Friday, August 25, 2017

How And When Does A House Become A Home?



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

It takes hands to build a house, but only heart can build a home. Anonymous

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Marilyn

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Coping With Job Dissatisfaction And Finding Your Joy



Recently I saw research on TV regarding job dissatisfaction, and I was amazed at this revelation, although not surprised given the way our world has changed over the years. According to this report, a large number of people are greatly dissatisfied, many are somewhat dissatisfied, and many are no longer even mentally or emotionally involved while on the job. In too many situations people go to work, do what's expected, get a pay check, and go home stressed and exhausted.

In my younger years I did 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. But not so in many places today. We live in a different world.

Having also worked in the mental health field for many years, I look at the psychological reasons for today's dissatisfaction in the place where we spend most of our daily life. It's not only our response to what goes on outside of ourselves, but something that's going on inside too. We humans have basic needs that must come from both our outer world and our own sense of well being on the inside.

In our outer world we need validation and appreciation for the work we do. This means receiving fair pay and treatment in a safe work place where we can enjoy doing what we do. It means a sense of security with benefits and a solid future. It means respect from supervisors and congenial relationships with co-workers. It should be a place we look forward to each work day...a place that enhances our quality of life. Utopia? Not really. I remember when most work places were like this.


Burnout is what happens when we ignore the soul whispering against an unhealthy job or relationship. Unknown

On the inside, each of us is endowed with a 'knowing'. But how often do we listen to our inner voice telling us what we need to know for our life to be fulfilling? Maybe we're too busy to listen. Every day our mind is caught up in what we need to know on the job to keep the bills paid. And we push buttons to communicate and get things done. Out modern world is efficient in many ways. But there's something inside that needs to be fulfilled. It's that innate need to create and find satisfaction in our creation. Our God-given gift of creativity feeds our soul and maintains our identity. And you can't get that from a stressful job or a hand held gadget.

If you're employed in a happy work environment, enjoy the years you spend there, and express gratitude every day. You're blessed. And I'm happy for you. On the other hand, in our society, many are not so fortunate. Some do turn to more gratifying pursuits, but as months turn into years, some feel so trapped, they don't even try to change the status quo. These are people you see every day who live from one pay check to the next without hope for a way out.

Use your smile to change this world, don't let this world change your smile. Unknown

If you feel unhappy in your job, even miserable at work, know that you can change your own life in spite of your situation. First, change the way you perceive your work environment, and do the best you can with what you've got there. Start taking your love and your smile to work, and you may find it's contagious.

Then create something in your life that reflects who you are, that says your life matters...You matter. Focusing on creative satisfaction can compensate for the negatives at work, and reduce stress, and give your life meaning. Hopefully this could be at your job, but if not it could be found in something you just enjoy doing...maybe volunteering, gardening, cooking, writing, music, sports, sharing interesting knowledge, whatever. There's much undiscovered talent within you. So look within and find your joy.


I wish you peace and joy in all of your life.

Marilyn

Friday, August 4, 2017

Freedom To Quiet Childhood Messages And Choose Your Own Way






What then is Freedom? The power to live as one wishes. Marcus Tullius Cicero


We're all products of messages we hear growing up. "Do this...Don't do that"...etc. Those messages influence who we think we are and the way we live our lives. But some people break loose and answer the call they hear deep within...the call to be who they are and choose how they will live. Which one are you? How free are you to make your own choices and follow your own way? A few years ago, I wrote a very short whimsical story about a young woman wrestling with her messages and making a decision about her future. I hope you enjoy this story. It could be you.


SPRING CLEANING

I slushed through soapy puddles across the kitchen floor, doubled up my fists, and kicked the empty mop bucket as far as my bare foot could sling it. I heard my mother's voice from my teenage years. "You should be more careful. Spring cleaning doesn't need to be a chore." My mother's voice was grounded in my head--from all my ages. Sometimes I wondered if I even had one of my own. Her voice echoed from the past with phrases like, "Nice girls sit with their legs together," "Take a quick shower, so you don't waste water," and "Too much sugar isn't good for you." I remember how she hovered over me at mealtime to make sure I cleaned my plate. I still feel guilty when I turn away from brussels sprouts.

Yes, my mother taught me some valuable lessons and gave me some good advice, but wouldn't you think I could do something now without cringing to chatter from an old phonograph wound too tight? Where was my own self in my life? I'd wanted spring-cleaning to be painless, but I always wrestled with my inner drill sergeant spounting orders. 

I knelt down and sopped up water with the big towel I usually took to the beach where I heard my mother tell me not to go out too far in the ocean. "Even good swimmers drown, you know." Calm down, I told myself. Keep it simple. I knelt down and squeezed the last bit of water into the pail, threw the towel across the room and sat back on the tile floor. It's time for a break.

I wiggled my body into a comfortable position in the recliner chair on the patio. The morning air smelled clean and fresh. A big gulp of iced tea cooled my throat, and I grinned like a defiant child escaping out the back door when it's time to help with the supper dishes. Escape sounded good. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and coaxed my mind to quiet. There's power in quiet. There must be ways to stifle old messages, free to express my own voice and reflect my own personal style.

I turned off the alert button in my head and allowed new plans to flood my mind. First I'd go to the beach, feel the cool breeze between my bare legs, and swim far out into the ocean, looking back at the shore from very deep water. I'd run along the beach as fast as the wind would carry me and feel the warm sand ooze between my toes. Then I'd come home, take a shower and bask under the welcome spray for as long as I wanted. And that strawberry cheesecake that's been in the freezer too long. It's time to smack with each bite.

My grin widened to a full smile, and I felt a strange sense of power begin to stir, a feeling I'd only glimpsed in the past. A sense of resolve gnawed in my head. I'd get back to spring-cleaning, I mused, but wait 'till I'd done some inside cleaning and practiced being a new me. I could hear my mother saying, "Everything begins with a first step." That one I'd choose to keep.

I wish you successful intention, follow through, and freedom.

Marilyn




Friday, July 28, 2017

Your Journey Through Life. How Are You Living Yours?


