“Fear Traps Me Into Being WHO I Am Not Many Times”…Guest Article by “World Of Psychology” Shares It Well.

“Fear Traps Me Into Being WHO I Am Not Many Times”…Guest Article by “World Of Psychology” Shares It Well.

Just Had to Reshare this one as Catherine has some amazing advice on mental health we can all use… Marilyn

Recovery Can Start Here ~A Gamble Free & Sober Blog ~Celebrating Life In Recovery~

I told myself at midnight new years’ eve, I was going to write, share, and be more open and transparent about my mental health issues this year. So when I came upon this article and gave it a read, I knew I had to share it today as many of us who maintain recovery from addictions are dually diagnosed with mental health challenges like myself. And those who don’t understand what it is like to battle agoraphobia along with depression and a few other disorders I have been working through, many seem to cling to “The Stigma” around all of the ABOVE.

Now, yes, I do understand that those who have not been touched by mental or emotional problems or disorders or know or have a family or friend who does, not all people are sorry to ‘ignorant’ about these topics. However, there some who don’t think mental health problems…

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Finding Your Answers In Nostalgia and In A New Year.

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“Sometimes you have to look back in order to understand the things that lie ahead.” ~Yvonne Woon

As we think of the year ahead, we remember last year and what we want to bring with us and what we want to leave behind…and how many times we’ve made that same transition. Maybe we realize our minds and hearts are not time bound.All the years are connected, and nostalgia takes us back to years past, other times, people, and places. We may begin a new journey, but our past is part of us. And from time to time we cross the bridge to yesterday.

It’s one thing to remember an experience, but another to relive your thoughts and feelings from that experience. The word ‘nostalgia’ explains this phenomenon. Merriam-Webster describes homesickness, a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to some past period or irrecoverable condition. Cambridge English Dictionary says a feeling of pleasure and sometimes sadness at the same time as you think about things that happened in the past. A bittersweet yearning for a past experience.

“Looking back and learning will enable you to move forward.” ~Eileen Brown

Many times I’ve heard it said, “Don’t look back. If you look back, you can’t move forward. Leave it all back there, and move on.” That attitude may be feasible in some situations. But I don’t believe it’s generally workable, because many of your decisions today are based on something you learned in your past. Every day is preparation for the next one.

Nostalgia can serve a purpose in your life with opportunities to reach forgotten parts of you, maybe parts you need to feel again. In the nostalgic state, you can re-experience happiness from other times, or share again with loved ones, or re-visit childhood laughter that releases current burdens and stress. Or your nostalgic experiences might furnish a second chance to correct past mistakes when you fell short of intentions, or you failed to say kind words someone needed to hear, or you haven’t forgiven someone…or yourself. Or you might learn more about dealing with bittersweet experiences when they fill your heart with sadness.

These are not just memories. You feel every second of nostalgic experiences. Pain lies in wanting to go back, see people and places again, be in what you may feel was a better place. You smile and yearn to relive the happy times. You cry and long to hug those who are gone. You may think of ways to correct your mistakes. And you realize that yesterday is as much a part of your life as is tomorrow. It all belongs on your journey.

As I’ve grown older, I find I miss the old times more. I remember an Alaskan cruise with dear friends, a cross-country trip with my best buddy who is gone now, dancing to exhaustion, jumping into a pool from the high diving board with all my clothes on, and holding my sides with laughter at a friend’s silly joke. I also remember seeing my mother right after she died, and saying words to her I wished I’d said sooner. And other sad times that bring tears. But even happy ones can be bittersweet, because they’re gone. But re-visit is what our minds do.

“When you finally go back to your old home, you find it wasn’t the old home you missed but your childhood.” ~Sam Ewing

Sometimes what we think we’re missing is not really what we’re missing. For instance, your longing for your childhood home may create quite a surprise. You hear it’s empty now, so you return and tour the house. But as you move around inside, what captures your attention is not the house at all, but the childhood you’re missing. This actually happened to me, and when I found my old house, my heart ached remembering and missing that child and the family who shared the home.

Yes, your past is part of your present and your future. Where you’ve been, helps you decide where you want to go. And periods of nostalgia bring it all together. The happy, the sad, and the lessons teach us along the way. And we’re better for it.

I wish you memories you’ll want to look back on.

