How And When Does A House Become A Home?

Home is a place where we live, where we keep our toothbrush and our dirty clothes hamper–or is it? We don’t usually take notice, but what if it’s a state of being that one feels in a certain place, or in every place. I’ve known people who feel at home wherever they go, and others who have never felt at home anywhere. The place where one lives could be a house, an apartment, a cave, the side of a mountain, a ship at sea, or under a bridge somewhere. Does the place matter? Or is home really inside of us, in our mind and heart waiting for expression?

“It takes hands to build a house, but the only heart can build a home.” ~ Anonymous

We each have our own ideas about what a home should be–or what it should not be. And our memories are sometimes involved in this perception. We may want to escape painful childhood memories or re-create happy ones in our surroundings. For some, it’s the physical environment, for others the people they’re with, or the state of their affairs. A person can live in a mansion and long to go home. But the place where we live is just a place until something there satisfies a need in us, and then we perceive the place as home. So it’s the meaning we assign to a place that brings us in touch with our inner sense of home.

I have a friend who was born and raised in Poland. She sometimes speaks of walking in the woods near her grandfather’s farm when she was a child, and of the safe, warm feelings she experienced there. Now when times get rough for her, she longs to go home to Poland. That place is where she found her inner sense of home, and that’s where she yearns to be when she feels a need to rest from life’s burdens.

Until I moved into my present home, I had never lived in one dwelling for more than four years. I used to wonder what it was like to have a home. When I was nine-years old I came close to knowing what that meant. I spent several months with an aunt and uncle in their lake house in Michigan. It was a beautiful time when I felt home inside of me. I felt joy in the scenic wonder of the place, validated and loved by my aunt and uncle, accepted by my school friends and was treated as a special part of the universe. That’s what home meant to me, and I found it there, if only for a little while.

“Some people look for a beautiful place. Others make a place beautiful.” ~Hazrat Inayat Khan

Each of us is unique, and how homes are created differs with different people. Some may feel at home as soon as they walk into a place where they will live. Others may already know what they need and want, and they plan purposefully to fulfill their unique perception of home. Others may create gradually without purpose toward a home, and over time, without forethought, add little by little, until one day they look around and say with a smile, “Oh, my goodness. I’ve turned my place into a real home.” However a home is created, it’s a feeling made manifest from the heart.

“A house is made of bricks and beams. A home is made of hopes and dreams.”  ~Unknown

What thoughts, memories, visions, scents, and sounds come to mind when you think of home? Do you already have a place that’s home to you? Does where you live satisfy a need in you? Your home is an ongoing expansion in your life, and as the years’ pass, allow it to reflect more of you and what you hold dear.

I wish you love, peace, joy, safety, and abundance in your special home.

Marilyn Fowler, Author of  “Silent Echoes” and Me and Granmama in the Hill Country Available Amazon.

(PS…My thoughts, prayers, and safety to all in Texas who are being affected by Hurricane Harvey.) 

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Opening The Package vs Assumptions…

 

“You don’t know what’s in the package until you open it.”  ~Unknown

When you receive a package do you spend time guessing what’s inside and assume what the package might contain? And does the wrapping affect your attitude about the contents? Well, this is what we sometimes do with life situations. We might miss something wonderful because the situation doesn’t come wrapped in a pretty package, and we discard it without looking past appearances. Or we might too quickly accept something based on its attractive wrapping and set ourselves up for disappointment.

We use this approach with all kinds of life situations, and we can’t always back out of the holes we dig for ourselves. Too often we accept our assumptions about a job, people, how we spend our money, a trip we plan to take, a home we buy, companies for repair work, and even food past the expiration dates. The list doesn’t end. That’s life. Just think about everything you do or need on a daily basis. Do you manage your life based on assumptions, or do you open the package and see what’s inside…to see what you’re getting?

“Assumptions allow the best in life to pass you by.” John Sales

One time I had a supervisor who pushed my buttons every time we encountered each other. This package was certainly not wrapped in pretty paper. But I wanted to keep the job, so I took the time to examine my own attitude and look beyond our differences. I was quite surprised to find she had qualities I’d not seen before. And we had a lot in common, much upon which to build a good relationship. As time passed, we became friends, and I remember her with a warm heart instead of with my initial assumption.

