What Is Love … Really?

“What the world needs now is love, sweet love. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.”  ~ Bert Bacharach

Every time I turn on the TV or read the newspaper, there’s always a new story about anger, hatred, violence, chaos and murder. I realize the media picks up these stories, but I remember when stories like this just didn’t happen nearly as often or as violent. And I wonder where is the love. I know it’s out there, but how often do we give it our attention?

The Dictionary describes love as, “a feeling of warm affectionate attachment, and it suggests tenderness, as for a child or parent; devotion and loyalty, as to friends or family; reverence, as for God; passion, as for a man or woman; or belief, etc.” But no matter how we interpret it, love is much more than many of us realize.

“Love … it surrounds every being and extends slowly to embrace all that shall be.”     ~Khalil Gibran


Love is pure energy and the most powerful emotion we have. It can be sent anywhere and move mountains, melt away hate and discord, and heal the sick, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. We can see the beautiful power of love manifest in people and situations that are healed. But how often are we conscious of this powerful gift we’ve been given?

We think of love as 3 words … I love you. There is much power in words, and we need to speak them often. But we use them so randomly, it’s easy to forget that more goes into loving than just words. In its true sense, love involves thoughts, feelings, and actions expressed in different situations with or without words. I can think about someone and send them loving feelings; or send them a card with loving wishes; or just have a conversation with someone where love is felt. Recently in a grocery store a stranger in a wheelchair asked me to reach something for her. Then she became tearful and talked to me about her problems. We spoke for about 15 minutes, and I saw a smile replace her tears.

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Love can be expressed in different situations, in different ways, with different meanings. And our thoughts and feelings will determine meanings with or without words. Romantic love may be expressed with warmth and passion; various life relationships with tenderness, respect, and caring; comforting a sad heart with hugs; you may love your work with loyalty and dedication; agape love meant in a spiritual sense; love of God with reverence; love for humanity with purpose and strength; etc. And each one should be special from your heart.

“Life is the flower for which love is the honey.” ~ Victor Hugo

Did you know you can love all living things … animals and plants, lizards and squirrels, fish and bumble bees, all of life? Have you ever found a baby bird and nurtured it to adulthood and watched it fly away? That’s love with meaning. And it can flourish in any situation.

“You, yourself, just as much as anyone in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”  ~ Buddha


Every person needs to feel they’re loved. But many feel unloved, for any number of reasons, and feel unable to give love. When this happens, the essence of who they are gets lost somewhere inside, and an empty vessel can’t give what it doesn’t have. That’s when self-love is vital to life. You deserve love. Find ways to give yourself the love you need, and that energy will bring you the love you want and allow you to love others.

Love energy must be active. Practice loving with and without words. Every day give love to someone or something, including yourself. Send love energy to a puppy playing in a yard, a flower, a stranger on the street. And send love energy across the world, bidding it land wherever it’s needed. Love really can change the world if we’re willing to participate in creating the change.

May your life be filled with love

Marilyn Fowler, Author/Writer

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Self-Talk And How It Affects Your Life.


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We rarely think about how and why self-talk happens, or how it affects our life. But we all do it, and it does have positive or negative results. Some negative people are habitual pessimists while other positive ones are optimists. Most of us are somewhere in between … but every bit affects us in some way. Negative self-talk increases stress, and stress causes physical and mental problems, mistakes in judgment, poor choices, etc. Positive self-talk reduces stress, promotes resistance to illness, increases coping ability, better choices, etc.

“All we are is the result of what we have thought.” ~ Buddha

We don’t plan to talk to ourselves. It’s part of a process that just happens. Every thought is stored in your subconscious, and over time you’ve programmed your mind with a belief system about yourself, other people, and the world. Thoughts produce energy with a positive or negative vibration, and when you have thought about something, no matter how subtle, this energy produces a positive or negative response in your life.

