Opening The Package vs Assumptions…

 

“You don’t know what’s in the package until you open it.”  ~Unknown

When you receive a package do you spend time guessing what’s inside and assume what the package might contain? And does the wrapping affect your attitude about the contents? Well, this is what we sometimes do with life situations. We might miss something wonderful because the situation doesn’t come wrapped in a pretty package, and we discard it without looking past appearances. Or we might too quickly accept something based on its attractive wrapping and set ourselves up for disappointment.

We use this approach with all kinds of life situations, and we can’t always back out of the holes we dig for ourselves. Too often we accept our assumptions about a job, people, how we spend our money, a trip we plan to take, a home we buy, companies for repair work, and even food past the expiration dates. The list doesn’t end. That’s life. Just think about everything you do or need on a daily basis. Do you manage your life based on assumptions, or do you open the package and see what’s inside…to see what you’re getting?

“Assumptions allow the best in life to pass you by.” John Sales

One time I had a supervisor who pushed my buttons every time we encountered each other. This package was certainly not wrapped in pretty paper. But I wanted to keep the job, so I took the time to examine my own attitude and look beyond our differences. I was quite surprised to find she had qualities I’d not seen before. And we had a lot in common, much upon which to build a good relationship. As time passed, we became friends, and I remember her with a warm heart instead of with my initial assumption.

Then later I moved to a different city and searched for a job in my field. But the only one I could find was with a mental health team in a county jail setting–definitely not a package I had in mind. But I took the job until I could find what I wanted. I performed as required, but my attitude was not productive until I began to open the package and notice the many unexpected challenges and rewards in my work. I gradually realized I was in the right place. And I stayed in a job I loved for 10 years. I would have missed this rewarding experience if I had clung to my first impression.


“Do not blindly follow anyone or anything. Always seek the truth out for yourself.”   ~Unknown

Nobody gets it right all the time, and we all know what it feels like to end up where we don’t want to be. But we don’t want to be a skeptic about everything either. So when you need to make a sound judgment about something, a few rules might help to reach an accurate conclusion, at least most of the time.

1. Don’t be fooled by first impressions, positive or negative. Take your time and keep an open mind.

2. Use self-talk and plan your strategy. You’d be surprised at how much more clear something is with words than with thoughts. Words paint pictures, and pictures are revealing.

3. Gather information. Take notes and compare them as you go along.

4. Ask all kinds of questions from anyone who might have answers. Example: People who’ve had their stoves repaired may know who does or does not do good work repairing stoves. Etc. And only accept complete answers. No half…answers.

5. This is not rocket science, so be kind to yourself. It’s okay to make a mistake. Most of the time you can back up and start over.

6. When you feel ready, review your information, check your feelings, and act.

Of course, there are times when people, places, and situations we encounter are true to our first impression. But things aren’t always what they seem. And it’s usually worth our time and effort to look past the wrapping and open the package without judgment and find what’s really there. As least we won’t have to look back and wonder what might have been.

I wish you happy discoveries.

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I Appreciate My Follow Friends! Now, What To Do With Regrets From Your Past That Live In The Present?

100 Follows!
Congratulations on getting 100 total followers on The Self-Help Road To Freedom!

“A very special THANK YOU to all my followers, friends, and all visitors who made this new milestone HAPPEN.”  🙂   Author, Marilyn Fowler  🙂
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Do you ever think of your past and find ‘what ifs’ running around in your mind? What if I hadn’t done that, what if I’d done something different? Mistakes and Regrets. And you spend your whole life agonizing about how different life would be had you made wiser choices in the past. Everyone goes through it, but you don’t have to live with it.

“One day, perhaps, you will see for yourself that regrets are as nothing. The value lies in how they are answered.”  ~Steven Erikson, House of Chains

What kinds of feelings come up when you think of your mistakes…anger about what you did or failed to do, sadness at how things turned out, guilt, stupidity, disappointment in yourself or feeling others disappointment in you? We can be pretty hard on ourselves for being imperfect. I’ve never known a perfect person. But I have known some pretty great imperfect people. So you don’t need to keep beating yourself over the head and getting into ‘what ifs’ because you stumbled in the past.

