Archive by Author | Mary Muncil

Everything works together….

A robin has built her nest about 5 feet from my window

This robin built her nest about 5 feet from the window where I sit to do my work. I’ve watched her build it from the beginning. She’s been there through sun, rain, snow, and wind. I’ve also noticed that as I fall asleep at night, holding loved ones in my prayers, she is now a part of that group.

 

A few days ago I stubbed my toe hard enough to chip the nail. It didn’t hurt but when I stubbed it harder that evening, I noticed the pattern. The next day as I was getting out of my car, the wind blew the door onto my foot, painfully bending my toe back. After the third time, I knew that I had to do something different.

Usually, when things like this occur, I can get quiet and see what has been going on in my mind. I always find that I’ve been thinking negative or unhappy thoughts but this time the answer did not seem clear, so I looked up “toe injury” in Louise Hay’s book, “You Can Heal Your Life”, which basically said that toe injuries represented worry about minor, future, details. When I read this, I laughed out loud and immediately saw what I’d been doing.

I’ve been in the planning stage for several events and thought that my attention to detail was somewhat admirable. Right down to the wrapping paper for the gifts, I had been very focused (obsessed) on getting everything “perfect”. Once I recognized this, the pain in my toe began to disappear and by that night, it was gone.

I’ve noticed through the years that when people have sudden revelations about something they’ve been unconsciously doing, quite often their reaction is laughter. I always pay attention to emotional reactions, they are magnificent guides. When that burst of laughter spontaneously erupted from me, I knew that I had my answer. I didn’t need to rethink it. I simply thanked my inner being for the guidance to change course.

An interesting thing also happened the day after this revelation. I’d been feeling blocked artistically and a little worried that I had run out of new, creative, ideas for paintings, when suddenly a flood of inspiration rushed in and I felt in the flow again.

There are no coincidences. Everything that happens to us is really happening for us and if we want to know how we can change it, the answer is never hidden. It can come in the form of a song, a word on a street sign, an unexpected phone call, or the inspiration to look in a book.

 

Sometimes when we pray for guidance, we’re guided in unexpected directions. We may want a lofty answer and we get the intuition to clean our bedroom. It can seem so humble and picky that you don’t necessarily think of it as spiritual guidance.” Julia Cameron

detail from one of my new paintings, "Yes is the answer. John Lennon"

detail from one of my new paintings, “Yes is the answer. John Lennon” for sale on MY ARTWORK PAGE

 

 

This entry was posted on April 24, 2015. 3 Comments

Holy cow

 The Princess and The Pea (Eleanor napping on top of a bunch of pillows that I left on the couch)

The Princess and The Pea (Eleanor napping on top of a bunch of pillows that I piled up on the couch)

I watched a TED TALK by Carol Dweck* last evening: “The Power of Believing That You Can Improve”, which dovetailed beautifully with another study that I had just read on Cecile Betit’s website called, “Relearning the art of asking questions.” Two days ago I bought the book, A Curious Mind.

OK. Something is trying to get my attention….three very compelling messages about asking new questions/responding to life in a new way, have shown up in the past week.

This morning I sat outside with my cup of coffee, watched the sun come up, and thought about how I responded to questions that pushed me to think outside my comfort zone or challenged my way of doing things. Did I get defensive? Sometimes. Did I try to make up answers that I thought the person wanted to hear? Sometimes. Did I babble? Sometimes. But I also stayed open at times, genuinely responded with curiosity, and often said, “I don’t know, but that is a good question”, or simply, “I don’t know.”

The visual part of Dweck’s talk helped me to see questions, challenges, and even “failures” in a new way. I could see that when we shut down, defended our limitations, felt bad, retreated into ourselves, or in any other way closed ourselves off from challenging situations/questions, our minds didn’t grow…didn’t”light up”. But when these same situations were taken on with a mindset of adventure, quest, or even the attitude of fun, the brain lit up.

We can all see this in others. When we ask a question and the response has the tone of, “This is the way it has always been done” or “Don’t you dare challenge this. Who do you think you are?” or “It is written….”, we have run into a closed mind. We can feel it when others, whether they are institutions or individuals, think that their way is only one way, and it feels like a wall. We know it when we’ve run into someone’s sacred cow. Yet it is not so easy to see these in ourselves.

But what if we, right now, began to change this? What if we looked at every question and every new and challenging situation as an invitation? What if we imagined that each one of these “problems” was lighting up our brains and turning on our minds to brighter, happier, and more fulfilling worlds? What if we saw these as actually good for us, like “brain training”?

I don’t want a flabby mind. I don’t want to protect my sacred cows. I want a mind (and heart) that lights up with new questions and responds to life with open energy.

“What would it feel like to live with an open heart and mind, right now?”,  is a great question to ask and then to forget…to drop it into the Universe like a pebble in a pond….and let the answer return to us in waves of new opportunities, happy coincidences, and delightful encounters.