Then later I moved to a different city and searched for a job in my field. But the only one I could find was with a mental health team in a county jail setting–definitely not a package I had in mind. But I took the job until I could find what I wanted. I performed as required, but my attitude was not productive until I began to open the package and notice the many unexpected challenges and rewards in my work. I gradually realized I was in the right place. And I stayed in a job I loved for 10 years. I would have missed this rewarding experience if I had clung to my first impression.


“Do not blindly follow anyone or anything. Always seek the truth out for yourself.”   ~Unknown

Nobody gets it right all the time, and we all know what it feels like to end up where we don’t want to be. But we don’t want to be a skeptic about everything either. So when you need to make a sound judgment about something, a few rules might help to reach an accurate conclusion, at least most of the time.

1. Don’t be fooled by first impressions, positive or negative. Take your time and keep an open mind.

2. Use self-talk and plan your strategy. You’d be surprised at how much more clear something is with words than with thoughts. Words paint pictures, and pictures are revealing.

3. Gather information. Take notes and compare them as you go along.

4. Ask all kinds of questions from anyone who might have answers. Example: People who’ve had their stoves repaired may know who does or does not do good work repairing stoves. Etc. And only accept complete answers. No half…answers.

5. This is not rocket science, so be kind to yourself. It’s okay to make a mistake. Most of the time you can back up and start over.

6. When you feel ready, review your information, check your feelings, and act.

Of course, there are times when people, places, and situations we encounter are true to our first impression. But things aren’t always what they seem. And it’s usually worth our time and effort to look past the wrapping and open the package without judgment and find what’s really there. As least we won’t have to look back and wonder what might have been.

I wish you happy discoveries.

Visit me on Amazon and see all my books!

The Value Of Hope And Faith In Meeting Life’s Challenges…

See beyond what you see. That is where Hope is.”   ~Unknown

Life is a mixture of things turning out just the way we want, and times when nothing turns out right. Either way, there are no guarantees. We explore, investigate, gather facts, plan and make decisions. It’s part of life. But there are times when no matter what we do, a situation is iffy, and we can’t be sure of what tomorrow will bring. But then we never can be sure of tomorrow. Life has a way of surprising us, good or bad.

We all know how to enjoy the good times. But those tough times can put us to the test…Row your boat or go down with it. And we respond the best we can. Most of the time when those tough situations arise, we can see a way out. And we resolve them. But some are overwhelming, and we can feel helpless and trapped. Each of us has the inner tools we need to get up when we’re knocked down. But in painful situations, we may forget how strong and powerful we are.

One of our greatest gifts is our will to life. Not only to be alive and exist, but to have a life, to grow, thrive, and be all we’re meant to be. But that truth is hard to find when you’re on the bottom, treading water, afraid you’ll drown. And you want to just give up. Pretty desperate. But there are many people who know this place well. Maybe you’ve been there. Or maybe you’re there now.

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness.”  ~Desmond Tutu

It’s my belief that all living things have this will to life instilled in them, and will fight for life as long as they can. Last month I sat on my front porch looking at my beloved azalea bush with its dead branches and wilted leaves. After 30 years of gorgeous crimson blossoms, I was told it was dying, and I watched it giving up. It’s dear to my heart, and I cried for its loss as I would for a human. But then…then…just recently I saw a few little blossoms burst forth…and more blossoms…and more. Most of the branches are gone, but its heart is fighting to survive with whatever strength is left. It reminded me of our human struggles. And my own heart jumped with HOPE. Now I’ll take pictures of it to a garden shop and see if I can save it. And if I can’t save it, I’ll honor its gallant memory and the message it gave to me.

“Hope is the ability to hear the melody of the future. Faith is the courage to dance to it today.”  ~ Unknown

What do you do when faced with a dilemma? At first, you may be tempted to look outside of yourself for answers, but your first response should be to go within and examine your feelings. If you’re already falling apart inside, your mind will not think clearly. If you find any worry, fears, uncertainty, etc, step back, take a deep breath, and claim your innate resources of strength and power with a strong capacity for Faith and Hope so you can move forward.

