Tag Archive | freedom

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

True freedom doesn’t depend on where we are (or where we go).

Fred in the kitty pen

Fred in the kitty pen; happy no matter where he is.

I’m leaving tomorrow morning for my big adventure, so I wanted to touch base with you all this evening. I’ll post at least a few times from the road but I’m not sure when. After I hung up the phone with my brother on Saturday, I kept thinking, “Am I really doing this? Can I really do this?” There was a part of me that felt I couldn’t just leave home for 10 days without much of a plan. Yet a deeper part said, “Go. This is right.”

All day Sunday, and even into Monday, I found myself preoccupied with details; packing and wondering what the weather would be like, if I had the right combination of warm and cool clothing, shoes, toiletries, books, cds, and journal, and I could feel my energy almost buzzing around me, a little out of control. This happens when I forget who I am.

Lately, I’ve become much more aware of myself not just as Mary Muncil. I’ve started feeling beyond my body, beyond planning my life around my bodily/emotional needs (what I’ll eat, where I’ll eat, how much sleep I need, which vitamins to take, what clothing I prefer, what social contacts I need to keep up, what I need to do to earn my livelihood). Don’t get me wrong, I am delighted to be experiencing life now, in this temporary home called a body, through this mind, but I am also so aware that too much focus here (on the material plane of existence) feels small. I love comfort, good food, good books, rest and play, friends and solitude and appreciate them fully when I keep myself centered on the larger part of me; the part that knows no time or space, no good or bad, right or wrong, no me and them,.. The part that is not apart at all.

I am increasingly interested in the qualities of Life that I want to both feel and to manifest, the Divine Qualities, and less in the “particulars”. I ask myself on a regular basis how I’m, in the moment, demonstrating and living the essence of who I really am (who we all are); God Consciousness, becoming aware of Itself through us, and shining out as happiness, peace, harmony, good-will towards all, helpfulness, gratitude, fun, expansion, acceptance, open-heartedness, love….

These are the qualities that will make this trip meaningful….these are the only “things” that I really need to take along.

“The moment I have realized God sitting in the temple of every human body, the moment I stand in reverence before every human being and see God in him, that moment I am free from bondage. Everything that binds vanishes, and I am free.” Swami Vivekananda

 

Freedom

The beautiful work of Carolyn Abrams, this painting is named, "Freeing Her Spirit" http://www.carolynabrams.com

Years ago, I read an essay on aging, and the importance of finding our “freedom” at mid-life. The gist of this writing was that anything we felt was hampering us, we should leave behind, and move out into the world. At one point it said something like, get rid of your cat if that is the thing keeping you from this adventure. I would have believed that message 30 years ago, maybe 2o years ago….

What I have come to see, and know, is that it isn’t the outside stuff that hampers us, it is our thoughts. In my mid-forties, I gave away almost everything I owned to go work in a mission. I was trying to find inner freedom by stepping out of the “material” world. I blamed possessions, and the desire for them, for much of my inner turmoil and the troubles of the world. I wanted to devote myself to a higher calling and thought this was a part of becoming more spiritual.

It was a rude (very necessary) awakening. Having nothing doesn’t make you more spiritual, peaceful, happy or free. It doesn’t make you more helpful to those who feel disempowered and unable to earn a living. Freedom, at any age, comes from a change of attitude. This is the real mid-life call. The call to go inside and find the infinite within ourselves. To find peace and presence right here; in this house, with this car (or cars), these animals, friends, partner, or work, and not to blame them for our feelings of imprisonment. This is the real freedom.

“…the last of human freedoms, to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances….“. Viktor Frankl

A friend (thank you Judith!) send me a beautiful story and video yesterday about a baby bird that was found. At first, they needed to feed him every 20 minutes, but far from feeling like this experience was restricting, I felt the expansion in it…in them.

Baby Bird Cradled in My Hands