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.