The Sea Of Life. Are You The Ocean?

Dear Readers, I live near the ocean, and sometimes when I look at that vast body of water, I think of the multitude of water droplets it takes to create the oceans, and I think of all the people it takes to create our world. We are the world. But it seems we’ve lost our sense of who we are in the great sea of humankind. I remember when we created our world together, each a part of that creation. But today we live with an ‘us and them’mentality, and we deny our belonging to each other. I feel sad. Today I want to share an article I posted a few years ago on this subject.

The Sea Of Life

Yesterday I spent the day at a hospital with a friend who had surgery. I’ve been in many hospitals in the past, but this experience made what I already knew more real to me. Each of us is unique, traveling our own individual journey through life, but at the same time part of the great whole that makes us the human race. It’s kind of like each unique drop of water being part of the whole body we call the ocean. And the ocean is not the ocean without each drop.

“Individually, we are one drop. But together we are an ocean.” ~Rhunosuke Satoro

While my friend was in surgery, I wandered up and down the halls. I’ve always been a people-watcher, but yesterday I was more keenly aware of everyone and everything I came across. I saw people in wheelchairs or walking with canes while others walked straight and tall. I saw a nurse consoling a woman who was crying, and I noticed a beautiful little boy grinning at me. I saw people in pain and heard their moans, while medical personnel saw to their needs. Contracts everywhere. Yet, in their humanness, they were all a part of each other.

Later I went outside of the building and found a concrete ledge where I sat down. I took off my shoes and rested my bare feet on mother earth, while little ants scampered around as if they knew where they were going. The sun was warm, but there was a cool breeze under the big oak tree where I sat watching a black crow scrounging for his lunch in the dirt nearby. Once in a while, someone sat next to me. Some were happy. Some were not. But each had a story to tell–a unique story, yet part of all the stories that portray who we are.

“Life is like the ocean. It can be calm or still, and rough and rigid, but in the end, it is always beautiful.”   ~Unknown

As the day moved on, the hospital became a microcosm of the bigger world, and I became more increasingly aware of life and our connection with each other. We each know sadness and joy, pain and bliss, feast and famine, love and hate, lack and plenty, illness and health–everything in the human experience. And we’re never alone in any of it. While we’re going through something, another person somewhere else is going through the same thing in their own unique way. How sad we don’t claim the ocean in which we swim. It’s really quite a beautiful ocean in spite of the differences we believe separate us.

I’m grateful for this hospital experience. It reminded me we’re much more than what we see in the mirror. In essence, Mother Teresa says, “We know that what we are doing is only a drop in the ocean. But if the drop were not there, the ocean would be missing something.” You serve an important part in the sea of life, and your unique presence helps maintain the sea in which you live. Love yourself, and pour your love out to others. And claim the beautiful ocean in which you swim. It is your home.

I wish you much happiness on your journey. 

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

An image posted by the author.

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Part Two – Are You Living Images And Roles You Were Given As A Child? Where Is Your True Self?

Your essence is within you. You are already enough.”  ~Debbie Spellman

For the most part, each day we automatically live our life without thinking past our usual activities. But we’re complex beings, and our role, image, and personality are so ingrained from childhood, we don’t usually question our identity. Personality becomes our ‘I am’ and, for many, that satisfies a need to know. But it doesn’t even touch the great dimensions of all that you are. Self-knowledge is one of our greatest tools to discover and uncover our true self and use this self for good. The more you know about yourself, the better you’re able to choose what to keep and what to release to promote what you want your life to be.

We express from personality and from our true self, and the two are quite different. Personality is changeable and can have different opinions about itself. One day you’re a very bright person, and the next day you’re pretty stupid. Or decisions you make via personality can backfire and reveal parts of you that you’d rather not have. But there’s nothing wrong with expressing from personality. You can learn a lot about yourself from this source of expression.

People apply different meanings to the true self, such as authentic, true nature, deeper or higher self, the core of your being, soul, etc. But it is considered the real you, as you were created. And the essence of you cannot be something different. You are you, and you will always be you.

Somewhere tucked away inside each of us is a memory, memory of the self that existed during childhood before we fully assumed a role, an image, a personality. And part of us longs to recapture that time of innocence when we knew our true self well. With purposeful steps toward change, we can dim some of the personality’s hold on us, and know more of our true self.

