Are You Living Images And Roles You Were Given As A Child? Where Is Your True Self? Part 1

When children come into the world, they come in with unique characteristics and talents. And the fortunate ones have parents, teachers, caregivers, who nurture and encourage them to express these gifts in their life. As they mature, they experience many of the same rules and restrictions the world requires, but with direction and guidance, they retain much of their authentic self. As they grow up and develop their personality, these gifts become part of their identity, and they’re allowed to freely express them as part of who they are.

How wonderful if all children were so fortunate. But we live in a busy world and, to some degree, each child is given a role, or image, to identify as ‘self’. Children grow up in group settings and are tagged early-on within the group. They’re given a role, and this is who they must be. This is not generally a conscious or purposeful act, but it can be verbally assigned by others, assigned to the child, or sometimes just seem to happen. But as this image takes hold, it becomes the child’s perception of self. The role, or image, becomes the child’s ‘I am’.

“God has given you one face, and you make yourself another.” William Shakespear

I was 6 years old when my father died, and my mother assigned roles to my 11-year-old brother and me. My older brother became the man of the family and worked to help support us, and I became my mother’s trash dump. My mother came home from her waitress job in the middle of the night having had too much to drink, and she woke me to listen to long, painful stories about years past and then losing my father.

I tried to help her, but my role was too much for a 6-year-old, especially dealing with my own painful loss. No one listened to my pain, and I felt forsaken, so I made a vow to take care of myself and never need anyone. I labeled myself, and my vow became who I was…independent, self-sufficient, and alone. This episode is described in my book, Silent Echoes.

From our roles or images, we develop our personality. According to the World Book Encyclopedia, personality is the personal or individual quality that makes one person be different and act differently from another. In psychology, personality is the total physical, intellectual, and emotional structure of an individual, including abilities, interests, and attitudes. According to Maxwell Maltz, the self-image is the key to human personality and human behavior. Change the self-image and you change the personality and the behavior. We are truly complex beings with no two alike.

Whatever people think of you is really about the image they have of you, and that image isn’t you.”   ~Don Miguel Ruiz

Our role or image is what we portray to others, and we’re seen by others as this role, image, personality. We may be known as weak, strong, needy, resourceful, capable, smart, ornery, kind, selfish, etc. So we live according to this label while our true self-lives deep inside with only brief moments of expression. In many cases, without a caregiver’s encouragement to express our true self, talents were born with can get lost and die somewhere inside…like a beautiful voice that never gets to sing.

No matter what role we’re given or what personality we develop, the spark of true self will always cry out to be seen, heard, and validated authentically as you…as you were created. Although at times, we do express our true self, we’re so caught up in being who we’re not, we don’t always notice.

Would you like to discover more of you and express more of your true self in your life? Tune in next week for Part 2, and we’ll talk about some ways to change our ‘I am’.

~I wish you a happy journey to self.~

 

 

An image posted by the author.

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

 

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How To Use Difficult Situations To Enrich Your Life Journey.

Dear Readers, Friends, and New Visitors,

First I want to apologize for being gone for several weeks. Since I live in Florida, I spent time before, during, and after hurricane Irma. Trees, limbs, wires, and debris were everywhere, but I rode out the storm and survived without damage to my house or car.

I’m grateful but so sad for others less fortunate. And I ask you to pray for all those who suffered and are still suffering. I appreciate all the well wishes and prayers from you all and was touched.   God bless all.

Now For This Week’s Post!

Imagine that when you wake up each morning a familiar feeling of dread reaches your mind, and your stomach immediately tightens with stress.You fold your hands over your chest and calm yourself enough to get up and go to a job where you have to face the monster who supervises you with criticism, insults, and anything his sick mind conjures up. You would have left long ago, but you love your work, and you keep thinking things will change. But they don’t. What would you do in such a situation?

On our journey through life, we each experience painful situations that hold us hostage with no visible way out. These situations can involve health, work, financial issues, damaging relationships, losses, various addictions, whatever causes us pain. We bring some on ourselves, and others invade our orderly world without explanation. And we usually view each one as our all-powerful enemy. We may fight back, or leave the situation. Then another one is sure to come. And we move through life never really free to be who we are. Maybe we need to take a closer look and see what’s really happening.

“We are continually faced by great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.”   ~Lee Iacocca

Obstacles in your life are not enemies. They’re opportunities to learn, overcome, and grow into more of the person you’re meant to be. Without these opportnities, you may never realize the depth of how wonderful you are. At times, the road is painful, but if you meet each encounter with faith and determination, life can be rewarding and meaningful.

Years ago I worked as a Mental Health Therapist in a Psychiatrist’s office, and I suffered the same experience as in my opening example. I awoke each morning with dread about going to work. I went to my Minister for help, and she carefully listened, then said, “This man is probably one of the most important teachers you will ever have. Pay attention, learn and grow, and you will be guided to the next plateau in your life.” She was right. I saw myself and my situation with new vision, and I finally left for a new rewarding position, as a wiser and happier me.

“If you can learn from the worst times of your life, you’ll be ready to go into the best times of your life.”  ~Author Unknown

Methods For Change:

Meet each difficult situation as an opportunity with a willingness to learn and grow from it.

Analyze the situation and your response to it. You can learn a lot about yourself in the way you respond to a negative, even hurtful, situation in your life. The more you learn, the more powerful you become. And your situation’s power over you weakens.

