Tag Archive | spiritual counselor

Nirvana Day (every day!?)

my calendar says it is Nirvana Day today!

Our small Buddha statue catching the morning light a few days ago.

My plans for today changed when I woke up to warnings of a big winter storm, and made the decision not to travel. As a kid, I love snow days; loved hearing, “Warrensburg Central School is closed.” I can still recall the thrill of those words coming through the old radio in our kitchen.

A snow day meant freedom from doing something that I didn’t want to do; go to school. I hated school, and left this belief largely unquestioned until much later in life. If anyone had asked me, at the time, why I hated it so much, I’m not sure that I would have been honest (or self-aware) enough to say that the reason I hated it, was because I thought that I was dumb. I didn’t think that I could understand what was being taught, believed that homework was boring, and so I didn’t even try to do it (which reinforced my belief that it was impossible).

If someone said to me today, “For the next 4 years, all of your needs will be met. You’ll have the money you need, clothes, food, a car, friends to go out with (all of this was my high school experience) and all you have to do, is go to this place where you will learn math, science, art, and history. You will play field hockey, have time to study between classes and learn to cook, make pottery, and sew.” I would think that I was in heaven! Nirvana!

But back then, I felt like I was being made to do it, so without questioning this, I fought it, instead of embracing it, hated it, instead of enjoying it. There is a song from Mary Poppins, “In every job there is to be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun and snap! The job’s a game….”

There’s a profound wisdom in these words. Why not look for the fun, look for the unexpected delight, build your nest, build your life, from a happy, open heart….sing a new song today (or maybe try singing just a little every day…or at least for the weekend!)

“Be aware of wonder. Live a balanced life; learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work some, every day” Robert Fulghum

**** snow day thought*******

Because my calendar is unexpectedly open today, I thought I’d open up the opportunity to share my work with you. I generally offer either 30 or 60 minute sessions but today, I am offering 20  minute sessions (for $20 each). If you are interested, just email me at mmuncil@verizon.net and we’ll set up a time to talk (you can read more about my work here https://whitefeatherfarm.wordpress.com/about )

Listening “in”

Getting quiet

8 years ago, I attended a retreat in Alabama and did a fire-walk. In the few days leading up to the actual walk, the leader kept encouraging us to listen to our inner voices, to be sure it would be safe for us (personally) to do. This involved getting quiet (both inside and out), settling down and not acting out of either fear or nervous excitement.

I could feel that it was right for me. I didn’t feel cocky or arrogant, and the thought of it made my stomach flip, but in an exciting way. I know the difference between excited expectation of something totally out of my comfort zone, and the inner discomfort that says “this is not a good idea for you”, or the other voice that gets really excited about something but within a few days, the energy drains away and I see clearly that it was just one of my “big ideas” that really is not right.

No other person can get inside of me and feel. It is the still, small voice that doesn’t give us logical reasons, explanations, or excuses. It Knows the way and it leads to more life.

I don’t know if I’ll ever do a firewalk again or not, but just because I’ve done it once, doesn’t mean I’d feel OK to do it again without checking inside to see how I was feeling. With all of the positive outcomes, (and mistakes) I’ve made in my life, the one constant has been my sense of whether or not something was right (for me) or wrong  in that particular situation. I didn’t always listen to that voice, didn’t always want to…but I always knew.

When people are hard on themselves saying, “I knew that I shouldn’t have….(fill in the blank; dated that guy, bought that car, adopted that particular animal…) it is important to remember that you knew and that means you can trust your inner voice. And maybe even follow it next time!

Intuition is a spiritual faculty and does not explain, but simply points the way. Florence Scovel Shinn


Over the past year, a number of people have asked me if I’d consider doing shorter phone sessions and so, starting September 1st, I am going to be offering, (in addition to the full one hour regular sessions) shorter, 30 minute appointment times. The fee will be $35 for the 1/2 hr. time (the regular session will stay at $60).

If this is something that interests you, you can go to the “My Work: Private Sessions with Me” tab,  read more about my background and what a session with me is like, and if you’d like to set up a time, email me and we’ll go from there!  The link to this page is: https://whitefeatherfarm.wordpress.com/about/

… a little contest!

The prize!

It’s 9:30 in the morning and already 85 degrees. I slept until 7 a.m. (Fred finally woke me up) and I’m looking at all of our animals lying prostrate on the wooden parts of the floor. Slow down, relax, take a deep breath, don’t rush, be easy with yourself today, seems to be the message…. and I am listening. So what better thing to do than a give-away? It is an easy and fun thing to do.

If you would like to enter this give-away, then just comment with a word  (or 2) that best illustrates the way you would like to feel, or have more, of in your life (examples; happy, calm, excited, faith, inner-peace, self-love) and I’ll choose a random entry on Friday, June 1st . The winner will receive a tin of the skin balm that I make….my words are, self-confidence.

