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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Starting Over And Leaving Something Behind . . .

“One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as
an adventure. ”  ~William Feather

Starting over means different things to different people. What does starting over mean to you…some monumental, life changing, fearful transformation in your miserable life? It may be all of that…but not necessarily. Starting over can be involved in any number of scenarios from minor to serious, depending upon the situation and your ability to take action.

We start over dozens of times every day and don’t even know we’re doing it. You’re looking for the cereal aisle in the grocery store and take a wrong turn. Start over. You take the wrong book off the shelf, put it back, and start over. It can be as simple as changing your mind about something…anything. Some call it going back to square one. So we have a lot of practice starting over in non-threatening situations where the consequences are not life changing.

The only way around is through.”  ~ Robert Frost

But some situations are thrust upon you, like loss of a job, a loved one, money, your health, an important relationship, etc. It might even involve a broken heart you think will never heal. You didn’t cause any of it to happen, and you can delude yourself into thinking it didn’t happen. But you know it did. And if you want to survive, you have to get through it. You have to do something. You have to get up and start over.

“And suddenly you just know it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginning. ”  ~Meister Eckhart.

Sometimes the choice to start over is one you make within yourself to move from the status quo to a different path, like choosing the marry, move to another city, pursue a dream, etc. But it all involves starting over from your own conscious desires or being given a new direction. You may have a restless feeling inside, like there’s something you need to do, but you don’t yet know what it is. Years ago, I was working as a waitress, and for a long time I had that feeling. Then one day at work I heard a voice in my head say, “You have to work in the mental health field.” I was totally flabbergasted by that bizarre idea. I knew nothing about it, and had no credentials for such an endeavor. But it kept pushing me. So I moved to a new path and started over. I was scared, but I went back to school, and ended up working many happy years in the mental health field. You will know when it’s time to change the path you’re on and choose a new one.


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“You don’t need a new day to start over. You only need a new mindset.”
~Hazel Hira Ozbek                   


No matter what the reason for change, there may be some confusion, fear of the unknown, lack of confidence in your own ability, a situation that seems impossible, anything that could hold you back. If this happens, accept those feelings as quite normal, clear your mind, and begin moving forward with a new beginning. If you need emotional help, find someone you trust for help and support…family, friend, counselor. It’s wise anyway to voice your thoughts and feelings. This helps clarify your situation and give you the confidence you need. If you’re in a situation that can’t be changed, you don’t have to be controlled by it. It’s part of your life, but not all of your life. Your task now is to put some emotional space between you and the situation, and add something new in your life just for you.

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

Starting over always involves letting go of something and embracing something new. What is there you no longer want or need in your life? What are you ready to release? Write down where you’ve been, where you are now, and where you want to go…and what you’ll need to get there. Then begin releasing what you don’t want, and start over on your new path. Believe in yourself. Trust yourself. You have the ability to create whatever you want. Go for it.

I wish you happy days ahead!

Marilyn Fowler, Author/Writer  of  ‘Silent Echoes’

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Resistance Breeds Persistence. Glider Rides Or River Rapids. You Choose .

 

“Non-resistance is the key to the greatest power in the universe.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

When a problem enters your life, of course it needs attention. We can’t usually ignore it. But sometimes our first response is resistance. Why can’t it just go away … I don’t have time … I’m too busy. So by the time we’re forced into figuring ways to resolve it we’re already caught up into thinking it won’t go away unless we stew and fret over it. And a problem that could be dealt with quickly becomes a monster on your back.

“Resistance to unwanted circumstances has the power to keep those circumstances alive and well for a very long time.” ~ Pema Chodron


A long time ago a friend told me that resistance prolongs agony. Back then I’d come through enough agony to believe I’d learned just about everything I needed to know to get me through. I was a pro at wringing my hands, railing at fate, and resisting every situation that crossed my path. And I didn’t realize the price I paid for my usual know-it-all outbursts.

Then when my computer broke down, and my usual tantrum didn’t resurrect it, I tried my friend’s suggestion. I needed that computer. So I used my energy getting it repaired instead of wasting my time yelling at it. And I was amazed. As soon as I calmed down enough to think straight, I got it fixed without frazzled nerves and bald spots from tearing my hair out. Non-resistance worked.

