Spring Is Rebirth & In Life…With HOPE.

“Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.” ~Buddha

When you woke up this morning, did you hear a little voice inside say, “Congratulations, You have a new day to reawaken to your true self, create new experiences and add joy to the already familiar ones?” Oh, you didn’t hear that voice? Well, that’s what we’re told every morning, but most of us just feel a push to get up and get moving. And we miss a spectacular chance to experience a rebirth in our life.

Everything in the universe moves in cycles, and each cycle offers some kind of rebirth. Many are subtle and go unnoticed, but each brings a change of some kind. The moon tells the oceans when to ebb and flow, the seasons tell us when to sow and reap, and darkness tells us when days end and nights begin. Over time, we see our body’s external changes, but seldom aware of the many internal changes happening every day.


“Spring is far more than just a changing of seasons; it’s a rebirth of the spirit.”  ~Toni Sorenson

My favorite time for rebirth comes each spring. That’s when trees turn green, flowers burst forth from buds, bears come out of their caves, butterflies emerge from their cocoons, and newness of life is everywhere. If you pay attention, you can feel your spirit longing for rebirth.

 

In the cold of winter, I anticipate springtime when my azaleas will bloom. They run the length of my driveway, and about 12 feet high. Every year when I see their rebirth, I feel this in myself like we’re part of each other in God’s great universe. And I have hope in my heart for another year. But this year I found them invaded by a stubborn fungus.

I had to get them sprayed, and I was concerned they may not come out this time. But those beautiful plants overcame the fungus, fought for their rebirth, and burst forth in all their glory. How could I have doubted their ability to survive another year…and how can I doubt my own? Nature is a great reminder of how much more we are than our human awareness tells us.

Yes, nature is beautiful in the spring with rebirth everywhere. But do you ever think about rebirth within yourself, or are you content to continue living in the old script you’ve written for your life? We may have dreams of how we’d like to change our script, but much of the time those dreams fade away, and our springs come and go as they always have without our awareness of their message.


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“We must let go of the life we had planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”  ~Joseph Campbell


Rebirth doesn’t require
drastic measures to occur, but sometimes this is what it takes to get our attention. Suppose you made your life plans, and you’ve got your heels dug in. You may defiantly shout to the world, “Nothin’s gonna change my mind.” And that’s when something blows in like a Florida hurricane, and your plans go out the window. It may be an illness, a sudden divorce, a job loss, any unexpected situation. And you fight to stay on track until you’re too tired to look anywhere except inside. And there you find your forgotten self. You experience a rebirth.


“Re-Birth…when the old you is leaving and the new you is awakening because you have started to remember who you really are.”  ~Kelly Martin


Within each of us is a light so bright you can write a whole new script for yourself and experience rebirth with those visions and dreams you may have allowed to go unfulfilled. Get in touch with that inner light through developing conscious awareness with daily prayer and meditation. Listen to your heart and be willing to know more of who you really are. It’s springtime. Think about what rebirth within would mean to you. Then embrace your rebirth and blossom in your own way. You are truly beautiful.


I
 wish you a journey filled with wonderful awakenings.

Marilyn Fowler, Author/Writer

 

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Ways To Make Wise Choices And Avoid Consequences You Don’t Want…

“Everything we say or do in life is a choice.”  ~ Unknown

Push a button, turn on a thought, talk, get dressed, drive somewhere, thousands of actions every day. We’re creatures of habit, and most of the time we’re unaware that each action is a choice, and each choice has a consequence. Of course, we need to form habits to function on a daily basis. But each decision we make creates a result, positive or negative. And it pays to understand the bigger picture so our major choices can benefit us as well.

“For every choice we make we set a cycle of energy and consequence into motion.”   ~Caroline Myss, PhD

We take everyday habits for granted. But you choose. And those daily activities probably meet your needs. But what about major decisions about work, finances, relationships, health, home. etc…those choices that are difficult to undo or change? And what about situations that just happen through no fault of yours? A few years ago, I experienced a serious car wreck. I didn’t choose the accident, but I chose the route that got me there. So where does it all come from?

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life, and you will call it fate.”  ~ C. G. Jung

We learn during our whole lifetime, but for the most part, childhood is where we learn how to live our life making choices. We make them in our own individual way, with a number of factors that influence our methods. And these influences prepare us well or lead us to a series of misguided decisions with negative, even painful, results. As children, the demands on us can create a sense of confidence or mistrust in our judgment.