*Carol Dweck researches “growth mindset” — the idea that we can grow our brain’s capacity to learn and to solve problems. In this talk, she describes two ways to think about a problem that’s slightly too hard for you to solve. Are you not smart enough to solve it … or have you just not solved it yet? A great introduction to this influential field.

Today anything is possible

one of my paintings (for sale on MY ARTWORK PAGE)

“I SING MYSELF…” (line in a poem by Walt Whitman, Song of Myself),  one of my paintings (for sale on MY ARTWORK PAGE)

I picked up a deck of affirmation cards by Florence Scovel Shinn the other day at the thrift store, and they are wonderful.  The cards are quotes taken from her book, The Game of Life and How to Play It, which was published in 1925. I’d be delighted to pick a card for you.

If you’d like one, just let me know in a comment, and I will shuffle the deck, pick a card (without looking!) and reply to your comment with the quote.

Sending happy, prosperous, and fun thoughts to you today!

I just called to see how I was doing

Jack and Lu

Jack and Luke standing in the middle of the frozen Hudson river yesterday

For years, if I didn’t hear from someone who I’d been close to, I would think that I’d done something wrong. Usually the scenario in my head would run like this, “I haven’t heard from ___ in a couple of weeks (or months), I wonder what is up with them? Are they OK? Are they sick? Are they mad at me for some reason? Have I done something wrong?”

Then my mind would begin to search for the trouble. I’d wish that they would call or write so I could feel better and if they didn’t, I’d either get more upset with myself, I’d try to forget them, thinking something like, “I don’t know what is up with them, but it is obviously their problem” or I’d call them and say, “I just called to see how you were doing.”

The truer statement should have been, “I just called to see how I was doing. If you’re upset with me then I am not doing well or you are an idiot or I am very sorry for being the inadequate being that I am. How can I make this up to you? On the other hand, If you aren’t upset with me, and you are happy to hear from me, then I am doing well.”

It took me forever to realize that the gift was not in letting them go, or digging further into myself to find out how inadequate I was and then trying diligently and humbly to correct myself. The gift was that every time this scenario played and I began to feel bad, I had the huge opportunity to see myself clearly and change a belief. This scenario was telling me that I fundamentally believed that there was something wrong with me. This was “my problem”. My belief about myself was the problem and the “other” was just a mirror. Whatever I thought they were thinking, was what I was thinking about myself and so it did no good to dismiss them, search myself for more inadequacies, or try to be a better friend to them.

I saw that I was unfriendly toward myself. My thoughts about myself were mean and cruel and critical. No person could change this but me. I started to feel genuine gratitude for all of those people who didn’t call or write but who held up the mirror of myself for me to see a hidden belief and to change it. It also became clear that if I didn’t change then I would constantly be looking outward to others trying desperately to affirm my worth while holding fast to the belief in my basic unworthiness.

We’ve all gotten the desperate-feeling phone calls or emails in which the caller is trying to mask their insecurity by seemingly being concerned about us or casually friendly. Yuk. I don’t appreciate it when it is done to me so I have to assume that others feel the same. It is dishonest. We know it and so do others. We’d be better off to admit our insecurity and say, “I’m just calling to see how I am doing” …and then we could both have a good laugh. But even better, I could see that I am feeling bad, thank god that I see it, and thank the other person (in my mind) for not calling or writing so I have the gentle and sweet opportunity to change my beliefs in the comfort of my own mind.

I am a divine being. You are a divine being. I believe that it is time to start believing this.

 

 

Good heavens!

a new painting available on MY ARTWORK PAGE

a new painting available on MY ARTWORK PAGE

A number of years ago, I was telling someone about a very unpleasant thing that my ex-mother-in-law said to me, and this person had the audacity to say, “I can see both sides of the situation.” I wanted to punch him. I couldn’t imagine how he could possibly see that her take on the conflict was at all legitimate or in any way my fault. I felt hurt, angry, and misunderstood, and I thought, “Well I just won’t ever talk to him about this again”.

For years, I held this same scene in my mind. I relived it, retold it, and replayed it over and over, and it never changed. I was unhappy initially and unhappy every time I thought about it. One day it dawned on me that not only were there two sides to every story, but there may be an infinite number of ways in which this (or any) situation could be viewed. I challenged myself to remember it differently, not making myself wrong, but not blaming her either.

As I sat with an open mind, I saw her face and it looked different. I didn’t try to change the situation, I just remained (as much as possible) an observer. She appeared kinder than I could ever remember seeing her, and as she spoke the same words, the thought, “She was trying to be funny” edged into my consciousness. The next thought that came was, “Oh my god, what would it feel like to believe this?”

The memory faded and as much as my mind wanted to scream, “Don’t believe a new story! She was really being a bitch!”, another vision had already crept in. I’ve never felt the same about this woman again. I don’t know how she feels about me, but I am free of the bitterness that I carried, and nurtured, for years when I thought about her.

