Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Keep The Season

Now that the holiday season is ending, we're sorting through gifts and packing away gift bags and bows for the next time. Now we want to leave the gift-giving and hoopla behind and focus on the coming new year. Really? Why would we want to do that? Is it custom--habit--what everybody does? How sad to not take the spirit of the season with us into our new year. If we feel it in our heart, we can call on it at any time. If not, we can work on developing it.

A long time ago I was head cocktail waitress in an NCO Club in Abilene, Texas. It was the month of July in the 1960's and the bar staff had some Christmas music put on the jukebox in the ballroom. What a brilliant idea. Our workdays and nights were transformed into joyful, happy, uplifting experiences every time we came to work. The patrons loved it so much our tips increased, and complaints disappeared. Then one of the managers decided it was not appropriate, and the music was removed. Of course, we were disappointed, but we kept the aura of the holiday that the music represented, and most of the time we maintained the spirit of the time. Over the years, this experience helped me take the spirit of each season with me into the new year. No, I'm not always successful, but awareness and effort have probably brought more joyful experiences than I would have had otherwise.

Of course, we feel fatigue and stress in a holiday season, but there are many ways to keep the peaceful spirit of the season alive throughout the whole year. We can give tangible gifts, but that isn't always necessary. Think about what made you and others happy during the season. What did you see, hear and feel? More smiles and kind gestures? More happy voices and inspiring music? Did you feel joy and peace in your heart? These are all free, and yours to create at will. Yes, grinches and bah-humbugs will always be around, but whether or not they spoil your holiday spirit is up to you.

What you express in your own life is what most others will respond to, so express what you would like in your life. Allow the good energy to move in both directions, and enjoy the movement of spirit in your world. Nurture each thought, action and feeling with love, and your year will be filled with the meaning of the season.

I wish you holiday spirit every day of the year.

Marilyn

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Make Miracles

Where there is great love, there are always miracles. Willa Cather

It's the holiday season, and you can feel excitement in the air. Holiday music is everywhere, and people are planning their gift lists. It would appear this is true for everyone. But a holiday season can also be a time of sadness. It depends upon where your mind is focused.

I like this time of year, but when I look at my children's pictures, I sometimes wish I could go back and re-live those times when gifts were under the decorated tree, and they were so excited they couldn't sleep. How they squealed with joy the next morning when they saw what Santa brought. Today, we're scattered around the country. I don't see them at all except for a week in the summer that passes too quickly. And I wonder where the time went.

I remember my family's yearly gatherings when we took the time to raise a glass to the wonder of the season, and celebrate another year of being together. We still have those gatherings, but now I look around and realize that some are no longer there. And I miss them.

I'm retired now, and nothing comes as easy as it used to. It would be nice to shop as I did in the past, but now the gifts are smaller, sometimes homemade. Sometimes the gift money goes to pay the electric bill. Yes, times have changed.

All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on. Havelock Ellis

No experience can be duplicated. We can't recapture what we had yesterday. But Spirit is changeless. It is the same today as it was twenty years ago or yesterday. Spirit is always now, and that's where our focus needs to be. Oh, I don't mean we have to give up old memories, missing the ones who are gone, or being realistic about a financial challenge, or anything else that takes your focus off of what this season is meant to be. Your memories and your love of people and things from the past will always be dear to you. Keep them close in your heart, but don't let the past or worrisome situations now inhibit your expression of love in the present.

Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. And today? Today is a gift. That's why we call it the present. Babatunde Olatunji

Send your love over time and space to those you want to hug. They will receive the blessing that your love carries with it. Then let your love flow into this season. Put your mind and heart in your gifts. No money for gifts? Love is the greatest gift you can give. I remember when a friend had no money to buy me a birthday gift, so she cleaned my house. I will never forget that gift or the precious angel who gave it.

Be an angel this season, live your life today, and make miracles that will last all year.

I wish you Joy now and always.

Marilyn

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Love Yourself

Our first and last love is - self-love. Christian Bovee

When we're children, most of us are taught that loving others is good, but loving ourself is self-centered and selfish. Therefore, if we feel any love for ourself, this will be followed by feelings of guilt. So we push our normal and natural self-love aside to ease the pain of guilt. We are so lovable, yet we deny ourselves love. What an insult to our beautiful soul.

Love yourself unconditionally, just as you love those closest to you despite their faults. Les Brown

Perhaps you don't see yourself as lovable. After all, you've got all those faults and weaknesses. And if you believe that's who you are, then of course you would see yourself as unlovable. But those faults and weaknesses are not who you are. They're issues you're working on in this life, so you can love the beautiful creation you are and work on those issues at the same time. Aren't we all a work in progress? Lighten up, and give yourself some slack.

Imagine when you look in the mirror that the face looking back at you is someone you truly love. Just imagine. www.isha.com

Wow. Wouldn't that be wonderful! The first step is to forgive yourself your shortcomings and begin focusing on the beauty that is you. Your heart knows that beauty, but you have to be willing to listen and acknowledge its presence. Make a conscious effort to search for what there is in you that is lovable. If you've been used to only seeing the negative, this may be difficult at first. But keep at it. There's a saying: I must be somebody, 'cause God don't make no junk. Believe it. Turn away from negative messages in your head, and acknowledge the truth of your being.

You must love yourself before you love another. By accepting yourself and fully being what you are, your simple presence will make others happy. Author Unknown

If we are to love others, that love has to come from somewhere. You can't get water from an empty glass. But if you keep pouring water into the glass, it will overflow, and everyone will drink from it. No one need go thirsty when the glass is full. We were born of love, and we have an eternal supply within us, but we can't expect it to flow freely if we keep blocking it with guilt and fear. It is okay to love yourself first, and then allow it to spill over to others. Then watch the love come back to you multiplied, maybe not always from where you want to receive it, but it will come.

I wish you joy in loving your special self.

Marilyn

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gratitude

When eating bamboo sprouts, remember the man who planted them. Chinese Proverb

This is Thanksgiving week, a tradition for giving thanks that began many years ago. This time of year has a way of reminding people that they have something to be thankful for. And that's good. We need reminding. But what about the other 51 weeks each year? Much of that time, we're so busy focusing on what we don't have that we forget to see what we do have, much less to give thanks for it. How different our world would be if we spent some time each day being grateful.

If you want to turn your life around, try thankfulness. It will change your life mightily.
Gerald Good


Gratitude has the power to transform, to make things new. Our thoughts produce energy, and we manifest in our lives that which we entertain in our thinking. Have you ever heard it said that what we focus on becomes greater, and what we ignore diminishes? That's one reason why we have so much negative stuff in our lives. We focus on it, worry and fret about it, and give our energy to it. How about if we turned that around, brought the good stuff to the forefront--some of that is always present--and expressed gratitude for it.

Give thanks for a little, and you will find a lot. The Hausa of Nigeria

Grateful thinking can turn negative situations into positive ones. If you want more abundance in your life, better health and healing, happier relationships, more rewarding work, or if there's any area of your life in which you would like to see positive change, then focus your mind and heart on gratitude for whatever you have now, and your good will multiply. Universal law says that like attracts like. Giving thanks daily will change your energy, and the universe will hear your vibration and reply in kind. A grateful heart builds on itself, and with practice, more of what you want will manifest in your life.

If the only prayer you said in your life was "Thank You", that would suffice. Meister Eckhart

We live by habit--some good, some not so good. Why not make a conscious effort to develop a gratitude attitude habit, and watch some joy slip into your life. Smiles will replace the frowns.

Thank you for being an important part of the universe.

Marilyn

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Your Body


If you don't take care of your body, where will you live? Unknown source.


Your body is more than the house you live in. It's the barometer that tells you what's really going on inside. Everything that has ever happened to you is stored in the body, and this is reflected in many ways. Your body remembers, and you can't fool it, no matter what your mind may be thinking. If you listen, it will tell you when you need to correct a problem.

We spend a lot of time running from one place to another with our very important busyness. If we let up for a minute, Chicken Little might start yelling the sky is falling. And we wonder why we have indigestion, can't sleep, become agitated, etc. Then we see the doctor and get some pills to remedy the situation while we continue running from one place to another with our very important busyness. Sound familiar?

When I'm highly stressed, I'm usually not aware of it until my body starts telling me something is wrong. I get a headache, bellyache, feel anxious or depressed, shallow breathing, can't sleep, etc. That's when I get that aha revelation, and start listening to my body. I mean really listening to hear what it has to tell me. Once I do that, I can work on releasing what's stressing me. (Which I should have done in the first place)

Releasing is a key to having a healthy body. Each night when the days activities are over, create some quiet time to reflect upon what took place during that day. Smile with gratitude for the good stuff, and work on letting go of the stressful stuff. Remember--it all went into the body, and the body will reflect what it's given. The good stuff feels good. The bad stuff doesn't.

