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.

 

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

 

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Is Your Goal Setting Journey Successful…And If Not, Why?

It’s hard for our minds to stay in the present, and we tend to want a better future. So we set goals. We’re taught this principle with slogans like, “Going for the goal; success is measured by reaching goals; without goals, attempts at success are futile; etc.” Although there are many skeptics about setting goals, we’re a goal setting nation from individuals to large organizations.

According to the World Book Encyclopedia, a “goal is a thing for which an effort is made” or a “thing wanted.” Things you want generally fall into 3 categorieshaving, doing, or being something. Examples: I want to have a patio behind my house, or I want to learn French, or I want to be 10 pounds lighter. Each one suggests a goal. But we’re all different and reaching the goal may or may not involve a specific plan to get there. Some people need prodding, and others don’t. Some of us would not get out of bed each morning without goals for the day, and some of us cringe at having to function with pre-set goals.

“No one knows how far his strengths go until he has tried them.”  ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Goals may be small achievements or life changing, but they all offer an opportunity to learn and grow. And goal setting probably produces rewards more often than not. But it can also go the other way. When successful, it provides a sense of motivation and purpose, with focus, passion, direction, improved self-esteem, and something to look forward to. But for some people, setting goals can be limiting, and may do more harm than good. It can create a sense of ‘I should’, self-doubt, pressure to succeed and fear of failure, too much living in the future and neglecting the present, and feeling unworthy and depressed if they do fail to reach their goals.

“Determine What you want and Why you want it. Once you understand what’s important, you can utilize your Passions and achieve anything.”  ~Brooke Griffin

One size doesn’t fit all, so it’s wise to choose an approach in which you feel comfortable; detailed planning, tentative planning, available doors as you move along, or any method that feels right for you. Whatever your method, get a clear vision of what you want to achieve, why you want it, and how much you’re willing to go through to get it. Then begin creating your process to get there.

I set goals for myself, but I’m not one to map out a way to get there. In my forties, I wanted to work in the Mental Health Field, but had no money for necessary education. I had no idea how I could accomplish such a goal, but I had to do it. So I quit my job, moved to another city, stayed with friends, got another job, and enrolled in school on a loan and later a stipend. While in school, I reached out to some wonderful people for help, I volunteered at seminars for free admission and volunteered at a Mental Health Center to gain experience. And eventually, I had the degrees and training I needed for many happy years doing work I loved. Nothing planned…just opened one door at a time, and reached my initial goal.

“Be stubborn about your goals, and flexible about your methods.”   ~Unknown

If you have a goal and choose to plan ahead, go easy on yourself, and keep your demands reasonable. And to minimize stress, set realistic, flexible standards within your capabilities. Include whatever you will need in each step toward your goal, and list resources for help along the way. Allow for any unforeseen situations that may occur, and be ready to alter your course if needed. Keeping your eye on the goal will keep you motivated. And monitoring the process as you move through it will furnish valuable insight if in the end, you need a second attempt. Don’t give up!

“We can’t become what we need to be by remaining where we are.”  ~Oprah

Do you want to make a change in your life, but scared to take a step forward? Well, choose your goal, and ask someone you trust to stand by you through the change process so you don’t feel alone in a threatening world. Be understanding and patient with yourself. And if you fall back, don’t criticize. You’re stronger than you think, and you can make it. And it could make a difference in your life. Move forward into freedom.

I wish you much sunshine on your journey…

Marilyn Fowler,  Author/Writer of  SILENT ECHOES  ~  Visit Me On Amazon

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Are You Running Your Life or Is Your Life Running You?

Ours is an excessively conscious age. We know so much, we feel so little.”  ~ D. H. Lawrence

We’re living in a time when we’re bombarded with so much information, it’s hard for our brains to digest all of it. So we run through each day trying to sort out what we need in order to function with little time to see where we’re going. In a way, it’s a good thing much of our functioning is based on habits that keep us in line. But on the other hand, it doesn’t give us much room to see beyond those habits. And our wonderful gift of creativity gets lost in the process.

“First we make our habits, then our habits make us.”  ~ Charles C. Noble

The habits we use in adulthood are learned during our childhood years. We take every piece of knowledge from our environment, sift through it, accept and reject, and come up with what makes sense to us or what is expected of us, or both. And the habits we form become our pattern for living. In years past, our innate gift of creativity was nurtured and encouraged. But over the years, in many schools, little time was allowed for creativity. And we’ve learned to survive in a material world where gadgets are the answer to daily functioning…push a button for this and a button for that.