Situations such as poverty, health issues, disruptive environments, and negative messages can hamper our ability to make sound choices. Trying to live up to roles assigned by our parents can engender security or insecurity. Even where you are in the birth line can make a difference. Nothing is written in stone, but the oldest are usually more independent and self-reliant; the middle may feel shadowed by the others; the youngest more dependent and welcome support.

“Life is all about choices. Good or Bad; Right or Wrong; Your destiny will unfold according to the choices you make.”  ~ Unknown

How many people do you know who look back in regret wishing they’d chosen differently in their work, relationships, health, etc? I can’t count the times I’ve done that. I had to experience 2 years of therapy to learn that my fear, insecurity, poor self-image, loneliness, and so forth had altered my ability to choose wisely. And that’s when I turned the page with wiser choices and happier consequences.

There’s no guarantee that all your choices will be the right ones. But you can learn to create better outcomes most of the time. There’s a saying, “Look at your life, and you’ll see what you have created.” So first look at your life and own responsibility for having created it. Then look at each present situation in your life, and think back in time to what choice you made in the past that created that situation, positive or negative. Some choices may appear to have been some mistakes. But re-examine and see if anything good ultimately resulted from them. You may be surprised.

Now consider what there is within you that may influence your choices, positive or negative. Is it doubting your ability, poor self-image, fear of failure, what will people think, etc? What determines the choices you make? Just being in too much of a hurry could be a problem. With awareness and understanding, you can sometimes correct situations in your life with new choices. And those you can’t change, you can choose ways to better cope.

The next time you have to make a major choice like buying a product, finding a doctor, a new friend, a job, a relationship, or a major life change, analyze what you’re thinking, and get in touch with your gut feeling. Don’t expect a perfect answer, but trust yourself, and vanish any fears. Check your options, get a second opinion, gather needed information, talk it over with someone you trust. All of this information will empower you to move forward in confidence.

You’ve done your homework, and in the future, it will pay off. Maybe not perfect, but you can experience more of the life you long for deep inside. And when you learn, you can teach someone else.

I wish you clear vision and happy results.

Marilyn Fowler, Author/Writer of  “SILENT ECHOES”  and
“ME and GRANMAMA IN THE HILL COUNTRY”  both now on Amazon…

The Value Of Hope And Faith In Meeting Life’s Challenges…

See beyond what you see. That is where Hope is.”   ~Unknown

Life is a mixture of things turning out just the way we want, and times when nothing turns out right. Either way, there are no guarantees. We explore, investigate, gather facts, plan and make decisions. It’s part of life. But there are times when no matter what we do, a situation is iffy, and we can’t be sure of what tomorrow will bring. But then we never can be sure of tomorrow. Life has a way of surprising us, good or bad.

We all know how to enjoy the good times. But those tough times can put us to the test…Row your boat or go down with it. And we respond the best we can. Most of the time when those tough situations arise, we can see a way out. And we resolve them. But some are overwhelming, and we can feel helpless and trapped. Each of us has the inner tools we need to get up when we’re knocked down. But in painful situations, we may forget how strong and powerful we are.

One of our greatest gifts is our will to life. Not only to be alive and exist, but to have a life, to grow, thrive, and be all we’re meant to be. But that truth is hard to find when you’re on the bottom, treading water, afraid you’ll drown. And you want to just give up. Pretty desperate. But there are many people who know this place well. Maybe you’ve been there. Or maybe you’re there now.

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness.”  ~Desmond Tutu

It’s my belief that all living things have this will to life instilled in them, and will fight for life as long as they can. Last month I sat on my front porch looking at my beloved azalea bush with its dead branches and wilted leaves. After 30 years of gorgeous crimson blossoms, I was told it was dying, and I watched it giving up. It’s dear to my heart, and I cried for its loss as I would for a human. But then…then…just recently I saw a few little blossoms burst forth…and more blossoms…and more. Most of the branches are gone, but its heart is fighting to survive with whatever strength is left. It reminded me of our human struggles. And my own heart jumped with HOPE. Now I’ll take pictures of it to a garden shop and see if I can save it. And if I can’t save it, I’ll honor its gallant memory and the message it gave to me.