We seldom think of life as a journey, but that's what it is. For most, it goes from infancy to old age, and we travel through many situations with different people, places and experiences. And most of the time we don't really notice where we're going. We just move along and deal with whatever comes up. But every single moment is a pecious part of what makes your journey unique.

Not everyone will understand your journey. That's fine. It's not their journey to make sense of. It's yours. Unknown

Our journey is like a tapestry where our life weaves many designs reflecting our happiness, our pain, our challenges, opportunities, lessons, and yes, our blessings. We face many changes, some welcome, some bitter memories, but all a part of our own individual journey that no one else can live for us. As you move through the years, every thread is woven by you and becomes a part of who you are.

Sometimes your journey provides pit falls with people and situations that pull you down. And you feel lost. Did you make a wrong turn? Where is your road? How can you go on? But then you dig deep inside where guidance is always there to lift you back to your familiar path, the one you know in your heart is where you belong...your rightful place on your journey. And you begin again, stronger and wiser than before.

Somewhere on your journey, don't forget to turn around and enjoy the view. Unknown

Our journey consists of a series of stages where life takes on new flavors with new ways to live each day. Although we may fight the passage of time, each stage is equally important with opportunities to learn and grow. We all know nostalgia, and sometimes we want to go back. But on this journey when the road gets rough, we can't make a U turn and go back to happier, easier times. Those memories you want to recapture now live in your mind and heart.

Oh, how I remember when my children were small. I rocked my babies, rode on the sled with them when they got older, when my son fell off his bike, I got the gash in his head sutured, I ordered art lessons for my other son, and made my daughter's prom dress. Treasured memories, some wonderful, some not so wondeful. You know what I mean. You have yours too. Did you realize time was passing when you lived those years? I didn't. I just took it all for granted.

Then one day I looked around and realized I had aged, and I wondered where it all went--those precious memories, my clear skin, my flat tummy and my firm rear end. Wow. It must have happened when I wasn't looking. Time has a way of creeping up on us, and we don't notice the changes until they're demanding our attention to make necessary adjustments.

Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative place where no one else has ever been. Alan Alda

So much is said about living in the present, but I think we don't realize the full meaning of the word 'living'. To live is to learn, to savor, to share, to be aware of self and others, and to know where we are on our journey and what we want to do with it. We have the power to create the quality of our life in spite of challenges. Did you know that? And you're probably a lot smarter than you used to be, so you're more able to create the quality you want.


Think about where you are now, and where you want to go. Keep the precious moments from the past, and forgive your mistakes. You did the best you could according to your growing ability at the time. Don't carry them now. You're a beautiful being on a glorious journey of self realization. There is Divine purpose in your journey, and you're part of that Divine plan for yourself and humanity. Hang on and enjoy the ride.

I wish you sunshine on your journey

Marilyn

Friday, July 21, 2017

How To Deal With Sadness And Heal Your Pain



Sadness. We know the feeling...like gnawing in the back of your mind or being immersed in a cloud of pain right down to your soul. Sometimes it can be so painful, you feel you can't survive, and your first instinct is to run away. But the more you run, the stronger it gets. So you resist, but resistance holds it to you. And it can become relentless, almost like a will of its own.

Usually sadness involves some kind of obvious loss...a loved one, a job, a home, money, personal freedom, anything you value. And the severity of your loss contributes to the degree of your pain. In some situations, you're able to recoup and carry on. In others, life may take a sharp turn, and what used to feel real and dependable in your life seems to disappear, leaving little to comfort and sustain you.

Hypophrenia: A feeling of sadness seemingly without a cause. Unknown

Some sadness we carry may reflect unresolved issues from childhood. And sadness may be something you've carried inside for your whole life. You function and get by, and try to avoid feeling it. But sadness lurks somewhere deep inside, and you always know it's there. You live with it, like part of you without knowing where it's coming from.

I'd like to share one of my own experiences. My father died when I was six years old, and I never recovered from losing him. It broke my heart, and I suffered deep sadness for many years. Then several years ago, with the help of an Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) treatment, I was able to finally let him 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.

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 the goal is to release the sadness and ultimately release the pain of the loss itself.

It's important to understand that sadness is a necessary part of healing. It's a bridge we must cross to resolve the issue and heal the pain. And we need to deal with it.

1. Clarify what's causing your pain and sadness, but don't be concerned if you can't find a cause. Just refer to it as the loss you're dealing with.
2. Identify your feelings, and give yourself permission to feel without judgment.
3. It's okay to control your feelings when you have to, but allow some private time each day, 30 minutes to 1 hour, to express your pain and sadness freely. Verbalize, release your pent-up tears, punch a pillow, run, whatever expressions help you. Then at the end of the assigned time, stop and immediately go to a pleasant activity you plan ahead of time. Your pain and sadness may, or may not, totally disappear. But as you repeat this exercise during each day, those feelings will gradually decrease and give you peace.
4. Find someone in your life or a class you can attend that will listen and help you through this difficult time. Someone is there for you.


When we're suffering it's difficult to imagine pain and sadness someone else is experiencing. It seems like ours is all there is. But we meet people every day hiding their feelings behind fake smiles, afraid to reach out for understanding and comfort they long for. It could be a clerk in a store, a stranger on the street, a neighbor, even a friend. Identifying another's sadness, and doing what you can to help them through it, can help bring you through yours. And if you've already come through yours, you can feel the joy in your heart from helping another. You will both be blessed. 

I wish you a heart filled with peace and comfort

Marilyn 

Friday, July 14, 2017

How Do You Perceive Your Suffering?



Each of us is a unique being, expressing a unique self, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. And no one else can live our life for us or deal with all that happens to us. But as we move through life, we do a lot of feeling without accurate understanding of all that's taking place at a given time. And it's important to also experience life with knowledge and understanding and find meaning in our being here.

When we suffer, there's one question that usually comes up, "Why do I have to suffer in this life?" There are all kinds of answers, but in the end, who really knows? Maybe it's there to teach us something, to make us grateful for the good times, to appreciate our blessings, to emphasize compassion...and more. Whatever the reason, it's part of life, and we can learn to see it in a different way with our innermost self.

