Monday, December 31, 2007

It Takes More than New Year's Resolutions to Change Your Life

Like millions of others, I made New Year’s resolutions in the past, and then failed to fulfill them. This annual ritual became an exercise in how to beat myself up for my failures.

Then I learned the concept of changing your life by changing your thoughts. I fully understood that if what I was experiencing wasn’t desirable, it was equally possible to follow this concept and create a life of happiness and fulfillment. I made this idea part of my life over three decades ago.

It didn’t take me long to realize why we can never be successful by making fervent, but wishful statements about our life challenges. I learned that the problem was in the thoughts, feelings and emotions we hold about ourselves, which directly affect such important issues as abundance, health, relationships and success.

I discovered that it was necessary to go within and find out what we really desire in life. I also found that at a deep level most human beings believe they aren’t good enough, deserving or worthy, which effectively blocks their good. To heal those thoughts, say every day as often as possible: I love myself just the way I am, right here, right now. I deserve all the blessings the world has to offer. I am willing to change my negative thoughts and to accept good for myself.

The core beliefs we hold of being unworthy are only thoughts, which create a feeling that binds them to us. If we change the thought, we change that feeling. It doesn’t matter how long we have held negative thoughts or what the thoughts are. We can change the thoughts. Memorize this and say it as often as possible: I love myself, and am willing to change my thoughts. I now allow only positive thoughts about myself.

If we have been hurt in the past, or we hurt someone and are still holding onto the thoughts, we only hurt ourselves. These thoughts have determined the life we have now and will decide the future. We must release these thoughts and be free of the past. The only way to do that is to be willing to forgive not only others but to forgive ourselves. Say this as often as possible and for as long as it takes: I forgive myself for any real or imagined wrong done by me to myself, and to anyone else, past or present. I freely and wholly forgive anyone else for any real or imagined wrong done to me, past or present. I am free, they are free.

The key is to love ourselves so that we can open to accepting what is truly desired into our life. By paying close attention to what we think and say, we become aware of the many times we put ourselves down for the simplest and most inconsequential things. This is a negative habit that keeps us stuck in victim-hood, and assures that our life will continue to be less than desirable. Start today, and repeat often: I am wonderful, lovable, deserving and worthy and I love myself just the way I am.

While it may not be possible to say these affirmations and really mean them at first – if you continue you will – and your life will begin to change. And, while the only one we can ever change is ourselves, when we begin to experience positive changes in our life, it will have an effect on others. Know that whatever our current situation is, we have created it. The good news is that now we can consciously choose the life we desire.

Once we decide what we want, and can love ourselves enough to accept having it, the positive affirmations set a powerful force in motion, and we have only to persevere to be successful. Say every day as often as possible: I am perfect, whole and complete right now. I am willing to do what it takes to change my thoughts. I give thanks for the good that comes to me now, and affirm that only good goes out from me to the world.

Negative thought patterns often take time to change, so we need to be patient and gentle with ourselves. When we begin to falter or doubt, we must take heart and know that millions of others have taken responsibility for their lives and are proving that when they change their thoughts, their lives change. To maintain your inner resolve, say every day: I never give up and I never give in—and victory will be yours.
Copyright 2007 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s book THE HEART KNOWS THE WAY—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within is available at and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Gift That Only You Can Give Yourself

The more time I spend in and observing nature the more I learn about myself. It recently dawned on me that I have spent my entire life in an effort to learn to relax and be who I am. I discovered this by watching the rabbits and birds that frequent my lush yard. They are totally content with being what they are.

I smile when I think about what it must be like to be a blade of grass, whose only role in life is to grow and be green. In doing so, it fulfills its purpose and enhances the beauty of a yard or field. What a sad and frustrating experience it would be for that blade of grass to spend its lifespan wishing to be a flower, a shrub or a tree. Yet, not being grounded and accepting who we are seems to be part of the human condition, resulting in many of us spending our lives striving to be something that we are not.

It does not have to be and should not be that way. Each of us is important, as no one else can be who I am, or who you are. It is only our wayward minds that confuse and frustrate us and keep us from enjoying the fullness of what it means to be alive in this form here and now.

I believe the most important element in overcoming this tendency is to come to peace within ourselves and accept who we were born to be. Our culture is so focused on the external world that we rarely, if ever, take the time to explore the inner world that is within us.

Many people believe that life is what happens to us externally, and our role is to react to whatever comes our way, but that is not so. The fact is that the point of power is within us and has always been. We need to realize that the way life is supposed to happen is from within out—not the other way around. When we understand this, we become empowered and can determine much of what happens to us in life.

We have the power to stop our fear-based frantic search for answers outside ourselves. Unfortunately, our culture focuses on and requires that we not be in touch with ourselves or with our environment, much to the detriment of both.

Going within and connecting with our inner selves is an absolute necessity. It naturally leads to connecting with that larger part of us that knows we are one with everyone else, with all life, as well as with the Earth itself. At that point, there is no confusion or frustration about who we are or what our purpose is on this planet, as it is simply to be fully and wholly who we were born to be.

Once we make this connection, we will be free of the thoughts that have kept us off-balance and off-purpose and that preclude us from achieving our full human potential. There is great power in this knowing—power that can change our lives and the world. It is the gift that only you can give to you.
Copyright 2007 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s book THE HEART KNOWS THE WAY—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within is available at and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Restoring Honesty and Integrity to Our Culture Begins with Us

Most of us know that lying, cheating and dishonesty now permeate every level of our culture. This deterioration in ethics and morality is directly linked to the excesses inherent in materialism, a breeding ground for competition. The prevailing belief seems to be that there isn’t enough of anything for everyone, so you have to lie, cheat and steal to get your share.

There is no area of our society that has escaped the insidious reality of this deep and disturbing erosion of morality. A significant percentage of our political leaders and business managers have accepted the slogan that the end – achieving their desires – justifies the means. This attitude of self-interest has spawned individuals at all levels of our society who no longer feel even a slight twinge of conscience at trampling on the needs and rights of others.

This cultural failing has also yielded large numbers of people who do not keep their promises and do not tell the truth about the simplest and most benign details of their business and personal lives.

A recent experience brought home to me my own role – and my responsibility – in this moral dilemma; it also made it clear that the solution to the problem rests wholly with each one of us.

I discovered that one key individual in a business situation doesn’t always divulge all the material facts. At the time, I had no idea why this young person did this, as it was information that could determine and influence future events. This caused frustration and stress for everyone involved. Since I had chosen decades ago to live as honest and authentic a life as possible, I expected this from others. I also began to distrust the individual.

Since I didn’t feel good about simply writing the person off, I started looking for a deeper understanding. After some soul-searching, I remembered something from the past that gave me some insight. When I started in the corporate world many years ago, I felt small and insignificant in my entry-level job. I discovered that one way to feel more powerful and in control was to hold back bits of information from others. Luckily for me not only was I insignificant at that time but so was the information I withheld. I am grateful to the two wonderful and wise business leaders who mentored me and taught me by example the true and honorable path to self empowerment.

I realized that in condemning this person today, I was also denying a part of me that my ego doesn’t like to acknowledge, as it prefers blaming others instead of looking within for answers. This realization allowed me to forgo the emotion and to seek a more positive solution.

In order to deal fairly with this challenge, I knew I had to act in a way that would create a healthier situation. I chose to exercise my rights and started asking legitimate questions, which were distributed with the answers for all concerned, and simply continued questioning until all the facts were on the table.

While I don’t know whether or not the individual benefited from my choice of action, I do know that not being honest in every area of our lives does more harm to us than it does to others. The value in my own life was incalculable. Not taking any action would have meant that I condoned, allowed and went along with less than honest and transparent business dealings.

Similarly, I believe that the solution to the larger problems in our culture begins by adhering to the highest standards in all our interactions with others – publicly and privately – and to hold to these standards no matter what.

The simple truth is that we do live in an abundant universe that is based on fundamental laws such as like attracts like. We draw to us what we think and live and are ultimately responsible for what comes into our life. When any one of us lies, cheats, steals or allows or condones such actions, it takes away from the good of all. We must each set and abide by ethical and moral standards that will contribute to honesty and integrity in our culture. We need to live this for our children and grandchildren—and for the future of our nation.
Copyright 2007 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s book THE HEART KNOWS THE WAY—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within is available at and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, December 10, 2007

RESPECT ... The Key to a Kinder, More Civilized and Sane Society

We live in an age of disrespect that defines and diminishes our daily lives. Where we once had institutions, professions and family values that were revered, now there is nothing or no one who is beyond ridicule. This has damaged our country to the point that it threatens the core of our society. Crime, drug addiction and depression rates are at all-time highs and rising. Many of our young people are disrespectful of parents, teachers and authority figures. They are disillusioned by our nation’s image in the world, and they don’t believe in or trust their parents, the media, politicians, religion, the legal system or the future.