Since that time, I’ve rethought many unhappy incidences from my past and every time, when I’ve had a truly open mind, I’ve seen or heard something new. I also have to admit that I haven’t done this with everyone. I still harbor a few victim stories that need new attention. We’ve all experienced this with others. We can hear a well-worn victim story from a mile away. It is easy to spot in others, not so easy with ourselves, but we can all do it.

We can spot our sad stories of the past and reframe them, open them up to a higher consciousness and heal them. The past doesn’t need to be our pattern for the future unless we are hell-bent on staying stuck in the negative well-worn groove of an unhappy story, hell-bent on defending our limitations, hell-bent on defending our right to be the one who was hurt. When Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” I believe that he was saying “Heaven is as close as a change of thought and an open mind”.

Wishing you all a heavenly weekend!

 

 

 

stepping out

Eleanor taking a d

I’d just sat down with my paints and a cup of water when Eleanor decided that she’s like a drink. This wasn’t my plan. It was much cuter.

As I read the wonderful comments from yesterday’s blog, I feel compelled to add something that I didn’t say in that post. The new opportunities that had presented themselves to those of us who “lit up” with the new ideas, were not exactly what we had imagined. In all cases, things were actually better than we had imagined but also different enough that our first reactions were sort of, “Really? Am I capable of doing this? Could this truly be possible? Should I go this way?”

It’s important to have a vision but just as important to hold it loosely so the magic of this Universe has a chance to present something beyond our wildest dreams. I’m past the point of thinking that my conscious mind can figure out how things will happen. As a matter of fact, I’ve come to the conclusion that if I can figure out how my life will unfold, then the plan/vision that I have is way too small. I’d rather trust. I’d rather have faith in the unseen part of myself that works with, through, and for me (and for all of us) at every moment of every day.

Our “work” in all of this is simply to imagine ourselves happily living life. When we do that, the “particulars” of what we need to fulfill our creative desires, will “light up” on our paths and then “our work” is to say, YES. As one step is presented and we take it, while dismissing the fearful thoughts that we’re being led down a dead-end path or that we’ll be dropped in the middle and left scrambling for our lives, another step lights up. It takes courage to step when we cannot see where the next step will take us, but it is what the adventure of life is all about, and to me, this is the essence Faith.

The human mind plans the way, but God//the Field of All Knowing/The Spirit of Love/Our Divine Self, directs the steps. Proverbs 16:9 (my translation)

This entry was posted on March 27, 2015. 7 Comments

imagine that!

This painting is a work in progress. I don't know where it is goin

This painting is a work in progress….I’ve never shared a painting here on the blog, with so little of it finished. I don’t know where it is going but I show up everyday and ask. The first day I found an antique tea-pot (on-line) and painting that, but not the flowers in the center. “The Path” showed up yesterday. Then the acorn fairy guide appeared, then the happy dragon (who just got glass scales this morning!)

Several months ago, a group that I am closely involved with gathered for a meal and at the end, we challenged each other to grow outside of our normal comfort zones. The wonder (and agony at times) of being with people who know us so well, is that they can see our strengths but can also see the places where we are not growing, where we might be hiding, and then point these out to us.

Almost everyone there committed to doing one new (and somewhat frightening) thing in the next six months. I could see that the people who really imagined themselves doing “that thing” were already a bit uncomfortable. I know that I was, but I also believed enough in the vision of that group, and what I felt was the love and goodwill there for me and for my growth, that I overroad that part of me that was saying, “They don’t know how hard this is to do. I don’t think that is a good idea. They don’t really know my path anyway. They are just being mean”, and I made my commitment.

The changes that have happened within this small group over the past 3 months have been astounding. One of the guys who was not actively seeking new work was called, apparently out of the blue, by a huge company in his field to take a job which involved being in front of the camera instead of behind it (more details on this to come!). His challenge had involved being in front of an audience.

I thought that I was moving in the direction of more writing but was “noticed” by the creative director of a large company and was encouraged to see myself as an artist and painter in a much more focused way. This change has brought me so much happiness that I literally cannot wait to get up in the morning to start painting.

As I was getting up this morning, a clear message came through and it was this, “Notice what happened when you just imagined yourself differently. All of you who truly committed to this change “lit up”….and I really mean that; you lit up. Now you are “visible” in an energetic sense, to those who are looking for you. I had begun to take an action on my committment, but the other man who I spoke of hadn’t yet done anything “on the outside”…he just imagined doing it.

We, and I certainly put myself in this category too, just cannot comprehend the power of our minds to bring us opportunities, but we don’t “light up” if our minds (and our mouths) are filled with gloomy scenarios, thoughts of failure, begging for help, or pleading with god to change us. We can change ourselves. We can see ourselves in a new light and when we see ourselves differently, we are seen differently.

 

The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn, the bird waits in the egg, and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities.” ~ James Allen