Friday, December 27, 2013

Candy For The New Year

It was a beautiful holiday season for me. Friends, family, and candle light Christmas Eve service at my church. I haven't made my peanut butter candy in several years, so decided to do that this year. I made 3 1/2 batches and distributed as gifts. Didn't get to my writing group, because I didn't have all the ingredients when we met, but will plan better next year. The candy is delicious, and easy to make. Only 4 ingredients. If anyone is interested in trying it, here's the recipe. One batch makes about 55 candies, and will freeze well for future use.

1 Cup light Karo syrup
1 Cup sugar
2 Cups crunchy peanut butter
4 Cups Special K cereal.  (Or any kind of gluten free cereal flakes)
Hershey's milk chocolate kisses

Peel Hershey's kisses and set aside.
Have all ingredients measured out and ready to use. You need to work fast.
Lay out wax paper or parchment paper to drop candy on.

Mix syrup and sugar in large pan, and bring to a boil. Don't cook it. Just to a boil.
Cut the fire out, and quickly add peanut butter. Mix until smooth.
Add cereal and blend well.
Drop by tablespoons onto wax or parchment paper. Work quickly so mixture stays warm.
When you drop 5 candies, press a Hershey's kiss on each one. Then do 5 more, and so on.

Enjoy the candy, and keep the holiday spirit all year.

I wish you a wonderful new year filled with many blessings.

Marilyn

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Blessings Can Come Anytime, Anywhere

Blessed are those whose hearts are filled with the warmth of love from another.
Truth Devour,  Unrequited 


Yesterday I attended my writing group's Christmas brunch. Several of our members were out of town and couldn't attend, but six of us were there, plus the group leader's daughter and two grandchildren as guests. The group meets like this every year, but today was special for me, and I received a blessing I will always carry with me. Sometimes blessings come in unexpected ways.

As I looked around the table at each person, I became aware of our similarities, our differences, and what we give to each other, those attributes that make each of us special. I heard the unique voices that come through in our writing. I remembered the wisdom and encouragement we offer when critiquing each other's written work. I thought about all the times we offer to  help each other in difficult situations. I felt the caring and compassion we express when one of us is dealing with a life problem. I felt the love we have for each other. And I felt blessed.

I  also watched these beautiful children, a new baby and his older sister, a toddler. And I saw the special love the mother and grandmother have for them. The baby yawned, wiggled, and enjoyed being cuddled. His sister is one of the happiest, most expressive children I have ever seen. She laughed, clapped her hands, and responded to everything and everyone with wonder and excitement. An absolute joy filled with innocence and gratitude for every moment of life. I felt their presence in my heart. And I felt blessed.

After our meal, we each expressed in one word what we want in our life in the coming year. No one mentioned any material possessions. We asked for things like peace, joy, serenity, tranquility, and wonderment. Then we realized that when we have these within us, we have the strength we need to cope when painful situations arise. With these we have everything. And I felt blessed.

Yes, blessings can come anytime, anywhere. You can be a blessing to others, and when you open your heart to receive, you will find yours.

I wish you a blessed life.

Marilyn
 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Lesson In Survival

There's an old tree in my back yard, and sometimes I look at that old tree and think about all it's been through. And still it survives. It lives in Florida, so it has escaped the snow. But it's held its own in droughts, wild rain storms, hurricanes, heat, cold, and whatever else was thrown at it. And isn't that the way we live our lives? One thing after another to bring us down. But most of us do survive, one way or another.

When something in life knocks us to the ground, it takes some thoughtful awareness to get us back up. And that old tree has become my inspiration. Nature has a knowing that we may have had many years ago, but in our 'human progress' we have forgotten. I don't know what that tree knows that I don't, but I'm happy to give it the power to inspire me to survival. That old tree is full of survival stories, and maybe in it's winters, it knows enough to believe that spring will come. And it always does.

When I need to survive, I look at that tree and read the following poem. Maybe you can see the spring coming too.


I Love A Tree
Author Unknown

I love a tree!
A brave upstanding tree!
When I am wearied in the strife,
Beaten by storms and bruised by life,
I look up at a tree, and it refreshes me.

If it can keep its head held high,
And look the storms straight in the eye,
Ready to stand, ready to die,
Then by the Grace of God can I.
At least with Heaven's help I'll try.
I love a tree, for it refreshes me.

I love a tree!
When it seems dead,
It's leaves all shorn, and bared its head,
When winter flings its cold and snow,
It stands there undismayed by woe.
It stands waiting for the spring.
A tree is such a believing thing.
I love a tree, for it refreshes me.


I wish you many spring days in your life.

Marilyn

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Remember When

My old computer died, and I got a new one--one of those new and better things. But it's a nightmare. It fits well in today's world, complex and complicated, but I've wrestled with it for a week, and I've decided we will never have a working relationship. I've heard we're supposed to let go of the past and live in the present, and I do try to do that. But a high stress experience like this forces my mind to remember when Grandma learned to thread her new sewing machine, and Grandpa learned to work his new lawn mower. And there was time to smile at a stranger and hug the people you loved. Nothing complicated about that. 

I remember when life was more simple, and sometimes I long for the time when I could sit on my porch, clip my toe nails in the sunshine, whistle with the birds, and write stories on my old typewriter. It didn't take seven steps to open a box of cracker jacks, and there was always a prize in the bottom of the box. When my kids were growing up, I worked full time, and still fixed dinner from scratch when I got home, while my kids were running around outside being healthy. I didn't need to run to my computer and go through umpteen steps to check my email and then open Handy Dandy Dinners for supper.

I moved around a lot when I was a child, so I lived in small towns and big cities. And I don't remember everyone you knew having some kind of medical problem requiring daily medication. We all got a dose of castor oil in the spring, and we were ready to go for the summer. If you got a cough, you got Vicks Vaporub on your chest, and you were good as new in a few days. When someone did get sick, it was usually something pretty serious, but rare. And you didn't suffer alone. People were not too busy to stop by and help or let you know they cared. Busy world we live in now.

Oh, I'm not against computers. The one that just died was 10 years old, and I had many happy hours with it. But I didn't have to jump through hoops and sing Yankee Doodle Dandy to know how to use it. I just think that as time passes, there are more and more sadistic people inventing ways to torture us while they sit around gleefully grinning over their handy work. No, I like computers. And I'm not too dumb to navigate around one. I just don't see why everyone, everyone, has to conform to the whims of mad people without a choice for our own personal use. There are those who say that people like me should just keep up with the times and learn those complex, complicated machines. Well, why? There must be a way for those of us who want a simple life to have our computers simple.

If anyone has a solution, please let me know. And I wish you choices in your life.

Marilyn

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Power of a Grateful Heart

This is the time of year when we hear a lot about being grateful. And some people say they're really sick of hearing it. Yadda, yadda. Okay. We do get bombarded with it every year at turkey time. But maybe we need reminding. I know I do. Sometimes it's not easy to look around and see something we're grateful for. And sometimes we just forget to say thank you. But there's power in a grateful heart. Lots of power.

Everything in the universe is energy, and when you express gratitude, something good happens. The energy within you changes at a cell level and attracts like (good) energy. A grateful heart has the power to bring more peace into your life. That's a universal law. And it will work for you if you create peace in your heart through gratitude. 

There are many people today who are lonely, don't have money to pay bills, much less buy food, or they've lost a loved one, or they're dealing with a health challenge and feel like crap, or a relationship has fallen apart. Life's not a continuous merry-go-round, and we all run into hurtful stuff. But a grateful heart can make it not hurt so much. And there's a way to bring peace into your heart to help you get through painful times.

1.  Close your eyes and sit quietly with a paper and pen. Take some deep breaths, and ask for inner   guidance. That's where your answers are, hidden inside.
2.  Be patient, and allow some of the good things in your life to come into your awareness. Yes, there are some, if only small things. Picture them in your mind.
3.  As you think of something, write it down. Then return to your quiet state, and allow more to come. Start with just a few things.
4.  Now on another sheet of paper write, "I am grateful for ________." And do this with each good thing.
5.  Now read your list of affirmations out loud with a firm, confident voice. And add, "Thank you, Universe, for all of my good." Repeat this several times a day, and feel the gratitude coming from your heart area. Allow yourself to really "feel" it.
6.  If more good comes to mind, add it to what you already have.

Yes, I know that when you go through a painful time, it can be so exhausting you might feel there's nothing left to get you out of the pit. But as you go through each day practice saying thank you for what you take for granted, like hot water for a shower, a pillow for your head, a call from a friend, etc. Allow the power of a grateful heart to lighten your burdens. They don't have to be so heavy.

