Sunday, December 31, 2017

Turn Your 'Shoulds' To 'Wants' For The New Year



You're entering a new year. How do you approach a gift like this? You can say, "Oh, another year of the same old stuff." Or you can get caught up in the usual 'shoulds' with lists of resolutions you think you 'should' do. Or you can examine what's going on in your life and what you may 'want' to change or make better. And each one offers a different experience in the coming year.

The first one will probably give you the same challenges you faced last year. The second one implies the possibility of repercussions if you don't do what you 'should' do, so you better do what you think you 'should' do. And the third one sets you free to explore, to envision, and to be and do whatever you 'want' while creating wonderment in your life. The third one requires planning, but the results can be rewarding.

With the new year upon us, now is the time to look at your life and decide what you want to do with it. You have the power to create new blessings in your life and to expand upon what you already have. As you enter this new year, bring the positive with you, the love, the peace, the good times, everything that made you happy last year. And cling to these happy memories with anticipation to bring more good into your life. This year can offer opportunities for you to grow into more of what your heart desires and find more happiness along the way.

"There comes a day when you realize turning the page is the best feeling in the world, because you realize there is so much more to the book than the page you were stuck on." Zayn Malik

Everything that happens in your life fills a space inside, and some of your painful experiences are part of what you're carrying. When we experience challenges, we get through the best we can. But sometimes we fail to release heartaches, regrets, losses, etc. And we push the painful stuff down out of sight. But this negative energy needs to be dealt with, cleansed, and released from its hiding place, so you don't carry too much of it with you into your new year. This process takes time and patience, but with your determination to let it go and live a better life, most of it will gradually disappear.

For last year's words belong to last year's language and next years words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning. T.S.Eliot

Whenever you move in a new direction, you need to know where you want to go and how to get there. So you'll need a definite plan to prevent your life from getting lost in your everyday busyness. You'll still experience detours along your way. But that's okay. You'll be on the right track with good energy. And maybe now you're ready to create a new beginning with a plan to guide you on your new journey.


Now is the time to clarify what you're dealing with and what you'll need and want in your plan. You'll need to consider: 1) What specific issues in your outer and inner world you want to address. 2) A strategy of action to achieve what you want to do with each one. 3) What you want to accomplish overall in the coming year. Then make a list of each of these 3 sections, and begin following your plan. Some people hate to make lists, but lists help facilitate planning, they help you avoid feeling overwhelmed with a cluttered mind, and they promote clarity of direction.

This may seem overwhelming, but time spent in one day can prepare for a successful beginning and make each day more joyous in the coming year. As needed, you can check your 'what and how' lists, and feel confident you won't be at the mercy of troublesome situations that arise in your life. You'll feel free from most 'shoulds' that sap your creativity, and you can do what you 'want' to enrich your life.

I truly wish you a Happy New Year


Marilyn

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

What Will You Give When The Holiday Season Ends?



Some of us are coming to the end of a holiday season, and will soon be busy picking up, putting away, cleaning, etc. If gifts were part of your holiday, you're looking again at the gifts remembering your squeals of delight with each one. But now you look around and know it's over. So you begin waiting for next year when you will again experience the joy of the season. But you don't have to wait for next year.

Those pretty wrapped gifts are also given on birthdays, anniversaries, any day to celebrate. And they are indeed joyful. I remember when I was a child I played outside until streetlights came on, and every evening a man caught the bus on my corner to play in a band downtown. Well, on my birthday, he brought me a box of beautiful hair ribbons wrapped in a pretty box. I never knew his name, but I remember the joy in his face as I opened my gift. And this memory is still dear to me. But gifts like this are not all we have to give.

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

What about the gifts that are created within you and can be expressed by you? They're not wrapped in pretty paper, but they're just as beautiful. And you have the power to give those every day of the year. You may not realize you have inner gifts, but you do. They're something you feel inside, and they're unique to you. There's no one like you, and what you have to give is like no other. Your gifts are a part of who and what you are. And they lay inside waiting to be expressed...wanting to be expressed. Perhaps you already use them, unaware of their expression. Many are subtle and go unnoticed as gifts, but they're felt in your life and in the lives of those they touch.