“Keep asking yourself: What am I supposed to learn from this?” ~ Unknown

Go within and examine your attitude and feelings, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Do you feel stressed with worry, fear, anxiety, sadness, anger, forsaken, etc? How immersed are you in your feelings? How clear is your mind? Where is your focus…on the situation, your inner response, or both? Do you view the situation as more than you can handle? Can you call on your Higher Power for help? Question and learn.
You’re stronger than you think. Uncover your strengths, and let them shine. Use denials and affirmations ie; “I deny that this situation has any power over me. I am strong and unbeatable.” This process will reinforce your power.

Create a plan to deal with your situation. Then choose techniques that would work best for you…confronting, accepting, or getting away from it. As you go along, monitor your situation and your response, and know you have a right to the life you want. And make it so. Each time you pass a hurdle, you can look back with a grateful heart to where you were, compared to where you are now. And what you learn now will lift you to a higher place for future encounters.

I wish you happy discoveries on your journey.

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

Thanks To Irma…A Blog Post Re-share: “How To Survive Your Storms And Grow Stronger.”

Hello and Welcome Friends, Readers, and New Visitors,

I am a little early this week with a post here on my blog, and thanks to my friend Author, Cat Lyon who is placing this post up for me as I am preparing for a dangerous hurricane. Yes, I live in Florida and IRMA seems she wants to make a “Grand Entrance” into Florida!

This had me thinking of a post I did when I first came to WordPress about ‘Weathering Life Storms.”  Doesn’t matter if it is a storm of mother nature or a life event, we can grow stronger from the experience and pick up the pieces and move on. So please keep Florida in your prayers as THIS storm moves past us…

 

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“Don’t confuse your path with your destination. Just because it’s storming now doesn’t mean that you aren’t headed for the sunshine.” ~ Unknown

The storm has passed. It’s quiet now. An eerie quiet. As if waiting for the next devastating gust of winds to come and carry away whatever is in its path. Waiting for more tree branches and debris thrown to the ground, for more flooding with homes and lives destroyed. I wait. But the storm is gone. And now everything bravely comes alive again. I know as I watch critters work with nature to recover and rebuild their lives.

I know from the sound of birds calling to each other from their secret places where they found refuge. I hear their happy whistles and chirping, now free to do what birds do–gloriously spread their wings to join others in search of new horizons and rebuild their nests for new families to replace those lost in the storm.

I know from squirrels running up and down and hopping over wet branches planning their next adventure. Calling to each other, chattering and flipping their tails in happy pursuit of food perhaps thrown to the rain-soaked earth by heavy winds. Happy sounds of creatures.

I know from lizards scurrying about, or peeking out from underdrain pipes to find a dry spot to survey the territory. Their mouths snapping open and shut, and their heads bobbing back and forth frantically pursuing their next move. Lost in this new dry world, with maybe no memory of where they were or what they were doing when the storm ran them for shelter.

And I know from the way my own heart jumps as I feel the sun’s warmth on my bare arms, and breathe in the smell of crisp air washed clean by heavy rains; watch bright sparkling sunbeams dancing on grateful plants reaching up with outstretched arms. The clouds are gone, and the sky is as clear as DeLeon Springs where I swam growing up. I smile at nature coming alive, venturing out. Each to its own identity, being what they are when the storm has passed, and a new day arrives to begin again. What a world to behold.

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When I experience one of those storms, I think of the human storms that arise within each of us when our calm lives are turned upside down. Our feelings are much like the qualities found in the storms of nature. In one of your own life storms you may experience a rain of tears over a painful loss; or feel you’ve been caught up in a cruel tornado tossing your life in a hundred directions, or you’re out of breath treading water and going deeper all the time; or a belief you’ve held your whole life suddenly toppling to the ground.

“Be encouraged…Not every storm is a disaster. Some are simply cleansing moments.”  ~Gregory Prince

When you’re hit by a life storm, you can do whatever you can to change its course, or you can ride it out. And one way or another, your storm will pass. But until it does, a positive attitude is necessary. Storms may stall, as nature’s storms do, so watch for signs that it’s still moving out. There’s less turmoil, your stress level is dropping, each day becomes a little easier. And it has given you a lesson and made you stronger.

“Remember to play after every storm.”   ~Mattie Stepanek

After the storm passes, don’t be satisfied with just knowing the storm is gone. Walk in the sunshine and smile at the critters. And take time to nurture and care for yourself. Then focus on rebuilding, and use what you’ve learned to make your life better than before. Is there debris from the past you can release now? Did your storm reveal strengths you didn’t know you had? Explore and set your sights on a new tomorrow.

As each day passes, look for positive changes, and make new discoveries about yourself. You may be surprised at what you’ll find as a result of experiencing the storm.


I wish you a peaceful heart and new tomorrows… UPDATE 9/17/2017

Hi Everyone!,

I spoke with Marilyn on Friday and she is back home and has weathered Hurricane IRMA just fine. She had no damage to her home, as she lives North in Jacksonville, FL. She did say the yard was a MESS with debris, trees, and branches down, but that was about it. She had power on by Thursday. So we can all rest easy to know she made it OK. NOW? She said the clean-up begins. So we wanted to leave this post up for the coming week as a reminder that YOU can weather any STORM be it in LIFE or Mother Nature! God Bless Those Who Lost Everything and Our Prayers Are With Them… XOXO

Marilyn and Cat!

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

 

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.

 

Product Details My New book…

 

 

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…

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”