I wish you many blessings.

Marilyn

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Resistance Breeds Persistence

How often does a problem in your life seem to hang around forever? 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. You stew and fret about it. But it doesn't budge. The more your push, the bigger it gets. So what's going on?

Cause of persistence: Resistance breeds persistence. 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. When we focus on a problem and resist its presence, this energy draws it to us. And this increases its  power over us. Resisting is like pouring coal into a furnace instead of allowing the fire to die out.

Solution: When a problem enters your life, of course it needs attention. We can't usually ignore it. But pushing against it doesn't work. Stop obsessing and trying to push it away with your thoughts. Let it be, and accept its presence while you're doing what 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 personal growth. It's there to teach you, and it won't leave until you've learned, sometimes only on a subconscious level. Maybe the lesson is to simply learn how to peacefully resolve problems.

Our journey is a series of glider rides and 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

Friday, November 15, 2013

When To Say No

Sometimes it's hard to say no. Some people never learn to say it, and they keep ending up in situations they don't want to be in. Then others say no most of the time. How is it with you? Do you feel uncomfortable when you say no to someone or a situation? If so, have you ever wondered why?

Discomfort in saying no denotes a fear of something--maybe fear of offending another person; fear of appearing uncooperative or selfish; fear of criticism; fear of not being accepted; etc. But whatever the individual reason, fear of saying no can rob you of functioning as your authentic self. And that can be like a self-imposed prison.

It took me a long time to learn that it's okay to say no when that's really how I feel. As a child I was taught to be nice and agreeable with a "yes, ma'am", no matter how I felt. What a rip off. I couldn't be me. Well, after years of repressing my true feelings, I began practicing no sometimes, and it felt really good. I'm still not 100% cured, but there's still time, and I'm getting better at it.

Last year I had the no thing brought to my attention from a stray cat who showed up on my patio one day and said he wanted to stay. And he's still here. I don't know what kind he is, but very sweet and gentle. Every time I come home and get out of my car, he's there rubbing up against me and meowing a warm greeting. However, he knows very well how to say no. He's not a big cat, but his name is Big Boy because of this ability.

Well, one night from loud barks on the front porch, I knew a dog was after Big Boy. By the time I got the door open, I realized Big Boy had tried to retreat over the back fence, but didn't make it. And the two of them were outside head to head. Big Boy was marching toward this huge dog on his hind legs fearlessly boxing with his front paws and saying, "No, you will not eat me for dinner tonight." The dog was slowly retreating backwards, step by step, and then took off down the road. For Big Boy, that deserved a treat and a big hug. His little heart was beating fast, but he said no and stood his ground.

We humans could take a lesson from this gentle cat. Watching him in action reinforced my belief that even a mild mannered, gentle person has a right to say no when that's how they feel. Not only in crises, but whenever. So you don't need to be in danger to exercise your right to be who you are. If you feel uncomfortable saying no when that's what you want to say, then practice saying it anyway. It will become easier, and you'll feel a lot better being you.

I wish you peaceful no's

Marilyn

Friday, November 8, 2013

New Beginnings

Do you ever feel like you're in a rut and you can't get out? Something in your life that's not working for you, or is working against you? Me too, sometimes. But I've learned the only way to get out of a rut is to get out of it. Duh! And the best way to do that is to create a new beginning. Start over.

A rut involves a physical, mental or emotional situation--or all three. A marriage, a job, money, health, home, a relationship, mental worry, turmoil, anxiety, depression, anger. Whatever. And you want to be free. Sometimes you can't change a situation, but a new beginning can get you out of where you are.

When we enter the world we begin a lifetime of new experiences, and life demands that we make new beginnings along the way--sometimes to escape a hurtful situation and other times to improve on good things we already have. Either way, successful change takes clarity, motivation, action and letting go.

Nothing is predestined. The obstacles of your past can become the gateways that lead to new beginnings.  Ralph Blum

Clarity: First, describe your situation on paper. Then be still and quiet your mind. Ask your inner self what's really going on with you. What meaning does the situation have in your life? What is there about it that makes you want to create a new direction?

Motivation: Why do you want a change, a new beginning? Visualize what you want in place of what you have. What would that be like, physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually? Explore and "feel" the difference. Express your intention, and decide that what you want is important enough to leave what you don't want.

Action: Make a plan for change, and put it on paper. List your action steps to leave the old and create the new. Be creative. It could be as simple as changing your thought patterns.

Release the old: Visualize a large balloon sitting in front of you. Give it a color. Now visualize what you want to release from your life--situation, thoughts, emotions. Wrap what you want to release in a bundle and tell them goodbye. Then put them in the balloon, seal the balloon, and give the balloon a nudge. As you see it rising up in the air into the sky, release it with love and gratitude.

Sometimes new beginnings are difficult. You may mourn what you're releasing, and things may not turn out as you hoped. But life doesn't stand still, and the only direction worth traveling is forward. If there are bumps on the road, you deal with those as you meet them and grow with each one. Life can always be better than it is. Go for it.

I wish you a happy new day every day.

Marilyn

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Forgive The Regret And Move On

Do you ever look back on your life and wish you hadn't done something you did, or wish you had done something you failed to do? I think we've all been there. Mistakes and regrets. And you may live your whole life agonizing about how different life would be had you made wiser choices in the past. But every decision you've made was based upon your knowledge at the time, and maybe the path you took was necessary to move you to creating something better.

Until age 47, my life was a series of mistakes. Broken marriages, a nomad life, work I hated, wandering through the years with no place to go. Then my mistakes pushed me into being so fed up, there was nothing I could do but find a different path for survival. So I quit waitress work and went back to school, earning two degrees in Clinical Social Work and Psychotherapy. Every time I felt like giving up, memories of my past mistakes kept me going. And my life changed. I still made mistakes, but I didn't allow them to put me back in the pit of despair. Now when I look at my past, I'm grateful for those early years I discounted as worthless.

For the most part, you create the quality of your life, but your mistakes don't need to dictate how you will live. Everyone makes poor choices at some time or another, but what you do with them is important to your future. And getting stuck in regret, self-criticism or blame can sabotage where you want to go now. So one of the most important choices you can make is what to do with your mistakes.

You can harbor mistakes with regret and stumble over them through life, or you can deicde to let them go and forgive yourself for being imperfect. By the way, in my whole life I've never known a perfect person. But I have known some pretty great imperfect people. So you don't need to keep beating yourself over the head and getting into "what if" because you stumbled in the past.

Look inside and see what's in there. Any guilt or self-condemning thoughts? Talk to them. Tell them you've had enough, and you're telling them goodbye. And forgive that inner child part of you that's been suffering for too long. Give her/him a hug surrounded with loads of love and approval. And when you make your next mistake--and you will--do the same with that mistake and all the others that follow. You deserve a life free of regret.

I wish you peace with your past.

Marilyn


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Break Ups

We usually think of a break up as with that special someone in our life. But a break up can also be with any person, a situation or even a place--a good friend, family, an organization, the place where you live. A break up means leaving someone or something you're attached to. And that can be painful, or not. But it does mean facing change and making adjustments. Some break ups are what we want and we initiate them, but some are out of our control. And we don't always react to all of them in the same way.

When I got my first divorce, I was surprised by my reaction. I wanted out of the marriage and I initiated the break up, but when I got the final papers, I didn't feel happy like I thought I would. I remember sinking down on the floor in the hallway, leaning against the wall and crying buckets. I was sure I had done the right thing. It was what I wanted. But I felt a deep sense of loss and failure. I'd done all I could to make things work, but it seemed so sad for a family to break up. It took a while to face a new life.

Then years later I was living in Las Vegas, and had to make a move I hadn't anticipated. I was working in the Mental Health Center in my first job as a Therapist. I loved my work, had close friends, and I was very happy where I was. But my mother who lived in another state had a stroke, and I quit my job to move near her and help my brothers care for her. This was a real break up for me, one I would not have made had it not been for the situation. I didn't cry when I left Las Vegas, but I will always miss it. And I'm glad I was there for my mother the last years of her life.

Everyone goes through break ups at some time in their life. It's part of the journey. Some are good and bring happiness. Some are painful and bring a need to heal and adjust. But I think we grow and change a little, or a lot, after each one. Hopefully they make us stronger and better able to face the next one. When you face a painful break up and you have to leave someone or something in your life, do what you can to heal your wounds, and know you can make it. You've made it this far, haven't you? You're probably stronger than you think, and you can make it this time too.