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

There are all kinds of gifts with qualities from small everyday gestures to some we may term spectacular. Some people are fixers, good listeners, or leaders, and some are gifted with empathy and compassion. I had a neighbor who repaired children's bicycles so they could ride again. Another woman shared her homemade cookies. And I know a woman who is wheelchair bound with MS, and she waves and smiles at everyone, even strangers, changing gloomy faces to happy ones. And she doesn't see it as a gift. It's just what she does.

I told you about a friend who didn't have money to buy a gift for my birthday, so she cleaned my house for me. And when I worked as a Psychotherapist, one of my patients brouht me a birdhouse his wife made for me, and another patient gave me a lily plant he grew in his yard. What beautiful memories of inner gifts in expression. These gifts remind me that the sharing of heartfelt love is a blessing, and the gift is a symbol of this feeling.


What's your gift? What gives you a sense of satisfaction and joy in the doing? And what gives your life meaning? It may be creating a physical object, writing, music, cooking, sewing, building something. Or it may simply be creating situations that bring happiness to yourself and others. This in itself is a gift. Could you comfort someone who's feeling lonely? Could you offer compassion and guidance to someone who's feeling lost? Could you encourage and support someone who wants to leave a destructive lifestyle, but afraid to reach out alone to change?

If you're not aware of your gift, start noticing what you enjoy and do well that might bring pleasure to others. Ask your inner Voice to show you what you've been given and guide you in using it. When you share your gift, it brings joy to someone else, and you feel the joy too. And remember, when you give someone something with your heart, you're giving them a part of yourself. So, really...dear one, you are a precious gift. 

I wish you many blessings with your gift.


Marilyn

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Pay Attention This Holiday Season. You're Making Memories.



We humans are magnificent creations. We have what we need to thrive and survive and display outstanding talents and skills. And one of the most wonderful and complex parts of us is our brain. Everything we ever heard or experienced is held in our brain. It's all there, most of it tucked away in secret forever. But we have our memories. And some of our past is never lost.

A memory is a photograph taken by the heart to make a special moment last forever. Unknown

Memories come to us in several ways. You may want to re-capture something from the past, so you think of it, and it becomes real again. Other times you encounter things like a song, a special memento, or a similar experience that brings up a memory. And you remember what brought you joy and what brought you pain. And you relive those times.

When something comes to you from the past, you remember. You remember those heartfelt happy times, and you cling to the experience when you see it, you feel it, you taste it and breathe in the sweet scent. You remember. And for a moment, you're lost in time. You reach out. You want it back. But you feel the bittersweet quality of memory, and you have to let it go...maybe with a smile...maybe not. And memories are a part of life. So you live with them, and treasure each one.

Sometimes memories sneak out of my eyes and roll down my cheeks. Avena

But all memories are not the happy ones. Sometimes they awaken a pain in your heart you thought was gone, never to return and torture you. Maybe you remember loss of a loved one, an opportunity you missed, a betrayal by a friend, words that cut deep to your soul, experiences you don't want to ever see or feel again. But you remember and you relive the whole episodes with the same tips and turns, the confusion, the unbelief, the heartfelt pain. You cringe and turn away. And the more you resist the memory, the stronger it gets. But memories are a part of life.

Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future. Lewis B. Smedes

Many people remember situations involving themselves and others that need forgiving. When this is accomplished, the memory remains, but the suffering is healed and gone. Years ago when I was working, every payday I put money away for my retirement fund. Then a couple years into retirement, I lost my money due to neglect by the person handling it. A bitter memory. Everyone makes mistakes, but if I'd paid off my house instead, things would have been different. And I might have more pleasant memories now. But peace comes with forgiveness.

Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory. Dr. Seuss

There's a saying, "Life is for making memories." But as we move through life with one experience after another, we don't actively create situations that might later become pleasant memories. We don't even think about or fully realize what our experiences will look and feel like in a memory. So why not create happy situations today to bring happiness again tomorrow in the remembering. And what a better time to create good memories than in a holiday season. 


