Tag Archive | happiness

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

loving the mystery

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“HOME” a new mixed media piece of mine…the eggs are from a local family who raise chickens for the love of it. (it’s for sale on MY ARTWORK PAGE)

 

Last Thursday, I drove by a house that almost took my breath away. I parked my car and walked down the old tree-lined street, from the house to downtown Burlington, imagining what it would be like to call this home.

I’ve been looking at houses around the area for several years, but none have come close to the appeal of this one. It is everything that I’ve been looking for; it’s large and old with several porches and fireplaces, a nice backyard, and, it’s only ten minutes from my son, daughter-in-law, and grandson’s home.

My emotions and mind were scrambling. It was thrilling to see something that looked like the fulfillment of a dream, but within minutes, my feelings plummeted into doubt and despair. There was no way that I could afford this house.

I knew that I had to change my thoughts, so I began to say, “I am always in the right place at the right time. If this is meant to be my home, it will happen, even if I have no idea how.” I felt much better, but still had to work on my mind which seemed to slip into the feeling of desperate longing for something that seemed out of reach.

This morning while I was on a walk, again thinking about this house, I heard myself say, “If I am ready this will happen” but those words felt discouraging. The subtle message in them was, “If I am good enough, If I’ve done enough work to deserve it, If I’ve grown spiritually enough to line up with this kind of abundance…” and of course, a part of me never thinks that I’m good enough, or that I’ve done enough, or ever will.

At that moment, I changed my mind. Not about wanting this home or moving, but my attitude about myself. I began to say, “If this is right for me, it will happen.” It was such an exhilarating feeling to go from, “Oh, I hope that I’m good enough. I hope that I am ready!”, with all that this implies about being “less than” and needed to elevate myself, to, “I am open and ready for the right home: one that matches my desire.” I was suddenly on equal footing with my dream, instead of seeing it as better than me.

There has to be harmony to this move. If I desperately struggle and try to force it, I will carry that energy with me.The energy that we use to accomplish our goals and dreams floats around the final manifestation/outcome like a bubble, attracting more of the same. If I struggle to get something/make something happen, I will struggle, or feel as though I need to struggle, to keep it …or get rid of it. Desperate energy repels what we want most, and most of us have gone after something like this at least once in our lives. I have many times.

When I was single, I couldn’t stand to be without a date, so I went out with guys whom I knew weren’t right for me. I didn’t want to be alone, and I feared no one else would come along, or if they did, they wouldn’t be interested in me, so I said yes when I should have said no, or I’d desperately chase a guy that I was sure was the one for me, only to have him run, quickly, away.

It took me a long time to learn about trusting the greater harmony of Life…and sometimes I still forget, especially when I really want something. But I love having the opportunity to look at it, and talk about it, right in the middle of it, and in this moment, I am at peace with the mystery. I actually feel excitement and adventure in the air, and it feels like what life should be…not something that is completely predictable, foreseeable, or known, but something that has elements of wonder and promise, punctuated with occasional surprises that leave us happily speechless.

Will I eventually buy this home? I don’t know. But I know that I am open and I know that whatever happens, it will be right, because I really am always in the right place at the right time.

“There is nothing to change bur out concept of self. Humanity is a single being in spite of its many forms and faces, and there is in it only such seeming separation as we find in our own being when we are dreaming. The pictures and circumstances we see in dreams are the creations of our own imagination and have no existence save in ourselves. The same is true of the pictures and circumstances we see in this dream of life. They reveal our concepts of ourselves. As soon as we succeed in transforming self, our world will dissolve and reshape itself in harmony with that which our change affirms.” From, The Search, by Neville Goddard

 

Moving forward

Esther hasn't wanted to come inside since last March. Then this past Sunday, she decided it was time and she is loving it!

Esther hasn’t wanted to come inside since last March. Then this past Sunday, she decided it was time, and she is loving it!

As I was running yesterday morning, a car pulled out very fast in front of me and I stumbled, twisting my ankle. It would be easy to blame the driver, but it would serve no purpose. I saw him (a few seconds before I jumped) and thought, “What is the big hurry?!” I was feeling irritated as this thought flashed across my mind. Then I stumbled. I saw the car, I saw my reaction, I saw the result.