I wish you healing and peace when you need it.

Marilyn

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Taking a Break

I'm taking a break this week, and will be back next week. Meet those bumps in the road, and make your journey a happy one.

I wish you a week of happy surprises. :)

Later

Marilyn

Thursday, October 10, 2013

What Is Your Gift?

Everyone is gifted, but some people never open their package.  Unknown

When we were created, each of us was given a gift--something we could express in our life. You may not even realize you have a gift, but you do. And you may or may not be using it. I think gifts are sometimes overlooked, because we believe they need to be something that really stands out, or they don't count. But they come in all sizes, shapes and qualities etc. from small everyday expressions to, yes, something we term as spectacular, such as the number one song on the list or a best selling novel. Yours may not be one of those, but it is spectacular.

There are all kinds of gifts. Some people are fixers, some are good listeners, some are good leaders, some are gifted with empathy and compassion. When I was a child, we had a neighbor who repaired children's bicycles, so they could ride again. Another woman shared her homemade cookies with the children. And I know a woman who is wheelchair bound with MS, and she waves and smiles at everyone, even strangers. I've seen her change gloomy faces to happy ones with her smiles. Now, that's a gift, and she doesn't even see it as that. It's just what she does.

Gifts are something we feel inside, and they express through us. And for each of us, our gift is unique to us. There is no one else like you, and what you have to give is like no other. When we read different people's writing, we hear their unique voice expressing. That's why we're drawn to certain writers. We hear their unique gift. Or we like music by certain musicians for the same reason. And I've never seen a smile exactly like the one the woman expresses from her wheelchair.

The greatest gift is a portion of thyself.  Ralph Waldo Emerson

What is your gift? If you're not aware of one, start noticing what you do well, or little things you do that might be pleasing to someone else, or your habits and what you do without thinking about it. Look inside and ask your inner Voice to show you what you've been given and to guide you in using it. Gifts are meant to be shared, and when you share it, it not only brings pleasure to someone else, you'll feel a sense of pleasure in your heart too. That's the beauty of using your gift. Everyone receives a blessing.

You're more beautiful than you know. Let your life express your gift.

I wish you many blessings.

Marilyn

Thursday, October 3, 2013

How Do You Perceive Your Suffering?

Those who have a "why" to live, can bear with almost any "how."  Friedrich Nietsche

Life is a mixture of happy times and challenges that test our endurance, and each of us experiences life in different ways. But when those tough times come, we all know what it feels like to want the pain to stop. It may be physical, mental or emotional, or all three, and how we perceive our suffering can influence our degree of pain. Sometimes that perception leads us to more pain and our inability to deal with it. When we allow our suffering to become who we are, our true Self gets lost, and our suffering is all there is. But there are ways to change our perceptions. 

For many years I saw my struggle with depression as a curse from which I would never recover. I vacillated between happy times with my children, and temper tantrums filled with regret for stupid decisions that led down the same dark tunnels with no way out. But when two years of intensive therapy lifted me out of my emotional prison and led to a fulfilling career as a Mental Health Therapist, I perceived that my years of suffering led to renewed purpose in my life and provided insight into the lives of my suffering patients. And I understood their pain.

I remember one patient who lived with chronic back pain. His life was falling apart, and he saw no meaning in anything. Then he discovered, through therapy, that while he couldn't stoop or bend, he could lay on the ground, dig with one hand, and grow a flower garden. He still lived with the pain, but by creating something of value his perception of his suffering changed. And I saw joy in his face when he brought me a beautiful lily plant he had grown.

In both of our situations, we released the creative force within us that brought new perceptions and thus new ways to deal with suffering. We both experienced therapy, but that's not always necessary. When you go through any painful time, know that suffering is what you're dealing with. It is not who you are. Use whatever means you can to create something meaningful in your life, and change your perception of your suffering and your Self. With me, it's my writing. I find my Self in my writing, and pain is easier to bear.

Every day acknowledge your Self as the beautiful creation you are. You're here to create and express the essence of your Self. Not your pain. You have the ability to rise above any situation, and your light can reduce any darkness you face. And you can find peace.

I wish you much joy in your life.

Marilyn

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Does Your Life Have Meaning?

          
Those who have a "why" to live, can bear with almost any "how".  Friedrich Nietsche

We long to understand the world we live in. So we assign meaning to people, situations and conditions in our life so they make sense and we can relate to them. But there's another world inside--the place where we put meaning, or lack of meaning, on our own life as a person. Some people are very aware of meaning in their life, while others still search for reasons to even get up in the morning.

You may ask yourself: Does my life count for anything? Do I matter? Am I of any importance in the world? Would I be missed if I disappeared? You may believe you don't matter because you haven't done anything that you believe merits greatness. Or you may focus on your failures rather than your successes, and the picture looks grey. But take another look at your life--how you express in your work, with family and friends, with strangers, with things you love to do, in your spiritual life. Only you can be you, and that in itself has meaning.

Whether you know it or not, you've touched lives. You have come through your own suffering, and no one else could have carried your load. It was yours. And there is meaning even in the suffering. Your life cannot be repeated or replaced. You cannot be replaced.

Each flower petal, each cloud in the sky, and each drop of water is unique unto itself, a Divine creation with its own mission to express its Self. This has meaning, and as with your life, this meaning is unconditional, unqualified, absolute. You are beautiful, and the world needs you. Express in your own unique way, and know in your heart, you have your own unique meaning in this world. 

I wish you love and peace as you express your meaningful Self.

Marilyn

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Lesson In Trust

This week I experienced a good lesson in trust. That's what you need when your plate gets loaded, stress builds, all you can see is the problem, and you forget all those coping methods you know so well. It's immobilizing, and you feel alone and helpless. That's how I felt last week, so I reached out for help. I don't need any long term help for depression, but I needed understanding, compassion, and support to help me reduce stress, see clearly, and get through a temporary dilemma. Everyone goes through times like this, and this was one of my times. Several people responded, and their love and support helped me remember what I had forgotten to remember. To trust myself and the Voice inside that never fails me.

Later I spoke with a woman at my church and told her I was affirming that all is in Divine Order, and I'm working on trust. She smiled and said she had just received an article on trust and would send me a copy. The article was exactly what I needed, and it brought me to a place of peace and confidence while I work on resolving the problems. How's that for an answer to my plea for help.

My computer has totally died, and I'm working on a laptop that should have been trashed long ago. I haven't driven my car in 10 days. It's still in the shop getting a new head gasket. My new illness isn't life threatening, and I'm treating it. So I'm not done yet, but all is moving along.

The first step in problem solving has nothing to do with the problem itself. It's your own mental and emotional state about the problem. So trust may be a lesson I'll keep learning until I stop forgetting and finally remember to ask my inner Voice what I need to get me back on a peaceful path.Then once I'm on that path with trust, I can move through the problem with clarity, ease, and gratitude for a smoother journey.

So when problems jump up at you, and you feel that first jolt of panic, take a few deep breaths and remember to trust. You've probably been through thousands of crises in your life, as I have, and you're still here, still capable to doing what you need to do. And somehow the resources you need will come. Reach out to others for the love and support you need, and know you can trust yourself and your inner Voice. And like me, keep doing it until you've got it.

I wish you and me smooth sailing in the future.

Marilyn

Friday, September 13, 2013

Help

Hello. I'm a little late this week because the Make Her Miserable Fairy has pushed me in a hole, and I'm trying to climb out. Usually, I write messages hoping to help others get through those bumps in life. But now I need help.

First my computer died, and won't boot back up. I'm now on an old ancient laptop with small writing I can hardly read, and the cursor keeps running away and gets lost somewhere in space. When it returns, I chase it, but it doesn't want to get caught. I don't have access to my Me And Granmama in the Hill Country book which I just finished and was editing (hope I haven't lost it). Or an essay I was also editing to submit for publication. Don't have my word processor and can't copy anyway.

Then had to have my car towed in to the mechanic who now says I need a head gasket, and I'd be without my car for a week. The cost to fix it amounts to more than my monthly income. I just had a birthday, and now I'm too old to walk to the bus stop. Couldn't make it.

Oh, I forgot. A new illness has just been added to the already long list of maladies I deal with everyday. Now I have to figure out how to find time for that one too. I've tried to find some new parts to replace the old worn out ones, but was told they're out of stock on the ones I need. Wish I could just order a whole new model, but I think God quit when he made this one.