Marilyn Fowler, Author “Silent Echoes” and Me and Granmama in the Hill Country available now on Amazon online.

My photo

I’m a retired Licensed Clinical Social 




New Year Tip ~ Pay Attention This Holiday Season. You’re Making Memories.

Now that another New Year’s Eve is here, we humans, are magnificent creations. We have what we need to thrive and survive and display outstanding talents and skills. And one of the most wonderful and complex parts of us is our brain. Everything we ever heard or experienced is held in our brain. It’s all there, most of it tucked away in secret forever. But we have our memories. And some of our past is never lost.

“A memory is a photograph taken by the heart to make a special moment last forever.” ~ Unknown

Memories come to us in several ways. You may want to recapture something from the past, so you think of it, and it becomes real again. Other times you encounter things like a song, a special memento, or a similar experience that brings up a memory. And you remember what brought you joy and what brought you pain. And you relive those times.

When something comes to you from the past, you remember. You remember those heartfelt happy times, and you cling to the experience when you see it, you feel it, you taste it and breathe in the sweet scent. You remember. And for a moment, you’re lost in time. You reach out. You want it back. But you feel the bittersweet quality of memory, and you have to let it go…maybe with a smile…maybe not. And memories are a part of life. So you live with them and treasure each one.

“Sometimes memories sneak out of my eyes and roll down my cheeks.” ~Avena

But all memories are not the happy ones. Sometimes they awaken a pain in your heart you thought was gone, never to return and torture you. Maybe you remember the loss of a loved one, an opportunity you missed, a betrayal by a friend, words that cut deep to your soul, experiences you don’t want to ever see or feel again. But you remember and you relive the whole episodes with the same tips and turns, the confusion, the unbelief, the heartfelt pain. You cringe and turn away. And the more you resist the memory, the stronger it gets. But memories are a part of life.

Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future. Lewis B. Smedes

Many people remember situations involving themselves and others that need forgiving. When this is accomplished, the memory remains, but the suffering is healed and gone. Years ago when I was working, every payday I put money away for my retirement fund. Then a couple years into retirement, I lost my money due to neglect by the person handling it. A bitter memory. Everyone makes mistakes, but if I’d paid off my house instead, things would have been different. And I might have more pleasant memories now. But peace comes with forgiveness.

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”   ~Dr. Seuss

There’s a saying, “Life is for making memories.”  But as we move through life with one experience after another, we don’t actively create situations that might later become pleasant memories. We don’t even think about or fully realize what our experiences will look and feel like in a memory. So why not create happy situations today to bring happiness again tomorrow in the remembering. And what a better time to create good memories than in a holiday season.

This is a time of year when people are rushing to get things done, with little attention on what they’ll remember in the future. So pay attention to happiness that simply happens, and make some of it yourself. Enjoy the holiday season with family and friends, and maybe people you don’t even know.

Exchange lots of hugs, smile at strangers, play with children, sing out loud, skip up an aisle in the grocery store, call people by their names, share with your place of worship and charities. Be creative and do what makes you and others happy. This is a time to celebrate life and make memories you will cherish forever.

I wish you fun making your happy memories and in the New Year!

Marilyn Fowler, Author “Silent Echoes” and Me and Granmama in the Hill Country available now on Amazon online.

My photo

I’m a retired Licensed Clinical Social 

How To Relieve Stress And Find Your Holiday Miracles.

How To Relieve Stress And Find Your Holiday Miracles.

Welcome readers and friends and Wishing you all a very blessed and happy holiday season!

It’s December, and holiday planning is everywhere. More cars are on the road with fewer places to park, stores are picking up traffic, you see more ads on TV, holiday trimmings are going up, and everyone’s looking for just the right gift. In other words, everything’s progressing into the usual chaotic rush that strikes this time every year. It can be a time of constant stress OR it can be a time of wonderment and miracles…if you make it so. And isn’t it wonderful? Or is it?

Many people are so consumed with doing, they miss the fun of being. They try to move through each day on autopilot without much thought to where they’re going. It’s easy to forget things, then have to backtrack to remedy the forgetting. And pleasant experiences can turn into frustration and stress. If you’re someone who celebrates a holiday in December, you know what it’s like scrambling to get through it with a sane mind and a strong body still intact. Maybe you feel the reward is worth the stress. But with too much stress, it’s like walking through a beautiful garden and forgetting to smell the flowers.