This is a time of year when people are rushing to get things done, with little attention on what they'll remember in the future. So pay attention to happiness that simply happens, and make some of it yourself. Enjoy the holiday season with family and friends, and maybe people you don't even know. Exchange lots of hugs, smile at strangers, play with children, sing out loud, skip up an aisle in the grocery store, call people by their names, share with your place of worship and charities. Be creative and do what makes you and others happy. This is a time to celebrate life and make memories you will cherish forever.

I wish you fun making your happy memories.


Marilyn

Sunday, December 10, 2017

How To Relieve Stress And Find Your Holiday Miracles



It's December, and holiday planning is everywhere. More cars are on the road with fewer places to park, stores are picking up traffic, you see more ads on TV, holiday trimmings are going up, and everyone's looking for just the right gift. In other words, everything's progressing into the usual chaotic rush that strikes this time every year. It can be a time of constant stress OR it can be a time of wonderment and miracles...if you make it so. And isn't it wonderful? Or is it?

Many people are so consumed with doing, they miss the fun of being. They try to move through each day on auto pilot without much thought to where they're going. It's easy to forget things, then have to back track to remedy the forgetting. And pleasant experiences can turn into frustation and stress. If you're someone who celebrates a holiday in December, you know what it's like scrambling to get through it with a sane mind and a strong body still intact. Maybe you feel the reward is worth the stress. But with too much stress, it's like walking through a beautiful garden and forgetting to smell the flowers.

In the midst of the clamor, this time of year can also tug at your heart strings with sweet memories of times past when you held a certain loved one, when family was intact, when life was slower and felt more stable, when so much was 'just different'. You feel the stress of knowing you can't go back and recapture what you had yesterday. And painful feelings prevent your full embrace of the season. But your memories and your love for people and things from the past will always be a part of you. And you don't have to give them up. You can keep them close in your heart, while you focus on expressing love in the present.


As you move through your busy days, be vigilant and watch for opportunities to replace stress with love and joy in each experience. Recently I was in a check-out line in a grocery store, and I spied a small boy around 4 or 5 years old leaning against his mother also in line. I waved to him, and he waved back. And for a while we had fun giggling and connecting with back and forth gestures. Words were not necessary. Then suddenly he left his mother's side, darted over to me, threw both arms around me, and held on tight with his little head nestled against me. I was absolutely awe-struck, and I knelt down and gave him a hug. He finally left with both parents. And I'll always cherish the joy that dear little boy brought to me.

Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love. Hamilton Wright Mabie 

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


Holiday seasons are rich with miracles if you know where to look. First hug the miracle that is yourself. Then reach out to others with your love. And watch and listen so miracles won't go unnoticed. Smile at strangers, and play with children. If you attend worship services, exchange hugs with others who need hugs as much as you do. And call people by their name. We like being validated. Keep your mind and heart open and receptive allowing your love to flow into this season. And you'll find your holiday miracles. Then you'll reach the finish line with a big grin, because  you can finally sit back, put your feet up, and say, "Ahh. Yes, it is wonderful."

I wish you a holiday filled with peace and love.

Marilyn

Sunday, December 3, 2017

How To Create Peace Between You



Is there someone in your life who gets on your nerves and annoys you to the point of frustration? Maybe your boss, co-worker, neighbor, friend, life partner? Most people know someone like this. If you do, then you know that uncomfortable feeling that bubbles beneath the surface and drives you up a wall.

Years ago I worked in a pharmacy with a verbally abusive boss. Then one day I exploded, and we had a yelling fight across the store. I thought for sure I'd be fired. But when I carried my loud voice behind his counter, he was doubled up with laughter. I yelled, "What the hell are you laughing at?" With a wide grin, he answered, "I wondered how long it would take you to stand up for yourself. Bout time." After that he treated me with respect, and we ended up with a good relationship. However, I wouldn't recommend my behavior to anyone. Don't yell at your boss.

People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude. Unknown

Over time, I've learned better ways to improve my own response to people who push my buttons. There's room for change on both sides. First look at your own responses, and honestly question any hangups that may precipitate or contribute to the other person's behavior. Am I being unreasonable? Do I expect too much? Do I respond from my own insecurity? Is there something in me that needs to change? Look for answers, and make necessary changes if you need to. If you feel comfortable talking to the other person, do it. If not, there are other ways to bring about change.