Getting stuck in regret, self-criticism or blame can rob you of confidence and clear vision and then sabotage what you may want to create now. You can harbor your regrets, and stumble through life, but every decision you made was based upon your knowledge at the time. And maybe the path you took was necessary to move you to create something better. Louise Hay says, “Every experience I have is perfect for my growth.”

When I worked in the jail with a Mental Health Team, I counseled homeless inmates incarcerated for trespassing, stealing food, yelling at police officers, etc, some with mental illness and some without a mental disorder. And many came from dysfunctional homes with physical and/or mental abuse. I heard a lot of ‘what ifs’ from them with poor self-images and memories of one mistake after another. They saw few worthwhile qualities in themselves and no hope for a positive future. But as I worked with them I found many bright minds with potential for a better life, and many learned to see their mistakes not as reasons for blame, but as learning tools to turn their lives around.

Cut away the nonsense, the drama, the regret, the scars of the past, and make a decision to no longer let them govern your happiness and freedom. ~Steve Maraboli

 

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Awareness: Sometimes we’re not aware of what’s churning in our subconscious robbing us of the freedom we need to grow on our journey. If you have a sense of something holding you back, look inside and see what’s in there. Any guilt and self-condemning thoughts? Any memories you’ve hidden somewhere so you don’t have to re-live them? Bring them up and begin your road to freedom.

Forgiveness: You’re not your mistakes. You’re not stupid or incompetent. So you don’t need to forgive yourself for being who you are. You need forgiveness for doubting yourself and allowing your mistakes to create a false image of you. Deal with your mistakes and feelings from your true self. Affirm your positive qualities often, acknowledge who you are, and claim your true identity–a beautiful person who goofs up sometimes.

Confrontation: There’s power in thoughts and more power in words. So when any self-condemning thoughts come up, talk to them directly, out loud when possible. Tell them you’ve had enough, and you’re letting them go … goodbye! Refuse to let them hang around.

Comfort: Comfort that inner child part of you who’s been suffering for too long. Give her/him lots of hugs with love and approval. And when you make your next mistake–and you will–do the same with that mistake and all the others that follow. You’re the caretaker, and your inner child needs you.

I can’t count the times I kicked myself in the rear end with regret, and it always took a while for those thoughts and beliefs to give up and go away. But each time it was a new step forward. And I wish those steps forward for you.

Let the past go and enjoy your freedom.

Marilyn Fowler, Author of Silent Echoes



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4 Years Worth of Gambling Addiction Advocating and Sharing My Story Here on WordPress To Help Many From This Cunning Real Addiction!

Hello Friends & New Ones,

For this week’s post, I wanted to share a special person in life who, like me, shares her “wisdom” and experiences from addiction. She had book promoted for me and we have become like Mom and Daughter! I support her in recovery and she is also an author and writer too. Please meet my dear friend, Catherine.

Marilyn Fowler, Author

~Recovery Starts Here~ A Bet Free, Sober, & Clean Blog~ Sharing Hope in Recovery One Day at a Time~

48c7b912078841_562570a5bad0cMy Story I Shared At “HEROES In Recovery” Shattering Stigma and More…

“My name is Catherine and I am dual diagnosed living with mental health challenges and in recovery from gambling addiction 10 years now!
If I can RECOVER, SO can YOU XOXO”

My recovery journey started in 2006. I woke up in a hospital as the result of another failed suicide attempt and then went back to an addiction and mental health crisis center for a 14-day stay. The problem wasn’t that I gambled again and relapsed; the problem was not taking my psych medications for a few weeks. I thought I didn’t need them; that I could be normal like everyone else around me, but as you read my story, you’ll see that didn’t work out too well.

I had a few severe financial crises happen, and since I had not taken my medication and had worked through…

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“Sit Under A Tree And Discover Your Peace In Nature.”