Maybe you can make tomorrow better than today. And tomorrow, as you go through the day, listen to your body for direction--maybe to slow down, maybe to speed up, maybe to eat or not eat. You will be directed in a right way, according to what you're feeling in your body. So it's wise to take care of this intelligent vessel, and allow it to take care of you.

I wish you health, with a good ear to listen.

Marilyn

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Goodbyes

Saying Goodbye, A Dream of Things Anthology

The above book is a wonderful collection of stories written by everyday people depicting the many ways we say goodbye to the people, places and things in our lives. As I read this book, I was reminded that we say goodbye all the time in one way or another. It's part of our human condition. We usually think of goodbye as a painful experience, but that's not always the case. Goodbyes come in many colors.

There are those painful times of saying goodbye when we lose a loved one, or a place where we were happy, or things that were dear to us. We experience the grieving process, but I've found that we sometimes carry them with us forever in our hearts. I lost my father when I was 6 years old, but he's still with me. So are the Michigan tulips I saw when I was in the 5th grade, and the beautiful lake where I spent a few happy months when I was a child. I still see them in my mind, and I miss them. But I had to say goodbye.

Then there are the times when goodbye is a happy time. Sound strange? Think about it. Have you ever said goodbye to a person, place or thing that you no longer wanted or needed in your life anyway? How about that relationship that caused you pain, or those extra pounds you gained, or that bout of the flu that kept you in bed for days, or that job that you hated. We all know that feeling when we've said goodbye to an unhappy experience, and we gave a sigh of relief with a smile on our face.

Yes, goodbyes come in many colors, each one unique in itself, but a part of what molds us into who we are. The sad times can make us stronger, and the happy ones can lighten the bumps in the road along our way. Be grateful, not for the losses, but for what we can learn from them. If we use our goodbyes wisely, they can open doors to new beginnings and push us forward to better understanding of ourselves and others. Our world grows with each goodbye.

Blessings on your journey.

Marilyn

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Depression Pit: Part 2

Nothing moves without a push.

The above statement could be applied to just about anything in life, but it's very appropriate when dealing with depression. When we fall into that pit, it can feel like we'll never get out, and we long for someone to reach down and save us. But it usually doesn't work that way. There are times when a person is too weak to do the pushing, and medication is required until they're strong enough to participate in the recovery process. And that's okay. But for most of us, we're stronger than we think, and we can begin recovery in spite of that hopeless feeling that churns inside.

You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.
Martin Luther King Jr.


Sit quietly, close your eyes and go within. Take your time.
1. This may sound weird, but accept where you are right now--depressed. Owning the problem and being willing to face it and resolve it puts the ball in your corner and takes some of the power away from the depression.
2. Now state your intention to climb up out of that pit. It hurts, and you want out, so you intend to get out one way or another. So there!!
3. Reach down deep inside and locate that inner strength you thought was gone. It's still there, and it will answer your call. Now take a deep breath. You need one. You've just accomplished the first step to freedom.

For peace of mind, we need to resign as general manager of the universe.
Larry Eisenberg


Give yourself permission to not be all things to everyone else. This is your time to heal. Meet your commitments, but your main focus now is you.
4. Clarify the source of your depression. Is it a problem on the outside, or is something going on within yourself. If it's on the outside, do what you can to resolve it and then let it go. You don't have a magic wand. If the source is on the inside, ask your Higher Self to reveal what you need to work on.
5. Use denials and affirmations. Example: I deny that this problem has any power over me. I affirm my ability to rise above any obstacle in my life and find the freedom I desire.
6. If you feel like crying, ranting, raving, swearing, etc, don't hold it back. It will just keep popping up. However, don't let it control you. Allot a certain amount of time for this kind of an outlet. 30mins, 1hour, 2hours, whatever you decide. Then when the time is up, cut it off. Do this again as needed. You'll find this need will diminish.
7. Make a deliberate effort to use props and beauty to raise your mood. Music, walking outside, exercise, watch a sunrise, eat an ice cream cone, create belly laughs (I know you don't feel like it, but do it anyway) whatever it takes.

Give light, and the darkness will disappear of itself.
Desiderius Erasmus


8. This is one of the most important things you can do to help yourself. Find ways to help someone else. Not because you feel obligated, but because you want to. Give and get hugs. You need them too. Give and accept all the love you can. Love is the greatest healer.

Be not afraid of changing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.
Chinese Proverb


The journey back up is not easy. It takes time, and you may have to start over numerous times.
But never ever give up. The will to life will always push you forward and give you the strength you need. You are meant to soar like an eagle. Accept help when it comes, but you have to flap your own wings.

I wish you joy in your heart and a smile on your face. You can make it.

Marilyn

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Depression Pit: Part 1

Last week as I watched the miners in Chile being rescued from underground, I couldn't help thinking about other kinds of dark pits that we humans experience--the kind we can't see or touch, but just as frightening--a place called depression.

There are times when everyone feels a degree of depression. It's part of our human experience. But some feel it down to a desperate place of soul suffering. Just as no one can fully understand the pain those miners went through, no one can fully understand the pain of depression unless they've been there. But the darkness, fear and despair can be equally painful. And being in a dark pit seems like an appropriate analogy.

As long as we're in the human condition, we're exposed to painful experiences--some on the outside, some on the inside, and some in both. But with depression, no matter the source of the pain, it seems to hurt everywhere. It can actually immobilize us to a state of inertia where it feels like a permanent condition from which there is no escape.

But just as those brave miners escaped, there is hope for those who know the prison of depression. There is in each of us a will to life. It's our greatest gift--the key to freedom. We can use it if we search and find it. One step is one step closer to abundant life, and the first step could be intention.

"A good intention clothes itself in power." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Next time, I'll talk about some steps we can take to crawl out of the dark pit. There is a way out, even if we can't see it when we're at the bottom. The light is there.

Peace be with you 'til we meet again.

Marilyn

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tribute To Courage

As I watch the miners in Chile being rescued from underground where they've been for 69 agonizing days, I'm reminded of why we're here and what is really important in life. Sometimes it takes such an event to bring this awareness to a world preoccupied with money and power--a world where the good of all is sacrificed for a few. I'm old enough to remember a different world where people felt for each other and worked toward the common good. Now I see my old world reflected in these brave miners, their families and all the dedicated people who have worked so hard to bring about this rescue. It warms my heart.

When this catastrophe first occurred, each miner could have thought only of himself and his own needs, and chaos would have followed. But they didn't do that. Each took on a particular job thereby contributing to the needs and survival of all. Doesn't this make more sense than seeing who could steal the most food from his brother?

I've heard there were 3 proposals as to how to rescue these men. How far do you think this rescue would have gotten if the promoters of each proposal had blocked the others? From what I understand, the whole group remained open to whichever one would be the quickest and most effective, and then good-heartedly used that one. And it worked.

Oh, I believe there are many people in the world today who would behave in the same way these miners, families and rescuers behaved. But it seems that, in general, this is not the kind of world we're living in now. I wonder why that is. Could it be fear that drives greed and desire for money and power, with disregard for each other? Fear of what?

As I watch this rescue unfold, I feel such admiration for all involved, and I commend the courage of all these people. Fear is a precursor for failure. Courage is a precursor for success. The ultimate outcome for both is obvious. Perhaps, as a people, we need to dig down inside and find some much needed courage. Let these brave people be models for the rest of us. Maybe we'll see a return of that world where people truly care for one another.

Don't be afraid to give your love away. It will come right back to you.

Marilyn

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Forgiveness

Each of us wants a happy, creative and fulfilling life with physical, mental and emotional health, good loving relationships, and abundance for our needs. These may seem like lofty goals, but I think they're what we're meant to have, and it's normal to want them. However, we do stumble along sometimes and contaminate these goals in many ways, not deliberately, but it is our own doing. Unforgiveness is one of those contaminators we just hate to let go of. And sometimes we're not even aware we're doing it.

There are some secondary gains to unforgiveness. It gives us a false sense of self-righteousness. After all, look what he/she did to me. I have a right to feel the way I do. So there! You may be correct in feeling mistreated, but on the other hand, how can being unforgiving be righteous? Righteousness is doing what's right and good, and hanging onto unforgiveness only causes pain. Wouldn't it be more righteous to let it go?

Another secondary gain in not forgiving would be to avoid taking responsibility for your own response and feelings. After all again, it's his/her fault I feel this way. But in truth, no one can make you respond or feel anything by what they say or do. You feel what you feel because you choose to feel it. So you really are responsible. Hard to accept this truth? Of course.

When I read about forgiveness, it's usually about forgiving others. But I ask, "What about forgiving myself? Sometimes that's harder than forgiving someone else." When we do something wrong, we try to hide it. But we know, and it eats at us. We can't punish ourself enough. Bad. Bad. Bad. I think we each have a self-image of what we want to be, and we set a high standard for ourself, higher than for others. Falling down is inexcusable, and it's hard to forgive ourself for falling short. At these times we're not seeing the beauty of who we really are. We need to see and love our true self.

