Happy Memorial Weekend! How To Cope And Survive When Illness Knocks You Down…

We live in predictable patterns involving every aspect of life. Every morning we expect our day to be as we’ve planned it. And we don’t want any unexpected situations forcing us down a different path. Usually, our plans are easily fulfilled, and our days are as they should be. No problem. Everything’s under control, and all is well.

But we don’t live in a fairy tale. Our world is real, and unforeseen things do happen, like a check bounces at the bank, the car has a flat tire, or you forgot an important appointment, etc. Bothersome interruptions, but solvable. And that’s okay. You’ve been there before, and you understand that life sometimes gets bumpy, and you have to roll with it. 

“I can and will make it through the storm…simply because I’m a survivor. It’s what I do.”  ~ Unknown

But what happens when a sudden unexpected illness temporarily invades your predictable life, like the flu, various viral infections, a chest cold that turns into pneumonia, etc, etc. Such health challenges are not life threatening, but they put your life on hold, and they require more than a band-aid. And what about the more serious chronic illnesses like COPD, diabetes, a heart condition, etc…illnesses that require a lifetime of attention. Whatever the illness, they all take their toll. And your life is changed. But you can survive.

“You’re allowed to scream, you’re allowed to cry, but do not give up.”  ~Unknown

Recently I spent 6 days in a hospital, then a slow recovery at home. Hospitals are there to promote healing, but the experience can add stress to what you’re already going through. In the hospital, every time there was a change of shifts, the new shift contradicted what the last shift required. And I felt like a ball bounced back and forth by the different shifts. One said get out of bed and move around, and the next one jumped all over me for getting out of bed and moving around. I ended up yelling at the walls and crying to go home. The whole thing was like a page out of the movie, “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.” I had to come home to begin healing.

We experience illness on 3 levels, physically, mentally, and emotionally. In our response we may physically see or feel it; mentally we think about it, “Can I afford the medical bills? How can I function with it?” etc; and emotionally we feel angry, scared, frustrated, helpless, etc.

Each illness will manifest in different ways. One may involve physical pain with fear and frustration. Another may involve guilt, worry, or resentment. Another added expense, loss of mobility and independence, leaving you feeling helpless. And each person responds in different ways. Some perceive even a minor illness as devastating, while others take it in stride. The way you perceive it depends upon your personality, your life situation, and the way you view your life.


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

How do you respond when illness knocks you down? Have you ever thought about the way in which you deal with it? Knowing and understanding yourself at those times supplies a sense of control and is the first step in the healing process as you implement other resources. But once you’ve made that first assessment, it’s important to quiet your mind and allow your body to heal.

Too often, some in the medical field have a ‘one size fits all’ agenda. But this is the last attitude a person in pain needs or wants. One size doesn’t fit all. You are unique, and you need individual care. So when you need medical care, look for a care giver who cares.

“People start to heal the moment they feel heard.”  ~ Cheryl Richardson

Have you ever felt alone in a health challenge? Have you ever longed for someone to hear you and put their arm around you and tell you you’ll be okay? Well, that someone is a major part of your healing. So find that person, and allow their caring energy to help you heal. And whether you’re facing a temporary or permanent situation, look within for guidance, strength, and confidence, knowing you will always be the same beautiful soul that you are. And no illness can ever change that.


I wish you healthy days and loving arms around you.

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

How To Discover Who You Truly Are And Live In Harmony With Yourself. Part 2. Taming Your Ego.

ego-2

“The spirit is the true self, not the physical figure which can be pointed out by your finger.”  ~Cicero

We generally think of ourselves as having one identity and that personality and individuality are the same entity. But they are quite different. Personality is our ego self, the reality we created with false beliefs while growing up. This external changeable part of us is influenced by the environment, and we cultivate personality by listening to voices outside of ourselves. Individuality is the inner or real self that never changes its identity, and it expresses spiritual qualities. We cultivate our individuality by listening to the still small voice inside and following it. Therefore personality is the sum total of all your changing opinions about yourself. And individuality is your Self.

Ideally, our 2 parts, the ego self, and true self will function together in harmony and peace, and the ego will express in our material world who we truly are. But many people believe their personality is who they are, and this is who they identify with. Even those who know better sometimes have difficulty living from their true self. But if we want to live authentically, we must gradually transform our reality. This transformation is our spiritual journey back to our spiritual source.