“Sometimes life really is a bumpy road, and some of those bumps hurt. We need to find a place of rest, so when the bumps come, we have what we need to pass through them. That place of rest is within you–that place of peace, joy, comfort, wisdom and strength. It’s a safe haven sometimes overlooked as we rush through life to worn out and stressed to deal with all the stuff that hits us in the face.”

That place is always there, but it’s not something to be just tapped into occasionally when we’re desperate for rest. It’s where we need to go on a continuing basis, where we need to live as we meet each day’s demands. We can form a daily connection through prayer, meditation, music, whatever way pulls you inside to your quiet place.

In every walk with nature, man receives far more than he seeks.” ~John Muir

We hear about the benefits of nature where we can also connect with our inner self, but how often do we seek out places where we can actually experience those benefits? Most wooded areas have quiet paths with trees that whisper messages of peace, flowers that dance in the sunshine. maybe weeds with beautiful blue flowers, a few muddy places for children to make mud pies, snow in winter, and puddles after a spring rain. Something all year to soothe our jangled nerves and tell us that life goes on with wisdom and peace, in spite of daily challenges. As often as possible, allow nature to become a part of your life and feel the benefits of being one with nature. You might even sit under a tree and hear it whisper what you need to know.

“There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it.”   ~Minnie Aumonier

One year while visiting in Seattle, I sat on a shady porch taking in the pristine beauty of giant northwestern trees. I’ve always loved trees, and this majestic sight left me feeling breathless. Then a nearby tree called my name, and I thought of what I’d heard about the benefits of sitting under a tree. Something shifted inside, and I was drawn to try this new way to reach my quiet place. As I relaxed against the tree, the earth poured her loving energy up through the tree and into my body, wrapping me in exquisite peace and strength. And my heart was very quiet.

As I sat in this blissful space, I remembered singing in my school choir many years ago. We sang Joyce Kilmer’s poem about trees. I still knew every word by heart. And now I truly understood his poem…and so much more.

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Trees
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
Too many people go through life so busy they never really know the beauty that lies within them. They don’t know who they truly are and the wonderful achievements of which they’re capable. Every day their attention is given to the busyness of everyday life, and they miss the best parts. Find your way to go within and be quiet. Listen for the truth in your heart. You really can walk through life in peace and joy when you know where to look. Look there often.

I wish you beautiful discoveries within a quiet heart.

Marilyn Fowler, Author of  “Me and Granmama In The Hill Country and Slient Echoes”

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Happy Memorial Weekend! How To Cope And Survive When Illness Knocks You Down…

We live in predictable patterns involving every aspect of life. Every morning we expect our day to be as we’ve planned it. And we don’t want any unexpected situations forcing us down a different path. Usually, our plans are easily fulfilled, and our days are as they should be. No problem. Everything’s under control, and all is well.

But we don’t live in a fairy tale. Our world is real, and unforeseen things do happen, like a check bounces at the bank, the car has a flat tire, or you forgot an important appointment, etc. Bothersome interruptions, but solvable. And that’s okay. You’ve been there before, and you understand that life sometimes gets bumpy, and you have to roll with it. 

“I can and will make it through the storm…simply because I’m a survivor. It’s what I do.”  ~ Unknown

But what happens when a sudden unexpected illness temporarily invades your predictable life, like the flu, various viral infections, a chest cold that turns into pneumonia, etc, etc. Such health challenges are not life threatening, but they put your life on hold, and they require more than a band-aid. And what about the more serious chronic illnesses like COPD, diabetes, a heart condition, etc…illnesses that require a lifetime of attention. Whatever the illness, they all take their toll. And your life is changed. But you can survive.

“You’re allowed to scream, you’re allowed to cry, but do not give up.”  ~Unknown

Recently I spent 6 days in a hospital, then a slow recovery at home. Hospitals are there to promote healing, but the experience can add stress to what you’re already going through. In the hospital, every time there was a change of shifts, the new shift contradicted what the last shift required. And I felt like a ball bounced back and forth by the different shifts. One said get out of bed and move around, and the next one jumped all over me for getting out of bed and moving around. I ended up yelling at the walls and crying to go home. The whole thing was like a page out of the movie, “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.” I had to come home to begin healing.