Experts believe that all behavior problems in otherwise healthy children can be traced back to respect. I agree. The sad news is that the level of respect for one’s self and others that would be necessary to reverse this situation is at an extremely low level in our culture today.

Children learn what they live. Respect begins in the home, and has to be taught and lived by all conscious and aware parents. This is where any long-term resolution has to start. It also needs to be supported in schools, media, churches, businesses and communities across the country. It also needs to be embraced by our national leaders and all public figures who are role models for young people.

I wish I had known when my children were young what I know now. I learned that as a parent, respect is not something we can demand or is automatic; it happens naturally when we have cleaned up our own lives. As we respect ourselves, we automatically respect others.

While there is little we can do to affect the uncivilized behavior of many in our country, we can begin in our own families as parents, grandparents and relatives to focus on teaching respect for honesty, integrity, morality, truth and each other. This was once The American Way.

In order to become respectful adults, children must live in an environment of respect – parent to parent, child to child, parent to child and child to parent. They must be taught that loving and respecting self is the first step in loving and respecting others.

Parenting must be viewed as a sacred responsibility, and parents must be willing to be physically, emotionally and mentally present and available. Parents must teach and live all the desired virtues they wish their children to embrace. They must stop such unhealthy habits as negative sarcasm and name calling between everyone in the household.

There are commonsense and accepted basics that should be part of every child’s early training. They should be taught to respect and honor their bodies and how to healthfully care for them. All children need boundaries and structure as well as consistency in words, actions and decisions. This builds a sense of security and trust they can take into the larger world.

By respecting children’s emotions and teaching them to use words to express their feelings, parents can add immeasurably to a child’s sense of self-esteem, self-worth and self-respect. This is vital to their being able to say NO to any number of potentially life-damaging decisions facing young people in America each day.

Children should also be encouraged to go within and nurture their inner life through age-appropriate techniques such as quiet time, daydreaming, being in nature [often], listening to beautiful music and reading uplifting literature, as well as prayer and meditation. As they mature in an environment of respect, they will realize this connection with their inner life is a link with life itself. And this, my friends, is a natural antidote for the isolation and lack of self worth experienced by so many teenagers.

Last but not least, children need to grow up surrounded by friends and extended family who also love and cherish them for who they are. This is the foundation that will allow them to survive and thrive in life.

I call on the grandparents of this nation to support the respectful parenting of children. They are our future. I believe we can make a difference and in the process—change the course of history.

[To view or print – A Parents Pledge: Ten Basic Rules for Teaching and Living Respectful Lives – go to, click on How-to-lists and then Parent’s Pledge.
Copyright 2007 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s book THE HEART KNOWS THE WAY—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within is available at and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Finding Balance in an Unbalanced World

I recently watched a PBS documentary on the cartoonist who created the beloved comic strip characters Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus and Lucy—the late Charles Schulz. The very intimate look into the artist’s life also revealed much about our unbalanced world.

According to the documentary, Schulz, who died in 2000, was so intensely focused on his work that it took over his life and ultimately caused the breakup of his marriage. The documentary revealed that, unlike his public image as the "gentle genius" who had his life together, he was a shy, conflicted and complicated man whose inner issues were echoed in the neurotic attributes of his beloved characters.

When serious illness threatened his life, he asked his closest colleagues: How could this happen to me? What went wrong?

I don’t believe anything went wrong in the universal sense. By denying the fact that the other side of being born is dying, we often fail to live a full and balanced life, and when our time comes we are often surprised and like Schulz, we may feel cheated.

While I can relate to the fact that many artistic people have a challenge with managing the creative energy and thus living a balanced life, living an out-of-balance life is the norm today, and everyone – to one degree or another – is over-extended, over-worked and overwhelmed.

What I am learning is that living a balanced life is a simple, but not easy daily process of staying in alignment with the basic human needs that give meaning to our lives.

The most basic human need is to have a body, which is necessary for life on Earth. How well we love and care for our body determines our current and future health, and this includes paying attention to the mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of our physical being.

Humans also have a basic need to love and feel loved in return. This means we need to know our needs – and to communicate these needs to the significant others in our lives – as well as being aware of their needs. Families are the human laboratory where we are meant to learn how to healthfully love and be loved.

As humans, we want to make a difference in the world and to feel that what we do has meaning, that our life matters and that we are here for a purpose. To do this, we need to come to peace with the awareness that there is something greater than we are in the universe and we are an integral part of it. This places us as a vital element in the ongoing rhythm and stream of life, and brings a sense of inner peace.

In today’s world, society’s measure of a successful man or woman is still someone who has achieved fame and fortune. After their death, if they were famous enough to have a documentary aired about them, as Charles Schulz was, the story comes out. The public likes to see their fame and fortune role models served up in neat packages to confirm the myth that success in the external world is the path to lasting happiness. When it isn’t true, they probe the person’s life to seek answers.

While the conflict of continued disappointment with unfulfilled desires works in a comic strip, in real life it is supremely depressing. This is why we are pulling for dear old Charlie Brown to get to kick the football, for Lucy not to be rejected by Schroeder and for all of them to get to see the Great Pumpkin.

Despite or because of his human frailties, Charles Schulz was able to create an impressive body of work and touch many lives. Yet his lament also confirms the value in seeking a balanced life. Fulfilling our potential is a wonderful life goal. When we are in balance within ourselves, then we may be assured that our life will bless us and everyone involved. It will be a celebration of the gift of life—the true path to happiness.
Copyright 2007 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s book THE HEART KNOWS THE WAY—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within is available at and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The True Path to Happy Holidays Comes from Within

Several weeks ago at a local church, the minister announced Thanksgiving Eve and Thanksgiving Day events for those who have no family or who choose not to be with the family they do have during the holidays. While this brought an amused reaction from the congregation, it is common knowledge that in today’s world many people experience sorrow over broken family relationships.

I understand that kind of sadness. I also realize that some of the depression during the holiday season is due to the unfulfilled dreams and desires that are often rooted in the mists of childhood. The sadness increases when people think of certain television commercials and movies that present an idyllic view of the perfect family holiday, as well as the imagined “wonderful” holidays everyone else is having.

I once held those images in my mind, but I have learned a lot since I quit buying into the ideal family holiday. Now I know that what is can be enough if you make the most of it.

It isn’t always possible to have close relationships with all your family members. Sometimes it is better to draw close to and bless those relationships we do have. We need to recognize, honor and relish every moment we have to spend with close friends and family.

There are, of course, profound and positive reasons for family gatherings, including savoring the bond represented by extended family, and more importantly allowing children to be embraced in a circle of multigenerational love that provides a strong foundation that will enhance their entire lives. It also gives us an opportunity to learn to honor and accept differences, which is a quality much needed in the world today.

However, while our individual holiday challenges may differ, the emotions they bring may be the same. For me, my adult children and grandchildren are building their own traditions and going their own ways, which is a natural part of the life process. I discovered that dwelling on whom or what I didn’t have in my life during the holidays was a waste of time and life energy. It only results in stress and sadness and detracts from the true meaning of the holidays.

This is a time of year when people aren’t embarrassed to open their hearts and revel in the joy and blessing of sharing with others and truly feeling the joy of being alive. I choose that. I refuse to be cheated out of this goodness by letting any less than positive thoughts rule my consciousness.

What this means is taking control of my thoughts and my life before the holiday season arrives. This year I planned a small gathering early in November to kick off the season. I also bought beautiful poinsettia plants to brighten my home and lift my spirits, and placed electric candles in the upstairs window to broadcast my joy to others.

My holiday calendar [some of which I initiated] also includes intimate time with some family members and longtime friends for lunch, dinner, afternoon tea at a lovely hotel, a holiday-themed concert and theater production, cookie decorating, and holiday movies with my younger grandchildren followed by a trip to the mall to see the seasonal decorations.

What I discovered is that when you choose to do what you truly enjoy, with people who are important and meaningful in your life, the events are guaranteed to fill your arms with hugs and your heart with love.

I don’t believe in allowing the actions or inactions of others to control my happiness. I believe the secret is not to wait for the joy and love to come to us, but to reach out and share our own love and joy—making the world a far better place!
Copyright 2007 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s book THE HEART KNOWS THE WAY—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within is available at and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, November 19, 2007

When We Are Insecure, We Try to Control Others

Many years ago I was in a relationship with a young man who was incredibly dictatorial and demanded absolute control of every aspect of my life. Naturally the relationship did not last. Years later, I realized that he was insecure within himself and felt safe only when he could control those around him. I have since learned that control is a primary challenge in many human relationships.