“What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.”   ~Abraham H. Maslow

Transformation to decrease negativity in your life and develop more positive and fulfilling experiences…to live from your true self…will take increased awareness and understanding of both your personality and your individuality. You experience both selves, but you must pay attention and become aware of your thoughts, feelings, and behavior patterns in order to distinguish oneself from the other.

Step back and become the observer. At first, just practice observing and learn to recognize the impatient, demanding voice of your ego and the patient, loving voice of your true self. Question…how are they different, how do they feel, what is each saying to me with words, feelings, and actions, what does each want for me? Etc. Get to know them as you’ve never known them before. And as you become familiar with each one, learn to identify them with, “This is ego, or this is me, my true self.” With this awareness, you can learn ways to decrease expression of your ego personality and increase expression of your true self-individuality. When you see the bigger picture, you see with the eyes of the soul.

ego

“Ego is just like dust in the eyes. Without clearing the dust, you can’t see anything clearly. So clear the ego and see the world.”  ~ Unknown

Even with all its troublesome ways, the ego self is not our enemy. It’s like a misguided child who needs guidance and healing to think and behave in ways to benefit the whole person. Ego feels fearful and insecure and uses deception and control to survive. So reassure it you’re not trying to eliminate it but to understand and incorporate its valuable traits into your life in positive ways. Your ego self is strong and resourceful, and you can teach it to listen to the voice of truth and lead you in choices that redirect your life in positive ways instead of disruptive ways of the past.

“Every experience of love, bliss, belonging, inspiration, and insight provides a stepping stone back to your true self.”   ~Deepak Chopra

Your ego wants the control and will resist change, but it can be tamed and integrated as a positive part of the whole person. And once you learn to identify the ego state as it arises, you have the power to allow your true self to express in its place. As you go through each day dealing with your ego self, practice expressing more of your true self’s divine qualities of love, kindness, understanding, and compassion. As these qualities increase, negative ego will lose its need to control and will decrease. And positive changes will come.

Transformation is a lifetime endeavor, but as we begin to know ourselves as souls, we gradually release attachment to our false identity, and we embrace our wholeness. As our ego self and true self-function together in harmony, our life will have a deeper meaning and will reflect the love and peace we long for.

I wish you happiness as You.

Marilyn Fowler, Author/Writer  ~  Visit My Amazon Author & My Books

 

How to Deal With Shock in Your Life.


.


It’s just a shock. You go from one day to everything being OK to your life being upside down.” ~ Amber Margarejo

We’ve just come through a stressful presidential election like nothing I’ve seen in my lifetime. And whether you’re happy or sad about the outcome, the final result was a shock not only in our country, but in much of the world. As I observe people’s reactions to this situation, I’m reminded of other shocking situations we sometimes encounter in our own personal lives and/or collectively. 

Shock over happy outcomes passes quickly. But sudden traumatic situations can affect us physically, mentally, emotionally, and/or spiritually. The degree of shock depends upon each individual’s perception of the event and personal situation at the time. What’s mild to one person can be serious to another. When we know what’s coming, our body begins preparing for it. If not, the sudden element itself can render the mind helpless to think clearly. It shakes our sense of reality of who we are, how we live our life, our expectations, our perception of truth, etc. and we must go through a series of adjustments to healing.

“Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.” ~Actor, John Wayne

I remember a personal shock I experienced a few years ago. During the many years I worked, I faithfully invested into my retirement fund. But 3 years into retirement, I suddenly learned that due to neglect by the person handling my account, I’d lost my retirement fund. It was gone. Nothing to show for all those years. At first it was difficult to believe the reality of the situation. I was in shock, and felt devastated, scared and helpless. But somehow prayer sustained me and I survived…wiser than before.

Another time I experienced a shock felt by the whole world. I still remember it vividly. I was a child listening to the radio with my mother and brothers when suddenly the program was interrupted with news that Japanese planes had bombed our ships in Pearl Harbor. My mother’s first instinct was to run, and she quickly hurried us up the street to my aunt’s house. I remember hysterical neighbors pouring out of their houses, grouping together in the street, fearful about what might happen next. I didn’t fully understand what was happening, but I felt that emotional shock.