“Hope is the ability to hear the melody of the future. Faith is the courage to dance to it today.”  ~ Unknown

What do you do when faced with a dilemma? At first, you may be tempted to look outside of yourself for answers, but your first response should be to go within and examine your feelings. If you’re already falling apart inside, your mind will not think clearly. If you find any worry, fears, uncertainty, etc, step back, take a deep breath, and claim your innate resources of strength and power with a strong capacity for Faith and Hope so you can move forward.

Even an easy challenge requires understanding and a wise approach to keep a position of confidence and positive direction in recovery. So now look outside of yourself. Clarify your problem and define the outcome you want to achieve. What resources will you need, and what’s already available to you? Is there enough money, contacts to help you, useful tools? Are there people or groups in your life that can give you the understanding, compassion, and support you need? And what will you need to create?

Your Faith will give you the strength you need, and Hope will guide you as you move along with your plan to scale another hurdle. This is part of life, and you have a life to live. Make it a happy one.

I wish you Hope and Faith on your journey.

Marilyn Fowler, Author/Writer

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Choose Laughter.

Hello, everyone.

I have to apologize for not having an article ready for this week. But I remembered a time a saw a precious little girl enjoying an absolutely wonderful laugh…and I thought about the value of laughter not only in fun times but especially when you’re down and need lifting up. So today I’m offering a poem about those down times.

Marilyn

If you’re laughing, you’re healing.”   ~Gangaji


It’s not easy to laugh when you’re hurting with physical illness, mental anguish, emotional pain or a spiritual need. It all hurts, and you may feel nothing can help. But that’s when laughter is important to help your inner child laugh again. There have been times when my own faith had to be rekindled and, for me, my poetry helps. I wrote the following poem during one of those times.

I find that when I hurt inside,
I can make a joke and find a laugh.
It comes from yet a different place,
Along my weary path.
Laughter drives away the tears,
And calms the hurt below.
It frees my soul to feel alive
Where I think angels go.

God knew I’d need this useful tool
To lift me high above the dark,
So I can see the truth of life,
And find that vital spark.

Thank you, Lord, for quips and giggles,
For making light of strife and pain,
For finding fun in spite of trial
To find my joyful way again.

I wish you laughter to wash away the tears. Be happy, dear one.

Marilyn Fowler, Author of  “SILENT ECHOES”  and  “Me and Granmama In The Hill Country”
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Is Your Goal Setting Journey Successful…And If Not, Why?

It’s hard for our minds to stay in the present, and we tend to want a better future. So we set goals. We’re taught this principle with slogans like, “Going for the goal; success is measured by reaching goals; without goals, attempts at success are futile; etc.” Although there are many skeptics about setting goals, we’re a goal setting nation from individuals to large organizations.

According to the World Book Encyclopedia, a “goal is a thing for which an effort is made” or a “thing wanted.” Things you want generally fall into 3 categorieshaving, doing, or being something. Examples: I want to have a patio behind my house, or I want to learn French, or I want to be 10 pounds lighter. Each one suggests a goal. But we’re all different and reaching the goal may or may not involve a specific plan to get there. Some people need prodding, and others don’t. Some of us would not get out of bed each morning without goals for the day, and some of us cringe at having to function with pre-set goals.

“No one knows how far his strengths go until he has tried them.”  ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Goals may be small achievements or life changing, but they all offer an opportunity to learn and grow. And goal setting probably produces rewards more often than not. But it can also go the other way. When successful, it provides a sense of motivation and purpose, with focus, passion, direction, improved self-esteem, and something to look forward to. But for some people, setting goals can be limiting, and may do more harm than good. It can create a sense of ‘I should’, self-doubt, pressure to succeed and fear of failure, too much living in the future and neglecting the present, and feeling unworthy and depressed if they do fail to reach their goals.

“Determine What you want and Why you want it. Once you understand what’s important, you can utilize your Passions and achieve anything.”  ~Brooke Griffin

One size doesn’t fit all, so it’s wise to choose an approach in which you feel comfortable; detailed planning, tentative planning, available doors as you move along, or any method that feels right for you. Whatever your method, get a clear vision of what you want to achieve, why you want it, and how much you’re willing to go through to get it. Then begin creating your process to get there.

