Tag Archive | trust

a 15 minute trip…the destination is your choice

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He Holds the Universe in His Hands (painting available on my artwork page)

Several nights ago, Jack and I got into a lengthy discussion about our relationship. After 20 minutes of “honestly” telling each other what we felt was missing, how we had been disappointed, discouraged, angry, hurt, and generally dissatisfied, we both felt horrible. The more we talked about what was wrong (in an attempt to correct these shortcomings) the worse we felt.

I know this truth: look for what is wrong and you will find it. Attempt to solve problems or clear misunderstandings from a place of unhappiness and all of the negative, crappy, old complaints will jump on that train and take you on a ride to hell.

As we sat on the couch feeling more and more deflated, we decided to try something different and began to talk about what we appreciated and loved about each other. Within a few minutes, our energy lightened, and just like when we talked about what we didn’t like, and more examples popped up to confirm that we were in fact a mess, as we talked about what was good, fun, loving, caring, wonderful, surprising, delightful, and happy, more memories, stories, and occasions presented themselves as well.

In 15 minutes, we went from discouragement to actual happiness about where we were as a couple, and even where we had been.

 

15 minutes.

 

What I know is that anyone can do this. You do not need special training or any skill other than a genuine desire to see yourself and “the other” with new eyes. If you can’t sit down with the person who you believe is causing you so much pain, then do this in your mind. Imagine having the new, positive, conversation and do it until your energy changes.This is what I believe true forgiveness is.

There is a self-defeating human tendency to not want to think anything good about the person we blame for our unhappiness. It can almost feel like we will loose our leverage (anger, resentment, etc.) if we see the good in them or forgive them…especially if we don’t think that this will be reciprocated. But if we don’t do this, we will end up bitter, small, and more fearful, believing that we need to protect ourselves from further injury.

Love is the only power strong enough to protect us from harm, and the field of Love is accessed through the open mind…and heart.

“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

What will I do today?

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Eleanor snuggling with one of Luke’s toys

“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to save the world and a desire to savor the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” E. B. White

 

For much of my life, I’d felt a deep urge to help others…but it never seemed like I was doing enough. I believed that life was a long, narrow, uphill, climb toward some place of perfection where I would finally be in my right place, doing my right work, at the right time; a place where I’d finally know who I was and why I was here. I struggled for years to get to this place, yet it always seemed out of reach. Rest was not an option on this path.

During these years of struggle, I was incredibly self-concerned, but I didn’t realize it. I thought that my striving was noble, not selfish. I assumed that harsh self-examination was the path to improvement…and god knows, I believed that I needed to be improved. But God didn’t “know” this. This wasn’t a Divine path. The constant thoughts of how I could be a better person, do more for the world, and become happier, were fueled by ego.

When I began to lighten up, which meant stopping critical thoughts about others and myself, I noticed that people around me changed and reflected this light back to me. I saw that I didn’t so much have to do something but I needed to stop doing/thinking the things that separated me from who I really was/am: Love.

I don’t mean to suggest that I never have a critical thought about myself, or other people, anymore. I have plenty of them, but I am much more aware of these thoughts as invitations to a fight; they are seductive; they call to me with feelings of anger, righteous indignation, resentment, and revenge. They tell me that I am better than other people. They tell me that I’ve been wronged. They tell me that there is a right and a wrong (I’m usually the right/virtuous one) and I must choose my side and fight for it, or banish the other one. They masquerade as strength, but in reality, if I believe them, I become their victim.

I’ve been declining a lot of these invitations lately and in their place, choosing to see what is right with a person (including myself), situation, event, or memory. Several days ago, I was thinking about one of the people currently running for president, and how easy, and almost fun, it is to blast this person. So, again, I noticed this and asked myself, “What is there to love about this person?” We are one. He/she is a part of my consciousness at some level. It wasn’t hard to answer the question, it only required giving up my desire to criticize and condemn.

So, what will I do today, save or savor the world? I think that I’ll just be myself. I will Love it/me/them/us and I will allow that Love to flow back to me.

 

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

A new question

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Smiling sky

One thing that I keep needing to re-learn, is never to ask myself a question when the answer will not be helpful. Have you ever noticed that the only time you ask yourself the question, “What is wrong with me?” is when you are not feeling good? And what then do we think the answer will be? Something new, uplifting, and helpful? Never.

Questions like, “What is wrong, what is missing, why do I feel so ……?”, are ripe opportunities for the egoic mind to jump in and say, “I”ll tell you what is wrong with you! And then it goes crazy with all sorts of worn-out, old, frightening reasons why you are in the wretched state that you are, and why this is your (or someone else’s) fault. And we believe it. It feels like the truth.