“Accept, then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.”  ~ Eckhart Tolle

A personal shock can put your body in an almost nonfunctional mode with questions like, “Why did this happen? What am I going to do now? What will happen to me?” You may feel that life has thrown you more than you can handle, and there’s no place to run. So your first survival mode is to stop, breathe deep, quiet your mind, and accept where you are without resistance. And if prayer is part of your life, pray for peace and guidance.

Allow yourself to calm down as much as possible, and for a while concentrate only on yourself. Cling to what’s real and valuable in your life, and list what you have that’s safe and dependable. What does your well-being depend on, and do you have that? If not, how can you create it? Be kind to you, and seek support from people in your life who will listen to you and offer understanding and compassion.

.

“You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.” ~ Bob Marley

As your mind clears, take time to digest what’s happened. Ask yourself how might the new situation change your life, or does it? Can you mend what’s broken, or do you have to let go? Does the situation need your immediate attention, or is it out of your control? And establish what’s yours to do, or not do. Then move forward from there.

If the shocking situation is more on a collective level, seek out others and share your thoughts and feelings. Whatever the cause, shock needs to be dealt with in order to heal and move on. Know that you have what it takes to accomplish this. And you will.

I Wish You Peaceful Times Ahead!

Marilyn Fowler, Author and Writer
Contributor at  “Keys To Recovery Newspaper”
http://www.keystorecoverynewspaper.com/

My Books on Amazon! (Just click and Purchase)

Product DetailsProduct Details

Free To Love . . .

“Hello again. I apologize for missing last week. My computer was down, and I’m behind in everything. I’m glad to finally be back.”

When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are.”  ~Donald Miller


As we go through life we sometimes take our relationships with those close to us for granted. Nature designed us to connect, to belong, and one of the greatest blessings in life is those people we share our life with. But sometimes we label each one who and what we design them to be, and we encounter conflict or disappointment. How much are we willing to let them be who they really are and still love them? Love flourishes when it’s free to blossom according to its own nature and not be constrained by our own human perceptions and requirements.

Until a few years ago I thought I knew the people in my life, and I took my perceptions of them for granted. Then one day I was struggling with a stressful situation, and I went to a friend looking for understanding, compassion and support to help me cope. I was very surprised when my friend half listened to my feelings and began telling me how to fix my problem. I already knew what to do. I needed the strength to do it. But she didn’t hear me. I was devastated, and felt even more alone.

I went to my minister, where I should have gone in the first place, and she explained something about people and relationships that I have always remembered and learned to use in my life. She said every person is given certain gifts, talents, and we’re all different. Some people are good at repairing broken items, some are good listeners, some help clarify, some make us smile, and some tell is how to fix a problem. I hadn’t noticed that my friend was a fixer. I thought I knew her. My minister advised me to take a second look at the people in my life, figure out what each one is able to give, and love them anyway. And figure out my own gift, and give that to others. Then I understood my friend’s response to me. She gave what she knew to give, and she loved me in her own way. After that I began understanding the people in my life better, and my love for them became more unconditional.

I think the following poem says it well.
Let us know how not to ask too much of each other,
share who we are without giving up our freedom,
love without trying to absorb,
be kind yet not smother with kindness,
walk together but neither retard the other’s pace.
I would not lead one who did not choose to follow
or follow one who demanded that I be led.
The spark of selfhood, that high and precious thing;
each his own master and the two of us
richer, dearer because of it,
but neither sunk passively in the other.
That alone is true loving .  .  .  .

.

.

“We are here for a reason. We all have a gift or gifts to share. You want to look inside your heart and your soul, and you want to tap into the one thing you love to do. Develop it. Share it. Nurture it. You were meant to have that gift.”  ~Debbie Fields

Take a closer look at the people in your life, and identify what gift each one is able to offer. Then when you need something, go only to the person who has the gift to help with your particular need. And look within yourself, and identify your own gift. Are you a good listener, or a fixer? Can you make people laugh? Do you have the ability to focus well and clarify a problem? Discover a strong quality within yourself of which you may not be aware, and offer that to others.