Depending upon your thoughts and self-talk, you’re living in whatever energy vibration you’ve created. Some people who program their mind for success realize their shortcomings and their past mistakes, but don’t dwell on them. They develop abilities to work through their challenges and, for the most part, create positive outcomes in different areas in their life. They realize the goodness life offers, now and in the future.

But life is quite different for those who live with negative thinking and self-talk. They may feel regret and self-condemnation … victim, blame, and shame; or see themselves as inadequate, so usually anticipate the worst outcomes; and the future looks like more of the same. And it is.

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We all fall somewhere in these categories, and use self-talk more often than we realize. When your mind wanders and you talk to yourself, maybe you forget it even happened, but your subconscious doesn’t forget. You may believe that changing your environment will change your life. But wherever you go, you take your mind with you. So re-programming your mind is the only answer to a fuller, more meaningful life.

Psychologist Dr. Shad Helmstetter, a pioneer on self-talk and a leading authority on the science of neuroplasticity and personal growth says it most precisely. Wanting to be a positive thinker isn’t enough. Making the decision to have a positive attitude isn’t enough. The human brain says: “Give me more. Give me the words. Give me the directions, the commands, the picture, the schedule, and the results you want. Then I will do it for you. Give me the words.”

Tell the negative committee that meets inside your head to sit down and shut up.” ~Ann Bradford

1.) Re-Programming: You’ll be working on replacing the negative in your brain with the positive. So you need to know what’s in there. Each person is unique, so practice becoming familiar with what situations cause negative thinking, and make a list of them. Is it work, money, health, your own shortcomings, other people, etc, etc?

2.) Record the negative: Once you have this general list, monitor and record negative thoughts, feelings, and self-talk every day. Be as specific as possible with words, and add any other material, visual, audio, etc, that might come up.

3.) Replace with positive: Take each example on your negatives list and write a positive statement to replace it in a realistic way. Examples: Negative; I mess up everything I do. I’m just plain stupid, and I’ll never learn. Positive; I’ve done some good things in my life, and with my bright mind, I’m getting better all the time. Negative; I’m tired of going without. I guess I’ll be poor my whole life. Positive; I have all I need, and my good is now coming to me in many ways. I am grateful. Negative; I feel so tired and run down. I guess I’ll never have much energy. Positive; I am taking better care of myself, and I feel stronger each day.

Daily work: Practice vigilance each day and immediately correct any negative that comes up. Enjoy music, reading, exercise, fun people, whatever makes you smile. Use brief affirmations. And include spiritual if that’s part of your life. “I am healthy and energetic; I walk in the Light and my life is full and happy; I meet challenges with confidence,” etc.

In time, your outer world will reflect your inner re-programmed subconscious. Have fun watching your life become more positive.


Marilyn Fowler, Author of  “Silent Echoes”

About  “Silent Echoes”

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Hang on. It’s a bumpy ride.

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.

Silent Echoes follows the lives of two determined women, a mother and daughter, who are stubborn enough to get back up every time life dashes them to their knees, but with the ability to laugh through their tears, even when the sun doesn’t shine. They struggle to survive in a world that makes no sense, a world that seems stacked against them from the start. Insight into these characters is developed not with preaching, but through their response to life as they see it, revealing childhood fears and confusion hidden beneath their conscious awareness. The mother’s fear of abandonment and lack of self-worth, and the daughter’s sense of invalidation and feeling she must deal with life alone become defeating beliefs from their past. As these messages silently echo into the present, they are subtly revealed as motivators to lost opportunities, wrong turns in the road and disillusioned hearts. Every obstacle becomes a challenge to test the women’s weaknesses and strengths, to find meaning and become whole.

Silent Echoes explores life’s many seasons, some as sweet as summer’s tender touch and some as bleak as winter snow, but each with a lesson to be learned. It clearly portrays the character’s life situations as they scrounge to pay bills, assume the role of mother and father to their children, encounter stormy relationships, suffer emotional exhaustion, and deal with mother-daughter conflict and end of life issues involving elder care as the mother reaches declining years. When loss and defeat tear their hearts apart, they feel they can’t go on. But they do. They reach deep inside and find strength to rise above their plight, revealing inner ability and resourcefulness to survive, until insight brings understanding, forgiveness and beautiful freedom.