One time I worked with a team of people, and our Supervisor's answers to the others were usually 'yes', but always 'no' to me, sometimes with a somewhat hostile attitude. I was confused and made every effort to please. But no change. Then I went to my Minister for help, and she recommended the following exercise. I used it each day, and in about a month, I saw changes with my Supervisor. Eventually, we became friends, and I valued her friendship.

Recommended Exercise: Your goal is to change the negative energy between you to positive energy, thus changing the behaviors.
1. Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and imagine looking at the other person.
2. Then say, "I love you, I bless you, I release you to your highest good."
3. Now take another deep breath, and let go. Let go. Let go.

When you say these words, you're sending the other person a love your neighbor type of love--the kind that's wired in us to love others. At first, you may not feel these words, so saying them may be difficult. But you're affirming blessings in their life, and you're releasing them, and ultimately yourself, from negative energy between you. So say the words anyway. In most cases, this exercise does work if you stay with it. And you might just find the peace you long for between you.


You can't change someone who doesn't see an issue in their actions. Unknown

Not everyone is going to cooperate and make the change you want in your relationship. And it may be someone you can't or don't want to release from your life. But you don't have to remain on the receiving end of their inappropriate behavior. Set boundaries with a plan to avoid emotional disturbance from a difficult person.

Boundary Examples: "I will be caring and considerate of your feelings; I will use yes or no when needed, and mean it; I will listen when you're talking to me, but will walk away if your words or manner are hurtful; etc, etc. And I will grant you the same courtesies." Create and present the plan appropriate to the person involved, such as your boss at work, your life partner, whoever, etc.

A miracle is a shift in perception from fear to love. Marianne Williamson 

Some people have a fear of losing control and will resist change. So if someone refuses your miracle, then honor it yourself as much as possible. You're a special person with a right to peace and love in your life. Go for it, and be happy.

I wish you peace created between you.

Marilyn

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Release Clutter And Nourish Your Soul. Part 2 Inner Clutter



Clutter in our outer world is tangible things with visual color and texture you can touch. But the inside stuff rolls around in your head and heart, and you carry it with you everyday. You wake in the morning, and it beckons your attention. And if you're an inside clutterer, you answer its call.

If it can be solved, there's no need to worry, and if it can't be solved worry is of no use. Dalai Lama

Like outer clutter, inner clutter occurs in different amounts and intensity. At best, you might experience occasional worry like rushing to catch a bus when you oversleep, or forget to cancel an appointment, etc. For those you might fret and say a few choice words, but then deal with it and not let it become an unecessary burden. Then more intense is worry over one main issue you just can't release like a lost relationship or a mistake you can't go back and correct. And your strong feelings hold it to you. You see no resolution, and you can't stop obsessing over it everyday.

The most troublesome situation is when multiple issues build up inside with focus on many painful feelings that won't stop. And they become a source of daily rumination without resolution. Or you retain feelings from the past like sorrow, regret, anger, etc. And a trigger like a song or a sudden memory can create an ongoing reaction. You can even get into, "What if this happens, or what if that happens," before anything worrisome happens. Inner clutter fills your thoughts, and you feel there's no way out.

Outer clutter in our surroundings influences the way we feel. But it doesn't require constant attention, and daily activities furnish a respite. Inner clutter is a different phenomenon. Your thoughts are part of you. And for a person who's caught up in a daily battle with obsessive thinking, the relentless invasion of worrisome thoughts can reach down to the soul and leave them anxious, depressed, and exhausted. Just living day to day becomes a challenge.

Non resistance is the greatest power in the Universe. Eckhart Tolle

When mental clutter piles up, you try to make it stop. But it won't budge. You try pushing it out of your mind, but it gets stronger. And you push harder. So it goes, over and over. Well, there's a saying, "Resistance breeds persistence." And it does. So stop resisting. Once you let it be, you can get to ways that will release it and bring you peace. And there are ways to do that.


First, give yourself permission to release the clutter. Then voice your intention to stop obsessing, and verbalize a vow to break loose. Be firm.