Allow each person in your life to be who they are in their own special way, and allow yourself to love freely, unconditionally, from your heart. We are blessings to each other, and that in itself is a gift.

I wish you freedom to love.

Marilyn Fowler, Author/Writer

Product Details(Click to Amazon)

When Those Hurricanes Hit Your Life, Find An Angel Moment …

Hello and Welcome Friends,

“I was not to sure how many of you know that I live in Jacksonville, FL and was in the direct path of the hurricane Matthew a few weeks ago. All faired well and this post is a about a “Miracle” and “Kindness of others as my house and property was saved with barley no damage at all. My angels were watching over all even when we left because of no power for an extended period of time. If we do look? Angels & miracles happen around us all the time! Hope you enjoy my post” .  .  .  .

.

.

Last week a hurricane knocked out my computer, and I couldn’t write. I’m so sorry for that. But we survived, WOOHOO!

“There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm.” ~Willa Cather

I’ve just survived another hurricane, and sometimes I’m so focused on what’s going on, I forget about what I call angel moments. Some call them coincidences. But I believe in angels, and some of those coincidences are so well orchestrated that angels must be responsible. I forgot about them again this time, but when it was over, they gave me a sound reminder.

Each hurricane has a personality of its own, and this giant took its time causing damage as far reaching as it could. Then it came crawling up my coast, getting closer and closer. I always prepare and ride them out, but I’m never really prepared…just on ready if I ever need to run.

This time I spent 3 days and 4 nights without power, carrying 2 small lanterns for light. I thought I’d prepared to keep my freezer cold, but I lost all the food in my fridge. I lived on bread, peanut butter, and fruit, but had a hot meal the last day when my sister-in-law got her power back

When I finally got my TV on, I saw all the terrible devastation, not only far south, but in my own city. And I cried for all of those less fortunate than I was. My yard was covered with limbs, branches, and debris from old oak and pine trees, but my house and car remained in tact. You never know who will get hit and who will not.

“The most incredible thing about angel miracles is that they happen.” ~G. K. Chesterton

When the storm had passed this area, people were out clearing their yards, and that’s when I received my angel moment. Many years ago, my climbing rose bush gave up blooming near the ground, and it put 2 shoots up into the palm tree next to it. So every spring beautiful white roses bloom in the top of that tree. Well, the hurricane blew both shoots onto the ground, and the little green leaves spread clear across my lawn. I loved that rose bush, and this was a loss for me.

But as I stood over my rose bush mourning its end, my angels jumped in, and just at the right time a van with 2 men passed my house, then backed up. They got out, and one said, “Excuse me, ma’am, can we cut that up for you and put it out for pick up?” I cringed. “Oh, no. I’m mourning the loss of my rose bush.” And I told them about the roses in the palm tree. They looked at each other, thought a minute, and said, “We’ll get it back up in the tree for you.” Impossible, I thought. One shoot had died, but they worked until they actually got the other one back up secure in the tree to bloom again. That was a true angel moment. I offered to pay them, but all they would take was a hug. I thanked them from my heart, and I thanked my angels. Coincidence??

.

.

When difficult times come into your life, you may feel like you’ve been hit with a hurricane. Sometimes you see it coming. Sometimes you don’t. And it’s hard getting through. But call it what you will, angel moments are always there if you pay attention and look for them. They were probably there during the hurricane, but I forgot to pay attention. Next time I won’t forget.

“When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person that walked in. That’s what the storm is all about.”  ~Haruki Murakami

Process to work through your storms:

1. Angels are already there. Ask them for help, even if you don’t believe in them.
2. Clarify and understand the storm you’re dealing with.
3. Don’t resist. Accept what is and let it be.
4. Transfer your focus from problem to resolution, and do whatever you can to resolve it.

Important: Throughout this whole process, and beyond, watch for angel moments and listen for guidance. They will bring you help and the peace and comfort you need to get through. And always remember to thank them for their gifts.

I wish you all many happy “Angel Moment.”
Marilyn Fowler, Author/Writer of

 

Product DetailsProduct Details

(My Books on Amazon)

 

 

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.


.


“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’

Product DetailsProduct Details My New Book ~ Me And Granmama!



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.

.

.

“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”  . . . .

.

Product Details

 ( Click book to Amazon )


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.