Tag Archive | Rumi

A visitor bearing gifts

FullSizeRender

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.

Rumi
(translation by Coleman Barks)

 

 

 

 

Life as serious fun

Rumi

Acrylic on old board painting that I just finished, “The door is Round and Open. Don’t go back to sleep” Rumi *

When I hear people say, “Be careful what you pray for, you might just get it!” I usually don’t say anything, but this line of thinking never felt right to me, and I’ve come to see that it isn’t true. Oh yes, we can all  make things happen. I can put my will-power and determination onto an idea and wrench it into place with extreme effort, but this isn’t my idea of prayers becoming reality.

When I use pure will-power and grit to accomplish a goal, there are feelings that accompany it: struggle, worry and tension. And I’ve done this enough to know how it feels when “my plan” is simply that (and not a part of a larger good/higher ideal for my life). When I have the feeling that if I let up for a second, my goal will dissolve, then I’m usually contemplating a move that isn’t in the highest and best, because if it is, there is an energy, that is me but is also beyond me, and larger than me, that moves things along, opens doors, brings ideas, opportunities, and assistance, that I could never have dreamed of….and I know this feeling too. It feels like “going with the flow”.

Last week, I wrote about wanting to go to Alinea (a restaurant in Chicago). I contacted them (found out I couldn’t even buy tickets for September until mid-July), looked up flights from Albany to Chicago, and read about some interesting B & B’s within walking distance of the restaurant. All of this activity was so much fun.

I was talking with a family member about this, and he said, “Have you figured out the total cost of this trip?” I told him that I had (approximately) and then he said, “I want to pay for your trip as an early birthday present.” That was a total surprise. But I also knew that if this trip to Alinea was meant to be, it would flow….in ways just like this that would also be delightful.

It’s the feeling-tone of the idea/thought that lets me know if I am going in the right direction or heading off onto a side road/dead-end. If I have to work, really hard, to accomplish something, I will have to work really hard to sustain it. If I am worried sick about anything, then that event, relationship, or occurrence, will hold “worried sick” energy.

Prayer, to me, is seeing the outcome that I would like to see and then letting it go (to the best of my ability). But if I find myself thinking about “it” after I have let it go, and I usually do, then I try to make sure that I am not worrying it, struggling with it, or trying to micro-manage it. I want to live my life as play. I want to flow with this great stream, of which I am a part. I want to discover, deep down in my being, the truth that Life is seriously fun!

“Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.” Alan Watts

 

*if you are interested in buying this painting, you can see the details on the My Artwork page or contact me at mmuncil@verizon.net

Think a new thought…

I found this artist’s (Pamela Zagarenskii) gorgeous work through her cards, http://www.sacredbee.com

Here in the United States, we had a presidential election on Tuesday. As we were leaving a wonderful restaurant yesterday, the owner said to Jack, as he paid the bill, “Four more years huh?” in a very deflated way. Jack said that he didn’t even know what to say to her, so he thanked her for a terrific lunch, told her that he loved her restaurant, and left.  As we talked about this later, we agreed that no matter who had been elected, we would start looking forward to the next day, the next four weeks, the next four years…. of our lives.

If I am feeling discouraged about my life, instead of voicing the same old complaint; “Why are things so bad?”, a much better question would be, “What new thought can I think, right now, that will make my life better?

“I’ve learned that next to the atomic bomb, the greatest danger is defeatism, despair, and inadequate awareness of what human beings possess. I feel that any problem that can be defined is capable of being resolved. Out of this has come my conviction that no man knows enough to be a pessimist.” Norman Cousins

Look….out

Eleanor on the meditation cushions

When I woke up yesterday morning, an image flashed before my eyes that almost made me laugh. It was as if I could see “Life” standing at my front door with Its hand outstretched saying “Come with me. It doesn’t matter what you did yesterday or last year or what you never did. Today is a fresh start, a new beginning. Step into it!” Later that morning, I was driving along the river and a red-tailed hawk flew in front of my car to the other side of the road, grabbed a snake, and flew back across my path toward the river.

I read a wonderful Ram Dass quote a few days ago that said, “The next message you need is always right where you are.”

Come, come, whoever you are
Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving.
It doesn’t matter.
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you have broken your vow a hundred times
Come, yet again, come, come.

RUMI

taking down barriers to Love

my father in his early 20’s (home from college)

My mother told me the other day that someone in the family had given her a bunch of old photographs, and that she was thinking about throwing the ones that had my father in them out. I asked her please not to do that, and told her that I would like them. She replied, “Okay” with the tone of, “I really don’t understand why you would want them.”

I got my mail yesterday, and there was a small packet from her with a note saying she had “picked out a nice little bunch” for me. I appreciated this so much. I know it wasn’t easy for her to do. She is, little by little, letting go of the idea that she was “wronged”, and the more she drops the thought that she had a miserable past, the happier she becomes.

I had never seen this picture of my father before, and it brought tears to my eyes. He looked so full of life and fun and hope and future. Life didn’t turn out the way he had hoped…I know that now. He is disappointed in his own life, and it seems there are a lot of people who are still disappointed in him too…I used to be one of them.

Coretta Scott King once said, “Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated.” I can feel the truth of this for myself. Hate is a locked door. We are hoping to keep ourselves safe from further hurt, but we really end up imprisoned with the horrible memories (we are trying to flee from) locked inside too, as erratic painful companions, liable to be triggered by a question, a photograph or a random thought.

There was a time in my life when a photograph like this would have brought a feeling of disdain to me…like a painful barb….that wasn’t so long ago, yet I can’t even conjure up those feelings anymore…what a great relief. When I changed, everything around me changed too. My perceptions of the past, my family, my self.

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” Rumi

The diamond necklace

Noah, Fred, and Esther taking morning naps (with angel frog watching over them!)

I’ve been sleeping more lately; going to bed earlier and getting up later, and it feels divine when I can turn away from the voice that says, “You are being lazy. Why are you sleeping so much? There must be something wrong with you! Nothing will get done if you don’t do it. You have to GET MOVING!” I am learning to discern this critical task-master voice, from the one that prompts me to “right action” when the timing (which is usually beyond my ability to figure out) is right. Action has never really been a problem for me. Waiting and trusting that I am being guided has been more of a challenge.

Lately, there is an inner voice calling to me saying,  “Relax. Trust. Listen with new ears. Sink into your life and watch it unfold in miraculous ways.”

“You wander from room to room, hunting for the diamond necklace, that is already around your neck.” Rumi