You think it’s fun to plan something and have it turn out exactly like you imagined?…. it is such a wild and wonderful experience to have your plans ripped away, only to discover that the new plan is so much better than anything you could have imagined.

*page 94, Awakened Imagination, Neville Goddard

reframing the day

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A perfect day with Jack and Luke

Jack and I decided to go on one of our favorite hikes yesterday. It was supposed to be 75 degrees and sunny and we both wanted to be outside. We packed our treats; English breakfast tea for me, strong coffee for Jack, thinking how much we’d enjoy them at the summit.

As we got closer to the mountain (about 1 ½ hrs. north of here) we began to see a lot of snow still on the ground. By the time we reached the trailhead, I realized that I hadn’t dressed properly at all. I had worn only light running shoes and the trail was still covered with either snow and ice or mud and water.

We tentatively headed out with Luke happily running between us, splattering cold, muddy, water all over my bare legs (I’d also opted for shorts, not long pants) each time he came close to me.

We weren’t sure what to do. Almost everything was different than we’d expected and my mind was searching for direction: should be turn back? Should we try another trail? I suddenly said, “I am going to look at this hike as if it were an obstacle course with water, mud, and snow elements.” As soon as I had that thought something inside relaxed and it became an adventure.

We slowly made our way over icy rivers, deep muddy trenches, slippery leaves, melting ice mounds and patches of dry trail. Sometimes we slipped, sometimes we almost fell, one time Jack fell completely into a small creek when a mound of ice that he was walking on broke. It was in the 70’s so our upper bodies were warm enough but at that point, we’d only gone about a mile, and it had taken us an hour, so we decided not to continue up the mountain.

Before we reached our car we sat on a large rock that overlooked a still-frozen lake, drank our tea and coffee, and laughed about it all. It had been so much fun…after we allowed it to be what it was. After we suspended our idea of what we thought it should have been.

We’ve been reading a book to each other every night called, “No Mud, No Lotus” by Thich Nhat Hanh. As I sat there on the rock with Jack and Luke, that title made me smile. There was a time in my life when I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy myself if a day that I’d planned had not turned out as I had expected. I used to get angry and disappointed much quicker, and often I’d look for someone or something to blame, but that didn’t happen yesterday. At the start of the hike, I was silently asking for help on how to view the situation differently, and the idea was right there…all I had to do was say yes to it.

Yesterday felt like a gift not only because of the fun we had but also because it showed me how I’d changed…the “mud” of my past was very fertile soil. I no longer want to live in an agitated, angry, or disappointed state of mind. I want to trust life. I want to experience more than I expect.

We don’t have to wait for the end of all suffering before we can be happy. Happiness is available to us right here and right now. But we may need to change our idea of happiness. Our idea of happiness may itself be the main obstacle keeping us from true happiness.” Page 56, No Mud, No Lotus

imagining heaven

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50 years ago (I’m the one with the crazy orange pants)

My father died a few months ago. Since his passing, I’ve felt closeness to him that I hadn’t felt in the last 6 months of his life…since he had stopped communicating with me, but I still struggled when I thought about his wife.

I hadn’t seen her in years (her choice) and we’d never had a friendly relationship, so I didn’t expect any communication with her after his death, but I guess I did expect that I would be named, as one of his children, in his obituary. I wasn’t, and neither were any of my siblings (my father’s children) or any of their, or my, children…no one on “our side” was mentioned by name.

When my stepmother’s daughter (whom I had never met) called me to say that my father had passed away and that there wouldn’t be a funeral, she did mention that there would be a memorial service this summer, adding that my father had meant so much to her family.

A few weeks ago, I had a dream about my father and his wife was there too. My father was very “background” in the dream, and I was fully engaged with his wife…and it was so loving and warm that I felt I was with my best friend. I felt love pouring from both of us toward each other. I woke up feeling that love as a lingering presence and thought, “You now have a new experience of J…” and you also have a choice; you can go back to the past with no good memories of your relationship with her or you can begin again in your mind.” At the time it was very clear what I wanted to do/think. I loved that dream so much and the feelings were so pure. How could I choose resentment or bitterness over that? But in the past few weeks, those feelings have faded and I can feel the old ones creep in again when I think about her…especially since my father had promised me a gift, in his will, when he passed, and it looks like that was changed sometime before he died.

So, here I am, being given the opportunity to choose forgiveness and understanding or resentment and disappointment. I choose the former, because I really do understand. I understand what if feels like to be possessed by fear, self-righteous anger, jealously and a firm resolve not to see another person’s point of view. I’ve lived that in my past and it is hell. I don’t choose forgiveness and understanding because I am a good or spiritual person. I choose it because I have the presence of mind to choose and because I want love inside of me. I want to remember that dream of loving communion and breath deeply the Truth of that. I also want to be forgiven for all of the times that I hurt others when I was too blind to my own pain to do anything else.