Forgiveness is a gift, and herein lies freedom. When we forgive others, we free ourself. When we forgive ourself, we drop the chains that bind us to the present and we open doors to glorious energy that can lead us to unimaginable places.

Learn to forgive. Learn to let go of anything that brings you down to a lower level. Know that you are too wonderful and precious to be walking around in the dregs of yesterday. This is a new day. Make it a righteous one, one that you deserve.

Let it go, and be free.

Marilyn

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Taming The Ego Self

We tend to think of bumps in the road on our journey through life as what goes on outside of us. And, yes, those can be considered bumps--sometimes boulders. But the real ones are inside of us. It's not what's happening in life that does us in, but how we respond to it that does the damage. However, today we live such busy lives that many of us rarely take the time to check what's going on in there. We simply act.

Have you ever felt there are two of you inside? Well, one can be called the ego self and the other the Higher Self. Both are intrinsically good, and we function from both. But sometimes the ego self can make a real mess of things. Early on, it created a recipe for living with values, traits, beliefs, and everything connected with who we think we are and how the world works. And we follow this pattern, hoping it will get us where we want to go. This can be productive or destructive--probably some of both. When issues come up in our life, we tend to see what we're used to seeing without paying attention to how we're responding, and we sometimes set ourselves up for defeat.

When we come from our ego self in unawareness, the mountains we climb may seem too high. But when we allow our Higher Self to guide us, our way is more clear and peaceful. Those mountains will seem more like opportunities to work through and grow from rather than the struggles we knew in the past.

The ego can be your greatest strength or weakness, so it must be taught to listen and obey. It has been said that the ego should be the servant, not the master. Each of us can work on making this so. When you need help with any outer situation or inner turmoil of any kind, be willing to let go of any thought or feeling that is non-productive. Then go within and ask for what you need. Stop, and listen to the quiet voice inside. Your Higher Self will always answer with love, wisdom, guidance, peace and comfort.

Don't expect the ego to change willingly. It has a stubborn streak and may resist change. But, with practice, your ego self will learn to serve you well, with good resolutions on the outside and love and peace on the inside.

Happy traveling.

Marilyn

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

U Turns

Well, here I am totally unprepared to enter something in this blog that has been thought out ahead of time. And that's because my plans had to take a U turn. Ever been there? Ever had plans firmly in your head, and something popped up with, "Sorry, gotta go another way now?" In a case like this, you can sweat over it or change your direction. But you gotta choose which way to go.

Last night around 11 pm, I returned from visiting my son and family in Seattle. It was a most wonderful visit, one I look forward to each year, and each visit is a treasured memory. This one was especially great, because I spent my birthday with my kids. The last day there,we cancelled seeing the salmon come in on the ships, because we were too exhausted. Then I made the long trip home from Seattle to Florida, so I was then past being exhausted. All I wanted to do today was unpack, rest and think about a message for my blog. Well one was dumped in my lap when I spoke with a friend who's sick and in need of help. I didn't need to give it much thought. I just put my plans on hold and made my U turn. Now here I am at her house, and this is where I want to be right now.

We never know when something will pop up and change our direction, and sometimes a quick decision has to be made. At those times, we need to give each alternative the amount of consideration that's needed, make the decision and move on it. If you decide to shift gears, then so be it. But don't linger, fret, or moan about the plan you gave up. Let the other plan go until you can get back to it. Or let it go altogether. I'm at my friend's house now, and I can stew about not being home with my original plan or I can look for the good that can be done here, and find joy in this time.

When making decisions, the mind and heart need to be used together. The mind will give you alternatives, and the heart will give you insight and direction. Listen to both, and your way will be clear. I believe we are where we need to be at any given time, to find something we need or want, to help someone, or to learn something. Much of life is outside of our realm of consciousness, but it all matters. Listen carefully, and go with your flow.

Take the high road and find joy.

Marilyn

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Reminders

Life is a series of lessons. We learn values, ideas, concepts, what works and what doesn't. But sometimes we forget what we've learned, and we find ourselves wondering why something isn't working out. We're faced with confusion, anxiety, depression or self-doubt. However, life has a way of bringing us reminders when we get caught up in false notions and lose sight of where we need to be.

When we're in some kind of pain we tend to forget everything but the pain. It may blind us to the truth of what we already know, and we may need to be reminded that we're not alone, there may be a better way to manage, help is available, we can overcome, maybe this is only temporary, or we're stronger than we think. Better insight can move us to a better place.

Usually, when I'm immersed in some kind of physical, mental or emotional turmoil, I will see, hear or read some gem of wisdom that jolts me back to reality, a truth I need to remember. Then my aha experience gives me the power I need to get back on track and re-focus to a place of coping and expanding on what I already knew all along, but had temporarily forgotten. When this happens, I'm back in a place of truth, and I feel stress lifting.

Recently, a comment on one of my blogs said that we are all spiritual beings at a different development stage. Thank you, Cristian, for that reminder. Yes, we're all on our journey through the human experience, and we don't always function from our spiritual self. We fall down sometimes, but there is that higher part of us inside that will lift us up and put us back on our path if we seek truth in the dark time, or simply when we just need a nudge in a better direction.

When any negative situation appears in your life, look past appearances, for there is a truth involved in every situation that will set you free from false assumptions. When you feel there is no answer, look for one. Reminders to a different way of thinking are there. And when you change your thinking, you change your life.

You're never really stuck. You just think you are sometimes.

Peace.

Marilyn

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Life Is...

Yesterday I spent the day at a hospital with a friend who had surgery. I've been in many hospitals for my own medical care or to support another person. But this experience made what I already knew more real to me. Each of us is unique, traveling our own individual journey through life, but at the same time part of the great whole that makes us the human race. It's kind of like each individual drop of water being part of the whole body we call the ocean.

While my friend was in surgery, I wandered through the halls and outside the building. I've always been a people-watcher, but yesterday I was more keenly aware of everyone and everything I came across. I saw people in wheelchairs or walking with canes while others walked straight and tall. I saw a nurse consoling a woman who was crying, and I noticed a beautiful little boy who was grinning at me. In fact, everyone I smiled at smiled back at me. I felt the patient's pain and heard their moans, while medical personnel saw to their daily duties. The contrasts were everywhere.

I found a concrete ledge outside and sat down. I took off my shoes and rested my bare feet on mother earth, while little ants scampered around as if they knew where they were going. The sun was warm, but there was a cool breeze under the big oak tree where I sat watching a black crow scrounging for his lunch in the dirt near by. Once in a while someone sat next to me. Some were happy. Some were not. But each had a story to tell--a unique story, yet part of all the stories you hear in a hospital setting.

As the day moved on, the hospital became a microcosm of the bigger world, and I became more increasingly aware of life and its many facets. We each know sadness and joy, pain and bliss, feast and famine, love and hate, lack and plenty, illness and health--everything in the human experience. And we're never alone in any of it. While we're going through something, another person somewhere else is going through the same thing in their own unique way. In our humanness, we're all a part of each other. How sad that we don't claim the ocean in which we swim. It's really quite a beautiful ocean in spite of the differences that we believe separate us.

I'm grateful for this hospital experience. It reminded me that I'm more than what I see in the mirror.

Love yourself. You're much more than you know.

Marilyn

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

No Other Way

Have you ever looked at your life and wondered where the time went? We've all done it, and then we wonder if we could have done a better job with our life. We may ask: Could I have avoided the mistakes? Should I have made better choices? Did I waste my talents? How did I get where I am? And why?

It's wise to sometimes evaluate today to create a better tomorrow. But it's also wise to look inside and see how we feel about our past and where our journey has led us. Of course, we made some mistakes and poor choices in the past, but maybe we had to climb those mountains in order to learn what we needed to know to move forward. And getting stuck in regret, self-criticism or blame can sabotage where we want to go now.

A few years ago I was stuck in regret, and the following poem helped me forgive myself and move on.

NO OTHER WAY by Martha Smock

Could we but see the pattern of our days,
We should discern how devious were the ways
By which we came to this, the present time,
This place in life; and we should see the climb
Our soul has made up through the years.
We should forget the hurts, the wanderings, the fears,
The wastelands of our life, and know
That we could come no other way or grow
Into our good without these steps our feet
Found hard to take, our faith found hard to meet.
The road of life winds on, and we like travelers go
From turn to turn until we come to know
The truth that life is endless and that we
Forever are inhabitants of all eternity.

Every decision you made was based upon your knowledge at the time, and hopefully each turn in the road made you wiser. Leave the steps you took in the past back there where they belong, and live each day as it comes. We move with time, and whether you know it or not, you are quite different today than you were yesterday, and you will not be the same tomorrow. Love each new day and the continued newness in you.

Keep your eyes and heart on the road ahead.