Even an easy challenge requires understanding and a wise approach to keep a position of confidence and positive direction in recovery. So now look outside of yourself. Clarify your problem and define the outcome you want to achieve. What resources will you need, and what’s already available to you? Is there enough money, contacts to help you, useful tools? Are there people or groups in your life that can give you the understanding, compassion, and support you need? And what will you need to create?

Your Faith will give you the strength you need, and Hope will guide you as you move along with your plan to scale another hurdle. This is part of life, and you have a life to live. Make it a happy one.

I wish you Hope and Faith on your journey.

Marilyn Fowler, Author/Writer

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Visit me on Amazon  to see all my books!

How To End Loneliness In Your Life.

“T0 transform the emptiness of loneliness to the fullness of aloneness. Ah, that is the secret of life.”  ~Sunita Khosla

We’ve all been lonely at times, but some of us live with it constantly. We cry in the night and hold back tears in the day, hiding it from others. Sometimes we try to tell someone about it, but they don’t hear our pain. They just offer empty remedies when all we want is to be heard with understanding and compassion so we don’t feel so alone. Must we live like this forever? Or is there a way out, a way to feel whole again. Yes. Yes.

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Identify: The first step to healing is to identify why you’re lonely. There are some who really don’t know why. They’ve tried all the remedies, but it’s still there. Loneliness can come from many sources; loss of a loved one, divorce, illness, isolation, rejection, loss of a job, etc. Maybe you’re been lonely as far back as you can remember and it feels like a piece of your heart is missing. Perhaps your loneliness is the result of childhood experiences that left you feeling unloved and alone. But once the reason for loneliness is identified, something can be done about it.

Inner work: It’s important to stop resisting your loneliness and allow yourself to be where you are now. You must do the work from where you are. Whenever you feel lonely, it’s your inner child that’s crying, so take some quiet time each day and talk to that child about the feelings–more often when you think of it. Reassure your inner child they are never alone; that you, the adult, are always there with love and comfort. This is especially important when you’re loneliness is the result of a childhood experience from which you never fully recovered.

Creativity: While doing the inner work, use your God-given gift of creativity to help you feel more alive. There’s something uplifting in seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, or tasting something you’ve actually created and saying, “Wow. I created that.” Plant a garden, make quilts or wind chimes, write stories, make something to eat that nobody else knows how to make–anything creative. Better yet, join a group that’s doing something you like to do, or used to like to do before you got lonely. Lonely people are usually tired a lot, so begin slow until your energy picks up. Creativity will bring it back.

When I was working, I had a patient who could no longer bend or stoop due to a back injury. He felt lonely and useless until through therapy, he found a way to lie on the ground, rest his head with one hand, dig in the dirt with the other, and grow a flower garden. One day he brought me a beautiful lily plant he’d grown, and his face was alive with joy. He grinned and told me he didn’t need to cry anymore.

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”   ~Albert Schweitzer


Let people in: You’ve heard that a lonely person just needs to find some friends, be around people. But usually lonely people don’t want to be around others. They can’t face pretending they’re okay when they’re not. But it’s important to be around someone who can listen and understand. If there’s someone like that in your life, swallow your fear and go to them. If not, find a therapist or clergy to be heard and validated. Go slow, and as you feel the loneliness lift, open your heart and reach out to others. They need you too.

You may always miss someone or something you’ve lost. But you don’t have to spend your life feeling the pain of loneliness. You have the ability to “create” a new kind of life for yourself with people you love and many happy adventures ahead of you.

I wish you peace in your heart and a smile on your face.
Marilyn Fowler, Author/Writer of  “Silent Echoes”

Using Health Challenges As Windows To Self-Discovery.

Hello Friends, Readers and Welcome Visitors,

I AM BACK!! I missed you all last week, but it seems a friend of mine helped me out by putting a post up for me that hopefully showed that no matter what life brings with health issues, I still have my sense of humor! And it is what I wanted to blog about today. How health challenges can be used for self-discovery within ourselves . . Enjoy!

In our travel through life we live in mostly predictable patterns involving every aspect of life. When we get up in the morning, we expect our day to be as we’ve already imagined it. Our plans are made, and we expect to fulfill them. And we don’t want unexpected occurrences changing any of it. No interruptions, please.