Even though my father cut me off at the end of his life, it has come to me that things worked the way they were supposed to. My father adored Jack, and if we had been communicating last summer, I’m sure I would’ve told him what had happened, and it would’ve broken his heart.

So today as I write, I feel lightness in my heart …like there is little laugh right at the edge of my consciousness that wants to burst out. I was going to say that I’m a little poorer (referring to being out of my father’s will) but I’m not poor at all. I have a sense of being OK deep inside…I am in heaven.

 

Of course! the path to heaven

doesn’t lie down in flat miles. It’s in the imagination
with which you perceive
this world,

and the gestures
with which you honor it.       Mary Oliver

 

 

 

 

nothing to fear

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Glinda

How do I know that if I reveal my true self I won’t be rejected? I don’t. I do know this though: if I feel rejected by others, it means that I am still harshly judging myself. In my last post, I finally talked about the 2 divorces that I’d been through. I’d always sensed that I wasn’t being up front about this part of my life and I justified it with reasons like, “The past is over and doesn’t need to be talked about now” or “What value would this be to anyone?” but these weak reasons were cover-ups. The real reasons for not wanting to talk about this part of my life experience were fear and embarrassment.

Many years ago, while I was still in my first marriage, I found out that an acquaintance of mine had been divorced. It was whispered about in those days. I remember sitting next to her at a basketball game (our sons were on the same team) thinking there must be something wrong with her. I was very moralistic about divorce. I was terrified of identifying with anyone who had gone through it. I knew that divorce was wrong, a failure, a sign of weakness…and I wanted to distance myself from it. I wanted to push it away with harsh judgment…I wanted it so badly.

The very idea that I wanted a divorce but couldn’t face this in myself made me really uncomfortable around anyone who had taken this step. When I finally did leave my first husband, I felt a great freedom. I knew it was right for me. This didn’t mean that I felt good about it or myself. I was riddled with guilt and shame. I believed I was a failure and a weak person for not “sticking it out”. I was sure that others were judging me for these reasons… and more.

Then the second marriage and second divorce…I really wanted to hide this. How anyone on a conscious spiritual path could be twice divorced was the question that I was sure most people would ask, or at the very least think… if they knew.

Almost from the beginning of this blog, I’d wanted to write about this part of my path, but the timing never seemed right and I was still afraid. When I wrote on Saturday, I realized that the fear of being judged for this was gone. I could still be misunderstood, but I didn’t feel any need to defend that part of my life…so out it came, along with the story of what’s been happening in my life over the past 8 months.

Saturday night, as Jack and I talked about letting “our secret” out, we both felt free in a new way. Last week our therapist had asked us what each of us wanted…such a great question. Such a tough question. We knew we wanted a life together but what else?

The following morning as we sat with our coffee I brought the question up again, but I didn’t try to get Jack to answer it (an old pattern), I simply asked it out loud of myself…and I didn’t try to answer it either. I just asked in an open way. I asked as if I expected an answer to come to me, but I wasn’t sure how or when. I asked the question, “What do I want?” as if it were a request…which it was. It was like lovingly whispering these words into the great divine ear.

Suddenly the answers came, and they surprised me. I told Jack that I needed space in the mornings to write (at that point, I hadn’t written in weeks) and asked him if he could be out of the house by 9 (Jack has the tendency to putter, and putter, and putter…those of you who know him, I’m sure can believe this) and not get going until late morning. I also said that I wanted the studio for my own. Jack met both requests very positively. He didn’t even hesitate….I could hardly believe it. I’d been trying to get him to clean out the studio for a couple of years, and it had always been a struggle. These answers seemed so right and so the flow that followed felt inspired. Within a day, the studio was cleared. Within 4 days, I was writing again.

In my previous post, I’d put up a quote about not knowing. The last sentence of that quote was,

“A tremendous power works for the man who meets a challenging problem with the honest admission, ‘I don’t know the answer.”

And the next sentences are,

“By turning his helplessness over to the power, he enables it to reveal the answer. It is like turning over the basic materials to a master rug-maker, knowing that he can take what we give and weave something far more beautiful than we could ever do.”*

What do I want? I want to be real. I want to be known. I need to be real and I need to be known. I no longer have anything to hide…no story of a “spiritual me” to protect or hold up, and it feels like heaven.

I want to thank you, actually, Jack and I want to thank you for the outpouring of loving emails and comments that we’ve received since the last post. We have been overwhelmed with love from this community and we are so grateful to you.

A question that’s been coming to me over the past few days is, “How can this being real, being ourselves, opening ourselves up to each other, letting go and getting free, be facilitated here on the White Feather Farm blog?”

No concrete answer has come but if it is meant to be…if it is for the higher good, the way will be shown….all thoughts are welcome!

 

*Page 22 Mystic Path to Cosmic Power by Vernon Howard.