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”  ~E. E. Cummings

Intentions are one of our most powerful tools for change. And when it stems from the good in your heart, it will bring good into your life. Use intention with desire, willingness, commitment, and faith to change. Reinforce these qualities each day, and with your deep feelings to move forward, your courage will be there. No need to hurry. Change comes gradually over time.

Once you establish your decision for change, you need to begin listening. How often do you listen to how your personality thinks and notice what it does? What do you feel is positive and negative about it? What does it tell you about yourself, and do you agree with it? We’re taught to believe that personality is who we are. But do you ever sense that you’re more than this belief? Pay attention, and learn to recognize this part of you.

“Intuition is the voice of the soul. The more you listen, the more you know your true self.”   ~James Van Praagh

Clarify your meaning of true self, who and what you are within, and listen to it speak to you. Our true self-speaks to us often, but with our busy minds, we miss a lot of its messages. It’s uplifting, and will always guide us with love and wisdom. But we have to hear it. Seek ways to communicate with and express your true self. Play like a child, show kindness to others, claim your own worth.

The goal of this change is not to erase personality, but to release the traits you don’t want, and allow it to compliment your true self as the two can work together for your good. As days pass and you increase your knowledge and understanding, you’ll learn to tell if something is coming from personality or your true self. And you will gradually learn to decrease more of personality and increase more of your true self.

This is a vast subject, and mounds of material have been written in detail about who you are, and how to discover and nurture more of you. You’re on a journey of self-discovery. Read, research, express gratitude, and be your beautiful self.

I wish you joy as you blossom into more of who you really are.

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

An image posted by the author.

Freedom To Quiet Childhood Messages And Choose Your Own Way.

 

“What then is Freedom? The power to live as one wishes.” ~Marcus Tullius Cicero

We’re all products of messages we hear and absorb growing up. “Do this…Don’t do that”…etc. Those messages influence who we think we are and the way we live our lives. But some people break loose and answer the call they hear way deep within…the call to be who they are and choose how they will live. Which one are you? How free are you to make your own choices and follow your own way? A few years ago, I wrote a very short whimsical story about a young woman wrestling with her messages and making a decision about her future. I hope you enjoy this story. It could be you.

 

SPRING CLEANING


I slushed through soapy puddles across the kitchen floor, doubled up my fists, and kicked the empty mop bucket as far as my bare foot could sling it. I heard my mother’s voice from my teenage years. “You should be more careful. Spring cleaning doesn’t need to be a chore.” My mother’s voice was grounded in my head–from all my ages. Sometimes I wondered if I even had one of my own. Her voice echoed from the past with phrases like, “Nice girls sit with their legs together,” “Take a quick shower, so you don’t waste water,” and “Too much sugar isn’t good for you.” I remember how she hovered over me at mealtime to make sure I cleaned my plate. I still feel guilty when I turned away from brussels sprouts.

 

Yes, my mother taught me some valuable lessons and gave me some good advice, but wouldn’t you think I could do something now without cringing to chatter from an old phonograph wound too tight? Where was my own self in my life? I’d wanted spring-cleaning to be painless, but I always wrestled with my inner drill sergeant spouting orders. I knelt down and sopped up water with the big towel I usually took to the beach where I heard my mother tell me not to go out too far in the ocean. “Even good swimmers drown, you know.” Calm down, I told myself. Keep it simple. I knelt down and squeezed the last bit of water into the pail, threw the towel across the room and sat back on the tile floor. It’s time for a break.

 

 

Image result for copy free images quotes quietness in life

 


I wiggled my body into a comfortable position in the recliner chair on the patio. The morning air smelled clean and fresh. A big gulp of iced tea cooled my throat, and I grinned like a defiant child escaping out the back door when it’s time to help with the supper dishes. Escape sounded good. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and coaxed my mind to quiet. There’s power in quiet.There must be ways to stifle old messages, free to express my own voice and reflect my own personal style.

 

I turned off the alert button in my head and allowed new plans to flood my mind. First I’d go to the beach, feel the cool breeze between my bare legs, and swim far out into the ocean, looking back at the shore from very deep water. I’d run along the beach as fast as the wind would carry me and feel the warm sand ooze between my toes. Then I’d come home, take a shower and bask under the welcome spray for as long as I wanted. And that strawberry cheesecake that’s been in the freezer too long. It’s time to smack with each bite.