Many people believe, erroneously, that our spouses and significant others are there to make us happy. We often expect others to do what will make us feel good and secure, and if they can’t or won’t, it sets off our inner security system. We then decide that it is the other person’s fault, and there is something definitely wrong with them. Our egos can’t stand the idea that anything could be wrong with us so we normally look outside ourselves for someone to blame.

Then we dehumanize, or “thing” them, and feel totally justified in labeling them insensitive or whatever comes to mind at the time. After all of that – again in our own minds – we are totally absolved of any guilt over cutting them out of our lives or simply shutting down any emotional connection. This scenario is probably the number one cause of divorce, or of couples staying together and living lives of quiet desperation.

I believe there is a different way. We are either in fear or in Love. The relationships mentioned above are fear-based. The Love I am speaking of is eternal and spiritual and has no limits. It is diametrically opposed to ego love, which is based on getting rather than giving and is the basis of many of today’s intimate relationships.

This Love is expansive and powerful and continually seeks to flow from us to others for the good of all. It is the true essence and nature of our being, and fills us with the awareness that we are one with Life, which brings us an inner security and sustained happiness.

Fear closes us off. It is a result of feeling separate at a core level. When we don’t feel connected or a part of the universal life energy-force-Love that manifests itself through us, we are fearful. We have no anchor. We develop an unhealthy and deep-seated offensive position toward others and life. The outward manifestation of this disconnectedness is the projection of control on others.

I believe if we are willing to face what we fear in ourselves, we can once again connect with the eternal and sublime energy within each of us, which is Love.

We will then find that we aren’t rowing upstream all by ourselves, but are in the flow of life and are more at peace with whatever happens. We are reconnected to self, to others and the ongoing stream of life, which is our natural and desired state.

I believe it is humanity’s natural evolutionary path to come to this conscious awareness and connect with the energy-force-Love that is within us and everything in the universe. We will then be inspired and moved to change our lives. Our relationships will also be transformed and healed—as the need to control others will no longer exist.
Copyright 2007 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s book THE HEART KNOWS THE WAY—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within is available at and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Our Souls May Be Immortal and Infinite ... But Our Bodies Are Not!

It continually amazes me that no matter how smart I always thought I was, it has taken me a lifetime to fully understand that what I put into my body, what I think and how I live determine how I feel and what ailments result.

Now I know that my body was entrusted to my care, and instead of continuing to work against my body, I am ready to work with it and realize that whatever happens is my shared responsibility.

I found that today’s conventional healthcare system is not particularly comfortable with individuals desiring to take control of their health. They are tied to a mind-set that believes similar symptoms equal a one-size fits all diagnosis – as well as a one-size fits all drug or treatment program. This shows an incredible lack of awareness of the human body.

Our external forms may look similar, but that’s where the similarities end. The physiological makeup of every human being is absolutely unique, and includes our unseen mental, emotional and spiritual aspects that don’t show up in lab work, MRI’s or CAT scans.

When we learn how our bodies work, we can then present ourselves in a doctor’s office as one expert to another – in partnership – not in a subservient, powerless mode expecting [unrealistically] the physician to listen to a few symptoms and then write out a prescription that will magically heal all that ails us.

No one receives an owner’s manual at birth detailing the required care and feeding necessary to assure maximum health and longevity of the human body. It requires personal time, energy and effort to ferret out information that is right for each of us.

Obviously our government agencies are no longer capable of protecting us from all harmful products, so we must be vigilant and aware. The conventional medical arena is married to a mind-set that believes there is only one way to achieve health—more and stronger drugs. And it actually appears that the ultimate aim of the pharmaceutical companies is to medicate us from birth to death for every function of our bodies.

While millions of Americans are desirous of taking control of their health, the end result has been an incredible amount of conflicting information that often proves erroneous. The proliferation of diet, nutrition and exercise programs that continue to flood the market probably hold some legitimate information, but the truth, again, is that no one diet, exercise routine, weight-loss program or health regimen fits all.

The profit-driven commercial companies that jumped in and manufactured so-called “healthy” food products knew the buzz words, but had no idea how to help us attain or maintain our weight or our health.

What all this means is that our health is a do-it-yourself project. The highest collective wisdom seems to lie in the following: Know your body and how it works; partner with healthcare providers instead of ceding all power to them; avoid processed foods and focus on eating foods as close to their natural state as possible; also avoid sugar in all forms and other known harmful foods, beverages and recreational drugs.

While I have joked in the past about my disdain for exercise, now I recognize the importance of keeping the body moving so that all the organs function optimally and there is sufficient blood flow to the brain.

If I want to remain on Earth, which I do, I need a body. The question is, can I release the old thought patterns and take responsibility for wisely assisting my body? Or, will I once again choose to play the victim and fall back on the widely held pretense that our bodies fail us—when actually it is the other way around.
Copyright 2007 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s book THE HEART KNOWS THE WAY—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within is available at and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Achieving Inner Happiness Is Life's Highest Gift

In three of the wealthiest countries in the world – the U.S., Great Britain and China – the number of children and adults with depression continues to increase right along with financial success. Unhappiness is obviously linked to something other than economics.

Thinking back over my life, I realized that there was definitely a level of relief when as a single mother of three I was able to cover the bills and have a little wiggle room. As I progressed past the day-to-day survival mode and was able to realize a greater degree of success in my life, I realized there was never a long-term satisfaction attached to achieving a particular possession or level of financial gain. There was only a sense of relief and a short-lived “high.” This was followed almost immediately by the thought that there was something else I had to accomplish before I could find lasting happiness.

I knew that following society’s markers of success – wealth, fame and a fairy-tale existence – was not a true path to lasting happiness. This left the question: what is?

In my wildest imaginings I couldn’t have foreseen that the journey I was about to embark on would result in the answer. It began in a time of desperation during my late husband’s extended illness. I was determined to help my husband make his last life journey in a way that was more spiritually enlightened and loving. I knew it was possible to do this, even though I had never heard of or read about how to approach it.

I tried for years to fulfill this heart desire by myself but was totally unsuccessful. Then I did what millions of others have done in such trying circumstances. I turned within, seeking a connection with the eternal and sublime energy that is within each of us and everything in the universe, which we call God.

There I found the sanctuary of unconditional love, support, guidance, peace, joy and happiness that is the heart’s desire of every human being. My life and our experience were transformed in a way that exceeded my dreams and desires. After my husband’s death and a period of mourning, I felt a sustained sense of happiness, peace and contentment for the first time in my life.

I knew this was the answer to the lasting happiness my heart and soul had been seeking. I chronicled the process in my book “The Heart Knows the Way—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within.”

This level of calm, peace and happiness continues—regardless of circumstances. It has been confirmed time and again but never more dramatically than the night a car crashed into a wall of my house. While the event, and its aftermath was definitely extraordinary, my inner peace remained intact during the entire situation. I dubbed it The Hole in the Wall That Became a Holy Experience.

Taking this inner journey unlocks the flow of good into our lives in a way that is for our highest and best good, as well as that of the world. The wonderful truth is that we and we alone hold the key to opening that door. It is a path that every human being is meant to take, and our souls know the path, the pace and the timing of the journey.

I believe that by connecting with the sublime and eternal energy within us, we actualize happiness on an inner level, which is the highest gift life has to offer. I also believe this is the natural antidote for depression and many of the ills of our world.
Copyright 2007 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s book THE HEART KNOWS THE WAY—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within is available at and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Healing the Money Dis-Ease Is a Prescription for Happiness

After several decades of studying – and successfully healing some of my own dis-ease about money – I discovered some valuable insights into one of life’s most misunderstood challenges. I learned that in and of itself, money does not bring happiness, that money is not evil, and that seeking it in a healthful way is not only a necessity, it is appropriate and righteous.

However, money is only one part of the larger reality of abundance, which is a deeper and much more complex issue than most people think. Abundance encompasses not only our financial condition, but our health, happiness, relationships, any success we have and how we experience every single aspect of our lives. All of this is decided by the conscious and subconscious thoughts we hold.

For many of us, to live the life we truly desire, which is experiencing abundance in a way that brings happiness, it is necessary to overcome a sense of poverty and feeling undeserving, and develop trust in the over flowing richness of the universe, which will open us to allowing money and success into our life. We also need to learn how to manage our current financial situation so that we will have the tools to handle increased funds—something many people neglect.

I learned that being rich means trusting in the abundance of the universe and facing life without fear. It has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with how much money we have. And conversely, no matter how much money we have, without that trust and peace of mind we are, indeed, truly poor and impoverished.

In order to heal into the fullness of abundance, we need to release the myth about money being the root of all evil. Money is simply another form of energy, like electricity, and our job is to learn to utilize this energy in a healthful way to enhance our lives and the lives of others.

We also need to relinquish the fiction that money will magically bring happiness and heal all our problems. Money can be a wonderful and blessed reality in our lives. It can alleviate the stress of day-to-day survival. And when we are able to healthfully amass it in sufficient amounts, it can allow us a level of freedom to follow our dreams and live a full and fruitful life. All of this is greatly desirable.