Marilyn




Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Time

What an illusive phenomenon time is. We use it, misuse it, and waste it. We anticipate it and measure it. We laugh and cry with it, rely on it, fear it, and regret it. We live our lives with it. But is it really just something we've created to give our lfe structure, purpose and meaning? Is there really anything more than now with what we call the past being memories and the future being visions of the mind? I don't know, but whatever time is, it has a strong influence on our nows.

I'm particularly aware of the time element when I observe a major life change. This is when we must experiene a transition from our experience of one time period to another, and we have visions of past and future. I'm house-sitting for a friend who took her daughter to enter college in another state. I watched the daughter grow from a tiny infant to the young woman she has become, and right now I have a strong sense of time with quite an array of emotions, a mixture of sadness and joy.

Today, I wandered through the house observing reminders of her--the few clothes she left in her closet, the empty place where her computer sat, open boxes of gluten-free food, the piano she couldn't take with her, old CDs and pictures of Beyonce, the teddy bear on her bed, pictures of long ago, and a stale cup of tea from who knows when on her dresser. Where did the time go?

She, her mother and I reminisced about the past and spoke of the good yet to come in the future. This observance of time helps in situations like this--leaving the old and moving into the new--but there is still the transition time to deal with. Time is not always a pleasant commodity. We see this as a good time, but the human need to look back can be painful, because there are things in the past we want to hang onto. But we can't hang onto time. We have created a moving entity, so we have to let it move. All we can do is keep our happy memories, live our present the best we can, and create a future we look forward to.

Time has a way of taking care of itself, especially if we stay in the now as much as possible. Isn't that all there is anyway? Live it well, and find joy in visions of the future. Make it whatever you want.

Marilyn

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What Do You Need?

As long as our needs are being met, we don't think much about what we need. But when something is lacking, we may suffer physical, mental or emotional discomfort, and have no idea what's causing those feelings. Sometimes we suffer without question.

Our body will tell us what's going on, but just feeling the discomfort isn't enough. We have to stop and pay attention to hear our body's message. There have been times when I was in a bad mood for several days. I felt lousy and wanted to feel better, but didn't think to question what was going on inside. Finally when I did, an aha discovery led to ways to fill a need I was missing. Now I try to pay more attention to what may be lacking. Sometimes, just a hug is the answer.

No one has a perfect situation--life isn't perfect--but we can do our best to assure that we have what we need each day to live a healthy, happy life. How can you fix an uncomfortable situation if you don't understand what's lacking? It's like having an itch, but you don't know where to scratch. Is the stress coming from being tired or hungry? From worry over a life problem? From feeling angry or lonely? From feeling distant from your Higher Power? Well maybe you need rest or food, or to clear your mind and see something more realistically, or your emotional state needs attention, or you need to renew connection with the one you know as the Voice inside. Once you identify the lack, you can address the situation and your response to it.

Most of the time, all we need is a minor change in a present situation, but it's wise to periodically take a good look at our overall life style and see if a change is needed there. However, finding ways to satisfy each sense of lack as it arises can sometimes create a whole new perception of a larger picture. Life itself will look better. The little things won't nag as much, and you may find joy you didn't know was there.

Be good to yourself. You're worth it.

Marilyn

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

What Can I Learn?

On our journey through life, some of the bumps we encounter can be very uncomfortable, even painful. Some people suffer with them more than others. Two people can face the same type of dilemma, but with quite different responses. This may be due to a number of factors, but one important difference may be the way the dilemma is interpreted--calamity or opportunity.

Our inner Voice is always pushing us to move forward to more of what we can have, be or do in life. Some listen. Some don't. Those who don't listen tend to live a life of status quo, and that's okay if that's what they want. But for those who want to expand and grow, it's wise to listen to that inner Voice and ask what we can learn from whatever life brings up. Some of our greatest opportunities come in the form of challenges that test us to the limit.

Even when we look for a lesson in a challenge, we may not see it at the time. But knowing there is something there for us will probably bring an answer at a later time. In my younger days, I struggled with anxiety and depression and saw nothing beneficial in any of it. But then I returned to school and had a wonderful career in the Mental Health Field as a psychotherapist. Now I know those early years prepared me for work I thoroughly enjoyed, and I was able to help others. I'm grateful for all those years. Now there are times when I stomp my foot and say, "No more. I'm tired of learning. I just want to glide for a while." But I know I have to make a choice--stand still and wrestle with the pain or learn from the experience and move forward, stronger and more at peace within myself.

We can choose to meet a challenge with a defeated attitude or we can use it to our advantage. We may have to suffer anyway, but what we do with it helps determine where we go from there. And discovering more of the wonder of life can be a good way to go.

Watch new doors open each time you pass an obstacle with knowledge.

Marilyn

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Word Gratitude

There are times when we get caught up in daily activities and feel the stress that comes with just moving through each day. How we end up at the end of the day depends upon how we manage things as we go along. And our thoughts have more influence than we realize. Thoughts have energy, and we can't have an emotion without a thought preceding it. Sometimes our hands are busy and we're not aware of what our mind is doing, but it may be leading us into a lot of unnecessary stress.

It's easy to take things for granted or drift into ain't it awful thoughts or get into a worry mode without knowing you're there. But there's one word that can trigger a change in direction. The word is gratitude. It's as if you're riding down an uncomfortable bumpy road with no peace in sight when suddenly saying the word smooths out the bumps, and the ride becomes pleasant. You can actually feel a shift in your emotions when you choose to appreciate instead of criticize or resist with your thoughts.

When you find yourself in worrisome thoughts, think of the meaning of gratitude, and say the word in a strong, firm way with conviction. You don't need to think of something for which you're grateful. Just say the word, and feel the sudden peace and joy that replace the discomfort. This feeling may not last all day, but you can pull yourself back to where you want to be each time you say the word.

I recently returned from a trip to Dallas to visit my daughter and her family. I found myself comparing the way I felt there versus how I feel at home. I was amazed at some of the differences. I love my children, and I had a wonderful time with them, so of course I felt calm, fulfilled and grateful during my stay. But I have to admit that I sometimes feel like climbing the walls at home.

I've always known the difference gratitude can make, but at my daughter's house I became fully aware of the power in this word. Now I intend to use the word more often at home. And I'm grateful for this visit with my family.

I wish you fewer bumps and more peace on your journey.

Marilyn

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Taking Stock Part II

In order to create the life we want, we need to take some quiet time each day to see if we're just spinning our wheels. Sometimes unexpected challenges come up and interfere with the direction we've chosen, and we need to recognize their potential for getting us off track.

These challenges can come in any form, affecting any part of our life. A few years ago a serious car wreck took months out of my normal activity. This took some taking stock of where I was and what I needed to do to recover and keep my life in a healthy direction. Most of the time, our challenges are not severe situations, but they can still affect our health, our finances, our relationships, or just a daily activity. Someone gets sick, money fails to come in, the boss chews us out, company arrives unexpectedly, plans go awry, the car won't start. We know the story. This is life. But if we just react without awareness and neglect what's going on inside, these challenges can affect our general quality of life.

The first thing to do is back up and check your feelings about the situation. Do you feel angry, impatient, scared, sad, frustrated? Maybe you need to take a few deep breaths, cool off and take a non-judgmental look at the situation and how you're reacting. There could be a beneficial lesson to be learned.

Be patient and flexible, and try to lighten your attitude. Changing your attitude from negative to positive can lead to a better outcome. If you can't find ways to resolve the problem, accept what you can't change and adjust your direction. Change is part of life too.

The point is to stay aware of what you're doing, so you don't miss the big picture of where you want your life to go. A healthy life takes mind and heart. You can't turn off one or the other and expect a full, happy life. Take each day as it comes. Take stock of your feelings, your actions and reactions, and remind yourself of what you want to be on the inside and what you want to create on the outside. Then move ahead with love and wisdom.

I wish you joy in each day.

Marilyn

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Taking Stock Part I

Do you ever ask the questions Where did the time go? How did I get to where I am now? Could I have come another way? Any regrets? From time to time, most of us have questions about our life, but we still tend to drift through today the same way we did yesterday without valid answers. Maybe we need to stop and take stock of where we've been, where we want to go and contemplate a better way to get there.

We live in a busy world, and we usually meet whatever comes up each day in a reactive way rather than proactive. We focus on the exterior and rarely give thought to our pattern of living or where it's taking us. How often do you look at your life and question your direction? Or do you just let the years pile up without the care they need to bear the fruit you want?

Self-awareness is vital to making sound decisions, and that can only come if we open our heart and look at what we're doing and how we're doing it. So how can we do that when we spend our time just reacting to outer stimuli and paying little attention to what's going on inside?

Some form of self-analysis needs to take place to keep us on the best path.
l. Find some quiet time each day to go within and see what's in there. What are you feeling? Are your needs being met? Are you on the right or wrong track? Should you pursue a different direction?
2. Journaling is a good way to get in touch with the space you're in. Let your thoughts flow--any way, any thing. This will give you an idea of what's going on inside and if changes are needed.
3. Ask your inner Self for wisdom and guidance, be open and receptive to it and do the best you can with it.