Anyway, I need some feedback with ideas about how to respond to my latest strength testers. I'm probably in a transition tunnel, and eventually everything will get fixed. I'll get through it, but now I need some help responding to all of it to maintain my sanity. Should I use creative resourcefulness, use my trusty stress manual, scream, take a sleeping pill, count my blessings, go dance out in the back yard, pray, or just pack a bag and run away from home?

I don't know if anyone ever reads this blog, because I almost never get any comments, except for a kind friend sometimes that I really appreciate. But if someone is reading this and can find some compassion for this writer, please help me out with some comments. And if you need any help with anything, please let me know what you need. Unless I'm bombarded with too much at one time, like now, I can be a pretty good helper. And I do care about you. 

Thank you, thank you.

Marilyn 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Is It Stupidity or a Cluttered Mind?

I Can't believe I did that.
Do you ever do dumb things--of course you do--and then wonder if you're stupid? When I do dumb things, I feel stupid. But then I have to question if that's really true. If it is, then we live in a world of totally stupid people, because everybody goofs up sometimes. So I wonder what's going on with us.

I do okay, but there are times when I wonder where my brain went. Usually every other day I cook enough food for 2 days suppers. Then I get days off from cooking. Well, one time I searched in the fridge for my second meal, and it wasn't there. Then I wondered if I forgot I ate it. Later I found it in the cupboard behind the paper towels. No memory of how it got there. Another time I found myself driving around a cemetery trying to find my way out, and the last thing I remembered was 3 miles back. Hmm.

And recently my friend was browning some meat in a skillet, and it needed more oil. So she got some milk out of the fridge and poured it in the pan. As soon as it bubbled up, she realized what she'd done, and felt like her mind took a vacation. We laugh now, but we had to question why we do these things. Well, we decided it's because we don't stay in the present. Our minds wander, and we don't know it.

Years ago, some people called my mother a ding-a-ling, but she certainly was not a ding-a-ling. She was plenty smart, but she had umpteen things going on in her mind at one time, and wasn't always present. Isn't that what we all do? Multi-tasking has become the norm, and we live with cluttered minds that lead us to those stupidity moments.

It's easy to get pulled away without knowing it until we encounter our latest stupid action. So lately, I've been working on staying more focused on what I'm doing. I've also found making lists helps. Today I had about 7 important things to do, so I wrote all of them down, dealt with one at a time, then crossed each one off as I completed it. And as far as I know now, I've had a stupidity free day. Of course, our stupidity can catch up with us later on, so I'll wait and see if anything from today catches up with me later.

I know some smart people who criticize and call themselves names when they do those dumb things. But that's not fair. So we need to reassure ourselves that just because we sometimes do stupid things, it doesn't mean we've lost our marbles. Be kind to you, and give yourself some slack. Your brain is fine, and so are you. And so am I.

Keep smiling. It contributes to sanity.

Marilyn

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Life Lesson From The Critters

Listen to the voice of nature, for it holds treasures for you.  Native American Proverb

Yesterday I sat outside on my patio communicating with the birds as I often do. Neither of us knows what the other is saying, but I think we both enjoy the conversations anyway. Then I noticed other critters enjoying the yard. A couple of squirrels looking for food, several lizards scrambling up and down the bushes, and spiders busy inspecting their webs. Usually the cats are quite interested in this daily circus, but right then they were more interested in their morning naps. So I just enjoyed the show. And I smiled at how all of these critters seem to know what they're doing, and unconcerned about how they do it or worried about the outcome. I think we humans could take a lesson from them.

Man is the only critter who feels the need to label things as flowers or weeds.  Will Rogers 

     The Critters
When the rain has come and gone, and earth smells clean again,
I watch the critters creeping out, new journeys to begin.
A spider weaving in and out. A baby lizard sleek and green.
A squirrel to check on friends, and an earthworm joins the scene.

They have no thought of what's ahead, or plans for what they'll do.
They just enjoy the moment now to start their day anew.
Do you think they have a knowing we wish more clear to us?
That God has made their way for them, without the need to fuss?

Perhaps we need a lesson
From those we often see,
Who have a greater faith
Than folks like you and me.

A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.  Chinese Proverb

What is your song? How do you live your life? Is it your habit to worry and fret, or do you know that most of the time everything turns out okay? And when it doesn't, you have the wisdom and strength to cope and get through it? You've probably been through a lot in your life, but you still face each day with the power to choose. Let's turn our worrying and fretting into just being and singing our own special song of who we are. Watch the critters, and they'll show you how to do that.

I wish you critters in your life.

Marilyn





Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Gift of Family

I just returned from a trip to Dallas for my granddaughter's wedding and to see my other granddaughter's baby for the first time. One just married and off in a new life, and another just beginning. Spending time with the whole family was a special experience. Times like this remind me how important families are. Sometimes we tend to take the people in our lives for granted, and rarely think about how important they are. But they're vital to our well-being.

This trip also reminded me of what family really means. It's our biological relationships, but it also goes beyond what we're born into. Some people come into our life temporarily, while others stay as family. That feeling of closeness is inside, and it tells us they mean something special to us.

I'm close to my church family where I get hugs, exchange ideas, and express love. And I have several friends who feel like sisters and brothers to me. Some live in other states, and I don't see them often, but they're always with me as family. I have one friend I've seen only four times in twenty-eight years, but we communicate often. All of these people give my life meaning and purpose.

But family in any capacity isn't always easy. Some rub us the wrong way, and we find them hard to get along with. We all have them, but they're also important in our life. The easy ones bring joy, but the difficult ones provide situations we need to deal with that push us forward in our personal growth. I call these opportunities, well worth our time and attention to find common ground.

No two people are alike, so we can't relate to everyone in the same way. Each of us has a gift, something in our personality we do well. There are fixers, care-givers, listeners, nurturers, vessels of information, mediators, humorous ones, and the list goes on. It's wise and helpful to learn each person's gift, and relate appropriately. This kind of exchange can be more harmonious than butting heads when you go to a fixer for emotional support and feel disappointed when you don't get it. And you don't have to agree on everything to be close to someone. I avoid certain subjects when I know my views are very different from someone else's. Debating is fine, but arguments can create walls between people.

We need to share our life with others, and our relationships, family, can be a most precious gift. Approach them with love and understanding, and you'll find more meaning in your own life. That's just the way it works.

I wish you family love in your life.

Marilyn


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

When Life Doesn't Make Sense

Life is like a series of chapters we write as we go along creating our life. Some chapters are happy and fun to write, but others are a struggle when nothing we do turns out the way we planned or wanted. We goof up, or our fellow characters aren't acting the way they're supposed to. The whole thing seems to make no sense. No, it's not fair. But that's the way it is. Every story needs some kind of conflict or struggle to make the winning worthwhile, and we can't escape both sides of the coin.

It's hard going through the senseless times when it feels like that's all there is, and it will never end. But there's one thing for sure in life. Change is inevitable, and it makes it's regular rounds whether we like it or not.

Sometimes things don't make any sense.
They're squandered in the air.
And then they make me realize
That life just isn't fair.

I wonder where I'll go from here.
A new way on the path?
Will I cry another day,
Or find a way to laugh?

You know it isn't up to others.
It's really up to me.
I have it all inside,
The way for me to see.

It doesn't have to make any sense.
It doesn't have to be fair.
So give up all the questioning,
And just make sure you're there.

If someone tried to hand you a bag of smelly garbage, you'd back off, curl up your nose and say, "No way. I'm not accepting that." But what do you do when life throws you a curve? Do you resist and create something better, or do you stand there and take it? I know, sometimes we can't dodge the bullet, but we can oftentimes shorten its stay with our own resourcefulness. 

When you're going through one of those painful times, you may not be able to change what's happening. But you can be more of the creator and less the responder. Show up everyday and know you have the power to make everything better than what it is. Because you really do have inner resources you may not even know about. And you can re-write this chapter to contain your inner strength and a sense of peace and hope until you get to write one of those happy chapters again. You're a marvelous being, capable of writing the greatest story there is, your life. And you can create a good one, even when it makes no sense.

I wish you fun chapters in your life. 

Marilyn

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

When Too Much Is Too Much

I spent last week trying to pull myself out of the pit, as I call it. Nothing earth shattering. Just too much piling up all at once, especially after a night of very little sleep. You know. You've been through it too. Maybe you're going through it now. Murphy's Law in full force. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.

First, I'm driving to an appointment when the car dash light suddenly turns red and starts beeping loud. Coolant is hot. In a panic I get the car towed to my mechanic where it stayed for 3 days while I agonized over a potentially large repair bill.

