A Time For Renewal, Cycles, and Rebirth

Everything in the universe moves in cycles, and these cycles are necessary to live. The moon tells the oceans when to ebb and flow, seasons tell us when to sow and reap, and darkness tells us when our day should end. Our whole universe is involved in cycles, including us. We leave one phase and enter a new one. And each cycle offers some kind of rebirth and renewal. And all of nature shouts it’s claim to a new springtime, “Look at me. I’m alive, expressing who and what I am.”

“Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.”  ~Doug Larson

Snow has melted, and crunchy slush takes over. It’s springtime again…life coming forth at just the precise time and in the precise way according to nature’s plan. Trees turn green, blossoms of every color discard their buds, butterflies emerge from cocoons, bears come out of their caves and stretch in the warm sun, and every little fuzzy critter scampers to explore what his buddies are up to. Every year we’re treated to nature’s brand new technicolor presentation of rebirth and renewal. And it’s breathtaking.

I remember when I was a child in Michigan, and springtime wrapped her arms around the earth and replaced the drab haze of winter with her gifts of rebirth and renewal. I saw it in fields of tulips with every color in the rainbow and in blue and yellow wildflowers pushing up randomly along my path to school. I listened to birds and night owls pouring their songs into springtime air becoming reacquainted with lost friends and celebrating new ones. I felt spring breezes and warm sun caressing my bare legs when I discarded my leggings until the next cold winter. I watched lightning dart across the sky heralding springtime rain. And then I danced in the rain, hopped through puddles, and tasted rain drops on my tongue.

Every spring I joined nature in her celebration. With all of my senses, I was part of this glorious transformation. I saw life in nature, and I felt life in myself like we were part of each other in God’s great universe. I saw it and felt it everywhere. Then I grew up and forgot to notice. And springtime grew to mean days were longer, we could save on the electric bill, and vacation time was getting closer. Where did joy of the season go? Recently I looked around and realized it’s all still there…every year.

“There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature.” ~Rachel Carson

Fall and winter energy pulls us in and says slow down, let go, and regroup. Spring and summer energy pushes us out and says move forward, take on the new, and express your colors. Just like everything in nature we’re wired for seasonal change, physically, mentally, and spiritually. And we can’t help responding to those seasonal changes. We can either respond with resistance and become more physically disturbed and less motivated, or we can answer the call and become more healthy and invigorated.

Now is when old painful experiences can pass away and make room for a new beginning, like flowers budding anew after a hard freeze. We’ve all been through those hard freezes. But we need to open our eyes to the possibilities that present themselves every spring. Do you ever think about rebirth and renewal within yourself, or are you content to continue living in the old script you’ve written for your life? Everyone creates a script. It’s like a recipe for living, and we act it our everyday. We may have visions or dreams of how we’d like to change it, but most of the time those fade away, and our springs come and go as they always have.

“Those who plow in hope not only understand the law of the harvest, but they also understand what growing seasons are all about.”  ~Neal A. Maxwell

How about taking a lesson from the tulips or butterflies, or like the bear, be brave enough to come out of your cave. Within each of us is a light so bright you can write a whole new script and experience positive changes in your life. A time of rebirth. A time of renewal. Search deep within. What are your colors? What is your song? What are the words you want to say? Someone said, “Your wings already exist. All you have to do is fly.” So spread your wings and fly. It’s your springtime.

I wish you beautiful discoveries in your springtime.

Marilyn Fowler, Author of  “Silent Echoes”

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Don’t Underestimate The Power of Laughter. It Could Save Your Life.

Humor is the great thing. The minute it crops up, all our hardnesses yield, all our irritations and resentments flit away.”   ~Mark Twain

 


When was the last time you laughed–that doubled over, belly shaking, tear jerking surrender to feeling good laugh? You know–that thing kids do and we need to do everyday. It touches your very soul. And it’s fun. So why don’t we deliberately pursue laughter or create things to laugh at instead of waiting until we happen to see or hear something funny? Maybe we’re just so caught up in the burdens of daily living that we forget that valuable gift that could literally change our life.

I think most people know laughter is good for you, but maybe not to the extent it’s vital to physical, mental, and emotional health. Laughter has a long line of benefits. It exercises stomach muscles, lowers blood pressure, gets the heart pumping, reduces pain, aids the immune system, helps memory and sleep, reduces stress, calms anxiety, triggers dopamine, and more and more. It’s also contagious and brings people together. Even smiling affects us in positive ways. What a happy pill for good health.