“When you fight something, you’re tied to it forever. As long as you’re fighting it, you’re giving it power.” ~ Anthony de Mello

Persistence: You may feel you’re not trying hard enough to solve the problem if it doesn’t involve fear, worry, frustration, or any other way to express your negative feelings about it. But your thoughts, feelings, and actions produce energy, and the energy produced has to go somewhere and do something. So the more energy you feed it, the tighter it clings to you, and the more power it has over you.

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“What you resist persists. And only what you look at, and own, can disappear. You make it disappear by simply changing your mind about it.” ~ Neale Donald Walsh

Solutions:
1. Non-resistance simply means choosing to accept a problem not as a mountain, but as a manageable hill that you’re capable of resolving. You don’t need to like the situation, but accept it as your own.

2. Rather than focusing on how you feel about the problem, detach your self from it, so you can be free to do what’s necessary. Research ways to resolve the issue and act upon them with a cool head and heart.

3. Stop trying to push the problem away. Let it be, and accept its presence while you’re doing what you can to resolve it. This doesn’t mean giving in without a fight, but take your fight to the solution–not the problem.

When you meet obstacles with gratitude, your perception starts to shift, resistance loses its power, and grace finds a home within you.” ~ Oprah


Instead of an attitude that says to the problem, “Pull up a chair and have a seat. I’ll feed you enough energy to keep you around for a long time”, talk to your feelings with understanding and compassion. Then as you assume an attitude of confidence and gratitude, feel a welcome shift inside, and ask the problem what you need to learn from it for your personal growth. It’s there to teach you, and it won’t leave until you’ve learned, sometimes only on a subconscious level. Maybe the lesson is as simple as learning how to peacefully resolve problems.

Our journey is a series of glider rides and river rapids, and it’s not always easy. But learn to enjoy the rides, and concentrate on the paddles when the rapids get rough. Practice non-resistance, do what’s yours to do, and grow through it bigger than you were before.

I wish you many glider rides.

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

A Note: Last week was my 100th Blog Post here on WordPress! So thanks for the trophy, and to all who have come and enjoyed what I write for all of YOU!  *Marilyn*  xoxo


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How The Image You Portray To Others Influences The Quality Of Your Life Part 2

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No one can ever know you until the mask is removed.”
~Adam Tebbe

Some children learn to rise above childhood hurts and maintain an authentic self. But some create a false image to insure a particular response from others, and so protect themselves from being hurt. And this image becomes who they are to themselves and to the people in their life. Sometimes this can work, but too often this false image does not produce the desired results.

Last week I gave several examples where the mask backfired, and desired results were not realized. The People Pleaser mask resulted in being used by others instead of being loved. The Do Gooder’s efforts were appreciated, but without personal approval. And the wall built by the Independent Self-Sufficient image brought loneliness.


Be the person you intended to be before you intended to be the person you are not. It’s time to seek authenticity in ourselves and remove all masks. ~Daniele Maylyn

In some ways a mask may make life a little easier, but sooner or later something deep inside signals a kind of unrest. You may know something’s missing underneath, but not realize you’re living your life behind a mask. For most of my life I didn’t know I wore my Independent Self-Sufficient mask. I thought that was me. Then I felt a nudging telling me to look inside for what was missing. And I’m still finding myself.

“Everything you’re looking for lies behind the mask you wear.” ~Stephen C. Paul


If you’ve been wearing a mask as you, then where is that authentic self that got lost in the pain behind your mask a long time ago? Do you ever feel unrest inside and long to reclaim your true self? Would you like to be You again? Would you like to greet each day knowing You are living your life … overcoming your own challenges and creating your life as you want it?

It’s not easy to release an image you’re portrayed for so many years and embrace a new you … the real you. As you find new ways of expression, you’ll find resistance from people in your life. They’ll have to learn different ways to respond to you. And people don’t want to change. You may even be afraid for people to see the real you, although you were born lovable, special, and beautiful. And you still are. For a while it might be scary as you learn to live without your protective shield. But …


Fear is the brains way of saying that there is something important for you to overcome.” ~Rachel Huber

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Over time, recapturing your authentic self is a process that must unfold. And the first step is the intention to release your false image and allow your authentic self to emerge and express in your life. Voice this intention every day as you work on being less mask and more you.

