How Well Are You Living On Your LIFE Journey?


We seldom think of life as a journey, but that’s what it is. For most, it goes from infancy to old age, and we travel through many situations with different people, places, and experiences. And most of the time we don’t really notice where we’re going. We just move along and deal with whatever comes up. But every single moment is a precious part of what makes your journey unique.

“Not everyone will understand your journey. That’s fine. It’s not their journey to make sense of. It’s yours.”  ~ Unknown

Our journey is like a tapestry where our life weaves many designs reflecting our happiness, our pain, our challenges, opportunities, lessons, and yes, our blessings. We face many changes, some welcome, some bitter memories, but all a part of our own individual journey that no one else can live for us. As you move through the years, every thread is woven by you and becomes a part of who you are.

Sometimes your journey provides pit falls with people and situations that pull you down. And you feel lost. Did you make a wrong turn? Where is your road? How can you go on? But then you dig deep inside where guidance is always there to lift you back to your familiar path, the one you know in your heart is where you belong…your rightful place on your journey. And you begin again, stronger and wiser than before.

“Somewhere on your journey, don’t forget to turn around and enjoy the view.” ~Unknown

Our journey consists of a series of stages where life takes on new flavors with new ways to live each day. Although we may fight the passage of time, each stage is equally important with opportunities to learn and grow. We all know nostalgia, and sometimes we want to go back. But on this journey when the road gets rough, we can’t make a U turn and go back to happier, easier times. Those memories you want to recapture now live in your mind and heart.

Image result for copyfree images quotes about your not the past in life


Oh, how I remember when my children were small. I rocked my babies, rode on the sled with them when they got older and when my son fell off his bike, I got the gash in his head sutured, I ordered art lessons for my other son and made my daughter’s prom dress. Treasured memories, some wonderful, some not so wonderful. You know what I mean. You have yours too. Did you realize time was passing when you lived those years? I didn’t. I just took it all for granted.

Then one day I looked around and realized I had aged, and I wondered where it all went–those precious memories, my clear skin, my flat tummy and my firm rear end. Wow. It must have happened when I wasn’t looking. Time has a way of creeping up on us, and we don’t notice the changes until they’re demanding our attention to make necessary adjustments.

“Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative place where no one else has ever been.”  ~ Alan Alda 

So much is said about living in the present, but I think we don’t realize the full meaning of the word ‘living’. To live is to learn, to savor, to share, to be aware of self and others, and to know where we are on our journey and what we want to do with it. We have the power to create the quality of our lives in spite of challenges. Did you know that? And you’re probably a lot smarter than you used to be, so you’re more able to create the quality you want.

Think about where you are now, and where you want to go. Keep the precious moments from the past, and forgive your mistakes. You did the best you could according to your growing ability at the time. Don’t carry them now. You’re a beautiful being on a glorious journey of self-realization. There is a Divine purpose in your journey, and you’re part of that Divine plan for yourself and humanity. Hang on and enjoy the ride.

I wish you much sunshine on your journey…

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

How Do You Perceive Your Suffering?

Each of us is a unique being, expressing a unique self, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. And no one else can live our life for us or deal with all that happens to us. But as we move through life, we do a lot of feeling without an accurate understanding of all that’s taking place at a given time. And it’s important to also experience life with knowledge and understanding and find meaning in our being here.

When we suffer, there’s one question that usually comes up, “Why do I have to suffer in this life?” There are all kinds of answers, but in the end, who really knows? Maybe it’s there to teach us something, to make us grateful for the good times, to appreciate our blessings, to emphasize compassion…and more. Whatever the reason, it’s part of life, and we can learn to see it in a different way with our innermost self.

We do not see things as they are. We see things as we are. Unknown

No one wants to suffer at all, but suffering must be included in a meaningful life. Step back, look at your life, and ask questions. What is yours, and only yours, to do in your life? What is, or was your suffering, and what do you see in it…pain, loss, bondage? Your own perceptions of your suffering create what it is, and no one else can experience or express it. Therefore it becomes something more meaningful than simply pain. And you can learn to not only survive but to thrive in spite of it…or because of it.

Your suffering may be temporary or of a chronic nature. But your perception of it is vital to the quality of your life, and it can save you or destroy you. In a positive way, your perception can provide valuable information about you and help you see personal qualities of which you’re not aware. Maybe you’re stronger than you think, or you have ‘first hand’ experiences that can help others, or you’ve developed skills to compensate for the suffering.