Maybe you’ve heard of Norman Cousins who wrote The Anatomy of an Illness in which he documented his successful journey from terminal illness to health using laughter for healing. He left the hospital and created funny scenarios for laughter, like Groucho Marx movies. And he spent much of each day laughing. His case contributed to alternative medicine and inspired research into the benefits of laughter in illness and pain management.

You don’t have to wait until you feel like laughing to laugh. The Cancer Treatment Centers of America use various forms of laughter therapy. One exercise to cause laughter is to put your fingertips on your cheekbones, chest or lower abdomen and make “ha ha” or “hee hee” sounds until you feel vibrations through your body. I’ve tried it, and it really works. Had me laughing in no time. They also use Laughter Yoga in which several laughter exercises are incorporated into a yoga discipline.

God must have known I’d need a sense of humor and the ability to laugh, because I’ve been aware of that gift my whole life. It has brought me through some tough times, and I’m still learning how to use it more effectively. I’d like to share a poem I wrote in 2001 about laughter.

Although I hurt a lot inside,
I sometimes joke and find a laugh.
It comes from yet another place
Along my weary path.
It usually comes up suddenly,
And takes its rightful place.
It stays around a little while
And fills the empty space.
Laughter drives away the tears,
And calms the hurt below.
It frees my soul to feel alive
Where I think angels go.
God knew I’d need this useful tool
To lift me high above the dark,
So I can see the truth of life,
And find that vital spark.
Thank you, Lord, for quips and giggles,
For making light of strife and pain,
For finding fun in spite of trial
To find my joyful way again.

So don’t wait for something funny to turn up. Create your laughs–everyday–everyday. Watch some funny movies, listen to music. The Chipmunk Song always makes me laugh. Do the “ha ha” and “hee hee” thing. And feel health, peace, and joy happily moving through your body, mind, and spirit. Picture your inner child having fun laughing out loud, rejoicing in life. Celebrate yourself with a good hearty laugh.

I wish you the joy of laughter in all your days.

Marilyn Fowler, Author/Writer

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Revisiting Your Inner Child

“The reluctance to put away childish things may be a requirement of genius.”
~ Rebecca Pepper Sinkler ~

Smiles contain powerful energy, the kind that transcends pain, dries tears, and heals wounds. Children know this, instinctively. They haven’t yet learned to dwell on regrets from the past and miss today’s blessings. Some have pain and sadness in their lives, but they’re ingenious, and they find ways to survive through laughter. And that little girl–that little boy–will always be a part of who you are. But how often do we get so busy, we forget that wonderful part of our self?

Lately I’ve become more aware of my sense of self when I laugh and when I frown. It’s like laughter brings out a part of me that frowning can’t touch. Laughter expresses from the heart, while frowning is from the human mind. And each provides a very different perspective of self. Laughter reminds us of our true self as we were created, and when we frown we lose sight of that beautiful truth.

I remember when my own children were growing up expressing their curiosity, creativity, humor and forgiveness. Our home wasn’t always a happy one, and sometimes they cried. But they made airplanes from scraps of paper, or fought with playmates one day and laughed together the next. In winter they flew on the sled, in summer they swam the ocean in the kiddie pool, they read stories and said their prayers, and gave me hugs everyday. They created the happy times. And I miss those times.

One time I was behind a family in the checkout line in the grocery store, and a little girl about 3 years old sat in the basket ahead of me. She found the child in me, and we had a great time. We waved, blinked our eyes, and giggled together. It reminded me of the little child in each of us–that part that needs to laugh and play–that part that has not forgotten what is truly important and enduring in this human condition.

“The kid in you holds the key to living a full and rich life. Let him or her out to play.”
~ Cheryl Richardson ~

When times are hard, or any time, look to your inner child who remembers how to turn a painful challenge into a time of hope. And learn to smile again, even when you feel the situation doesn’t deserve one. Try it, and watch a grin become a smile, a smile break into laughter, and your heart find peace and joy. You are not your illness–you are not those bills you can’t pay–you are not the crises in your life. Those are challenges you’re dealing with. You are beautiful. And your inner child can show that to you.

“Release your inner child. Be a little wild.” ~ Laura E. Brusseau ~

I do silly things once in a while, but now I intend to let my child out more often. Of course, due to physical limitations, I can’t stand on my head or walk five miles to the old swimming hole like I used to. But I can still play music and dance around the house, or play in my yard in the rain, or laugh at myself in the mirror instead of moaning at what I see. And I don’t have to eat brussels sprouts if I don’t want to. Then when someone shakes their head and says, “You must be in your second childhood,” I’ll grin and say, “Absolutely.

I wish you joy in your many second childhood shenanigans.

Marilyn Fowler, Author/Writer
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