In the midst of the clamor, this time of year can also tug at your heartstrings with sweet memories of times past when you held a certain loved one, when a family was intact and when life was slower and felt more stable, when so much was ‘just different’. You feel the stress of knowing you can’t go back and recapture what you had yesterday. And painful feelings prevent your full embrace of the season. But your memories and your love for people and things from the past will always be a part of you. And you don’t have to give them up. You can keep them close to and in your heart, while you focus on expressing love in the present.

As you move through your busy days, be vigilant and watch for opportunities to replace stress with love and joy in each experience. Recently I was in a check-out line in a grocery store, and I spied a small boy around 4 or 5 years old leaning against his mother also in line. I waved to him, and he waved back. And for a while we had fun giggling and connecting with back and forth gestures.

Words were not necessary. Then suddenly he left his mother’s side, darted over to me, threw both arms around me, and held on tight with his little head nestled against me. I was absolutely awe-struck, and I knelt down and gave him a hug. He finally left with both parents. And I’ll always cherish the joy that dear little boy brought to me.

“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.” ~Hamilton Wright Mabie 

Send your love over time and space to those you want to hug. They will receive the blessings that your love carries with it. And put your mind and heart in your gifts. No money for gifts? Love is the greatest gift you can give. I remember when a friend had no money to buy me a birthday present, so she cleaned my house. I’ll never forget that gift or the precious angel who gave it.

Holiday seasons are rich with miracles if you know where to look. First, hug the miracle that is yourself. Then reach out to others with your love. And watch and listen so miracles won’t go unnoticed. Smile at strangers, and play with children. If you attend worship services, exchange hugs with others who need hugs as much as you do.

And call people by their name. We like being validated. Keep your mind and heart open and receptive allowing your love to flow into this holiday season. And you’ll find your holiday miracles. Then you’ll reach the finish line with a big grin, because you can finally sit back, put your feet up, and say, “Ahh. Yes, it is wonderful.”

I wish you a holiday filled with peace and love.

Marilyn Fowler, Author of  “Silent Echoes” and Me and Granmama in the Hill Country available now on Amazon online and make great gifts!


An image posted by the author.

How To Create Peace Between You…

Now that the holidays are here, is there someone in your life who gets on your nerves and annoys you to the point of frustration? Maybe your boss, co-worker, neighbor, friend, life partner? Most people know someone like this. If you do, then you know that uncomfortable feeling that bubbles beneath the surface and drives you up a wall.

Years ago I worked in a pharmacy with a verbally abusive boss. Then one day I exploded, and we had a yelling fight across the store. I thought for sure I’d be fired. But when I carried my loud voice behind his counter, he was doubled up with laughter. I yelled, “What the hell are you laughing at?” With a wide grin, he answered, “I wondered how long it would take you to stand up for yourself. Bout time.” After that, he treated me with respect, and we ended up with a good relationship. However, I wouldn’t recommend my behavior to anyone. Don’t yell at your boss.

“People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.”  ~Unknown

Over time, I’ve learned better ways to improve my own response to people who push my buttons. There’s room for change on both sides. First look at your own responses, and honestly question any hangups that may precipitate or contribute to the other person’s behavior. Am I being unreasonable? Do I expect too much? Do I respond from my own insecurity? Is there something to me that needs to change? Look for answers, and make necessary changes if you need to. If you feel comfortable talking to the other person, do it. If not, there are other ways to bring about change.

One time I worked with a team of people and our Supervisor’s answers to the others were usually ‘yes’, but always ‘no’ to me, sometimes with a somewhat hostile attitude. I was confused and made every effort to please. But no change. Then I went to my Minister for help, and she recommended the following exercise. I used it each day, and in about a month, I saw changes with my Supervisor. Eventually, we became friends, and I valued her friendship.

Recommended Exercise: Your goal is to change the negative energy between you to positive energy, thus changing the behaviors.
1. Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and imagine looking at the other person.
2. Then say, “I love you, I bless you, I release you to your highest good.”
3. Now take another deep breath, and let go. Let go. Let go.