I don’t know…and that is perfect

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me, 39.5 years ago

This past year has been a huge one for me. Usually, a lot happening in my life means that I write more often, but what I have been living has so intimately involved other people that I couldn’t share it here on the blog…the timing never seemed right. It is time.

For several years, Jack and I had been complacent about our marriage…to the point where we’d talked about splitting up. I wanted to move north to live closer to my son and his family, and Jack, although he didn’t specifically say this, wasn’t enthusiastic about the move. We floundered for a long time…not really together, not apart.

Last spring my oldest son, Tom, asked me what was going on with Jack and me. I couldn’t answer with anything but, “I’m not sure what Jack wants”. Fortunately for me, my sons do not accept my answers, when they have no depth, and he replied, “What do you want, Mom?” I couldn’t answer him. I wasn’t sure. I knew that I didn’t want things to continue as they were, but I also dreaded another divorce.

I’d been married twice before Jack. The first time I was 20 years old, and I knew it was a mistake…I did it anyway. After 17 years I got the courage to leave. My second marriage was very short-lived and happened right on the heels of the first ending. I met Jack less than a year after my second divorce in 2000.

So as I pondered my son’s question, “What do you want, Mom?” I felt at a loss. What I really wanted was a good marriage; a wonderful partnership with a man, but I feared that this wasn’t something I would or could have. I didn’t think I possessed the magical quality that made a good wife/partner.

I grew up in an unhappy home. My mother was highly critical of my father. I don’t remember her ever saying one nice thing about him. My father, although very friendly and social outside our home, was shut down emotionally, and escaped with alcohol and other women. The atmosphere of my childhood home was one of disappointment and anger, and deep down I believed that I was doomed to live out the same…change the man, change the town…it really wouldn’t matter. I sensed it was too late or maybe impossible for me to have the kind of life that I had wanted since I was a little girl.

I asked Jack for a divorce last summer. It just seemed like the logical thing to do. He said he didn’t want that, so I asked him what he wanted and he, just like me, couldn’t really say. In the meantime, I had begun to let Jack go. I even said to him, “I’m not sure what you want, or even if you should want what I do, but I am going to stop trying to change you or get you to line up with my dream.” I think he felt relief …and I didn’t blame him. I had been extremely critical and unsupportive, so me taking my attention off him, I’m sure felt good.

I began to walk miles a day. I lost some weight and also started doing yoga. I felt happier than I had in a long time. Jack and I weren’t any closer but it was OK with me…and apparently with him as well…we’d even stopped wearing our wedding rings.

Then in late July, I found out that another woman had come into Jack’s life. I discovered emails that they had exchanged and I knew that they had also met in person. I wrote about this last August on the blog, but never said specifically what the situation had been. I couldn’t write it at that point. When I found out, I was alone in our home. After talking with my son, Matt, and calming down enough to breath, I called Jack and said, “I know about H…. and I am leaving”.

He said, “That was the biggest mistake of my life. Please stay home. I’ll be right there.” 5 minutes later he walked in the door and asked me to stay, but I had such an eerie, cold, calm feeling happening inside me. I was cut off from life. I felt almost dead, and “in control” at the same time. I told him I was leaving and he was free to pursue that relationship. He said he didn’t want to, but I knew that he and I were over. I got in my car and drove to Tom’s house. My son Matt was also visiting at the time, so that evening, Tom, his wife Lindsay, Matt and I all sat around their living room and talked. They loved me at a time when I really needed it, but I was filled with a firm resolve to leave.

I went to bed that night but was unable to sleep at all. At some point I finally asked for help. I asked my higher self to show me the Truth of the situation and to show me my part. I asked to stay open and to not get hard. Then I saw it. I saw how I had become toward Jack the same person that my mother had been toward my father: cold, dismissive, unavailable, nagging, unsupportive. The revelation made me sob. And then, it broke. This hard shell that I had carried for most of my adult life broke off. I called my sister at 5 a.m. and told her everything including my revelation. I didn’t know what she would say but I knew she’d give me an answer from her heart, not her head. I told her that I wanted to go back to Jack. I wanted to tell him what I saw in myself and ask for forgiveness. I couldn’t believe this was how I felt. I’d always considered myself to be a proud person…to a fault, but here I was in the face of what seemed like a huge betrayal on his part, asking for his forgiveness? Yes.

I headed back home that morning not knowing if he’d be there or not, but I knew that I had to do it. I drove into the driveway and he was standing outside with open arms…and his wedding ring back on his finger. I went inside and put mine back on too.

We began again.

Today is April Fools Day. I’ve been writing for several hours and hope I can post today but I need to run it past Jack before I do. It has to be OK with him too. I hope it is because I think this story, our story, needs to be told.