But whether we like it or not, unforeseen things do happen, like a check bounces at the bank, the car has a flat tire, your kid missed the school bus, you forgot an important appointment, etc, etc. All bothersome, but part of daily life and fairly quickly resolved or at least tolerated. But what happens when unexpected illness invades your systematic life, like a ferocious belly ache, a hip replacement, a fractured leg, the flu, various viral infections, etc, etc. Such health challenges are not life threatening, but they put your life on hold, and they require more than a band-aid.

Ten days ago I had eye surgery to remove old lens debris from cataract surgery 7 years ago that just now caused a cloud over my eye. After surgery I spent 2 days exhausted and a little dizzy, maybe from anesthesia, most of the week with visual restrictions, not driving, and I’m still using eye drops and an eye shield at night. I never heard of such a thing, but it’s a good example of how a health challenge can suddenly interrupt your life.

Some perceive even a minor illness as devastating, while others take it in stride. The way you perceive it depends upon your personality and the way you view your life. It may involve physical pain, frustration, annoyance, guilt, self-criticism, worry, resentment, added expenses, etc. And it may rob you of your mobility, freedom, and independence, leaving you feeling helpless. It interrupts your daily plan for living and leaves time on your hands that doesn’t fit in with your scheme of things.
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“Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you. They’re supposed to help you discover who you are.”
~Bernice Johnson Reagon

Over the years we’re given many opportunities to learn and grow as our own unique, special self. But do you ever see such a blessing in those health challenges that knock you off your familiar path? How do you respond in those situations? Do you stomp your feet and throw things because you can’t keep that important event? Do you worry about being late paying the electric bill? Do you worry about the unknown? Or do you take advantage of each situation to observe yourself and discover more of who you are?

“The wish for healing has always been half of health.”   ~Lucius Annaeus Seneca
 
My eye surgery could have been more stressful had I not learned from a bout with pneumonia last spring with 3 days in the hospital, then home with medication and oxygen 24/7. That oxygen hose hanging from my nose and dragging the floor around my feet and legs slowed me way down enough to turn on some self-observation. And I’m learning a lot about myself physically, mentally, and emotionally. I don’t like being sick–I’d rather be swimming with an alligator in Silver Springs (a tame one)–but now I’m better able to view illness not as an enemy, but an ally there to help me. I’m learning more about me, and I’m transferring what I learn to other aspects of my life.

A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr

When you go through a non-life-threatening illness, and your life has been put on hold for a while, quiet your mind and ask what you can learn from that experience. Clarify your thoughts and feelings. And pay attention to how you react to physical pain and/or your situation. What are you losing and gaining? Question your life style. Are there positive changes you can make? Use this extra time to learn more about you…the most important person in your life. And come through it changed in some way with gratitude.

I wish you happy enlightenment.

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

The Road To Freedom After Divorce …

As we go through life, we’re joined by others on our journey. Some stay with us, while others, sometimes through divorce, may leave or remain in a different capacity. But each one is there for a purpose. I’ve heard it said we come together for a blessing, but sometimes that blessing comes from learning a painful lesson. Divorce and the major life change can bring that blessing as one grows through it.

Maybe you’re dealing with divorce or know someone who is. Or divorce is somewhere in your past. If so, you know how it turns life upside down and makes you question what was real or what was just a dream you thought was real. It makes you question yourself and who you thought you were. And you don’t know the answers. You just know it hurts, and you’re not sure of your next step when it’s over.

“You must let suffering speak, if you want to hear the truth.” ~ Cornel West.

Mine was one of confusion. I wanted the divorce, but felt no joy when I received it. I’d like to share an excerpt from my book, Silent Echoes, about my reaction when I received my divorce papers. “One afternoon I was getting ready for work and watching for the mailman to bring my final divorce decree, ready to celebrate my freedom and put the past behind me. The divorce papers came, but afforded no comfort. I walked down the hall toward my bedroom and read the return address, Clerk of the Circuit Court. A strange feeling gnawed at my stomach. Where was the joy? My hands shook as I removed the legal papers and read words I didn’t understand, but knowing it said the marriage was over. I felt my body slide to the floor, suddenly consumed with sadness and confusion. My tired back rested against the wall. I mourned what I’d imagined as a child but never found with my husband. What happened? Why had it been such a mess? How could we have failed so miserably? I put my head on my knees and watched my tears sink down into the dark green carpet.”