Discover what situations in your childhood brought pain and fear that could have created your protective shield in the first place. Was it feeling unloved, not appreciated, misunderstood, being ridiculed, feeling unworthy, invalidated, guilty, etc? Mine was finding no one there when I needed comfort during a painful time. So vowing to not ever need anyone again protected me from pain in the future when no one was there for me. I became quite independent, but also lonely.

“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.” ~ Steve Jobs


Look at your feelings and behavior patterns for clues. And confront your masks false beliefs about you. You are not your mask. We have an innate desire to be our authentic self to find and fulfill our purpose and meaning in life. And this desire cannot be denied forever by any false image we’ve created. In spite of our facade, we want to grow and express more of what makes us unique and special, and be free to feel our true emotions and make sincere choices. Go within and listen, not to the lies about you that try to take hold in your mind, but to the truth you find in your heart. And be that person.

I wish you happy freedom to be wonderful You.

Marilyn Fowler, Author/Writer

How The Image You Portray To Others Influences The Quality Of Your Life Part 1 .

We all develop a sense of self from messages received during childhood. some messages teach the child to trust who they really are and live their life free from fear of being hurt. But with others, the authentic child gets lost in negative messages about who they are and what the world is like. And they will create ways to protect themselves from being hurt.

We humans are resourceful. And the crutches we use to protect ourselves come in many forms. We put up walls. We live in denial. We guard our feelings. We buy love. We avoid threatening situations. And so on, and so on. We create a protective mask, and this image is what we present to the world.

“You wear a mask for so long, you forget who you were beneath it.”
~Alan Moore

We all wear a mask from time to time, but our facade can become so real, we may forget who we were before someone or something forced us to create a protective shield. And others will react to us according to the person we appear to be, not knowing that beneath our mask we may feel inadequate, unloved, rejected, lonely … any pain from our childhood.

Behind every mask there’s an unmet need, something we missed as a child. And we never found the courage to explore life as our true self. We hide behind our mask to feel safe, and that can work for us. We project silent messages, and others respond. But sometimes the mask can backfire and leave us defenseless, as in the following examples.

People Pleaser message:
If I always give and do what you want, that will please you, and then you’ll love me. So I’ll put your desires ahead of my own. Other people’s response: So that means I can run to you any time I want something done, you’ll do it for me. My own gofer. Yeah.
Result: A people pleaser can get used, and not always be loved.

Do Gooder message:
I’ll serve my community and always help others. Then I’ll get everyone’s approval for being such a good person. Other people’s response: That person is so dedicated to helping others, but he/she doesn’t know when to stop. Result: Do Gooder’s efforts are appreciated, but no approval as a person.

Center of Attention message:
I have no pain from childhood. I’m okay just like I am. So I can do whatever I want, and everyone will like and accept me. Other people’s response: He/she is all right for a while, but not the center of attention all the time. It’s too much. Result: Center of Attention’s denial of any pain underneath isn’t working, and there’s no acceptance by others.

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“We try so hard to make ourselves lovable, and yet each layer of this mask puts another wall around us–a wall that keeps love out.”  ~Vironika Tugaleva

When I was 6 years old, my father died, and I was heart-broken. But no one understood or comforted me. So I vowed to take care of myself and need no one. Without realizing it, I put up a wall and projected an Independent, Self-Sufficient image to everyone in my life. And of course this brought a Response that said: Oh, you take care of yourself, and you don’t need help. You always look good and seem so happy. You don’t need us. The Result of this image brought loneliness behind my wall.

“Because an illusion is an illusion, reality always exists despite the facade”
~ Kasie West.


 Do you wear a mask to protect yourself from childhood hurts? If so, living with a false image may get you through life, but that allows your authentic self to remain lost inside, yelling “Let me out. See me. Hear me. Love me.” And somewhere inside you know it. You feel it. You may not realize you’re living a protective façade but your life is worth exploring to find out where you’re really coming from and whether or not you’re happy with that.