Prepare with self-talk, and speak to your thoughts with love as often as needed. Repeat, "I've been approaching problems with worry, and that doesn't work. I'm smart enough to handle whatever needs my attention, and let the rest go. And thoughts, I don't need you now. I'm taking charge, and we're going to be happy."

If it doesn't nourish your soul, get rid of it. Unknown

Consider the difference between worry and concern. Worry is clutter, and doesn't solve problems. Concern implies relevance and importance, and is a valid place to begin releasing the clutter. So list everything you're worrying about, and rate each item by how relevant and important it is and how much you 'need' to be concerned about it...0 being not at all, and 10 being a lot. Then choose items you can solve without worry.

A miracle is a shift in perception from fear to love. Marianne Williamson

Imagine a large balloon, and drop items you're releasing into the balloon. Seal the top, and wave goodbye with forgiveness and love as you watch it float upward and disappear into the sky. Feel your shoulders lighten and your mind clear. Now you have nourished your soul.

It may take additional efforts to finally stop cluttering your mind. But continue the clearing procedure as needed, and your mind will eventually develop a 'stop button'. And you can truly be free. A long time ago, ongoing efforts worked for me, and I'm grateful.

I wish you a peaceful mind and heart.


Marilyn

Friday, November 17, 2017

Release Clutter And Nourish Your Soul Part 1 Environmental Clutter



Let today be the day you learn the grace of letting go and the power of moving on. Steve Maraboli

Some people are never concerned with getting empty boxes to pack up clutter for the trash collectors. God bless 'em. But others of us live our lives overrun with all kinds of clutter. It's not something we do deliberately. We just don't put things where they belong in the first place, and they pile up. We have good intentions, but we take stuff for granted and pretend it's not there.

Clutter is stuck energy. The word "Clutter" derives from the Middle English word "clotter" which means to coagulate--and that's about as stuck as you can get. Karen Kingston.

Everything is energy, and energy attracts like energy. So if your life is full of clutter, more clutter is what you'll attract. And it creeps up gradually when you're not looking. Over time, it meshes together like part of the decor. And it becomes part of your everyday life. You may try to change your focus away from it. But the clutter is still there.

People clutter for different reasons. Some allow 'memories' to pile up with old pictures, souvenirs, reminders of happy times, etc. Others accumulate stuff and plan to 'get to it later' like unread mail and greeting cards, receipts that need filing, etc. Others think they might 'need something later' like ads for things on sale, old clothes they'll never wear, the hat for that outfit they never bought. Then there's the messy person who just lets everything pile up.


Our home environment is a reflection of who we think we are, and clutter becomes a part of that reflection. We identify with it. So the clutter influences the way we feel and takes a toll on our health. It can invite dust, or molds, and toxins that affect us physically, draining our energy and our ability to fight illnesses. Looking at clutter everyday can also encourage mental and emotional stress that disturbs our sense of well being with feelings like incompetence, anxiety, and depression. And our home may no longer support a positive self-image or what we need to be healthy and happy.

If you're a chronic clutterer, your brain is trained for it. But you can re-train your brain and create a new way to live. Clutter has some meaning for each person, and it's important to understand why you clutter. So ask yourself, "Why do I allow clutter in my home? And what reward do I get from it?" You might answer, "I allow it to pile up because I can get to it later, or I keep it because I might need it sometime." And my reward is "I don't have to do it now, or I'll have it if I need it." Now make a decision to release your need to clutter, and make an appointment with yourself to begin clutter maintenance.

It's all about finding the calm in the chaos. Donna Karan 

Get a box for trash and a bag for give-a-ways, and make notes to yourself to stay with a schedule to the end. Clean one area at a time like one drawer, one closet, one pile of papers, etc. Keep only what's meaningful like pictures, letters, mementos, etc, and what's necessary like medical reports, unpaid bills, etc. But let all the rest go. And with each job you finish, see yourself as strong and capable. It may take more than one attempt to change for good. So keep reminders in those areas you've cleaned, and maybe you won't clutter again. :-)

When you're done, stand back and look around. Smile at what you've accomplished, and you'll feel a new energy in your home. And now that you've cleared the clutter on the outside, take a moment to go within and tell yourself you'll clear the inside clutter too.