When you say these words, you’re sending the other person a love your neighbor type of love–the kind that’s wired in us to love others. At first, you may not feel these words, so saying them may be difficult. But you’re affirming blessings in their life, and you’re releasing them, and ultimately yourself, from negative energy between you. So say the words anyway. In most cases, this exercise does work if you stay with it. And you might just find the peace you long for between you.


“You can’t change someone who doesn’t see an issue in their actions.” ~Unknown

Not everyone is going to cooperate and make the change you want in your relationship. And it may be someone you can’t or don’t want to release from your life. But you don’t have to remain on the receiving end of their inappropriate behavior. Set boundaries with a plan to avoid emotional disturbance from a difficult person.

Boundary Examples: “I will be caring and considerate of your feelings; I will use yes or no when needed, and mean it; I will listen when you’re talking to me, but will walk away if your words or manner are hurtful; etc, etc. And I will grant you the same courtesies.” Create and present the plan appropriate to the person involved, such as your boss at work, your life partner, whoever, etc.

“A miracle is a shift in perception from fear to love.”  ~Marianne Williamson 

Some people have a fear of losing control and will resist change. So if someone refuses your miracle, then honor it yourself as much as possible. You’re a special person with a right to peace and love in your life. Go for it, and be happy.

I wish you peace created between the both you.

Marilyn Fowler, Author of   “Silent Echoes” and Me and Granmama in the Hill Country Available Amazon online…


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Release Clutter And Nourish Your Soul. Part 2 Inner Clutter…

Clutter in our outer world is tangible things with visual color and texture you can touch. But the inside stuff rolls around in your head and heart, and you carry it with you every day. You wake in the morning, and it beckons your attention. And if you’re an inside clutterer, you answer its call.

“If it can be solved, there’s no need to worry, and if it can’t be solved worry is of no use.”  ~Dalai Lama

Like outer clutter, inner clutter occurs in different amounts and intensity. At best, you might experience occasional worry like rushing to catch a bus when you oversleep or forget to cancel an appointment, etc. For those, you might fret and say a few choice words, but then deal with it and not let it become an unnecessary burden. Then more intense is worry over one main issue you just can’t release a lost relationship or a mistake you can’t go back and correct. And your strong feelings hold it to you. You see no resolution, and you can’t stop obsessing over it every day.

The most troublesome situation is when multiple issues build up inside with focus on many painful feelings that won’t stop. And they become a source of daily rumination without resolution. Oryou retain feelings from the past like sorrow, regret, anger, etc. And a trigger like a song or a sudden memory can create an ongoing reaction. You can even get into, “What if this happens, or what if that happens,” before anything worrisome happens. Inner clutter fills your thoughts, and you feel there’s no way out.

Outer clutter in our surroundings influences the way we feel. But it doesn’t require constant attention, and daily activities furnish a respite. Inner clutter is a different phenomenon. Your thoughts are part of you. And for a person who’s caught up in a daily battle with obsessive thinking, the relentless invasion of worrisome thoughts can reach down to the soul and leave them anxious, depressed, and exhausted. Just living day to day becomes a challenge.

“Non-resistance is the greatest power in the Universe.”  ~Eckhart Tolle

When mental clutter piles up, you try to make it stop. But it won’t budge. You try pushing it out of your mind, but it gets stronger. And you push harder. So it goes, over and over. Well, there’s a saying, “Resistance breeds persistence.” And it does. So stop resisting. Once you let it be, you can get to ways that will release it and bring you peace. And there are ways to do that.

First, give yourself permission to release the clutter. Then voice your intention to stop obsessing, and verbalize a vow to break loose. Be firm.

Prepare with self-talk, and speak to your thoughts with love as often as needed. Repeat,“I’ve been approaching problems with worry, and that doesn’t work. I’m smart enough to handle whatever needs my attention and let the rest go. And thoughts, I don’t need you now. I’m taking charge, and we’re going to be happy.”

“If it doesn’t nourish your soul, get rid of it.”  ~Unknown

Consider the difference between worry and concern. Worry is clutter, it doesn’t solve problems. Concern implies relevance and importance and is a valid place to begin releasing the clutter. So list everything you’re worried about, and rate each item by how relevant and important it is and how much you ‘need’ to be concerned about it…0 being not at all, and 10 being a lot. Then choose items you can solve without worry.