Tune in next week for Part 2 with ways to be less of who you are not, and be more of who you really are.

Let your light shine.

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

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About Silent Echoes:

Silent Echoes is a memoir with psychological undertones spanning three generations. It begins with life in an orphanage and moves into the rich, sweet life of the 1920’s, through the tumultuous Stock Market crash and Great Depression years. The story recounts this historical period, and brings the national trauma to life through a vivid portrayal of one family’s personal struggle to go on as they fall from wealth to poverty and homelessness.

It guides readers through this entire decade with a bone deep exploration into the family’s inner pain and desperation as their situation tests their strength to survive. Characters are portrayed with poignant care as they experience not only loss of material possessions, but of trust in a secure future, of loved ones through death and separation, losses that wound the very soul. As their story moves out of the Depression years through several wars and beyond, residual scars become apparent as they influence the character’s self-defeating choices for some years to come.

The Many Sides Of Break Ups And Letting Go…When You Want To And When You Don’t.

Hello, Welcome Readers and Friends,

Since Spring is in the air?  I felt this new post just might come in handy for those who are in relationships and what life might bring.  Sometimes “LOVE BLOOMS” in the springtime and sometimes it ends. Here is some advice and “wisdom” either way  . . .  Happy Spring Everyone!

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As we move through life, we go through a multitude of experiences…some filled with happiness, and some painful to the bone. And we each have our own unique bundle we call our life. No two are alike, and we interpret and respond in different ways. So we may have different notions about break ups and letting go.

To break up means to release, detach, undo, be over with, let go, come to an end, etc. We usually interpret a break up as with that special someone in our life. But it can apply to any person, a situation, or even a place–a friend, family, an organization, the place where you live. Some are initiated by you, while others are beyond your control. And while some have happy outcomes, others may mean letting go of someone or something you’re attached to, and that can be painful, depending upon your response to letting go.

“Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.”  ~James Baldwin

Every break up means facing change and making adjustments, but sometimes letting go is too hard to face, especially one you never imagined could happen. I was 6 years old when my father died, and I was devastated. Now I’m old, and during all those years I refused to let him go. I felt an empty, lonely place inside, and could never face his leaving. Then last year, I went to an EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) Provider who helped me finally release him. I will always miss him, but now I’m at peace accepting his leaving me when he had to.

Then I remember when I received the final papers on my divorce. I thought I’d be happy, but I sank down on the floor in the hallway, leaned against the wall, and cried buckets. It was what I wanted. I had initiated it. But I felt a deep sense of loss and failure. It seemed so sad for a family to break up, and it was difficult facing a new life.

“For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: “It might have been.”   ~John Greenleaf Whittier

Do you ever look back at some of your break ups and wonder what might have been if they had not happened? Did you lose a loved one? Did a love affair come to an end? A friend you had to leave behind when you moved away? That job you left for one that looked better, but wasn’t? Your dream of traveling in Europe went out the window when you got married? Or you dissolved your relationship with a family member? All sad break ups, but part of living your life. Can’t relate? Think of a painful break up in your past, and remember the feelings you had, maybe still have, about it.

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“Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.  ~Victor Hugo

Yes, the sun can rise again in spite of our pain. And one way to let the sunshine in is to also remember those happy break ups…the ones we allow to get lost amid the pain. Do you remember how you felt when school was out and you said goodbye forever to the 4th grade? When your loud neighbor finally left town? When you located your lost check and got rid of that obnoxious bill collector? Happy break ups, part of life. So how do you keep what you want and release what you don’t want?

“Never lose hope, my dear heart. Miracles dwell in the invisible.” ~Rumi

First decide the kind of life you want and make a firm commitment to that life. Include inner love, peace, joy, contentment, health, etc, and what you want outside of yourself.

Next identify any inner turmoil…sadness, guilt, anger regret, unforgiveness, etc, and any outer discord.

Now make a firm commitment to break up with anything you don’t want in your life…inside and outside of yourself. You’re going to let it go.

Each day affirm with conviction who and what you are…a beautiful creation with the ability to have, be, and do whatever you want to accomplish in your life.