We can't always have all the facts about anything, so we'll make mistakes and have some regrets, but taking stock of where you are on your journey will produce a better life to look back on with fewer regrets. There are many ways to develop self-awareness. Choose one that's comfortable for you, and work on it. Your life is yours, so create the kind of life you want.

Next week in Part II I'll discuss how you can stay on target when unexpected challenges enter your life.

I wish you a warm heart and keen vision.

Marilyn

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Healing

Recently, a book found me on Amazon.com, The Root Of All Healing, by Misa Hopkins. Yes, it jumped right out at me and said, "Pay attention." Every once in a while I get something like that, and it always helps me in some way. This book speaks mostly of healing physical, mental or emotional illness, but it reminded me of how often something in our life needs healing.

Nothing is totally healthy, because being in the human condition puts us in the realm of negative conditions and situations. We can't be human and escape all discord and pain. We don't live in Lala land. So we need to know and use whatever means is available to bring about healing and harmony, inside and outside of ourselves.

The first place to look is inside, because that's where it all begins. Each of us has an inherent power within us to create the kind of life we want. But first we have to know what we want, because what we envision is what we'll have. We live in a world that contains positive and negative energy, and we can't escape either, but with our thoughts we can influence how much of one or the other we experience.

There's a saying, "Whether you think you can or you can't, you're right." If I believe I won't have money to pay a bill, I probably won't; if I believe I will spend the rest of my life lonely, I probably will; and if I believe I will never recover from an illness, I probably won't.

Challenges come into our life everyday, but learning to use denials and affirmations can retrain our mind to envision and expect the outcome we want rather than the alternative. We can't deny that a situation or condition exists, but we're not doomed. We can firmly deny that it has any power over us. Then we can affirm the truth of each situation. An empty pocketbook can be filled, caring people can alleviate loneliness, and illness can pass, or at least improve.

Each challenge is an opportunity to learn and grow, and we have the power within to use each challenge as a means to a better life. Over time, instant affirmations will outnumber the denials, and life will become more of what we want it to be.

Be kind to yourself. You're worth it.

Marilyn

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Expression

Each of us is unique, no two alike. We express from our human self and our spiritual Self, but we rarely think about expressing anything. We just think, feel and act without searching for the unexplored wonder that lies within, that part of us that needs to be nurtured and expressed in our life. And we miss out on the joy of being more of who we are.

I don't believe that life should be wasted. When something isn't used, it either dies or lies dormant. Sometimes a talent stays hidden for a lifetime, only peeking out occasionally to nudge us, a nudge that we ignore, not believing that we have anything worthwhile inside. It's saying look at me...I'm part of who you are, and I need expression. Self-discovery is one of life's greatest blessings. We just need to look inside and find all the good stuff. The next step is learning to let it shine in the world.

I belong to a writer's group, very talented writers. Some have been published, and some are just beginning to believe in themselves enough to submit pieces for publication. Recently, one of the writers had her first piece published. She's ecstatic, and we're all sharing in her happiness. Writing is one way Mary and the others in the group express part of who they are, and we all find joy in this expression.

Each person expresses in different ways, tangible and intangible, and to different degrees. But the value of each gift is immeasurable. You can't touch a smile, but it can turn someone's heart in a new direction. The sweet smell of a flower you've grown may linger in memory for years, and the sound advice you give to someone may make a difference in the rest of their life. Fixing your neighbor's bike may illicit a rare smile, and maybe someone really needed to hear the joke you told. We have no way of knowing the impact our expressions will have. We just need to use the gifts we've been given, and let the energy do its work.

The saying goes, Let your light shine. Being the light that you are, in whatever form it may take, will bring joy to you and others that's meant to be.

Whatever your gifts, express them.

Marilyn

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Never Give Up

There are time when problems knock us flat without warning. Other times they creep up on us, and we don't realize they're there until we're too weak to pull back up. Either way, a weakened state can make us believe we're helpless, and all we can think about is giving up. Too weak to go on. But there's something in each of us that's programmed to pull us out of the hole if we give it a chance.

It appears that all creatures have this inherent drive, or will, to life. And this is what keeps us breathing and getting back up when we're knocked down. I prefer the term will to life rather than will to live. To me, the will to live implies to be alive. The will to life implies to thrive and grow. But we can't do that if we refuse to get up when we feel like we can't.

Birds strive to fly again when their wings are injured, animals lick their wounds and try to heal, fish come to the surface for oxygen, plants reach for sunshine when they need energy, and people pray for strength and enlightenment for healing. At our most desperate times, that inner something pushes us to life. And it will bring us through if we listen. We can't afford to give up.

After our merciless winter I thought I had lost the peace plant on my patio. But a few days ago, I saw some new growth peeking through the dead leaves, green and healthy. New, tiny leaves saying, I lost a lot of what I was, but I'm starting over and will become even more. My heart jumped. I felt so happy, I wanted to hug the little thing. It reminded me how strong the will to life is, and I have that within myself. I too can start over and become even more. Not easy when I feel I'm on my last leg, but it's doable.

We could take a lesson from the other forms of life. Maybe they listen to instinct, whereas we allow fear to take over and look for excuses to give in and give up. I'm grateful to my little peace plant for reminding me that I can get up and do more than what I sometimes think I can.

When you think you can't get up, listen to the wise voice within.

Marilyn

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Resistance

How often does a problem in your life seem to hang around forever? You stew and fret about it. But it doesn't budge. You dig in your heels and tackle it head on. But it won't go away. You try everything you know to resolve it. But it refuses to move. The more you push, the bigger it gets. So what's going on? Well, there's a saying--resistance breeds persistence. Is it possible you're giving it the gas it needs to keep running?

Everything in the universe is energy, and our minds are more powerful than we realize. Every thought produces energy, positive and negative, and it affects our inner life and our outer life. Each time we have a thought, the energy produced has to go somewhere and do something. The more we focus on a problem and resist it's presence, the more power we give it over us. It's like pouring coal into a furnace instead of allowing the fire to die out.

When a problem enters our life, of course it needs attention. We can't usually ignore it. But pushing against it doesn't work. Accept its presence for as long as it's with you, while you're doing all you can to resolve it. This doesn't mean giving in without a fight, but take your fight to the solution--not the problem. Ask for inner guidance, and ask the problem what you need to learn from it for your own personal growth. It's there to teach you, and it won't leave until you've learned, sometimes only on a subconscious level.

How can we grow without those challenges to expand us? Our journey is a series of glider rides and wild river rapids. Enjoy the rides, and concentrate on the paddles when the rapids get big. Practice non-resistance, do what's yours to do, and grow through it bigger than you were before.

I wish you happy rides through life.

Marilyn

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Disaster or Opportunity

Recently, when I learned of Al and Tipper Gore's separation I was glad to read that it's agreeable to both parties. But it brought to mind the perception we sometimes have of major disruptions and painful changes in our life. Our emotional response is usually one of helpless confusion, fear and dread. It may even seem as if our life is over--we have no worthwhile future. But, given time, these experiences can become catalysts for a wonderful, new episode on our journey.

I know someone who had been married for 26 years when her husband suddenly decided to divorce her. Her familiar world crumbled, and there was nothing she could do. For months, she suffered all kinds of emotional pain until she finally decided to get up and search for her own way. She went back to school and now works with children in the medical field. She's also happy with a new man in her life. She discovered talents she didn't know she had, she found joy in her own efforts, and she found a more fulfilling life she would have missed had it not been for the divorce.

When a catastrophe knocks us off our feet, we have two choices. We can either choose to live or to die. This doesn't necessarily mean existence versus non-existence. It can mean the difference between emotionally dying inside or finding a new way to live a more purposeful and meaningful life. Yes, we may have to go through a time experiencing the pain, but there always comes a time for choice.

Each of us has the potential to be more than we are now, and those traumatic invasions of our status quo are opportunities to express more of what we can become. Status quo can be comfortable, but when we get thrown into deep water, it's better to swim than to drown. And when we swim to shore, we may find treasures we didn't know existed.

I wish you positive choices in life's unexpected storms.

Marilyn

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Why Conform?

Each choice we make is motivated by laws, cultural mores and just what's in our own head. The laws and mores pretty much decide what we can and can't do, but while we have free will in most other decisions, we tend to conform to what's expected by others. In this way, we create our own obstacles to what we want to have, be or do. Why do you think we listen more to others opinions than to our own inner voice? Wouldn't it be nice to have it the way you want it?

There are always people out there who will tell you how you should live your life, of course according to their standards. Could it be you fear criticism, embarrassment, confrontation, guilt, not measuring up, being different? What's the obstacle you've set up inside yourself?