Later that day, I get a large bill from a healthcare provider I saw months ago. Through tears I bombard myself with questions. "Why didn't my insurance providers pay that bill? How am I gonna pay it?" I ran to the phone, and spent 2 hours with both insurance companies and the healthcare provider, including 25 minutes on hold waiting for a live person.

The next morning, I turn on my computer and find ads popping up on every page with no way to X them out, and something called White Smoke blocking everything I try to do. This time I cried through angry ranting at that machine. "How can you do this to me? I thought we were friends." My son worked all day on the computer, and insisted I watch everything he did. Stress rising. I didn't care what he was doing. I'm semi-computer illiterate and didn't understand anything anyway.

Now I decide to do some laundry to get my mind off the computer, and while taking clothes out of the hamper, the lid falls on my right hand, and pain runs all the way to my feet. Owee. I get the job done with one hand until the dryer door falls on my left hand leaving one finger swollen and purple. After tying a bag of ice around it, I sat on the floor and cried to exhaustion.

The next day I felt really stupid when a light of sanity finally hit my brain, and I realized everything turned out okay. The mechanic gave me a good price on a new thermostat, my insurance company paid the healthcare provider, my son cleaned up my computer, and I could still use both hands. All in 3 days. So why had I suffered so much through it? Looking back over my experience, I realized I'd gone into auto mode instead of responding in ways that work when stuff happens. So now I'm going back to what I know works in times of perceived crises.

1. When a disturbing situation arises, I'll stop, clear my mind of assumptions, and remain clear and vigilant.
2. In spite of appearances, I'll speak the truth with affirmations. "All is in Divine Order, and all is well. I have
    all the help I need, and I'm being led to a positive resolution."
3. I'll follow my inner guidance and do what's mine to do.
4. I'll be patient and trust the process as it unfolds.
5. And I'll smile with gratitude, knowing I'm a dynamo with all the God given wisdom and power I need.

So now I'm ready when Murphy's Law invades my space and tries to turn me into a whimpering mess.

I wish you a wise, cool head in times of Murphy's visits.

Marilyn

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Why And How To Release Life's Clutter

Are you one of those people who don't notice clutter around you until you have to step over it? And what about the clutter that builds up inside, the resentments, hurts and regrets that have no place to go? Clutter influences the way we feel, and over time it takes a toll on our well being. Everything in the universe is energy, and energy attracts like energy. So if your life is full of clutter, outer and inner, more clutter is what you'll attract. Releasing creates room for the kind of positive energy you want in your life.

I spend a lot of time in my office, so that's where I recently began my yearly release the clutter crusade. I attacked the problem with a box for trash, another for the Salvation Army, dust clothes, a broom, a bucket of hot sudsy water and a mop. Superwoman was ready. I went around the room tossing, saving, cleaning and rearranging, and even forced myself to release those old encyclopedias. I shed a few tears over letting to--we get so attached to things--but when I stood back and looked at my new room, I felt a different energy. Now when I spend time here, I like this feeling of newness within myself. So I'm gradually moving through each room in the same way.

Then there's the inner clutter, the stuff that gives us headaches and heartaches. We know it's there, but it's painful to deal with, so when it pops up we smack it back down below the surface and go on with our daily busy-ness and stuff we can't live without. You know. Like the latest TV episode of The Crazy Ladies in Chaoticville, or Chef Whatsit splitting a grape with his latest kitchen knife.

One way to tackle the inner stuff is to close your eyes, get quiet, and choose one thing you'd like to release from your life. Give it a color, shape and texture, and tell it you're letting it go with forgiveness and love. Then imagine a large balloon, drop what you're releasing into the balloon, close the top, and say goodbye with gratitude as you watch it slowly float upward and disappear into the sky. Be patient, and repeat if needed.

I suppose we can't ever get rid of all the headache and heartache stuff, but releasing is worth our on-going efforts. Someone said a good housecleaning is good for the soul. I know it makes for a happier heart. So do what you can with your clutter, and be happy.

I wish you happy clutter-cleaning days.

Marilyn

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

New And Better? C'mon.

It goes like this: Some young dynamo, in a company back office with thoughts of CEOship, comes up with a mind boggling idea for changing their product to a new and better version that would outsell competitors. And this great product then floods the market. Wow. Look out world. It's new and better. And this process applies to many products out there, including too many of the ones I use.

I long for an old style toothbrush like I used for years, and rarely needed dental work. The kind that had 3 or 4 same size bristles with a handle you didn't have to twist around your face to get it in your mouth. And it didn't have a motor to rattle your brains while you brushed. I also want my soft black leather sneakers back, and that gorgeous mauve pink lipstick.

For years my wonderful face moisturizer added a glow, and my skin didn't feel like a dried out sponge. But now that one is gone. And I don't see the thicker, harder to apply, new improved version creating any miracles for my aging skin that already visits the wrinkle farm. And the jar empties quickly, so I have to buy it more often. Bully for the company and its increased sales volume.

My personal email server (Not my blog email server) blocked me from opening my email, forcing me to switch to their new format, so I chose the basic one to keep it simple. But now they're pushing me to switch to their advanced format. They're driving me crazy with text cut off on the right side of the page, part of my contact addresses cut off, and I often get a "server hangup" notice when I try to delete emails. Then I have to keep reopening my email. My arm is being twisted out of shape. I complained, but only a computer tech could understand their solutions form letter. I opened a new email account, but I don't understand the 3 videos they furnished to show me how to use their new and better version. Where do I go from here?

This is the way the world is now, and there's no other world I can go to. I can't afford a bus ticket to Albuquerque, let alone a ticket to another country (Are they all like this one?) or a kinder planet out in space. I suppose I'm stuck with this modern "new and better" world. So I guess I'll just have to put up with the crap and use my Mental Stress Manual more often and meditate more.

Some would say we can't go backward. We have to move forward. And I agree. But that doesn't mean the move forward is always a healthy one. Today, more people depend upon pills for stress, anxiety and depression than any time in human history. New and better is only a part of our stress-causing world, but I'd sure like to see some of the simple life again.

I wish you some serenity in each day.

Marilyn

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Could Your Childhood Vows Be The Answer?

Do you sometimes feel your life is more like a constant struggle instead of a journey you can enjoy, and you're confused about the way things in your life turn out? Many intelligent, good people have lives that are not what they envisioned for themselves. And the answer is probably in vows they made growing up that determine their quality of life.

Children receive messages from their environment about themselves, others, and the world, and they label them positive or negative, pleasant or painful. Then they create vows to protect themselves from the hurtful ones. These vows can affect any area of adult life such as personality, relationships, work, money, etc.

These messages can come in 3 ways, from something someone says directly to the child, or from experiences or observations. For example, someone says to a child, "You're stupid," or the child experiences not being chosen for the team at school, or they observe parents often fighting about money. And the child will create vows to protect himself or herself from hurtful feelings.

From the first message, the adult says, "I'm too stupid to do anything right, so I just won't even try to follow my dreams." From the second one, the adult says, "No one's going to choose me for the promotion at work, so I won't even apply." And from the third one, the adult says, "There's never going to be enough money, so I'll never expect to have much." Each of these vows may seem like protection, but in the long run they cause life struggles instead of a fulfilling journey, and they actually create more hurt.

I've overcome many of my childhood vows, but I'm still dealing with some of them. When I was six years old, after my father died, I vowed that I would take care of myself, never need anyone again, and never bother anyone with my problems. I've learned that vows don't usually lead to protection from the hurt. I've spent my life being independent, taking care of myself, and rarely asking for help. But I've learned it's lonely being alone inside. However, I've also learned that we can release our vows and have that fulfilling journey.

If you feel a vow may be affecting an area of your life in a negative way, observe your actions and behavior patterns in that area. These are clues. Then get quiet and ask your inner self to reveal what you need to know. Be patient and listen. When you discover a vow, expose it as being untrue, and confront it with the truth of yourself and the situation. You're intelligent, deserving, lovable, capable, and all those good qualities you were given when you were created. And believing otherwise is denying the truth and living a vow. Start working on those vows, and give them time to surface and disappear.

I wish you a happy, authentic journey.

Marilyn

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Healing With Acupuncture

Today I'm going to write about my experience with acupuncture, because that's what's on my mind, and I feel like sharing. However, I first want to say that I'm not an acupuncture expert in any way, and my sharing is not meant to influence anyone in that direction. Each person must choose their own method for healing physical, mental and emotional health challenges. And the choice is yours. I can only share what works for me.