As I was lying in bed last night trying to sleep but feeling  a lot of discomfort from my foot all the way up to my hip on that side, I realized that I was suffering. The injury didn’t cause me to suffer, my thought about it did. I was blaming myself, feeling guilty about thinking a cruddy thought, thinking about how careless I was….and so I suffered.

I began to softly affirm, “I am in the center of the Loving Presence of the Universe. At my center, I am pure Love. I am one with Love.” As I silently repeated this, I fell asleep and woke up several hours later in a relaxed, very happy state. The pain was much less, and the suffering was gone. It took me back to the day after I ran my first marathon seven years ago when I had woken up in a lot of physical discomfort (I had never pushed myself to run over 20 miles until that run) but instead of suffering, I was euphoric. The physical pain was just fine with me.

All suffering is judgement (thought) that whatever is happening (or happened) is wrong. The thoughts, “This should never have happened. They were wrong to do this. I am wrong. I am stupid. She is a liar. I am careless. I should never have……This is an outrage….” on and on these thoughts heap suffering on top of pain.

We will all have a fair amount of pain in our lifetimes; physical, emotional, and mental, but we also have the ability to change the way that we look at things.  If we just talk about the suffering, we get caught in a whirlpool of despair where we see our unhappiness, and that of the others who we have aligned with, continually being circulated before our eyes. A lot of energy. A lot of movement. But no progress forward. No way out.  When we share our stories of suffering, and how we transcended it, we spiritually open up new channels (for those seeking a new way) of perceiving, moving, and growing, through life.

“Because of my experience, I absolutely do strongly believe that we all have the capacity to heal ourselves as well as facilitate the healing of others. When we get in touch with that infinite place within us where we are Whole, then illness can’t remain in the body. And because we’re all connected, there’s no reason why one person’s state of wellness can’t touch others, elevating them and triggering their recovery. And when we heal others, we also heal ourselves and the planet. There’s no separation except in our own minds.” page 117 from the book, *Dying To Be Me: my journey from cancer, to near death, to true healing, by Anita Moorjani.

*(and if you haven’t guessed it by now, I LOVE this book!)

The winner of the socks is Sandy M.

The existence of happiness

Esther happy to be inside looking out

Esther happy to be inside looking out.

Years ago, I was taking a 6-week class that focused on prosperity. One of the women in the class (who always seemed angry at something or someone) shared that before she became aware of the power of words, she used to say, “All I need in life is a roll of toilet paper and a car that starts.” She went on to say, “Watch your words! I’m living that now.”

In class, we focused a lot on the use of specific words and affirmations, but it seemed like something was missing. I now know that the missing part was the feeling of ease, the feeling of expansion, and the feeling of happiness that needed to be a part of the affirmation. We can state, “I am wealthy. I am prosperous. I am joy-filled”, day in and day out, but if we’re angry, fearful, tense and unhappy, would money really change us? Would it really bring the feeling of happiness that we are hoping to experience?

A few years after the class ended, I ran into this woman at a concert in Saratoga. She told me that she had won (or been given, I can’t remember the details) $250,000. I expected her to be happy but she wasn’t. She started complaining about the taxes and how people were coming out of the woodwork to “mooch off” her.

We are so conditioned to believe that when some big thing happens (money, success, an important award or event) we will be happy, even when we know deep down that this isn’t true, even when we see evidence all over the place of “others” grasping and reaching for happiness outside of themselves, and we clearly see the folly in this, it can be so much harder to recognize in ourselves.

As I was searching for a quote for today’s post, I read the words of Thich Nhat Hanh, “It is not necessary to look for happiness outside of ourselves. We only need to be aware of the existence of happiness, and we have it right away.

Over this weekend, it is my intention to become aware of the existence of happiness. …I am not quite sure what this means, but I love the feel of it, and hope that you will join me.

The secret of Life: Love doesn’t need a reason to be expressed

Stopped in traffic, taking the long way around to get the gift of Love

There is a stretch of road, between Greenwich and Battenville, NY (on Rt. 29) that has been under construction for a few weeks and whenever possible, I take this route because of one man. I don’t know his name or anything about his background, but I wouldn’t have to describe his physical features for you to figure out who he is also.

His (official) job is to stop and start traffic, but while he’s flagging people through, he looks right in your eyes, (like he’s looking to see a friend) and then he waves, smiles and sometimes even dances as he throws his arms open wide and says, “Have a great day!” or some other equally happy comment. I love seeing him because somehow it feels like he really sees me. As I drove past him yesterday, I rolled down my window and said, “You know the secret of life don’t you!?” and he shook his head yes and gave me a beautiful smile.