In a negative way, your perceptions of your suffering can influence the severity. Or when you allow your suffering to become who you are, your true self may get lost in the pain. We apply meaning to everything. And if you assign negative meaning to your condition, defining what you believe it is, that may lead to more pain and inability to deal with it. But sometimes life itself will heal your suffering and provide a way to escape.

Until my early forties, I suffered from serious depression and cursed the pain every day. Then 2 years of intensive therapy released me from my prison and opened a door to a rewarding career as a Mental Health Therapist. Looking back I blessed those bitter years and expressed gratitude for the suffering that led to renewed purpose for my life. Those years provided insight into the lives of my suffering patients, and I understood their pain.

While working in a jail setting, I circulated a book titled, “Man’s Search For Meaning” by Viktor Frankl. I can’t imagine how many read this book, or tried to read it, but its pages are yellowed, phrases underlined in pencil, words scribbled in the margins, and many questions from my patients about its contents. It offered new understanding and possibilities for their lives…some attainable, some not.

In this book, Dr. Frankl offers various ways to deal with your suffering and find meaning in it. Imagine you’re 85 years old looking back on your life when you did a lot without thinking about it. Be an observer and remember…happy times when you laughed and had fun, the people in your life, problems you solved, your skills and talents, your accomplishments, things you did well and mistakes you made, lessons learned, small kindnesses like hellos to strangers, warm hugs, holding doors open for others, blessings given and received, etc, etc. Look at your life, and include your sufferings. They were an important part of it.

“Your desire to change must be greater than your desire to stay the same.”  ~Unknown

Now return to your present time and see your life with new eyes, with a new mind and heart, with knowledge and understanding, and with love and forgiveness wherever it’s needed. Can you now accept your suffering as something you deal with, while your light reduces any darkness you face? You have the ability to rise above any situation, and your beautiful self can find peace.

I wish you, “Angels,” to tickle your nose.


Marilyn Fowler, Author/Writer 

of  “Silent Echoes” on Amazon.

Product Details My New book…

We Can Find Peace In Chaotic Situations.

Chaosthat thing that drives us up the wall, that most of us can’t define, but we know how it feels. We avoid it whenever possible, but it does invade our life. Roget’s Thesaurus describes chaos qualities as confusing, disorderly, unruly, disruptive, haphazard, disorganized, undisciplined, etc, etc. You know…the kind of atmosphere you don’t want to be around.

Usually, on our journey through life, everything moves along at a steady predictable pace. But then those bumps in the road project us into a state of chaos, or at least to a point where we need to resurrect our problem-solving gear and get busy reducing its influence on our nervous system. It creeps into our peaceful world when our antennae’s are clogged with all our familiar daily activities. And we just don’t see it coming. Or it can attack suddenly without warning, and transport us from a sunny day at the beach to a sinking ship without a paddle for survival. And we stand in confusion wondering what just happened. We’ve all been there.

Chaos comes in many forms from mild to severe, and can affect us physically, mentally, and/or emotionally. And it can take a toll. Chronic worriers live with chaos, and most don’t realize they’re bringing it on themselves. Every day is a crisis, and the crises don’t end. “What if I lose my job; what if I can’t pay my bills; what if I get sick; etc.” Their whole life is a chaotic experience. Or Uncle Joe comes to live with your family in your orderly, well run home. He throws his clothes on the floor, drools at the dinner table, turns on lights and music during the night while he raids the fridge, answers your phone with nonsense, etc, etc. That’s chaos, and you’re feeling it big time.

I remember when I welcomed a new group of people moving into the house next door to me, but I soon regretted their presence. They were members of a band with amps and a microphone, and practiced everyday on their screened porch that faced my living room. I felt surrounded by chaos every time deafening sounds filled my head and scrambled my nerves, my floors vibrated, and my poor dog crouched shaking on the sofa. Finally, after visits by the police, they moved out.

Chaotic situations are okay as long as they don’t last too long. But what happens when they last for days, months, even years, with no end in sight? We think, there’s no way out, I can’t deal with this anymore, I feel like just giving up. But giving up means you think the chaotic situation has tremendous power over you, and you’re done. However, each of us is blessed with everything we need to survive and thrive. And you have more strength within than you imagine, and there’s more you can do.