I'm a believer in integrative medicine, combining conventional western medicine and alternative methods, sometimes with eastern origins. I'm blessed to have a doctor who uses both. And he actually listens to me, and we discuss issues. God bless him.

I've used acupuncture for 12 years with good results, although it didn't help me quit smoking. I'm still working on that. In the 90s I came through very painful fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue with deep muscle massage and acupuncture, and hepatitis C with acupuncture and Chinese herbs with no medicine for either. I used Bach Flower Remedies for depression and anxiety. All the pain stopped, I gained energy, and my liver enzymes remain normal. All of this treatment was under the care of an integrative physician.

I had to give up acupuncture when I ran out of money, but a friend of mine is using it with good results, and she recently gave me one of the greatest gifts of my life--a series of 10 treatments. Miracles do happen, and now I'm back with acupuncture. However, this time it's more in depth, because it's for a variety of health challenges rather than one specific focus. And my response is different. After each session, I spend a couple of days feeling sick before I feel better. As I understand the process, my body is releasing unwanted illness-causing energy, and while this is taking place, I feel sick. Then as this energy is released, my body becomes stronger and can heal. This is not a one-time deal though. It's like peeling an onion. One layer at a time, so there's more to come.

I don't expect to be permanently illness-free. After all, I do live in a human body, susceptible to all the illness-causing stuff in the human world. But it does help to clean out the vessel once in a while. Every person is different, and every acupuncture treatment is specific for each person. I'm just grateful I found the right one for my needs.

The body is an amazing creation. It can heal itself when given the right environment. Choose the way that's best for you, and don't forget daily love and good energy.

I wish you a healthy body, mind and spirit.

Marilyn

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Finding Work Satisfaction

Recently I saw some research on TV about job satisfaction, and I was surprised at this revelation, although I shouldn't have been surprised given how our world has changed. I don't remember the exact figures, but according to this report a large number of people are greatly dissatisfied, many somewhat dissatisfied, and many are no longer even mentally or emotionally involved while on the job.

Since I worked in the mental health field for many years, I look at the psychological reasons for this much dissatisfaction where we spend most of our daily life. It's not only a response to what goes on outside of ourself, but it's something else that's going on inside too. We humans have basic needs that must come from both our outer world and our own inner sense of well being. And many of these needs are not being met in our work life today.

In our outer world we need validation and appreciation for the work we do. This means earning a fair wage and receiving fair treatment in a safe and congenial workplace where we can enjoy doing what we're doing. Utopia? Not really. I remember when most work places were like this.

I raised 3 children doing waitress work, and while it was hard work and I sometimes dealt with rude customers, employees were not taken for granted like cattle to be prodded into submission. We were valued and appreciated, and this was reflected in the work environment. Most of the people I knew worked in these situations. Not so in many places today. We live in a different world.

There's also something inside of us that needs to be fulfilled, that innate need to create and find satisfaction in our creation. How wonderful if you find this in your job, but if not, it can be found in something you just enjoy doing. Either way, we are creators, and we must create.

If you have a job you don't enjoy, or you even feel miserable in it and can't find a better environment, focusing on that inner creative satisfaction can compensate for the negatives at work, reduce daily stress, and make a big difference in your life. So continue doing the best you can in your job, and create something in your life that says your life matters. I know people  who have a full time job, but they refer to something they're doing on their own as their work. This could mean volunteering, gardening, cooking, writing, music, sharing knowledge in a particular subject like nutrition or jogging. Anything you enjoy. All of this takes some creativity.

You can create a sense of joy in yourself and sometimes in others with the personal work you do, and the job you go to everyday won't be such a chore.

I wish you fulfilling creations.

Marilyn

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Keep Cool With Your Mental Stress Manual

I've heard that problems come in threes, and I recently had my three. First I was all ready to copy an important paper, but my printer was out of ink. Okay. Get more ink. But I forgot how to insert a new ink cartridge. So I got out the manual, studied, and did it right.

Then for a long time my land phone had been giving me less and less time to talk before it beeped and went dead. Finally, it just died. I know nothing about mechanical stuff, so I read the manual. Phones need new batteries. Duh! Didn't know that. So I got a new battery and solved the problem.

Then my A/C was acting up. Now that was really out of my league. I didn't want to call a repair person, so I asked around for help. Finally called a repair person, and got the problem solved.

By now I was sick of problems and the stress that goes with solving them. I knew what to do with stress, how to manage it, or even eliminate it, but that's hard to do when you're in the midst of a crisis. Yes, I know those were not big crises, but don't they seem like giants when you're confronted with them? I envy those people who can stay cool even when vultures are descending to eat their young. We could take a lesson from them. The people, not the vultures.

So now I'm retrieving my Mental Stress Manual to remind me what to do with stress the next time it shows up. I've been through some biggies in my life. Handled some well, some not so well, and it pays to be prepared.

So here's what my Mental Stress Manual says to handle stress in any situation. You have to catch the stress before it gets full blown, because full blown is too late. Just before you feel the stress, you'll feel a very subtle knot in the pit of your belly. On the inside, that can come from something you're thinking about. On the outside it can come from another person and/or situation. And it depends upon how you're responding. But when you feel that knot, get busy with your obliteration technique. And of course you already know that a few deep breaths should always preclude the action.

1. Identify the beginning of stress (the knot) and talk to it. "Hello. I know you well, and I want you to know that I'm not at all afraid of you. I decree that no matter what you do, you have no power over me. You're no more than a fly on a horse's rump. And I'm the horse. I have the power to handle any situation in a calm, peaceful way, which I intend to do. So you might as well leave now."
2. Whether the situation is internal or external, picture an image of something that represents peace to you. ie A dove, a white aura, an angel, balloons floating in the air, a beautiful sunrise, whatever has meaning for you. And associate with that peaceful feeling as the stress loses its power, or better yet, doesn't even materialize.
3. Express gratitude. No matter what the result, express gratitude.

The more you do this, the more effective it becomes. And if you forget, like I did, retrieve your Mental Stress Manual and start over. Life has lots of starting-over times, but we're stronger with each one.

I wish you peaceful encounters in your life.

Marilyn

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Your Light From Within

For the past couple of weeks I've talked about the need for a sense of validation and belonging in the world. Knowing that your life matters. Looking for this outside of yourself is an important part of your connection with others, but the real strength and power of who you are must come from within. And that's the hard part.

I wish I could show you, when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your own being. Hafiz

To some degree we all experience inner negative messages about ourselves, and sometimes our self-image reveals more of our weaknesses than our strength. So we go through life short-changing ourselves. I can't, I mess everything up, I'm homely, I'm not worth much, etc. I had a friend who rarely admitted anything admirable about herself, but this impression was not true. So I sat down and gave her my impression. As I rattled off a dozen wonderful qualities I saw in her and times she had expressed these qualities, tears filled her eyes. She hadn't seen her true self. I convinced her to observe herself and look for those times when she expressed her strong points. She amazed herself with each discovery, and her wonderful self became real to her. Over time, she learned to let her light shine in her own eyes.

There's something innate in us that longs to express on our journey through life, but how can we shine if we're not aware of what we're working with in the first place? When I was a child, I watched my brother put together model airplanes. First he opened the box, then laid out each piece on the table and carefully identified each one. Some were ready to use as is, while others needed rough edges smoothed out. He was grateful for those ready to use pieces, and happily spent time on those that needed some work. No piece was more important than another. He needed all of them to create a plane that would fly.

By being yourself, you put something wonderful in the world that was not there before. Edwin Elliot

If we're to fly, we need to search inside the box, see all the pieces, and work with them without judgment. Take the time to open the box and look inside with love. Identify and accept those beautiful parts of yourself (they are there), and be willing to spend time with those parts that need some work. Now be grateful for all of it. It's you. It's your light. Shine as you're meant to shine. The world needs your special light.

I wish you a happy adventure.

Marilyn

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Need to Belong

The human spirit has many needs, and one is the need to belong. Somewhere inside we know we're not meant to be alone. And we do belong in the little boxes we create for our life with connections that make our life more meaningful. But we're also part of the larger whole, that sea of humanity in which each of us has a vital place. Sounds lofty and grand. But when we expand our presence outside of our box in a larger way, we realize a greater dimension of who we are and why we're here. Recently, this was illustrated for me when my writers group had our end of the year celebration. We take the summers off.