“If you are not consciously directing your life, you will lose your footing and circumstances will decide for you.”  ~ Michael Beckwith

Unless we’ve chosen to live creatively with freedom to direct our own path, we can be swept along by the dictates of current expected behavior. And we wake up every morning to follow our mental ‘to do’ list for that day without question. When unforeseen situations come up, we move into whatever direction they take us and do our best to resolve them with robotic precision. Days end, and we’ve once more fulfilled our mission to solve problems as they arise and maintain our status quo. We’re the sickest industrial nation in the world, and our drug industry is a booming business. We’re supposed to be running our lives, but it appears our lives are running us. And it gets overwhelming.

When you look at your situation, what do you see? Probably work, paying bills, maintaining a home, maybe raising a family, tending to health issues. helping someone close to you. You know…all those having and doing things. Your daily responsibilities are so very important, and maybe you’re reasonably content. But you don’t have to let them dictate the quality of your life.

Walt Whitman said, “I am larger than I thought and more wonderful.” And we are. But sometimes we get so caught up in having and doing things, we forget about being. And life cannot be measured in things. Things are finite…here today and gone tomorrow. It’s intangible qualities that make life worthwhile and memorable…those qualities that express our larger, more wonderful self.

When was the last time you watched a quiet sunset, listened to birds welcome a new day, tasted an apple pie just out of the oven, enjoyed a long conversation with a friend, said a prayer, or experienced a good old-fashioned bear hug with a child and felt the loving energy between you? Have you forgotten? Those blessings don’t happen unless you take the reins and direct your life to include them as a vital part of your busy world. Balance is key in all things, and we can reach a balance between feeding our material needs and feeding our souls…even in today’s gadget world.

“Live your dreams. Create your life. Lead with intention.” ~ Leslie Schwartz

If you feel your life is being run by responsibilities, and you want a more fulfilling life, go within and explore where you are now and where you want to go. Whether you share responsibility with someone or you shoulder it alone, by leading with intention you can create the kind of life your heart wants. Your life is a journey, and you have the power to direct your steps along the way…your way. Be happy, dear one. You are larger and more wonderful than you think.

I wish you a full and happy life.

__________________________________________

Marilyn Fowler, Author/Writer 


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Approaching The Unknown. Friend-Foe-or Challenge?

HELLO and WELCOME Friends and Readers,

There are things known and things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.”  ~ Aldous Huxley

The unknown…the dark, scary, unknown…that place you don’t want to go…but it’s there…always there…looming in the realm of unanswered questions where anything can happen…and you don’t know what you’re facing. Stress builds, and you’ve gotten yourself into a frightening horror film when a can of soda and a box of popcorn in the latest Mickey Mouse film is really all you’re going to need to survive. have you ever experienced such a trip? This example may be exaggerated, but don’t we sometimes needlessly chew over something trying to resolve an issue in our mind to avoid the unknown?

But we can’t escape. Life is full of unknowns, and not always anticipated. The very next moment from your present moment is an unknown. And events can happen without any warning at all. So relish every precious moment you have. Last year, with no thought of any next moment, I was hospitalized twice for a sudden accident. Now after 14 months, pain is subsiding, and I’m more at ease. But still dealing with nerve damage. And I had no idea anything was coming in that very moment.

Everyone is afraid of something, but usually, we’re not faced with situations attached to dire circumstances. We don’t have all the answers, but outcomes are fairly predictable. And we can calm our fears with some positive reassurance. “It’s okay if I’m a little nervous on a new job; I can find new friends when I move; etc.” We survive these unknowns and move on.

But when we’re faced with a critical situation that could lead to painful repercussions, it becomes a gigantic question we’ll have to answer at some ominous time in the future. We don’t know what path it will take, and we get caught up in ‘what ifs’ over one imagined scenario after another. “How can I cope if my marriage ends in divorce? Where can I go if I end up losing my house? What if I can’t work after surgery? etc.” The outcome rests in the unknown, and stress builds as time passes. What a waste of our mental and emotional resources.