I set goals for myself, but I’m not one to map out a way to get there. In my forties, I wanted to work in the Mental Health Field, but had no money for necessary education. I had no idea how I could accomplish such a goal, but I had to do it. So I quit my job, moved to another city, stayed with friends, got another job, and enrolled in school on a loan and later a stipend. While in school, I reached out to some wonderful people for help, I volunteered at seminars for free admission and volunteered at a Mental Health Center to gain experience. And eventually, I had the degrees and training I needed for many happy years doing work I loved. Nothing planned…just opened one door at a time, and reached my initial goal.

“Be stubborn about your goals, and flexible about your methods.”   ~Unknown

If you have a goal and choose to plan ahead, go easy on yourself, and keep your demands reasonable. And to minimize stress, set realistic, flexible standards within your capabilities. Include whatever you will need in each step toward your goal, and list resources for help along the way. Allow for any unforeseen situations that may occur, and be ready to alter your course if needed. Keeping your eye on the goal will keep you motivated. And monitoring the process as you move through it will furnish valuable insight if in the end, you need a second attempt. Don’t give up!

“We can’t become what we need to be by remaining where we are.”  ~Oprah

Do you want to make a change in your life, but scared to take a step forward? Well, choose your goal, and ask someone you trust to stand by you through the change process so you don’t feel alone in a threatening world. Be understanding and patient with yourself. And if you fall back, don’t criticize. You’re stronger than you think, and you can make it. And it could make a difference in your life. Move forward into freedom.

I wish you much sunshine on your journey…

Marilyn Fowler,  Author/Writer of  SILENT ECHOES  ~  Visit Me On Amazon

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Are You Running Your Life or Is Your Life Running You?

Ours is an excessively conscious age. We know so much, we feel so little.”  ~ D. H. Lawrence

We’re living in a time when we’re bombarded with so much information, it’s hard for our brains to digest all of it. So we run through each day trying to sort out what we need in order to function with little time to see where we’re going. In a way, it’s a good thing much of our functioning is based on habits that keep us in line. But on the other hand, it doesn’t give us much room to see beyond those habits. And our wonderful gift of creativity gets lost in the process.

“First we make our habits, then our habits make us.”  ~ Charles C. Noble

The habits we use in adulthood are learned during our childhood years. We take every piece of knowledge from our environment, sift through it, accept and reject, and come up with what makes sense to us or what is expected of us, or both. And the habits we form become our pattern for living. In years past, our innate gift of creativity was nurtured and encouraged. But over the years, in many schools, little time was allowed for creativity. And we’ve learned to survive in a material world where gadgets are the answer to daily functioning…push a button for this and a button for that.

“If you are not consciously directing your life, you will lose your footing and circumstances will decide for you.”  ~ Michael Beckwith

Unless we’ve chosen to live creatively with freedom to direct our own path, we can be swept along by the dictates of current expected behavior. And we wake up every morning to follow our mental ‘to do’ list for that day without question. When unforeseen situations come up, we move into whatever direction they take us and do our best to resolve them with robotic precision. Days end, and we’ve once more fulfilled our mission to solve problems as they arise and maintain our status quo. We’re the sickest industrial nation in the world, and our drug industry is a booming business. We’re supposed to be running our lives, but it appears our lives are running us. And it gets overwhelming.

When you look at your situation, what do you see? Probably work, paying bills, maintaining a home, maybe raising a family, tending to health issues. helping someone close to you. You know…all those having and doing things. Your daily responsibilities are so very important, and maybe you’re reasonably content. But you don’t have to let them dictate the quality of your life.

Walt Whitman said, “I am larger than I thought and more wonderful.” And we are. But sometimes we get so caught up in having and doing things, we forget about being. And life cannot be measured in things. Things are finite…here today and gone tomorrow. It’s intangible qualities that make life worthwhile and memorable…those qualities that express our larger, more wonderful self.

When was the last time you watched a quiet sunset, listened to birds welcome a new day, tasted an apple pie just out of the oven, enjoyed a long conversation with a friend, said a prayer, or experienced a good old-fashioned bear hug with a child and felt the loving energy between you? Have you forgotten? Those blessings don’t happen unless you take the reins and direct your life to include them as a vital part of your busy world. Balance is key in all things, and we can reach a balance between feeding our material needs and feeding our souls…even in today’s gadget world.