“If plan ‘A’ fails, remember there are 25 more letters.”  ~Unknown

There are 2 ways to deal with a chaotic situation. Either resolve it or accept it. First write down and clarify outer areas of chaos, and work with others to create a less chaotic world. Fill your surroundings with people, places, and things that bring joy and order in your life, and learn to tune out what you don’t want to see or hear. Do what you can, and include ways to distance yourself from the chaos.

When you’ve tried everything to resolve it, and it’s still there, accepting it means making peace with it, letting go of the way you feel about it and the way you respond to it. Write down and clarify your opinions and feelings. Then practice “inner work” to create “inner peace.” Talk about the situation with denials and affirmations; “I deny you have any power over me, and I affirm peace in my heart as I release any painful response or feelings about it.” Repeat every time the challenge comes to mind. And be patient. In time, you can replace the chaos with peace.

“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.”  ~Pema Chodron

Find a place of your own where you can pray, meditate, whatever you want, and remember who and what you areAnd allow your chaotic situations to show you what you need to know. You are important as your life does have meaning. So don’t let anyone or anything turn your head or heart from that truth.

I wish you peace in your heart!

Marilyn Fowler, Writer, and Author of  

 “Silent Echoes” on Amazon.

Product Details My New book…

Dealing With The Difficult People In Your Life…

We’re all involved in relationships, and no two are alike. The easy ones bring joy and comfort. The impossible ones may stay for a while, but most of the time they don’t last. The difficult ones may take some work, but we usually feel they’re worth keeping. And each one is there for a purpose, to bring a blessing and/or a lesson. No matter what, our life is blessed by people.

When dealing with those difficult ones it’s wise to first know yourself...to understand your feelings when someone ticks you off. What bothers you and what doesn’t …and why? Do you know your strengths and weaknesses? Are you tactful or confronting…quiet or outspoken…judgmental or accepting? What are your fears and insecurities? And what ability or talent can you express to others? You may have valuable qualities of which you’re not even aware. The better you understand yourself, the better you’ll understand others, even the difficult ones. So know yourself first, and then focus on the people in your life.

“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; oftentimes we call a man cold when he is only sad.”  ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

A person’s behavior patterns are clues that reveal much about them. And difficult people may require closer attention to understand their behaviors. The more you observe and understand, the better equipped you are to deal with them. They may have inner fears or insecurities that cause troublesome behaviors that frustrate or irritate you. Maybe there’s fear of losing control, losing position, revealing weaknesses, or some other hidden fear. Or there may be some emotional pain the person is not comfortable sharing. We all try to protect ourselves in some way, and we may use negative behaviors to cope. We can’t see inside of another person, but knowing and understanding as much as possible may lead to a better relationship.

Everyone is unique with particular talents or abilities, and these become part of who they are in the world. Some can fix problems, some are comforting, some are fun, some give good advice, some are good listeners, etc. But no one is all of these, so we can’t expect anyone to be everything to us. Nor can we be everything to everyone else. But learning a difficult person’s talents and abilities can be used to create a more harmonious relationship.

“Some of the best people with whom you can have a relationship are the people who challenge your thinking.”  ~ T. D. Jakes

Years ago when I worked with a mental health team in a jail setting, one Sergeant felt threatened by our presence and always gave us a hard time. So I devised a plan to soften his attitude. I noticed he was organized and had a talent for keeping his floor running smoothly with few problems. So I assumed a subordinate attitude and began complimenting him on the exceptionally good work he was doing. Well, his frown quickly changed as he threw out his chest and smiled with ego satisfaction. From then on, our difficult relationship became one of congenial cooperation. So compliments are sometimes useful in melting a negative attitude.

Sometimes things work and sometimes they don’t. So if your efforts to create more harmony are not producing results, it may be time to regroup and alter the way you relate to a person. If there’s conflict when you try to discuss deeper personal issues with someone, but it’s absolutely necessary, then do it. But try to generally relate to them on a lighter, more surface level, so as not to step on any thin ice. Avoid areas in which they become defensive. Try to understand where they’re coming from, and help them feel safe with you. But if nothing works, be willing to let them go.

“Sometimes God uses difficult people, like sandpaper to rub the rough edges off us.”  ~ Joel Osteen 

If you want to keep a difficult person in your life, try to look past behaviors that disturb or irritate. And don’t get caught up in their chaos. There’s good in everyone, even those who come across otherwise. So look for qualities in them that you can enjoy. You wouldn’t want to keep them if you didn’t already see something of value, even something to help you learn and grow. Approach all of your relationships with love and as much understanding as you can muster. You just might find a diamond in some rough exteriors. And their lives just might enrich yours.