We do not see things as they are. We see things as we are. Unknown

No one wants to suffer at all, but suffering must be included in a meaningful life. Step back, look at your life, and ask questions. What is yours, and only yours, to do in your life? What is, or was, your suffering, and what do you see in it...pain, loss, bondage? Your own perceptions of your suffering create what it is, and no one else can experience or express it. Therefore it becomes something more meaningful that simply pain. And you can learn to not only survive, but to thrive in spite of it...or because of it.

Your suffering may be temporary or of a chronic nature. But your perception of it is vital to the quality of your life, and it can save you or destroy you. In a positive way, your perception can provide valuable information about you and help you see personal qualities of which you're not aware. Maybe you're stronger than you think, or you have 'first hand' experiences that can help others, or you've developed skills to compensate for the suffering.

In a negative way, your perceptions of your suffering can influence the severity. Or when you allow your suffering to become who you are, your true self may get lost in the pain. We apply meaning to everything. And if you assign negative meaning to your condition, defining what you believe it is, that may lead to more pain and inability to deal with it. But sometimes life itself will heal your suffering and provide a way to escape.

Until my early forties, I suffered from serious depression, and cursed the pain everyday. Then 2 years of intensive therapy released me from my prison and opened a door to a rewarding career as a Mental Health Therapist. Looking back I blessed those bitter years and expressed gratitude for the suffering that led to renewed purpose for my life. Those years provided insight into the lives of my suffering patients, and I understood their pain.

While working in a jail setting, I circulated a book titled, "Man's Search For Meaning" by Victor Frankl. I can't imagine how many read this book, or tried to read it, but its pages are yellowed, phrases underlined in pencil, words scribbled in the margins, and many questions from my patients about its contents. It offered new understanding and possibilities for their lives...some attainable, some not.


In this book, Dr. Frankl offers various ways to deal with your suffering and find meaning in it. Imagine you're 85 years old looking back on your life when you did a lot without thinking about it. Be an observer and remember...happy times when you laughed and had fun, the people in your life, problems you solved, your skills and talents, your accomplishments, things you did well and mistakes you made, lessons learned, small kindnesses like hellos to strangers, warm hugs, holding doors open for others, blessings given and received, etc, etc. Look at your life, and include your sufferings. They were an important part of it.

Your desire to change must be greater than your desire to stay the same. Unknown

Now return to your present time and see your life with new eyes, with a new mind and heart, with knowledge and understanding, and with love and forgiveness wherever it's needed. Can you now accept your suffering as something you deal with, while your light reduces any darkness you face? You have the ability to rise above any situation, and your beautiful self can find peace.

I wish you angels to tickle your nose.

Marilyn


Friday, July 7, 2017

How To Find Peace In Chaotic Situations



Chaos...that thing that drives us up the wall, that most of us can't define, but we know how it feels. We avoid it whenever possible, but it does invade our life. Roget's Thesaurus describes chaos qualities as confusing, disorderly, unruly, disruptive, haphazard, disorganized, undisciplined, etc, etc. You know...the kind of atmosphere you don't want to be around.

Usually on our journey through life, everything moves along at a steady predictable pace. But then those bumps in the road project us into a state of chaos, or at least to a point where we need to resurrect our problem-solving gear and get busy reducing its influence on our nervous system. It creeps into our peaceful world when our antennae is clogged with all our familiar daily activities. And we just don't see it coming. Or it can attack suddenly without warning, and transport us from a sunny day at the beach to a sinking ship without a paddle for survival. And we stand in confusion wondering what just happened. We've all been there.

Chaos comes in many forms from mild to severe, and can affect us physically, mentally, and/or emotionally. And it can take a toll. Chronic worriers live with chaos, and most don't realize they're bringing it on themselves. Every day is a crisis, and the crises don't end. "What if I lose my job; what if I can't pay my bills; what if I get sick; etc." Their whole life is a chaotic experience. Or Uncle Joe comes to live with your family in your orderly, well run home. He throws his clothes on the floor, drools at the dinner table, turns on lights and music during the night while he raids the fridge, answers your phone with nonsense, etc, etc. That's chaos, and you're feeling it big time.

I remember when I welcomed a new group of people moving into the house next door to me, but I soon regretted their presence. They were members of a band with amps and a microphone, and practiced everyday on their screened porch that faced my living room. I felt surrounded by chaos every time deafening sounds filled my head and scrambled my nerves, my floors vibrated, and my poor dog crouched shaking on the sofa. Finally, after visits by the police, they moved out.

Chaotic situations are okay as long as they don't last too long. But what happens when they last for days, months, even years, with no end in sight? We think, there's no way out, I can't deal with this anymore, I feel like just giving up. But giving up means you think the chaotic situation has tremendous power over you, and you're done. However, each of us is blessed with everything we need to survive and thrive. And you have more strength within than you imagine, and there's more you can do.

If plan 'A' fails, remember there are 25 more letters. Unknown

There are 2 ways to deal with a chaotic situation. Either resolve it or accept it. First write down and clarify outer areas of chaos, and work with others to create a less chaotic world. Fill your surroundings with people, places, and things that bring joy and order in your life, and learn to tune out what you don't want to see or hear. Do what you can, and include ways to distance yourself from the chaos.


When you've tried everything to resolve it, and it's still there, accepting it means making peace with it, letting go of the way you feel about it and the way you respond to it. Write down and clarify your opinions and feelings. Then practice inner work to create inner peace. Talk to the situation with denials and affirmations; "I deny you have any power over me, and I affirm peace in my heart as I release any painful response or feelings about it." Repeat every time the challenge comes to mind. And be patient. In time, you can replace the chaos with peace.

Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know. Pema Chodron

Find a place of your own where you can pray, meditate, whatever you want, and remember who and what you are. And allow your chaotic situations to show you what you need to know. You are important, and your life has meaning. So don't let anyone or anything turn your head or heart from that truth.

I wish you peace in your heart


Marilyn

Friday, June 30, 2017

Your Connection To Others Can Move Mountains




If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other. Mother Teresa

How did our world get so divided with its 'us and them' mentality? We're living in a world motivated by a 'what's in it for me' mind-set with ultimate separation from others. We take for granted thing like stress, anger, loneliness, confusion, etc. And we say that's life. I don't remember how it started. It just seems we've lost heart, and most of us just wander through each day blending in with the times without question.