So here is the “fool” part for me. I never wanted to be made a fool of. For so much of my life I feared not being taken seriously or looking bad. I feared the unknown. I feared getting hurt. I feared I was unloveable. I feared I couldn’t really love. I feared that in almost any situation I went into, I wouldn’t have enough information and I’d look like a fool. So when all of this happened, and I realized that I knew so little about being an intimate partner, or about my partner’s needs, I opened up and allowed myself to be taught. I knew that that I didn’t know what I was doing, but I wanted to grow….and I have.

After Jack and I got back together, I could not forget what I’d read in those emails…especially hers. At first the pain was so intense that I thought I’d burst, but as my heart opened more and more, I realized that she was teaching me…she said things to Jack that I never did…even when I thought them. I didn’t “copy” her, I just learned and realized what I hadn’t done by seeing/reading a living example of kind, supportive, communication. It was a blessing to have these words…not to my ego, of course, but that was OK. At times I felt humiliated but knew deep down, that I, the true me, wasn’t injured. I also sensed that this was all happening “for me” not “to me”… no matter how hard it was at times. I also knew that this situation had the potential for awakening all 3 of us.

Over the last 8 months, I’ve said a silent thank you, hundreds of times, for all that happened. Without it, I don’t know where I’d be today. Would this opening have occurred without the trauma? I don’t know, but if I could rewind time, I wouldn’t change a thing. Spirit did for me what I wouldn’t (or couldn’t) do for myself and I allowed the change. I allowed the “blow” to break me open, not harden my shell even more. I feel like a good wife and a good partner for the first time in my life. The situation changed Jack too…we are both more humble, more grateful, more in awe of how Spirit works in mysterious ways. We are learning how to love.

I just finished reading this to Jack. It is difficult to expose ourselves in this way, but we both agree that it is time. We’ve opened our hearts to each other, and now we open our lives and our hearts to you. Our wish is that you will find something in our story to help you open up, or stay open, too.

Much love,   Mary and Jack

“Our task is to dissolve the imaginary self and live from our real center of being. That is the only way to human health. But it is the sure cure. It is like removing a distorting blanket from a statue, enabling us to see its true form. I find the greatest single barrier to attaining this is man’s secret assumption that he already knows the answers to his problems. Bu we all sense this pretense. Millions of unhappy people make this false assumption, but do not see it, thus freezing their potentialities for happiness. A tremendous power works for the man who meets a challenging problem with the honest admission, ‘I don’t know the answer.'” 

page 22, The Mystic Path to Cosmic Power, by Vernon Howard

 

 

 

The journey of life…

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Eleanor resting

Several days ago as I was walking on a very rural road, I heard a door open…there were no houses around. As I continued along, I began to see red-tailed hawks, which I’ve always associated with my paternal grandmother, Maude. I returned home and noticed a male cardinal sitting in a tree near the entrance to our driveway, and the words, “Hi Dad” came out of my mouth. I’d never associated cardinals with my father before, and I hadn’t heard from him in months, so the words surprised me. Later that evening I found out that my father had passed away…probably while I was on my walk. After I made the necessary phone calls to family and went to bed, a deep feeling of relief and freedom came over me. I felt like I was flying and I could feel my father laughing and flying too. This feeling has stayed with me.

My father was 91 years old and for the past 6 months, he had cut off communication with everyone except his wife and her family, and since they didn’t communicate with us either, I felt somewhat in the dark. Around Christmas time, I finally made peace with the idea that I would not see him or talk with him again. This took a lot of focus on my part. My mind would keep saying things like, “How dare he keep me away after I’ve been so good to him!” or “Why doesn’t he want to see me? Did I do something wrong?” But I kept bringing myself back to the thought, “Even if I don’t understand this, at some level, it has to be right.”

After he died, I could see how his letting go of me last summer was really a blessing. It helped me to let go of my ideas about how things “should” be, and to not judge either him or myself for the way he chose to live and to die.

Over these past few days, I’ve felt closer to my father than ever before. All barriers to love are dissolved and what I sense now, when I think about him, is laughter, light, and a spirit of fun.

I realize that my experience of my father’s death is not everyone’s. Many people do feel deep grief, loss, sadness, or despair. But my experience is a valid one too, and one that many people feel uncomfortable expressing. Over the years, I’ve spoken to hundreds of people who have had a parent die and say that they feel guilty because they don’t feel bad.

That is the reason for my writing today. I truly do not need or want condolences. There is a Divine order to this life, this universe, that is beyond my conscious mind’s ability to understand. My father’s life here on earth, and his life now in the unseen realm, is a part of the mystery of being, and I am so happy that I was, and am, a part of that. As odd as it may have looked to others, as “dysfunctional” and disturbing as it could have been described, life as Bob Muncil’s daughter was a wild trip. Bon voyage, Dad!

Some of us think holding on makes us strong: but sometimes it is letting go.”            Hermann Hess