When I catch myself doing this, I try to ask a better question, like, “What is right about this (or me?). What is right in my life right now?” and then I don’t try to figure it out, I let an answer come. Sometimes just asking the question is enough to lift my spirits and help me start feeling better. It is such a simple and heart-felt prayer: “Show me what is right, show me what is good about my life, right now.” Questions like these have the power to break old patterns of reactive thought since they are invoking the deeper self: the Spirit of Love itself.

Ask yourself a new question today….one that doesn’t cause you to cringe and brace yourself for the answer, but that makes you smile in happy anticipation; one you would enjoy hearing the answer to.

The voice in the head has a life of its own. Most people are at the mercy of that voice: they are possessed by thought and by the mind. And since the mind is conditioned by the past, you are then forced to reenact the past again and again. The Eastern term for this is karma.” Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth (pg 129)

*As a friend and I were walking to our morning watercolor class this past Saturday, I looked up in the sky and saw a plane flying in what appeared to be an arc, and then it began to close and make a circle. We stood there speechless, as it completed the circle and then came back around to make a smile (you can see the outline on the right).

F.R.O.G.

Bodhi taking a look (or a smell) at the little green F.R.O.G.

Bodhi taking a look (or a smell) at the little green F.R.O.G.

When we got back home on Saturday, on our doorstep, we found a welcome-home packet that a friend left for us. Inside was this little green frog and a wonderful story and I wanted to share it with you.

F.R.O.G.

by Arline Bee, Roanoke, Virginia (from the October 2009 Guideposts Magazine)

They call me the frog lady.  An expert on amphibians I’m not.  But it’s a nickname I’m proud of.  Let me tell you why.

Four years ago I was living in Florida when Hurricane Wilma tore through.  The damage the storm caused to my church was so severe that we had to hold service and Sunday School classes in the fellowship hall.  One muggy afternoon 80 of us crowded into the small hot room for class, and sat side by side on folding chairs.  It wasn’t very comfortable…or inspiring.  “How many of you know what the letters F.R.O.G. stand for?” the Sunday school teacher asked.  People shouted out lots of different answers.  Where on earth is she going with this? I wondered.

Then our teacher pointed heaven-ward.  Perched atop her index finger was a bright green rubber frog with big googly eyes and spindly legs.  It was about the cutest thing I’d ever seen!  “F.R.O.G. stand for Fully Rely on God, and that’s what we need to do, especially now,” she said.  Everyone clapped.  The message was just what we needed.

All at once, it hit me.  Maybe other folks would be inspired by these frogs too…

Pulling into the gas station one afternoon, I couldn’t help but notice the woman standing at the pump next to mine.  She just seemed so sad about something.  I reached into my bag.  “I have something for you,” I said, handing over a frog.  “I know it doesn’t say much, but I think it says it all.  It will bring you a blessing today.”  She didn’t say a word, just stared at the little green frog.  Uh-oh, she thinks I’m crazy, I thought.  I turned to walk away.  The woman touched my arm.  “You just made my day,” she said.  She hopped into her car and drove off with a smile.  Right then I knew I had to pass frogs on to more people…

I’ve handed out more than 4,000 frogs, to everyone…even the governor of Virginia and President Obama and his family.

Yes, they call me the frog lady, and I don’t mind a bit.  But I’m not the one who deserves credit for the big impact these little frogs have.  That goes to the One the F.R.O.G. message is all about.  The one I fully rely on.

Everything supports you whether or not you even notice it, whether or not you think about it or understand it, whether you love it or hate it, whether you’re happy or sad, asleep or awake, motivated or unmotivated. It just supports you without asking for anything in return.” from, “I Need Your Love, Is that True? by Byron Katie

You have always been taken care of

“You are never alone” a photograph I took a few years ago in the Adirondacks

A lot of thoughts have been popping into my head in the middle of the night lately. Sometimes they consist of just a word, but last night it was the sentence, “You have always been taken care of.” It was a soothing thought to me; one that brought a sense of peace and comfort, and it came in the middle of the night…the time that I feel most vulnerable and maybe most open to “help”. I also could feel that it was true for us all. I fell back asleep and forgot about this until I was sitting down to write this morning.

As I think about it now, it seems to be saying, “Stop looking for what could go wrong, not work out, or fall apart, and trust that for the last 56 years, you’ve been taken care of, you aren’t going to be dropped now. Everything is just as it is supposed to be. Relax, Move  forward, Trust”.

This place where you are right now, God circled on a map for you“. Hafiz


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