Silent Echoes’ setting takes place mostly in the southern culture of Florida, but moves through Detroit, Pennsylvania, Texas and Las Vegas on a most unstable journey that always brings the family back to their beloved south, the only place that feels like home.

Silent Echoes is a story in which readers will see themselves, feel the pain of the struggle, yet find reassurance that they are not alone and they too can survive. They will be entertained by the humorous situations that lighten the character’s burdens throughout their journey, like when the mother gives up her bra long before the Women’s Lib movement. This is a story readers will take with them and not forget.

A Chicken And People Connection. And Why Do They Cross The Road?

Recently I came across an essay I wrote several years ago about the mystery surrounding why chickens cross the road. And as I read the article, it reminded me of people. In our lives we cross roads everyday…some small, some life changing. Crossing roads for us is the act of leaving situations we’re in now and moving on to different ones. And might that be what chickens do too?

I’d like to share some excerpts from my essay with some historical information, descriptions of chicken’s behavior, and my own perceptions of why they cross roads, plus parallels with our own actions.

“According to a British website entitled Poultry Pages, there are more than 75 different breeds of chickens. And the University of Illinois states that chickens have been around since 7000 BC, probably originating in the far east. Chickens evidently took a long time to get to America, since the Plymouth Rock chicken was first shown in a poultry show in 1829.”

Chickenbox” by Johan Opsomer says that Chicken’s roots are wild, and all pets have some instinctual behavior, so when breeding, chickens tend to run away. Perhaps they cross the road looking for a more suitable mate than the ones back in the hen-house.” And wouldn’t we do the same thing? When there’s not much interesting on our side of the road, wouldn’t we cross the companionship road into new territory to find someone more right for us?

“Chickens have a pecking order–literally. They peck on each others heads to gain top place in the chicken house, and the best pecker gets to have the top position. It seems possible that the chicken on the bottom of the hierarchy crosses the road looking for another group in which it may have better luck. Or maybe its head is sore, and it’s getting away from the pecking.” Doesn’t that make sense? Wouldn’t you seek a new job on a different side of the job road with less criticism and more opportunity? Who wants to stay in a job going nowhere with a sore head?

“Chickens are known for scratching on the ground, and they make good garden weeders. No weed escapes them. People fortunate enough to observe a chicken’s behavior must notice how the dirt flies when the chicken scratches, always behind the chicken. Yes, a chicken always looks forward in its life, so perhaps it’s just following its nose as it crosses the road.” And at times in our life when we’re tired of a situation we’re in…scratching for everything we get…we can reach down and find courage to leave the dirt and weeds and move forward across our garden road to greener grass.


“Fear is the highest fence.”  ~Dudley Nickols


Chickens can also fly, and it takes about a three-foot fence to keep them in. If some can fly that high, then maybe the ones crossing the road have made a successful escape from the hen-house, and are searching for new territory.” Have you ever been so tired of a rut that’s holding you back, you wish you could fly to higher ground? Then what about making a giant leap to the higher side of the road and find the freedom you long for. Don’t be scared. If chickens can make their escape, so can you. And that still, small Voice inside will guide you along your way with all the peace and confidence you need.

Sometimes you may choose the wrong road, and things are worse than before. We’ve all been there. But when chickens make that mistake, they keep running for another road until they find the right one. So find your roads within yourself, and as Confucius says, “Wherever you go, go with all of your heart.” And you will find the right ones.

In conclusion: 

“Today chickens are considered more intelligent than was previously believed, but they still can’t tell us why they cross the road. However, since research studies are being done in some of the most prestigious places, we might just learn to communicate. Then, when I see one crossing the road, I’ll just ask. Otherwise, we may never know for sure why chickens cross the road.” But we can know why we do.