 

My grin widened to a full smile, and I felt a strange sense of power begin to stir, a feeling I’d only glimpsed in the past. A sense of resolving gnawed in my head. I’d get back to spring-cleaning, I mused, but wait ’till I’d done some inside cleaning and practiced being a new me. I could hear my mother saying, “Everything begins with a first step.” That one I’d choose to keep.

 

 

I wish you successful intention, follow through, and freedom

 

Marilyn Fowler,  Author of  “Silent Echoes” on Amazon.

 

Product Details My New book…

 

 

How Well Are You Living On Your LIFE Journey?


We seldom think of life as a journey, but that’s what it is. For most, it goes from infancy to old age, and we travel through many situations with different people, places, and experiences. And most of the time we don’t really notice where we’re going. We just move along and deal with whatever comes up. But every single moment is a precious part of what makes your journey unique.

“Not everyone will understand your journey. That’s fine. It’s not their journey to make sense of. It’s yours.”  ~ Unknown

Our journey is like a tapestry where our life weaves many designs reflecting our happiness, our pain, our challenges, opportunities, lessons, and yes, our blessings. We face many changes, some welcome, some bitter memories, but all a part of our own individual journey that no one else can live for us. As you move through the years, every thread is woven by you and becomes a part of who you are.

Sometimes your journey provides pit falls with people and situations that pull you down. And you feel lost. Did you make a wrong turn? Where is your road? How can you go on? But then you dig deep inside where guidance is always there to lift you back to your familiar path, the one you know in your heart is where you belong…your rightful place on your journey. And you begin again, stronger and wiser than before.

“Somewhere on your journey, don’t forget to turn around and enjoy the view.” ~Unknown

Our journey consists of a series of stages where life takes on new flavors with new ways to live each day. Although we may fight the passage of time, each stage is equally important with opportunities to learn and grow. We all know nostalgia, and sometimes we want to go back. But on this journey when the road gets rough, we can’t make a U turn and go back to happier, easier times. Those memories you want to recapture now live in your mind and heart.

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Oh, how I remember when my children were small. I rocked my babies, rode on the sled with them when they got older and when my son fell off his bike, I got the gash in his head sutured, I ordered art lessons for my other son and made my daughter’s prom dress. Treasured memories, some wonderful, some not so wonderful. You know what I mean. You have yours too. Did you realize time was passing when you lived those years? I didn’t. I just took it all for granted.

Then one day I looked around and realized 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. Time has a way of creeping up on us, and we don’t notice the changes until they’re demanding our attention to make necessary adjustments.

“Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative place where no one else has ever been.”  ~ Alan Alda 

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 is 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 lives 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 the quality you want.

Think about where you are now, and where you want to go. Keep the precious moments from the past, and forgive your mistakes. You did the best you could according to your growing ability at the time. Don’t carry them now. You’re a beautiful being on a glorious journey of self-realization. There is a Divine purpose in your journey, and you’re part of that Divine plan for yourself and humanity. Hang on and enjoy the ride.

I wish you much sunshine on your journey…

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

How To Deal With Sadness And Heal Your Pain.

Sadness. We know the feeling…like gnawing in the back of your mind or being immersed in a cloud of pain right down to your soul. Sometimes it can be so painful, you feel you can’t survive, and your first instinct is to run away. But the more you run, the stronger it gets. So you resist, but resistance holds it to you. And it can become relentless, almost like a will of its own.

Usually, sadness involves some kind of obvious loss…a loved one, a job, a home, money, personal freedom, anything you value. And the severity of your loss contributes to the degree of your pain. In some situations, you’re able to recoup and carry on. In others, life may take a sharp turn, and what used to feel real and dependable in your life seems to disappear, leaving little to comfort and sustain you.

“Hypophrenia: A feeling of sadness seemingly without a cause.” ~ Unknown

Some sadness we carry may reflect unresolved issues from childhood. And sadness may be something you’ve carried inside for your whole life. You function and get by, and try to avoid feeling it. But sadness lurks somewhere deep inside, and you always know it’s there. You live with it, like part of you without knowing where it’s coming from.

I’d like to share one of my own experiences. My father died when I was six years old, and I never recovered from losing him. It broke my heart, and I suffered deep sadness for many years. Then several years ago, with the help of an Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) treatment, I was able to finally let him go peacefully. I dealt with my loss, and now the sadness is gone too. I will always miss him, but it’s okay for me to miss him. I would not change that.