The catch is: If we haven’t healed our inner issues around money – and grown in conscious awareness – we will either become miserly with it or it will slip through our fingers like water. We will still be the same person we were before, and with the same inability to fully embrace a life of abundance. This is the reason many people remain mired in a poverty existence, and why others, including some celebrities have difficulty managing prosperity and success when it does come their way.

While we may never hear about the millions of non-celebrities whose lives reflect their fears around money, here is one scenario that is widespread among many senior citizens. Despite having no rational reason to be concerned about money, their lives become consumed with protecting what they have and making more. They essentially become prisoners of their fear, and are unable to use their resources to enhance their own happiness or that of their family. Often their excuse is that they are leaving it to their children, who would be better served if their parents healed within themselves and lived to the fullest, instead of passing on a legacy of fear.

As we heal our inner issues around money-abundance, and move into a state of trust and gratitude, we will also be releasing fear around life in general. We will then find ourselves in alignment with the natural flow of the universal life force-energy, God, which is the source of all good.

Then we can begin to experience an even greater benefit of being in the energy that is the source of love, peace, trust and benevolence: We will open to living more of these qualities within ourselves, and will experience much more fulfilling, purposeful and happy lives.

What a wonderful surprise to find that seeking a life of abundance is not only natural and sacred—it is a path to happiness!
Copyright 2007 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s book THE HEART KNOWS THE WAY—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within is available at and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Creating a New Road Map to Health

I vividly recall a comment made by my children’s paternal great-grandmother Mary Talbot Simonds at age ninety. She smiled broadly and said, “If I had known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.” I can relate to that statement.

Like many others blessed with good health, I thought that by following a common sense approach to diet and exercise – and staying current with medical and dental checkups – that I would be able to maintain my health at or near this desired level. Much of my sense of security was based on the fact that for the past five years, I have experienced the most peaceful, purposeful and satisfying time of my life.

Apparently I had conveniently forgotten about the effect the stresses and strains of prior years had on my body. I am now facing a number of chronic health challenges that many mature adults typically experience. And like many others at this stage, I have been weighing the pros and cons of prescription drugs and the unknown side-effects and future consequences.

According to my belief, illness represents an imbalance in our mental, emotional and/or spiritual aspects that eventually, if left unchecked, manifests as a dis-ease in the physical body. It is a signal that something is intervening with the body’s natural ability to heal itself, and we need to pay attention.

I also believe that all the circumstances we draw to us in life – including our physical condition at birth, accidents and disease processes – are opportunities presented by our soul to learn specific lessons. Of course we don’t have to become conscious partners in the adventure called life. We can just stand by and let life happen to us, as victims, or we can become loving, knowledgeable participants in the process.

My choice is to use the chronic conditions as a wake-up call and to answer my soul’s invitation to once again stop, look within and learn. I have known for years that Spirit is the power, mind is the builder and the physical side of life is the result. It is my desire to see what I can do to help my body regain balance.

It isn’t an easy choice. There is a surreal and fear-based emphasis on disease in our country today. We are bombarded with offers for quick-fix drugs and remedies for every ailment imaginable without much knowledge of what the effects of long-term usage will be.

I know my method isn’t for everyone; no one method or approach is. Yet I am relying on one of the strengths I gained from past experiences: I know that I am willing – once something finally gets my attention – to look within and work with the messages inherent in any life challenges. I also know that what Dr. Wayne Dyer teaches is true—when you change your thoughts you change your life.

In selecting a team of conventional and complementary physicians to be my partners – I expect them to support me in doing what I can on my own – and, equally as important, to let me know when the greater wisdom would include the use of conventional medicine.

I also recall the fullness of Mary Talbot Simond’s life. Not only was she a role model for unconditional love, she manifested a strong and unwavering trust in God, herself, her body and life. I realize that she lived my long-term goals for health and life—to meet them with love instead of fear.
Copyright 2007 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s book THE HEART KNOWS THE WAY—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within is available at and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, October 15, 2007

On Becoming a Human-Being Instead of a Human-Doing

It wasn’t until my late husband became critically ill and I left the corporate world to care for him that I became aware that for most of my life I had been a human-doing instead of a human-being.

The realization didn’t come quickly. For a long time I was so overwhelmed by all the challenges before me that I threw myself into activities that consumed the hours and days of my life. Evidently the strong work ethic I learned from my birth-family translated into feeling worthy only when I was fully engaged in doing something. The busyness also served to keep me from ever questioning how I was living my life, if it was working for me—and if not, why not?

When my husband’s health challenges became so serious that he had to be placed in a 24-hour care environment, the situation changed dramatically. I had released a number of external commitments in order to care for him, and for the first time in my adult life I found myself relatively free. The freedom proved unsettling. Not only did I desperately need to come to grips with the emotional situation with my husband, I needed to come to peace with what all of this would mean to my future life. After trying unsuccessfully to resolve the situation on my own through my usual direct-action efforts, I realized I didn’t know what to do. I felt helpless.

The time had come when I had to stop all the doing and turn within for answers. I was faced with the biggest challenge to my own peace of mind and sense of well- being—me. Or more accurately, the sum total of mental and emotional baggage that lived within me and that had determined my actions, inactions, thoughts, decisions and non-decisions my entire life.

I had an established daily routine of meditating, journaling and affirmative prayer, but because the job and then my husband’s situation took priority over my needs, the time I spent within was determined by those demands. Now I could spend as much time as desired.

My well-honed and single-eyed approach did prove beneficial in this instance. After months of this inner focus, I began to feel a sense of peace. For the first time in my life I was content spending time within. The meditation helped to discipline my racing “monkey-mind.” Gradually my mind opened to a deeper awareness of life and awakened me to my self, others and the eternal and sublime energy that is within each of us and everything in the universe, which we call God. I was realizing some balance in my life, which brought greater clarity to my thought processes and a growing ability to manage my emotional state. When I opened to loving myself, I became aware that my ability to love others in an unselfish and healthier way was greatly enhanced.

I discovered that meditation is a path to inner peace, as it enables us to connect with the sanctuary of unconditional love, guidance and support within that is the heart desire of every conscious person on Earth.

In this process I became a human-being instead of a human-doing. I no longer judge my worth or my life by what I do. By learning to live an inner-directed life, rather than seeking meaning outside myself, I know that whatever activity I engage in will be meaningful and purposeful.

There is a new-found peace and contentment at the core of my being, a sustained sense of well-being and happiness—no matter what conditions or situations arise. I am no longer driven to do. I allow myself to be.
Copyright 2007 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s book THE HEART KNOWS THE WAY—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within is available at and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, October 8, 2007

On Honoring the Lives of Great Women

It has been my life gift and privilege to know and count as friends two of the great feminine souls of this century: Drs. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and Gladys Taylor McGarey. It has always concerned me that extraordinary individuals such as these do not always receive the full recognition and honor they deserve while they are alive. Dr. Kübler-Ross died in 2004.

She was the Swiss-born physician, author and lecturer who revolutionized the way in which the world thinks about death and dying, and pioneered the movement for patients’ rights and hospice organizations in the United States. Through her seminal book “On Death and Dying,” and her worldwide lectures, she captured the hearts and minds of millions of people around the world who were hungry for the information she had to share.

However, the international icon’s groundbreaking work raised a wall of resistance from members of the establishment who were not ready to cede power to patients and their families. The short-sighted media coverage during those early years focused on the establishment’s strong opposition to her r/evolutionary work, which placed her at the center of a maelstrom of controversy, denying her much of the honor she deserved for many years.

She always knew it was the message that was important, not her, and she was determined to deliver it despite the resistance and the personal sacrifices it required. As a result, she brought the once-taboo subject of death and dying into the light of reason and compassion, and individuals around the world can now face death with dignity and surrounded by their loved ones.

It is gratifying to know that this wonderful individual, who persevered against great odds and elevated the consciousness of humanity, is now receiving national recognition from her adopted country. Dr. Kübler-Ross was inducted posthumously into the National Women’s Hall of Fame on October 7, 2007.

At 87-years of age, Gladys Taylor McGarey, M.D., M.D.(H), is still going strong. She is the internationally recognized “mother of holistic medicine in America.” Similarly to Dr. Kübler-Ross, she faced an equally lengthy, strong and verbal outcry from the medical establishment as she advocated and advanced the combination of allopathic and holistic medical practices to enhance our healthcare system.

While focused on ushering in the successful emergence of complementary medicine, Dr. McGarey was also mentoring and supporting the next level of leaders in holistic medicine, many of whom are now nationally and internationally known.

