Tag Archive | Mahatma Gandi

reckless loving

 

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Jack brings home piles of antique books from the recycle center…he just cannot bear to see them thrown away… I just found a creative way to deal with some of them!

I was on an early morning walk yesterday, several miles from home, when I noticed a bird in the road. I assumed that it had been hit by a car, so I wanted to pick it up and lay it gently under a tree, but as I got closer, this gorgeous red-headed woodpecker turned its head and looked at me. “You are alive!”, were the words that came out of my mouth as I reached down with mittened hands to pick him*up.

I began to walk home, but decided to stop at the nearest house and ask for a ride. The man who answered the door was so kind. Before I could even ask, he was grabbing his jacket and car keys. As I approached our front door, Jack was standing in his robe, looking rather concerned as he said, “What can I do?”

We’d just taken our Christmas ornaments out of the boxes and set them aside, still full of fluffy tissue paper…perfect as a temporary place to put our feathered friend while I went to my computer to look for help. The first site that came up was North Country Wild Care (http://www.northcountrywildcare.org). The woman who answered the phone gave me the number of a local vet who usually takes wild animals/birds for evaluation. She told me to call them but added if they couldn’t take him, to call her right back and she would figure something else out. I don’t know what I expected but I was overwhelmed with gratitude that this woman cared so much and wasn’t going to drop us. The vet’s office said that they would take him, and told me to bring him right in.

Jack and I gently closed up the box and put it on the front seat of my car, but as I drove to the vet’s office, the bird became agaiated, moving inside the box in a way that concerned me. I thought that classical music might be soothing but couldn’t find a station, so I began to sing Christmas carols. To my delight, the scratching stopped.

After a brief evaluation, the vet tech told me that she thought the woodpecker would be OK. They were going to do a complete examination and if he couldn’t be released into the wild, they would call North Country Wild Care and a wildlife rehab specialist would pick him up.

Back in my car I sat for a minute and let myself soak in all that had happened in the past hour. The love and care that we (the little injured bird and myself) were shown was overwhelming. From the moment I picked him up from the road, to handing him over at the vet’s office, it was as if we were floating on a ribbon of Grace. Loving help was there at every turn…for me, for him…

When we talked later that evening, Jack said, “I’m not sure that I would’ve known what to do if I’d come across a bird like that. How did you know what to do?”

“I didn’t”. I replied, “I just knew that I wasn’t going to leave him in the road so I picked him up. Then I began to walk. It was as if “instructions” were given to me at every step.”

This incident made me think about the unconditional love that was shown by so many people in the helping of this little injured creature. Selfless, generous, love, by the vet, the wildlife rescue center, the man who gave me a ride, Jack…and even me. It also made me think about how I love others.

This year has been an eye-opener for me…many incredible gifts and also some painful realizations…the most significant being that I had not been generous with my love…especially at home. As I examined my life, I could see that I’d been stingy, cautious, and calculating with my affection: withholding it if I felt slighted, or sensed it wasn’t being returned in an equal or greater measure.

But that changed this year, and even though I know that spiritually I’ve stepped into a new world, it has at times been terrifying. I’ve become acutely aware of my fear of being hurt, or taken advantage of, or being made a fool for trusting. And when those fears come up, it feels like there is a battle for my soul happening within. I can feel that old frightened self say, “Cut and run” and the voice of Love say, “All is well. You can trust life. You can trust love. I am here with you each step of the way and you are now on new ground. Leave the past behind and live fully now.”

A friend sent me the quote below yesterday, and I felt like it spoke directly to my life, my heart, my situation in life. I just love the words, “Love is reckless ….” Reckless! Just reading those words makes me feel braver. I no longer want to weigh and measure my giving. I want to be reckless in my loving. I want to be oblivious to what I get in return. I want to love for the sake of loving.  I want to give all of me to all of life. WIthholding ourselves may feel safe but it isn’t. Eventually, a “safe” life becomes small, steril, joyless, and unbearable.

The call to myself this day, this year, this holiday season, is to love everything and everyone. To forgive everything and everyone. To give everything ,and to become a reckless fool for Love.

Fear and love are contradictory terms. Love is reckless in giving away, oblivious as to what it gets in return. Love wrestles with the world as with the self and ultimately gains mastery over all other feelings….” Mahatma Gandhi (On Love)

*I’m not sure what sex the woodpecker was.

I know better?

Luke with one of my mittens in his mouth

Luke with one of my mittens in his mouth

I called my father several weeks ago, and his voice sounded off. He said that he had a cold and felt terrible so he’d call when he was feeling better. I week passed, without hearing from him, so I called again, and again he said that he’d call when he was feeling better, but he hasn’t. His wife is a very good care taker, so it’s not a case of him being all alone and needing my help, and he isn’t asking for my help, at all.