We experience illness on 3 levels, physically, mentally, and emotionally. In our response we may physically see or feel it; mentally we think about it, “Can I afford the medical bills? How can I function with it?” etc; and emotionally we feel angry, scared, frustrated, helpless, etc.

Each illness will manifest in different ways. One may involve physical pain with fear and frustration. Another may involve guilt, worry, or resentment. Another added expense, loss of mobility and independence, leaving you feeling helpless. And each person responds in different ways. Some perceive even a minor illness as devastating, while others take it in stride. The way you perceive it depends upon your personality, your life situation, and the way you view your life.


“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”  ~Arthur Ashe

How do you respond when illness knocks you down? Have you ever thought about the way in which you deal with it? Knowing and understanding yourself at those times supplies a sense of control and is the first step in the healing process as you implement other resources. But once you’ve made that first assessment, it’s important to quiet your mind and allow your body to heal.

Too often, some in the medical field have a ‘one size fits all’ agenda. But this is the last attitude a person in pain needs or wants. One size doesn’t fit all. You are unique, and you need individual care. So when you need medical care, look for a care giver who cares.

“People start to heal the moment they feel heard.”  ~ Cheryl Richardson

Have you ever felt alone in a health challenge? Have you ever longed for someone to hear you and put their arm around you and tell you you’ll be okay? Well, that someone is a major part of your healing. So find that person, and allow their caring energy to help you heal. And whether you’re facing a temporary or permanent situation, look within for guidance, strength, and confidence, knowing you will always be the same beautiful soul that you are. And no illness can ever change that.


I wish you healthy days and loving arms around you.

Marilyn Fowler
Author, and writer for “Keys To Recovery,”  “Silent Echoes”  and  “Me and Granmama in the Hill Country”

From Fear Can Come Much Faith…

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”  ~Marie Curie

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We’re all afraid sometimes. It’s part of the human condition. Rational fears of a real danger mobilize to positive action. But fears of imagined threats can be destructive and immobilize to exhaustion. We deal with both as we move along our day-to-day path. And it’s helpful to understand what it is we’re dealing with.

A few years ago, I was in a serious car wreck caused by a driver making an illegal turn in front of my car at an intersection. My foot immediately slammed on the brake. Panic and fear gripped my senses, and I couldn’t stop screaming until impact suddenly stopped my car. I spent 4 days in the hospital and 2 months in a nursing home for rehab. I went from a wheelchair to a walker and then a cane. Yes, real dangers need positive action. But fears we conjure up in our minds take their toll in unnecessary stress and worry.

So what are you afraid of? What scares you? Does your mind sometimes drift into “what if” thinking, and you function from a state of fear? What if…I don’t get the job, I make a mistake, this person leaves me, I get sick again, I look foolish, my plan doesn’t work. What if…what if….  It doesn’t get you anywhere, does it? But we all do it.

“Faith and Fear both demand you believe in something you cannot see. You choose.”  ~Bob Proctor

We can’t see into the future, so everything in life is unpredictable. Caution is useful, but fear of the unknown can become a damaging habit. Usually, it begins with doubt, then you worry, and then fear sets in. Can you imagine how much negative energy you’re pouring into a situation? You’re already contaminating it. And your mind has chosen that route. But you have the power to choose freedom.

An effective way to stop a fear habit is to replace it with a habit of faith. And that takes some monitoring of your thinking patterns. Once you identify your doubt, worry, and fear, then you can do something about it. When you feel that first bit of discomfort in the pit of your stomach, go inside and clarify your feelings, honestly. And begin confronting those feelings.

