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.

 

 

Image result for copy free images quotes quietness in life

 


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”

How Do You Respond When Unexpected Life Challenges Knock You To Your Knees?

Life itself is a series of problem-solving. That’s what we do. We move through each day on various levels of energy, sometimes easy going and sometimes difficult. Everything affects everything else. So with experience, we learn what to expect and how to handle what we encounter. And we do pretty well in that environment. But what about those unexpected situations that suddenly arise without warning. Sometimes they seem to come out of nowhere and may be the result of our own actions. Most of the time they’re fixable situations, but some can put your life in turmoil.

“It’s the unexpected that changes our lives.”   Unknown

Some unexpected situations may seem fairly minor but can skyrocket your stress level….like when you’re ready for work and discover your car has a flat time or you forget to register your kid for summer camp; etc. Those situations can force you in a direction you didn’t know was coming.

On a more serious side, you suddenly lose your job; or a major health issue invades your life and robs you of your independence. A few years ago after a hurricane had passed, a gigantic tree limb crashed to the ground in my back yard. I was grateful it spared my house, but the thundering sound was deafening, and I was frozen to the shaking floor. Removing that tree limb became a major challenge.

Another time through no fault of mine, I was suddenly in a serious car wreck. I spent 2 months in residential treatment, and went from a wheelchair to a walker and then a cane. Recovery was long and hard, and I didn’t drive for a year. Serious yet, if you suddenly lose a loved one, this kind of unexpected trauma requires some inner healing and time with others close to you for understanding and comfort. And the loss may always be there.

“Life is not the way it’s supposed to be. It’s the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.”   ~Virginia Satir

We all respond in different ways to the unexpected. Sometimes the first response is to get hung up on ‘What ifs’. What if I’m late for work; what if my kid thinks I forgot because I don’t care; What if I can’t find another job; what if I never get well; what if there’s another limb ready to fall; what if I’ll never walk again; what if I can’t recover. Or you might dive right in with an immediate action. If there’s danger like a fire, you’d probably swallow your panic and get help right away.

“What gets measured, gets managed.”   ~Peter Drucker

Unless you’re facing an emergency, your first concern should be what you’re feeling inside. Panic, even the initial stress, can cloud your mind, and you could miss your best options for a solution. Just a few moments within can make a big difference in your outcome. If you can, let the problem be, and identify what’s going on inside. What are you feeling….panic, fear, trauma, anger, regret, sadness, grief? What is it, and how severe? Notice your breathing. Any racing thoughts? Now take some deep breaths, and allow your body and mind to let go as much as possible. And give up the ‘what ifs’ and ‘ain’t it awful’….

When you’re a little calmer, just step back and gauge the size of the mountain. Ask, “How big is it really? What can I do about it? What happens if I can’t fix it? Where can I find help if I need it? etc.” Meet each day knowing you have what it takes to handle whatever comes up. And those puddles may not be as deep as they seem.

“Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.”   ~Unknown 

If an unexpected situation is a result of your own mistake, never condemn yourself. Adding a problem to the one you already have does nothing beneficial. So don’t do it. Instead, say some affirmations. “I am strong enough to lick this tiger and smart enough to find a clear road ahead.”  Sometimes an unexpected difficulty now is the very thing that may lead you to that clear road ahead. Look for it with clear vision.

I wish you Peace in your Heart along the way.

Marilyn Fowler, Author/Writer

(Click Books to Purchase on Amazon)

 

Product DetailsProduct Details

How To Discover Who You Truly Are And Live In Harmony With Yourself. Part 1 Ego vs Real Self . . .

ego-5

.

“Two people have been living in you all your life. One is the ego, garrulous, demanding, hysterical, calculating; the other is the hidden spiritual being, whose still voice is wisdom you have only rarely heard or attended to–you have uncovered in yourself your own wise guide.”   ~Sogyal Rinpoche

On our journey through life, we take much for granted, with little note of who and what we are as people. But we are complex creatures, and for centuries Scholars and Theologians have sought to explain us physically and metaphysically…physical, ego, spiritual, soul, divine, conscious, subconscious, superconscious, and so on…with varied opinions as to who and what we are. I disagree with some, and you may disagree with me. So we each accept what feels right to us.

It’s not necessary to know all of our complexities in order to live in harmony with our ego and true self. But it is important to understand these two parts of ourselves, how they relate to each other, and how they can work together for our common good. We are innately a spiritual being, or true self, expressing in a human body. But as children, we accept negative feedback from our environment and deny our true self with false beliefs about who we are. And we create an ego identity that becomes an active part of our personality.

“The ego is the false self-born out of fear and defensiveness.” ~John O’Donohue

With this ego identity, we think, feel, and act in ways that interfere with our ability to be happy. We may experience the illusion of separation and limitation, or be driven into destructive habits for a false sense of worth, or feel vulnerable, and we use control to protect ourselves. We may even assume a false grandiose self-image to cover feelings of insecurity, regret, guilt, etc. And our every thought automatically goes into our subconscious and finds expression in our life, positive and negative. We’re not aware of all that’s in there, but we live our life based on its content.

“Be guided by spirit and not driven by ego.”   ~ Allison

When you think about who and what you are, you may include the negative in your self-image…beliefs like ugly, stupid, clumsy, not as good as, lacking wisdom, etc. But you are none of that nonsense. That’s just what ego is saying you are. And ego is mistaken. In truth, you are that spiritual being with divine qualities. And your true self is completely aware of your true nature with unwavering knowledge that you’re not anything that limits the expression of your spiritual self. It involves the love and peace you long for, and always promotes union instead of separation.

imageedit_1_7082186605

.

If we live wholly in the consciousness that personality has built up, we’re ruled by the carnal mind, the ego self. But wisdom comes from our self-wants to flow through our ego self and be expressed in our life. We’re meant to learn, grow, and evolve spiritually on our journey. And it’s been said the ego should be the servant, not the master. So our mind, thus our ego, must be trained to work with our true self to accomplish our true mission.

“Your true Self never doubts. Your false self does so you can see and identify who you are and who you are not.”   ~Roxana Jones

The ego wants control and resists change. But it can be tamed, and its qualities can be made to work for our benefit. It is strong, clever, and resourceful, and being a tempter, it presents opportunities for us to make valuable choices that can redirect us in positive ways along our path. If we’re to find the love and peace we long for, our ego must learn to stop and listen to the voice of truth inside. And this must involve teaching your ego self who you truly are–a spiritual being with divine qualities. 

Understanding and awareness are the first steps to releasing ego and becoming more of your true self. Next week I’ll talk about ways to identify and correct your ego’s misguided tools for living.

So Be Happy!

Marilyn Fowler, Author/Writer

Visit My Amazon Author & My Books

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)