“The fears we don’t face become our LIMITS.”  ~ Robin Sharma

Sometimes our challenges are within our own minds where we can have control. But fear might hold us back from things we want to change in our life, and we refuse to act. At age 47, filled with fear, I left my waitress job and went back to school. It changed my life. Had I not stepped out of where I was, I would not be writing to you now. What would your life be like if you stepped out of what you don’t want and into what you do want? Fear might say, “What if you make a mistake or maybe you’ll fail and look stupid.” But fear is a reason, not an excuse. And in situations like this, you have some power over the unknown.


“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”  ~Michael Althsuler

Sometimes things happen for which you’re in no way responsible. “Unexpected turn of events, painful loss, a plan falls through, broken promises, someone turns against you, etc.” But that’s life, and you have to deal with it. And while you may not be able to alter an outcome, you can alter your response to it with courage over fear.

It may seem easier to look the other way, but when you stumble, you fall hard. So start by taking a look at your life every day. And if you’re facing a disturbing unknown, prepare yourself now to experience the best response possible given the circumstances. The better you understand what you’re dealing with, the wiser will be your response. Clarify with questions like, “Do I have time to plan; what are my alternatives; is there a way out if I need one; will I be able to function effectively; etc?” Your courage will build as you go along.

“If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone.”  ~John Maxwell

No unknown situation is comfortable. So use your discomfort to move you forward, and grow with each unknown. You’re here for a reason. Step out and find your answers on the other side of fear, knowing that whatever the unknown holds, you have what it takes to find your way.


Blessings in all your Unknowns….

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

About The Author:

I’m a retired Licensed Clinical Social Worker/Psychotherapist. My professional experience includes Mental Health Team Leader, then Director of Mental Health Services in the Duval County Jail in Jacksonville, Florida; coordinating Mental Health Services in nursing homes, working on inpatient units, and in private practice for a number of years. I teach a class at the University of North Florida on The Influence of Childhood Messages on Adult Life. I enjoy reading, writing, and blogging to help others in their life journey …..

The Depression Pit And The Road To Recovery: Part 2

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Some people can respond to their own efforts to recover, but sometimes a person is too weak to do the required pushing for that recovery. Then medication may be necessary until they’re strong enough to participate in the recovery process. This may be a consideration.

 Think about your own situation. In spite of your suffering, you may be strong enough to begin recovery yourself. Either way, support is important, so in the beginning turn to someone close to you who will understand, advise you, and be with you through it. If no support is available, find a good therapist who will be supportive.

“Be not afraid of changing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.”  ~Chinese Proverb

If you know deep within that you have the inner strength to rise above your pain and realize the peace you long for, then begin your journey to wholeness. Even with fear, in truth you’re stronger than you think. And you can create miracles.

“Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak knits up the o’er wrought heart and bids it break”  ~Shakespeare

1. Accept and Clarify: Accept depression as where you are now on your journey. Owning the problem and being willing to face it and resolve it weakens its power over you. Now put your feelings into words. Clarify what you’re dealing with and help yourself understand it. If the cause is external, clarify the problem. If it’s internal, ask your Higher Self to reveal what you need to work on.

“I am not what has happened to me. I am what I choose to become.” ~ C. G. Jung

2. Intention: State your intention to climb up out of that pit, and you intend to get out one way or another. State your goal. Write down what you choose to create in your life…peace, joy, love, etc.

“For peace of mind, we need to resign as general manager of the universe.”  ~Larry Eisenberg

3. Your Needs: Give yourself permission to be good to you during this process. Meet your commitments, but your main focus now is you. This is your time to heal. Even if you don’t feel like it, use props to raise your mood…music, walking outside, exercise, watch a sunrise, eat ice cream, create belly laughs, whatever it takes.
When you feel overwhelmed with your pain, and you feel like crying, ranting, raving, swearing, etc, don’t hold it back. Let it out, but allot a certain amount of time for this kind of outlet. 30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours, whatever you decide. Then when the time is up, cut it off, and turn immediately to a planned pleasant activity. Do this as needed, and this need will diminish.

4. Quiet Time: Each day set aside some time to be quiet, and use denials and affirmations. Say aloud, “I deny that this depression has any power over me, and I affirm my ability to rise above and find the freedom and peace I desire.” Repeat this with feeling several times each day. Your inner child is hurting. During your quiet time, talk to your inner child with comfort and love, and reassure him/her that it’s okay now to release the pain.