People have said to me: Everybody has a cell phone. You should have one. I don't want one; Everybody puts cream and sugar in coffee. You drink yours black? Yes; Why don't you wear bright colors? Everybody else does. I like muted colors; Everybody reads a magazine from front to back. I prefer back to front. And so on and so on. I think I'll start asking people who this everybody is they keep talking about and how they got to be an authority on my life.

I remember one time my mother and I were in the airport waiting for our flight. She stood up and began staring at some other passengers, and I suggested she sit down and stop staring. She defiantly put her hands on her hips and said, "I'm old now. I can do whatever I want." While I still feel she shouldn't have made other people uncomfortable, that statement jarred a question in me. Why must we wait until we're old to give ourselves permission to be who we are? What's wrong with just being ourselves and ignore what those everybodys think? Most of our idiosyncrasies are harmless anyway, and no one's opinion can change who we are. If their standards don't fit, we can choose not to adopt them, and this doesn't make us less in any way. Besides, sometimes it feels good to be different...in a kind of smug way.

So wear your bedroom slippers to the ice cream shop and enjoy your pistachio ice cream soda while you smile at everybody with their vanilla, chocolate or strawberry sodas. It's fun, and above all you're being wonderful, different you.

You're pretty special. So live and enjoy who you are.

Marilyn

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Regroup

I've been so busy marketing my book, among a bunch of other stuff bombarding me, that I've decided to start posting a blog once each week instead of twice. I feel like my mind is overloaded, and my emotions are on shaky ground. Ever feel like that? Something inside says stop, back up, too many bumps to handle all at one time. I need some room to breathe. Yeah, we've all been there. So what's the answer? I'm working on it.

Make a habit of self-awareness. Usually, when things come up, we can't just say go away. Most of it needs to be handled. But we're so busy focusing on the outside, we forget to look at what's going on inside. And if we're not aware of our feelings on an ongoing basis, we can become overwhelmed without realizing it until we're immobilized and unable to get anything done.

Stop and regroup. Take a few minutes several times each day to close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and monitor your feelings. Happy, sad, calm, anxious, stressed, pressured? If you're comfortable inside, express gratitude and move on. If not, identify the feeling and a possible stressor. Is too much going on at one time? Is there something you're dreading? Did you forget to do something you needed to do? Are you doubting yourself?

Use a mental cubbyhole to store what you can't get to now.
If the stressor is something you can't tend to at that time, then create a cubbyhole in your mind where you can store the issue until you can get to it. At least that gives you some sense of control until you can take it out and deal with it, rather than allowing it to stress you out. Later when you have some time, take the issue out of the cubbyhole and figure ways to deal with it. Remember you're in control. Now you can choose what to do.

Make a list and prioritize. You'll be surprised at how much can be postponed for a while. That gives you breathing time and lowers your stress level. Just don't let yourself get overwhelmed before you realize what's happening.

One step at a time. Let it be okay that you can't do everything at once.

Now comes the best part. Put on some soft music, take off your shoes and put your feet up, breathe deeply and thank God for creating the beautiful, capable person you are. And smile. It's good for you.

I wish you peace as you walk through each day.

Marilyn

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Save The Good Times

Sometimes we feel overburdened with all the problems that come into our life. Good things happen too, even small ones, but the bad stuff seems to push them aside, so we don't even notice. All we can see is a plate that's too full. It might help to have a way of refocusing our mind in a better place. How about creating a bag for the good stuff, so we can reach in each day and bring out a happy memory.

Recently, I gave a short presentation at church about my book that has been published. I thought I'd say a few words and that would be it. Well, my Minister had put a celebration of my book announcement in the church program, and someone had furnished a cake with the front cover of my book reproduced in icing on top of the cake. I was sooo amazed and pleased, not only for what they did, but because it came from love in their hearts. That's one memory I definitely will keep and bring up when I run into one of those bumps along my way. Just thinking about it changes my mood.

I've also been making an effort to find more beauty everyday in my surroundings. It's not always easy, but today I worked on it. I noticed the irises in bloom and a red cardinal in the yard. (Good visuals) And I got smiles everywhere I went. Do you think it might be because that's what I was looking for? Hmmm.

I know there are times when we're so frustrated, or even angry, that we don't want to see any beauty. I have a right to be in a funky mood. I'm justified to feel this way. It isn't fair. Well, all of that may be true, but I'll bet if you looked deep inside, you really do want to feel some peace and joy instead of the angst you're caught in now.

Savor and save those happy memories and pull one out of the bag when you need it--even if you don't feel like it. C'mon. Make yourself do it. You'll be glad you did, especially when it becomes a habit that will add some joy to each day and lessen your struggles.

I wish you happy memories relived.

Marilyn

Saturday, May 15, 2010

On The Spot

Some of us get the jitters when we're on the spot, and have to speak in front of other people. Whether we're giving a presentation, talking with the boss, applying for a job, in large or even small groups, or in any situation in which we're the focus of attention, our stress level rises. Not everyone goes through this ordeal, but for the ones who do, the experience can be dread--ful. It might help to learn some ways to calm our queasy stomach and promote a more pleasant outcome.

Tomorrow I'll be giving a short presentation about my book that was recently published. This is something I really want to do, but I'm already feeling those familiar symptoms that turn pleasure into dread. So I'm practicing what I know to replace the shakes with the calm and confidence I need and want.

1. Don't get caught up in what ifs. At a time like this, we can think up all kinds of catastrophes that might happen, but probably won't. What if I can't remember everything. What if I stumble. What if I'm boring. What if I look stupid. What if. What if. Say no to the what ifs.

2. Replace the what ifs with positive statements. I may not be perfect, but I'm good, and I can do this well. I may make a few mistakes--I may not--but it isn't the end of the world, and my best will be good enough.

3.
Prepare early. Don't wait to the last minute, and then have to rush. Plan what you want to say and how you're going to say it. Write things down, edit, condense, and time yourself. Then practice from your mind and heart.

4. Once you know your script, put it aside. Then eat well, sleep well and do something fun. You've done the work. Now relax and hang onto your positive statements if you need them. I have faith in a higher Power, so I also pray. But that's up to you.

These methods may not totally eliminate stress, but they could turn an ordeal into a pleasant experience and increase confidence in other areas of your life. It's a form of personal growth. You're beautiful. Let your light shine.

I wish your voice the freedom it deserves.

Marilyn

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Loosen Up

Sometimes we forget something we really need to remember, but then comes a reminder that brings us back to where we need to be to make our life work better--to make the bumps a little easier.

In my last blog, I referred to a comment written in Chinese that I had previously received and didn't appreciate. I felt I handled it in a kind way, but my meaning was clear. Well, guess what. I received a comment (in Chinese) in response to my last post that gave me some advice I already knew, but had forgotten when I entered the post. Sound confusing? Anyway, as clearly as I could translate, it said, "Do not life too seriously, since we will not be alive." I have to interpret this to mean, "Life is short. Don't take it too seriously." I hope my interpretation is correct.

I won't apologize for my last post, because I still believe what I wrote. But I do appreciate the reminder to loosen up. There are some situations that need to be remedied, but if something just bothers you, ignore it. If it doesn't go away, get away from it. But don't take it so seriously you get bent out of shape over it. Life really is too short to waste energy when it could be put to better use.

Thank you, Chinese writer--whoever you are.

By the way, I will apologize for not writing a post last Saturday as planned. I was totally wiped out after handling a plumbing problem, and I took a nap instead. I have forgiven myself, and I'm not taking it too seriously. See? I'm growing.

I wish all of you opportunities for growth and contentment.

Marilyn

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Circle of Energy

The whole universe is energy, and our thoughts, words and actions produce energy. Sometimes we wonder why things in our life are not working as we'd like. Well, maybe we need to take a look at the kind of energy we're producing, and what kind is coming into our life. We can't avoid the negative. It's part of being in the human condition. But we have the power to accept what we want, reject what we don't want, and create our own positive energy.

Recently, some negative energy came my way, and it immediately got my attention. Once in a while I get comments on my blog written in Chinese. Yeah. Usually, they're really nice, and I enjoy reading them--after translation, of course. But the last one was a real whopper. The name of the sender was listed as ElvisS_Scholten0188 (numbers?), and the message seems to be advertising a free adult erotic sex video. Wow. I'm stunned. It appears this person's soul never elevated above reprobate. Evidently he has chosen the space in which he wants to live, and is content wallowing in his dirt. It's kind of sad. What a way to live. Anyway, I reject his energy.

The ignorant don't know they're ignorant. Maybe that's why they're ignorant.

In spite of the negative energy in the world, there is a lot of beauty too. But we need to monitor our thoughts, words and actions to see it. Sure. No one is perfect. And we can't avoid seeing decay, sadness and suffering when it comes our way. But we can turn on some good energy and bring smiles, butterflies and sunshine. What we reject or accept is our choice, and our own thoughts, words and actions can have a powerful influence on the quality of our life and the lives of others. Say no to the negative stuff, embrace the positive, and produce lots of good energy in your own world. Besides, good energy makes you healthier and happier.