A loss is a real issue we need to deal with. Everything is energy, and just as physical pain is an energy telling us something in our physical body needs attention, sadness is the energy that tells us we need to deal with a loss in our life. So the goal is to release the sadness and ultimately release the pain of the loss itself.

“It’s important to understand that sadness is a necessary part of healing. It’s a bridge we must cross to resolve the issue and heal the pain. And we need to deal with it.”

1. Clarify what’s causing your pain and sadness, but don’t be concerned if you can’t find a cause. Just refer to it as the loss you’re dealing with.

2. Identify your feelings, and give yourself permission to feel without judgment.

3. It’s okay to control your feelings when you have to, but allow some private time each day, 30 minutes to 1 hour, to express your pain and sadness freely. Verbalize, release your pent-up tears, punch a pillow, run, whatever expressions help you. Then at the end of the assigned time, stop and immediately go to a pleasant activity you plan ahead of time. Your pain and sadness may, or may not, totally disappear. But as you repeat this exercise during each day, those feelings will gradually decrease and give you peace.

4. Find someone in your life or a class you can attend that will listen and help you through this difficult time. Someone is there for you.

When we’re suffering it’s difficult to imagine pain and sadness someone else is experiencing. It seems like ours is all there is. But we meet people every day hiding their feelings behind fake smiles, afraid to reach out for understanding and comfort they long for. It could be a clerk in a store, a stranger on the street, a neighbor, even a friend. Identifying another’s sadness, and doing what you can to help them through it, can help bring you through yours. And if you’ve already come through yours, you can feel the joy in your heart from helping another. You will both be blessed. 

I wish you a heart filled with peace and comfort…

 

Marilyn Fowler, Author of  

“Silent Echoes” on Amazon.

 

 

Product Details My New book…

How Do You Perceive Your Suffering?

Each of us is a unique being, expressing a unique self, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. And no one else can live our life for us or deal with all that happens to us. But as we move through life, we do a lot of feeling without an accurate understanding of all that’s taking place at a given time. And it’s important to also experience life with knowledge and understanding and find meaning in our being here.

When we suffer, there’s one question that usually comes up, “Why do I have to suffer in this life?” There are all kinds of answers, but in the end, who really knows? Maybe it’s there to teach us something, to make us grateful for the good times, to appreciate our blessings, to emphasize compassion…and more. Whatever the reason, it’s part of life, and we can learn to see it in a different way with our innermost self.

We do not see things as they are. We see things as we are. Unknown

No one wants to suffer at all, but suffering must be included in a meaningful life. Step back, look at your life, and ask questions. What is yours, and only yours, to do in your life? What is, or was your suffering, and what do you see in it…pain, loss, bondage? Your own perceptions of your suffering create what it is, and no one else can experience or express it. Therefore it becomes something more meaningful than simply pain. And you can learn to not only survive but to thrive in spite of it…or because of it.

Your suffering may be temporary or of a chronic nature. But your perception of it is vital to the quality of your life, and it can save you or destroy you. In a positive way, your perception can provide valuable information about you and help you see personal qualities of which you’re not aware. Maybe you’re stronger than you think, or you have ‘first hand’ experiences that can help others, or you’ve developed skills to compensate for the suffering.

In a negative way, your perceptions of your suffering can influence the severity. Or when you allow your suffering to become who you are, your true self may get lost in the pain. We apply meaning to everything. And if you assign negative meaning to your condition, defining what you believe it is, that may lead to more pain and inability to deal with it. But sometimes life itself will heal your suffering and provide a way to escape.

Until my early forties, I suffered from serious depression and cursed the pain every day. Then 2 years of intensive therapy released me from my prison and opened a door to a rewarding career as a Mental Health Therapist. Looking back I blessed those bitter years and expressed gratitude for the suffering that led to renewed purpose for my life. Those years provided insight into the lives of my suffering patients, and I understood their pain.

While working in a jail setting, I circulated a book titled, “Man’s Search For Meaning” by Viktor Frankl. I can’t imagine how many read this book, or tried to read it, but its pages are yellowed, phrases underlined in pencil, words scribbled in the margins, and many questions from my patients about its contents. It offered new understanding and possibilities for their lives…some attainable, some not.