  • “Watch your thoughts, they become your words
    Watch your words, they become your actions
    Watch your actions, they become your habits
    Watch your habits, they become your character
    Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.”
    – Anonymous

Help is always around…even if we are having trouble feeling it in the moment

Matt and Tom in the front seat (Jack and me in the back)…having a wild day!

Our flight to Philadelphia on Saturday morning was delayed getting out of Burlington, which left us about 20 minutes to make our connection. There were a number of us on the plane flying to Mexico, and so we hoped they’d hold the flight if we were late, but we sprinted and got to the gate just as the final passenger was boarding. Our hearts were pounding, we were out of breath, sweating and happy as we arrived at the gate on-time, behind the last few entering passengers.

The woman ahead of me tried to give her boarding pass to the attendant but she wouldn’t take it, saying that we were too late. “What?!” There are people going down the ramp right now!” my fellow passenger gasped, trying to catch her breath. The airline worker was stone-faced. Then about 15 of us, all who were booked for that flight (which was still sitting at the gate, as they loaded passengers) started asking why we could not get on. The 2 women behind the desk began looking things up on the computer so we waited and waited and when someone asked what they’d found out, one of them looked up said, “I can’t deal with any of you right now. I am finishing up this flight.” The long and the short of it was, that they had filled all of the seats (probably had over-booked the flight) and we were sent to customer relations.

Our unhappy little pod of 15 made our way to the customer service desk and were told that we would be put on stand-by for the 7pm flight (it was currently 10 a.m) which was full also, or we would be guaranteed a seat on the 7:30 a.m. flight the next morning. My visions of sitting on the beach, smelling that wonderful sea air, under the full, Cinco de Mayo moon, seemed to be fading and were rapidly being absorbed by the dismal thought of spending the night in a Philadelphia airport hotel under cloudy, diesel-fuel-smelling skies.

Some people were accepting the stand-by tickets, others were trying to get any  flight out of Philadelphia, and I was becoming more discouraged as several hours ticked by. At one point I plopped down in  a seat outside the customer service area, and closed my eyes. I could feel a cauldron of negative emotion swirling around my gut. I kept trying to imagine arriving that evening and seeing Matt (my son who was flying in from L.A.,  and would be waiting for us) but I didn’t really feel any better…my efforts felt insignificant and puny.

Suddenly my phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number but answered it anyway. The voice on the other end said, “Hello Mary? This is Brother Michael. I used to work with Sister Margaret…” Sister Margaret (a Catholic nun) was my beloved spiritual advisor who had died several years ago. I wrote about her on this blog once.  She was well-known for saying goodbye with the words, “Have a wild day!” Brother Michael (a monk) had never called me in all of the years that I had known him. He had a very mundane question about, of all things, the skin balm that I make, but I knew that this call had nothing to do with that.

Sister Margaret’s name brought a peace to me that felt like a hug. I hung up the phone and my son Tom (who had been very patiently working with the customer service people for the past 2 hrs) handed me a piece of paper with an 800 number, and asked me to call it and tell them what happened. I called and immediately got the sweetest guy named Jeremy* who put us on the 3:30 flight to Charlotte NC with a connector to Mexico. I told him that the customer relations people had already tried this flight and it was over-booked. He said, “Well, I’ve just put you on it. You’ll get in at 8:15 tonight.”And he was right.

“You are not just a meaningless fragment in an alien universe, briefly suspended between life and death, allowed a few short-lived pleasures followed by pain and ultimate annihilation. Underneath your outer form, you are connected with something so vast, so immeasurable and sacred, that it cannot be spoken of – yet I am speaking of it now. I am speaking of it now not to give you something to believe in, but to show you how you can know it for yourself.” Eckhart Tolle

*When I got home, I looked up the meaning of the name Jeremy….it means, “God will raise up.”

the happy trip

Esther always finds comfort

In 12 days, we will be leaving for Mexico. I’ve been doing a lot of planning; looking at the Mayan ruin sites, calculating driving distances, reading reviews of local restaurants and rental car companies and deciding how much money to have converted to pesos beforehand. I am a planner. I’m good at it, and I really like it, but I also need to be aware when my inner voice says, “You’ve moved from having fun investigating, into fear and worry that you’ll forget something; won’t pack the right clothes, or have the right gear, leave detailed enough instructions for our pet/house sitter, or the instructions will be so detailed that they’ll be confusing….the list will not end unless I stop it. It’s as if my conscious mind (calling itself “responsible”) is desperately trying to stuff my life into a little box; one that is neat, safe and tidy.

When this happens, it is time to step away and re-orient myself to what is important about the trip. My “purpose” on this vacation is really no different from my purpose everyday, and that is to remember who I am, to remember that I am here to awaken to the Love that is inside me, to shine that light of Love, and to look for it in all that I meet in this great trip called Life.