I wish you many happy relationships.

Marilyn Fowler, Author of  “Silent Echoes”  and Writer for “Keys To Recovery”

Ways To Make Wise Choices And Avoid Consequences You Don’t Want…

“Everything we say or do in life is a choice.”  ~ Unknown

Push a button, turn on a thought, talk, get dressed, drive somewhere, thousands of actions every day. We’re creatures of habit, and most of the time we’re unaware that each action is a choice, and each choice has a consequence. Of course, we need to form habits to function on a daily basis. But each decision we make creates a result, positive or negative. And it pays to understand the bigger picture so our major choices can benefit us as well.

“For every choice we make we set a cycle of energy and consequence into motion.”   ~Caroline Myss, PhD

We take everyday habits for granted. But you choose. And those daily activities probably meet your needs. But what about major decisions about work, finances, relationships, health, home. etc…those choices that are difficult to undo or change? And what about situations that just happen through no fault of yours? A few years ago, I experienced a serious car wreck. I didn’t choose the accident, but I chose the route that got me there. So where does it all come from?

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life, and you will call it fate.”  ~ C. G. Jung

We learn during our whole lifetime, but for the most part, childhood is where we learn how to live our life making choices. We make them in our own individual way, with a number of factors that influence our methods. And these influences prepare us well or lead us to a series of misguided decisions with negative, even painful, results. As children, the demands on us can create a sense of confidence or mistrust in our judgment.

Situations such as poverty, health issues, disruptive environments, and negative messages can hamper our ability to make sound choices. Trying to live up to roles assigned by our parents can engender security or insecurity. Even where you are in the birth line can make a difference. Nothing is written in stone, but the oldest are usually more independent and self-reliant; the middle may feel shadowed by the others; the youngest more dependent and welcome support.

“Life is all about choices. Good or Bad; Right or Wrong; Your destiny will unfold according to the choices you make.”  ~ Unknown

How many people do you know who look back in regret wishing they’d chosen differently in their work, relationships, health, etc? I can’t count the times I’ve done that. I had to experience 2 years of therapy to learn that my fear, insecurity, poor self-image, loneliness, and so forth had altered my ability to choose wisely. And that’s when I turned the page with wiser choices and happier consequences.

There’s no guarantee that all your choices will be the right ones. But you can learn to create better outcomes most of the time. There’s a saying, “Look at your life, and you’ll see what you have created.” So first look at your life and own responsibility for having created it. Then look at each present situation in your life, and think back in time to what choice you made in the past that created that situation, positive or negative. Some choices may appear to have been some mistakes. But re-examine and see if anything good ultimately resulted from them. You may be surprised.

Now consider what there is within you that may influence your choices, positive or negative. Is it doubting your ability, poor self-image, fear of failure, what will people think, etc? What determines the choices you make? Just being in too much of a hurry could be a problem. With awareness and understanding, you can sometimes correct situations in your life with new choices. And those you can’t change, you can choose ways to better cope.

The next time you have to make a major choice like buying a product, finding a doctor, a new friend, a job, a relationship, or a major life change, analyze what you’re thinking, and get in touch with your gut feeling. Don’t expect a perfect answer, but trust yourself, and vanish any fears. Check your options, get a second opinion, gather needed information, talk it over with someone you trust. All of this information will empower you to move forward in confidence.

You’ve done your homework, and in the future, it will pay off. Maybe not perfect, but you can experience more of the life you long for deep inside. And when you learn, you can teach someone else.

I wish you clear vision and happy results.

Marilyn Fowler, Author/Writer of  “SILENT ECHOES”  and
“ME and GRANMAMA IN THE HILL COUNTRY”  both now on Amazon…

Choose Laughter.

Hello, everyone.

I have to apologize for not having an article ready for this week. But I remembered a time a saw a precious little girl enjoying an absolutely wonderful laugh…and I thought about the value of laughter not only in fun times but especially when you’re down and need lifting up. So today I’m offering a poem about those down times.

Marilyn

If you’re laughing, you’re healing.”   ~Gangaji


It’s not easy to laugh when you’re hurting with physical illness, mental anguish, emotional pain or a spiritual need. It all hurts, and you may feel nothing can help. But that’s when laughter is important to help your inner child laugh again. There have been times when my own faith had to be rekindled and, for me, my poetry helps. I wrote the following poem during one of those times.