As I was falling asleep last night, several thoughts/questions went through my mind about him. “He is 88 years old, maybe I should be a little more insistent about talking with him and checking in”. The next thought was “Why? Just because he is 88? Why are you (Mary) having a hard time respecting his wishes just because he is elderly?”

He told me what he wanted: to call me when he was feeling better (when he felt like it). So would my call really be for him, or would it be for myself, so I could feel better? I knew the answer, and as I looked at it like that, I could feel that pushing my will was selfish and self-centered. I opted to hold him in my heart as I fell asleep, imagining his smiling face, and I felt peace.

He is under no obligation to call me, and if I am worried then that is truly my problem. Worry is never helpful. It exhausts us, and feels terrible when we are the recipients (energetically) of another person’s worry. I love my father, and today I’m choosing to show him that love by respecting his wishes. Sometimes life is so easy, and the direction that I have been given is so clear, that I miss it,… thinking that I know better.

“There is nothing that wastes the body like worry.” Mahatma Gandhi

Inside and out

2 cats inside and 2 out

Noah and Fred inside, Ben and Esther outside and ready to come back in.

A few years ago, I ran into a woman who was very unhappy. She’d just had a fight with the man she was living with and was going on and on about how difficult he was, and that life was so much easier when she had her own place. She said, “I was a fool to move in with him”, and reminisced about her “ideal past” with her little peaceful garden, horses, and lovely spot in the country (as compared to his home which was in a neighborhood).

This thought, while seemingly logical, was actually making her feel worse….and it wasn’t the truth. I knew her before she met this man and as much as she’d like to believe (in the very frustrating moment that she was experiencing) that she used to be calm, happy and blissfully alive living alone in her little country home, she wasn’t. She frequently complained that she was lonely and feared she’d never meet anyone; said she was tired of being responsible for everything and wished she had someone to share her life with.

Nothing (and no one) on the outside of us can bring us lasting inner peace, happiness or contentment (or make us miserable). I’ve seen this time and time again with both myself and others: thinking that some purchase, event, job, recognition, appreciation of others, move, partner, or success will lift us out of our current emotional state permanently, only to have the thrill of the situation fade and suddenly and disapointedly we find that we are feeling the same. If we don’t catch ourselves, we will then blame something that is currently in our lives and the cycle of blame continues.

We bring the dominant emotional vibration of our being with us into every activity and situation, and so if we want to really have a different life, we need to stop blaming everything on the outside and go within and discover who we really are: Divine consciousness that is connected to all of Life, Harmony, Peace and Love, and if we aren’t feeling any of these then we need to start looking for them within our own beings first.

Sometimes this can feel impossible, but if we are serious about change, a way will be shown to us. As I was falling asleep last night, the words, “You are a Divine Idea” came into my mind and they made me smile. The thought that I, Mary Muncil, am a Divine Idea. I loved that and knew it was true, not only of me, but of every one of us. So maybe try that one on for yourself today!

Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances.” Mahatma Gandhi

 

Wonderful yes!

Eleanor sleeping on my computer chair (she thinks it is hers)

When I first thought of the idea of saying yes 1000 times (over this past weekend) my feeling was basically that it would be a nice focus, but I wasn’t expecting any big deal in the way of things happening in my life. Saturday afternoon, we got a call from a friend inviting us to an impromptu party and my initial reaction was, Yes.

I called Jack to see what he wanted to do, and he had the same feeling. This is just not all that normal for us. We are not really party people and had planned a quiet evening watching the Notre Dame football game, eating chicken soup and going to bed early. At the party, a friend was telling me how much she enjoyed the depth of the comments on this blog. She went on to say that she was really interested to hear how this particular post had effected people. We talked a little about a post dedicated to asking for your responses to this “exercise”/prayer of simply repeating the word yes.

Later that evening, I was asked to officiate a celebration later this year (something that I have not been doing for various reasons) and again, my first response (and inner feeling) was Yes! Wonderful! On Sunday morning, another friend called who just happened to be passing through town and wanted to meet for lunch. I had gotten up late, gone for a long run and was just enjoying the feeling of cocooning myself in solitude and “home” and so I told her this.  She completely understood, and my “no” to her request, was really a “Yes” to my life.

What I’ve been wondering is this: If I hadn’t been saying yes, focusing on opening my heart to Life, and Love and the new, would I have reacted the same? Would these opportunities even have been presented? Would I have said yes to my friend out of guilt or obligation? Would I have said no to the other invitations because that was what I usually do? I don’t know.

Something so powerful, and beyond our conscious mind’s ability to reason it out,  happens when (with feeling) we say, think, whisper, or write this simple word, Yes. I would love for you to share (comment) your experiences with this theme of yes if you would like to. If you haven’t tried it yet, it is never too late…I’m thinking that I’ll keep it up until at least until the end of the week and from there, who knows!

“A ‘no’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.” Mahatma Gandhi