She continues her lifelong commitment to healing through global humanitarian missions sponsored by the foundation that bears her name. Dr. McGarey was one of the founders of the American Holistic Medical Association and its first female president. She has authored two books that are considered classics in the holistic field: “The Physician Within You: Medicine for the Millennium,” and “Born to Live.” The story of her exemplary life is told in the biography “Born to Heal.”

It is easy to see why the two became friends. They understood each other’s fierce dedication to a life mission, and recognized that together they covered the circle of life. When they shared the speakers’ platform, Dr. McGarey spoke on natural birthing and the fact that the body, mind, spirit connection is vital to the healing process. Dr. Kübler-Ross brought new insights and understanding to death and dying. She taught that consciously accepting this natural life event would allow us to live more fully and thus to die with a sense of completion and gratitude for the gift of life.

I know that Dr. Kübler-Ross was determined to use her life and abilities to further the cause of good on Earth, and her name will be emblazoned in the heavens as a true healing force on this planet. Dr. McGarey, meanwhile, continues to walk the noble and sacred path of selfless service to mankind. I just believe the world needs to recognize and celebrate such heroes while they still walk among us.
Copyright 2007 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s book THE HEART KNOWS THE WAY—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within is available at and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, October 1, 2007

What It Means to Live In a Culture That Resists Intimacy

Last night seemed like any other. I drove into my gated community, pressed the garage door opener, entered—and breathed a sigh of relief as the door closed behind my car.

The difference is that this was the first time I realized that my reaction was fear-based. For a few minutes I justified that feeling. I thought about the incredible traffic, the reality that the much larger vehicles on the road that are in the majority could crush my little car like a grape, then factored in the fearful world conditions, the rising crime rate and realized that arriving home unscathed and unharmed day after day was in and of itself a victory.

While all of that is true, I also realized that by closing the garage door and shutting out the world, I was also figuratively and literally closing myself off to the world. It has been ten years since I moved into this house. I have maintained my friendships and other relationships, but I don’t know anyone in this development except my winter-visitor neighbor next door and two individuals across the street who came to my aid when I had a house problem a few years ago. And this “knowing” doesn’t extend much beyond an occasional wave and a few words of greeting.

This has now become a way of life in our country: We each have our little space with our own little family and we are isolated from others. Today it would be unthinkable to make an unannounced visit to friends or family.

I thought back to my childhood in St. Louis. We knew the families [and a lot of their business] on both sides of the street and even on neighboring streets. There was a palpable sense of structure and security in knowing that we were connected to our birth families, relatives, friends and the community. Looking back it was as if we were embraced in a living process that it seemed would continue through all the events and stages of our lives.

Today, however, we find ourselves living in a culture that fears intimacy and this has radically changed our lives. We are afraid of needing one another, and of getting close. We are so isolated and disconnected from our inner selves and each other that we don’t even realize it is community we miss and need.

I believe the saddest aspect of this fear of intimacy is that it has spawned a generation of lone rangers whose goal is not to need or be needed. I remember when it was different, and from that perspective it is easy to see the error in drawing within and shrinking from life. This is a no-win situation as it denies humanity’s need to grow into fully functioning and aware spiritual beings who can fulfill our highest potential. We were not meant to do it alone. We are all one.

I realize that this tendency may seem a natural response to the more dangerous and highly mobile life of today. Yet this is not the way we were meant to live and deep down we know it. Our birthright is to live purpose-filled and happy lives as long as we’re alive.

I believe this means wisely coming to a balance: Taking the time [solitude] to go within and truly know ourselves and to stay connected with our inner self, and then becoming an active part of life in a way that is fully conscious, meaningful and appropriate for us. A sense of community and connectedness with life doesn’t happen by retreating within our houses and closing the doors. It comes out of participating in life with others. It is a state of mind, and I’m moving to that state.
Copyright 2007 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s book THE HEART KNOWS THE WAY—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within is available at and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Importance of Remaining Connected to Nature

Many adults can’t accept the fact that anything they do in their daily lives could possibly affect the climate of the entire world. And many children aren’t even aware that our food does not come from supermarkets, it comes from the Earth.

In today’s world many of us have become so isolated from nature that it is difficult for us to feel any connection with it. And when we don’t feel a connection with nature it is impossible to understand its vital life-giving importance to our lives. It is then easier to turn a deaf ear to the realities of global warming, dimming of the sun, nuclear proliferation, melting of the ice caps and other potentially damaging and destructive issues that could destroy our life support system.

It is easy to see how many otherwise caring people may have developed such confused and laissez-faire attitudes. First of all, a lot of the information is difficult to understand—and how or when these changes will affect us is still being debated. This causes a lot of people to incorrectly discount the facts. When faced with awkward and discomforting information, people will tend to take the easy way out and ignore it so they don’t have to deal with it.

Many of us also live in homes that are protected against heat and cold, with many modern conveniences, which lulls people into a false sense of security that man has successfully harnessed nature. At the same time they hope that the minds that brought us the Internet and a steady flow of high-tech toys will also save the day by turning to technology.

It would be naïve and unrealistic to ignore the fact that America’s corporations continue their obsession with profit at any price, which is one of the major deterrents to the U.S. becoming involved in a global approach to this problem. It is only a matter of time, however, before our nation has to face the harsh realities before us.

Meanwhile, the wise native peoples around the world continue to remind us that we’re at the critical point of no-return right now and unless we wake up and begin to take care of the Earth the results will be irreversible. For centuries their prophecies have foretold of a time when man’s activities would cause the trees to die, the once soothing breezes to become deadly and the sun to lose its relationship with the Earth. They believe that time is now and this eerily confirms what the scientists are telling us.

To the people who have remained connected to nature, the Earth isn’t just symbolically our mother—it is our Mother. It supplies us with what we need for food, shelter and life, and gives us our connection with the greater cycle of life.

The native peoples have been warning us that in our growing disconnection and disregard for nature, we are playing Russian roulette with the future of the Earth—and the destiny of humanity. They believe one of the planet’s sacred functions is to continue and expand the process of Creation.

They also point out that the Earth has an incredible ability to balance and heal itself. It could do that at any time just by flicking us off this planet—as easily as a horse’s tail swishes off a fly. We need to listen!
Copyright 2007 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s book THE HEART KNOWS THE WAY—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within is available at and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Giving Your Power Away Means Living Someone Else’s Life—Not Your Own

I went from the warm embrace of my family into an early marriage. Because I was in love and it is what wives did back then, I ceded a lot of the responsibility for decision-making to my equally young husband. I gave my power away and I was soon enmeshed in a dependent relationship that would eventually deteriorate and end in divorce.

Since then I have learned that when you give your personal power away to anyone or anything, you end up living someone else’s life or passion—not your own.

It took me a lot of years before I figured out that life is set up to provide us what we call problems, and others call opportunities to learn the lessons we are meant to experience. These problems usually have multiple layers like an onion, and it may take us many such “opportunities” before we finally choose to face the problems and begin to learn the lessons they have for us.

When we can face our problems and reclaim our power, there awaits an awesome gift—we awaken to the fact that the power is within us, we just gave it away. In taking it back, we recognize our true worth, and become aware that we can have whatever we want [or don’t want] in our lives and can literally live out our dreams and desires.

One of my biggest life fears has always been conflict, and I’ve been able to avoid most major confrontations—until recently. A strong, passionate disagreement arose between me and others around an approach to the basic structuring of an organization we were birthing. I had invested a lot of love, time, energy and effort into this project. Even though I knew my insights had value, I was tempted to try to duck the situation, but I couldn’t do it. I had finally lived long enough to know that the same old problem would just keep coming back in different and more powerful guises until I faced it once and for all. Armed with my Truth, I initiated several opportunities in which to firmly state my case, which I thought would resolve the disagreement. The opposition was also strong and the situation became tense and emotionally charged.

As a child one of my favorite expressions was, “Truth will out!” I thought that meant it would triumph. In this case my Truth didn’t. I learned that truth can be trumped by whoever holds the authority.

This was one of the hardest things I have ever done, and for a few days I wondered if this was an appropriate use of my life energy. Then an incredible thing happened: My ego let go of the importance of being right. I did not feel any ill will or negativity for anyone involved—all I felt was freedom, love and release. With my new-found clarity and empowerment, I embraced my integrity and resigned from the organization.

My body is still reacting to the energy required to face this situation. But the peace I feel within is surely my soul’s response to finally owning my power, standing in truth and choosing to speak up for me. I bless everyone involved, sincerely wish them success, and know that whatever they have to learn from this is none of my business.