As you practice each day, use healing modalities such as affirmations, music, nature, yoga, meditation. And explore EFT. I really works. Since any kind of healing process can be lonely, seek understanding and support from others. And give them your love.

I wish you freedom to be who you are.

Marilyn Fowler, Author & Writer of “Silent Echoes.”

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Me and Granmama in the Hill Country…

Seven-year-old Marilee and her younger siblings, Bo and Janie, sit waiting on the front steps of their house wondering if their mama will ever come back. Just as the abandoned Marilee gives up, she sees Granmama running up the road, coming to their rescue. This begins the adventures and misadventures of learning to grow up on a farm in the hill country.

Marilee narrates her story many years later with memories of happy times when they laughed over berry pancakes drenched in syrup from Mr. Lewis’ bee farm, or listened to Granpapa’s funny stories, or reminiscing about the secret hidden in her prom dress. She remembers chasing renegade chickens all over her grandparents’ massive property, and how she snickered at what she heard on Granmama’s sewing days. She relived the sad times when the family cried together and clung to each other through each painful challenge. All those times made up a life, a life Marilee holds deep in her heart forever.

This is a story spanning the Great Depression years, two wars that changed their little town, and the years beyond. Each chapter is a new adventure for this resilient family. Characters are unique in their own way, but with a connection that bonds them together with a strength that can’t be broken, while their southern dialect reflects a heritage grown deep in generations before them. This is Marilee’s story. One to be remembered always.

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Your New Year Belongs To You. Claim It.

Happy New Year and Welcome All,


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You’re entering a new year. How do you approach a gift like this? Do you take the time to examine what’s going on in your life and what you may want to change or make better? Do you recognize the power you have to mold and create wonderment in this time you’re been given, or do you just say, “Oh, well. Just another year of the same old stuff?”

Now is the time to look at your life and decide what you want to do with it. You’ve been given a brand new year to create new blessings in your life and to expand on what you already have … a time to be and do and grow into more of what your heart desires. As you enter this year, bring the good stuff with you, the love, the peace, the fun times, your creativity, everything that made you happy last year. But don’t contaminate this new year with old baggage from the past. Clean up anything painful that you haven’t already released, and let it go. Be done with it. Allow…allow yourself to start out with a new bucket.

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.”  ~ T.S.Eliot

No one goes through life without those unexpected challenges that throw us flat on the ground and make it hard to get back up. But each of us has untapped resiliency, strength, and determination that can absolutely amaze us if we recognize and affirm it right off. So let this affirmation be your first claim for your new year. “I am blessed with all the power I need to make all aspects of this year better than any before.”

When people go on a motor trip they usually know where they want to go, and they plan how to get there. Otherwise they may end up lost in the boondocks. Well, certainly where you’re going this year deserves the same attention and planning. No matter how you may plan it, you’ll take detours along the way. But that’s okay. You’re far better off with a plan than without one. So this will take some serious thinking.

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Now is the time to clarify what you’re dealing with, where you want to go this year, and a plan for direction to get there. And this year, if you’re serious about being a determining factor in the quality of your life, your plan needs to be on paper. Some people hate to make lists. But I’m a list person. I hate feeling overwhelmed with stuff running around in my head, so I put it on paper. Then I’m free to play, and get back to it when I need to. And it keeps me in charge.

It’s important to consider your outer world and your inner world. Take some quiet time to examine your outer life issues, your relationships, your work, your health, finances, what you want to create. Then look within to your inner self, qualities that work for you, those on which you want to improve, and others you want to change or release. Now list each item on paper, decide what you want to do with each one, and work out a strategy of action to create a better, more rewarding life and successfully meet challenges as they come.

This doesn’t need to be complicated or tedious…just a handy reminder. Once you’ve taken the time and effort to create your plan, most of your work is done. Now as you go along each day, you can look at your ‘what and how’ lists. And if you sometimes weaken, you can affirm to yourself, “This is a new year, and I’m now in the driver’s seat. I know what I want, and I know how to get there. I am awesome.” And every night say, “Thank you, Universe, for all your help.”


I wish you much happiness with your new creation.

Marilyn Fowler, Author/Writer

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