“Live your dreams. Create your life. Lead with intention.” ~ Leslie Schwartz

If you feel your life is being run by responsibilities, and you want a more fulfilling life, go within and explore where you are now and where you want to go. Whether you share responsibility with someone or you shoulder it alone, by leading with intention you can create the kind of life your heart wants. Your life is a journey, and you have the power to direct your steps along the way…your way. Be happy, dear one. You are larger and more wonderful than you think.

I wish you a full and happy life.

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Marilyn Fowler, Author/Writer 


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Approaching The Unknown. Friend-Foe-or Challenge?

HELLO and WELCOME Friends and Readers,

There are things known and things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.”  ~ Aldous Huxley

The unknown…the dark, scary, unknown…that place you don’t want to go…but it’s there…always there…looming in the realm of unanswered questions where anything can happen…and you don’t know what you’re facing. Stress builds, and you’ve gotten yourself into a frightening horror film when a can of soda and a box of popcorn in the latest Mickey Mouse film is really all you’re going to need to survive. have you ever experienced such a trip? This example may be exaggerated, but don’t we sometimes needlessly chew over something trying to resolve an issue in our mind to avoid the unknown?

But we can’t escape. Life is full of unknowns, and not always anticipated. The very next moment from your present moment is an unknown. And events can happen without any warning at all. So relish every precious moment you have. Last year, with no thought of any next moment, I was hospitalized twice for a sudden accident. Now after 14 months, pain is subsiding, and I’m more at ease. But still dealing with nerve damage. And I had no idea anything was coming in that very moment.

Everyone is afraid of something, but usually, we’re not faced with situations attached to dire circumstances. We don’t have all the answers, but outcomes are fairly predictable. And we can calm our fears with some positive reassurance. “It’s okay if I’m a little nervous on a new job; I can find new friends when I move; etc.” We survive these unknowns and move on.

But when we’re faced with a critical situation that could lead to painful repercussions, it becomes a gigantic question we’ll have to answer at some ominous time in the future. We don’t know what path it will take, and we get caught up in ‘what ifs’ over one imagined scenario after another. “How can I cope if my marriage ends in divorce? Where can I go if I end up losing my house? What if I can’t work after surgery? etc.” The outcome rests in the unknown, and stress builds as time passes. What a waste of our mental and emotional resources.

“The fears we don’t face become our LIMITS.”  ~ Robin Sharma

Sometimes our challenges are within our own minds where we can have control. But fear might hold us back from things we want to change in our life, and we refuse to act. At age 47, filled with fear, I left my waitress job and went back to school. It changed my life. Had I not stepped out of where I was, I would not be writing to you now. What would your life be like if you stepped out of what you don’t want and into what you do want? Fear might say, “What if you make a mistake or maybe you’ll fail and look stupid.” But fear is a reason, not an excuse. And in situations like this, you have some power over the unknown.


“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”  ~Michael Althsuler

Sometimes things happen for which you’re in no way responsible. “Unexpected turn of events, painful loss, a plan falls through, broken promises, someone turns against you, etc.” But that’s life, and you have to deal with it. And while you may not be able to alter an outcome, you can alter your response to it with courage over fear.

It may seem easier to look the other way, but when you stumble, you fall hard. So start by taking a look at your life every day. And if you’re facing a disturbing unknown, prepare yourself now to experience the best response possible given the circumstances. The better you understand what you’re dealing with, the wiser will be your response. Clarify with questions like, “Do I have time to plan; what are my alternatives; is there a way out if I need one; will I be able to function effectively; etc?” Your courage will build as you go along.

“If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone.”  ~John Maxwell

No unknown situation is comfortable. So use your discomfort to move you forward, and grow with each unknown. You’re here for a reason. Step out and find your answers on the other side of fear, knowing that whatever the unknown holds, you have what it takes to find your way.


Blessings in all your Unknowns….

Marilyn Fowler, Author/Writer of  “Silent Echoes”  and  “Me and Granmama in the Hill Country

About The Author:

I’m a retired Licensed Clinical Social Worker/Psychotherapist. My professional experience includes Mental Health Team Leader, then Director of Mental Health Services in the Duval County Jail in Jacksonville, Florida; coordinating Mental Health Services in nursing homes, working on inpatient units, and in private practice for a number of years. I teach a class at the University of North Florida on The Influence of Childhood Messages on Adult Life. I enjoy reading, writing, and blogging to help others in their life journey …..