Tag Archive | friendship

A visitor bearing gifts


It has been a long time since I posted a picture of either myself or Jack on the blog…so here we are sending you so much love today!

Several days ago, I found out that someone close to me had betrayed me in a way that quite literally sent me into shock. For hours, my body shook and my heart felt like it would explode. Later that same night, as I tried to sleep but found it impossible…thoughts about the hurtful event felt like spears being shot into my brain and I didn’t think that I could stop them. Feelings of anger and confusion made sleep, the one thing that I thought might bring some temporary relief, impossible.

I tried to say, “This is happening for me, not to me”, but it felt empty and pitiful compared to my feelings…it felt like utter bullshit.

At about 2 a.m. as I lie there in my cocoon of hell, the word, “kindness” came into my mind. I kept repeating it and as I did, I became aware that the angry thoughts, and the reliving of the betrayal, were such unkind things to do to myself. They felt like daggers, because they were just that….and I was doing this to myself.

So I started repeating,

“Be kind to yourself. Think kind thoughts, or no thoughts. This is so hard but don’t become hard. Become soft, stay kind. Let this open you up to more love, life, and goodness. Don’t close down. Don’t become hard.” The sense of relief that I experienced was small and I felt powerless as I was then overwhelmed with sadness instead of rage, but I knew that deep sadness was appropriate and that anger was a cover up.

In the past, anger had been a default emotion for me. I thought that I was in control (or it felt that way) if I was angry…but sadness? Sadness was frightening. Sadness seemed like it would render me useless, pitiful, and unable to move. Anger felt like it contained within it the energy to change and so I had been reluctant to turn away from what felt like an old ally. But I had the awareness that the sleeplessness and sadness were working something in me…similar to the feelings that I’d experience on a vision quest many years earlier. I was in a new place and I needed to trust it, even though it felt awful.

Sleep still did not come and so at 5 a.m. I got up, made a cup of tea,  went outside, and asked to see my part in the betrayal. I could not have asked that question 12 hrs. earlier, and if anyone had said, “So how did you bring this into your life? Or “How did you attract this?” (both legitimate and good questions which I know to be the truth), I would’ve become enraged and probably shot back, “How dare you insinuate that I had any part in this?”

But I was ready to ask myself, and within minutes an answer came; I saw how for several years I’d had so many negative and unfriendly thoughts about this man and in that moment, my heart opened and I sobbed uncontrollably. There was no blame of him or myself; there was only the space that an epiphany creates. There was room for something new to emerge and I sensed that it would heal me in a way that I could never do by trying to change myself. It was Grace…my part in it was simply to stay open (simple but certainly not easy).

We all know people who have been so hurt by others that they shut themselves off from life. They become hard and closed-down in an effort to shield themselves from the inevitable pain that happens as we live these human lives. There is going to be pain. There are going to be betrayals, or what we believe in the moment are betrayals. There is going to be loss or the feeling that we have lost something/someone, but what we do in these moments, holds the key to our freedom and happiness. One of my favorite quotes by W. Clement Stone is, “Big doors swing on little hinges”. Deciding to refuse anger and blame and ask what my part was seemed small at the time.

During the experience that I just went through, I could see these 2 paths clearly and I knew that the old way for me was dead. I made a decision to stay open, not knowing that a light would shine so quickly on the new path, bringing with it a great feeling of relief. I didn’t know if I would get an answer at all, or if it did, when it would come… an hour, a day, a month?

The pain that this incident caused was my wake-up call. It was a gift and I recognize it as such.

I now believe even more in the concept that we do not heal ourselves. Healing happens when we metaphorically speaking, stop pouring salt in our wounds: stop blaming anyone, including ourselves, for the unhappiness in our lives. Stop looking to others to change toward us so we can be happy. Stop looking at anything outside of us for wholeness. We live in a field of Grace…it does the work if we let it.

I’m so grateful to be able to share this with you. If you are ever in a situation like I was, I hope that something here will help you to see a new way too. I wish you freedom and deep peace today.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

(translation by Coleman Barks)





goodbye to a limiting way of thinking,…hello to a friend

Maud and me

Mary and Maud

I’ve been wanting to write this story for a while, and finally I am. I first met Maud Maynard in 2009, but I’d heard about her, and had been briefly introduced to her, in 2002… but I didn’t want to have anything to do with her. Not because she wasn’t a perfectly nice, possibly interesting person, or because she had done anything wrong. I didn’t particularly want to like her since I’d found out that she and Jack had dated before he and I met, and that they were still good friends, and it was obvious that he thought the world of her. That right there was enough for me to not care for her.