“Don’t be afraid of change, because it is leading you to a new beginning.” ~Joyce Meyer

I’m a believer in denials and affirmations to change our feelings about something. We can’t deny our emotions, but we can deny them any power over us. Pull the fear up to the surface and talk to it like you would another person. “Okay, fear, I know you’re there. But I deny you have any power over me. You’re no bigger than a fly on a horse’s rump, so you might as well go away. I’m done with you.” Then affirm the truth about the situation. “I release you now and affirm my freedom from you through the real Power of faith within me. I am a precious child of the Universe, untouched by your mischief. So get out of my life.” Use whatever words you’re comfortable with, but be firm in your faith, faith in the truth of who you are.

Ridding yourself of unwanted emotions isn’t easy, and it takes practice. But as time passes, you’ll feel a shift of courage within you, and you’ll smile. As Maya Angelou says, “Courage is fear that has said its prayers.” Not every situation in your life will turn out the way you want it, but you can avoid those negative feelings, and walk your path with courage and faith. It’s like having a tool in your pocket when your human self gets in the way of your sacred Self. Life is not for living in fear. It’s for learning and growing and feeling happy.

I wish you faith-filled walks through each experience in your life.

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Author, Marilyn Fowler

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Happy Mother’s Day ~ Mom’s, as You Move Through Your Life Journey, How Are You Creating Each Stage Along Your Path?

It’s a long journey through life, and as we move through various stages we may not realize that each stage is a gift with its challenges, opportunities, lessons, and yes, blessings. Generally, we just move along and don’t much notice until something happens to jolt us into a realization that time passes fast and change takes place. And sometimes we don’t welcome the change.

Our culture is a youth-oriented world. As people age, we want to put them out to pasture, get them out of the way. Just try to find a pair of jeans that come in above your hips or a style you’d wear past the age of 50. And too many lonely people are in nursing homes. We all know nostalgia, and sometimes we want to go back. Ah, how I remember when my children were small. I rocked my babies, rode on the sled with them, got a gash in my son’s head sutured when he fell off his bike, ordered art lessons for my other son, and made my daughter’s prom dress–among thousands of other memories, some wonderful, and some not so wonderful.

“Learn to trust the journey, even when you do not understand it.” Unknown

You know what I mean. You have your memories too. Did you realize time was passing when you lived those years? I didn’t. I just took it all for granted–except the traumatic experiences. I just wanted out of those. Then one day I looked around and realized I had gone through several more life stages. I had aged, and I wondered where it all went…those precious memories, my clear skin, my flat tummy and my firm rear end. Wow. It must have happened when I wasn’t looking.

“The journey between what you once were and who you are now becoming is where the dance of life takes place.”  ~Barbara DeAngelis

I wanted to keep the happy times. Then I remembered the mistakes, and oh, how I wanted to go back and do those over. I thought about what I might have learned from them, and I was surprised at how much I had learned. But what about now? Was I learning now or drifting? I wasn’t sure. It kind of felt like drifting, so I made a commitment to be aware of my life in each stage, and face each day with trust in God and myself, with intention and hope for a more meaningful life. When I falter and need reminders, I’m sure they will present themselves.


So much is said about living in the present, but I think we don’t realize the full meaning of the word ‘living’, to live, to learn, to savor, to share, to be aware of self and others, and to know where we are on our journey and what we want to do with it. We have the power to create the quality of our life in spite of challenges. Did you know that? And you’re probably a lot smarter than you used to be, so you’re more able to create a better future.

“Don’t be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.”  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Think about where you are now, and where you want to go. Hang on to those precious moments from the past, and let go of your mistakes. You did the best you could according to your growing ability at the time. Every stage in life is equally important with opportunities to learn and grow in new ways. You are not what you have or do. You are the beautiful being inside who is on a glorious journey to self-realization, and you can’t find that if you overlook your purpose or fret about where you need to go.

Life may not offer the same experiences it did in past stages, but don’t miss the great ones that are there for you now. There is a Divine purpose in all of it, and you are part of that Divine plan for yourself and humanity. Hang on and enjoy the ride.

I wish you much happiness in each stage of your journey.

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