Today's technology has opened doors we never thought possible, and much good is realized in our world today. But it doesn't contribute to the love, peace, and harmony our true naure longs for. In our universe we're all connected, and a world that denies this truth denies opportunities to live as we were created. And we follow as lost sheep in foreign lands, not even realizing we're lost. Is this the way we're meant to live?

Many years ago the cultural norm was a sense of community with others. Yes, there were individual differences, but this was accepted without conflict. When I was a child in the Great Depression years, we lived in an apartment building with people of different nationalities, but we shared food, our time, and our love. Now when I sit in my back yard, I look at my neighbors' privacy fences that were not there a few years ago. I hear their voices and their dogs barking, but I'm not a part of them. And I feel the separation.

There are no random acts...we are all connected...you can no more separate one life from another than you can separate a breeze from the wind. Mitch Albom

When I think about how we've allowed the separatist values of those in power to turn our lives to suit their needs, I remember the past, and I think about my future. Then I realize it's not only about me. It's about all of us. My mind runs in two dimentions. What do I want for me? And how can I exist without you...all of you? We can't exist alone. We're connected. And we need each other. Our life is within us. But it's kept alive through our connection with others.

For centuries, our relation to each other has been cited in volumes of literature. In the 17th century, John Donne, an English metaphysical poet and cleric in the Church of England strongly believed we are all connected, and he wrote, "No Man Is An Island". The Mensa Education and Research Foundation explains the literal meaning of this phrase as, "No one is by himself; we are all connected to each other; human beings do not thrive when isolated from others; etc;. This need for others is reflected in every area of life, and without it, we fall into our present negative pattern of living.


Everything is energy, and our thoughts and beliefs create our energy vibrations that move through the universe and touch others. It seems impossible that my thoughts, my intentions, my desires can affect anyone but me. But there is power in the energy I project with my thoughts. And what I envision today for myself and others can manifest in positive ways.

In his book, Mind Power Into The 21st Century, John Kehoe says, "We take little notice of what we're thinking. And we go through life neglecting one of the most important and powerful forces in our life: our thoughts. The road of fulfilling relatonships starts with little things: a changed attitude, a reaching out, a look exchanged on a bus, a moment of total honesty with a stranger, but it soon grows into something much larger and more rewarding. It becomes a celebration, a joyful way of living in which we are open and aware in ways we never experienced before."

What a responsibility we have. And what a privilege. We are cells in the cell of humanity, and we can choose to rethink the meaning of our life and participate in the whole creation. We can use connection and community to create love, health, peace, and harmony within our world. What you envision today, and hold in your mind, can bring blessings in your own life and somewhere else in the world where blessings are needed.

We need each other. We can change the world.


Marilyn

Friday, June 16, 2017

Opening The Package vs Assumptions


You don't know what's in the package until you open it. Unknown

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

1. Don't be fooled by first impressions, positive or negative. Take your time and keep an open mind.
2. Use self-talk and plan your strategy. You'd be surprised at how much more clear something is with words than with thoughts. Words paint pictures, and pictures are revealing.
3. Gather information. Take notes and compare them as you go along.
4. Ask all kinds of questions from anyone who might have answers. Example: People who've had their stoves repaired may know who does or does not do good work repairing stoves. Etc. And only accept complete answers. No half...answers.
5. This is not rocket science, so be kind to yourself. It's okay to make a mistake. Most of the time you can back up and start over.
6. When you feel ready, review your information, check you feelings, and act.


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

I wish you happy discoveries.

Marilyn

Friday, June 2, 2017

Sit Under A Tree And Discover Your Peace In Nature



Sometimes life really is a bumpy road, and some of those bumps hurt. We need to find a place of rest, so when the bumps come, we have what we need to pass through them. That place of rest is within you--that place of peace, joy, comfort, wisdom and strength. It's a safe haven sometimes overlooked as we rush through life too worn out and stressed to deal with all the stuff that hits us in the face.

That place is always there, but it's not something to be just tapped into occaseinally when we're desperate for rest. It's where we need to go on a continuing basis, where we need to live as we meet each day's demands. We can form a daily connection through prayer, meditation, music, whatever way pulls you inside to your quiet place.

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

We hear about the benefits of nature where we can also connect with our inner self, but how often do we seek out places where we can actually experience those benefits? Most wooded areas have quiet paths with trees that whisper messages of peace, flowers that dance in the sunshine, maybe weeds with beautiful blue flowers, a few muddy places for children to make mud pies, snow in winter, and puddles after a spring rain. Something all year to soothe our jangled nerves and tell us that life goes on with wisdom and peace, in spite of daily challenges. As often as possible, allow nature to become a part of your life and feel the benefits of being one with nature. You might even sit under a tree and hear it whisper what you need to know.

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

One year while visiting in Seattle, I sat on a shady porch taking in the pristine beauty of giant northwestern trees. I've always loved trees, and this majestic sight left me feeling breathless. Then a nearby tree called my name, and I thought of what I'd heard about the benefits of sitting under a tree. Something shifted inside, and I was drawn to try this new way to reach my quiet place. As I relaxed against the tree, the earth poured her loving energy up through the tree and into my body, wrapping me in exquisite peace and strength. And my heart was very quiet.

As I sat in this blissful space, I remembered singing in my school choir many years ago. We sang Joyce Kilmer's poem about trees. I still knew every word by heart. And now I truly understood his poem...and so much more.

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


Too many people go through life so busy they never really know the beauty that lies within them. They don't know who they truly are and the wonderful achievements of which they're capable. Every day their attention is given to the busyness of everyday life, and they miss the best parts. Find your way to go within and be quiet. Listen for the truth in your heart. You really can walk through life in peace and joy when you know where to look. Look there often.

I wish you beautiful discoveries within a quiet heart.

Marilyn

Friday, May 26, 2017

How To Cope And Survive When Illness Knocks You Down


We live in predictable patterns involving every aspect of life. Every morning we expect our day to be as we've planned it. And we don't want any unexpected situations forcing us down a different path. Usually our plans are easily fulfilled, and our days are as they should be. No problem. Everything's under control, and all is well.