I wish you peace, joy and wisdom in your world.

Marilyn




Saturday, May 1, 2010

Changing Gears

Do you ever get frustrated when something doesn't work the way it used to? It worked before. Why not now? We want everything and everyone to stay the same. It's easier that way. But we live in a changing world, and while some of the old ways are worth hanging onto, if we cling to everything from yesterday, we leave ourselves open to disappointment today.

I remember when the world was quite different from the way it is now, and I choose to keep things like honesty, integrity, helping my neighbor and taking time for the people in my life. But the world has moved me into places I didn't want to go. We're now obsessed with new and better, but sometimes new doesn't mean better. I still have the iron that my mother used when I was a child, that I used when my children were growing up, and beyond. It finally died a few years ago, and I had to give in and buy a new one. How long does an iron last today?

For years I've gone to the same department store, because I could find what I wanted for a reasonable price. Well, today I couldn't find anything I wanted. They've changed their stock and prices have increased. I was sooo frustrated, and I finally realized it's been like that for the past year. Why have I kept going back there? Did I really think they'd go back to the old way? Dumb. So now I have to move along or set myself up for another unpleasant experience.

The same theory applies as people change. We get used to the way we relate to certain people, and if they act different, we feel confused and want them the way they used to be. But we have to adjust if we want to keep them in our life.

Life's too short to spend it longing for something we no longer have. There's much joy in the present, but we have to be willing to reach out and explore new ways to function. I intend to find a new department store, and I'll buy another iron when I need one. And when something or someone else changes, I'll learn from the experience. Life is about growth, and I can't grow with my feet in mud from the last rain. The new rain always has new puddles. Might be fun to explore them.

Happy hunting

Marilyn

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How Do You Respond?

What do you do when one of those bumps in the road pops up? Not just the big ones, but the little ones too that can be so frustrating? Have you ever observed your response pattern? Recently, I got a good look at mine.

I got up Saturday morning with plans for the day. I was going to make a cottage cheese pie for my friend's birthday, and had planned to give it to her at church the next morning. Also, it was my day to enter a post on my blog, so ideas were going around in my head. Well, just after lunch, I doubled over with a severe irritable bowel episode. Haven't had pain like that in several years. Then the nausea and diarrhea started. It was so bad, I thought I'd have to die to feel better. But the real problem became my failure to follow through on my plans.

I put my blog on hold and apologized to my friend. Then for the rest of the day, I kept stewing about the situation while I moaned in pain. I thought about my Saturday blog screen being empty--nothing there. And I had made a commitment for that day--every week--forever. I had also committed to making a gift for my friend. How could I not keep my commitments? I felt guilt, remorse, regret, ain't it awful, I'm a failure, and so on. A real pity-party. And the pain got worse.

The next day my friend told me she had gone to another church and received a very timely message; Feel it to heal it. Don't stuff it down somewhere. Stay in the present, acknowledge the problem and your feelings, and allow it to move on. Most problems in life, small and large, will move on if we don't hang onto them with negative thoughts. Nothing will leave until we deal with it. Own it, feel it, then let it go.

I already knew this wonderful gem of wisdom, but I sure needed the reminder. Criticizing myself just added to the physical pain I was already experiencing. I still felt rotten the next day, but when I began the letting go process, I began to heal. Sometimes help comes in strange ways, and maybe things happen so we'll learn a lesson for the next time. I think I'll remember this one.

I wish you the wisdom to heal.

Marilyn

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Unknown

Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there. Will Rogers

Have you ever felt an urging inside pushing you to do something new? Something you've thought about, but never got around to doing? Do you ask yourself why you haven't done it? Yes, you've probably asked yourself this question, but maybe you pushed the answer down with the urge. Then you didn't have to reach out and attempt that something new. Huh. Wonder what's going on.

The urging won't leave you alone until you answer its call. So maybe it's a good idea to figure out what's holding you back. Is it a sense of guilt? I don't deserve it...that would be selfish. Or maybe it's fear. I don't know how to live that way...what if I make a mistake...maybe I'll fail and look stupid.

Fear of the unknown contributes to stagnation. The status quo is familiar. It may be miserable, but there's a sense of security in knowing how to navigate in it. If I chose a new way of doing things, I'd have to deal with unfamiliar challenges. I'd have to take full responsibility for myself. I'd feel confused and insecure. How scary is that!! Maybe It's safer to stay where I am.

A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for. William Shedd


There's a drive within us that's stronger than fear. The essence of life itself is growth, and somewhere inside we know that. But we allow the fear to override our desire to reach out to any kind of change. And this doesn't need to be major changes. Practicing small, positive changes can lead us closer to a sense of confidence, and then give us the motivation we need to tackle bigger ones.

If we're growing, we're always going to be out of our comfort zone. John Maxwell

Try a new food recipe--an easy one. Wear a color you're not used to wearing. Change the furniture around. Take a different route to work. For confidence, acknowledge what's holding you back--guilt, fear, whatever. Then make a list of your past successes, and celebrate each one.

The unknown is only unknown because you've never been there. When you go there, then it will be as familiar as where you are now. Good ideas get lost when we ignore them. Go further than the idea in your head. Take the risk and explore the unknown. Do it anyway. It might be fun to experience the plunge. Once you get your feet wet, you're fine.

The bad news is time flies. The good news is you're the pilot. Michael Althsuler

Make it happen. You should try my cottage cheese pie.

Happy exploration

Marilyn








Saturday, April 17, 2010

To Go Beyond

Living is beyond existing, and expanding one's life is beyond just living. We're all capable of more than we've accomplished in the past. We sometimes allow others opinions, our life challenges, and mistaken beliefs about ourself to convince us we've come about as far as we can go. But the will to life constantly pushes us to go further, to expand our vision and reach new heights. Think about it. Are you all that you can or want to be?

Expanding our life doesn't have to mean being rich or famous, or doing anything spectacular. It simply means learning to express who we really are and allowing the beauty within to shine in new ways in the outer.

Today I took a second look at the palm tree in my front yard, and I was amazed at what I saw. Beautiful white roses are blooming from all sides and to the top of the tree. Of course, palm trees don't produce roses, but the rose bush growing next to the palm tree does. And this one bush expanded its life, sending shoots up and out toward the sky through the palm. This is more than I've ever seen a rose bush be. It's as if it knew it could be more than it is, and it reached higher. Can't we reach higher too?

When I was working, I had a patient who lived with constant pain, and he felt as if his life was over. But he discovered that, while he couldn't bend or stoop, he could lay on the ground, rest on one arm and hand and till the soil with his other hand. To our amazement, he was able to grow a flower garden. One day, he brought me a gorgeous lily plant, and we celebrated the newness of his life. He had stopped listening to discouraging messages in his mind and expanded his vision. He discovered he wasn't his pain. He was the beautiful person inside who needed to be expressed, and he found a way to do it.

Each of us has the ability to expand and grow, and express what has not yet been revealed. Is there something you've wanted to have, do or be? Have you taken the time to search within to find more of your true self? You may be surprised at what's hidden in there. And never doubt your ability to express what you find. Know that your are more than you are now aware, and the will to life yearns to express all of you. Let it shine.

I wish you roses in your life.

Marilyn

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Will To Life

Challenges come into our lives everyday. Some we can handle quickly, some hang around and become difficult, and some are never resolved. But each one tests our ability to go beyond just existing and coping. We're meant to live life as fully as possible, and each challenge is a tool to help life become what we want it to be. How do you view the challenges in your life? Are they thorns in your side, or opportunities to rise above where you are now? Perception influences outcomes.

The whole universe moves in cycles. We see them in the change of seasons, and we see them in our own lives. But there is also a constant within every living thing--the will to life. Today, a walk around my neighborhood brought this truth to my attention. Even here in Florida, we just came through the hardest and longest winter I have ever known, but now trees, bushes and plants are pushing forth to be what they were meant to be. Bare limbs have green leaves sprouting, and bushes are full of bright red, pink and white blossoms. Color is breathtaking. It all seems to be shouting, "I'm alive." This will to life could not be stopped by the frigid cold and biting winds.

Aren't we as great as nature? We all know the challenges we face in our lives, some so severe we think we can't survive, much less live through them. But perception influences outcomes. Instead of seeing the challenge as something that can destroy you, see it as something that can strengthen you and bring you closer to what you want to be, and move through it to a better place. Usually, challenges do pass through our lives, but if it's one that doesn't, know that you can rise above it and find peace with it. The will to life is always greater than the challenge. I know, sometimes we search, but don't find it. But the search need not end in despair.

Living is beyond existing, and you may have to just exist before you can live. That's okay. But never give up. Get angry. Shake your fist and stomp your feet. Say, "This challenge will not conquer me." Grab that will to life from deep inside, and hang on until you feel the life that is you. The more you live through the small challenges, the stronger you will be in the big ones.