We're 12 writers in 2 groups led by Carol, our talented, knowledgeable, loving leader. And once each year we come together to celebrate our writing and each other. We met at a restaurant with about 40 guests who came to listen, support, and have fun with us. We each read something we wrote during the year, and what a diverse array of wonderful stories and skits. I read part of a chapter from the book I'm writing now, Me and Granmama in the Hill Country in southern dialect. We laughed, cried, clapped, whooped, hollered and roared for each other. Each of us had our time on stage, and guests saw their loved ones in wonderful rare moments. Each person was an individual wrapped in the arms of this larger group, contributing to the whole and totally belonging. I didn't know some of the guests who were there, but I reached out to every person, and I felt wonderful energy coming from all of them. I was seen in a different way, and I felt I belonged. I'm sure blessings were exchanged for everyone. This is what can happen when you reach out and belong to a caring group with shared interests.

 Everyone has a gift, a talent, or an interest to share with others, but oftentimes, we're not aware of anything special about ourself or we devalue what we have. What are you interested in? What brings you joy? Music, art, cooking, sports, caregiving, current events, teaching, exploring, camping, volunteering? The list is endless, and your gift is waiting to be shared.

You're more than what you see in the mirror everyday. You're a glorious person who can find joy in reaching out with others, in growing and discovering more of your true self. Too busy? My writers group meets twice each month, and I'm the only one without a full time job and family at home. And I have to say that each of us, through our group experience, has discovered much within ourselves we didn't know was there. What have you yet to discover within yourself? Join a group and find out.

I wish you a wonderful adventure.

Marilyn

Thursday, May 30, 2013

What is Validation and Why Do You Need It?

Just like children, emotions heal when they are heard and validated. Jill Bolte Taylor

I've been reading quotes on validation, and almost all of them imply that validating a person means approval, and praise. I don't agree. Oprah Winfrey described it as I have always perceived it. She said, I've talked with 30,000 people on this show, and they all wanted validation. Everybody wants to know, "Do you see me? do you hear me? Does what I say mean anything?" And I would add, Do "I" mean anything?

Next to being loved, we need to know we're acknowledged as being of some value in the outer world with others--that we belong. This is an inherent need. But it's also important to validate ourself within, and know we have value before this is acknowledged in the outer.

Inner validation is something I've struggled with my whole life. When I was a child, I looked outside of myself for validation, but I wasn't heard. In fact, I was forbidden to express any problems, opinions, or any negative feelings about anything. Only positive statements were accepted. Therefore I was invalidated, and I felt invisible. There was always that voice inside that said, "No one sees or hears you, so you don't matter." Maybe this type of inner struggle is why so many people desperately need outside validation. But we must learn to first find it inside in spite of outward appearances.

Now looking back on my childhood, I value those years of depression and loneliness, because they led me to a career as a psychotherapist in the mental health field where I could help others understand their pain and work through it to a sense of validation. Then when I retired, I began writing a self-help blog to continue this mission. However, every week I write something that I think might help someone, but since I rarely get comments, I have no idea if anyone is reading it. Am I just spinning my wheels going nowhere? Should I stop blogging and find another way to express? Or should I keep blogging even though no one is reading or benefiting from my messages? Perhaps the lack of response is there to help me learn inner validation. Maybe we all need times like this to wake us up to move forward. We can know this in our mind, but we need to know it in our heart.

When you feel that need inside to be validated, to know that you count for something in this world, please know that you do count. God only made one like you. You are unique with your own unique gifts. And that makes you special. And validated.

I wish you much inner and outer validation and a happy heart.

Marilyn

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Seeking Abundance

Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into. Wayne Dyer

We usually think of abundance as applied to money, but it applies to every issue in life. This can come in positive and negative ways. And sometimes we have too much abundance in heavy burdens we carry on our shoulders through life. But what if we could change that to love, peace, wisdom, happy relationships, health, work we love, money we need, even hugs and belly laughs.

Each of us has everything we need inside to create an abundant life. But we have to teach our mind to stop going in counter productive directions with worry, fretting, frustration, poor self-esteem, etc. and those childhood messages that stay in our heads that say, "You can't have that, you don't deserve that, you're not capable, shame on you." Those negative thoughts and messages are not true. You have every right to have, be, and do whatever you want to live a full, rewarding, happy life.

Abundance already exists. It's a universal law. And the Divine Source of all our good is within us. We're always connected to it, but not always aware of it. Our responsibility is to turn away from a sense of lack and tune into the inner Divine Source for the good we want in our life.

1.  Make a list of abundance you want, and state your intention to have it.
2.  Affirm that your inner Divine Source is the true source of all your good, and that your abundance is already yours, even if you don't feel this is true.
3.  Develop awareness. Each day pay attention to your thoughts, and when you notice negative thinking, a sense of lack, confront the thought and affirm abundance. "I am cared for in every way. My needs are being met. I am greatly blessed."
4.  Develop an attitude of abundance. Think abundance. Expect and trust that what you want will manifest, even if you don't yet feel trusting.
5.  Develop an attitude of gratitude. Every day look for things for which to be grateful. A smile from a stranger, a parking place at the grocery store, a good nights sleep. And thank your inner Divine Source for all your good.
6.  Be patient with yourself, and give it time. Don't give up.

As you go through each day, consciously use your tools for change with intention. You'll know what is yours to do, and you'll see what you want effortlessly manifesting in your life. You may have spent many years feeling lack, but positive change will come.

I wish you a happy, abundant life.

Marilyn

PS. I'm a person who needs reminders of what I already know, because sometimes I slip back into my old ways of thinking. So I'm now again on a path to create the kind of abundance in my life that brings a happy sense of well-being. I'd be happy to have you join me.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Facing New Beginnings

If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn't lead anywhere. Frank A. Clark

Life is a journey of new beginnings, usually small ones, but sometimes the big ones mean major life changes. Some are happy ones, like a new job you really want, or moving someplace you always wanted to live, or sudden income that will change your lifestyle, etc. But others may be painful, like losing a job or home, a sudden illness or injury, moving to care for a loved one, even death of a loved one, etc. Either way they can take a toll on life if not handled with care.

At age 47, I wanted to attend UNLV in Las Vegas where I had lived and had friends, and then work in the mental health field. I had just enough money for the move from Florida and no money for school. My heart jumped with excitement, but my mind gave me every negative, scary thought it could muster up. But I did it anyway. I stayed with friends for a while, got a school loan and stipend, worked at Denny's on weekends to support myself, and accomplished my new beginning. But it took work to keep myself on the right path.

Look at life through the windshield, not the rear-view mirror. Byrd Baggett

New beginnings require work on the inner and outer parts of your life. It's a long process, from your first thought of a change to finally feeling safe and comfortable in your new situation. The following are some thoughts on how change can take place without having to put your head in a bucket to make it all go away.

1. Trust yourself and the still, small Voice inside for guidance, comfort and strength when you need it.
2. Be clear about your goals. Tell the negative, scary thoughts to take a hike, and keep your mind on your goals. When you talk to your thoughts, and you mean what you say, most of the time they will obey you.
3. Create a plan and ways to implement it. But keep your mind focused in the present as you go along.
4. Make a list of life strategies you've used in the past. Let go of those that no longer serve you, and replace them with new ones you need in your new situation.
5. Take one step at a time, and ask, "What can I do to accomplish my next step?" (When I applied for work at Denny's, there was no opening. So everyday I sat at the counter with my coffee and got to know the manager. I got the first opening)
6. Connect with others in your new place and/or situation. Seek help from people already close to you and from those involved in your new beginning.
7. Make a place in your heart for good memories, and give yourself some space and time to mourn while you're moving forward. If you feel lost or scared, dwell on the past, or doubt yourself, don't stuff your feelings. They're normal. Time and your own efforts will heal them. You really are okay, and you will survive.

A new beginning can mean a new way of life. It's worth the time and effort. Be patient and allow your new life to unfold in a peaceful way.

I wish you peace and joy on your journey.

Marilyn

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Time of Transition

Every positive change - every jump to a higher level of energy and awareness - involves a rite of passage. Each time to ascend to a higher rung on the ladder of personal evolution, we must go through a period of discomfort, or initiation. I have never found an exception. Dan Millman

Each change in life is an opportunity for growth, but change can't take place without a period of transition from letting go of the old to embrace the new. These transition periods may be almost unnoticeable or painfully profound, depending upon the situation. At times like this, we may want to cling to the familiar, but change requires that we accept the transitional state and move through it. This is part of the process.