It wasn’t like he’d talk about her all the time or anything, but he’s say, in casual conversation, things like, “I ran into Maud at the bank and you’ll never guess what she just did?!” I would pretend I didn’t hear him or change the subject, but he’d inevitably get back on-track and say, “She just went skydiving with her son!” or some other equally fun sounding story, knowing how I myself like adventure and thinking I might appreciate another woman with the same spirit. I didn’t. I’d respond to his stories about her with a casual “Oh”. This went on for years, and I thought it was an odd joke the universe was playing on me, that one of my favorite names was Maude (my grandmother’s name) but I had no intention of getting to know her.

Then one day it happened. I’d been asked, along with a number of other alternative health/spirituality practitioners/healers, to give a short presentation to a group. After I’d agreed, the schedule of events was mailed to me and I was aghast to see that Maud Maynard was one of the presenters too.  I wondered if I could get out of it.

Fate had different plans, and several weeks before the event, another friend of mine suffered a horrific loss in her life. By the night of the presentation, I hadn’t even had time to prepare. I knew what I was going to talk about but I didn’t have a note or any emotional reserve. I showed up empty, hoping Spirit would help me to say what needed to be said.

Maud presented before me and as she began to speak, and tell the story of how she became involved with Reiki, I felt a light, that was surrounding her, almost reach out and hug me. As she continued to talk, I had to hold back the tears. I thought, “She is wonderful. She is wonderful.” …and I told her this as we walked out together that evening. We’ve been walking together, as friends, ever since (and Jack is thrilled and occasionally says things like, “I knew that you would love her. You two are so much alike.”) I now take this as a high compliment.

I started this story by saying that I’d wanted to write it for a while, and one reason that I didn’t was because it was/is so multi-faceted. Do I write about how sometimes we resist what is right in front of our faces and is so perfect?  How the Spirit of this Universe is always putting the highest and best in front of us to simply say yes to? How jealousy can be so insidious, and can limit our lives, if we don’t challenge/recognize it?

All of these are true, but I don’t think I’ve ever written about jealousy before, and if anyone had asked me if I was jealous of Maud, I’m not sure I would have had the awareness to say yes. After all, I didn’t really have a reason to be jealous. But I’ve found out that jealousy doesn’t need a reason. Just like all destructive emotions: hatred, resentment, bitterness, and unforgiveness, jealousy manifests when we don’t feel good, for whatever reason, about our lives or about ourselves.

I’ve also found it very healing to recognize, uncover, and admit when I am feeling jealous. For me, being able to tell this story, first to Maud (years ago …and we’ve had some good laughs about it) and now here, helps me to keep an eye on that tendency in myself. Because it still does come up at times, and maybe it always will. But it won’t hold me captive if I see it, maybe even talk about it, and then gently say goodbye to it.

I want to live in inner-peace and happiness. I want to be open and free of tormenting emotions and thoughts.  Every time I let go of an unhappy belief or emotion, the world, my world, opens up a little more….the world becomes a little kinder, nicer and friendlier.

“The jealous are troublesome to others, but a torment to themselves.” William Penn

Maud’s website is http://maudmaynardreiki.wordpress.com   She has a blog and also her contact information for her Reiki practice. I’ve had many sessions with Maud (all have been wonderful) On my trip last spring with my brother (when we were planning on driving 20 hrs straight) I asked Maud for Distant Reiki and found I had an energy that was surprisingly great.

Change: The dance of Life

Fred: a unique being!

Fred resting his head on Luke’s toy and looking up at me with his cute, crossed, eyes!

Years ago, someone in my family got quite angry with me for not acknowledging her daughter’s birthday. I remember the feelings of guilt and embarrassment, but it wasn’t because I hadn’t remembered. I was particularly un-wealthy at that point in my life, and didn’t want to just send a card (what 10-year-old is happy to get a card with nothing inside it?!).