I wish you happy roads ahead.

Marilyn Fowler, Author of  “Silent Echoes”

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The Healing Power of Music

“Music is the voice that tells us that the human race is greater than it knows”.    ~Napoleon Bonaparte~

Healing music fills our world and runs through our lives everyday. But we’re so busy we miss the beauty that comes with meaningful music that touches our heart and makes a difference in our daily life. And health issues, anxiety, and depression either take us down or run beneath the surface hidden from the world as we struggle to function. But we don’t have to suffer.
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A few years ago, I developed a chronic health challenge that kept me wired up, and I was in a constant state of anxiety and depression. Then I discovered two sources of healing music. And oh, what glorious sounds.

Stephen Halpern’s incredible music is like nothing you’ve ever heard. He uses music for healing, without melody or continuous rhythm, and it draws you into a natural state of harmony and balance. When I sat quietly and listened to the Chakra Suite, I was embraced in the quiet relaxation and peace I longed for. This music touched my soul, and helped me through a difficult time.

Then there was Il Volo, three amazing young men who brought their glorious music and Italian voices to the world. I didn’t understand the Italian words of most of their songs, but their voices spoke to me about life, and life was meaningful. They are unique, and I felt alive when I listened to their wonderful music.

But as time passed and I felt good again, I forgot and drifted away from my daily music routine. And fatigue, anxiety, and depression crept back in. So I’ve returned to Halpern and Il Volo. Perhaps my angels are teaching me a new lesson, because listening to those two now, I’ve become aware of other voices in the world, the ones we don’t hear as music. But sometimes that music that we don’t hear can fill our hearts with joy and heal our deepest pain, if we listen to its songs.

“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if the simplest things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice for your soul is alive”
~ Eleanor Duse ~

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That healing music is all around us; a song in the wind blowing through trees, waves hitting notes against the shore, bees humming around a flower, or children’s laughter. Now I even whistle with birds in my back yard. Yes, really. Its all music. And our most important song is inside of us. We all have our own voice, the unique way we express ourself. And we have the power to choose our songs.

In the grocery store, one of the clerks always smiles, asks how I’m doing today, and if I want paper or plastic. She sings the same words everyday, and the title of her song is, I care about you. I know because I feel her caring voice expressing the words. (Some really do care) My niece sings with smiles from her wheelchair, and I know writers who put their songs on paper. Ah, the music.

Michael Jackson said, “To live is to be musical, starting with the blood dancing in your veins. Everything living has a rhythm. Do you feel your music?” It can lower your stress level, help heal your body, and lift your unhappy soul to new levels of peace and balance. Every day listen to the music your world has for you, and express your own music to others. You have the voice within you to choose your song. Sing it to the world. There’s healing and happiness in sharing the music.

“I wish you songs to sing and joy to share”. . .

Marilyn Fowler, Author
http://www.amazon.com/Granmama-Hill-Country-Marilyn-Fowler/dp/B00QFUJPX2

What Do You Do When The Party Ends?

When I was a teenager, we had what we called “pajama parties” where a bunch of us got together at someone’s house and stayed up all night. We ate, laughed, danced, shared our innermost secrets, and felt the joy of being together. But then the party ended, and we returned to our own homes to get some sleep. When I finally woke up, I felt a sense of loneliness, lonely for that complete freedom to be myself with no strings attached.

You’ve had those times, when you left your work-a-day world for a little while and embraced fun times with people you love. I hope you experienced that during the recent holiday season. But now that it’s over, do you really want to get back on the familiar road you’ve been on all year? Or would you like to create something new and different for yourself?
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“Life as it happens to us, is always a reflection of our own state of mind. We are truly the architects of our reality”  ~ Milan Karmeli ~

You still have to pay the bills, wash behind your ears, and tend to your daily responsibilities. But what can you create this year to add more light in your life, more of what you want to have, be, and do? And create is the key word here.

Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last you create what you will.  George Bernard Shaw 

There are several way to achieve this wise advice.