Life is for living. Live it in love and peace.

Marilyn

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Inner Child

Many, if not most, people today are familiar with Eric Berne's psychological theory regarding the parent, child and adult ego states, different parts of ourselves from which we function. The parent expresses our value systems, morals and beliefs, and may be critical or nurturing. The child is our feeling self. And the adult uses rational thinking and problem-solving, and tries to keep the parent and child in balance. If we become familiar with these parts of ourselves, we can work with them and create a healthier, happier life.

Years ago, my inner child was acting up a lot and created many obstacles on my path. I read Thomas Harris' book, I'm Okay, You're Okay, and found it helpful in dealing with my inner child. Sometimes she still pops up with some left over anger or sadness, but we've come a long way, and that part of me is much happier now.

Each of us was created beautiful, worthy and important, but our environment can teach us to believe otherwise, and we all carry a degree of fear, anger or unhappiness from our childhood, minor or severe. Our experiences may teach us that we're stupid, lazy, won't amount to anything, not worth much, insignificant, and that no one cares how we feel or what we have to say. No wonder we grow up feeling angry, neglected and forgotten. We may re-live our pain throughout our whole life, feeling there's no hope. But an unhappy inner child can learn to be happy.

It's never too late for that child part of you to be healed. Instead of focusing on your inner pain, start giving your inner child some opportunities to learn to feel safe, free and happy. Yes, it takes some re-learning. Talk to him/her as the nurturing parent you may never have had. Verbally express your unconditional love, acceptance, approval and protection. Say these things often, routinely. And hug yourself while you're gently talking.

Go outside in a pleasant area, take some happy music with you and dance around singing. Throw a ball into the air and laugh when you catch it. Roll around on the grass, then lay quietly while you look up creating different happy images from the clouds. And say your prayers with this hurting part of yourself. Do anything you would have enjoyed when you were growing up, and let your inner child feel joy and freedom. And pay no attention if passersby stare at these childish antics. If you do these things often enough, your inner child will begin to trust again and find the safety and happiness that was missed in the past. Do these things and don't give up. There is never failure with love.

I wish you love for your beautiful self.

Marilyn

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tribute To Sunny

Yesterday Sunny passed away. He was only a dog, but very special. So today I want to share a story I wrote a few years ago, but they're Sunny's words. This blog is longer than the ones I usually write, but if you've ever lost a pet you loved very much, or not, maybe you'd like to read Sunny's story, A Canine Memoir.

My name is Sunny, and I'm ten years old. I was adopted when I was young. People say I'm a dog, but I don't buy that. When I try to join my family, Lee and Ginny, at the dinner table, they give me a stern look. "Sunny, you're a dog," Ginny says, pointing to a corner in the kitchen. "You have a nice bowl there on the floor where I put fresh food and water for you every day." So that's supposed to convince me?

While they're eating, I rest my chin on the table and look at them with my sad, brown eyes. I think they feel sorry for me, because they give me a piece of food and a peanut butter cookie for dessert. I love peanut butter, and I refuse to take my medicine unless they wrap it in peanut butter. I don't think dogs are smart enough to pull that one off.

I have long blonde hair, not very masculine for a boy, but I think my color is why they call me a Golden Retriever. I slobber a lot. I can't help it though. It's just my nature. They get annoyed with me when I demand attention, but it gets lonely being an only child. When company comes, I get my bone from my toy box and take it to the guests. They seem to like that, and they pet me until Lee tells me to leave people alone. You'd think they'd be glad to have me there, at least as an interesting topic of conversation.

Lee and Ginny have strict house rules. I can't go outside the fenced-in back yard, and I'm not allowed upstairs, especially at bed time. But when Lee's sister, Nonnie, dog-sits...ugh, I hate that word...she lets me sleep by her bed. Then I don't have to be downstairs alone in the dark. What if a burglar broke in? I like to see Nonnie come over, but I'm always glad when she leaves, because they let me go out front while they say goodbye. That's where I find the best smells. Usually when I'm taking a nap, they get me up and put me outside to water the bushes. They don't need to tell me. I know when I have to go. I'm not dumb.

I guess I shouldn't complain about my family. They take good care of me. Ginny brushes me and puts medicine on my skin bumps. The Vet says the bumps are old age, but I resent that, because who wants to be called old? Ginny and Lee throw the ball in the back yard, and let me chase it. I used to wear them out with the game, but now twice around the yard, and I'm pooped...but I'm not old. They let me chase squirrels and lizards, because they know I'm kind and wouldn't hurt 'em. They also let me drink water from the kitchen faucet. I don't like it though when they wipe my mouth with paper towels so I don't drip water on the floor. One of my favorite things to do is in the evening when I get my bone and we all go down into the den and watch TV together. They don't ask me what I want to watch, but I like their shows just fine. Ginny usually hangs her arm over the edge of the sofa, and rubs my back. Yep, I know they love me.

A few months ago some people brought Mazie over to meet me. They said she's a Golden Retriever like me. At first she wasn't friendly...kind of snooty. She put her tail and ears up, and pranced around the yard with her nose in the air. Huh. Well, I'm a patient guy, so I just waited, and pretty soon, she came around. I ended up liking her. Now Lee and Ginny tell me she's coming back soon, and they're prepping me to become a father. I'm not sure what that means. They say it's something good, and I'll like it. But it seems to me father's have a lot of responsibility, and I don't think I want any part of that. I have enough trouble keeping up with my own bones.

When I think about my life, I guess I've got it pretty good. In fact, some of the stories I hear from down the street make me happy I'm blessed with the family I have. They're realy good people. They can't help it if they don't know I'm one of 'em.

We'll miss you, Sunny. Wait by the bridge, and someday we'll join you and walk across together.

Marilyn (Aunt Nonnie)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Difficult Ones

We're all involved in relationships, and no two are alike. The easy ones bring us joy and comfort. The impossible ones may stay for awhile, 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.

Usually we choose to keep the easy relationships and release the impossible ones. But how about the difficult ones that you want to keep, but dealing with them is such a struggle? maybe those are the ones to focus on, because those may be the ones you will learn and grow with the most.

There are two approaches with difficult people that have worked well for me.

1. In order to keep a difficult relationship, you may have to alter your expectations to avoid disappointment. Everyone has things they can give to others and things they can't give. 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. Learn what the other person has to give, and don't expect something else from them. If you need understanding, go to someone who can be understanding. (You don't go to a hardware store for bread) And forgive them for what they can't give.

2. You may also have to change 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 thin ice. Avoid areas in which they become defensive. A person you care a lot about may have inner fears or insecurities that cause troublesome behavior. Maybe it's fear of losing control, losing position, revealing their weaknesses, or some other hidden fear. We all try to protect ourselves in some way. Try to understand where they're coming from, and help them feel safe with you.

I know all this seems like a lot of work, but you may find this is one of your best relationships and well worth your time and effort. You may wonder why you should have to do all the work. Well, you shouldn't, but you can't change another person. You can only change yourself. Eventually, the other person may change too as a result of your new approach, but if not, and you can't live with it, then you can think about letting go.

Above all, always approach every relationship with love and as much understanding as you can muster. Everything in the universe is energy, and love is the most healing energy there is. You put it out, and it's bound to come back from somewhere.

Love energy to everyone.

Marilyn

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Who's There? And Why?

Relationships are a vital part of our life and come in various forms. There's not much work involved with the easy ones. They help us through the bumps and put a smile on our face. The difficult ones put bumps in our way and make us work for the smiles. And the impossible ones bring us to terms with what we want and don't want.

We usually move through life with all kinds of people. It's not our nature to live without them. We know how we feel with each person, and we don't question why or what's going on inside of us, but they're reflections of our self and opportunities to learn who we are. Some are temporary. Some are forever. But each one is there for a purpose--a blessing and/or a lesson.

One time I had an impossible supervisor. I tried everything to get along, sincerely put my heart into it, but nothing changed, and my life was miserable. I was just about ready to change jobs when I received a wonderful job offer that took me out of the situation. As I looked back, I realized I had learned a lot from this experience. My supervisor was one of those impossible people who was in my life to help me learn and grow, and I was there until our relationship had served its purpose.

Do you ever take the time to look at the relationships in your life? Are you grateful for those easy ones? How much work are you willing to put into improving the difficult ones? And do you really need to keep the impossible ones? We have the power to choose who we want in our life and what we do with them once they're there. So it might be wise to look around and decide which ones are worth some work and which ones no longer serve the highest good in either person and can be released.

Look for the good in your relationships, and you'll find it, even those impossible ones that you eventually release from your life. Everyone is there for a purpose, and each one is valuable.

Next time I'll write about some ways to work with the difficult ones. You'd like to keep some of those, wouldn't you?

I wish you happy times with all those valuable people in your life.

Marilyn