Tag Archive | loving our bodies

pain is a messenger


I was reading a wonderful book, The Cat’s Table, by Michael Ondaatje, last week when Fred curled up on my shoulder…I just had to take a selfie of us.

Yesterday I began thinking about going forward with a new idea. A part of me was uncomfortable with it, but I was entertaining it anyway…looking at it from all sides, considering what it might be like if I followed through…and then this morning, as I picked up the idea again, I felt an intense pain in my back. As I attempted to go to my computer to look up what muscle might be spasming, I was almost flattened by the pain. I had to get down on the floor and felt as though I couldn’t move. For about a minute I thought of all of the things that could happen if I couldn’t get off the floor, and this of course, only intensified the pain. Then I took a painfully deep breath and said, “Thank you”.

I realized that my body was stopping me for a reason. I opened up my mind and heart (instead of my computer which was now quite literally out of reach) and within seconds I knew that the earlier idea/plan that I’d been contemplating was wrong…wrong for me. As soon as I had that revelation, and said to myself, “OK, I get it, and will not go any further with this”…the pain lessened. A minute later I could stand up. 15 minutes later I was walking the dog, Jackson. As I sit here writing, the pain is only a dull ache.

My inner wisdom not only stopped me from going forward with the plan, it wouldn’t even allow me to take the unnecessary step of looking up what muscle was spasming…it didn’t matter. My body was trying to get my attention and I knew that.

We can save ourselves so much time, pain, and wasted energy, by going within where the truth for us is always ready and willing to be revealed to the open mind and heart.

It is amazing how many hints and guides and intuitions for living come to the sensitive person who has ears to hear what the body is saying.” Rollo May


(I also wanted to let you know that helping others to access inner wisdom/knowing, is the work that I do as a spiritual counselor. If you are interested in working with me, there is a link to my website at www.marymuncil.com or feel free to email me with questions at mmuncil33@gmail.com I offer ½ hr. sessions at $35 and one hour sessions for $60)



Late bloomers…what kind of flower is this?!

a new painting

a new painting for sale on MY ARTWORK PAGE

There was a segment on the program, Sunday Morning, yesterday that brought me to tears. It was entitled “Late Bloomers” and as Jack and I watched it, we both were filled with deep emotion. For me it felt like hope and an affirmation that life is truly meant to keep expanding, as we ourselves are.

For many years, I’d believed that the depth of our talents and creative abilities would surface and grow as we aged. It seemed like evidence of this was rare, but I still felt it, and it seemed to be connected to the way we perceived youth and beauty. I even wrote a paper about this, over 20 years ago, when I was a student at Harvard Divinity School. But at the same time, I was experiencing a huge inner struggle as I felt I’d lost my youthful appearance. I was 35 at the time.

When I was younger, I was obsessed with looking good and gaining the attention of the opposite sex….and I got quite a lot of it, but that began to change in my late 30’s and with that decline in attention, I experienced disorientation and a questioning of my value. “If I couldn’t attract a man, what good was I?”, was a question that, even though I don’t like admitting it, consumed a lot of my time.

Much of my creativity went into keeping my body in shape and trying to maintain a youthful appearance, and I felt there was a war of sorts going on inside as deeper and more meaningful parts of me were emerging and begging for some “air time”. I was fighting becoming “old”. I didn’t want to be unattractive (and as un-politically correct as that sounds, it was my belief that old was not pretty, at all) and did not believe that my inner self, talents, and abilities, were as attractive as my outer shell, which was now, to my horror, slipping away; sagging, bagging wrinkling, bulging, and greying.

But some part of me also hoped that there was something inside beyond my looks, something which was rich and wonderful and that glimmer of belief was like a golden thread that led me through a very necessary change from focusing on my outer self to allowing my inner self to emerge…and I like it…a lot.

Focusing on the body can become an unhealthy obsession, whether it is on our beauty, or even on our “health”. Eat right, exercise, sleep, do yoga, take the right vitamins, drink plenty of water…all of these things that we are told are “good” for us, can also make us to forget that we are so much more than bodies. How many times do we ask someone, “How are you?” and the answer is about health, the state of their physical bodies, or the “health” of one of their family members. Few people think to say, “I am a wonder!” or “I am opening up in a way that is delightful!”, in response to that question.

But it is a good question. How about answering, “I am growing, I am expanding, I am becoming aware of new thoughts and revelations that have only just been revealed to me.” We are more than our bodies, but where we focus is where we will be led. I want to honor my body but not worship it or make a Herculean effort to preserve it and prevent it from changing. I hope to hold it lovingly, let it go its way, and keep my focus on what I want to experience more of in this life: love, happiness, creativity, and the sense of wonder that comes with change and growth which is what this life is all about.

“When your ideas about yourself change, so does your experience.” Seth, from The Nature of Personal Reality

P.S. My ideas of beauty and youth have also changed as I have come, more and more to accept myself. I look at Judi Dench and Maggie Smith and think , “I love the way that those women live and look!” and this is, to me, a sign of my own growth.

A worthy use of my time?

The cashmere blanket!

I finally finished my cashmere blanket. It is incredibly soft, cozy, warm and funny looking. The cats love it. I love it…. when I feel it, without looking at it. When I see it, it’s hard not to focus on the crooked lines, and puckered surface. I know that I could have done a better job sewing it, but part of me also knew that no matter how much time I put into cutting perfect squares, piecing them carefully, and finishing things smoothly, eventually it would get dirty, ripped a little, probably one of the cats would throw up on it and it would need to be washed…it is a blanket that is going to get used, everyday, and eventually used up. It is full of  imperfection.

Since I’ve turned 50, my center just keeps getting softer and more bulky. I have an ideal in my head about what my body should look and feel like, and that image is stuck at 25.  But to be honest, I didn’t like the way I looked back then either. It’s only when I look at old photographs that I think, “I looked great. What was there to be critical of!?”

When I close my eyes, I like the way I feel. When I look at myself, I think “Yikes, you look like a middle-aged, grey-haired grandmother!” Why should this be a yikes?  This is right, this is life. I’ve taken it as such a compliment when someone has said that I look younger than my age, but is “looking young” really a worthy use of my time? Isn’t that sort of like packing the perfect blanket away and only taking it out to show others? I want to open up my arms and welcome the supreme gift of being alive in this body, in this moment. I want to use this life to the fullest and not have a well-preserved shell of a person when it is my turn to leave.

Whoever you are, how superb and how divine is your body or any part of it! I believe in the flesh and the appetites. Seeing, hearing, feeling, are miracles, and each part and tag of me is a miracle. Divine am I inside and out, and I make holy whatever I touch or am touched from.
The scent of these arm-pits aroma finer than prayer. This head more than churches, bibles, and all the creeds. If I worship any particular thing, it shall be some of the spread of my own body.” Walt Whitman