I believe the feeling at the core of my being confirms that this was undeniably one of the most valuable lessons I have ever learned. It certainly carried the most energy. There is usually a life gift in each of such lessons learned: Sometimes a relationship is healed, a physical problem goes away or a door opens, and voila! I want the universe to know that I’m expecting a really big gift this time!
Copyright 2007 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s book THE HEART KNOWS THE WAY—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within is available at and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, September 10, 2007

"And in the Sweetness of Friendship Let There be Laughter and Sharing of Pleasures" -Kahlil Gibran

At this stage of life, I am looking back on a number of birthdays, some memorable and some forgettable. I recall a specific surprise celebration that was the biggest and potentially the most embarrassing birthday party I’ve ever had.

My second husband and I hadn’t been married long, and had already had an early celebration of my birthday with family members. I was unaware when the actual big day arrived.

It was about dusk on a Sunday evening and we had just come in from our vegetable garden carrying baskets of fresh produce. It was close to dinner time, and he asked me to go to our favorite little neighborhood restaurant, but I begged off. He persisted. He told me I could just slip on something comfortable, and I relented. I put on a colorful muumuu, pulled my hair back into a ponytail, quickly brushed on some blusher and lipstick and off we went. This made him happy, and it pleased me to do this for him.

I was a little surprised when the hostess walked us through the restaurant to a large private banquet room in the rear of the restaurant. Inside were fifty people shouting “Surprise!” I was stunned, and even more by the guest list, which was primarily our male business associates [his and mine] and their beautifully dressed and coiffed spouses—as well as my dearest friend. I locked eyes with her immediately with a look that I hoped said volumes.

If the event had been filmed, I would probably have been nominated for an acting award of some sort—especially if the judges were women. My husband was such a kind and generous man that I decided never to mention my feelings—to him. I did, however, make it clear to my friend, his co-conspirator, how I felt about such surprises.

Well, that same friend recently invited me to dinner with her at one of our favorite restaurants to celebrate my birthday. As the day neared, she called and told me she had asked her daughter to join us. I was delighted. On the afternoon of my birthday, several of our mutual friends called and asked, “What time is the dinner?” Of course I promised to act surprised.

I totally forgive my friend for not remembering my feelings about surprise parties, because thanks to her I’ve changed my mind. That particular evening made up for any less-than birthdays I have ever had in my life.

At first I thought that the pure pleasure I felt during the event was simply because someone cared enough to remember my birthday. That was part of it—but there was more.

My friend, who I have known, loved and cherished for thirty-six years, convened a small group of our mutual friends and the result was magical. I have never enjoyed such a flawless, fun and delightful evening, and I’m sure it was mutual, which made it perfect.

The well-aimed barbs that ricocheted around the table were followed by hearty laughter. The occasion soon began to resemble a mutual mini-roast, but the tenderness and joy was evident in the trust that allowed vulnerability and total openness. While at the time I just flat-out enjoyed it, now I realize it is a testament to our lasting friendships. We have shared our innermost secrets and fears, and been there for each other through the emotional earthquakes and traumas of our lives.

Being embraced in a circle of dear, longtime friends opened doors to loving memories that are usually closed because we live in a time when many people are so fearful of intimacy. I am so grateful to these women for their continuing gift of friendship.

"For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed." -Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
Copyright 2007 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s book THE HEART KNOWS THE WAY—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within is available at and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, September 3, 2007

What You Think You Heard Me Say Was Not What I Said!

I recently sent an email to someone with questions I had about certain events that had transpired concerning an organization we both supported. I was stunned when a return e-mail brought a response that was totally unexpected.

More e-mails went back and forth, but nothing seemed to bring any clarity, they just made the situation worse. Finally, the uneasiness within me sent up a red flag, which was a distinct signal that any hope of clear communication was not possible in the current circumstances.

That didn’t feel good. Several days later I attended an event at a local spiritual center and much to my surprise the topic of the spiritual leader’s remarks was “Open Communication.”

She indicated that from early childhood, not only are we not taught how to communicate openly, we are taught that it’s usually better or wiser to keep quiet. So, we grow up, go out into the world, get married and wonder what is happening in our lives.

Leading off her list of major deterrents to open communication are our own built-in filters through which we communicate with others and expect them to respond honestly and clearly. Naturally, others have their own built-in filters, which they also expect us to be aware of and respect, making miscommunication inevitable.

This then brings up the no-win situation of the need to be right, and the familiar and non-productive “You said,”—“No, you said” in order to justify our position.

The spiritual leader said that while it is always appropriate to speak our truth, the important thing is to connect with another human being, and to do so without bringing the conversation to the Fatal Point—where you have eventually beaten the other person down and they give up. In this scenario, both parties are cheated of the desired goal, which is to leave both parties energized and feeling connected on a positive level.

The last element in open communication has to do with cause and effect and the fact that what we say about another or an event creates energy that will come back to us. If we put someone down for their intellectual capacity, this will result in a lessening of ours. Similarly, if we castigate someone for their lack of spiritual awareness, we lower our own.

If we blame others for our inability to openly communicate with them in a positive way, we will be arguing for our limitations and they will remain ours. We will also continue to have communication challenges in every area of our lives.

If we truly seek to be conscious and aware human beings, we will welcome the opportunity presented by such frustrating situations, and seek to learn from them. We will take the time to become aware of our own filters, be open to learning about the filters of others, and to act accordingly.

I followed this wise woman’s advice to halt the non-productive cycle. I sent an e-mail with a 24-pt. headline of red hearts and music notes and the following message: What we evidently have here is a miscommunication. Sorry and Love. Let’s move on past this. We have the same goal.

I felt better immediately.
Copyright 2007 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s book THE HEART KNOWS THE WAY—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within is available at and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Are You a "Helicopter" Parent?

In a recent conversation with a friend, I mentioned that my intention at this stage of my life is to be a loving, benevolent bystander where my adult children and older grandchildren are concerned. I would be there with them and for them as mutually desired or needed. The rest of the time I would leave them alone to pursue their own lives, as I would mine. She immediately came back with the comment, “I want to be more lovingly involved.” At the time, I realized that was understandable because she still has teenage children at home.

Later, what bothered me about her comment was my sense that she might have thought my decision was insensitive and uncaring. That couldn’t be further from the truth. My comment was based on long life experience, and knowing that all human beings have within them the awareness of what is right for them. And parents and grandparents have no right to interfere with that, even though it may take a while for the younger generation to sort out their lives.

I was also talking about the time when our children and their children have reached adulthood and are on their own. I fully realize that during the earlier years, there is a much greater level of involvement that is necessary, natural and desired.

When the natural maturation process pulls young adults to follow their own paths, however, this is healthy and desired. This is what parenting is all about, guiding them to this stage and then letting them fly from the nest.

Yet it can also be a scary time for many parents and grandparents, and I can relate to that. After being needed for so long, the fear or concern is that we will lose our connection with them, and we better do something fast.

What often happens is that there is an attempt, well meant but ill-advised, to become what Dr. Wayne Dyer calls “helicopter parents,” parents who hover over our children and grandchildren. In this way, we hope to either financially, emotionally—or both—secure the tie that binds. But the truth is, while it may feel good to us, it may cripple them.

I tried this approach for a very short time with some of my loved ones, but fortunately they were way ahead of me and would allow none of it. They had already followed the natural course and released me—which is a hard but necessary lesson to learn.

Now that I have been through this a few times, I can attest to the high level of love and wisdom it takes for parents and grandparents to love and release their beloveds to life. I can similarly attest to the courage and commitment it takes to quell the urge to rescue them or to try to be the super parent or grandparent for ego reasons. My hard-earned advice for those tempted by the helicopter syndrome is to immediately turn that thought, and energy, toward enhancing your own life so that you aren’t the needy one. This will benefit and honor everyone, and is a healthier approach to parenting.

I said before in an earlier column, the lessons our loved ones gain from their struggles is their right, and to deny this natural process may keep them from the maturity, independence, sense of achievement and resulting self esteem that a successful life demands.

Loving and releasing may seem to be a dichotomy, yet when you truly love, there are no tentacles, no hooks, only a freeing love.
Copyright 2007 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s book THE HEART KNOWS THE WAY—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within is available at and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Laughter is Contagious ... and It's Good for You, Too!

I enjoy going to my doctor’s office because we share the same sense of humor, and love to laugh. Neither of us tries to be funny. It is simply the fact that anything and everything is suddenly a source of potential laughter. All we have to do is just look at each other and the fun begins.

Having just come from a visit with her, and still smiling at the experience, I realize what a rare gift it is to be around someone who has residual joy bubbling up within them.

This made me think of my younger brother, D.L., and my late uncle John Henry Hampton. Anytime they were in the area you knew you were going to have a wonderful time and that laughter, including large belly-shaking-laugh-until-your-insides hurt could break out at any time. The anticipation registered on every face.

My friend Marguerite is in the same category, but with a more subtle touch. She has a unique way of combining clothes, colors and fun jewelry that together with her personality make her very presence a joy. When she walks into a room, whether it is in a business environment or a private home, the reaction is always the same. There is an automatic shift in the energy level and the environment changes. It is as if the good humor ice cream truck had just pulled up, and everyone starts smiling.