“Peace is not something you wish for; it’s something you make, something you do, something you are, and something you give away.”  ~John Lennon

5. Help Someone Else: This is one of the most important things you can do to help yourself. Look for ways to help someone else, and give and get hugs, You need them too. Give and accept all the love you can. Love is the greatest healer.

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The journey back is not easy, and you may have to start over numerous times. But never give up. The will to life will push you forward and give you the strength you need. You were meant to soar like an eagle. Accept help when it comes, but ultimately you have to flap your own wings. And you can.

 

I wish you freedom to smile as you soar.

Marilyn Fowler, Author & Writer

 

200 Likes

 

Congratulations on getting 200 total follows on The Self-Help Road To Freedom.

Your current tally is 205.

“A very BIG thank you to those who helped me reach
another new milestone here on my blog!”
Marilyn “-) 

The Power Of Choice. A Good Thing Or A Bad Thing? And Does It Help Or Hurt?

In every single thing you do, you are choosing a direction. Your life is a product of choices.
~Dr. Kathleen Hall

We’re given free will, and we have power to make choices. Then we tend to label things good or bad, helpful or hurtful. But the initial outcome of our decisions can be deceiving. What we at first consider a negative outcome can be a blessing in disguise. Our choices take us in many directions. And the process can be complicated.

Formula for choosing: We choose with our mind, our heart, or both, and our formula in this process depends upon many variables. We come into the world with inherent traits, and during childhood those traits are either nurtured or discouraged by our environment. We’re molded into a personality, and what we learn from our experiences influences the way in which we make choices.

Blockages to positive outcomes: In our own unique way, we sometimes create outcomes we don’t consciously intend to create. An impulsive person may make impulsive decisions, and then suffer disappointing consequences. Being fearful of making a mistake can cause hesitancy in choosing. A lack of self-confidence may cause someone to lean too much on the opinions of others, and lose out in the long run. Much depends upon our personal approach.

The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live.  ~Flora Whittemore

We don’t realize how many hundreds, maybe thousands, of times each day we choose something…coffee or tea, which radio station or TV channel, back door or front, answer that call or not…on and on. And most of the time we don’t say, “I think I’ll choose this instead of that.” We simply choose and then act upon our choice, unaware of the brain and heart activity at the time.You may believe that only the ‘big’ choices are important, like those pertaining to work, relationships, health, finances, etc. The rest is just little stuff. But that little stuff is part of your overall approach to decision-making. And all of your choices determine the quality of your life, with consequences depending upon the importance of each choice.

Choice is strength. Having choice is also freedom.  ~Coulter Watt

And having choice is a blessing. You choose what you want in your life, and you can choose to be happy with a positive attitude. You choose. Then the happier and more satisfied you are, the more good you can bring into your world. Maybe you’re already a good decision-maker but, once in a while, when you create a negative outcome, you can choose to learn from it and find a blessing in that lesson. I used to be an expert in creating painful outcomes from well-meaning choices. And I didn’t see a blessing in any of it. But sheer frustration and 2 years of therapy saved me. Now when I occasionally goof up, I can find the blessing. We’re all works in progress, aren’t we?

So how do we reduce the goof ups?

First step in decision-making: The first step is to train yourself to be a good decision-maker, so you can choose wisely.
1. Get to know how you make decisions. Impulsive, thoughtful, thorough? Clarify your strengths and weaknesses.
2. Notice what you feel when faced with a minor/major decision. Fear, discomfort, confidence?
3. What do you really want in your life? Or not want? Be specific.
4. How much do you trust yourself? Or others? (family, friends, sales people)
5. Think about your past mistakes, and what you might change. How do you handle mistakes? Guilt, anger, let it go, learn from it?

Next step: Choosing.
1. Know the outcome you want, and clarify your requirements.
2. Gather information. Read, ask questions, explore your possibilities and ways to get what you want. Will your choice hurt you or help you?
3. Analyze and compare different choices.
4. Explore your alternatives. Consider outcomes, positive and negative.
5. Now leave your mind, and quietly go within to your intuition. What is your heart telling you? Listen with your full attention.

Now choose, not in fear, but with confidence. You know yourself better, and you’ve done your homework. You’ve learned well, and you will goof less. And you’re blessed.

I wish you many wonderful outcomes  . . .

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

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