But we don't live in a fairy tale. Our world is real, and unforeseen things do happen, like a check bounces at the bank, the car has a flat tire, or you forgot an important appointment, etc. Bothersome interruptions, but solvable. And that's okay. You've been there before, and you understand that life sometimes gets bumpy, and you have to roll with it. 

I can and will make it through the storm...simply because I'm a survivor. It's what I do. Unknown

But what happens when a sudden unexpected illness temporarily invades your predictable life, like the flu, various viral infections, a chest cold that turns into pneumonia, etc, etc. Such health challenges are not life threatening, but they put your life on hold, and they require more than a band aid. And what about the more serious chronic illnesses like COPD, diabetes, a heart condition, etc...illnesses that require a lifetime of attention. Whatever the illness, they all take their toll. And your life is changed. But you can survive.

You're allowed to scream, you're allowed to cry, but do not give up. Unknown

Recently I spent 6 days in a hospital, then a slow recovery at home. Hospitals are there to promote healing, but the experience can add stress to what you're already going through. In the hospital, every time there was a change of shifts, the new shift contradicted what the last shift required. And I felt like a ball bounced back and forth by the different shifts. One said get out of bed and move around, and the next one jumped all over me for getting out of bed and moving around. I ended up yelling at the walls and crying to go home. The whole thing was like a page out of the movie, "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest." I had to come home to begin healing.

We experience illness on 3 levels, physically, mentally, and emotionally. In our response we may physically see or feel it; mentally we think about it, "Can I afford the medical bills? How can I function with it?" etc; and emotionally we feel angry, scared, frustrated, helpless, etc.

Each illness will manifest in different ways. One may involve physical pain with fear and frustration. Another may involve guilt, worry, or resentment. Another added expense, loss of mobility and independence, leaving you feeling helpless. And each person responds in different ways. Some perceive even a minor illness as devastating, while others take it in stride. The way you perceive it depends upon your personality, your life situation, and the way you view your life.


Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. Arthur Ashe

How do you respond when illness knocks you down? Have you ever thought about the way in which you deal with it? Knowing and understanding yourself at those times supplies a sense of control and is the first step in the healing process as you implement other resources. But once you've made that first assessment, it's important to quiet your mind and allow your body to heal.

Too often, some in the medical field have a 'one size fits all' agenda. But this is the last attitude a person in pain needs or wants. One size doesn't fit all. You are unique, and you need individual care. So when you need medical care, look for a care giver who cares.

People start to heal the moment they feel heard. Cheryl Richardson

Have you ever felt alone in a health challenge? Have you ever longed for someone to hear you and put their arm around you and tell you you'll be okay? Well, that someone is a major part of your healing. So find that person, and allow their caring energy to help you heal. And whether you're facing a temporary or permanent situation, look within for guidance, strength, and confidence, knowing you will always be the same beautiful soul that you are. And no illness can ever change that.


I wish you healthy days and loving arms around you.

Marilyn

Friday, May 12, 2017

As You Move Through Your Life Journey, How Are You Creating Each Stage Along Your Path?




It's a long journey through life, and as we move through various stages we may not realize that each stage is a gift with it's challenges, opportunities, lessons, and yes, blessings. Generally we just move along and don't much notice until something happens to jolt us into a realization that time passes and change takes place. And sometimes we don't welcome the change.

Our culture is a youth oriented world. As people age, we want to put them out to pasture, get them out of the way. Just try to find a pair of jeans that come above your hips, or a style you'd wear past the age of 50. And too many lonely people are in nursing homes. We all know nostalgia, and sometimes we want to go back. Ah, how I remember when my children were small. I rocked my babies, rode on the sled with them, got a gash in my son's head sutured when he fell off his bike, ordered art lessons for my other son, and made my daughter's prom dress--among thousands of other memories, some wonderful, and some not so wonderful.

Learn to trust the journey, even when you do not understand it. Unknown

You know what I mean. You have your memories too. Did you realize time was passing when you lived those years? I didn't. I just took it all for granted--except the traumatic experiences. I just wanted out of those. Then one day I looked around and realized I had gone through several more life stages. I had aged, and I wondered where it all went...those precious memories, my clear skin, my flat tummy and my firm rear end. Wow. It must have happened when I wasn't looking.

The journey between what you once were and who you are now becoming is where the dance of life takes place. Barbara DeAngelis

I wanted to keep the happy times. Then I remembered the mistakes, and oh, how I wanted to go back and do those over. I thought about what I might have learned from them, and I was surprised at how much I had learned. But what about now? Was I learning now or drifting? I wasn't sure. It kind of felt like drifting, so I made a commitment to be aware of my life in each stage, and face each day with trust in God and myself, with intention and hope for a more meaningful life. When I falter and need reminders, I'm sure they will present themselves.


So much is said about living in the present, but I think we don't realize the full meaning of the word 'living', to live, to learn, to savor, to share, to be aware of self and others, and to know where we are on our journey and what we want to do with it. We have the power to create the quality of our life in spite of challenges. Did you know that? And you're probably a lot smarter than you used to be, so you're more able to create a better future.

Don't be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Think about where you are now, and where you want to go. Hang on to those precious moments from the past, and let go of your mistakes. You did the best you could according to your growing ability at the time. Every stage in life is equally important with opportunities to learn and grow in new ways. You are not what you have or do. You are the beautiful being inside who is on a glorious journey to self realization, and you can't find that if you overlook your purpose or fret about where you need to go.

Life may not offer the same experiences it did in past stages, but don't miss the great ones that are there for you now. There is Divine purpose in all of it, and you are part of that Divine plan for yourself and humanity. Hang on and enjoy the ride.

I wish you much happiness in each stage of your journey.


Marilyn

Friday, May 5, 2017

A Time For Rebirth And Renewal



Everything in the universe moves in cycles, and these cycles are necessary to life. The moon tells the oceans when to ebb and flow, seasons tell us when to sow and reap, and darkness tells us when our day should end. Our whole universe is involved in cycles, including us. We leave one phase and enter a new one. And each cycle offers some kind of rebirth and renewal. And all of nature shouts it's claim to a new springtime, "Look at me. I'm alive, expressing who and what I am."

Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush. Doug Larson

Snow has melted, and crunchy slush takes over. It's springtime again...life coming forth at just the precise time and in the precise way according to nature's plan. Trees turn green, blossoms of every color discard their buds, butterflies emerge from cocoons, bears come out of their caves and stretch in the warm sun, and every little fuzzy critter scampers to explore what his buddies are up to. Every year we're treated to nature's brand new technicolor presentation of rebirth and renewal. And it's breathtaking.

I remember when I was a child in Michigan, and springtime wrapped her arms around the earth and replaced the drab haze of winter with her gifts of rebirth and renewal. I saw it in fields of tulips with every color in the rainbow and in blue and yellow wildflowers pushing up randomly along my path to school. I listened to birds and night owls pouring their songs into springtime air becoming reacquainted with lost friends and celebrating new ones. I felt spring breezes and warm sun caressing my bare legs when I discarded my leggings until the next cold winter. I watched lightening dart across the sky heralding springtime rain. And then I danced in the rain, hopped through puddles, and tasted rain drops on my tongue.

Every spring I joined nature in her celebration. With all of my senses, I was part of this glorious transformation. I saw life in nature, and I felt life in myself, like we were part of each other in God's great universe. I saw it and felt it everywhere. Then I grew up and forgot to notice. And springtime grew to mean days were longer, we could save on the electric bill, and vacation time was getting closer. Where did joy of the season go? Recently I looked around and realized it's all still there...every year.

"There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature." Rachel Carson

Fall and winter energy pulls us in and says slow down, let go, and regroup. Spring and summer energy pushes us out and says move forward, take on the new, and express your colors. Just like everything in nature we're wired for seasonal change, physically, mentally, and spiritually. And we can't help responding to those seasonal changes. We can either respond with resistance and become more physically disturbed and less motivated, or we can answer the call and become more healthy and invigorated.


Now is when old painful experiences can pass away and make room for a new beginning, like flowers budding anew after a hard freeze. We've all been through those hard freezes. But we need to open our eyes to the possibilities that present themselves every spring. Do you ever think about rebirth and renewal within yourself, or are you content to continue living in the old script you've written for your life? Everyone creates a script. It's like a recipe for living, and we act it our everyday. We may have visions or dreams of how we'd like to change it, but most of the time those fade away, and our springs come and go as they always have.

Those who plow in hope not only understand the law of the harvest, but they also understand what growing seasons are all about. Neal A. Maxwell

How about taking a lesson from the tulips or butterflies, or like the bear, be brave enough to come out of your cave. Within each of us is a light so bright you can write a whole new script and experience positive changes in your life. A time of rebirth. A time of renewal. Search deep within. What are your colors? What is your song? What are the words you want to say? Someone said, "Your wings already exist. All you have to do is fly." So spread your wings and fly. It's your springtime.

I wish you beautiful discoveries in your springtime.

Marilyn



 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Dealing With The Difficult People In Your Life



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

     When dealing with those difficult ones it's wise to first know yourself...to understand your feelings when someone ticks you off. What bothers you and what doesn't ...and why? Do you know your strengths and weaknesses? Are you tactful or confronting...quiet or outspoken...judgmental or accepting? What are your fears and insecurities? And what ability or talent can you express to others? You may have valuable qualities of which you're not even aware. The better you understand yourself, the better you'll understand others, even the difficult ones. So know yourself first, and then focus on the people in your life.

Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; often times we call a man cold when he is only sad. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

     A person's behavior patterns are clues that reveal much about them. And difficult people may require closer attention to understand their behaviors. The more you observe and understand, the better equipped you are to deal with them. They may have inner fears or insecurities that cause troublesome behaviors that frustrate or irritate you. Maybe there's fear of losing control, losing position, revealing weaknesses, or some other hidden fear. Or there may be some emotional pain the person is not comfortable sharing. We all try to protect ourselves in some way, and we may use negative behaviors to cope. We can't see inside of another person, but knowing and understanding as much as possible may lead to a better relationship.

     Everyone is unique with particular talents or abilities, and these become part of who they are in the world. 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. Nor can we be everything to everyone else. But learning a difficult person't talents and abilities can be used to create a more harmonious relationship.

Some of the best people with whom you can have a relationship are the people who challenge your thinking. T. D. Jakes

     Years ago when I worked with a mental health team in a jail setting, one Sergeant felt threatened by our presence and always gave us a hard time. So I devised a plan to soften his attitude. I noticed he was organized and had a talent for keeping his floor running smoothly with few problems. So I assumed a subordinate attitude and began complimenting him on the exceptionally good work he was doing. Well, his frown quickly changed as he threw out his chest and smiled with ego satisfaction. From then on, our difficult relationship became one of congenial cooperation. So compliments are sometimes useful in melting a negative attitude.

     Sometimes things work and sometimes they don't. So if your efforts to create more harmony are not producing results, it may be time to regroup and alter 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. Try to understand where they're coming from, and help them feel safe with you. But if nothing works, be willing to let them go. 


Sometimes God uses difficult people, like sandpaper to rub the rough edges off us. Joel Osteen 

     If you want to keep a difficult person in your life, try to look past behaviors that disturb or irritate. And don't get caught up in their chaos. There's good in everyone, even those who come across otherwise. So look for qualities in them that you can enjoy. You wouldn't want to keep them if you didn't already see something of value, even something to help you learn and grow. Approach all of your relationships with love and as much understanding as you can muster. You just might find a diamond in some rough exteriors. And their lives just might enrich yours.

I wish you many happy relationships.


Marilyn

    

Friday, April 21, 2017

Heal Your Total Self by Healing Your 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.

We've all had traumas and painful experiences as children. But you don't have to be adversely affected by the past when you start healing the child within. Unknown

Since the child is our feeling self, when you feel sad, hurt, angry, scared, frustrated, any painful feelings, that's your child crying for help. And your child needs attention. We're all human, and we will have those feelings sometimes. They're part of life, and we can't totally shut down all negativity. But you can be aware of your feelings, know where they're coming from, and turn to your inner child with love and compassion. You can learn to diminish the negative and increase the positive feelings. And your inner child, and thus you, can learn to be happier.