When I was younger, one of my favorite movies was Bedknobs and Broomsticks, starring Angela Lansbury and the late Ed Wynn, and all because of one delicious scene. The two youngsters in the film learned that with Wynn’s tutoring, laughter could literally lift them up to new heights. As I watched them all hover near the ceiling, and relished their infectious laughter, I wanted to be there with them. If any serious thoughts entered their minds, however, they immediately began to descend in altitude, so it was necessary to keep the laughter going.

There’s certainly enough seriousness in today’s world to keep us firmly grounded, and we do need to make decisions and do all the things required by adults to keep families and society running. But just imagine how much healthier we would be—remember the book “Laughter is the Best Medicine”—and how much better off the world would be if we could find reasons to smile more and to laugh out loud at least once a day. My doctor also says it is even a great way to massage all your internal organs.

Naturally since I love to laugh, I have always been a fan of jokes. As a matter of fact some of my favorite people are jokes! Sorry. To start you smiling, I offer these examples, which were found by Googling “Jokes.” I hope they bring a smile and that you will share them with at least one person, preferably someone under 10 years of age.

Doctor, doctor
My son swallowed a pen!
What should I do?
Use a pencil until I get there!

Knock, knock
Who’s there?
Aardvark who?
Aardvark a hundred miles for one of your smiles!
Copyright 2007 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s book THE HEART KNOWS THE WAY—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within is available at and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Finding Peace Between Religion and Spirituality

In seeking a subject for my weekly columns, I always ask and expect my intuition to guide me. This time I was inspired by a dear friend’s question. She asked, “How do I reconcile my almost lifelong Christian beliefs with what I know and believe now? At the time, she was experiencing a health situation that naturally brought up thoughts about her own mortality. I think she was concerned about what effect the new beliefs would have at the time of her death.

I realized that the answer to her question could be a source of inner peace for my friend and countless others, including myself.

When I was young, like many others, I sought spiritual solace from conventional religious sources. After decades of seeking, I found, also like many others, a place of comfort between the closed religious views of the past and an open spirituality that resonated within my mind and heart, and was grounded in the depths of my being.

During my seeking, I realized that conventional religious systems hold that the life force-energy-love-power [God] is placed outside the individual. Followers are required to subscribe to a closed belief system, are considered much lower in status than this energy and basically flawed. The belief system doesn’t have to be logical or scientifically plausible.

In contrast to this, unconventional systems believe that there is only this life force-energy-love-power and it is not outside of us, it is within you, me and everything in the universe. In essence this means there is only one God, but with many variations and interpretations. This energy is either manifested as form, or waiting to be manifested, as its nature is to expand and become more. Since we live, move and have our being in this energy, we share its attributes and characteristics – much like a wave in the ocean is part of the whole – but is not the whole.

In 1 Corinthians, Chapter 12 verse 13, Paul says: “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free, and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”

It was an incredibly wonderful feeling to realize that I am not a disconnected, isolated entity. I am an individualized unit, a cell, in the colossal body of this cosmic life force-energy-love.

It is my responsibility to become aware of the incredible life force that is inherent in me, to learn to manage this energy, cooperate with it and to use it for the highest and best good of all. By entering into communion with this energy, I discovered the sanctuary of love, wisdom, acceptance and guidance that is our birthright and the heart desire of every human being. This is where love lives—inside us.

These ideas have been around in one form or another for a long time. The spiritual teachers, masters and mystics who spoke and wrote about them through the centuries were simply bringing this natural evolutionary progression to our attention, again, in case we were open to it. The fact is that the energy-love-force is eternal and changeless, but as humanity evolves our understanding of it expands.

My friend is wise to seek reconciliation between her past beliefs and what she knows and believes now, as this brings inner peace. The following answers the question for me, and hopefully will help my friend and many others.

I know we live in a spiritual, loving universe that is a universe of law and order. The Law of Attraction means that like attracts like. When we die we will draw to us whatever high or low energy we are and what we hold in our hearts. It could not be otherwise. Whether my friend seeks to be embraced by the Old Testament God, Jesus of the New Testament, Allah, Mohammed, Buddha, Mother Mary, a host of angels or all the above, [which I lovingly accept for her], she will be met with her heart’s desire. It could not be otherwise.
Copyright 2007 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s book THE HEART KNOWS THE WAY—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within is available at and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, August 6, 2007

How to Live a Rich, Rewarding, Joyful and Purposeful Life

Throughout the centuries, great visionaries, authors and philosophers have written and spoken of the importance of connecting with the spiritual-mental energy inherent within each of us and knowingly directing it to achieve rewarding and fulfilling lives. Oprah Winfrey instinctively knew the need for disseminating such information and devoted several of her television talk shows to covering The Secret, the latest book on this process.

Naturally, the book and Oprah’s endorsement piqued the interest of millions of people and for obvious reasons. Who wouldn’t choose health, wealth and success over poverty and suffering?

At first blush, the primary emphasis on material gain seems to be a negative because of the current materialistic pattern set by our society. However, a desire for increased prosperity and abundance is normal, natural and universal. It just needs to be approached in a more comprehensive way that is healthful, meaningful and fulfilling.

The current role models for success in our society are driven workaholic-money-grubbing individuals who place the pursuit of money above all else. All anyone has to do is look around and see the chaos this has created. We are the most affluent nation in the world, and yet we are so alienated from our selves, each other and nature that many people need to numb themselves in order to stand the consequences of this approach.

The good news is the fact that millions of people are now aware of this age-old success strategy, which in itself is symbolic of an awakening in humanity. This means that those open to this information realize that by taking responsibility for their lives, becoming aware of the spiritual energy within and practicing mental discipline, can help them move out of the victim role.

This is only the beginning. The next vital step in this inner journey will allow the discovery of one’s true heart and soul desires. This heightened awareness can be realized by going within and acknowledging and living from the sanctuary of love, peace and wisdom that resides within each of us. In just lightly touching this sanctuary, we find what every soul on Earth yearns for—a sense of connectedness and wholeness. As we continue on this path, we gradually release the sense of separation that is the basis of all fear. This preparation provides the foundation for the realization of our desires, as we will have the full support of body, mind, spirit and emotion—a much more powerful and desirable approach.

By becoming aware of and trusting the true essence of our being, we begin to choose to live from the highest that is within us and our actions will come from love and be beneficial for all concerned.

I have used this ancient process for many years and gained new insights that I believe were directly responsible for my successes. I invite you to visit my Web site to read the feature article “10 Proven Steps to Fulfill Your Heart’s Desire,” and the detailed how-to lists that update and summarize the process. This may hold just the information you need to realize your desired results. I also invite you to let me know about your increased health, wealth and happiness as we continue on this life adventure together.

I believe the only “secret” in all of this is that a success strategy begins with us. It is an inside job. You can break through the shell of poverty and lack and demonstrate lasting prosperity and abundance at its best—as a joyous, meaningful and purposeful life.
Copyright 2007 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s book THE HEART KNOWS THE WAY—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within is available at and other online booksellers, as well as through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Importance of Keeping a "Soft" Heart

On a road trip with my sister, we talked about our lifelong perception of another family member that recently turned out to be questionable. We realized this when we attended the person’s memorial service and heard how other people saw her. We concluded that we had allowed a couple of isolated perceptions to become judgments, which justified avoiding and never really getting to know this relative.

When I thought about this later, I realized that for me this pattern of coping with difficult relationships started early in life with my mother. My perception of her was of a cold, unfeeling and sometimes harsh woman because I never felt loved or cherished by her.

Since this is one of life’s primary relationships, I experienced the full spectrum of textbook emotions—anger, fear, shame and unworthiness. My response was also typical. In order to ease the pain, I hardened my heart toward her. So that no one else would know of my private heartache and the shame of not being someone that a mother could love, I became the attentive and dutiful daughter.

I learned years later that when something goes wrong in our lives our tendency is to blame others, and we feel justified in doing so. However, by following this path we never find the love we are seeking, which is within us.

After years of doing daily forgiveness work for my mother and myself, I opened to this natural wellspring of love within me. I grew past the need for my mother, or anyone else, to love me. This changed my life.

As I began thinking of my mother and the traumas she endured as a child, it was possible to understand the woman she had become. My heart softened toward her. The love just naturally flowed from me to her and it didn’t matter that she could not return it.

Near the end of her life, she had senile dementia and was unaware of me or anyone else. With an open and tender heart, I was able to be there for her at a time when it was most needed. I was also able to give her the love and nurturing she wasn’t capable of giving me as a child.