1. Decide what you want more of, what you want to change, or something new you want in your life. Think along the lines of have, be, and do. And be specific.

2. Now create it in your mind with imagination. Use all of your senses. See it, feel it, taste it, smell it, and hear it. Do this while you’re busy and also take some time to sit quietly and embrace it. Know it is yours.

3. Will it to be, and believe that it will manifest.

4. Make a list of what you can do to make it real, alive, in your life. And begin working on it.

5. Take your time. Be patient. And work on one thing at a time.

6. Believe in yourself and your ability to create whatever you want. And include others if you need to. That does not diminish your own ability.

7. Feel joy and express gratitude each time you see what you want manifest,

“You are unique, and if that is not fulfilled, then something has been lost.”  ~Martha Graham~ 

You don’t need to take the same path you’ve always taken. Each new year can be a new beginning, and you can create your own joy and express in unique ways. Choose your own path. Climb your own mountain. You are the light. And you can make it shine.
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I wish you many joyful discoveries.

Marilyn Fowler, Author
http://www.amazon.com/Granmama-Hill-Country-Marilyn-Fowler/dp/B00QFUJPX2/

“Life Can Be A Bumpy Ride” ~ A Time To Release …

Hello Friends and Welcome All,

 

A Time To Release …

At the end of each year, our thoughts tend to take us back to where we’ve been and where we want to go in the new year. But this year is more than just moving into the year ahead. It’s a powerful time of transition when the universe is beginning a new phase of its journey through time, an era in which we make an evolutionary leap to the next dimension in a more loving and peaceful world.In this New Age, the old ways that no longer work for us will tend to pass away, and humanity will have opportunities to embrace a different way of life. During this time of transition, each of us is faced with a choice to either hang on to these old ways and be swept along by a negative sea of energy, or we can choose to shift our energy to new ways of managing our lives on a stronger and more fulfilling path.“Self-knowledge is the great power by which we comprehend and control our lives” ~ Vernon Howard ~

To embrace the new, the old must be released. And this will take some introspection, soul-searching, and self-awareness. Our inner feelings and beliefs determine the quality of our life, and the better we know ourself, the better will be our life creations. We need to stop, pay attention, and become the observer to develop self-awareness.

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Identify what needs to be released:

1. Quietly go within and ask for insight and guidance regarding what needs to be released from your life.

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. Keep a list handy to jot down thoughts and ideas as they come to you through each day. Your inner Voice will be talking to you.

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. List your strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, worries and fears, defeating habits–anything that helps you understand yourself better.4. Notice your current behavior patterns and problem areas in your health, work, relationships, finances, household, free time etc.5. Identify any clutter in your life. Clutter holds stagnate energy and impedes forward movement.

6. Is there anything you need to forgive in yourself or others? Self-criticism, past mistakes, old wounds that need healing?

7. Examine all of these issues, and clarify each one.

8. Each night review progress and express gratitude.

This is a tall order, but take your time, be patient with yourself, and allow the whole process to unfold, dealing with one thing at a time. Release as you go along, releasing each issue as you come to it.

Release and let go:
Visualization is a powerful tool for releasing what you no longer want in your life. A method I’ve found helpful is to close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and sit quietly for at least a few minutes. Then imagine a big balloon any color you want. Now create a shape, texture and color for whatever issue you want to release, dump it into the balloon, seal the balloon, and allow it to float gently up into the air, into the sky. As you watch it disappear, tell it goodbye and express gratitude for what you’ve learned from it, even if you’re not aware that you learned anything from it.

Releasing what doesn’t serve you in a positive way allows you to be open and receptive to bring into your life the blessings the Universe has for you. Release. Let go. And be ready for the next step, embracing more love, peace, and light into your life. Now is the time.

I wish you freedom to express love and peace in your life.

*Author, Marilyn Fowler*
http://www.amazon.com/Silent-Echoes-Marilyn-Fowler/dp/1432749498/