Stay tuned for Part 2 next week to release your inside clutter and find peace.


I wish you happy days in your clutter free home. And maybe your car too?

Marilyn

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Better Late Than Never


Hello, Dear Readers,

Sorry I haven't been around for a while, but due to a bout with illness, I just couldn't make it. And this being Veteran's Day, I especially wanted to remember our veterans with an article. Didn't make that either. But I do want to express my heartfelt gratitude to all the men and women who served our country with their love and dedication. And if you know a veteran, let him/her know you care. Thank you.

Now since I couldn't get an article ready, I'm offering a little poem on a different subject that I wrote a long time ago.

Laugh A Little. It's Good For You.

Although I hurt a lot inside,
I sometimes joke and find a laugh.
It comes from yet another place
Along my weary path.

It usually comes up suddenly,
And takes its rightful place.
It stays around a little while
To fill the empty space.

Laughter drives away the tears,
And calms the hurt below.
It frees my soul to feel alive
Where I think angels go.

God knew I'd need this useful tool
To lift me high above the dark,
So I can see the truth of life,
And find that vital spark.

Thank you, Lord, for quips and giggles,
For making light of strife and pain,
For finding fun in spite of trial
To find my joyful way again.

I wish you a beautiful laugh whenever you need one.

Marilyn

Friday, October 20, 2017

Have You Discovered Your Life Purpose? And Are You Living It Now?



Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction. John F. Kennedy

Most of us get a job, work hard, pay bills, solve problems, have some fun with family and friends, participate in spiritual activities, and keep our lives moving. But if you're one of those, do you ever get a feeling maybe there's something more, something you're missing in your life? That feeling is a part of you inside that reaches out to your conscious awareness with a message you might want or need to know. There's more to you than what you've seen so far.

Your life has purpose. Your story is important. Your dreams count. Your voice matters. You were born to make an impact. Unknown

Each of us is born with a special purpose for our life, and something inside longs to express who we are and our reason for being here. But we seldom think consciously about such things. We know that life is a mixture of positive and negative experiences, and we prefer the positive. But how often do we actually think about or own role in helping to create a happier world? In thousands of ways our world needs help, but do you ever contemplate ways in which you might express something beneficial to others in your own special way? Hmm... What would you express? Think about it.

The things that excite you are not random. They are connected to your purpose in life. Follow them. Unknown

We're all endowed with talents, or gifts, things we enjoy and do well that are connected to our life purpose. And we bring these talents with us into our life to fulfill our purpose. But we don't always recognize them as blessings that give our life meaning. And sometimes we take our talents for granted and minimize their value with an attitude that says, "Oh, that's nothing. Anybody can do that." But no two people can do anything exactly alike, because what each person does is very special and cannot be duplicated.

Some of us express our talents in seemingly small, insignificant ways...smiles and hugs help heal a broken heart, being a good listener validates others, repairing children's bikes brings them pleasure, etc. With others, talents can be reflected in one's type of work...teachers, physical therapists, nurses, etc. Millions of talents, all equal in importance, all blessing someone in some way. How vital each person is in our world. And most don't realize that the good they do is an expression of their life purpose.

The meaning of your life is to find your gift. The purpose of your life is to give it away. Pablo Picasso

We discover our talents in different ways at different times in our life. And sometimes they're even discovered through a painful experience. I once had a patient who suffered with a back injury and felt his life was useless. He knew nothing of talents and life purpose. But he loved nature, and one day he discovered he could lay on the ground propped up on one side and grow a garden with one hand. Then his mood changed to happiness as he fulfilled his life purpose making others happy supplying beautiful flowers to hospitals and anyone who wanted a bouquet...including me.

If you can't figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you right into your purpose. Bishop T. D. Jakes


You may not know your purpose in life, and when you ask yourself why you're here, you may have no answers. But if you know your talent and bring it to its rightful importance, you'll see the connection. Then use it and claim your own happiness fulfilling your purpose. If you don't know your talent, start noticing something you really enjoy doing, and you do it well. It could be your work, a hobby, a pastime, etc. Listen to the voice inside that says, "There. That's it. That's why you're here." And move through your life fulfilling your purpose with a happy heart.