"It is necessary to own and honor the child you were in order to love the person you are." Robert Burney

As you become more familiar and relate more with your inner child, you'll know right away how to work out any painful feelings. And you and the child part of you will feel more like the one person you are. But it's also important to recognize your parent self, the self that can be critical or nurturing, and your adult self with its rational thinking and problem-solving skills. Then when your parent self gets critical, you can call on your adult self to handle the situation and free your inner child from more hurt.


"She held herself until the sobs of the child inside subsided entirely. I love you, she told herself. It will all be okay." Raven Rose

Seems like you go in and out of different characters, doesn't it? Well, all 3 of them are you, and whether you know it or not, you've been using all of them all of the time...crying with pain, criticizing yourself, and your adult self intervening. Example Scenario: Suppose someone said something unkind to you, and you were hurt and cried (That's your child self). Then a voice in your head said, "Oh, can't take it, huh? Stop that blubbering (That's your parent self). Then you dried your tears and told yourself, "Never mind. You're loved and you do matter (That's your adult self soothing your inner child feelings). We use all parts of ourself automatically.



Now there's another side to all of this. While you're healing the hurts and drying the tears, your inner child would really like to have some funl. You know, the things you used to do before you got so busy. So let her/him out sometimes. Sing with the birds, make funny faces and laugh at yourself, walk in the rain, dance around the house, eat an ice cream cone and let it melt down your belly. The list is endless. The more you laugh, the less pain you will feel. And it will be so much easier being you.

There is a child inside all of us who continues to believe that it can always get better. That it doesn't end here. Vienna Pharaon

When your child self is happy, you look up instead of down. It raises your sights to who you really are...God's beautiful creation who only wants good in your life. You have the strength to successfully meet life's challenges. You have wisdom to make wise choices and create peace instead of pain. You have the courage to bring what's good for you into your life and rule out what's not. You live each day with faith and hope. And you learn to love your wonderful self. You heal your inner child, you heal yourself. And life can be so good.


I wish you fun being you.

Marilyn


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Your Remarkable Body And What It Means To You



If you're like most people, everyday you drive your car to a destination. And you handle gas, oil, water, tune-ups, and repairs when needed. Maybe you take a bus or train, but you always have transportation during your life journey. So you probably use many vehicles over your lifetime. But do you ever think about the only vehicle that transports you throughout that journey without any trade-ins? Think about it. It's more valuable than any car you'll ever drive. Yes, it's your remarkable body that gets you through your lifetime in spite of all the challenges you may encounter.

I stand in awe of my body. Henry David Thoreau

Our body is an absolute miracle to be cared for and used wisely. But we move through each busy day with little thought of its welfare and the many ways in which it serves us. We don't see it as the vehicle that houses all parts of our total self working together as one beautiful entity. We're usually not aware of our body until aches and pains crop up, but each precious part of us needs daily attention if we're to fulfill all we're meant to be. As a car needs gas, oil, and water to function, our body needs food, water, air, sleep, and lots of TLC.

Do you ever think about the food you take in every day and how it actually nourishes you? We consume protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamins, minerals, and plant based molecules that serve as antioxidents, anti-inflammatories, and anti-cancer agents. We routinely consume food every day without thought of its value. Do you ever look at a glass of water and wonder why it's so important? Water regulates body temperature, lubricates joints, flushes out waste products, carries nutrients and oxygen to cells, makes minerals and other nutrients accessible to the body, protects body organs and tissues, and moistens tissues such as mouth, eyes, and nose. All that in a glass of water? Remarkable.

We don't think about breathing unless something happens and we're short of breath. And we realize the value of air. Each breath carries oxygen to our cells and powers every process in our body. Then carbon dioxide is released with pollutants and foreign organisms. Sounds simple, but life depends on it. Refresh and Release. Wonderful. But did you know that air also contributes to sound which we need to make words?

Thinking about our body, we can't forget about our brain. That's what keeps us on the right path on our journey. Our brain is equipped with several levels of brain waves, ranging from very alert to deep sleep. And they're constantly in motion depending upon what we're doing. Theta Healing says, "Everything you do or say is regulated by the frequency of brain waves." During times of deep relaxation, Theta brain waves activate the body's natural self-healing processes. What about that....your body can heal itself.

I used to think my body shut down when I slept, but according to the National Sleep Foundation, during sleep our bodies restore and rejuvenate, grow muscle, repair tissue, synthesize hormones, and solidify and consolidate memories. And after sleep, we retain information and perform better in memory tasks. I better check on that one. I don't feel that smart in the morning.

"Most people have no idea how good their body is designed to feel." Kevin Trudeau


Much is constantly happening in your body, but you carry more than flesh and bones. You're given a mind to understand and reason, to choose, to create, and relate to others; your heart keeps faith and hope, it loves and forgives, and brings smiles instead of tears when life knocks you down; spirit comforts and reminds you of who you are; and your soul is who you are. The years take their toll, but inside is the spark....the light....the eternal motor that keeps you going while all the finite parts serve you on your journey.

Your body has needs only you can supply. So listen to your body for direction. It's the barometer that knows what you need no matter what your mind may be thinking. And you'll hear it speak if you pay attention. Love and care for this magnificent gift, and allow it to take care of you. You are blessed.

What I've presented in this article doesn't even touch the magnitude of this remarkable creation. And you may disagree with some of my thoughts. But I continue learning. And I invite you to learn too.

I wish you health and happiness in your discoveries.

Marilyn

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Healing Power Of Music



Music is the voice that tells us that the human race is greater than it knows. Napoleon Bonaparte

Healing music fills our world and runs through our lives everyday. But we're so busy we miss the beauty that comes with meaningful music that touches our heart and really makes a difference in our daily life. And health issues, anxiety, and depresson either take us down or run beneath the surface hidden from the world as we struggle to function.