Do you ever feel stuck, like you're spinning your wheels and going nowhere? Or everything is at a stand-still in limbo? Or you're leaving something behind, but not yet moving in a new direction? Sometimes this can feel like a dark tunnel with no way out and no end to it. A change is taking place, and you're in transition.

The next message you need is right where you are. Ram Dass

We're a society of activity, going and doing. And being in a tunnel, waiting for something new to enter, can bring up all kinds of negative emotions. You fret and stew because nothing is happening. I can't just sit here and do nothing. Well, why not? There's purpose in everything that happens, and transitions are a gift. They're times for inner work, reflecting upon life as you know it, examining what worked in the past but is no longer useful, a time to know yourself better and gain strength from that still small voice inside upon which you can always depend.

In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into chrystal clearness. Mahatma Gandi

When you find yourself in a transition tunnel, pay attention to your thoughts. Are they taking you into despair or are they lifting your spirits to a higher level? Sometimes you can't change what is happening or not happening. But while you do what is yours to do during this time, you can quiet your mind and listen for direction. Know that this is a time of preparation for the next step on your journey. Allow your life to unfold in a peaceful way, stronger than you were.

I wish you an easy road ahead with blessings you never imagined.

Marilyn


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

How To Deal With Sadness

"Unwinged and naked, sorrow surrenders its crown to a throne called grace." Aberjhan 

We all know the feeling. Like being immersed in a cloud of pain. And it can hurt deeply, right down to the soul. Sometimes it's so painful we may feel we can't survive, and our first instinct is to run away. Make it stop. But the more we run, the stronger it gets.

Sadness involves some kind of loss. A job, a home, personal freedom, money, a loved one, anything you value. Or it may be something you've carried inside for your whole life. You function and get by, but sadness lurks somewhere deep inside, and you always know it's there. Much of the pain we carry comes from unresolved situations from childhood. And we may feel sadness without knowing exactly where it's coming from. But we know the pain, and we try to avoid feeling it. We use resistance to deal with it, but resisting is exactly what holds it to us and gives it power over us. This is true of any painful feeling.

It may seem strange, but loss is the real issue we need to deal with. Everything is energy, and just as physical pain is an energy telling us something in our physical body needs attention, sadness is the energy that tells us we need to deal with a loss in our life. So ultimately the goal is to release the sadness and to release the pain of loss itself.

I'd like to share one of my own experiences. My father died when I was six years old, and I never recovered from this loss. It was heavy on my heart for all those many years, and I suffered sadness because of it. Then last year, with the help of an Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) practitioner, I was able to finally let my father go peacefully. I dealt with my loss, and now the sadness is gone too. I will always miss him, but it's okay for me to miss him. I would not change that.

It's important to understand that sadness is a necessary part of healing. It's a bridge we must cross to resolve the issue. But we need to know how to deal with the sadness.

That's the thing about pain ... it demands to be felt.  John Green 

1.   It helps to know the issue that's causing your sadness. But it isn't necessary. Just refer to it as your loss that's reflected in your sadness. The technique works anyway.
2   Give yourself permission to feel what you feel without judgment.
3.  Find some quiet time and allow yourself to feel your sadness. But do this with time limits. Give yourself 30 minutes, 1 hour, whatever you designate. Then cry and let your feelings roll for that amount of time. When the time is up, stop and immediately go to a pleasant activity you have planned ahead of time. Then you're not standing there asking, "Well, now what do I do?" If you have to repeat the exercise, do it. But you'll probably be too exhausted to go again right away. Exhaustion is good. Then repeat the exercise as needed until the issue and sadness are gone or at least tolerable. Each time you do the exercise, more of your pain is being released.

Stop resisting, and allow each tear to wash away your pain. And find the peace you long for.

I wish you peace in your heart.

Marilyn

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

It's Okay To Receive

Human life runs its course in the metamorphosis between receiving and giving. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

During my whole life receiving has been a problem for me. I was taught that giving is the right thing to do, but receiving is selfish. So I've tried to be a giving person. I even chose a giving profession as a psychotherapist. But receiving has always left discomfort in the pit of my stomach. Asking for something from another person was termed bothering them. Oh, what guilt took over if I bothered anyone. Does any of this sound familiar?

Many people suffer from fear of receiving. We learn such things in childhood, and they remain with us unless we learn the truth, that the Universal law of giving and receiving requires balance. When we neglect either side of this law, we suffer. Takers who don't give lack close connections with others, while those who can't receive can suffer soul burnout and may feel a sense of guilt, shame, unworthiness, greed, all kinds of painful feelings. And life is not as fulfilling as it could and should be.

We tend to think that when we receive something from another person, we are the only one benefiting. But when one gives and another receives, both are blessed. I learned this from my mother many years ago. She lived on social security then. So when she wanted to buy me even a small gift, I refused, thinking I was helping her. Then one time she began crying and said, "Don't you know that when you refuse to accept my gift, you take away the pleasure I would feel in giving?" (She must have forgotten what she taught me when I was a child) That really brought home the law of giving and receiving. So I began accepting her gifts, and I began learning to receive. However, childhood messages are deeply rooted, so when I still feel some discomfort, I work on it.

It's been said that as you give, so shall you receive. But it doesn't always happen that way. I know people who give a lot and receive very little, and they wonder why. When this happens it's because the giver subconsciously has inner blockages to receiving, and this prevents their good from coming to them. The Universe has enough to bless us all, but we must open up to receive our blessings.

We are Divine enough to ask, and we are important enough to receive. Wayne Dyer

There are ways to overcome inner blockages, but it takes some practice.
1. Watch your thoughts and feelings when you're offered something but feel you should not accept. Practice confronting that inner resistance, and affirm your right to receive.
2. Practice giving to yourself first. Treat yourself, even in small ways.
3. Begin accepting small things from others before you get to the big things.
4. Clean out inner and outer clutter, to make room for what you want to come into your life.
5. Learn to ask for what you want, even if it feels uncomfortable.

Using the law of giving and receiving promotes physical, mental and spiritual well-being, and we and the world are blessed. Give to others, and open your mind and heart to receiving what the Universe has for you. And enjoy the peace you feel from both.

Marilyn 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Enjoy The Read

Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.  Anna Quindlen

So far I've completed eleven chapters of my new book, Me and Granmama in the Hill Country, written in southern dialect. It relates the story of three orphaned children growing up with their grandparents in a small country town. Today, I'd like to include short excerpts from chapters 10 and 11. The first takes place during World War 2, and the second is right after the war.

The War Years:  Marilee is going with her Granmama to visit a hospital unit for wounded soldiers.
When I got to the door it was more than I had imagined. I'd seen the wounded ones in town when they got out of the hospital, but this were different. The smell of disinfectant burned my nose, and I seen them poor boys lined up in beds, some with bandages, some with no arms, and some tryin to get round on crutches. Granmama and Bessie Tanner went to make their rounds, but at first I couldn't move. I didn't think my stomach would quit jumpin, but then I spied Chester Pandey sittin in a wheelchair by the window. I knew him from his daddy's butcher shop, and I ran over and grabbed the chair next to him. He smiled when he seen me.
"Hi, Chester," I said. "You doin all right?"
"Good as I can. I'm glad to see you."
We talked for a while, and then I read to him out of my favorite book, Marie Curie's biography. Music played in the background, Roy Acuff singin The Great Speckled Bird. It drowned out some of the groanin I didn't want to hear. I enjoyed spending time with Chester, but I agreed with Granmama when she said it were time to go. Me and Chester shook hands, and he thanked me for comin. I was glad I went, but somehow it left me older than before. And the war seemed more real. I remembered the times Uncle Joe come home on furlough, and I thanked God he weren't in that place.

Growing up:  Marilee describes how she grew up during the war years.
I done a lot of growin up during them war years. I were eleven years old when it started, not even in junior high yet, and fifteen in high school flirtin with the boys by time it were over. My spindly legs and flat chest filled out, and I had my time every month. Sewin material were hard to get, but Granmama managed to make me some peasant blouses and plaid skirts that didn't come from feefsacks. And I even rinsed my long blonde hair in lemon juice so's it would shine. And I learned that life ain't only bout one thing. Sometimes you laugh and sometimes you cry, and it's all just part of life. And people is stronger than you think, includin you. And I learned that you ain't never alone.

I hope you enjoyed these little snippets, and will give me some feedback in comments. I value your opinions, and would appreciate your help.

I have a video in costume on You Tube reciting the first chapter in southern dialect. If you're interested, click the link at the top left side of this page to watch the video.

I wish you many books to enjoy.

Marilyn