I wish you happiness as you discover your self.


Marilyn

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Sea Of Life. Are You The Ocean?


Dear Readers, I live near the ocean, and sometimes when I look at that vast body of water, I think of the multitude of water droplets it takes to create the oceans, and I think of all the people it takes to create our world. We are the world. But it seems we've lost our sense of who we are in the great sea of humankind. I remember when we created our world together, each a part of that creation. But today we live with an 'us and them' mentality, and we deny our belonging to each other. I feel sad. Today I want to share an article I posted a few years ago on this subject.

The Sea Of Life


Yesterday I spent the day at a hospital with a friend who had surgery. I've been in many hospitals in the past, but this experience made what I already knew more real to me. Each of us is unique, traveling our own individual journey through life, but at the same time part of the great whole that makes us the human race. It's kind of like each unique drop of water being part of the whole body we call the ocean. And the ocean is not the ocean without each drop.
Individually, we are one drop. But together we are an ocean. Rhunosuke Satoro

While my friend was in surgery, I wandered up and down the halls. I've always been a people-watcher, but yesterday I was more keenly aware of everyone and everything I came across. I saw people in wheelchairs or walking with canes while others walked straight and tall. I saw a nurse consoling a woman who was crying, and I noticed a beautiful little boy grinning at me. I saw people in pain and heard their moans, while medical personel saw to their needs. Contrasts everywhere. Yet, in their humanness, they were all a part of each other.
Later I went outside of the building and found a concrete ledge where I sat down. I took off my shoes and rested my bare feet on mother earth, while little ants scampered around as if they knew where they were going. The sun was warm, but there was a cool breeze under the big oak tree where I sat watching a black crow scrounging for his lunch in the dirt near by. Once in a while someone sat next to me. Some were happy. Some were not. But each had a story to tell--a unique story, yet part of all the stories that portray who we are. 

Life is like the ocean. It can be calm or still, and rough and rigid, but in the end, it is always beautiful. Unknown

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


 I'm grateful for this hospital experience. It reminded me we're much more than what we see in the mirror. In essence, Mother Teresa says, "We know that what we are doing is only a drop in the ocean. But if the drop were not there, the ocean would be missing something." You serve an important part in the sea of life, and your unique presence helps maintain the sea in which you live. Love yourself, and pour your love out to others. And claim the beautiful ocean in which you swim. It is your home.
I wish you much happiness on your journey.

Marilyn

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Are You Living Images And Roles You Were Given As A Child? Where Is Your True Self? Part 2



Your essence is within you. You are already enough. Debbie Spellman

For the most part, each day we automatically live our life without thinking past our usual activities. But we're complex beings, and our role, image, and personality are so ingrained from childhood, we don't usually question our identity. Personality becomes our 'I am' and, for many, that satisfies a need to know. But it doesn't even touch the great dimensions of all that you are. Self-knowledge is one of our greatest tools to discover and uncover our true self, and use this self for good. The more you know about yourself, the better you're able to choose what to keep and what to release to promote what you want your life to be.

We express from personality and from our true self, and the two are quite different. Personality is changeable, and can have different opinions about itself. One day you're a very bright person, and the next day you're pretty stupid. Or decisions you make via personality can backfire and reveal parts of you that you'd rather not have. But there's nothing wrong with expressing from personality. You can learn a lot about yourself from this source of expression.

People apply different meanings to the true self, such as authentic, true nature, deeper or higher self, the core of your being, soul, etc. But it is considered the real you, as you were created. And the essence of you cannot be something different. You are you, and you will always be you.

Somewhere tucked away inside each of us is a memory of the self that existed during childhood before we fully assumed a role, an image, a personality. And part of us longs to recapture that time of innocence when we knew our true self well. With purposeful steps toward change, we can dim some of personality's hold on us, and know more of our true self.

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. E. E. Cummings

Intention is one of our most powerful tools for change. And when it stems from the good in your heart, it will bring good into your life. Use intention with desire, willingness, commitment, and faith to change. Reinforce these qualities each day, and with your deep feelings to move forward, your courage will be there. No need to hurry. Change comes gradually over time.