When I’m afraid or worried I am unconsciously looking for what is wrong. If I don’t catch this, I’ll start attracting those energies and will end up having a rough ride instead of a relaxing journey. Fear, concern, or worry are all contracting, small energies. They are self-centered to the extreme, and are good indicators that I have forgotten that there is a huge, benevolent, Loving force running in, through and around me (and everyone else) and the only thing that I need to do to feel a part of it is to drop the negative thoughts and look for the love, connection and happy coincidences; to allow myself to be swept along by the arms of Love and to enjoy the trip!

A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find that after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us“. John Steinbeck

Slowing myself down: Setting in motion the creative forces of the Universe

My niece Mary's dog, Jade, sleeping on our couch after playing hard with Luke

My day unexpectedly opened up on Monday, and I decided to take a ride to Middlebury VT, (a town we are thinking about moving to) just look around and get a feel for it. It was a fluke of a warm day here (almost 90 degrees) and the drive was like heaven. I arrived in town and started slowly driving up and down every street. I didn’t want to miss anything.

After about an hour, I started to get tense and tired. It was hot, and I was in an unfamiliar town (which has traffic…a thing I’m not used to!). I pulled over and took a deep breath and reminded myself that I would be guided and shown what I needed to see, if I could relax and get out of my head, and into my heart. I never used to be able to stop myself like this. The more wound-up or frustrated I felt, the more I would try to DO SOMETHING to change it. That usually ended up in an escalation of the chaotic feelings until things got worse; either I made some rash decision, or crashed from emotional exhaustion….a tiring way to live at any age, but the older I get, the more I feel the negative effects of out-of-control emotions.

When I get excited about something, I have a tendency to want to “make it happen” and I know the reason for this is that I temporarily forget that I’m not in this (thing called my life) alone, and think that if I don’t figure it out, it won’t happen. I think that I know how it should happen, and forget that I don’t really ever get to see the big picture….this is where faith comes in.

It is a thrilling thought, that the Spirit of Life wants me (wants us all) to have a big, abundant, happy, loving, fulfilling life experience, but I notice that on a pretty regular basis, I need to be reminded that faith in this spiritual Truth is the real door-opener.

After my short period of “remembering”, I slowly drove up a hill into a lovely residential area that turned out to be a dead-end. I was turning around, just as a man was walking out of his driveway. He smiled, and looked at me like he thought I might be lost and in need of help. I told him that we were hoping to move to Middlebury and he said, “I don’t think there is anything for sale, at the moment, in this neighborhood, but a really nice old colonial home in town, just came on the market a few days ago and I can give you directions. I hadn’t known about the house he mentioned.

I did a drive by and it was the nicest and most “perfect for us” looking place that I have seen so far. I wondered, as I got home later in the day, if I would have dove-tailed with that friendly, helpful man, if I had been all stressed out and rushing? I don’t think so. I don’t believe that our energies would have matched. My little time of slowing down actually moved things along so much faster because I was working with the energy of the Divine (which always has the big picture and never rushes!)

There is a basic law that like attracts like. Negative thinking definitely attracts negative results. Conversely, if a person habitually thinks optimistically and hopefully, his positive thinking sets in motion creative forces – and success instead of eluding him, flows toward him.” Norman Vincent Peale

It’s all too beautiful

"Love" by Carolyn Abrams (her beautiful website is http://www.carolynabrams.com

I finished my post yesterday morning, hit the “publish” button, but it didn’t work. I tried again, but WordPress indicated that it had already been published, even though it hadn’t. I tried again and still it did not work. I decided to go for a run and suddenly thought, “What if this is perfect? What if everything is, right now, as it should be? Even though I want it to be different, could it be right?” That was such a powerful thought. It was so soothing. Thinking that I need to change something, or that something should be different, when at the moment, I cannot change it, is so hard on both the emotional and physical body. When I decided that maybe the post not coming out at 7 am might be OK (or better than OK), even though I didn’t understand it, I felt a little excited to see how it would be resolved.

I went from being frustrated and irritated at WordPress (and my technical ineptitude) to feeling anticipation. In the car on the way to my office, I turned on the radio and the words, “…it’s all too beautiful, it’s all too beautiful”, were coming through the speakers and I smiled thinking of this very 1960’s song. It was such a wonderful affirmation for the day. The post that I had just written, was about using affirmations to create a better reality. I laughed as I sung, “It’s all too beautiful!”  all the way to my office. When the song finished, the D.J. said, “That was Ichycoo Park by Small Faces, one of the classics from 1967, the summer of love.”

I remember that song. I was 12 years old when it came out, and suddenly I was right back there…zip. 45 years ago…time passed like it was nothing. If I am still around in 45 years, I’ll be 101. No time to waste on silly things like worry and regret and fear of the future. It will all be OK, somehow it will be right, maybe it will all be “too beautiful” for words. I like that thought.

The video of this song is below….today is a good day to celebrate the “spring of love, 2012!”