A few years ago, I developed a chronic health challenge that kept me wired up, and I was in a constant state of anxiety and depression. Then I discovered two sources of healing music. And oh, what glorious sounds.

Stephen Halpern's incredible music is like nothing you've ever heard. He uses music for healing, without continuous rhythm or recognizable melodies. And it draws you into a natural state of harmony and balance. When I sat quietly and listened to Halpern's Chakra Suite, I was embraced in the quiet relaxation and peace I longed for. This music touched my soul, and helped me through a difficult time.


Then there was Il Volo, three amazing young men who brought their glorious music and Italian voices to the world. I didn't understand the Italian words in most of their songs, but their voices spoke to me about life. And their expression touched my heart with the realization that we humans are blessed with beauty we're not even aware of. As I listened, I felt alive. And my life was meaningful.

But as time passed and I felt good again, I forgot and drifted away from my daily music routine. And fatigue, anxiety, and depression crept back in. So I've returned to Halpern and Il Volo. Perhaps my angels are teaching me a new lesson, because listening to Halpern and Il Volo now, I've become aware of other voices in the world, the ones we don't hear as music. But sometimes that music we don't hear can fill our hearts with joy and heal our deepest pain, if we listen to its songs.


If the sight of blue skies fills you with joy, if the simplest things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice for your soul is alive. Eleanor Duse

That healing music is all round us; a song in the wind blowing through trees, waves hitting notes against the shore, bees humming around a flower, or children's laughter. Now I even whistle with birds in my back yard. Yes, really. It's all music. And our most important song is inside of us. We all have our own voice, the unique way we express ourself. And we have the power to choose our songs.

In the grocery store, one of the clerks always smiles, asks how I'm doing today, and if I want paper or plastic. She sings the same words everyday, and the title of her song is, "I care about you." I know this because I feel her caring voice expressing the words. (Some really do care) My niece sings with smiles from her wheelchair, and I know writers who put their songs on paper. Ah, the music.

Michael Jackson said, "To live is to be musical, starting with the blood dancing in your veins. Everything living has a rhythm. Do you feel your music?" It can lower your stress level, help heal your body, and lift your unhappy soul to new levels of peace and balance. Each day listen to the music your world has for you, and express your own music to others. You have the voice within you to choose your song. Sing it to the world. There's healing and happiness in sharing the music.

I wish you songs to sing and joy to share.

Marilyn

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

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


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



     It's the unexpected that changes our lives. Unknown

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

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

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

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

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

What gets measured, gets managed. Peter Drucker

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




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

"Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations." Unknown 

If an unexpected situation is a result of your own mistake, never condemn yourself. Adding a problem to the one you already have does nothing beneficial. So don't do it. Instead, say some affirmations. "I am strong enough to lick this tiger, and smart enough to find a clear road ahead."  Sometimes an unexpected difficulty now is the

very thing that may lead you to that clear road ahead. Look for it with clear vision.

I wish you peace in your heart along the way.

Marilyn

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Ways To Make Wise Choices And Avoid Consequences You Don't Want



Everything we say or do in life is a choice. Unknown

Push a button, turn on a thought, talk, get dressed, drive somewhere, thousands of actions every day. We're creatures of habit, and most of the time we're unaware that each action is a choice, and each choice has a consequence. Of course, we need to form habits to function on a daily basis. But each decision we make creates a result, positive or negative. And it pays to understand the bigger picture, so our major choices can benefit us as well.

For every choice we make we set a cycle of energy and consequence into motion. Caroline Myss, PhD

We take everyday habits for granted. But you choose. And those daily activities probably meet your needs. But what about major decisions about work, finances, relationships, health, home. etc...those choices that are difficult to undo or change? And what about situations that just happen through no fault of yours? A few years ago, I experienced a serious car wreck. I didn't choose the accident, but I chose the route that got me there. So where does it all come from?

Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life, and you will call it fate. C. G. Jung

We learn during our whole lifetime, but for the most part, childhood is where we learn how to live our life making choices. We make them in our own individual way, with a number of factors that influence our methods. And these influences prepare us well or lead us to a series of misguided decisions with negative, even painful, results. As children, the demands on us can create a sense of confidence or mistrust in our judgment.

Situations such as poverty, health issues, disruptive environments, and negative messages can hamper our ability to make sound choices. Trying to live up to roles assigned by our parents can engender security or insecurity. Even where you are in the birth line can make a difference. Nothing written in stone, but the oldest are usually more independent and self-reliant; the middle may feel shadowed by the others; the youngest more dependent and welcome support.

Life is all about choices. Good or Bad; Right or Wrong; Your destiny will unfold according to the choices you make. Unknown

How many people do you know who look back in regret wishing they'd chosen differently in their work, relationships, health, etc? I can't count the times I've done that. I had to experience 2 years of therapy to learn that my fear, insecurity, poor self-image, loneliness, and so forth had altered my ability to choose wisely. And that's when I turned the page with wiser choices and happier consequences.


There's no guarantee that all your choices will be the right ones. But you can learn to create better outcomes most of the time. There's a saying, "Look at your life, and you'll see what you have created." So first look at your life and own responsibility for having created it. Then look at each present situation in your life, and think back in time to what choice you made in the past that created that situation, positive or negative. Some choices may appear to have been mistakes. But re-examine and see if anything good ultimately resulted from them. You may be surprised.

Now consider what there is within you that may influence your choices, positive or negative. Is it doubting your ability, poor self-image, fear of failure, what will people think, etc? What determines the choices you make? Just being in too much of a hurry could be a problem. With awareness and understanding, you can sometimes correct situations in your life with new choices. And those you can't change, you can choose ways to better cope.

The next time you have to make a major choice like buying a product, finding a doctor, a new friend, a job, a relationship, or a major life change, analyze what you're thinking, and get in touch with your gut feeling. Don't expect a perfect answer, but trust yourself, and vanish any fears. Check your options, get a second opinion, gather needed infornation, talk it over with someone you trust. All of this information will empower you to go forth in confidence. You've done your homework, and in the future it will pay off. Maybe not perfect, but you can experience more of the life you long for deep inside. And when you learn, you can teach someone else.


I wish you clear vision and happy results.

Marilyn