Archive by Author | Mary Muncil

don’t condemn the means

For a number of years, I had wanted to go to the Ralph Waldo Emerson House. I’d imagined myself walking on the same wooden floors, looking out the same windows, and touching the same walls, as this great man did so many years ago. I fantasied that some of his inspired thought might rub off on me if I could, even for a few minutes, occupy the same space that he once had.

Last week, Jack decided to make my dream a reality and planned a short get-away to Concord for us. Driving into the town, finding a wonderful restaurant for lunch and tea…everything was perfect, and although I was excited to go to the Emerson House, I was enjoying every moment of the build up.

We pulled up in front of his home and goose bumps flooded me. It looked like the pictures. We walked up the wide stone path to the front door and noticed a small sign that read, “RING THE BELL”, which I enthusiastically did.

A few seconds later, the door opened slightly and a woman’s head peaked out as she grumbled, “What do you want?” What do we want? My mind couldn’t make sense of her tone or meaning.

I replied, while pointing to the note on the door, “The sign says to ring the bell.” She looked at the sign as if it were foreign to her and then shot back, “The next tour isn’t until 2:30. It’s 2:00.” As if this should somehow satisfy us.

“Do we need to take a tour?” I asked.

“No, but you can’t come in now” she replied. “There are too many people in here already.”

“Can I just step inside?”

“No. Come back at 2:30, OK?”, she snapped and closed the door.

I was stunned. We walked around the back of the house into the garden area, trying to gather ourselves. As we sat on a bench in the shade, wondering what to do next, I felt something that I didn’t expect to feel at a moment like that…I felt curious.

What were we supposed to do? My mind kept wanting to relive the episode that we’d just experienced with the rude woman. It was saying things like, “You should report her to the board, I can’t believe how she treated us”, but I could feel that if I did that, I would be closing off something good. I was at a fork in the road and was being asked to choose: grumble just like she did, or choose to think, “This must be perfect, even if at this moment I don’t understand it.”

The idea of waiting around in 85-degree weather for a tour with this woman seemed completely unappealing. I turned to Jack and said, ‘What about going to Walden Pond?” Within minutes we were walking hand-in-hand into the cool, clear, refreshing, water of Walden Pond…we were swimming in the same lake as Thoreau had…maybe Emerson too. We spent 2 glorious hours swimming, sitting, and just being…it was heaven.

As we talked about the “closed door” at the Emerson House, it was clear what had happened: spirit had moved in an unusual way through this woman. If she had been even a little bit nicer, we might have waited around for the next tour, and although that would’ve been fine, there was something completely unexpected and magical about our time at Walden Pond.

It was also clear that I needed to keep focused on the wonder and goodness of all that had occurred and not condemn the means by which it happened. Getting angry, indignant, or stewing about the woman would have ruined my day…it might even have closed off the thought about going to Walden Pond.

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Jack in Walden Pond…a very happy man!

 

“Reality unfolds perfectly. Whatever happens is good. I see people and things, and when it comes to me to move toward them or away from them, I move without argument, because I have no believable story about why I shouldn’t; it’s always perfect.” Byron Katie, Question Your Thinking, Change Your Life, page 8

 

 

our beautiful selves

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FRED

Several weeks ago as I was preparing for the opening of my new shop/gallery, I suddenly felt as though I had something in my left eye. At first, it felt like an eyelash, so I rinsed my eye repeatedly but it still bothered me. By 6 p.m. that evening, I was sitting in Urgent Care. My eye was bloodshot, severely irritated, and getting worse. The doctor prescribed antibiotic drops but within a few days, the other eye was affected as well, and neither improved for a week leaving me with blurry vision and a desire to see more clearly. During this time, I asked myself the question, “What am I not wanting/willing to see?”

The answer that came stunned me. It was, “You are afraid to trust your higher self completely. You are still afraid of getting hurt, so you try to protect and look out for yourself. You are ready to awaken more deeply and so a new level of trust is being asked of you now. It will require that you stop looking out for yourself.”

That sounds so simple and lovely. I knew it was the truth and yet I was still hesitant. I hadn’t realized how many fears I had inside…fears of getting hurt that I was trying to avoid by controlling my environment. I hadn’t seen the “comfortable” little walls I’d built around my life.

But as I allowed myself to see more clearly, example after example popped up: I didn’t trust my doctor and thought she might be missing something that could cause me to have a much more serious eye problem.

I didn’t trust that Jack really loved me and so I projected scenarios of him leaving and me being alone, resentful, and unhappy.

I didn’t trust myself and my ability (or lack thereof) to be in a committed relationship, and feared that I would leave someday and regret it.

I didn’t trust my body and feared that without a strict exercise regime I would get fat, unattractive, and weak.

I looked at my past and saw so many examples of how I felt as though I couldn’t trust life and had been afraid of getting hurt. As I allowed myself to see this part of my past, which seemed to be rising up from some dark, unexplored, area, I also asked myself, “What does, ‘I’ll get hurt’ really mean?”

In each scenario, I had projected an unhappy, miserable, sad or angry, me. Being left, being taken advantage of, being unattractive, being angry and then lashing out and burning bridges, being suspicious…all of the things that I feared had a common denominator: an unhappy me at the core which seemed to stem from an image that I’d held of myself.

I know that images can be changed but they must first be seen, and this is what I was being shown, and at the same time I was being asked, “Are you willing to see yourself as happy no matter what happens on the ‘outside?’”