“A miracle is a shift in perception from fear to love.”  ~Marianne Williamson

Imagine a large balloon, and drop items you’re releasing into the balloon. Seal the top, and wave goodbye with forgiveness and love as you watch it float upward and disappear into the sky. Feel your shoulders lighten and your mind clear. Now you have nourished your soul.

It may take additional efforts to finally stop cluttering your mind. But continue the clearing procedure as needed, and your mind will eventually develop a ‘stop button’. And you can truly be free. A long time ago, ongoing efforts worked for me, and I’m grateful.

I wish you a peaceful mind and heart.

Marilyn Fowler, Author of  

“Silent Echoes” and Me and Granmama in the Hill Country Available Amazon online…



An image posted by the author.

Release Clutter And Nourish Your Soul Part 1 Environmental Clutter.

I hope you all had a blessed, healthy, and happy Thanksgiving with family and friends. Now let help you prepare for the busy Holiday Season with doing some inside and outside “life clutter”… Marilyn


Let today be the day you learn the grace of letting go and the power of moving on.” ~Steve Maraboli

Some people are never concerned with getting empty boxes to pack up clutter for the trash collectors. God bless ’em. But others of us live our lives overrun with all kinds of clutter. It’s not something we do deliberately. We just don’t put things where they belong in the first place, and they pile up. We have good intentions, but we take stuff for granted and pretend it’s not there.

“Clutter is stuck energy.  The word “Clutter” derives from the Middle English word “clotter” which means to coagulate–and that’s about as stuck as you can get.”   ~Karen Kingston.

Everything is energy, and energy attracts like energy. So if your life is full of clutter, more clutter is what you’ll attract. And it creeps up gradually when you’re not looking. Over time, it meshes together like part of the decor. And it becomes part of your everyday life. You may try to change your focus away from it. But the clutter is still there.

People clutter for different reasonsSome allow ‘memories’ to pile up with old pictures, souvenirs, reminders of happy times, etc. Others accumulate stuff and plan to ‘get to it later’ like unread mail and greeting cards, receipts that need filing, etc. Others think they might ‘need something later’ like ads for things on sale, old clothes they’ll never wear, the hat for that outfit they never bought. Then there’s the messy person who just lets everything pile up.

Our home environment is a reflection of who we think we are, and clutter becomes a part of that reflection. We identify with it. So the clutter influences the way we feel and takes a toll on our health. It can invite dust, or molds, and toxins that affect us physically, draining our energy and our ability to fight illnesses.

Looking at clutter every day can also encourage mental and emotional stress that disturbs our sense of well being with feelings of incompetence, anxiety, and depression. And our home may no longer support a positive self-image or what we need to be healthy and happy.

If you’re a chronic clutterer, your brain is trained for it. But you can re-train your brain and create a new way to live. Clutter has some meaning for each person, and it’s important to understand why you clutter. So ask yourself, “Why do I allow clutter in my home? And what reward do I get from it?” You might answer, “I allow it to pile up because I can get to it later, or I keep it because I might need it sometime.”

And my reward is “I don’t have to do it now, or I’ll have it if I need it.” Now make a decision to release your need to clutter, and make an appointment with yourself to begin clutter maintenance.

“It’s all about finding the calm in the chaos.”  ~Donna Karan 

Get a box for the trash and a bag for give-a-ways, and make notes to yourself to stay with a schedule to the end. Clean one area at a time like one drawer, one closet, one pile of papers, etc. Keep only what’s meaningful like pictures, letters, mementos, etc, and what’s necessary like medical reports, unpaid bills, etc. But let all the rest go. And with each job you finish, see yourself as strong and capable. It may take more than one attempt to change for good. So keep reminders in those areas you’ve cleaned, and maybe you won’t clutter again. 🙂

When you’re done, stand back and look around. Smile at what you’ve accomplished, and you’ll feel new energy in your home. And now that you’ve cleared the clutter on the outside, take a moment to go within and tell yourself you’ll clear the inside clutter too.

Stay tuned for Part 2 next week to release your inside clutter and find peace.

I wish you happy days in your clutter-free home. And maybe your car too? Lol.

Marilyn Fowler, Author of  “Silent Echoes” and Me and Granmama in the Hill Country Available Amazon online…


An image posted by the author.