This is in such stark contrast to an experience that I’d had at the grocery store a couple of days earlier. I’d gotten in line behind a woman (who I know a little bit) and we both said “Hi”. Then a man (also know him a little) got in line behind me, didn’t say hi, but noticed the woman in front of me and said, “Hi…..!” and then they started up a very friendly conversation, with me standing between them. It had nothing to do with me, but I felt oddly left out.

As cool as they were to me, I wasn’t gushing effusively over them either because we don’t really know each other. But the flag man doesn’t know everyone who drives past him, and this doesn’t stop him from being right out there with his friendly open greeting….hum. I wonder if I could be that friendly or would I be afraid of looking silly or inappropriate? I might feel embarrassed if my greeting wasn’t returned or worse, looked on with scorn.

All of these reasons for holding back; all of them reasonable and logical. And not one of them capable of bringing more life, laughter or love to my (or anyone else’s) life.

While we have the gift of life, it seems to me the only tragedy is to allow part of us to die – whether it is our spirit, our creativity or our glorious uniqueness. Gilda Radner

The land of (good) opportunities; our lives

our little old guy, Noah (a sweet, sweet cat!)

I woke up on Wednesday morning with a new resolve to focus my mind only on the good. To look for the good in myself and in others, talk about the good in Life, write and think about the goodness of this world. I’ve known (seriously known) for a while that we get what we focus on and that if I’m looking for what is wrong with something (or someone), that quality will be magnified until it seems like that is all they are.

It is odd that it can seem so much easier (and even more natural) to do this, than to look for what is right and refuse to entertain the negative. And yet at our core, we are all Love, we are all growing tips of God-consciousness, and the most “natural” thing for us to do is to express that…and we have hundreds of opportunities to do just that everyday.

On Wednesday,  I woke with the thought,

“Before I really knew about the power of my mind to create, I created a fair amount of crap,…a lot of good, but some not-so-good too, and I’m going to let myself off the hook for all of those years when I was less conscious about what I was doing. But now I know, and I don’t want to be sitting here, 25 years from now, thinking, ‘I knew this stuff when I was in my 50’s. I was just too lazy and undisciplined to focus my mind.'” That would feel like a lost opportunity to me.

Every thought presents another opportunity to choose which way to turn, and like little tiny steps taken in the right direction, they will lead us into more happiness, more love, more connection…more of the life of our dreams.

“A man who is happy seldom tells anyone. The unhappy man is more communicative. He is eager to recite what is wrong with the world and seems to have talent for gathering a large audience. It is a modern tragedy that despair has so many spokesmen, and hope so few.” Oscar Hammerstein

 

The Spirit of Play

The birthday girl Margaret (on left), and her friend Lynne

When my son Tom was three, he wanted a toy gun more than anything. He asked us, it seemed, almost everyday for one, but we did not want to encourage “violent” behaviour so did not give in to his pleading. We bought him a plastic yard set; rake, shovel and hoe instead. I looked out the window one day, and saw him with the  plastic rake, held shoulder-high, being “aimed” at his friend. They were “playing guns” with the rake and shovel. We finally broke down and bought him a toy gun and he loved it.

I never played with guns as a child and never had any interest in them. I made some attempts at introducing toys, into my sons lives, that were not traditionally played with by boys. I once bought them a doll house (something that I had always wanted as a little girl). Matt dismembered some all the dolls, beheaded others, and made it into a little haunted house…not exactly what I had in mind.

My friend (and neighbor) Margaret, celebrated her 50th birthday on Saturday with food, a bon fire, and Laser Tag. I hadn’t played anything like this before, but thought I’d try one game, just to experience it. Teams were chosen and we all got a gun and started playing at around 5:30. At 8:00, it was getting too dark to play. I had on a lightweight T-shirt and shorts and didn’t notice that it was getting chilly, didn’t feel particularly hungry. I felt like I was ten years old again….it was odd and wonderful.

I like the thought that there is something in this wild, unknowable universe called “The Spirit of Play” and that it shows up to rejuvenate and refresh our spirits, minds and bodies, wherever beings (human and animal) gather for the purpose of fun, non-harm, and celebration. I think that I would like to become more familiar with this fun little spirit in the second half of life!