In this book, Dr. Frankl offers various ways to deal with your suffering and find meaning in it. Imagine you’re 85 years old looking back on your life when you did a lot without thinking about it. Be an observer and remember…happy times when you laughed and had fun, the people in your life, problems you solved, your skills and talents, your accomplishments, things you did well and mistakes you made, lessons learned, small kindnesses like hellos to strangers, warm hugs, holding doors open for others, blessings given and received, etc, etc. Look at your life, and include your sufferings. They were an important part of it.

“Your desire to change must be greater than your desire to stay the same.”  ~Unknown

Now return to your present time and see your life with new eyes, with a new mind and heart, with knowledge and understanding, and with love and forgiveness wherever it’s needed. Can you now accept your suffering as something you deal with, while your light reduces any darkness you face? You have the ability to rise above any situation, and your beautiful self can find peace.

I wish you, “Angels,” to tickle your nose.


Marilyn Fowler, Author/Writer 

of  “Silent Echoes” on Amazon.

Product Details My New book…

We Can Find Peace In Chaotic Situations.

Chaosthat thing that drives us up the wall, that most of us can’t define, but we know how it feels. We avoid it whenever possible, but it does invade our life. Roget’s Thesaurus describes chaos qualities as confusing, disorderly, unruly, disruptive, haphazard, disorganized, undisciplined, etc, etc. You know…the kind of atmosphere you don’t want to be around.

Usually, on our journey through life, everything moves along at a steady predictable pace. But then those bumps in the road project us into a state of chaos, or at least to a point where we need to resurrect our problem-solving gear and get busy reducing its influence on our nervous system. It creeps into our peaceful world when our antennae’s are clogged with all our familiar daily activities. And we just don’t see it coming. Or it can attack suddenly without warning, and transport us from a sunny day at the beach to a sinking ship without a paddle for survival. And we stand in confusion wondering what just happened. We’ve all been there.

Chaos comes in many forms from mild to severe, and can affect us physically, mentally, and/or emotionally. And it can take a toll. Chronic worriers live with chaos, and most don’t realize they’re bringing it on themselves. Every day is a crisis, and the crises don’t end. “What if I lose my job; what if I can’t pay my bills; what if I get sick; etc.” Their whole life is a chaotic experience. Or Uncle Joe comes to live with your family in your orderly, well run home. He throws his clothes on the floor, drools at the dinner table, turns on lights and music during the night while he raids the fridge, answers your phone with nonsense, etc, etc. That’s chaos, and you’re feeling it big time.

I remember when I welcomed a new group of people moving into the house next door to me, but I soon regretted their presence. They were members of a band with amps and a microphone, and practiced everyday on their screened porch that faced my living room. I felt surrounded by chaos every time deafening sounds filled my head and scrambled my nerves, my floors vibrated, and my poor dog crouched shaking on the sofa. Finally, after visits by the police, they moved out.

Chaotic situations are okay as long as they don’t last too long. But what happens when they last for days, months, even years, with no end in sight? We think, there’s no way out, I can’t deal with this anymore, I feel like just giving up. But giving up means you think the chaotic situation has tremendous power over you, and you’re done. However, each of us is blessed with everything we need to survive and thrive. And you have more strength within than you imagine, and there’s more you can do.

“If plan ‘A’ fails, remember there are 25 more letters.”  ~Unknown

There are 2 ways to deal with a chaotic situation. Either resolve it or accept it. First write down and clarify outer areas of chaos, and work with others to create a less chaotic world. Fill your surroundings with people, places, and things that bring joy and order in your life, and learn to tune out what you don’t want to see or hear. Do what you can, and include ways to distance yourself from the chaos.

When you’ve tried everything to resolve it, and it’s still there, accepting it means making peace with it, letting go of the way you feel about it and the way you respond to it. Write down and clarify your opinions and feelings. Then practice “inner work” to create “inner peace.” Talk about the situation with denials and affirmations; “I deny you have any power over me, and I affirm peace in my heart as I release any painful response or feelings about it.” Repeat every time the challenge comes to mind. And be patient. In time, you can replace the chaos with peace.

“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.”  ~Pema Chodron

Find a place of your own where you can pray, meditate, whatever you want, and remember who and what you areAnd allow your chaotic situations to show you what you need to know. You are important as your life does have meaning. So don’t let anyone or anything turn your head or heart from that truth.

I wish you peace in your heart!

Marilyn Fowler, Writer, and Author of  

 “Silent Echoes” on Amazon.

Product Details My New book…