When I did explain my reason for not sending a gift, this family member wasn’t any happier with me, and actually didn’t speak to me for some time. This was the way my family was, and I was just as guilty of this as the rest of them. There were set, unchanging, rules of conduct that everyone obeyed: You sent gifts on birthdays (even if you didn’t want to, or didn’t have the money), you went to every party that you were invited to (even if you didn’t want to), you called each other on a regular basis (even if you didn’t want to)….the list was endless, and if anyone stepped off this path of accepted behaviour, they became the subject of extreme scrutiny. There was no room for the individual on this path, no room for change.

I also remember when I made a decision to step away from this way of relating, not only to my family but with everyone. I made a decision to be honest in my relationships (which sounds like an easy thing) but felt like a huge risk. In time, I became aware that the people who were going to get angry at me for saying no, or not giving in a way that they thought was appropriate, were eventually going to get angry with me anyway.

I saw that I could drive myself crazy trying to be who they wanted me to be, or I could be true to myself see what happened.  Much to my surprise, I found that the only loss I experienced was the feeling of desperately trying to be liked.

You cannot lose true relationships by being yourself.

If I want somebody to “dance to my tune” then I’m not even seeing who they are. Can I then call myself their friend? And if I am not being myself, I’m not really giving anyone the chance to like me. If you dance to your own tune, and I dance to mine, we may not like each other and that is OK …but we might Love each other, be surprised by each other, …we might learn that there are millions, billions, of dances in this incredible universe and we might make room for them all.

Who are you? Maybe you’re not the kind of friend who brings casseroles in a crisis, but sits and holds a friend in silent love. Maybe you don’t like to meet for coffee, but love to talk on the phone. What if you took this weekend to honor your own dance? What would it look like? Isn’t it time we found out…and started dancing.

Life is like dancing. If we have a big floor, many people will dance. Some will not dance but will gossip about those who are dancing. Some will get angry when the rhythm changes. But life is changing all the time“. don Miguel Ruiz*

*Read more: http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Ellen-Degeneress-O-Magazine-Interview-with-Author-don-Miguel-Ruiz/6#ixzz2XVe20Z4n

The news of 2012: 100 stories of hope and love

Ben in the suitcase/cat bed looking so sweet

Ben in the suitcase/cat bed looking so sweet (small Hindu god riding peacock statue in the background…in case you were wondering what that was!)

I was watching a show this morning that highlighted the important events of 2012, but it seemed like so many of the “high-lights” were not high at all, but stories of very unhappy and tragic situations. So I thought, “What better way to celebrate the passing of 2012, and welcome a new year, than to tell our own news?”

This White Feather Farm community is full of large and small stories of love, hope, kindness, successes, happiness, peace and inspiration and I am inviting you to share yours here today and tomorrow. I would love it if we could get 100 (or more?) great stories from 2012: cats that have found their way home, dogs adopted, reconciliations, engagements, weddings, job and business successes, acts of kindness (both given and received), moves, spiritual awakenings, a new skill that you learned, a blog that you started (please share the link), a trip that you finally took, the birth of a baby, the biopsy that came back negative, the healing that was instantaneous, a compliment from a completely unexpected source, the near-miss, or any positive story that comes to mind. If you have shared it before, please do so again (and comment as many times as you would like to). I’m already thinking back over the year with a happy anticipation of sharing some of my own.

These are the small stories that make up our lives, give us pause to say “thank you”, and help us to know each other a little better, and yet many never get told (or make the evening news) because they ended well.

I look forward to reading your stories, and to starting 2013 refreshed, renewed, and a little lighter, and I send each of you the same heart-felt blessing. Love, Mary

In the sweetness of friendship, let there be laughter and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things, the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.” Khalil Gibran

“I distinctly remember forgetting that.”

Fred has taken over Ben’s suitcase/bed

I went upstairs on Saturday afternoon and found Fred peacefully sleeping in what had been Ben’s bed. I’d noticed Ben downstairs on the couch, but that they had exchanged places (or more likely, Fred just took over Ben’s spot and Ben adjusted accordingly) didn’t occur to me until I was taking their pictures. I love the way that animals adjust to each other….and how we adjust to them.

On Friday morning, I decided to take a drive and as I opened my car door, the smell of cat urine hit me. I’d been leaving my car windows open and usually Esther (who doesn’t want to come inside at night) will end up in there. Well, Ben has been getting in there too, and I guess Esther thought she’d better claim the car as her own.