I loved that question. I wanted to answer yes, so I tried it by asking, “Can I see myself as happy, even with a serious eye problem if that is what I have? Yes, I can imagine that. Can I see myself as happy even if I am single? Yes, I can imagine that too. Can I see myself staying in this marriage and being happy? Yes, I can imagine that too. I pulled to mind every fear of being hurt that I could remember/imagine, and then I imagined myself in that same situation but as a trusting, happy, calm, and relaxed woman.

I truly think that holding this happy image of myself in all situations is one of the most important lessons that I’ve been shown, and I look forward to witnessing the transformation of me.

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths…beautiful people do not just happen.”  Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

 

offering my best

One of the things that I’ve found most challenging about my mother is our conversations…which have almost always felt like parallel monologues; she talked about other people and what they were doing (which to me felt like she was avoiding any “real” conversation) and I would in turn would try to introduce “meaningful” subjects (things that I found interesting).

I tried for a number of years just to listen to her, thinking that eventually she would ask me a question or inquire about my life in some meaningful way, but found that she would simply talk herself out and then, if I did begin to speak, that would somehow add fuel to her thoughts and she’d be off and running again, or she’d become uncomfortable and start looking around the room, get up and clean something (or once she got an ipad, she would turn to that).

I am 61 years old and had never found peace with this dynamic. I have always felt as though there was something wrong with me when it came to my mother and our relationship. Then last week in couple’s therapy, I told our therapist that I had stopped by my mother’s house and as she immediately began to talk about other people, I said, “Mom, I don’t want to talk about anyone else….” Our therapist replied to me by saying, “You are still trying to change your mother.” I knew that he was right…after all of these years, I still was trying to get my mother to be interested in me.

Then he looked at me with the most compassionate eyes and said, “Your mother doesn’t like you.” I knew it was the truth.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that my mother loves me, she just doesn’t like the woman that I am. I like to swear and have a particular affection for a word beginning with the letter F. I am direct. I like to ask questions. I am, at times, loud. I am curious about religion and spirituality and have always questioned ideas and beliefs which, in my upbringing, were the “unquestionable”. If someone told me that I couldn’t do something, this often felt like a challenge to me to do it. I am smart, and although I didn’t know this for a long time, my mother told me many times that this aspect of me intimidated her.

Over the past week, I’ve found a new sense of freedom when I’ve thought about my mother and I’ve had the interesting revelation that I don’t like her either. Just admitting this about myself, and acknowledging her feelings about me, has brought inner peace. I am free not to like her. She is free not to like me. She doesn’t need to change one bit for me to love her, but I don’t need to change to get her love either…as a mater of fact, I can’t.

I would go to the ends of the earth to help my mother if she needed me and I know that she’d do the same for me…this feels like real love….so good to know.

“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself, just as I am, then I can change.” Carl Rogers

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Evolution of Little Wing Shop & Gallery opening June 10th at 10 a.m…(148 Dunbar Rd. Cambridge, NY). I’d love to meet you (or see you again!) if you’d like to stop by. 

 

try again…I might need to go for another walk!

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the first day of our vacation…so much fun

Last week, the day before Jack and I were set to leave for Hilton Head, I received two notifications that needed immediate attention. The first was that my email server would no longer be providing service, and the second informed me that my phone bill was overdue because the auto-pay, which I’d set up months before, was no longer working. I was also getting a lot of calls cutting out in the middle of conversations…a problem that I’d spoken to Verizon about multiple times without any solution.
It was 6 a.m. and I could feel the front of my head begin to tense up as I imagined long hours on the phone with these companies. Before I even made the call, all of the lengthy past calls paraded before my eyes and I felt deflated, discouraged, and worried that I would not get the issues resolved and I’d have my internet cut off, would no longer be able to receive emails, and would have to try to deal with this all on my dysfunctional phone which might be cut off too since I had, unbeknownst to me, not paid for it over the past several months. My mind has a tendency to go to extremes.
Then I noticed these thoughts… and stopped…and breathed. I knew better than to call in this state of mind, so I went for a walk and tried to let go of the anxiety that had already begun to take root inside my body.
When I returned home, I was clearer and ready to call. Before I picked up the phone, I said to myself, “I am going to get a very helpful person, and this is going to be easy.” I made the call and was immediately connected with a very nice woman…then the phone cut out. I could hear her but she couldn’t hear me. She said she’d call me back but the calls kept going directly to voicemail and I couldn’t call her back either.
I repeated the affirmation that I would get all of the help that I needed, and I really felt it. I called again and was immediately connected to another wonderful woman who ended up spending almost 2 hrs. with me, not only straightening out my phone issues but also helping me with some internet problems, which weren’t even her company’s responsibility.
We left for vacation the next day and the entire week flowed in the same easy way.
I am learning that things work out when I let go of the belief that I need to make them happen…in my way, in my timing. I am learning that my mind creates problems, disasters, and escalates issues, but that it also heals, soothes, and dissolves “problems” when I use it properly.

“Part of your conquest of anger is to see that its cause is always inside you, never in outer things. So use those small daily accidents when you drop or spill something. Study yourself at the same moment that you spill the coffee. Watch irritation jump up, take you over, and make you shout in aggravation. You can now see how you yielded to the swift habit of angry reaction. One day you will not join angry emotions any more than you join rioting mobs.” Vernon Howard

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Little Wing Shop & Gallery is evolving….I’ve just finished painting the floor. Opening day will be June 10th at 10 and you are all invited!

This entry was posted on May 9, 2017. 5 Comments

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