I realize that there will always be opportunities to allow perceptions to become judgments that tempt us to shut people out of our hearts and our lives. I believe this is contradictory to the overflowing love that is within us that is yearning to flow and connect with others. I also believe it takes a lot of precious life energy to keep others out of our hearts, and this process robs us of inner peace.

It is a fact that our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects are linked together and the decision to harden our heart toward another can affect our physical bodies. During an annual physical some years ago, I learned that several areas of my heart had started to harden, which would make it more difficult for my heart to beat healthfully. I instinctively knew the cause and the cure.

It is important to remember that our own physical and emotional well-being depends on maintaining an inner peace which comes from a healthy relationship with our self and others. I believe the only way to ensure that is by keeping a soft and open heart.
Copyright 2007 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s book THE HEART KNOWS THE WAY—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within is available from, other online booksellers, and through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Why Not Elect the Speechwriters Instead of the Candidates?

Because I am a writer, I often get requests from close friends to review something they have written or to write a short blurb to further a cause we both believe in and support. Yesterday I received an e-mail from a friend who is helping a candidate for political office. She sent a short article she had written for an upcoming event on behalf of her candidate and asked for my help.

I had met the candidate once when she was visiting my friend, and while I wasn’t aware of her platform, I was impressed with her personally and respectful of her courageous decision to run for office. I also trust and respect my friend, so I agreed.

Yesterday I spent several hours going over the piece, and could hardly wait to get to the computer this morning to add some new thoughts. After polishing the piece until I totally resonated with the content, I opened an e-mail and began writing a note to my friend to accompany the attached article. It wasn’t long before I realized that I had doubts about sending it and decided finally that I wouldn’t. Here’s why.

I began thinking about the challenging times that face us locally, regionally, nationally and globally. I thought about how important it is to elect consciously aware human beings who have the moral, ethical, intellectual and spiritual maturity to break free of old patterns—and are open to new paths of opportunity to heal our planet and ensure our future on Earth.

In order to do that, we must be consciously aware ourselves and through due diligence seek out the brightest and best individuals for the job. I knew I couldn’t present a written piece that might not reflect the essence of the individual for whom it was written.

I also vividly remembered the times I had voted for someone only to realize later that we should have elected the person who drafted the now-incumbent’s speeches.

Recently, along with my fellow citizens, I watched the presidential debates and realized how difficult [nearly impossible] it is to try to figure out the true character of any current candidates as they have been packaged, prepped and sanitized in order to get elected.

The only ones who have the “freedom” to speak candidly are those not in the upper tier of presidential candidates, as they know they won’t be their party’s choice and have nothing to lose.

I e-mailed the suggestion to my friend that the candidate courageously publish a list of her personal core beliefs and intentions right off the bat; throw her hat in the ring and go for it. It would be refreshingly honest, and a nice change from the usual put-the-platform-together-as-you-go process.

Since I already did the work, I would like to share some of the qualities that I believe we should require and expect from our national leaders: We need elected officials who are secure enough to connect and communicate candidly at a time in our world when we are becoming more and more alienated from each other—and who seek to connect and negotiate rather than influence and impress; who lead from a place of integrity, intelligence and with a compassionate heart; who are ethically, morally and spiritually mature enough to break free of old ways and be open to new opportunities to better our lives and secure the future, and who work to ensure there is a future and one worthy of our stewardship.
Copyright 2007 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s book THE HEART KNOWS THE WAY—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within is available from, other online booksellers, and through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, July 16, 2007

If Communications Are at a Pinnacle in History, Why Are We Living in a Disconnected World?

In a recent conversation, a friend asked me about an incident that caused a breach between me and a mutual friend. I had to admit that neither of us had ever made any attempt to resolve the situation. Even though we have maintained a relationship during the ensuing years, there is no longer trust, intimacy or any real connection between us.

I realize that my experience is typical of the increasing inability of individuals to communicate with each other. Ask anyone you know. Friends can’t reveal themselves to friends. Relatives can’t relate with relatives. Siblings can’t communicate with siblings, mothers with daughters, fathers with sons or the parents with each other. And it goes right on from there through every aspect of society, and all levels of government, at home and abroad.

A wide breach in communication exists between Israelis and Palestinians, between Sunnis and Shiites, and on and on and on, and this is one of the, if not the major reason we have such violence in the Middle East and throughout the world. It is also the major reason that we continue to use wars as a misguided and primitive attempt at conflict resolution.

I watched a documentary the other night on Tony Blair and his decade as prime minister of the United Kingdom. His courageous commitment to personal involvement in peace talks in Ireland was a key to its historic success. He left a meeting of world leaders to be sure this process had his undivided attention and literally worked around the clock for days to see it through. His ability to communicate clearly on a human level, his negotiation skills, as well as his unflagging dedication, literally saved the day. He did this even though he knew if his efforts failed he was at great political risk.

I remember a few other instances in my lifetime when other leaders with integrity and awareness realized the vital importance of the human dimension in communication and opened opportunities for resolutions when absolutely nothing else could.

Relationships between individuals are not simple. Security in relationships does not and never will come from having power over someone. Security in relationships comes from building connections, which builds trust. True intimacy is based on the willingness to be vulnerable, and to risk, which is the opposite of control.

On the international level, it is extremely important that communication be approached with the intention of negotiation instead of impressing, threatening or having power over. It requires personal integrity, intelligence and ethical, moral and spiritual maturity to lead a nation and to interact globally.

While the current situation in Washington is chaotic and distressing, I believe that this and the reality of the global problems may help bring us out of our national apathy. This could present a unique opportunity to learn what we can do that will change our lives and help alter the course of our nation and the world.

I believe that the challenges in our world serve as a mirror and simply reflect the basic fears and problems we face in our own lives. We can’t connect with each other and resolve the simplest conflicts, and our national leaders are having the same problem. We also don’t rise up as one voice and demand better solutions in national and international situations.

I believe the only hope for peace in this world is to restore basic human to human communication. And this must begin with each one of us. When we are able to communicate clearly and negotiate solutions, we will naturally expect it of everyone else, and demand it of our leaders.
Copyright 2007 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s book THE HEART KNOWS THE WAY—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within is available from, other online booksellers, and through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Monday, July 9, 2007

"De-Nial" Is Not Just a River in Egypt ...

Life is a terminal condition, and I am at that stage, along with about thirty-five million other Americans, when this holds particular interest for me. Like many parents, I have wondered if my offspring have thought about the fact that this time of life is also on the horizon for them, and whether or not they will be prepared to respond healthfully in either instance. Two recent experiences dramatically point up how some offspring of aging American are choosing to cope with this situation.

Last Sunday I visited a family friend who has been in an assisted living facility for several years. When she had been healthy and active, she was the hub and heart of her family. Then the years sapped her health and strength, her husband died and more responsibility was placed on her adult children. After her 80th birthday, she fell several times, and is now confined to a wheelchair.

We talked candidly about the typical reasons her children and grandchildren do not come to visit her very often—too busy with their own families, living far away, and fearing she will place further demands on them for additional assistance. She also knows that the reality of facing death, even someone else’s, is more than some people can stand, so they avoid contact with the aging person.

Later that same week I attended a memorial service for the mother of a dear friend. The woman was ninety years old and had lived with my friend and her husband for the past sixteen years.

In her son-in-law’s tribute, he lovingly shared the fact that since he and his wife could not have children, they had decided to take in and care for their aging parents. This was their last “child.” While he admitted there were challenges in the beginning, his face registered the truth in this statement: “The gift in what we both gained in the day-to-day living with Mom transcends my ability to describe it.”

My companion turned to me and whispered, “Everyone should be so lucky.” I nodded agreement. I had been a volunteer for Hospice of the Valley, and have accompanied a number of loved ones on their last life journey. Yet I had never witnessed such an extraordinary memorial service where tears and laughter flowed as one in a magical expression of love.

I realize fully that these two scenarios obviously reflect the culture, character and conscious awareness of the individual families. Each situation is appropriate for the people involved.

Truthfully I don’t see either scenario being in my future—either being ignored or cared for in such a selfless, charitable way. While I know that death is meant to be a sacred, loving, life-affirming and spiritually enlightening experience, many people still believe it is the most feared of all natural life events. Until society as a whole can move out of that mind-set and accept death as the natural result of being born, many end-of-life scenarios for elderly citizens will resemble the first example.

As for me, I have made practical plans that hopefully will assist me and my loved ones through this future time. My heart desire is to be at peace within and to be so focused on the sacredness of the event—of becoming one with my true essence, going home—that this and this alone will determine the quality of my experience.

I believe the answer for every human being is to accept that death is as natural as being born. As we can release the fear of death and move out of denial, we will be free to live more fully and ultimately to die a much better death no matter the circumstances in which we find ourselves.
Copyright 2007 by Fern Stewart Welch
The author’s book THE HEART KNOWS THE WAY—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within is available from, other online booksellers, and through major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.