I was on my way to visit my friend Nancy at the Coop, told her about my car, and she handed me a bottle of Bac-Out that completely removed the smell. I’ll leave the car windows up from now on, but I’m not holding it against either of the cats. I took care of the problem and let it go.

But I wonder;  if a human had sprayed some very unpleasant smelling thing in my car, would I be so quick to forget it? Probably not….but I’d like to think that this is where I am heading spiritually: taking each next step into new life, and with each new step, letting go of any past hurts, problems, regrets, worry or anger. Moving with ease, like a dance, with all of the other beings (human and otherwise) that I am privileged to share this life-experience with.

Clara Barton (founder and president of the American Red Cross) who never bore any grudges, was once reminded by a friend of a wrong done to her some years earlier. “Don’t you remember?” asked her friend. “No,” replied Barton firmly, “I distinctly remember forgetting that.” Taken from September’s Sun Magazine and sent to me by Susan A.

Ben happily moved to the sofa for his nap

Carolyn was the winner of the Blue Moon give-away!


Friendship, and a Blue Moon Giveaway!

1961 summer trip to “Magic Land” (I think that was the name of the place) with my cousins. I’m 4th from the right. the only ones who look like they are having fun are the 2 little guys (my brother on the far left and my cousin Matt running in front!) To this day, these are the guys you want to have at any gathering!

Years ago, I was very good friends with a woman (who I really liked a lot) but she wasn’t the first person I’d call when something wonderful happened for me. She struggled with life and so other people’s victories or happiness felt unfair, or even like an unkind barb to her. As much as I liked her, it wasn’t any fun at all to share my joy with her, so often times, I would either down-play what happened, or not tell her. I learned a lot about what I wanted to be from that friendship and set one of the intentions for my life: “I want to be the kind of person who people love to tell good news to, and I want to be fun to be around.” These sound like such small things, but they are  two of the qualities that I cherish in people as well.

Thinking about what we value in friendships (or relationships in general) is a great way to look and question ourselves to see if we are giving what we would like to receive. And if we find that we come up a little short in this area, it can become a new point of focus, to grow into the people we want to be.

A man’s growth is seen in the successive choirs of his friends. Ralph Waldo Emerson


Today is a blue moon, and so I am going to give away 2 skin balms to one person! To enter this giveaway, just comment with one quality you love in your friends (or feel free to tell a story about friendship). I will pick a random winner on Monday Sept. 3rd (Labor day)

2 tins of the skin balm I make , website, http://www.marysskinsurvivalbalm.com

Flowing along with Life

The very fun and whimsical glass jewelry made by my friend Nancy at http://www.spinningglassstudio.com          (she wrote in her blog that she’d made these for a friend and to my delight, I found out yesterday that I was the friend she was talking about! They are delightful to wear and make a little ‘tinkling’ sound when they move as the silver touches the glass….they are my new reminders to listen for the Good in Life!)

I wrote the other day about our 4th of July plans not going forward as I had hoped: James Taylor concert, picnic on the lawn, with fireworks after at Tanglewood. We didn’t make another plan, but on Sunday, friends asked us to come to dinner on the 4th, and said they’d like to do a seafood grill if that was ok with us …it was way better than ok with us…we both love seafood. Our contribution was a mousse-cake from Mrs. London’s bakery.

As we sat on their lovely screened porch suddenly the music came on,….it was James Taylor.  Knowing that we’d wanted to go to his concert originally, they downloaded a bunch of his songs to play that evening. The food was incredible, the company relaxing and fun, and the background music perfect. On our drive home, we were going through a tiny Vermont town and up in the sky, guess what we saw?! Fireworks!

We turned down a dirt road by a corn field, and a family with 3 children were parked by the edge of the field. The kids were sitting on the roof of the car. We asked if the fireworks were finished and they all chimed in enthusiastically, “They just started! Are you going to watch them with us?!”

Yes we were. We pulled up next to them, on this dirt road with tall corn stalks on either side, and could not have enjoyed a show more if we’d paid to get in. After each set of fireworks went up, the kids all squealed and laughed and clapped and one of the parents beeped the horn.

Driving home, we both felt amazed at how the day had unfolded. It was better than the original plan in every way.

I know in my heart that life is meant to be an ever-expanding, flowing, richer, deeper, more joyful journey of Self-discovery, and that so often, all I need to do is relax and be delighted at what shows up.

“You never know what events are going to transpire to get you home“. Og Mandino