Time brought survival, but I still had much to learn, working through one turbulent experience after another in pursuit of freedom to express my true self. We all move at our own pace on our journey, and each experience is like peeling an onion, one layer at a time toward freedom.
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“You can do the impossible, because you have been through the unimaginable.” ~ Christina Rasmussen

If you are experiencing a divorce:  Internal and external issues create a need for inner and outer recovery work. And you may feel like you’ve been socked in the belly and can’t get up. So right now make a determined intention, commitment, to recovery. And write down your recovery statement.

Then find someone who can help you through all that’s yours to do–someone who can help you restore your strength and confidence with understanding, validation, and compassion. Without guilt or judgment, own up to anything you could have done different in the marriage, but know that failed marriage is not who you are. You are still the special person as you were created. Look within for anything you need to release–anger, confusion, guilt, shame, sadness, fear, etc. And let them go. Wayne Dyer offers good advice. “Initiate a habit of choosing thoughts and ideas that support feeling good and powerful, and that elevate you to a higher level of consciousness.”

Work on putting new things in your life that inspire you. My niece became a Radiology Tech, and is now very happy working in a children’s hospital. She says that without her divorce, she would not have realized this blessing in her life. Be patient with yourself, and keep your eye on the future. That’s where your blessings appear.

If you know someone in divorce:  Be there and help them with the above strategies for transition to freedom, healing, and positive change. And you will receive a blessing too.

I wish you freedom to be who you are.

Marilyn Fowler, Author

My Photo

 

Experience The Healing Power of Trees

Hello and Welcome All,

There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be quiet to hear it.   ~Minnie Aumonier

There’s a place of rest within each of us–a safe haven as we rush through life too worn out to deal with everything that hits us in the face. But to find the peace, comfort, wisdom and strength to meet life’s demands, we need to form a connection through daily prayer, meditation, music and nature–whatever way pulls you inside to that quiet place. And one of the most effective ways to reach that place is with a tree.

Trees put oxygen into the air, provide shade from the hot sun, wood for many of our needs, substances for some of our medications, and some provide nuts and fruits to nourish us. What a miraculous gift they are. And their vibrational energy is known to be healing.

In modern and ancient times, trees have held an important place in many cultures for healing, religion and spirituality. In 2004, Japan’s National Land Afforestation Promotion Organization, conducted an experiment and discovered that a forest stroll had beneficial effects on blood pressure, heart rate and the immune system. They also found that people who just looked at a forest view for 20 minutes had a 13 percent lower concentration of the stress hormone cortisol.

In every walk with nature, man receives far more than he seeks.  ~John Muir

In an article by Laura Hamilton in Psychics Universe titled The Spiritual Power of Trees, she says, “The energy of trees can also affect our mental, emotional and spiritual energy. With roots reaching deep into the earth, they have excellent grounding energy. Their vibrations are slower, deeper and more concentrated compared to some other living things. Essentially they give out the energy vibe of safety, security and stability. By coming into contact with a tree, you begin to resonate with the tree’s energy and you become more centered and grounded. This can explain the comfort many people feel when next to a tree, or the peace and serenity when they sit under a tree or walk through a forest.” She advises hugging a tree and thanking it for helping you ground your energy. As for me, I enjoy sitting under a tree leaning against its strong trunk.

One time while visiting in Seattle, I sat on a shady porch taking in the pristine beauty of giant northwestern trees. I’ve always loved trees, and just the sight took my breath. Then a nearby tree called my name, and I thought of what I’d heard about the benefits of sitting under a tree. Something shifted inside, and I was drawn to try this new way to reach my quiet place. As I relaxed against the tree, I felt negative energy moving down from my body into the earth. Then the earth poured her loving energy up into my body and joined the powerful energy of the tree. My heart was very quiet, and I was wrapped in exquisite peace and strength. I’ll never forget the experience.

As I sat in this quiet, I remembered singing in my school choir many years ago. We sang Joyce Kilmer’s poem about trees. Now I understood his poem, and so much more.

Trees
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Find your way to go within and be quiet. Listen for the truth in your heart. You really can walk through life with peace and joy when you know where to look. And look for a tree everyday.

I wish you peace, health, joy and strength as you walk through each day

Marilyn

Marilyn Fowler, Author
My Books Available on Amazon.com

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