Once you establish your decision for change, you need to begin listening. How often do you listen to how your personality thinks and notice what it does? What do you feel is positive and negative about it? What does it tell you about yourself, and do you agree with it? We're taught to believe that personality is who we are. But do you ever sense that you're more than this belief? Pay attention, and learn to recognize this part of you.

Intuition is the voice of the soul. The more you listen, the more you know your true self. James Van Braagh

Clarify your meaning of true self, who and what you are within, and listen to it speak to you. Our true self speaks to us often, but with our busy minds, we miss a lot of its messages. It's uplifting, and will always guide us with love and wisdom. But we have to hear it. Seek ways to communicate with and express your true self. Play like a child, show kindness to others, claim your own worth.


The goal of this change is not to erase personality, but to release the traits you don't want, and allow it to compliment your true self, so the two can work together for your good. As days pass and you increase your knowledge and understanding, you'll learn to tell if something is coming from personality or your true self. And you will gradually learn to decrease more of personality and increase more of your true self.

This is a vast subject, and mounds of material have been written in detail about who you are, and how to discover and nurture more of you. You're on a journey of self-discovery. Read, research, express gratitude, and be your beautiful self.

I wish you joy as you blossom into more of who you really are.

Marilyn

Friday, September 29, 2017

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


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

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

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

I was 6 years old when my father died, and my mother assigned roles to my 11 year old brother and me. My older brother became man of the family and worked to help support us, and I became my mother's trash dump. My mother came home from her waitress job in the middle of the night having had too much to drink, and she woke me to listen to long, painful stories about years past and then losing my father. I tried to help her, but my role was too much for a 6 year old, especially dealing with my own painful loss. No one listened to my pain, and I felt forsaken, so I made a vow to take care of myself and never need anyone. I'd labeled myself, and my vow became who I was...independent, self-sufficient, and alone. This episode is described in my book, Silent Echoes.

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


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

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


No matter what role we're given or what personality we develop, the spark of true self will always cry out to be seen, heard, and validated authentically as you...as you were created. Although, at times, we do express our true self, we're so caught up in being who we're not, we don't always notice. Would you like to discover more of you and express more of your true self in your life? Tune in next week for Part 2, and we'll talk about some ways to change our 'I am'.

I wish you a happy journey to self.

Marilyn

Thursday, September 21, 2017

How To Use Difficult Situations To Enrich Your Life Journey

Dear Readers,
First I want to apologize for being gone for several weeks. Since I live in Florida, I spent time before, during, and after hurricane Irma. Trees, limbs, wires, and debris were everywhere, but I rode out the storm and survived without damage to my house or car. I'm grateful, but so sad for others less fortunate. And I ask you to pray for all those who suffered and are still suffering. God bless all.

Now for this week's post as listed in the title.


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

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

We are continually faced by great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems. Lee Iococca

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

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


If you can learn from the worst times of your life, you'll be ready to go into the best times of your life. Unknown

Methods for change:

Meet each difficult situation as an opportunity with willingness to learn and grow from it.
Analyze the situation and your response to it. You can learn a lot about yourself in the way you respond to a negative, even hurtful, situation in your life. The more you learn, the more powerful you become. And your situation's power over you weakens.

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

Go within and examine your attitude and feelings, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Do you feel stressed with worry, fear, anxiety, sadness, anger, forsaken, etc? How immersed are you in your feelings? How clear is your mind? Where is your focus...on the situation, your inner response, or both? Do you view the situation as more than you can handle? Can you call on a Higher Power for help? Question and learn.
You're stronger than you think. Uncover your strengths, and let them shine. Use denials and affirmations ie "I deny that this situation has any power over me. I am strong and unbeatable." This process will reinforce your power.
Create a plan to deal with your situation. Then choose techniques that would work best for you...confronting, accepting, or getting away from it. As you go along, monitor your situation and your response, and know you have a right to the life you want. And make it so. Each time you pass a hurdle, you can look back with a grateful heart to where you were, compared to where you are now. And what you learn now will lift you to a higher place for future encounters.

I wish you happy discoveries on your journey.


Marilyn

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