I find that when I hurt inside,
I can make a joke and find a laugh.
It comes from yet a different place,
Along my weary path.
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.

I wish you laughter to wash away the tears. Be happy, dear one.

Marilyn Fowler, Author of  “SILENT ECHOES”  and  “Me and Granmama In The Hill Country”
E-book now only $2.99!

Just For FUN.

“Every action in our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity.”  ~Edwin Hubbel Chapin

Some people work at jobs they don’t like; others find work they enjoy; and some express a hobby in their work making every day a special pleasure. Either way, it helps to have something to get excited about. And what a blessing for those who can maintain happy work and play.

Years ago when my son and daughter-in-law’s bicycle shop became too demanding, they sold it and went into other careers they enjoyed. But they clung to their love of bikes, and over the years they’ve biked all over their state, up into Canada, and on camping trips. Now they’re retired and back into the bike business. My daughter-in-law finds used bikes, and my son repairs them. Then they sell the bikes from their garage or rented booths downtown in flea markets.

I’ve had some happy work and some not so happy. But since childhood I’ve clung to my love of writing. And today I’d like to share a shortened whimsical story I created. Enjoy…just for fun.

Tandemonium
     “Take your hands off me, you brute,” Rosie demanded. “Bert, help me.”
     “What can I do?” Bert yelled. “He’s got me too.”
     A tall man with muscles like footballs hoisted Rosie and Bert up the side of a truck and threw them flying over onto the middle of a trash heap. When the truck took off, their chains rattled with every bump in the road.

     “We’ve been kidnapped,” Rosie screamed. “How can we get out of this, Bert?”
     “Hang on, Babe. Let’s see where we’re going, and look for a way out.”
     Rosie trembled with fear, and couldn’t keep her chassis still. She’d never been so shook up. “What’s he gonna do with us, Bert?:

     “Probably what everybody else did with us our whole life–get rid of us.”
     “That’s not true. Remember that nice couple we met a couple years ago? We had a good time with them before they moved to Wyoming and had to leave us.”
     “I’m glad they left. I didn’t like the way that dude looked you over, checked out your rear end and everything. Yeah.”

     “He was just curious. Don’t let things like that get to you. I don’t think…”
     “Whoa, Babe. We’re slowing down.” Bert strained to see ahead. “Oh, no. It’s that salvage dump around the bend. Now we’re doomed.”

     Rosie and Bert braced their bodies as the truck turned into a long driveway and parked. When the driver pushed a button, one end of the truck bed rose up, and the whole load clanged and banged to the ground, rattling in all directions. Rosie looked around and cried, “Now my seat is full of dirt. It’s bad enough being kidnapped and stripped of all decency, but to see my rump like this is too much.”

     Bert ignored her complaints when he saw the truck pull away. “Never mind that now. It looks like we’ve been spared, for a while anyway.”
     They huddled together, unsure of their next move, when they heard thunder overhead. Rosie panicked again. “Oh, Bert. What if it rains? I’ll get soaked like last year. Remember what a mess that was?”

     Bert grinned. “I sure do, Babe. I kinda liked you that way.”
     Before Rosie could answer, they heard a car pull into the area, and a young couple got out. They wandered from one pile of trash to the other, and ended up in front of Rosie and Bert. “Honey,” the woman said. “This is perfect. Not much fixing up to do.”
     The man walked around and took a better look. “Well, I thought we’d look for two, but yeah, this will do fine. Won’t take much to make it look like new, and it might be fun riding together on a tandem bike.”
     Rosie squealed. “Bert, we’re saved. We’re saved. They want us. Oh, I know they’ll take good care of us.”
   
Bert smiled and whispered. “Take is easy, Babe. Don’t look too anxious.”
                                                                       THE END.  .  .


.

“You don’t need a reason for doing everything in your life. Do it because you want to. Because it’s fun. Because it makes you happy.”  ~Unknown

Maybe you can’t incorporate a hobby in your work, but you can find expression in your life for something you love, and create a necessary balance. We all have a talent, a yearning, a fire inside. But we get lost in daily activities and push it aside. Don’t let your fire die. It’s an important part of who you are. Let all of you shine through, and make it fun.
I wish you many happy days being you.

Marilyn Fowler. Author/Writer

*My Books on Amazon ~ Just Click Them!*

Product DetailsProduct Details